Every Little Thing

By Gimlet

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Description

Who invented pants? How did ‘pink for girls’ and ‘blue for boys’ happen? What do dogs say when they bark? ELT is here to answer your burning questions. If you have a question that needs answering, call the ELT Help Line at 833-RING-ELT or send an audio message to elt@gimletmedia.com. Every Little Thing is produced by Gimlet Media and hosted by Flora Lichtman.

Episode Date
Tell Us Who Should Be On a Monument
43
As monuments glorifying white supremacy are taken down, we want to hear from you: Who do you want to see celebrated in their place? Call the helpline and tell us who you’d like to see on a monument. 833-RING-ELT.
Jul 08, 2020
Behind the Pompoms: Cheerleading’s Checkered Past
2468
Flora is away this week at a flamingo fanciers convention, so we’re revisiting one of our favorite shows — a two-part, deep dive into cheerleading. It’s not all smiles and ponytails. Guests: Cheerleading researcher and professor at the University of Alabama Natalie Adams; Barbara Hazlewood; Sharita Richardson, cheerleading researcher, instructional coach at North Carolina A&T State University, and founder of Black Girls Cheer. Thanks to caller Jessica for the question. Special thanks to Vonciel Baker, one of the original seven Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and to Dee Brock, former manager of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
Jul 06, 2020
Is a Sense of Direction a Thing?
1271
Listener Amy gets lost a lot. She wants to know if some people are naturally better at finding their way, and whether there’s hope for her. An expert locates some answers. Plus, how the best navigators in the world get around. Guests: navigation and orientation researcher Giuseppe Iaria; former London cab driver David Styles. Thanks to caller Amy.
Jun 29, 2020
Meet the DJs of the Bird World
1564
Mockingbirds are masters at copying the songs around them. Listener Tim wonders: how do they develop their expansive playlists? Two mocker experts fill us in. Plus, listener Matt has spent decades searching for someone to validate his spoon gripe. ELT finds him a kindred spirit. Guests: naturalist and host of Birds of North America Jason Ward, mockingbird mimicry researcher Dave Gammon, and materials engineer Zoe Laughlin. Thanks to callers Tim and Matt.
Jun 15, 2020
How Squirrels Track Their Nuts
1135
The average tree squirrel can bury up to 10,000 nuts every fall. How do they keep tabs on that stash? Guest: animal behaviorist and pro squirrel watcher Mikel Maria Delgado exposes the secrets of squirrel pantry maintenance. Thanks to caller Cayra.
Jun 08, 2020
When Astronauts Come Home
1698
This weekend, SpaceX and NASA successfully launched the first crewed spacecraft from U.S. soil in almost a decade. Preparing for a mission to space takes astronauts years, but listener Daniel wants to know — what does the other end of that journey look like? What happens when space travelers come home? Guest: record-holding NASA astronaut Christina Koch.
Jun 01, 2020
Old Life, This One’s For You
2201
We’re celebrating the little things you miss from life before quarantine. Those small joys you can’t stop thinking about, in the midst of such big sadness. Thanks to listeners Ron, Sophia, Karen, Hayden, Priyanka, Melissa, Kim, Kai, Will, and everyone who called in to share, shout, and sob into the void.
May 18, 2020
Dream Your Way to a Better You
1397
Listener Natalie had a dreamy question: can you change something in your waking life by dreaming about it? ELT talked to a lucid dream expert to find out if we can optimize our snooze time. Guest: Daniel Erlacher, sports scientist at the University of Bern, Switzerland. Thanks to Natalie for the call.
May 11, 2020
Inside the Jigsaw Puzzle Factory
1463
In the time of “puzzle and chill,” listener Myco needs to know: how are jigsaw puzzles made? Plus, why are clouds of terrifying black birds gathering in listener Amanda’s neighborhood every evening? ELT puts the pieces together. Guests: Thomas Kaeppeler, President of Ravensburger North America, Inc.; bird expert Judith Bailey. Thanks to callers Myco and Amanda.
May 04, 2020
Tell Us What You’re Missing Most
85
After weeks of social distancing, call us and tell us the thing you’re missing most and why it’s important to you. 833-RING-ELT. 
Apr 27, 2020
Black Holes: Free Your Mind
1466
Are black holes really holes? In honor of 420, ELT takes a trip to black hole country. Thanks to caller Kyle. Guest: Clifford Johnson, professor of physics at the University of Southern California. Happy 420, dudes.
Apr 20, 2020
How Did Prehistoric Parents Feed The Kids?
1380
If a baby couldn’t nurse, what did prehistoric parents do before baby bottles? Julie Dunne, a biomolecular archaeologist and pot lady, analyzed some adorable ancient artifacts to answer the question. Plus, a big day for niblings. Thanks to callers Kate and Michael. Guest: Pot lady Julie Dunne.
Apr 13, 2020
Essential Workers Call In
2557
Fear, pride, relief, anger — what’s it like for the people out working so the rest of us can stay inside? Listeners who deliver packages and stock shelves tell us how their lives have changed during the pandemic. Thanks to Jacob, Megan, Ian, Lucy, Tamasha, Justin, Kaleb, Jane, Dawn, Rob, and everyone who called in to tell us how their jobs and lives have changed. And a gigantic thank you to everyone risking their own health to keep the rest of us safe.
Apr 06, 2020
ELT Wants to Hear From You
66
Are you manning a cash register, stocking shelves, delivering pizzas? Are you out working to make sure those of us stuck at home have what we need? We want to hear from you. Call us at 833-RING-ELT.
Mar 19, 2020
Is It Weird to Be Nice to Alexa?
1561
Listener Elizabeth always says “please” and “thank you” to her Google voice assistant, and her husband says she’s weird. ELT talks to former Alexa insider Daren Gill and expert in human-robot interactions Leila Takayama to find out just how weird Elizabeth is. Plus, we right a #noboe wrong. Thanks to caller Elizabeth. Guests: Daren Gill, director of product at Spotify; human-robot interaction researcher Leila Takayama; oboe player Marcus Phillips.
