Nov 10, 2014
Abraham Lincoln's eldest son, Robert, is the subject of a grim coincidence in American history: He's the only person known to have been present or nearby at the assassinations of three American presidents. In this episode of the Futility Closet podcast we describe the circumstances of each misfortune and explore some further coincidences regarding Robert's brushes with fatality.
We also consider whether a chimpanzee deserves a day in court and puzzle over why Australia would demolish a perfectly good building.
Sources for our segment on Robert Todd Lincoln:
Jason Emerson, Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln, 2012.
Charles Lachman, The Last Lincolns: The Rise and Fall of a Great American Family, 2008.
Merrill D. Peterson, Lincoln in American Memory, 1994.
Ralph Gary, Following in Lincoln's Footsteps, 2002.
Sources for the listener mail segment:
"Lyman Dillon and the Military Road," Tri-County Historical Society (accessed 11/06/2014).
Charles Siebert, "Should a Chimp Be Able to Sue Its Owner?", New York Times Magazine, April 23, 2014.
This week's lateral thinking puzzle is from Paul Sloane and Des MacHale's 1994 book Great Lateral Thinking Puzzles. Some corroboration is here (warning: this spoils the puzzle).
Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.
If you have any questions or comments you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening!