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Every Little Thing

Author: Gimlet

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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.

124 Episodes
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Maybe it’s the spaghetti you ate sitting on the kitchen floor in your first real apartment. Or the congee your best friend made you when your heart got broken. Call and tell us the story about a home-cooked meal that you can’t forget. 833 RING ELT.
Caller Sadera has a burning question: When there’s a wildfire, how do we figure out what caused it? Fire investigator Paul Steensland tells ELT what he searches for in the burnt landscape, and the clues that can lead him to the cause.
Why Do We Cry?

Why Do We Cry?

2020-09-2822:239

Listener Lily called in about a crying shame: She thinks she cries too much. ELT investigates why we cry, and whether wet cheeks were once très chic. Ad Vingerhoets, crying researcher and clinical psychologist, and Tom Lutz, author of Crying: The Natural and Cultural History of Tears, talk through tears.
Caller Juanita wants to know if her cats are southpaws. ELT calls in animal behavior researcher Deborah Wells and neuroscientist Sebastian Ocklenburg for an answer. Plus, why would slugs ditch the shell? Biologist Robert Cowie fills us in.
After their dad served 4-year-old fish for dinner one night, listener Max wants to know how long you can safely keep food in the freezer. Food safety expert Haley Oliver serves up the juicy details. Plus, can tiny eyes see things we can’t? Spider expert Sebastian Echeverri takes us behind some of the most impressive peepers in the animal kingdom. Thanks to listener Miles. In the original version of this episode, we made an error about the types of light jumping spiders can see. All jumping spiders that have been studied are able to see UV and green light. Some species, including Oregon’s paradise jumping spider, can see red as well. We apologize for the error and have corrected it in this version of the show.
Listeners Marmie and Ryan have a quarantine quibble: How many times should you shuffle a deck of playing cards? Marmie says three, while Ryan says four or more. The couple place their bets and go all-in with applied mathematician Steven Strogatz and a full house of card-world VIPs.
ELT introduces How to Save a Planet, a new Gimlet Media podcast hosted by journalist Alex Blumberg and scientist and policy nerd Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson. How to Save a Planet asks the big questions: what do we need to do to solve the climate crisis, and how do we get it done?
Listener Erik saw a mysterious glow in the water during a trip to the beach, and he wants to know more. ELT talks to the “Jacques Cousteau of glow,” a scientist who has spent decades deep diving for answers. Guest: biologist and ocean researcher Edie Widder. Thanks to Eelke Dekker for the seagull and ocean sounds we used in this episode. Thanks also to Steven Haddock, Michael Latz, Matt Davis, Vincent Pieribone, and Severine Martini.
Caller Hank wants to know where the sand on his central California beach came from. ELT gets the surprising scoop on how beaches are born. Guest: Kiki Patsch, California State University Channel Islands. Special thanks to Gary Griggs.
Flora is out this week force feeding her niblings flamingo facts, so we’re rerunning one of our favorite episodes. Does swearing make you more powerful? 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.
Flora is hosting the Chapped Cheeks Book Club this week, so we’re revisiting one of our favorite episodes: 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. 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. Mail your stamp idea to: Stamp Development / Attn: Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee / 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW, Room 3300 / Washington, DC 20260-3501. Remember: One idea per letter!
Flora is away this week, so we’re revisiting one of our favorite episodes — about a summer visitor no one wants. Caller Jeremy has a problem: fruit flies have moved into his apartment, and he needs to know how they got there. ELT finds out where Jeremy’s freeloading flatmates came from. Guests: Biologist Marcus Stensmyr, Lund University. Chemical ecologist Kevin Cloonan, Acadia University, Nova Scotia, Canada. Thanks to Jeremy and all the listeners who shared their gnat knowledge.
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.
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.
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.
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. Correction: In the original version of this episode, we told you mockingbirds imitate frog sounds. That’s true! But we played the wrong sound to illustrate that point. You can hear both the frog and the mocker imitation in this corrected version of the show.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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Comments (94)

Tina S

I love this podcast! I love the host. She's funny, quirky, quick and smart. How do I submit a question??

Aug 22nd
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Archer

why didn't they blep the name of the assistant I almost woke everyone up because they said "hey Google broadcast"

Aug 2nd
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Jisel

I really enjoy the extesinve research and editing that was done, this podcast is very entertaining and informative :))

Jun 3rd
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Brigette Borromeo

Okay, the song of the musician's band sounds BEAUTIFUL! I searched for them and you can find the song at YouTube entitled Beautiful life - The Collection!!

May 22nd
Reply

ch3rry bomber

you guys missed "wisdom wasted"

May 13th
Reply

Cynthia Wulff-Haver

00m⁷⁶

Apr 29th
Reply

Cynthia Wulff-Haver

00m

Apr 29th
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Yasmine C

This title makes me laugh 😂😂

Apr 25th
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Kelba Louise

I get this. I have tried to describe it to my husband!

Apr 24th
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Rebecca MA

Oh please please tell us about the voice at the end of each episode!!!

Mar 16th
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Emblem B

arms and core

Mar 13th
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Em Webb

Emily in the drugs on screen episode...THE WORST VOCAL FRY I HAVE EVER HEARD.

Feb 7th
Reply

Jeremy Varo-Haub

The opposite of “inept” is “adept,” as much as I like the idea of “ept.”

Jan 22nd
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my.android. Mfz

this is awesome

Jan 14th
Reply (1)

Heather McNamee Rensel

corn is actually a vegetable/grain/fruit all at the same time. #isitavegetable #isitafruit #isitagrain #elt

Dec 17th
Reply (1)

Denise Stong

What is worse than plastic chairs? The iron hard chairs at one of our local restaurants which fall apart and are the epitome of discomfort.

Dec 11th
Reply (1)

Spirit Siphon

lol yep I get it in my butt and calves

Dec 10th
Reply (1)

Heather McNamee Rensel

I felt it in my chest.

Dec 10th
Reply (1)

Sharlene John

How touching! What a sweet episode ☺️💖

Oct 23rd
Reply (1)

Braden James Connars

If you don't dig this Cast- You're not paying attention.

Sep 19th
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