A podcast of fascinating facts! What do extraterrestrial radio signals and a mushroom from Texas have in common? What is a “number station“ and why is it so spine-tinglingly creepy? Join comedians Shane Rogers and Duncan MacEwan for an entertaining and hilarious deep-dive into obscure facts from science, history and pop culture. A new topic each week!

March 3, 2022

World’s Fairs: A Legacy of Weirdness and Innovation

What do touchscreens, electrical outlets, color televisions, and fax machines have in common? They were all revolutionary technological breakthroughs that debuted at World’s Fairs. Also from World’s Fairs: powdered root beer, portable bathtubs, and Elektro the Smoking Robot. Hey, they can’t all be winners.

This week, join the guys for a grand tour of the most sensational hits and misses from the storied history of International Expositions. 


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In this episode:  

  • Fairs vs. Expositions
  • Prague in 1791
  • France in 1798 et al
  • The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park (
  • Monkey Closets and George Jennings
  • Thomas Crapper
  • Spending a Penny
  • The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations
  • Prince Albert
  • Karl Marx, Shade Thrower
  • Schweppes 
  • The Mountain of Light
  • Cyrus McCormick's Steam-Powered Reaping Machine
  • The Fax Machine
  • Leeches and the Tempest Prognosticator
  • Charles Hobbes and the Parautoptic Lock
  • Linus Yale
  • The Bureau Internationale De Expositions
  • Specialized Expos, World Expos, Horticultural Expos, and the Milan Triennial
  • Donald Rumsfeld and the Known Unknowns
  • The Space Needle
  • The Chicago 1893 World's Columbian Exposition
  • H.H. Holmes
  • William Cody
  • Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World
  • George Washington Gale Ferris Jr. and the Ferris Wheel
  • X-Rays, Zippers, and AT&T's Picture Phone
  • RCA and Color Television
  • The Knoxville Tennessee World's Fair
  • Samuel Hurst and the Touchscreen
  • Cherry Coke
  • The Eiffel Tower
  • The Paris Colonial Exposition
  • The "Truth on the Colonies"
  • Elektro the Smoking Robot, and Sparko
  • The New York World's Fair of 1964
  • The Bell Rocket Belt
  • The Suboceanic Resort
  • It's a Small World
  • The Festival of Gas
  • Philadelphia's Centennial Exposition of 1876
  • The Statue of Liberty's Hand
  • Ethelbert Watts and the Portable Bathtub (
  • Expo '86
  • The Challenger Disaster and Chernobyl


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