Mar 16, 2020
Symphony Secrets: Dirt from the Pit
1698
Does an orchestra’s triangle player get the same pay as a violinist? Do conductors ever fall off their podiums? Which section do the other musicians love to hate? ELT dishes symphony secrets from two orchestra insiders. Guests: violinist Akiko Tarumoto and conductor Rob Kapilow. Special thanks to Nathan Cole and danke schön to caller Laszlo.
Mar 09, 2020
Anesthesia and a Mysterious Chili Cheese Fry Craving
1405
A troubling image of a flamingo family has the flam world in a frenzy. ELT’s resident flamingo expert tells us what’s really happening in that viral pic. Plus, listener Paul goes in for an appendectomy, and wakes up with a bizarre craving. What happened when he went under the knife? Guests: Flamingo expert Felicity Arengo and anesthetist Kate Leslie. Thanks to caller Paul.
Mar 02, 2020
How Police Sketch Artists Read Your Mind
1382
A police sketch artist reveals how she turns your fuzzy memory into a sharp drawing. Sketch artist Kelly Lawson from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation walks us through the process. Thanks to Gary Wells, Gil Zamora, and caller Lex.
Feb 17, 2020
Meet the Scrunchie Queen
1426
Kate, a “hair is life” kind of person, asks about the invention that keeps her hair out of her face. Guests: Hair stylist and hair archaeologist Janet Stephens; Scrunchie queen Rommy Revson. Thanks to caller Kate.
Feb 10, 2020
Drugs on Screen: A Prop Master Tells All
1561
Listener Emily is dying to know: what are actors actually using when they do drugs on screen? A prop czar takes ELT behind the scenes. Plus, a tribute to percussionist Emil Richards. Guest: prop master Lynda Reiss. Thanks to caller Emily.
Feb 03, 2020
America’s Next Top Word
1723
We asked you, the ELT family, to share your favorite underutilized words -- words that you love and want other listeners to love too. And you delivered. Now, with your help, we want to get one of those words into the dictionary. A professional word nerd tells us which of your submissions have the best chance of making it into the big book. Guest: former Merriam-Webster Dictionary editor Kory Stamper. Thanks to everyone who called in with a word.
Jan 20, 2020
Caveman Confidential
1419
Did cavemen really carry clubs? Live in caves? Wear leopard-print one-shouldered dresses? Paleoanthropologists Melanie Chang and Genevieve von Petzinger help bust our biggest cavemen myths — and tell us what our ancestors were really like. Special thanks to caller Lauren, and to historian Matthew Goodrum.
Jan 13, 2020
Travel Secrets: Airplane Seats, Cheap Gas, Dirty Toilets
1672
We’re clearing out our inbox and answering some of your burning follow-up questions for our last episode of 2019. Guests: Captain Nick Anderson, retired Virgin-Atlantic airline pilot, Airline Pilot Guy Show; microbiologist Jenny Hayden, Cedar Crest College; Jason Torchinsky, senior editor at Jalopnik. Thanks to callers Mattie, Toku, Piper, Aviv, Meghan, Anna, Liz, Kathi and Carl.
Dec 23, 2019
Can You Learn to Taste Better?
1638
Caller Shannon is at a loss for words when it comes to describing her favorite vegetable -- corn. ELT enlists a professional food describer to help expand Shannon’s tasting vocabulary. Guest: sensory evaluator Gail Vance Civille of Sensory Spectrum. Special thanks to Shannon for venturing outside of her palate’s comfort zone.
Dec 16, 2019
Ever Felt Someone’s Pain… In Your Butt?
1855
Caller Lisa wants to know why her butt hurts whenever she sees someone else get injured. ELT finds out whether some people really can feel your pain. Guest: pain researcher Stuart Derbyshire. Thanks to queen of Chapped Cheeks Lisa, and to researchers Natalie Bowling, Melita Giummarra, Helena Hartmann, Marina López-Solà, Bridget Rubenking, Jamie Ward, Scott Vrana, and Jamil Zaki. May your cheeks be ever free — hashtag booboobottom.
Dec 09, 2019
Ants: Tiny Brains, Full Hearts
1886
Wendy Zukerman, host of Science Vs, has a burning question: Do ants help each other out? ELT goes down the anthole to find the antswer. Guests: ant researchers Erik Frank at Université de Lausanne and Christina Kwapich at Arizona State University.
Nov 25, 2019
Twinspiracies: The Truth About Twinspeak and More
1903
Do twins communicate in the womb? Can they read each other’s minds? ELT tackles listeners’ twin questions and investigates some burning twin-spiracies. Guest: Nancy Segal, psychology professor at California State University, Fullerton, and author of Twin Mythconceptions. Thanks to twins Kelly and Kristina, Reply All’s Phia Bennin, and everyone who called with twin questions.
Nov 18, 2019
Sinkholes: How Scared Should I Be? Plus, Amy Sedaris
1573
ELT tackles some animal, vegetable, mineral mysteries with special guest Amy Sedaris. Plus, caller Maria is troubled by a hole in front of her condo — will she be swallowed by the earth? And the scoop on spinach tooth. Guests: Comedian and rabbit expert Amy Sedaris; Jim Correll, plant pathologist, University of Arkansas; geologist and sinkhole expert David Wilshaw. Thanks to callers Anthony, Eddie and Maria. 
Nov 04, 2019
Spiders: How Many Can There Be?
1655
A mass spider invasion at his office left accountant Steven with a burning question: How many can there be? ELT does some spider number-crunching, and meets the man who discovered one of the largest spider gatherings on record. Guests: Freddie Gowin, retired park ranger, Lake Tawakoni State Park, Texas; Linda Rayor, arachnologist at Cornell University. Thanks to caller Steven.
Oct 28, 2019
Grand Theft Water Lily
1511
Why would a garden-gloved thief lift a water lily from a botanical garden in London? ELT gets to the root of a rare plant heist.

Guests: Carlos Magdalena, botanical horticulturist at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, and author of The Plant Messiah. Nick Johnson, horticultural manager of Queen Elizabeth II Botanic Park, Grand Cayman. Thanks to caller Carl. 
Oct 14, 2019
Nail Polish Naming: Who Does That?
1626
How do nail polish colors get their names? ELT digs into this FAQ, and finds out how painting our nails became a thing. Plus, an update on Jeremy’s reported fruit fly infestation.

