Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know


Society & Culture

1753 episodes

If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks, then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.

  • 03 AUG 2021
    The Three Christs of Ypsilanti Experiment
    1h 30s

    In the early 1960s, one of the most unethical experiments in psychology’s history was quietly conducted in a state hospital in Michigan. It sought to upend the delusions of the three patients involved, but ultimately disabused the experimen...

  • 31 JUL 2021
    Selects: How Police Interrogation Works
    1h 9m 50s

    Every year, police across the U.S. get thousands of criminals to confess to their crimes. The trouble is, the procedure that almost all departments use is grounded in bad science and can produce false confessions. Learn about ways of making...

  • 29 JUL 2021
    How Sarcasm Works
    48m 52s

    In this episode, we get to the bottom of why people sometimes talk like jerks some and how sarcasm isn’t all bad. Stand back everybody, this one is just soooo great.  Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 28 JUL 2021
    Short Stuff: Space Hurricanes
    12m 54s

    Space hurricanes are officially a thing. What does that mean for us here on Earth? Probably not much. Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 27 JUL 2021
    Conservatorships: #freebritney
    52m 7s

    Britney Spears has made a lot of noise lately in her bid to nullify her conservatorship. But what are they even? Listen in to find out! Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 24 JUL 2021
    Selects: How Mars Works
    57m 30s

    Sure today Mars would kill you with its thin, toxic atmosphere and cold desert temperature swings of 100 degrees,but early on it and Earth were practically twins. Find out how the two planets diverged and if there might be life on the Red P...

  • 22 JUL 2021
    The Origins of Some Everyday Superstitions
    45m 52s

    Why exactly do we avoid walking under a ladder? Why is stepping on a crack in the sidewalk such a big deal? What kind of monster carries a rabbit’s foot in their pocket? The answers to these questions and more lie in wait ahead in this epis...

  • 21 JUL 2021
    Short Stuff: RICO Act
    13m 29s

    If you’re even passingly interested in mobsters you’ve heard of the RICO Act, but most people don’t know how it actually works. Make your Goodfellas fandom more well-rounded with this explainer episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at...

  • 20 JUL 2021
    Stranger Danger!
    52m 50s

    If you grew up in the 1980s, you thought you had a 50% chance of getting kidnapped every time you left your house. But like with the Satanic Panic and other 80s hysteria, it was much ado about (almost) nothing. Learn more about your ad-cho...

  • 17 JUL 2021
    Selects: How Ketchup Works
    57m 25s

    Little-known fact: Ketchup, possibly the most all-American of condiments, evolved from fermented fish sauce people in Southeast Asia have been making for more than a thousand years. Learn more in this classic episode. Learn more about your...

  • 15 JUL 2021
    How Reverse Osmosis Will Save the World
    47m 37s

    Can we save the future of the human race with some thin membranes riddled with ultra-tiny holes? Science says yes! Thanks to reverse osmosis filtration, we can turn saltwater to fresh and finally say, Water, water everywhere so let’s all ha...

  • 14 JUL 2021
    Short Stuff: Hanged, Drawn and Quartered
    14m 52s

    The words "hanged, drawn and quartered" are an accurate description of the grizzly execution process. They're just not in the right order. Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 13 JUL 2021
    The Radium Girls
    50m 1s

    The Radium Girls painted watched with glow-in-the-dark radium in the 1920s and '30s. Most got sick, many died. This is their story.  Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 10 JUL 2021
    Selects: How Historic Districts Work
    46m 49s

    A fascinating thing about Americans is that we can disagree on anything. Such is the case with historic districts – areas of historic importance protected by local laws. Seems innocuous, but are they also to blame for the affordable housing...

  • 08 JUL 2021
    SYSK Live: Koko, the Gorilla Who Talked
    1h 16m 2s

    Recorded live before the pandemic in January 2020 at the Castro Theatre for San Francisco Sketchfest, Josh and Chuck explore the 70s movement that attempted to teach apes human language and the Ape Language Wars that erupted from it. Learn...

  • 07 JUL 2021
    Short Stuff: Sulfanilamide Disaster
    14m 51s

    In the 1920s, before the era of consumer protection, a poison entered the medicine supply and killed more than 100 people before the pubic health disaster could be stopped. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastnetwo...

