The Curiosity of a Child

A dad and his 11 year old son chat science, history and things more bizarre. Spices, necromancer pirates, bees, Mayans, chocolate, farts, monsters, the world, corpse medicine, the oldest women in the world, soap and so much more...

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5 days ago

We were honoured to be invited to talk at Intelligent Speech 2022 on the theme of crossings. We selected the Balmis expedition - a Spanish attempt to vaccinate their empire from smallpox in the early 1800s but in an age before air travel and refrigeration how do you transfer a delicate vaccine across the world’s oceans? Enter 22 orphans to save the world... We had a few technical issues during recording but I have tried my best to clean the audio up.

Sunday Sep 18, 2022

Ahoy me hearties, weight anchor and lets be off! We look at the life of one of the most amazing but forgotten men of the 1600s, William Dampier. Ever curious he was an explorer, navigator, naturalist, writer and so much more. The author of A New Voyage Around the World, his accounts opened the world to the public. Never before had people experienced such exotic locations from their own homes or had such detailed descriptions of the world beyond their shores. From stories of raids on Spanish settlements in the Pacific to first setting step on the shores of Australia his vivid accounts were a world first. He inspired Charles Darwin, Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Alexander von Humboldt and many more. Sadly his more lawless acts would lead him, in the eyes of some, to be little more than a common pirate but we hope to show you just how wrong this is.

Monday Aug 01, 2022

Time is one of the biggest mysteries of science but also one of the fundamental aspects of our reality. It’s nature has been discussed for centuries, from Aristotle to Newton to Einstein, we’ve sought answers but only found more questions as we’ve peeled back it’s layers. There is no fixed ‘now’, every point in space has it’s own flow of time. Does time even exist? How much of what we feel is simply our brain attempting to make sense of the world? Join Anton and me as we uncover it’s secrets. Thank you to Ronan for allowing us to use his song When is the Future? Written and produced by Ronan HarrisPublished by Schubert Music PublishingTaken from the VNV Nation album “Noire”

Saturday Jun 18, 2022

In this bonus episode we present Anton’s short story Guilty Chocolate read by Anton himself! He claimed second prize in the Guernsey Literary Festival WriteStuff competition judged by leading international author Anthony Horowitz. The competition gave students the following brief: ‘Write an imaginary 300 word story inspired by Detectives or Spies’. Anton’s story was described as ‘a very dark and mature story that relates closely to world events right now. The title nails it and the whole piece is horribly believable.’ This is also the first time Anton ever edited an episode, choosing the music, cleaning up audio and more.    

Wednesday Jun 08, 2022

Legend tells of an early pioneer of rocketry who, in 1633, blasted off over Istanbul in celebration of the birth of the Sultan’s daughter. There are stories of an eccentric French couple flying horses and bulls into the sky to entertain the masses. There were inventors who saw the future of travel in personal balloons that allowed us to bound across the landscape as if we were an astronaut on the moon. These tales my sound absurd by they are the ‘True History’ of mankind’s obsession with flight. Join us as we discover some of history’s craziest people who put entertainment and progress ahead of their mortality!

Sunday May 08, 2022

We are very excited and proud to announce that we will be talking at the 2022 Intelligent Speech conference! Our talk will be about 22 orphans packed onto a ship to America and deliberately infected with cowpox! We would love our listeners to join us. Tickets cost $20 for the early bird (and 8 hours of talks) or $30 thereafter, but if you use promo code curiosity at checkout you get an extra 10% off. Here’s what they say: CROSSING LINES We chose to make the topic for this year’s Intelligent Speech conference, Crossing Lines, as it seemed to not only resonate with our times but also with what we hope Intelligent Speech 2022 will represent through our range of speakers. This year’s conference will be cross-curricular, we will have speakers who have crossed over from being podcasters to being authors and vice versa, we’ll be crossing continents, we might even have stories about crossing over and crossed lines. Where lines cross are junctures and our era certainly feels like a major juncture in time; at Intelligent Speech 2022, our speakers will be exploring other times when lines have been crossed in one way or another. Intelligent Speech 2022 will take place on Saturday, June 25 at 10 am EST (New York)/3 pm GMT (London). There will be eight hours of great presentations from up to 40 different content creators from the worlds of podcasting, YouTube, and media. Each session will be 40 minutes long.

Friday Apr 08, 2022

We travel downunder to meet one of Australia’s most unusual creatures: Ornithorhynchus anatinus, better know as the Platypus. Few animals have caused such debate as our duckbilled friend, for nearly a century leading scientists across Europe (maybe they should travel a bit closer to their subject) debated exactly what this paradoxical animal was – mammal, lizard, something entirely new? What are the eggs all about, and where are the nipples? And don’t get us started on the penis! The Platypus is one very strange animal indeed. We explore the folklore, tell the history, look at the science of how we came to understand Ornithorhynchus anatinus. Along the way there are epic arguments and a secret WW2 mission, finally we top it off with a rap written and performed by Anton!

Tuesday Mar 01, 2022

This episode Anton takes the lead as he explores the development of Norman castles in the British Isles. Whilst fortifications dotted the English landscape long before the 1066 Norman invasion nothing quite like their castles existed before. Anton and I talk about early motte and bailey fortifications that offered only rudimentary protection to vast concentric circle castles like Beaumaris in Wales that dominated the surrounding landscape. What did they symbolise? How did they change? And are they the origin of IKEA?! Full show notes.

Friday Feb 11, 2022

Pepper, king of the spices. Found in every kitchen and on every restaurant table pepper is a spice that’s ‘just there’. Today we take this spice for granted but this wasn’t always the case as great European powers fought over it’s control wanting to monopolise the trade and the wealth it brought. The Portuguese, Dutch and British sent countless sailors and soldiers on voyages to the mystical east. But they weren’t only there to trade and soon conflict and brutality would stain the history of pepper. We tell this story, taste some of the finest peppercorns available, test Roman and Greek medical recipes and explore how today pepper is being rediscovered as a power medicine. Full show notes:

Thursday Dec 23, 2021

We are honoured to be joined by Greg Wah, science communicator from Australia and co-host of the excellent Smart Enough to Know Better podcast. We discuss the size of the universe and how the JWST is going to help us look back further than ever, iconic images from Hubble, the beauty and importance of science and more. Podcast: Greg on Twitter: SE2KB on Twitter: Show notes:

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