Rumor Flies

We got the sauce

Rumor Flies comically addresses the origins, evolution, and veracity of your favorite rumors, myths, and misconceptions. Tune in every week for more research, stories, and unsolicited commentary! Participation encouraged. 

Rumor Flies is a member of the Dark Myths collective. Check out these amazingly talented people and their awesome shows!

 

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205 - Animals: Sorry, Armadillos

This episode of the Rumor Flies Podcast is one of the best ones we have ever done. I am proud of it and think that it is a great example of what we strive for every week when the podcast is released. It was clean, concise - for the most part, and entertaining. Our goal is to make every episode like this and continue to build on it to make the best podcast possible.

As far as the topics go, the Lemmings committing suicide shook me to my core. The fact that someone set up these animals to jump off a cliff into their own demise breaks my heart. Maybe I’ve been watching too many Disney movies to fill my own cynical mind but it’s hard for me to ever justify something like that. Not to mention the movie won an Academy Award!

I have to admit my favorite segment of the episode was teaching Ryan and Greg a thing or two about history. It’s not very often that I get that opportunity, so it felt good to flex my history muscles for once on this podcast. I do believe there is something to be said about Ostrich’s and Roman soldiers burying their heads in the sand. There is some parallel there that I would love to know more about and see if they are actually related in some fashion.

Overall, I loved this episode. It was a topic that we discussed covering in season one buy couldn’t make it fit. It ended up being one of our strongest episodes and one that I will point to when people want to know what our podcast is all about. I hope you enjoyed this episode as much as we did. Stay tuned, bigger and better things are in store for the rest of the season.

-Jos   

203 - Food: Salty over Coffee

Hey there,

So the food one. Once again, I was not present, so naturally I'm the ideal candidate to speak about this episode with authority! As always, it's fun to learn about the little facts/corrections that affect things we interact with every day. In this one we researched coffee, the ever-deadly “Chubby Bunny,” the mysterious pink goo, and more. I want to focus in particular on the McDonald's “pink goo” because it is surprisingly relevant with a lot of conversations happening right now about the media, peoples' agendas, and how misinformation gets propagated (especially during tense political elections/debates/etc.). Jeeves! My soapbox, please.

The “pink goo” was, as Ryan put it, another “facebook share.” While this is not a new phenomenon by any stretch of the imagination, a lot of people are once again calling attention to how much of an echo chamber the internet can be. Add in how we tend to surround ourselves even more than usual with like-minded people on social media and it's easy to see how people can put on the earmuffs. One major movement we have seen involves food. We have seen the rise and scrutiny of terms like, “farm to table,” “organic,” “all natural,” and a general trend towards questioning “processed” foods. These trends tend to ebb and flow, but right now we are definitely seeing a lot of marketing and even ideological trends surrounding how we acquire and prepare our food.

The pink goo played into this trend like crazy. Many people, already skeptical about the kind of food we get at a place like McDonald's (real talk: we all know what we are eating when we get fast food. Pink goo or not, we all know it's terrible for us, but that's not why we eat it. Just had to make that point). It's no surprise that when people went on facebook one day and suddenly saw a bunch of their friends who shared the same leanings towards health and food sharing this “fact” about McDonald's that they did no research and just shared it blindly. It fit their world view, it didn't surprise them, and it was popular enough that “it was probably true.” To be honest, I would not have been surprised in the slightest if it turned out it WAS accurate.

Anyway, this was long winded and ever winding, but I don't feel like going back to make this more concise so deal with it. My point is that once again we see how all these factors – the internet echo chamber, our propensity for surrounding ourselves with like-minded people, and the tendency we have towards “meh, sounds right” - contributed to the propagation of yet another completely fabricated claim that went viral. Who knows how many people still believe it's true. Just something to consider.

-Greg

 

110 - Alcohol: A Totally Scientific Experiment

Here we are, season finale! This has been crazy. 
First, let's talk about the episode. This episode was in the works since the show's conception. It was to be a fun episode where we get hammered and knock down every booze myth we come across, but, well, it was much more sobering than expected. If you watch the video, you can likely see my mood change from surprised to worried after I see myself blow a lower BAC than without charcoal in my mouth. It floored me, but then all the sense started falling into place. Think Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind, except dumb and less schizo.

My line of work involves removing impurities via activated carbon, including gases. My only hiccup in confirmation that there were no direct studies I could cite involving specifically exhaled breath and ethanol. But if carbon can adsorb gaseous or aerosol alcohols, breath isn't a stretch.

Now, we said this in the episode already, but trying to pull a fast one with activated charcoal is still a bad idea. Judging by muly repeat test, you could only get away with having a 0.09 or 0.08 BAC before the charcoal is negated. Not to mention, as you may have seen, the charcoal leaves you looking like you just gave the smog monster the night of it's life. Cops will suspect something and take you in anyway. Plus, it tastes fucking terrible. Trust me.

