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The Constant: A History of Getting Things Wrong
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The Constant: A History of Getting Things Wrong

Author: Mark Chrisler

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Did you know that Europeans used to believe that sheep grew from Mongolian trees? Have you heard about the misbegotten discovery of a new form of water in the 1960s that set off a cold war arms race? Ever seen the gleaming Las Vegas hotel that accidentally shoots heat rays at poolside guests?

The Constant is an audio history of getting things wrong. From ancient science to contemporary blunders, we take you on journeys of misadventure and misapprehension, filling your brain with juicy nuggets of the sometimes comical, sometimes tragical and always fascinating ways people mess things up.
79 Episodes
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Real Facts, and Beer

Real Facts, and Beer

2020-07-2827:17

Here is a story about the city I love, Chicago.Get a free trial of The Great Courses Plus by going to:​ https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/theconstantGet 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant Visit our Patreon here.Music by:Blue Dot SessionsLee RosevereKevin MacLeodBenSound
Reductio Ad Absurdum

Reductio Ad Absurdum

2020-07-1401:23:201

The Earth is Flat! That is the conclusion that many ancient societies once drew. Then, in the 19th century, belief in the flat earth started to return, and in the last decade this easily disprovable fallacy has celebrated a remarkable resurgence. And that's all thanks, in large part, to an 1887 science experiment. This week, for the start of season 8, we're looking at the shaggy dog story of how that experiment came to take place, and how it came to be seen as evidence for the flatness of our planet. Get a free trial of The Great Courses Plus by going to https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/theconstantGet 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant Visit our Patreon here.Music by:Blue Dot SessionsLee RosevereKevin MacLeodanimeistrash
Fish Story

Fish Story

2020-06-1629:06

Sharks have been known to eat a lot of weird stuff. Fur coats, license plates, cannonballs, chicken coups, even a suit of armor. But the strangest thing ever found within the belly of a shark was... a bundle of papers. Trust me: it's more unbelievable than it sounds.Get 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant".Donate to: https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloydVisit our Patreon here.Music by:Blue Dot SessionsLee RosevereKevin MacLeod
The Cold, Hard Truth, Pt 2

The Cold, Hard Truth, Pt 2

2020-06-0201:03:40

Two men, two islands, two claims for The North Pole. In part two of The Cold, Hard, Truth we're looking at the expedition formed in the wake of Peary and Cook's battle for The Pole. An expedition formed with the goal of finding Crocker Land, a lost arctic continent, and the truth.Get 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant". Donate to: https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/https://www.gofundme.com/f/georgefloyd Visit our Patreon here.Music by:Blue Dot SessionsLee RosevereKevin MacLeod
On September 7th, 1909, The New York Times announced that Robert Peary was the first person to ever reach The North Pole. But a week earlier, The New York Herald had said the same thing about Frederick Cook. Only one of them could be right, but which one? And how could you tell for certain? Get 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting: http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant".Visit our Patreon here.Music by:Blue Dot SessionsLee RosevereKevin MacLeodLakey InspiredJazz Duets
The Airship

The Airship

2020-05-0539:05

In December of 1909, the vice president of a Worcester Massachusetts steamfitting company decided he wanted to fly. This is his story. Get 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant". Visit our Patreon here.Music by:Blue Dot SessionsLee RosevereKevin MacLeodGilbert VinterThe President's Own Marine Band
Use The Accident

Use The Accident

2020-04-2147:512

Here's a change of pace: what about stuff we got wrong for the better? On this episode we've got 13 short stories of mistakes that went right. From jazz to physics to chemistry to frozen dessert, we've got it all. Get 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant".Visit our Patreon here.Music by:Blue Dot SessionsLee RosevereKevin MacLeod
True Crime

