Underunderstood

Dec 15 2020 32 mins 6.2k

There are questions the internet just can't answer. But that doesn't mean we can't find them. On each episode of Underunderstood, we find a question the internet can’t answer — maybe it’s a dead-end Wikipedia page, an abandoned Reddit thread, or an unanswered question on Twitter — and we fill in the gaps. It’s part chat show, part documentary, and almost always surprising.










Closing the Loop on China's Mystery Seeds
Nov 24 2020 43 mins  
What ever happened with those mysterious seeds that were showing up in U.S. mailboxes? 00:33 - Michigan Department of Agriculture tweet 03:10 - USDA answers frequently asked questions about the mystery seeds, including “What should I do if I already planted the seeds?” 02:30 - Facebook post from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development 03:52 - Invasive species are no joke!!!! 04:50 - As of this writing, Snopes said there was no motive determined for the seed shipments: Are Americans Receiving Unsolicited Mailings of Seeds from China? (Snopes) 09:32 - USDA still hasn’t found anything to cause major concern, but it has now identified more species and some viruses. This is an updated comment as of Nov. 18: “Altogether, we have identified approximately 460 taxa of seeds. We have detected 2 quarantine insect pests using x-ray and 28 Federal Noxious weeds based on identifications by APHIS botanists. We have also identified 6 quarantine significant viruses or viroids using molecular testing.” Also, here are some photos of U.S.D.A. investigating the seeds with microscopes. 14:29 - Jason Koebler and Emanuel Maiberg of Motherboard. The last story Underunderstood collaborated on with Motherboard was this one. 15:05 - Hundreds of Americans Planted 'Chinese Mystery Seeds' (Motherboard) 19:16 - Zack Franklin in action 22:44 - Amazon explains fulfilled by Amazon and a little bit about fulfilled by merchant. 30:55 - ”The mysterious seed is back! Shenzhen cross-border seller actually sends parcels here” (forum post) 31:31 - Moss’s website for Amazon sellers and Moss on Zhihu. 34:07 - Honest Buyers Club on Facebook is an example of one of these groups. Once you get involved, you’ll start to get one-on-one messages from sellers. To clarify, I (Adrianne) have never actually ordered anything, I just lurk and try to harass people into doing an interview (100% failure rate). I’m definitely not endorsing giving your address out to strangers on the internet, but I think these guys are mostly legit. So, maybe you could give them, like, a PO box? 36:06 - ”Evaluation blacklist” — a crowdsourced list of people who accept free gifts without providing the requisite review




Justice for Jocko
Nov 10 2020 36 mins  
An unsolved mystery from our members-only podcast, Overunderstood. You can sign up and get access at patreon.com/underunderstood. 1:50 - Unfriendly Chimp Stolen From Cage In Central Park (NYT) - March 6, 1970 4:24 - Thief Says A Rare Bird Needed Love (NYT) — July 14, 1999 and Rare Bird Is Back in Hand, and So Is a Suspect (NYT) — January 28. 1999 6:31 - History of Central Park Zoos. There are no chimps today. 9:34 - Found a relevant crime, with a very different ending, while uploading these show notes: Chimps Stolen From Zoo Found Happy in Brooklyn Phone Booth (NYT) — October 25, 1966. Except apparently the Prospect Park zookeepers missed their chimps, who were "like babies to us" and started a ransom fund before they were found. The same kidnapper?? This story also notes that the chimps cost about $600. 10:18 - What the park zoo looked like in the 1970s. The zoo is also mentioned in here around 8:58. 13:55 - AWFUL CALAMITY. The Wild Animals Escape from Central Park. TERRIBLE SCENES OF MUTILATION. This was a hoax by the New York Herald in 1874. 15:40 - $60,000 for a chimp in 2009 and $600 for a chimp in the first half of the century 18:46 - Chimpanzees in Central Park Zoo, New York City, 1970. (Photo by Jill Freedman/Getty Images) 20:18 - Jill Freedman on Instagram. The photo of her with a beer was taken down, but you can see some of her work. 23:25 - This version of the photo has a caption and more specific date: "A chimpanzee wearing a tuxedo and roller skates sits on a chair at a photographic gallery opening." New York City, 1974. (Photo by Jill Freedman/Getty Images). 29:37 - The Wildlife Conservation Society told me they had no records, but stuff like this and this seems promising. 30:24 - CORRECTION: I said University of North Carolina in the episode, but I meant North Carolina State University. Ugh. 31:34 - Angry Keeper Stages Monkey House Lock‐In And more stuff here.


Tom and Gerry
Nov 03 2020 35 mins  
Regina searches for the true story behind a sexist remark. Show notes: 00:40 - This is Geraldine Ferraro's Wikipedia page. 0:52 - And this is Walter Mondale's. 01:21 - This episode published on November 4, 2020, which is election day in the United States for the 2020 Presidential election. 01:31 - The 2020 Democratic National Convention kicked off on August 17, 2020. It was technically in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but because of the Coronavirus pandemic it was a mostly virtual event. 03:15 - Edit desk: Shades of sexism, published April 30, 2017, is the piece of Emily's that I am referring to. 04:05 - hereGeraldine Ferraro's full acceptance speech 04:30 - Walter Mondale's full acceptance speech 06:10 - Kamala Harris Tests America’s Relationship to Women in Power, published in The New York Times on August 19, 2020 06:57 - In 1992, Hillary Clinton got in some trouble for implying she didn't want to "stay home and bake cookies" and as a result ended up in a bake-off with Barbara Bush. She won, apparently due to using shortening instead of butter. 07:56 - Prematurely mentioned obituary in The Economist. 12:04 - Tom Brokaw was accused of sexual misconduct in April 2018. Here is an Opinions piece in The Washington Post that his former colleague wrote about the experience. 13:41 - The Vanderbilt Television News Archive. 15:56 - "The Lady Is a Pol," by Marie Brenner for New York Magazine's July 1984 issue. 17:07 - "out of sight of the cameras, her feet began doing a secret minuet, an odd, pigeon-toed dance. Her size 7 ½’s were sheathed..." 17:51 - "The Rise of Geraldine Ferraro," written by Elisabeth Bumiller and published by The Washington Poston April 29, 1984 19:05 - Here are the details for Caroline's article, published in 2015. 20:46 - Some of the great research Caroline is referencing can be found in these research study results from Celinda Lake for Name It Change It with the Women's Media Canter and She Should Run. 23:07 - "Cosmetic Coverage," by Jennifer L Pozner 24:47 - The Representation Project. 34:39 - Check out our patreon to sign up and get access to Overunderstood as well as our Discord channel!






