Guests: Fashion historian Suzanne Shapiro, author of Nails: The Story of the Modern Manicure; Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, co-founder and Brand Ambassador of OPI Products Inc., and author of I’m Not Really a Waitress; chemical ecologist Kevin Cloonan, Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada. 

Thanks to caller Olivia and all the callers who shared their gnat knowledge. 
Oct 07, 2019
Alien Invasion: How Little Green Men Took Over
1671
Images of little green aliens are everywhere: Area 51, bongs, your ‘90s chain wallet. But why did we start depicting extraterrestrials that way? ELT uncovers the moment that beamed little green aliens into our homes (and hearts).

Guests: sociologist of science Pierre Lagrange; Kentucky resident Bill Thomas; literature professor Roger Luckhurst.

Special thanks to caller Willie. Thanks also to Sarah Scoles and Geraldine Sutton Stith.



Sep 23, 2019
Limbo: The Haunting Backstory of Getting Low
1687
Where did the limbo first get off the ground? This week, ELT reveals how it went from funerals in the Caribbean to shag-carpeted basements across American suburbia.

Guests: Performer, choreographer, and documentarian Sonja Dumas; and Shane Vogel, professor of English and Theater at Indiana University.

Special thanks to listener Aurelia. Thanks also to Kieron Sargeant and Ray Funk.

To hear the songs featured in this episode, head over to our Spotify playlist at elt.show/limbo.




Sep 16, 2019
Putting a Phantom Tune to Rest
1029
Caller Austin had a fragment of a song stuck in his head, and he needed our assistance. ELT listeners help him name that tune and put this mystery to rest.

Guests: Singer and songwriter Sondre Lerche

Thanks to Dave Heilman and all the listeners who tried to help Austin. 



Sep 09, 2019
How to Get Rid of an Earworm
1783
An earworm expert explains how to unstick that song that’s stuck in your head, and why it got lodged there in the first place. Plus, your earwormholes — the songs that transport you through time and space.

To hear the songs featured in this episode, head over to our Spotify playlist: http://www.elt.show/earworm.











Aug 19, 2019
Fruit Flies: Seriously, Where Do They Come From?
1509
Caller Jeremy has a problem: fruit flies have swarmed his apartment, and he needs to know where they came from. ELT finds out how Jeremy’s red-eyed roommates landed in his life. Plus, please help caller Austin name that tune.

Guest: Biologist Marcus Stensmyr, Lund University. Thanks to callers Jeremy and Austin. 


Aug 12, 2019
Don't Underestimate the Flamingo
1573
While they may look like dainty, dorky birds, flamingos deserve respect. Flora brings the flamingo facts, and launches ELT’s campaign to bring a flamingo mascot to professional sports.

Guests: Comedian Prashanth Venkataramanujam; Producer Katherine Wells; Mascot maker Jennifer Smith of Avant Garb; Renbert Mortimer, creator of the University of the Bahamas mascot.
Jul 29, 2019
TSA Treasure Chest: What Happens To Your Confiscated Stuff?
1598
Every year the TSA confiscates millions of pounds of pocket knives, sunscreen and snow globes from airport travelers. Where does it all go? ELT investigates. Plus, tips for sneaking your weed onboard from a former TSA agent.

Guests: Ex-TSA “Taylor”; TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein; surplus agents for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Patrick Knight and Mike Starr; press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of General Services Troy Thompson. Thanks to caller Kimberly.







Jul 22, 2019
Public Toilets: To Sit or To Hover?
1894
ELT answers an age-old question: When you have to use a public toilet, should you sit on the seat? A team of microbiologists weigh in. Plus, the rise, fall, and re-rise of cargo shorts.

Guests: Microbiologist Jack Gilbert; comedian Prashanth Venkataramanujam; cargo pantsologist Joe Hancock; Wall Street Journal reporter Nicole Hong

Special thanks to caller Jenny and the biology experts we surveyed: Jason Tetro, William Schaffner, Chuck Gerba, Rob Dunn, Jenny Hayden, Steffanie Strathdee, Liz Scott, Kimberly Page, and Maria Gloria Dominguez-Bello.







Jul 15, 2019
Baseball and Organ Music: How’d That Happen?
1908
When did organ music and baseball become an item? ELT talks to some pro organ players to find out how organs and ballparks got together. Plus, meet Nancy Faust — the legendary organist who brought trolling to modern baseball music.

Guests: Steven Ball, organist and Director of Sacred Music at The Oratory of St. Francis de Sales in St. Louis, Missouri; Josh Kantor, organist for the Boston Red Sox; Nancy Faust, retired organist for the Chicago White Sox

Thanks to caller Robert. Thanks also to Judy Scott.

You can see a photo of Nancy's donkeys on twitter and instagram.
Jul 08, 2019
What Lurks Under Our Cities?
1606
ELT goes underground to meet the creatures living in our subways and sewer systems. Plus, the 411 on another underground underdog: prairie dogs.

Guests: Urban evolutionary biologist and rat expert Jason Munshi-South; animal behavioral scientist Jennifer Verdolin.

Thanks to caller Jessica, and to all the listeners who demanded prairie dog facts. 

Jun 24, 2019
Tooth Worms and Tooth Pullers: Dentistry’s Rotten History
1698
For most of human history, tooth care has been pretty bare bones. How did we go from charlatans pulling teeth in a public square, to the modern dentist’s office? ELT exposes the roots of tooth care. Plus, meet the technician who makes movie stars’ teeth look terrible.

Guests: Dental historian and retired dentist J. Henry Clarke; historian Richard Barnett. Thanks to callers Amanda and Tess for the questions. 
Jun 17, 2019
F-ck Yeah: Can Cursing Make You Stronger?
1830
Does swearing make you more powerful? Caller Mark’s dad thinks a well-timed “word of power” is the key to efficient yardwork. ELT asks a swearing expert about that theory. Plus, we talk to someone who turns the “mother f*ckers” into “manhole covers” for the TV versions of movies.