That being said, we're totally doing more video for future episodes. It was fun as hell. This season has been fun as hell. When I first thought about putting my less than radio-worthy voice on air, I never dreamed I would have such great partners to share the experience with. Greg and Josh are powerhouses, and this wouldn't work nearly as well without them. And the reception! Oh man, the reception! It's surreal that now hundreds of people have heard me talk about pissing my pants. What a life! Thank you to everyone that has tuned in. We have plenty more in store for you. I'd love to tell you immediately, but I'd be slapped by two people in particular. For now, keep a look out for some supplemental episodes, or check our our extremely friendly podcast family at darkmyths.org. So much greatness there.

All of you are amazing, see you soon.

-Ryan

109 - Remedies: How Carrots Won the War

Greetings, listenerland!

This episode really gets to the heart and soul of the podcast. Almost every episode that we have done is rooted in some sort of remedies or old wives’ tale. When it came time to hash out what we were going to cover it was really exciting to see the podcast, in a sense, come full circle.

That was until we started to research these topics on hand. Apparently people took these rumors, myths, and misconceptions for face value and just ran with it. Thanks a lot science.

We assumed that things like lemon juice dying hair, ginger being used for motion sickness, and tomato juice neutralizing skunk smell would be easy to cover with no problem. We could not have been more wrong.

Finding the origins of these remedies also proved as a daunting task. They have been passed along orally from various sources that we almost needed carbon dating to find any mention of them as we scoured high and low. This was also coupled with the science itself was frustrating so it kind of became a moot point. We found some mentions sporadically but nothing concrete enough to present their evolution.

The one topic I was very glad that we covered was the chicken pox for oatmeal. That was the lone subject that I could vouch for personally. It was a home remedy I used when I was a kid when I caught the chicken pox virus. I can confirm that it did work and the younger me could not be happier.

Even though the research was heavier and more involved than previous episodes, we really enjoyed dismantling these remedies and approaching them as subjectively as possible. It’s hard not to be skeptic approaching these from a science oriented perspective, but we were pleasantly surprised with the end result. We hoped you learned something from this episode because we most certainly did. If nothing else, we hope to be educational and informative. Thanks a lot for listening.

-Jos   

 

108 - Body: Cracking Knuckles and Power Licking

The body. Another general topic we plan on revisiting because there are so many pervasive and offbeat myths about what we can and can't do with (or to) our bodies. Cracking knuckles was an obvious pick for this week – people constantly refer to it, and even more interestingly, most of these people often say something to the effect of, “I think cracking your knuckles is bad for them,” or, “I'm pretty sure that's not true.” They often follow up with some answer to what is happening when you crack your knuckles, but even then they are still going off vague memories or something they thought they heard.

People seem to get that there is this myth/debate, but we still (yes me included) do not bother looking it up and then doing what we all do best: making commentary on something we don't really get. In my opinion, this is the space where rumors/myths are born and most definitely propagated. Baldness, shaving, etc. also follow this concept. People have a notion that it may or may not be true, but still make claims or at least vague ones. It's really interesting to me.

Last little thing I want to touch on: The Blue Angel. This was one of those that at first I thought, “Really? I know we can be silly and/or obnoxious, but are we REALLY going to cover this?” But ultimately, I still laugh at fart jokes, so I caved. Fact of the matter is a lot of people know this myth and few have been idiotic enough to test it, so we felt it was time to set the record straight and let you watch other idiots try it so we all (your favorite Rumor Flies Guys and our lovely listeners) don't have to.

Anyway, hope this was some fun food for thought. Have a great week and thanks as always for listening!

-Greg

 

 

 

107 - Drugs: "Butt Hash"

Drugs is one of those things that people have very strong convictions about, and they rightfully should. You don’t have to look hard to find someone who wants to talk about the legalization of marijuana or how drugs are a tragic downfall of society. It’s such an encompassing word that has many different avenues to travel down that it’s almost like arguing about religion

With that in mind, we tried to strictly narrow down our field of study to hallucinogens. Outside of jenkem, which was a wild ride of stupidity, all of what we talked about were Schedule I controlled substances. We will be revisiting drugs in the next two seasons; specifically diving into uppers and downers. 

From an ethical standpoint, we really wanted to emphasize that we were basing everything we covered on scientific facts without imposing our personal opinions. I don’t feel that was relevant to the podcast and didn’t serve any benefit for any party involved.

