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Are you looking for a more interesting way to to learn English? English Learning for Curious Minds is where you can learn English from native speakers while learning fascinating things about the world. Every episode comes with a transcript & key vocabulary and is spoken at a speed you can understand. Join listeners from 155 countries and discover the most interesting way to improve your English while expanding your mind. Find the bonus episodes, transcripts, key vocabulary, and learning mate ...
 
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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? What are personality tests? Historical ideas of personality & character: The four humours Sigmund Freud & Carl Jung Katharine Cook Briggs & Isabel Briggs-Myers…
 
It's the biggest shopping day of the year. How did it start, what actually happens, and how much do people really spend? Plus, learn about the history of discounting, and how companies trick you into buying things you don't need. How much people spend on Black Friday How Black Friday has developed over the years The history of Black Friday (it does…
 
Starting in the 17th century, Britain sent hundreds of thousands of people to America and Australia for crimes as small as stealing a loaf of bread. Learn about why this happened, how it worked, and the legacy it has left on the countries where these prisoners were sent to. Sending criminals away as a punishment - as old as time The Bloody Code & b…
 
From black cats to Friday the 13th, superstitions exist in cultures all over the world. Where do they come from? Why do so many people believe them? And is there any evidence to suggest that they are actually true? Definition of 'superstition' Superstitions in Ancient Rome Superstitions + religion The Catholic Church + superstitions Why are so many…
 
It's the belief that the world is unstable and unpredictable, and that we should all be prepared for what happens when catastrophe strikes. Learn about where this idea came from, what survivalists do, and why the USA is the world's survivalist capital. What is survivalism? Different types of survivalist 1960s and the birth of survivalism Reasons th…
 
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? Early ideas about timekeeping Romans & hours that were longer or shorter than 60 minutes When every town had its own time zone The …
 
He has been called 'the most relentlessly curious man in history', and was the quintessential Renaissance man. Learn all about the fantastic life of the genius after whom Leonardo English is named, from his talents as an artist to his skills as an engineer, and get inspired by his insatiable curiosity about how the world works. His early life in Vi…
 
“It measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile.” - Robert Kennedy It's the number that world leaders constantly talk about, using it as proof of what a great job they are doing. But what does it actually mean? What does it tell us, and what doesn't it tell us? And what would happen if we stopped using it altogether? Measu…
 
For almost 300 years the vikings terrorised large parts of Europe, arriving in boats and killing anyone that got in their way.But they were also traders, inventors, and storytellers, and they have had a lasting legacy on the world we live in. In this episode we cover: The oversimplification of the vikings The first viking attack in 793 Why did the …
 
You've heard of zoology, but you might not have heard about its pseudoscience cousin, cryptozoology, the subculture that attempts to prove the existence of mysterious animals from folklore and popular culture. In today's episode we cover Origins of Cryptozoology 1960s and conspiracy theories The discovery of the komodo dragon and the giant panda Pr…
 
The Prime Minister of the UK has a unique way of using language, which shows his privileged upbringing and elite education. Learn about how he uses language, why he talks in this way, why this appeals to the British people, and what similarities he has with Donald Trump. In today's episode we cover: The early life of Boris Johnson Johnson's classic…
 
"He it is who decides peace and war… He is king in all but name.” Quote about Cosimo de' Medici The Medici family rose to power in Florence in the 1400s, and controlled the city for a large part of the Renaissance. Their legacy lives on through much of the art, culture, and architecture that we now take for granted. In this episode we tell the stor…
 
“The whales do not sing because they have an answer, they sing because they have a song.”- Gregory Colbert 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 ama…
 
The history of electric cars goes back a lot further than Tesla and Elon Musk. Indeed, the 'golden age' of electric cars was over 150 years ago. Discover how electric cars have evolved, why some people say they aren't as green as people think they are, and we run the calculations to see what the true environmental cost of electric car ownership is.…
 
Tito, the former president of Yugoslavia, survived 21 assassination attempts, fought in two world wars, and managed to stand up to Josef Stalin and live to tell the tale. In this episode we tell the tale of the fascinating life of Josip Broz, 'Tito'. In today's episode we cover: Birth and early life of Josip Broz Joining the Austro-Hungarian army &…
 