Guests: Cognitive scientist Ben Bergen, author of What the F***; Gwen Whittle, supervising sound editor at Skywalker Sound
Thanks to caller Mark for the monkey flippin’ question, and to Mark’s dad Steve. 



Jun 10, 2019
Pink for Girls, Blue for Boys — Why?
1938
Through the 1800s, babies in the U.S. were dressed in gender neutral clothing — you couldn’t tell the girls from the boys based on their outfits. So why did parents start color-coding their kids in pink and blue? Plus, ELT’s long quest to get a sports team to have a flamingo as their mascot is finally over… or is it?

 Guests: textiles and clothing historian Jo Paoletti; cultural historian of medicine, gender, and the body Hanne Blank; and Kuba Krzyzostaniak, Director of Fan Engagement for Forward Madison FC.

Thanks to caller Elle Ve and Paige — and to scholars Elizabeth Sweet, Katherine Parkin, and Valerie Steele.
Jun 03, 2019
Cockpit Confessions: The Truth About Airplane Mode (and More)
1819
When you fly do you really need to put your phone in airplane mode? Should you fear the tray table? What’s happening in the cockpit while you’re fighting over the armrest? Two airline pilots answer your burning air travel questions.

Guests: Pilot Sandy Williams of Skydive Deland; Pilot Nick Anderson of the Airline Pilot Guy podcast. 
Thanks to everyone who called in with their airplane questions. 

May 20, 2019
Buried Treasure: How to Make the Most of Your Booty
1846
If you found millions of dollars worth of buried treasure, what would you do next? Take it to the bank? Sell it on eBay? Call 60 Minutes? ELT unearths the tale of the largest buried treasure ever found in North America. Plus, practical tips for dealing with new-found millions, and a nationwide treasure hunt, ELT-style.

Guest: David J. McCarthy, numismatist.

Special thanks to listeners Kurt, Elizabeth, Travis, Vicki, Nikki, Kimberly, Robert, and Rachel for helping us with our treasure hunt. And thanks to listener David for the question.



May 06, 2019
Behind the Pompoms: Cheerleading’s Checkered Past (Part 2)
1236
Who decides what a cheerleader looks like? Or sounds like? In part two of a two-part episode, ELT digs into the complicated legacy of an American archetype.

Guests: Natalie Adams, cheerleading researcher and professor at the University of Alabama; Sharita Richardson, cheerleading researcher, instructional coach at North Carolina A&T State University, and founder of Black Girls Cheer. Thanks to caller Jessica for the question. 

Special thanks to Vonciel Baker, one of the original seven Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and to Dee Brock, former manager of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.

Apr 19, 2019
Behind the Pompoms: Cheerleading’s Checkered Past (Part 1)
1764
How did one style of cheerleading come to dominate in so many American schools? In part one of a two-part episode, ELT flips through the history of cheerleading and meets the man who held cheerleading in the pompom of his hand. 

Guests: Cheerleading researcher and professor at the University of Alabama Natalie Adams; Barbara Hazlewood; Thanks to caller Jessica for the question. 
Apr 15, 2019
When Did Pants Become a Thing?
1519
While there’s some evidence clothes go back 170,000 years, pants are a relatively recent addition to our wardrobes. Why were pants developed and who wore them first? ELT unravels the surprising story of pants.   Guests: Artist and clothing researcher Ulrike “Rike” Beck; folklorist and historian Adrienne Mayor; artist and writer Emily Spivack. Thanks to caller “Elle” for the question. 



Apr 08, 2019
Introducing The Cut on Tuesdays
2142
ELT introduces The Cut on Tuesdays, a new Gimlet Media podcast hosted by Molly Fischer. In this episode, chefs Samin Nosrat, Angela Dimayuga, and Carla Lalli Music do their best to help Madeleine Aggeler -- the Cut's semi-competent food columnist -- throw a dinner party for her friends.
Apr 01, 2019
Duct Tape MacGyver: The Sticky Secrets
1846
Can duct tape really fix every little thing? ELT tests the limits — and gets to the bottom of a duct tape story that’ll blow your socks off. Plus, your most ingenious MacGyver stories.

Guests: Daniel Munson, Senior Product Development Specialist at 3M; Gary LaRose, lodge owner and hunting guide on the Alaska Peninsula; Luke Miller, Anchorage-based pilot and guide. Thanks to callers Ian, Hunter, David, Whitney, Leanne, Stacie, Elena, Diana, Ashley, Lauren, Lucy —  and to all the listeners who shared their MacGyver stories.

Got a burning question of your own? Call 833-RING-ELT.
Mar 18, 2019
Forks: One Utensil’s Battle for Respect
1446
While spoons, knives, and chopsticks have been commonplace for centuries, forks didn’t make it to most silverware drawers until the mid-1800s. What took so long? ELT investigates.

Guest: Darra Goldstein, food historian, cookbook writer, and founding editor of Gastronomica, Thanks to caller Nicole.


Mar 11, 2019
Baseball and Organ Music: How’d That Happen?
1868
When did organ music and baseball become a thing? ELT talks to some pro organ players to find out how organs and ballparks got together. Plus, meet Nancy Faust — the legendary organist who brought trolling to modern baseball music.

Guests: Steven Ball, organist and Director of Sacred Music at The Oratory of St. Francis de Sales in St. Louis, Missouri; Josh Kantor, organist for the Boston Red Sox; Nancy Faust, retired organist for the Chicago White Sox

Thanks to caller Robert. Thanks also to Judy Scott.

