October 19, 2015

EP. 90 — Why Every Invention is Either an iPhone or a Screwdriver

Screws, in some form or another, have been around since the 3rd century BC, and it wasn’t until the 1500s that screws began to start appearing in what we now accept as their modern form. They’re a great, simple piece of technology that helps solve the problem, ‘how do we secure this to that?’

Throughout all that time, however, there was just one problem: no one had invented the screwdriver yet. It’s true. People would spend entire lifetimes – generations would come and go – and all they could do to tighten a screw was use a coin or a flat piece of wood or something. It was like society as a whole had left their toolbox in the car but was too lazy to go out and get it.

For every screwdriver we also get an iPhone: a device that, in an instant, crammed the future into the present and forever changed the course of human history.

So there are screwdrivers, and then there are iPhones. Some came 300 years too late and others surprise us 300 years before we expect them. Jack O’Brien is joined by Cracked editors Tom Reimann and Alex Schmidt to discuss the many screwdrivers and iPhones of history that you may not know about.

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/