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Futility Closet

Jul 13, 2020

In 1943, the U.S. established a camp for German prisoners of war near the village of Stark in northern New Hampshire. After a rocky start, the relations between the prisoners and guards underwent a surprising change. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of Camp Stark and the...


Jul 6, 2020

In 1929 a German couple fled civilization to live on an uninhabited island in the Eastern Pacific. But other settlers soon followed, leading to strife, suspicion, and possibly murder. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll tell the story of the Galápagos affair, a bizarre mystery that...


Jun 29, 2020

In 1925, Swiss schoolteacher Aimé Tschiffely set out to prove the resilience of Argentina's criollo horses by riding two of them from Buenos Aires to New York City. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll follow Tschiffely's unprecedented journey, which has been called "the most exciting and...


Jun 22, 2020

Here are six new lateral thinking puzzles -- play along with us as we try to untangle some perplexing situations using yes-or-no questions.

Intro:

In the 1850s, a $5 bill featuring Santa Claus was legal tender in the United States.

In 1910 DuPont suggested that "some farmers have a wrong idea about dynamite."

The...


Jun 15, 2020

In 1937, Englishwoman Ursula Graham Bower became fascinated by the Naga people of northeastern India. She was living among them when World War II broke out and Japan threatened to invade their land. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll describe Bower's efforts to organize the Nagas against...