The President of The United States of America uses a kind of English you won't find in a textbook. Here we take a look at how he speaks, why he speaks like he speaks, and what Donald Trump can teach you about speaking English effectively. In today's episode we cover: "I have the best words" The vocabulary that Trump uses The coherence of Donald Tru…
 
It's one of the biggest financial frauds in history, and involves bankers, politicians, Hollywood celebrities, and The Wolf of Wall Street. It's time to find out what happened to the missing Malaysian billions. In today's episode we cover: Najib Razak comes to power in 2009 Malaysia and the role of a development fund Enter Jho Low From $1 billion t…
 
The pirates of the 21st century don't have parrots and swords, but night-vision goggles and AK47s. Discover why pirates have re-emerged, how they work, and what the effect of piracy is on the areas in which they operate. In today's episode we cover: Somalia - the world's piracy hotspot Why pirates emerged in Somalia How fisherman became pirates How…
 
It's one of the world's most important financial institutions, but also one of the most controversial. Discover what the World Bank actually is, how it works, what happens when it gets things right, and what happens when things go badly wrong. In today's episode we cover: The creation of the World Bank The difference between the World Bank and the …
 
This far-right conspiracy theory has gone from niche internet forums to President Trump's Twitter account. Discover the story behind QAnon - where does it come from, what do they believe, and is it really the most dangerous conspiracy theory in America? In today's episode we cover: The first Q message PizzaGate Hillary Clinton What does Q actually …
 
In 1971, Richard Nixon declared The War On Drugs. Almost 50 years later, and a war that has cost the US over a trillion dollars, we take a look at the effect that this war has had on society. Why was it declared, what actually happened, and who are the real winners? In today's episode we cover: History of drug use in the United States Sherlock Holm…
 
In 1948 the United Nations signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which set out the 30 'inalienable' rights that all humans on Earth should get at birth. But where did this come from? How effectively does it actually work? And what comes next for human rights? In today's episode we cover: The Universal Declaration of Human Rights The 'fi…
 
There are 7,000 languages spoken across the world. Yet 80% of the population speaks just 1.1% of the languages, and 43% of the languages are endangered. What happens when they die out? In today's episode we cover: How people feel differently when speaking different languages The 12 'dominant' world languages Why have certain languages dominated? Wh…
 
Discover the amazing story of how a young woman from France befriended the royal family, escaped the guillotine, made death masks of revolutionaries, and then created the world's most successful waxworks museum. The story of Madame Tussauds has a lot more to it than meets the eye. In today's episode we cover: What is wax-working? Going to Paris to …
 
Food delivery apps have taken over cities across the world, promising delicious food at the tap of a button. But is it really that simple? In this episode we discuss what the rise of food delivery apps means for us, for restaurants, and for the people who do the deliveries. In today's episode we cover: How food delivery apps work Why restaurants us…
 
When a country finds gold, oil or diamonds, you might think this would be a good thing. But in many cases, it is a curse for that country, and it would have been better off leaving its natural resources in the ground. In today's episode we cover: Expression: "to strike gold" Wars & conflict What happens to your currency when you export natural reso…
 
People in Britain have a unique sense of humour. For lots of foreigners it's difficult to understand and confusing. But British people are fiercely proud of their sense of humour, and Britain has produced some of the world's best comedies. In this episode we take a look at what makes Brits laugh, and tell a few jokes along the way. Introduction to …
 
It has revolutionised our lives, made cars lighter, food fresher, and water safer. But at what cost? In this episode we take a look at the history of plastic, and ask ourselves what comes next. In today's episode we cover: Elephants, combs and billiard balls - how plastic was invented Throwaway living in the 1950s How much plastic waste exists in t…
 
It's one of the most isolated countries in the world, ruled by an authoritarian leader with a passion for horses and Guinness World Records. It's time to find out about the weird and wonderful country of Turkmenistan. In today's episode we cover: The cult of personality under Niyazov No dogs allowed in the capital The golden statue that turned to f…
 
It's one of the most famous department stores in the world, catering to the world's rich and famous. But it hasn't always been this way. In this episode we take a look at the story of Harrods, and discover the fascinating and unusual history of this iconic London location. In today's episode we cover: How it all started, back in 1824 The Great Exhi…
 
