September 4, 2017
EP. 201 — The Astoundingly Complex Logistics of How Food Gets Made
If car commercials, beer commercials and presidential stump speeches were the only entertainment you consumed, you’d probably be pretty bored. You’d also think that American farmers are the life-blood of the economy and account for roughly 85% of the population. But in fact, less than 2% of Americans work in the business of putting food on your table– we’re talking farmers, ranchers, fishermen, etc.– and over 80% of us live in metropolitan areas of some sort. That’s a crazy ratio, especially when it comes to something as important as where the next meal is coming from.
How did we get here? How has the food industry in America gone from family farms and self reliance to drive throughs and endlessly stocked supermarkets in just a couple hundred years? This week, Alex Schmidt and Carmen Angelica speak to Maureen Ogle, a historian who wrote a whole book on the nuts and bolts of the American food industry and specifically, our obsession with meat.
Neither her book nor this podcast are condemnations of eating meat or exposés into the horrors of meat production, we’re just taking a look at the amazing confluence of business, agriculture, science and logistics that keeps the grocery shelves stocked and the McRib in rotation.
Footnotes, links and sources: https://goo.gl/44o22v
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.