April 18, 2016
EP. 119 — Which Civilization in History Was the Happiest?
If you could go anywhere in time to live the rest of your life, where would you go? It probably depends on what you’re looking for. Would you be looking to live in a time of relative peace, a time of great technological advancement, or simply a time where there wasn’t some horrible plague killing off everybody you know and love? Doc Brown thought he had it all in the 1880s, but that period probably wouldn’t be super awesome if you were a woman or a minority. Actually most time periods would be pretty bad in those circumstances. Not to mention that humans knew nothing about medicine and just generally not dying all the time until very recently. So obviously it’s a difficult question with an unclear answer: when was the best time in human history to be alive? Hell, the answer might just be today. As in, whatever day you’re reading this. This is the best day. To figure out this question, Jack O’Brien is first joined by Peter Stearns, author and professor at George Mason University to talk about the place of happiness in human history: which civilizations had it, which didn’t, and when and where were they? Later, Jack talks about Cracked Podcast pet subject the Flynn Effect with none other than Jim Flynn, the guy who put his name on it. If every generation is getting slightly smarter than the last, how does that affect quality of life, and is there a limit to how smart humans can get?
Peter Stearns, ‘Teaching Consumerism in World History’: http://goo.gl/dO3XrD
The Flynn Effect Summary of Findings: http://goo.gl/AYYIYO
Smithsonian Interview with James Flynn: http://goo.gl/rX1AZn
James Flynn’s Torchlight Reading List: http://goo.gl/iVkaLY
James Flynn TED Talk: https://goo.gl/i6vw2v
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.