The Incredible Shrinking Cap’n
Dec 17 2019 36 mins  
00:22 - Cap'n Crunch was created by Pamela Low in 1963. 01:50 - Urban Dictionary defines Cap'n Crunch Mouth as "When the roof of your mouth gets all torn up after eating Cap'n Crunch or some other rough food." 02:23 - Underunderstood: The 9/11 Hoax That Wasn't 03:15 - The Try Guys: Eugene Ranks The Most Popular Cereals 07:11 - A collection of tweets claiming Cap'n Crunch has shrunk 08:21 - My Brother, My Brother and Me 16:20 - Partially hydrogenated oils (or PHOs) were deemed to be no longer classifiable as GRAS (which means "Generally Recognized as Safe") by the FDA in 2015. 16:29 - Here are photos of a box of Cap'n Crunch from 1995 with "partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil" listed as an ingredient. It seems to have been replaced with "palm and/or coconut oil" in Cap'n Crunch currently sold in the United States. 18:38 - Jason Liebig on Twitter 18:44 - CollectingCandy.com 21:53 - Jason's Instagram is fun but his Flickr is INCREDIBLE 23:06 - Rockin' the 80’s – Tale of the 30-Year-Old Snickers 23:50 - New York Times article from 1994 about the Doritos redesign 25:05 - An archived version of Wikipedia featuring "Hot and Cold Nerds." 25:16 - Nerds Hot and Cool - Discovered!! A CollectingCandy.com World Premiere!! 25:49 - Statement from Quaker Foods 27:17 - Cereal Time TV - Gabe Fonseca's YouTube channel 27:46 - Gabe Fonseca on IMDB 27:48 - Gabe eating Cap'n Crunch from the 90s on YouTube 28:19 - Screenshot of Gabe holding old Cap'n Crunch up to the camera 29:46 - Gabe's measurement on the vintage Cap'n Crunch box 30:16 - Billy's photoshop to determine the size of 90s Cap'n Crunch 34:45 - Official written statement from Cap'n Crunch Episode artwork by Phil Robibero



























Gas and Gains
Jul 09 2019 40 mins  
After watching an episode of “Catfish: The TV Show,” Billy goes on a deep dive to find the meaning of a curious ankle tattoo, the eccentricities of the Philadelphia accent, and one man’s fixation with the word “gas.” Show notes: 00:40 - Catfish: The TV Show - Wikipedia 00:57 - Catfish - Season 7, Episode 18 - Nick and Jasmine (video) 01:35 - To Catch a Predator - Wikipedia 01:46 - Definition of Catfish by Merriam-Webster The scene (video) from Catfish (the 2010 documentary) where the term was coined 03:36 - "Gayus" video clip from Catfish (video) 05:27 - Wawa 06:46 - MFSB - South Philly 08:04 - Nick: @NickFresh215 / @NickFresh215 08:14 - Jimmy: @jimmyharrity / @jimmy_harrity 09:22 - Jordan Oplinger on Twitter 13:03 - Mean Girls - Stop trying to make fetch happen (video) 16:39 - Betsy Sneller's personal website 17:11 - William Labov - Wikipedia 17:23 - Sociolinguistics - Wikipedia 19:06 - Mechanisms of Phonological Change by Betsy Sneller 20:08 - /æ/ raising - Wikipedia 26:31 - Excerpt from The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams 28:01 - History of the Irish Americans in Philadelphia - Wikipedia 28:23 - Irish slang videos on YouTube Irish Time with Jack! (video) Irish Slang / Teaching Irish Slang (video) Irish Slang & Swear Words! (video) 32:50 - The Vocal Fries Episode 35: How Millennials are Destroying the Philly Accent (audio) Philadelphia magazine - Here’s How Millennials Are Changing the Philly Accent CBS Philly - Experts Seeing Shift In Philadelphia Accent Thanks To Millennials (video) 33:06 - Preston & Steve (12.11.18) (audio) 36:17 - L-vocalization - Wikipedia 38:48 - Send us your question!




5 • 4 Ratings

CD Nov 15 2020
Love this podcast! Even when i think it won't be a topic I'm interested in, I end up really enjoying each episode.

AniAreYouOkay Nov 08 2020
A great, almost Gimlet-edque podcast. Adrienne Jeffries provides a brilliant steer for each of these odd stories.






Sharky Nov 07 2020
I love this one. Four young journalists track down the answers to things you can't easily research yourself online. They have a great rapport, and are fairly quirky. I like their energy. If you love Reply All and Every Little Thing, give this podcast a try.

Hannarchist Oct 25 2020
Really interesting and unusual stories told by entertaining hosts. Especially recommend if you're a fan of ReplyAll.