You can see a photo of Nancy's donkeys on our twitter feed.
Feb 25, 2019
Thrift Store Smell: What Is It? Plus, Your Cleanspiracies
1598
ELT gets to the bottom of a familiar aroma -- thrift store smell. Why do thrift shops all smell the same? Plus, is washing your clothes better than freezing them? ELT investigates listener cleanspiracies with expert cleaner Jolie Kerr.
Guest: Jolie Kerr, writer and host of Ask a Clean Person. Thanks to callers Theresa, Rachel, Jeremiah, Nikki, Vicki, Mark, Juliana, Ben and all the listeners who called in with cleanspiracies.
Feb 18, 2019
Waterphone: The Sound That Haunts Hollywood
1578
One eerie sound has been haunting Hollywood movies — from Poltergeist to Jurassic Park to Let the Right One In — and 14 seasons of Unsolved Mysteries. ELT tracks down the source of the scary sound.
Guests: Rayme Waters, daughter of the spookiest sound in Hollywood’s inventor; percussionist Emil Richards; composer Gary Malkin.
Thanks to caller Marianna. Thanks also to Brooks Hubbert, who runs the waterphone business, and musician Lee Charlton.
Feb 11, 2019
Stamps: Tiny Squares Full Of Secrets
1954
How do U.S. postage stamps come to be? ELT explores the secret world of the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, the group that decides what gets stuck on America’s envelopes. Plus, Bigfoot gets his due.

Guests: Bill Gicker, manager of stamp development at USPS; Jessica, ex-CSAC member; Kam Mak, artist and stamp illustrator. Thanks to caller Elizabeth. “Mr. Stampman” performed by Bobby Lord, Matthew Boll, MR Daniel, and Julia Kaplan.

Have a question that needs answering? Call the ELT Help Line at 833-RING-ELT.

See Kam's stamp here: https://twitter.com/eltshow/status/1089959537434681344






Jan 28, 2019
Auctioneers: Why Do They Talk Like That?
1429
Why do some auctioneers talk so fast? And what are they actually saying? ELT gets the low-down on auction talk from a professional auctioneer. Plus, pro-tips for developing your auctioneer chant.

Guest: Junior Staggs, professional auctioneer. 

Thanks to caller Katie. 
Jan 21, 2019
🛩TSA Treasure Chest : What Happens To Your Confiscated Stuff? 💸
1376
Every year the TSA confiscates millions of pounds of pocketknives, sunscreen and snow globes from airport travelers. Where does it all go? ELT investigates. Plus, tips for sneaking your weed onboard, from a former TSA agent.

Guests: Ex-TSO “Taylor”; TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein; surplus agents for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Patrick Knight and Mike Starr; press secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of General Services Troy Thompson.

Thanks to caller Kimberly.


Jan 14, 2019
Is Egg the Only Nog? Plus, Discovering the 8th Continent
1273
How did cold uncooked eggs become a festive beverage? Plus, coquito for the nogged out. And one of the first scientists to hoist herself into the treetops describes life in the canopy. 

Guests:

Chef and food writer J. Kenji López-Alt; Chef and Noshery.com founder Meseidy Rivera. You can find Kenji’s eggnog recipe here and Meseidy’s coquito recipe here.

Biologist Meg Lowman, Director of Global Initiatives, Lindsay Chair of Botany & Senior Scientist in Plant Conservation at the California Academy of Sciences.
Dec 17, 2018
Pumpkin Spice: The Science Behind the Invasion. Plus, What’s the Next Big Flavor Fad?
1605
Why is pumpkin spice a thing? Flavor scientists explain why this particular combination is so appealing -- or not. Plus, how to make a new flavor, and ELT listeners pitch their ideas for the next flavor fad.
Guests: Food scientist Kantha Shelke; flavor chemist Bill Aslanides.
Thanks to caller Ally, and to flavor forecasters Hunter, Travis, Amelia, Kassy, Rachel, Brooke, Wyatt, Thomas, and to all the listeners who submitted ice cream ideas. Special thanks and congrats to Just Ani.

Additional thanks to Michelle Gillespie of SPINS Research and to Genevieve Aronson of Nielsen Research.

If you want to hear more about pumpkin spice, and flavor science, check out this episode of Science Friday.

Thanks to our sponsor, Cole Haan. You can hear more of Flora and other Gimlet hosts in conversation at ExtraordinariesOnTheMic.com, produced in partnership with Cole Haan.


Dec 10, 2018
Garbage: What Did We Do Before the Bag? Plus, A Trash Bag Moonshot
1444
A Bulletin Board of Glory™ nomination from comedian Josh Gondelman takes ELT down a trashy rabbit hole, to a time before sanitation workers, when pigs roamed the streets. Plus, we meet the man who defied all odds to bring us the bag that cinches. Warning: Explicit.

Guests: comedian and Last Week Tonight writer Josh Gondelman; trash historian Carl Zimring; engineers Steve Tallman and Dana Boyd.

Thanks to our sponsor, Cole Haan. You can hear more of Flora and other Gimlet hosts in conversation at ExtraordinariesOnTheMic.com, produced in partnership with Cole Haan.




Dec 03, 2018
Bubblegum: What’s That Flavor? Plus, What’s the Deal With Turkey Eggs?
1453
Where does bubblegum flavor come from? A bubblegum bush? A beaver’s butt? We track down the original bubblegum flavor formula, and find out what’s in there. Plus, why turkey eggs aren’t a thing.

Guests: Philadelphia events expert Scott Bruce, confectioners Bob Boutin and Mauricio Bobadilla, turkey biologist James Dickson and birder Laura Erickson

Thanks to callers Arrie and Chiara, and also to Phillip Clauer and Christine Alvarado for their egg-spertise. 
Nov 19, 2018
Why Goldfish Swam Into Our Living Rooms. Plus, Best Pet Vocalist
1254
How did goldfish come to dominate our fish bowls and pet stores? We dive into the history of America’s favorite finned pet. Plus, the fanciest goldfish money can buy, and the best pet in a vocal performance.

Guests: Katherine "Kasey" Grier, the pet historian; Dave Mandley, goldfish freak.

Thanks to caller Liana, pet owners Kerry Ann, Stephanie and Diane, and all the listeners who shared their pet’s special talent.

Additional thanks to Katrina Gulliver, Mary Mannix, Liz Thomas, James Rada, Prosanta Chakrabarty, Konrad Dabrowski, Zachary Sperstad, Andrew Simons, Loren Miller, Barbara Mable, Peter Hundt, Norman Stacey, Larry Cleveland, Margaret Thomas Koogle, Charles B. Thomas, Jim Bland, Stephen Eaton, and Mike Rice.