  • 06 JUL 2021
    The Sad Story of William James Sidis
    52m 17s

    Are geniuses made or born? Listen in today to the story of child prodigy William James Sidis. Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 03 JUL 2021
    Selects: Are good samaritan laws effective?
    47m 57s

    Good samaritan laws have been around for many years, helping to provide legal protections for people who try to help other people. But do they work? Listen to this classic episode and decide for yourself today! Learn more about your ad-cho...

  • 01 JUL 2021
    The Grand Ole Opry Cast
    48m 44s

    Josh and Chuck take a virtual walk through country music's legendary music venue.  Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 30 JUN 2021
    Short Stuff: Beast of Gevaudan
    13m 38s

    The first truly international news story covered a beast that terrorized the French countryside, eviscerating dozens of villagers for three years in the 1760s. How about that? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcastne...

  • 29 JUN 2021
    Poison Control Centers: A Good Thing
    56m 31s

    Poison control centers are one of those things you don’t think about until you need it. With all the poisons in our homes you very well may someday. When you do there is a cadre of toxicological specialists ready to oversee the process of s...

  • 26 JUN 2021
    Selects: How Royalty Works
    52m 13s

    In some nations royals are so ingrained in the national fabric they are considered part of the country. In this classic episode, Josh and Chuck take a look backward in time at the ancient tradition of despotism and unbridled privilege. Lea...

  • 24 JUN 2021
    How Faraday Cages Work
    48m 4s

    Faraday cages are one of those peculiar miracles of nature that we can actually explain – not to mention, they save us from potentially fatal electrocutions and electronic eavesdropping which are bonuses. Learn about this amazing hidden tec...

  • 23 JUN 2021
    Short Stuff: Chastity Belts
    13m 38s

    Were chastity belts real? Sort of. But not in the way you might think. Tune in to hear the real story. Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 22 JUN 2021
    The Mystery of Damascus Steel
    42m 29s

    Damascus steel and the recipe behind it remained a mystery for many years. But it turns out the key was a bygone ingredient. Listen in to this medieval mystery to learn all about it.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartp...

  • 19 JUN 2021
    Selects: Operation Mincemeat: How A Corpse Fooled the Nazis
    50m 22s

    In World War II, a secret department of British ‘corkscrew thinkers’ hatched a plan to use the cadaver of an unclaimed homeless man to turn the tide of the war in the Allies’ favor. It worked. Learn all about it in this classic episode. Le...

  • 17 JUN 2021
    How Venus Works
    46m 52s

    Venus is so hot lead would melt on the planet’s surface. It spins backwards. Its year is shorter than its day. Venus is amazingly awesome.  Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 16 JUN 2021
    Short Stuff: Mojave Megaphone
    13m 8s

    What is the Mojave Megaphone? Well, nobody really knows. Listen in today to learn about this desert mystery. Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 15 JUN 2021
    Seven - No, Wait, Five - Mysteries of the Art World
    52m 9s

    When you get a bunch of artistic types together into a community – aka, the art world – some intrigue and mystery are bound to arise. Listen in as Chuck and Josh cover strangeness around Van Gogh, Caravaggio, Raphael, and Vermeer – plus don...

  • 12 JUN 2021
    Selects: How Sea Monsters Work
    43m 35s

    Legends of sea monsters are as old as humanity, and some ancient cultures even credited them with creating the universe. Learn more about humanity's attachment to seeing monsters in the deep in this classic episode. Learn more about your a...

  • 10 JUN 2021
    POGs: The 90s in a Bottle Cap
    55m 20s

    Today, Chuck and Josh go down a 90s rabbit hole with another in their classic toy series. This time, they tackle the odd sensation that was POGs. Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 09 JUN 2021
    Short Stuff: Chinatowns
    14m 43s

    If you live in a major city in the USA, you probably have a Chinatown. Listen in and learn all about these unique cultural staples today. Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 08 JUN 2021
    Slime Mold: 0% Mold, 100% Amazing
    55m 2s

    If you’ve ever wandered past what looked like a pile of dog barf on a log during a hike in the woods, you’d just seen slime mold - one of the most perplexing organisms on Earth.  Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheartpodcas...