Now for me personally, this episode was fascinating. Coming into this episode, I knew a fair amount about drugs and some specifications about their LD50. But getting the physical numbers on things like overdosing on MDMA or weed really put into perspective how specific chemicals react with our bodies and how much our bodies can take of different hallucinogens. I really enjoyed Ryan talking about the amount of THC that has been added over the years to marijuana. I was floored to learn how potent it is today compared to what people experienced when it became a mainstream drug. Once I started researching more about ecstasy, it completely shattered my previous notions about what it does to our brains and serotonin levels. Overall, it was a great learning experience.

When it came to licking toads, I wasn’t surprised to learn that people have constructed “user guides” on how to properly extract psychoactive substances. On top of that, it was no surprise that people created the abomination that is jenkem as a means to get high. I guess when you’re in a pinch to get your fix, anything is possible even if it involves your own urine and feces fermenting in an open space. 

All in all, covering this topic was fun and informative. It was a fine line for us to walk with giving out information on what can be a taboo subject at times. We hope you enjoyed the episode and look forward to jumping back into more myths about drugs in the near future. 

-Josh

106 - Death: Heads will roll with Heavy Souls

Hey everyone. 

This was an interesting episode (aren't they all though?). In basically every episode we feature someone or groups of people dying, but this one focused more on the rumors and myths many of us have heard surrounding this often terrifying and eventual reality. Like most things, we deal with it with curiosity, some reverence, and of course, humor. 

What I found fascinating about these topics in particular is many of the myths stem specifically from religion and general 19th/early 20th century mindsets. There was a lot of goings on that people weren't equipped to empirically study yet - and I do not mean that with the typical condescending tone of, "Everyone used to be dumb and didn't understand science." The fact is a lot of the tools weren't available and (this is probably the biggest cause of misinformation) our understanding of the human body was incredibly rudimentary until the later into the 20th century. Even now we still barely understand what's really happening under the hood, so it's easy to imagine why people were incredibly confused when they'd see their deceased loved ones had apparently grown more hair and longer fingernails. 

My favorite part was, without question, Ryan's reading the story of Languille. He worked it ahead of time, channeled his inner Dan Carlin (penalty shot I know), and delivered a beautiful, tragic episode in two brothers' lives. What made this moment so satisfying wasn't just the content, but how he really did display the reverence and gravitas of the situation. Radio, podcasts, any sort of audio-only format can be an incredibly powerful tool for storytelling that's also very limiting, so when you experience something truly visceral like that (Josh and I sure did), it's incredibly impressive. 

So that about wraps it up. Thank you as always for listening, and thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. Cheers.

-Greg

 

 

105 - Brain: Nocebo and the Lying Left Brain

This one is going to be a bit behind the curtain. Sure, we've touched on science a fair bit, but we never had to describe experiments this in-depth. I was worried about not only explaining the cross-wiring of the brain (which tripped me up a few times), but also describing the elaborate techniques used in the research cited. I hope you got the gist of it.

This also marks our first time being conscientious of show length. Personally, I think the beauty of podcasts is that one can always pause and come back to it later. But, I do understand that it can be a lot to digest in one episode. We'll be addressing everything we cut later down the line because they are still interesting, and that's another episode for your listening pleasure. 
On a personal note, thank you to everyone listening. We say it a lot, but it's true every time. Nothing feels better than someone showing interested in your niche (borderline smug) passion. Ok, maybe a few other things feel better.

Lastly, our new buddies at Dark Myths have been wonderful to us, and you may see some collaboration in the future. It's crazy being brought into the podcasting community with such open arms, especially since we've only been live for just over a month. Darkmyths.org for anyone interested.

Rambling over, see you next week.

-Ryan

101 - Disney: Death and Turkey Legs

When brainstorming ideas for the Rumor Flies podcast, Ryan and I tossed around a lot of ideas for a jumping off point. After a couple of cold ones and some Rocket League relaxation, it was an almost euphoric reaction when the subject of Disney came up. Both of us immediately knew this was where we wanted to breach the world of podcasting and hopefully lay the foundation of this podcast.

As a little aside about me, the Walt Disney Company is something that has always been part of my life. I grew up visiting the theme parks in Orlando multiple times a year for as long as can remember walking. My parents gobbled up every possible VHS they could get their hands on before they were locked up in the vault for my brother, sister, and family to enjoy. Hell, my mother worked for the Disney Store, and eventually Disney World, throughout my adolescence. To say that Disney was a major influence on my perspective of the world would be a gross understatement. 

For the sake of transparency, I’ll come clean and admit that I didn’t have to engross myself in research like most other subjects that we eventually covered. That’s not to say I didn’t do my due diligence, but most of the subject matter we chose wasn’t foreign to me. I’ve always been fascinated with Disney and how it has been a major impact on the world around me. I’ve spent countless nights reading message boards of rumors of the parks or watching Youtube videos of attractions of yesteryear. Some people are fascinated with WWII or the American Revolution, but it was always about Walt Disney for me. 

