October 6, 2014

EP. 49 — How One Logical Fallacy Keeps Making You Wrong

You may be the first to admit that your Facebook page is simply a highlight reel of your life — a carefully collected stream of only the best pictures, moments, and one-liners — but why is it hard to make that same realization about the lives of everyone else? Why do we assume Japan is a nuthouse of tentacle porn and horrifying game shows, even though all the weird American porn and TV doesn’t make our nation a typhoon of madness?


That’s sampling bias, homies! The same way the local news only reports the one study that “proves” Aspartame causes cancer but ignores all of the studies that say it doesn’t. Our brain does this to us all day. Other people’s brains do it to us, too. If you think Russia is basically ‘Mad Max’ with Snow, 24/7, it’s because your picture of Russia comes from the craziest dash-cam videos a few Russians managed to upload.


On today’s podcast, Cracked editors Jack O’Brien, Jason Pargin (aka David Wong), and Alex Schmidt sit down for a podcast about the unexpected sampling errors that populate our life. Throw on your headphones and click play above to hear us explain why the world we think we live in may not exist at all.

Recent Episodes

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.

Footnotes: https://www.cracked.com/podcast/why-fear-based-democracies-arenE28099t-free-with-jason-pargin/

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!

Footnotes: https://www.cracked.com/podcast/5-parts-u.s.-economy-that-are-stranger-than-you-think

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.

Footnotes: https://www.cracked.com/podcast/9-times-pop-culture-accidentally-taught-people-to-save-lives/