Nov 12, 2018
Old Graves: What Would You Find In There? Plus, the Scariest Creature Under the Sea
1384
If you dug up the graves of our founding fathers, what would you find? Tri-corner hats and puffy shirts? A grave expert fills us in on what remains. Plus, a terrifying sea creature that lurks in the waters off northern Australia. 

Guests: Nicholas Bellantoni, former Connecticut State Archaeologist and author; jellyfish expert Lisa-ann Gershwin

Thanks to callers Brenda and Keira and all the listeners who shared their final wishes.








Oct 29, 2018
Who Made ‘The Wave’ a Thing? Plus, a Mammal Mix-Up Made Right
1328
When did “the wave” become a staple of stadium crowds? ELT talks to the professional cheerleader who first got fans out of their seats. Plus, the egg-laying mammal that is not a marsupial. We give monotremes their due.

Guests: professional cheerleader “Krazy” George Henderson; weird-Australian-mammal expert Robin Beck.

Thanks also to callers Leslie, Natalie, and Manuel.

Got a burning question that needs answering? Call now: 833-RING-ELT.





Oct 22, 2018
Do You Need to Warm Up Your Car? Plus, a Teeny, Glorious Car Hack
1432
Tucked into your car’s dashboard is a tiny arrow that points to the side of the car with the gas tank cap. Who came up with it? ELT tracks down the inventor of this tiny, brilliant car hack. Plus, do you really need to warm up your car?

Guests: Automobile aficionado Jason Torchinsky of Jalopnik; gas tank-indicator arrow inventor Jim Moylan. Thanks to caller Jonathan, the listeners who shared their car-spiracies, and the car experts who answered our questions.

Have a tiny but important invention you want to know more about? Tell us who belongs on ELT’s Bulletin Board of Glory™. Email us at elt@gimletmedia.com.
Oct 08, 2018
T. Rex Roar: How Is It Made? Plus, Would Dinosaurs Taste Like Chicken?
1363
How did they make the dinosaur roars in the Jurassic Park movies? Flora talks with the sound engineers behind the bellows. Plus, ELT goes deep into the Mesozoic to find out what what dinosaurs looked (and tasted) like.

Guests: Al Nelson and Pete Horner of Skywalker Sound; dinosaur expert Thomas R. Holtz Jr.; paleontologista Jingmai O’Connor

Thanks to callers Gwen and Lilah and all the listeners who sent us dinosaur questions.

Send audio of your animal star to elt@gimletmedia.com 
Oct 01, 2018
Cheese: Why Do We Worship Rotten Milk? A NSFW History
1334
When did someone first see a cheese curd and think, “Yeah, I’m going to eat that"? ELT traces the delicious and X-rated history of cheese. Plus, a professional processed cheese maker on how to make the most of the dairy aisle.

Guests: cheese biochemist and historian Paul Kindstedt; processed cheese expert Lloyd Metzger; and cicada killer wasp biologist Chuck Holliday.

Thanks to callers Kurt and Judi.

Have a question that needs answering? Call the ELT Help Line #(833) RING ELT. To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers. 






Sep 24, 2018
Why One Horrible Sound Haunts Reality TV. Plus, Is That Bug Threatening Me?
1279
Who put the tension in reality TV? ELT tracks down the source of the nail biting-sound you can’t unhear. Plus, cicada killer wasps — a backyard horror story, turned intervention.

Guests: sonic puppetmaster Rick Livingstone; cicada killer wasp expert Chuck Holliday.

Thanks to callers Caitlin and Stephanie.

Have a question that needs answering? Call the ELT Help Line #(833) RING ELT.  To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers. 
Sep 17, 2018
The Cha Cha Slide: How One Uncle Changed Weddings Forever
1559
DJ Casper tells us the origin story of the Cha Cha Slide. Plus, The Nods Brittany Luse is astonished by the unreleased Cha Cha Slide Pt. 1.

Guests: The Nod’s host, Brittany Luse; Willie Perry Jr. (aka DJ Casper aka Mr. C the Slide Man); former gym rat David Wilson; radio personality and actress La Donna “Tittle in The Middle” Tittle; and BBC Radio 1 host Scott Mills.

Thanks to caller Rachael and line dance guru Kenny J.

Have a question that needs answering? Call the ELT Help Line #(833) RING ELT.

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers.









Sep 03, 2018
Who Invented the Bloomin’ Onion? Plus, Biology’s Best Butt
1239
ELT goes down under, to expose one of the most impressive butts in the animal kingdom. Plus, the multi-layered origin story of the Bloomin' Onion.

Guests: Science Vs. host, Wendy Zukerman; Wombat specialists, Alyce Swinbourne and Julie Old; ELT producer and fried appetizer fanatic, Phoebe Flanigan; Outback Steakhouse co-founder Tim Gannon; chef George Barnes

Thanks to fact buddy Ivy.

Have a question that needs answering? Call the ELT Help Line #(833) RING ELT.

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers




















Aug 27, 2018
What Do Dogs Say When They Bark?
1437


Is it possible to interpret what dogs are saying when they bark? We have the tools to help you do some ruff decoding. Plus, listeners share their real-life, unconventional Lassie stories.

Guests: Dog bark researchers Péter Pongrácz and Kathryn Lord; behavioral scientist Susan Friedman.

Thanks to dog callers Jacob, Alan, Katie R., Katie K., and Oren — and to everyone who sent in their pet stories.

Have a question that needs answering? Call the ELT Help Line #(833) RING ELT.

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers
Aug 13, 2018
WTF Do the ⏹ 🔼 ⏺ on My 👕 Tag Mean?
1729
Plus, koala fingerprints, lobster pee and other hot facts.

There are mysterious symbols inside your tee-shirt -- do you know what they mean? ELT reveals the secrets of The DaLaundry Code. Plus, lobsters pee from their faces, and other cocktail party fodder from our fact buddy exchange.

