It’s Alive! TMSIDK Episode 2

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Social-media scholar danah boyd (left) confers with contestant Helen Beilinson during the Wheel of Maximum Danger round. (Photo: Lucy Sutton)

Social-media scholar danah boyd (left) confers with contestant Helen Beilinson during the Wheel of Maximum Danger round. (Photo: Lucy Sutton)

Did you know that in the 1800s, Army officers tested a certain African mammal as an upgrade to the typical mules and horses they used as pack animals in the American Southwest? So what were they and what happened to them? On this episode of Tell Me Something I Don’t Know, you’ll hear this and other tales from the natural world, including stories about marine animals that will either live forever or kill you, the history of what one might call “literal kangaroo courts,” and the wonders of poop soup.

The panelists are: Simon Winchester, author of many nonfiction books, including “The Professor and the Madman,” Danah Boyd, founder of Data & Society and Chris Gethard, comedian and playwright/star of the off-Broadway show “Career Suicide.” Our “Real-Time Human Fact-Checker” is Jody Avirgan, who hosts and produces podcasts for FiveThirtyEight.

And that African mammal story? It involves a young Douglas MacArthur and the Civil War. You’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out more.