April 6, 2015

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HFM 116 | Americana: The Brazilian City Where the Confederacy Still Lives

The United States has accepted immigrants throughout its history, but America has its emmigrants as well. Did you know there is a city in Brazil founded by Confederates who wanted to flee the U.S. during Reconstruction?

Welcome to Americana, Brazil.

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March 23, 2015

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HFM 115 | Real-Life Ghost Ships, Part 2: Mary Celeste

The discovery of the abandoned Mary Celeste in 1872 is the stuff of nightmares. The brigantine merchant ship was found in the Atlantic Ocean with its cargo and valuables completely untouched but still packed with six months’ worth of food and water. No sign of a single crew member or passenger could be seen.

The story only gets stranger from there.

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March 9, 2015

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HFM 114 | Real-Life Ghost Ships, Part 1: The HMS Terror and Erebus

Ghost ships are one of the most enduring legends of the sea, and tales of mysterious ships with missing crews have peppered the accounts of mariners both ancient and modern for hundreds of years. Some ghost ships exist in the realm of rumor, others are real but remain unexplained.

On May 19, 1845, two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, departed England and set sail for the Canadian Arctic. Their goal was to travel through the treacherous waters of the Northwest Passage that separated the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. None of the crew were ever found.

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February 23, 2015

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HFM 113 | Real Life James Bond Villains, Part 3: Leonardo da Vinci

 

No less a man than Leonardo Da Vinci was a real-life James Bond villain. How else can you describe a man who design cannons, tanks, and machine guns centuries ahead of his time?

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February 9, 2015

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HFM 112 | Real-Life James Bond Villains, Part 2: Franz Helm and his 16th-Century Rocket Cats

 

Franz Helm had creative ideas of using artillery. One was to strap a primitive jet pack on cats and launch them over the walls of enemy fortifications.

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February 2, 2015

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HFM 111 | Real-Life James Bond Villains, Part 1: Archimedes and the Defense of Syracuse

Auric Goldfinder and SPECTRE may seem over-the-top for their plans to irradiate the world’s gold supply or kill political leaders with lasers from surveillance satellites, but there are real-life examples of inventors using audacious machines to crush their enemies. Learn how Archimedes defended his city with monstrous catapults, a huge iron claw, and even a primitive death ray.

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January 25, 2015

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HFM 110 | Gunpowder started as an eternal-life elixir – The most useful inventions originally designed with a completely different purpose, part 3

Gunpowder has killed more people than any other invention in history, but it was ironically invented by Chinese alchemists with the intention of helping people live forever.

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January 19, 2015

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HFM 109 | Play-Doh was originally wall paper cleaner? The most useful inventions originally designed with a completely different purpose, part 2

Every pre-schooler’s favorite snack has had a strange journey. What was once the cure to wall-paper stains left by coal smoke is now one of the world’s most popular toys.

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January 12, 2015

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HFM 108 | The tattoo needle: The most useful inventions originally designed with a completely different purpose, part 1

Inventing is a messy process. Things don’t work, ideas are discarded, and technology thrown away. Sometimes technology is used for a completely different purpose than what the inventor intended. Find out how Thomas Edison’s electric pen became the best friend of professional skateboarders everywhere.

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January 5, 2015

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HFM 107 | Candlemas: Why the British Once Kept Up Their Christmas Decorations Until February

It’s bad luck to keep up your Christmas decorations past January 6. But it wasn’t so long ago that wreathes and holly remained up through February. What happened?

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