Curious, Crazy and Compelling: Our Best Stories You Might Have Missed This Week


Maria Sibylla Merian, the artist who created this engraving, was a naturalist and scientific illustrator who played a significant role in advancing entomology centuries ago. VCG Wilson/Fine Art/Corbis via Getty Image
Maria Sibylla Merian, the artist who created this engraving, was a naturalist and scientific illustrator who played a significant role in advancing entomology centuries ago. VCG Wilson/Fine Art/Corbis via Getty Image

You made it to another weekend! To celebrate, we've compiled a list of awesome podcasts and articles that you may have missed this week (or just read the headline for — c'mon, be honest).

The Curious

Usually, mystery substances are something you'd want to avoid. That's not the case for the hosts of Stuff They Don't Want You to Know — they dive into the topic of red mercury, a chemical of unknown composition. Is it a hoax? Find out more about the mythical substance in a recent episode of the podcast.

It may sound pretty ridiculous, but there's a myth that sneezing with your eyes open will force your eyeballs out of their sockets. In a new episode of the podcast BrainStuff, host Christian Sager explains whether that's fact or fiction.

Lately, government officials in the U.S., including President Trump, have decried purported "paid protesters" for targeting them. But others claim the opposition is real, and doesn't need to be funded. As this article explains, paying protesters would be a pretty hefty expense — but there is a very small precedent for the practice in America.

The Crazy

Many people are aware of potential dangers of hacking and have even been subject to the whims of hackers. Most security measures have been aimed at protecting our material possessions from cybercriminals. But what happens when, thanks to biotech, our bodies become the vulnerability in question? Stuff to Blow Your Mind hosts Robert and Joe explore this scary territory in a new episode of the podcast.

Humans have long taken advantage of dogs' sense of smell: We have them track down missing people, sniff out illicit substances and hunt for our food. Well, it's high time we put our own noses to work, because according to a new analysis, humans can smell just as well as dogs. Read about it here.

When you have a fridge stocked full of food, it's easy to toss away leftovers and think nothing of it. But epidemic food waste (a whopping 21 percent of U.S. landfill space is dumped food) isn't just the fault of individual consumers — it can also be attributed to distributors, restaurants and other players in the food game. In a new article, writer John Perritano breaks down a study that showed the food Americans waste could feed most of the U.S. population.

The Compelling

A treasured contributor to the realms of art and science, Maria Sibylla Merian was a naturalist illustrator whose work advanced entomology in the 17th and 18th centuries. Hosts Tracy and Holly detail her work and life in a new episode of Stuff You Missed in History Class.

Congressional investigations can be controversial (and dramatic) processes. But while they may sometimes play out like the most scandalous of reality TV shows, they have much more serious consequences. Learn how Congress decides what to investigate and how the investigations are conducted in this article.

Uber has made headlines plenty of times for its questionable business practices. But in one small Ontario town, the ride-sharing service has become a solution, rather than a problem. Creating a public bus system would have been too expensive, so the town's government brought in Uber and subsidized ride costs. Read about the public-private transit system here.