December 16, 2018
EP. 270 — How A Few Precision Engineers Invented Your Entire Life
You’re holding a couple hundred billion transistors right now. Yes, you. You with the smartphone in your hand. That’s possible because — surprise — transistors are only a few nanometers in size now. A size so small, that description means nothing to you, right? Well here’s something: what if transistors and all other things we engineer are only going to get smaller from here? And what if that entire process began a shockingly short time ago, in a specific place, and changed the entire world faster than anybody realized it was happening?
On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by author Simon Winchester. His latest book is ‘The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created The Modern World’, and he & Alex will explore exactly that. They’ll also get into why 1776 should be famous for more than the American Revolution, why Eli Whitney should be famous for being a con man, how the Hubble Space Telescope got itself contact lenses, and more shocking tales of precision changing the entire world overnight.
January 26, 2020
Freedom sucks…and that is why we have to defend it. Because our democracy involves doing a lot of stuff that takes energy, takes time, and lacks that Michael Bay Quality that only a surprise missile launch can provide. So on this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt and special guest Jason Pargin (who writes for Cracked as David Wong) are exploring the ways being afraid of everything (an easy action) can stop us from being free. Discover the decades-long tradition of some Americans wanting to give up everything in exchange for not needing to think, the centuries-long tradition of people inciting fake panics, and the reasonable ways you can help change things for the better.
January 19, 2020
How’s your local shopping mall doing? Have you checked on it lately? Swing by sometime, because its department store might’ve turned into a call center or a hospital or a go-kart track. On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by the one and only Kai Ryssdal (Marketplace, Make Me Smart) for a look at surprising, strange, and shocking stories from all over the U.S. economy. Discover an international pig flu, a 26-word statement that built the modern Internet, and more amazing ways cash is ruling everything around you. By the way, if you’re an American listener, you spent the past few years funding an astonishingly huge bailout. Surprise! Listen for details!
January 12, 2020
Movies, TV, gaming: three things that are theoretically a waste of time. Oh sure, they deliver value in the art sense, and comfort in the goofing-off sense. But what if they’re more valuable than that? What if consuming shows and playing video games (accidentally) turns people into real-life heroes? On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedians/writers Caitlin Gill and Alex Watt for a look at the surprising number of times that exact thing happened. They’ll explore stories of regular people who saved a life thanks to skills gained randomly from cartoons, sitcoms, ‘World Of Warcraft’, and more silly entertainment.