Never before in human history have clothes been cheaper, and never before have we bought more of them.
In this episode, we'll explore this phenomenon, how it works, and ask ourselves what it's doing to society.
Worldwide we produce over 2 billion tonnes of rubbish every year.
In this episode, we explore the history of rubbish collection and look at what happens to our rubbish after the truck comes to take it away.
What do snakes in Delhi, cars in Bogotá and pigs in Georgia all have in common?
In this episode, we'll learn how incentives don't always result in their intended consequences...
In this episode, we'll explore the weird and fascinating origins of five foods that you know and (perhaps) love.
From the sandwich to tomato ketchup, chicken tikka masala, fish & chips and even the teabag, discover the weird and wonderful stories behind these well-known dishes.
It was the world's most famous supersonic aeroplane and could travel from London to New York in 3.5 hours.
Discover how it worked, how much it actually cost to fly in it and what the future holds for supersonic air travel.
Over the past twenty years, over half a million Americans have died of opioid overdoses.
In this episode, we'll explore how this happened, who is responsible, and ask ourselves whether the USA will ever be able to kick its addiction to prescription opioids.
In the space of fewer than 100 years, fast food has fundamentally changed the global culinary landscape.
In this episode, we explore how it has managed to grow so much and what it is doing to our societies, world and bodies, and ask ourselves whether we'll ever kick our fast-food addiction.
Every day 1% of the world's population will eat at McDonald's, and hundreds of millions more will eat burgers, chips and all sorts of different fast food.
But just how popular is it, how is it so cheap and where did it come from in the first place?
It has gone from luxury to necessity, and there are over 2 billion air conditioning units in the world today.
In this episode, we'll take a look at how air conditioning got started, why people didn't mind being hot in the past, and what the true cost of staying cool might be for future generations.
“Who pays for free parking? Everyone but the motorist” - Professor Donald Shoup
You might only think about the cost of parking when it comes to putting coins into a parking meter. But parking is full of hidden costs that extend far below the surface.
In this episode, we'll take a look at the history of parking, what it really costs, and how it's almost always far too cheap.
It is one of the most popular websites in the world and has the goal of being a comprehensive collection of all of the knowledge in the world.
In this episode, we'll learn about the history of this amazing website, why it succeeded where others failed, how it actually works, and its importance as a source of truth.
It is the world's fourth most popular fruit, but many people are not aware of its fascinating history.
In this episode, we'll learn about where apples come from, how they are produced, the amazing story of a man called Johnny Appleseed, and how they have become incredibly commercialised.
It's a quintessentially English game with an army of devoted fans across the globe.
But where does it come from? How does cricket actually work? How did it become India's favourite sport? And are cricketers really as well behaved as you might think?
They are a legal device to encourage new inventions and protect inventors from copycats.
But how do they actually work, what good do they do, and what are the implications for the world in 2021?
"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes"
Tax might not sound interesting or exciting to most people, but it affects all of us.
In this episode, we explore what paying taxes actually means, and how it affects our relationship with the government and society.
And we'll do all of this through the story of two pen-pals, Arlette from Paris, France, and John from Austin, Texas.
From a small, wet island, English has come to be the world's dominant language.
How did this actually happen, where does English actually come from, and how has the language changed over the years?
Laughing is something that we all do.
But what makes us laugh? Why is something funny?
Discover the theories about why we laugh, what this does to us, and learn about the British sense of humour.
Why do we sometimes believe one thing and act in a way that is in complete contradiction to our beliefs?
Cognitive Dissonance is the theory about why we do this, how we manage different beliefs, and the effect this has on us.
It's the world's favourite sweet snack, and the chocolate industry is worth over $100 billion.
Discover the fantastic history of where it comes from, how it became so popular, and learn about some of the economics of chocolate production.
It's the most famous cryptocurrency in the world, and went up in value by 269% in 2020.
In this episode, we take a look at what it actually is, how it works, why some people think it is the future of money and others think it is a giant bubble.
Vaccination is one of the most important medical inventions in history, and vaccines save hundreds of millions of lives every year.
Discover the fantastic history of vaccines, where they came from, how they have developed, and the problems that governments have in encouraging citizens to actually take them.
The personality industry is worth billions, and promises to help us better understand ourselves.
But how did it start? How does it actually work?
And most importantly, does it actually work?
Humans will spend from a quarter to a third of our lives sleeping.
But what actually happens when we sleep? Why do we need to sleep? How does it work?
In 70 countries around the world we change the time twice a year, giving us longer evenings in summer.
Why did we start doing this? Why do some people love it, others hate it, and will we ever stop doing it altogether?
It's the way that criminals take dirty money and clean it, turning it into beautiful, clean money that appears to have been earned completely legally.
Discover how this is done, how much of a problem this really is, and how this process supports the criminal underworld.
It's the 193km long canal that links the Mediterranean and the Red Seas.
The Ancient Egyptians dreamed of it, the Venetians did too, the French engineered it, the British bought it, the Egyptians nationalised it, it caused a Cold War crisis, and now it's a hugely important stretch of water for global trade.
It's time to tell the story of The Suez Canal.
Whales are some of the most amazing animals that have ever existed.
From where they come from to how they live their lives, through to the threats that they have faced and how they bring new life in death, it's time to learn more about the amazing life these animals lead.
These 17 chemical elements are vital for lots of modern technologies, from smartphones to laptops, wind turbines to electric cars.
But our dependence on them comes at a large cost, a cost that very few people are aware of.
Anyone can send a letter, anywhere in the world, and it will be hand-delivered to any country in the world, for less than the price of a cup of coffee.
How did we arrive at this system, and how does it all work?
It's now the most popular soft drink in the United States.
Yet 50 years ago barely anyone drunk it.
Today, we tell the story of how the world became addicted to bottled water.
It's the most populous bird in the world, outnumbering humans 3:1.
Today we are asking ourselves how an obscure bird from South East Asia went from jungle floor to being eaten at a rate of two every millisecond.