  • 05 JUN 2021
    Selects: Who was America's first murderer?
    36m 14s

    John Billington didn't just sign the Mayflower Compact -- he was also the colony's first criminal, and had the dubious honor of being the first European to be convicted of murder in this new place. But how did it happen? Tune in to this cla...

  • 03 JUN 2021
    John Muir: Outdoor Enthusiast
    48m 56s

    John Muir loved being outside. So much so that he dedicated his life to helping preserve it, but not without some controversy. Listen in to this decidedly nature-centric episode today! Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.iheart...

  • 02 JUN 2021
    Short Stuff: Runner's High
    13m 53s

    Listen in to today's short stuff to learn if a runner's high is really a thing. Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 01 JUN 2021
    What Causes Inflation?
    53m 40s

    Inflation seems super boring, but if you know how it works (important point: no one really does) you can exist as a functioning human being in a modern economy.  Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 29 MAY 2021
    Selects: How Nitrous Oxide Works
    1h 11s

    For about 175 years people have been huffing nitrous oxide for everything from vision quests to anesthetic to get plain old high. And after all that time we are only now beginning to understand how it works on our brains. Get the scoop in t...

  • 27 MAY 2021
    Night Trap: The Video Game Failure that Changed the Industry
    47m 29s

    In the early 90s a video game was released that changed the industry, despite poor sales and bad game play. That game was Night Trap. This is that story. Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 26 MAY 2021
    Short Stuff: Parachute Emergency!
    13m 47s

    Your parachute won’t open – now what?! Listen up to Josh and Chuck and you may make it out of this in one piece. Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 25 MAY 2021
    How Cleft Lips and Palates Work
    46m 53s

    Cleft lips and palates are common birth defects, but for the kids who have them (and their parents), its no small matter: Years of surgeries, therapy, and possibly lifelong health issues, not to mention the teasing that comes along with loo...

  • 22 MAY 2021
    Selects: How Hot Wheels Work
    48m 2s

    If you're an American who had a childhood, you probably have some nostalgia for Hot Wheels. Get your engines revved for this trip down memory lane as we discuss these fun and iconic toys in this classic episode. Learn more about your ad-ch...

  • 20 MAY 2021
    Girl Scouts: More than cookie sellers
    56m 39s

    We put our research to the test and it turns out the Girl Scouts is a great organization. Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 19 MAY 2021
    Short Stuff: Speed Reading
    14m 17s

    Back in the 60s and 70s, a speed reading craze broke out. Tough luck that speed reading is bunk. Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 18 MAY 2021
    The Cleveland Torso Murders
    54m 55s

    During the depths of the Great Depression, Cleveland’s most vulnerable and destitute residents were prey for one of history’s most horrific serial killers. The killer’s identity remains a mystery to this day. Learn more about your ad-choic...

  • 15 MAY 2021
    Selects: How Limousines Work
    43m 11s

    The first limousines weren’t even cars! Learn all about the history of limousines, how they’re made and some of the most creative and expensive amenities you can find inside them in this classic episode with Josh and Chuck. Learn more abou...

  • 13 MAY 2021
    How Monster Trucks Work
    53m 27s

    If you’ve never seen a huge truck with gigantic tires do backflips or roll backward perched only on its two front tires, you haven’t lived yet. Chuck and Josh are here to ignite your interest. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://ww...

  • 12 MAY 2021
    Short Stuff: Garter Snakes
    12m 23s

    Garter snakes aren’t scary, they’re pretty great! Learn all the reasons why in this episode! Learn more about your ad-choices at

  • 11 MAY 2021
    The Ivy League
    55m 40s

    The Ivy League is technically a sports conference, but it's much more than that. Enjoy this special 3D episode with your earbuds on and learn all about these revered, elite universities. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://www.ihea...

  • 08 MAY 2021
    Selects: How Snake Handlers Work
    1h 1m 0s

    Snake handling ranges from professional snake milkers for antivenin to religious handlers who tend to get bitten and sometimes die from it. Either way, it can be a dangerous business. Learn all about snake handling in this classic episode....

  • 06 MAY 2021
    How Uranium Mining Works
    56m 18s

    Mining uranium is dangerous work. Not only does it involve mining, which is dangerous itself, uranium is also found alongside some very radioactive stuff. Learn the ins and outs of this thrilling endeavor in this episode of SYSK. Learn mor...