Guests: Symbol whisperer John Langdon; Pascale Florant of GINETEX; Patrick A. Ayers of Vartest Labs.
Thanks to laundry caller Ellen, Fran Kozen of Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology, and to our fact buddies Josh, Angela, Greg, Olivia, Chad, Kathryn, Rachel, Amber, Ivy and Lia. 

Have a question that needs answering? Call the ELT Help Line #(833) RING ELT.

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers






Aug 06, 2018
How to Spot a Spy
1440
Does that person sitting next to you on the airplane REALLY work in IT? Plus, a tribute to the bedazzled sausage of the desert southwest, and more fun with pirates.

Guests: ex-CIA operative Robert Baer, gila meister Dan Beck, and lady pirate expert Laura Sook Duncombe.
Special thanks to callers “anonymous” and Eric — and to all of the listeners who sent us pirate questions. 
Have a question that needs answering? Call the ELT Help Line: #(833) RING ELT.

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers 

Jul 16, 2018
The Genius of Birds: Live From the Aspen Ideas Festival
1404
Some birds can fashion tools and create tiny works of art, so why do we always underestimate their bird brains? In this panel discussion, recorded at the 2018 Aspen Ideas Festival, Flora talks with writer Jennifer Ackerman and crow expert Alex Taylor about the genius of birds. 

Guests: writer Jennifer Ackerman and New Caledonian crow expert Alex Taylor.

Have a question that needs answering? Call the ELT Help Line #(833) RING ELT.

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers
Jul 09, 2018
Clowns and Crows: Weirder and Scarier Than You Think
1328
ELT goes into the mind of a crow to find out if scarecrows work. Plus, a look at how clowns protect their clown IP with fact buddy Prashanth Venkat

Guests: Julie "Lovely Buttons" Varholdt; crow expert Kevin McGowan. Thanks to Bruce Johnson (aka "Charlie the Juggling Clown") and Alan Zerobnick (aka “Zerbo the Clown” and “The Shoemaker to the Clowns"). Thanks also to callers Brian and Jordan.

Find a link to the clown egg photos on our show page, and on Twitter and Facebook.

Have a question that needs answering? Call the ELT Help Line #(833) RING ELT.












Jul 02, 2018
ARRRRR Pirate Peg Legs Really A Thing?
1379
Pirate historian Laura Sook Duncombe tells us about the golden age of pirates. Plus, a tunnel follow up with Dr. Mole: where do the emergency exits in underwater tunnels go?

Thanks to lady pirate expert Laura Sook Duncombe and tunnel afficionado Gary Brierley, aka Dr. Mole. Thank also to callers Captain Yarb and Kirsten.

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers
Jun 25, 2018
Are Babies Born With Tails?
1427
Plus, learn how to lie like a dad.

Guests: Fake parenting expert Adam Mansbach; belly whisperer Tamara Duker Freuman; bird-watcher extraordinaire Amar Ayyash. Special thanks to Nicolas, Marisa, and everyone who called in with their Old Dad's Tales.

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers
Jun 11, 2018
Is There a Secret Sixth Taste?
1293
Is there more to your taste buds than you thought? ELT tackles a fat question. Plus, a #yesflamingo campaign update.

Guests: Richard Mattes, taste czar; Sarah Laskow, reporter for Atlas Obscura.

Special thanks to caller Samantha.

*Correction: The Vegas Golden Knights mascot is not, in fact, a golden knight. It is Chance the gila monster. Our apologies to Chance and fans for the error.

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers
Jun 04, 2018
Are You Living With a Psychopath?
1427
Is your roommate trying to kill you? Learn how to spot the telltale signs of a psychopath.

Guests: Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test; cat psychologist Eva Waiblinger. Special thanks to caller Megan.

*No animals were harmed in the making of this episode.

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers
May 28, 2018
Who Invented the Scratch Ticket?
1521
Plus, a look at lottery history, and your strangest raffle winnings.

Guests: Jonathan Cohen, lottery historian; John Koza, co-founder of Scientific Games
Callers: John Henry, D., Lisa, Megan. 

Hear your favorite Gimlet shows LIVE at Gimletfest this June 16-17 in Brooklyn. Buy tickets at gimletfest.com.

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers










May 14, 2018
Why Does Popcorn Pop?
1300
A kid caller pops the question: How does popcorn pop? Plus, the uncomfortable truth about baby corn.
May 07, 2018
Public Toilets: To Sit Or To Hover?
1413
Plus, how to pee in zero-G.

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers.




Apr 30, 2018
Why Are Used Car Ads So INSAAANNNE?
1635
One man is to blame. Plus, vanity plates in the wild: IC A GR8 PL8.

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.media/OurAdvertisers








Apr 16, 2018
Underwater Tunnels: HOW?
1351
How they get that tunnel under there. Plus, a centuries-old scientific debate: why ice is slippery.

Guests: Dr. Gary Brierley (aka Dr. Mole), tunnel engineer, Dr. Miquel Salmeron, physicist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Special thanks to callers Nikki and Erin.

Check out the Terrifying Tunnel Video referenced in today's show.
Apr 09, 2018
Do Dogs Have Belly Buttons?
1423
Plus, dog clothes: where did they come from?

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.fm/sponsors
Mar 12, 2018
How to Get Paid to Clap on TV
1468
Listener Mack asked about the unfamous people who fill empty seats at the Oscars.

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.fm/sponsors
Mar 05, 2018
Why Does Music Give Us the Chills?
1549
Why do we get goosebumps from music and other emotional experiences? Plus, the strangest things to give ELT listeners goosebumps.

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.fm/sponsors
Feb 19, 2018
How Old Is Winnie the Pooh?
1640
No, really - how old is he?

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.fm/sponsors
Feb 12, 2018
What Would Happen to Your Body in Space?
1843
Flora finds out what would happen if she stepped into the vacuum of outer space. Then, an (Earth) vacuum paradox to end all paradoxes: which came first, the vacuum or the carpet?

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.fm/sponsors
Jan 29, 2018
Are "Speed Enforced by Aircraft" Signs a Lie?
1545
First, Flora uncovers a feud about butterflies. Then, a question from the Help Line about aircraft patrol.

To find a list of our sponsors and show-related promo codes, go to gimlet.fm/sponsors.


