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Futility Closet

Dec 28, 2015

In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll share seven oddities from Greg's research, from Arthur Conan Doyle's encounter with a perceptive Boston cabbie to a computer's failed attempts to rewrite Aesop's fables.

We'll also hear boxer Gene Tunney's thoughts on Shakespeare and puzzle over how a man on a park bench can recognize a murder at sea.

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Sources for the items in this week's episode:

Joseph Hatton, "Revelations of an Album," in The Idler, April 1897.

Charles Dickens mentioned "MOOR EEFFOC" in an abandoned autobiography. Michael Quinion has a bit more at World Wide Words.

Albert Pierce Taylor, Under Hawaiian Skies, 1922.

"John Cazale," IMDb (accessed 12/23/2015).

Ed Zern reviewed Lady Chatterley's Lover for Field & Stream in November 1959.

John Strype, Ecclesiastical Memorials, Relating Chiefly to Religion, and the Reformation of It, 1822.

Noel Williams and Patrik Holt, Computers and Writing: Models and Tools, 1989.

Listener mail:

"Yale Students Hear Tunney," Ottawa Citizen, April 24, 1928.

"Lauds Gene Tunney," Lewiston [Maine] Daily Sun, July 11, 1929.

This week's lateral thinking puzzle is from Jed's List of Situation Puzzles.

You can listen using the player above, download this episode directly, or subscribe on iTunes or via the RSS feed at

Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.

If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at Thanks for listening!