The most terrifying aspect of the podcast wasn’t sitting in front of the microphone for the first time, it was knowing how much hostility I would endure if I royally screwed this up. I know my friends and family were going to hang on my every word and be my harshest critiques. Looking back on it, I would like to believe that I did them proud.At the end of the day, I think that we picked a great first episode.

People have strong convictions about the company but that doesn’t necessarily mean all sunshine and rainbows. As I sit here racking my brain, I’ve never met an individual that has ever been apathetic about that Disney. It has left a mark on society that other companies can only dream of emulating. Ryan, Greg, and I managed to be engaging and informative about different avenues of the parks that people may not have been privy to before listening to the podcast. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves for our first episode and I hope that we delivered. We hope you enjoyed our first episode. Have a magical day.

-Josh

104 - Sports: Trippin' Pitchin' is Driving me Madden

Finding myths and tall tales in sports is not a very daunting task if you follow them closely. Most people know Babe Ruth or Michael Jordan; two great athletes who revolutionized their sport and have so many different stories about them. As a lifelong sports fan and someone who grew memorizing stats and collecting football cards, I was elated Ryan and Greg were game to record an episode revolving around sports.

The hardest part about this episode is deciding which avenue I wanted to steer us towards that would be fascinating but also add some flair for everyone to enjoy. I wanted a healthy mix of renowned sports myths, but bring to the table some lesser known stories that haven’t had a lot of light shed on them. That’s why I was drawn to the legend of Wade Boggs pounding beers and he military officer who was poisoned from a golf tee. Doc Ellis was an easy choice as well, in addition to Gaylord Perry. I felt like we had a nice cocktail of different lores that people would find interesting.

The one subject I was most apprehensive about bringing up was Rudy Ruettiger. There isn’t so much a myth about him as how big of an inspiration and legend he was to many people of that era. After the movie in 1993, his fame blew up and people found him an inspiration that gave him his big break into a successful career as a motivational speaker. My personal goal here was to get to the facts about Rudy and see what he actually did on the field as opposed to how he was portrayed on the big screen. You can see in the show notes the actual footage of him playing and how, like most things in the world, it was exaggerated and embellished for the sake of narrative.

This podcast is about finding facts and using those facts to contradict well known beliefs. While I may have my own personal feelings on each individual subject we covered, I think we did a damn good job presenting those realities for people to make their own judgments. Did Doc Ellis really throw a no-hitter on LSD? Did Boggs actually consume 107 beers? In the end, we couldn’t undeniably prove that they did but what we did do is show you how these stories become embodied into society as a “matter of fact” and present the case that sometimes the truth isn’t quite as fun as the narrative. But in the end, everyone loves a good story, right?

This is my longwinded way of saying that I hope you guys took as much out of this as we did. I learned a great deal more than I had originally anticipated, as Greg and Ryan would absolutely agree they enjoyed this despite their preconceived notions. I would invite all of you who may find the subject dull or mundane, give it a listen. You me be surprised how much you enjoy it. Much like a curse derived form the cover of a video game, stranger things have happened.

-Josh

103 - History: Everyone is Terrible and Revere was a Quitter

Dear lord this was a hard one for me. I have a degree in history and obsess over it regularly, so naturally I felt like I needed to "strut my stuff." Ryan and Josh were awesome/flexible and set me up as a host that evening because they recognized how much this subject meant to me. If you've listened you now realize how excited I get, which often leads to incessant, high-speed ramblings. 

One of the challenges of this episode for all of us was how to shorten it. We ran two hours, over double our usual target time. It taught us a lot about how to treat each subject and how many topics to pick for them. In the case of history, we learned that 5+ "myths" is just too many. With that fact in mind, we look forward to further refining our show. 

Personally, I had to deal with the fact that I'm used to writing papers and having historical debates. What does that mean? Covering. Your. Tracks. And covering your tracks takes a LOT of time and sourcing. There's this strong temptation in every debate or discussion I have to fend off opponents or critics before they even step forward, which leads to dry spells and a break in flow, even if it is sometimes (and often it isn't) effective. This show was very fun for me, but it also showed a lot of flaws in applying how I "do" history to a radio show - I REALLY look forward to working on my methods and improving them for our next show. 

Lastly: The subjects. I hope you all enjoyed what we covered. We are very proud of one potential pitfall we planned for: being too broad. We focused on a particular time and location for our first history-focused episode of Rumor Flies. The subjects were meant to be fun and generally known. Paul Revere was particularly fun to cover because of how well-known and totally inaccurate Midnight Ride reads (Yeah yeah yeah poetic license whatever WE DEMAND THE TRUTH!). 

Anywho, we hope you enjoyed the episode and this blog post. Let us know what you think and thanks for checking us out!

-Greg