True Crime

2020-04-0740:58

Hey! I think we invented a new kind of podcast this week! It's a crime story, but it's also true. We're calling it "True Crime". I think there might be a market for this!Get a free trial of The Great Courses Plus and three months of unlimited access for just $30 dollars by going to https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/theconstantGet 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant".Visit our Patreon here.Music by:Blue Dot SessionsLee RosevereKevin MacLeod
In almost seventy episodes chronicling bad ideas and loopy frauds through the ages one name has come up again and again. From phrenology to mesmerism to a strange ghostly bowl of molasses, he's the Forrest Gump of 19th century pseudo-science. Get a free trial of The Great Courses Plus and three months of unlimited access for just $30 dollars by going to https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/theconstantGet 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant".Visit our Patreon here.Music by:Blue Dot SessionsLee RosevereKevin MacLeodWolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Here we are. We've examined arctic explorers, secret armies, zany daredevils, Wisconsin whiz kids and so many more only to come up empty. This is the end of the rope. Can we solve the mystery of The Foolkiller, the submarine discovered in the Chicago River in 1915, or is this one just meant to be a mystery forever. Stick around and find out. Get a free trial of The Great Courses Plus and three months of unlimited access for just $30 dollars by going to https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/theconstantGet 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant".Finally, there's www.industrialartifacts.net where you can enter coupon code "theconstant" for 15% off your first order.Visit our Patreon here.For more information, photos and video related to this episode, go to constantpodcast.comMusic by:Blue Dot SessionsLee RosevereKevin MacLeodAnimeistrash Voice talent from:Chad The Bird of Chad The PodcastSebastian Major of Our Fake HistoryBilal Dardai of Unwell: A Midwest Gothic MysteryJake Barton of HistoriumChelsey Weber-Smith of American HysteriaZachary Davis of Ministry of IdeasTamar Avishai of The Lonely PaletteWade Roush of SoonishCharles Gustine of IconographyKavita Pillay of SubtitlePhil Ridarelli of The Neo-FuturistsAnd Heather Chrisler of Virtually Everything Oh God She's Cool
We're onto the long shots now: An Irish-American secret society bent on war with Canada, a kid genius out of Oshkosh and an Indiana shoe factory owner. With so few options left, one of them--surely--must be the creator of The Foolkiller. Right? Get a free trial of The Great Courses Plus and three months of unlimited access for just $30 dollars by going to https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/theconstantGet 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant".Finally, there's www.industrialartifacts.net where you can enter coupon code "theconstant" for 15% off your first order.Visit our Patreon here.For more information, photos and video of the various Foolkillers, go to constantpodcast.comMusic by:Blue Dot SessionsLee RosevereKevin MacLeod
Amid all the confusing and contradictory reporting that accompanied the discovery of The Foolkiller submarine in 1915 Chicago, there are a handful of mentions of an "Eastern man". On this episode, we look through the annals of submarine history in search of this mysterious figure. Get 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant".Visit our Patreon here. Finally, there's www.industrialartifacts.net where you can enter coupon code "theconstant" for 15% off your first order. For more information, photos and video of the various Foolkillers, go to constantpodcast.comMusic by:Blue Dot SessionsKevin MacLeod
A proper story has three acts, but the story of The Foolkiller submarine is missing two of them. Today, we're looking at act 2: the brief window of time during which we know where this giant steel craft was. We're also examining the three initial theories that people at the time held about where the thing came from, and who built it. To do that, we're going from The North Pole to The Center of The Earth and even all the way to the deep jungle depths of Ottawa Illinois. Get a free trial of The Great Courses Plus and three months of unlimited access for just $30 dollars by going to https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/theconstant Get 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting: http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant". Visit our Patreon here. For more information, photos and video of the various Foolkillers, go to constantpodcast.com Music by: Blue Dot SessionsLee RosevereKevin MacLeod
In November of 1915, a submarine was found at the bottom of The Chicago River. It had been there for at least ten years, was 40 feet long, and contained the remains of a man and his dog. To this day, no one knows who built it, where it came from, or who was inside. This is the first in a five part series looking into the mystery of The Foolkiller. With luck, we might even be able to solve it. But before we get into the meat of the question, we need to learn the context. We need to learn about the darkest day in Chicago history, the day of The Eastland Disaster. Get a free trial of The Great Courses Plus and three months of unlimited access for just $30 dollars by going to https://www.thegreatcoursesplus.com/theconstant Get 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant". Visit our Patreon here. For more information and photos of The Foolkiller and The Eastland, go to www.constantpodcast.com Music by:Blue Dot SessionsLee RosevereKevin MacLeod
It's Wonderful Redux

It's Wonderful Redux

2019-12-3027:591

For our last episode of 2019 and season 6, we're revisiting last year's Christmas episode. Stick around through the end to hear a tease for next season's big multi-part opening story, and check out these other podcasts from the top of the show: Iconography Mark's appearance on Chad The Podcast and That Was Genius See you in 2020, for The Fool Killer.
The Christmas Bullet

The Christmas Bullet

2019-12-1715:55

Throw on another yule log and gather round the fire For a new Constant episode is about to transpire It's a holiday one, though it contains little joy About a con named Christmas and his terrible ploy Visit our Patreon here.Get 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant".Music by:Blue Dot SessionsLee RosevereKevin MacLeod
Perpetuum Mobile

Perpetuum Mobile

2019-12-0350:53

Happy Second Birthday to The Constant! To celebrate, we're tackling the story that everyone advised Mark not to tell, that Mark himself failed over and over again to write: The Brownian Ratchet. And along the way, we're dropping into a select few of the many, many perpetual motion machines people have claimed to invented over the centuries. Visit our Patreon here.Get 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant".Music by:Blue Dot SessionsLee RosevereKevin MacLeod
Suck and Blow

Suck and Blow

2019-11-1933:17

Everything you've ever learned about physics, chemistry, astronomy, and even biology, is wrong. That was the conclusion reached by Alfred Lawson, major league pitcher, avionics pioneer, populist political leader and the founder of the stupidest university ever: The University of Lawsonomy. Come with us for a journey through the life and confounding works of Lawson, the rise of his new science and its rapid, farcical fall. Visit our Patreon here.Get 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant".
Necessity

Necessity

2019-11-0553:501

In the first century BC, The Greek philosopher Carneades asked a question: is it moral to kill an innocent person to preserve your own life? Two thousand years later, a court in England settled the matter, once and for all. This is a story about sailors, shipwrecks, murder, cannibalism and, ultimately, who owes what to whom. Visit our Patreon here.Get 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant".Music by:Blue Dot SessionsLee RosevereKevin MacLeodShort Tailed Snails
The Curse

The Curse

2019-10-2237:202

Did someone say "more mummies"? No? You didn't hear that? It sounded like "more mummies" but it was kind of muffled and droning? OH GOD WHAT'S THAT!? It's still October, and we're still being spooky. This week, it's the story of King Tutankhamen's Curse, which is a bit more superstitious than our usual fare. But stick with me, because there's more to this urban legend than you might at first suspect. It might not be from a Pharaohor an Egyptian god, but by the end of this episode, I promise there will be a curse. Visit our Patreon here.Get 10% off your first month of online counseling by visiting:http://betterhelp.com/theconstant and entering discount code "theconstant".
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Comments (4)

Jae Crumbpacker

I knew where we were heading, but I still felt it full on. Thank you.

Aug 13th
Reply (1)

sune f

Excellent podcast!

Jun 25th
Reply

cai fasse

Great episode, Mark!

May 13th
Reply
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