Jan 22, 2018
Your Bedtime is Killing You
1351
Flora stages a fact intervention with Prashanth.
Dec 18, 2017
Who is Wilhelm and Why Won’t He Stop Screaming?
1506
The history of the world’s most iconic movie scream. 
Dec 11, 2017
The Voices Hiding in Your Favorite Movies
1816
Invisible actors create worlds of sound in everything you watch - from Jaws to The Wire.
Dec 04, 2017
How to Not Ruin Thanksgiving
1958
Tips for being the #1 guest in the history of the universe. Plus, prunes.
Nov 20, 2017
Invasion of the Self-checkout Machines
1593
Self-service began in a Piggly Wiggly 100 years ago. How’d it become a way of life?
Nov 13, 2017
The Case of the Missing Armadillos
1617
Flora answers questions from the help line about an armadillo paradox and the DaVinci Code of pasta.
Nov 06, 2017
Bonus: Zombie Flamingo
335
Flora continues to champion the flamingo.
Oct 30, 2017
Six O'Clock Soundtrack
1542
How TV news got a score.
Oct 23, 2017
Who Killed Cargo Shorts?
1702
Flora and fact buddy Prashanth talk about spiders, which leads to a cargo short investigation.

Listen to Gimlet's newest show, Uncivil, wherever you get your podcasts:
Apple Podcasts | Overcast | Pocketcasts | Stitcher
Oct 16, 2017
Celebrity Crush with Bill Nye
1748
Bill Nye the Science Guy introduces us to an obscure historical figure. Plus, we revisit the eclipse.
Oct 09, 2017
The ELT Help Line
1652
Flora and Katherine answer questions from listeners. ELT Help Line #: (347) 464-9626.
Sep 18, 2017
Rapture Chasers [Re-broadcast]
1453
To celebrate Eclipse Day, we're rebroadcasting our very first episode.
Aug 21, 2017
Introducing The Pitch
1512
We're hard at work on Season 2 of ELT. In the meantime, we thought you'd enjoy this brand new Gimlet podcast called The Pitch. On it, real entrepreneurs pitch to real investors for real money. It's high stakes and nerve-racking and really fun. We're sharing episode 2, iMirror, on which a startup founder pitches his plan to disrupt the hotel industry by changing what happens when we look in the mirror. If you enjoy it, make sure you subscribe wherever you get podcasts.
Jul 17, 2017
Chair, Misunderstood
1561
Learning to love a viral piece of furniture.

Our Sponsors: Wordpress.com | Synchrony Financial | Casper
Jul 03, 2017
Dewey Decimal Drama
1577
The trouble with the library cataloging system. Plus, slug-gate.

Our Sponsors: Spotify | Synchrony Financial
Jun 26, 2017
Don’t Underestimate the Flamingo
1542
Flora learns facts about the flamingo that change her. #YESflamingo

    Listen to Mogul: The Life and Death of Chris Lighty, a hip-hop miniseries from Gimlet Media and Loud Speakers Network. Now available wherever you get your podcasts.
   Apple Podcasts | Overcast | Pocketcasts | Stitcher

  Our Sponsors:
   
Ziprecruiter | Synchrony Financial | Hello Fresh | Sonos
Jun 19, 2017
The Society on Your Face
1348
Get to know your most intimate animal companions. They already know a lot about you.

Listen to Gimlet's newest show, The Pitch, on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen!

Our Sponsors

Casper – Get $50 towards any mattress purchase by visiting casper.com/elt and using promo code “ELT” |  Synchrony Financial | WordPress – go to wordpress.com/ELT to get 15% off a new website
Jun 12, 2017
What the Government Stashes
1667
Rummaging through the nation's attic to find out what the government stores and why.

Our Sponsors
  • Postmates - The app that can deliver anything from anywhere. Get $100 in Postmates delivery credit by downloading the app and using promo code ELT. New customers only.
  • Ziprecruiter – Post jobs for free by visiting ziprecruiter.com/elt










May 29, 2017
This Is an Activation
1758
A weird night in Dallas leads us to ask: what kinds of emergency systems are all around us?


Our Sponsors 
May 22, 2017
The Quest to Wipe Out a Virus
1678
What does it take to eradicate a disease from the planet? Plus, the horrifying hunting habits of weasels. 

Our Sponsors 
Casper – Get $50 towards any mattress purchase by visiting casper.com/elt and using promo code “ELT”
WordPress – go to wordpress.com/ELT to get 15% off a new website
Realtor.com – Realtor.com has more MLS listed homes for sale than any other national real estate app or site. Go to Realtor.com/ELT to learn more.






May 15, 2017
The Senate Whisperer
1509
How rules can keep us from descending into chaos.

Our Sponsors
Ebay -
Listen to their podcast, Open for Business wherever you get your podcasts
Everyday Bravery by Prudential - Listen wherever you get your podcasts
Ziprecruiter - Post jobs for free by visiting ziprecruiter.com/elt
May 01, 2017
The Hide Rug of the Plant World
1557
Producer Christine Driscoll meets an alleyway plant dealer and discovers an industry right under our noses.

Our Sponsors
Everyday Bravery - subscribe wherever you listen to podcasts
Sonos - Sonos is a smart system of wireless speakers. To learn more go to sonos.com
Virgin Atlantic - Listen to their podcast, The Venture, wherever you get your podcasts
Wordpress - To get 15% off your website go to wordpress.com/elt






Apr 24, 2017
Rapture Chasers
1450
An event in August could bring millions of people to tears.

Our Sponsors
Ebay - Listen to their podcast, Open for Business wherever you get your podcasts
Casper - Get $50 towards any mattress purchase by visiting casper.com/elt and using promo code "ELT"
Hello Fresh - Get $30 off your first week of deliveries visit hellofresh.com and enter promo code "ELT30"




Apr 17, 2017
Hello, We Are Every Little Thing
115
Turn over the rock, peek through the keyhole, go down the rabbit hole. There's always more to it. A new show from Gimlet Media, hosted by Flora Lichtman. Premieres Monday, April 17.
Apr 11, 2017