It's a collection of the biggest, fastest, and weirdest things in the world. But how much do you really know about The Guinness World Records? Today we look at the story behind the book, and discover how an argument about a bird turned into one of the best selling books in the world. Here's what you have to look forward to in today's episode: Findi…
 
You recognise the name. You recognise the label. You've seen it on bananas, chocolate, coffee, and all over thousands of everyday products. But how much do you really know about Fairtrade? In today's episode we take a look at how it really works, who benefits, and why some companies are starting up alternatives to Fairtrade. In today's episode we c…
 
It's one of the most powerful television channels in the United States, the current US president’s preferred news channel, and referred to by some as 'state TV'. In today's episode we take a look at Fox News: who watches it, how it really makes money, and what event could cause its downfall. In today's episode we cover: The growth of Fox News Fox N…
 
In the early hours of November 5th, 1605, a man was found in a cellar under The Houses of Parliament. He was moments away from blowing everything up, killing the King, and changing the course of British history forever. Today we tell the story of Guy Fawkes, and how we went from religious terrorist to anti-establishment icon. In today's episode we …
 
In Holland in the 1600s the price of tulips rose so much that a single bulb reportedly cost more than a townhouse on Amsterdam's grand canal. Today we look at the real story behind one of the greatest bubbles in history. What is a tulip? Why are things expensive? Why were tulips so expensive in Holland? Why were some people in Holland so rich? How …
 
In 1963 a criminal gang managed to stop a Royal Mail train, steal £2 million pounds in cash (£55 million in today's money), and escape. It took them just 15 minutes. Today we tell the story of this infamous robbery, and the hunt to find the men who did it. The train carrying all the money Why was it carrying so much money? The story of the robbery …
 
In 1755, Samuel Johnson published an English dictionary that has gone down in history. Not only was it the first of its kind, it was full of funny jokes. Today we tell the story of this fantastic dictionary. Dictionaries before 1755 Why Johnson's was so famous Why was a dictionary needed? Why was the English language a mess? 'Fixing' English Johnso…
 
300 years ago, London experienced a gin craze of epic scale, with the average Londoner drinking 10 times the amount of gin that the world's biggest gin drinking country does now. Today, it's time to learn about how gin almost destroyed London. We'll learn about: 👀 Why 'gin' is called 'gin' ⚡ The perfect storm that made caused the gin boom 🍸 The gin…
 
After water and air, it's the most used natural resource in the world. But are we really running out of it? If so, why? And what happens if we do? In today's episode we cover: 🌡 What do we use sand for? 🏘 How much sand goes into a house? 🇨🇳 How much sand China uses ⏳ Where does this sand come from? 👮‍♂️ Sand mafias 🤷‍♂️ Can we avoid using sand? 🗼 S…
 
What would happen if the government just gave everyone money? That's the idea of Universal Basic Income, and it's an idea that has supporters from all across the political spectrum. In today's episode we cover: ✍ History of Universal Basic Income 🤖 Are the robots coming? 💸 Who should get the money? 💰 Who should pay for it? 👏 Who supports Universal …
 
It's the most visited website in the world, with 80,000 searches per second. But have you ever actually wondered how it really works? In today's episode we'll take a look at how this technology giant really works. 🔠 Alphabet & Google 🖥 What does 'The Internet' actually mean? 🕷 Google Spider 🤔 How does Google decide what results to show you? ❓ How d…
 
You might know nothing about it. But certainly does (or could do) know a huge amount about you. Let's take a look at this incredibly powerful company that has the power to see everything we do. In today's episode we cover: Animating transcripts Peter Thiel - founder of Palantir What does Palantir actually do? Big data What if the technology wasn't …
 
Today is a bit of a change from the normal. It's time to ask for your help. Let's build the best podcast in the world together. Animated transcripts Update on the podcast after 2 months What do I know? How you can help What you get in return Key vocabulary: Animated, Browser, For one, Condense, Ether, Hand in hand, Pile, Operation, Shape, Priority,…
 
The media might portray it as just a failed state run by a mad dictator, but today we'll find out that things might be just a little bit more complicated than they seem. In today's episode we cover: Post Second World War - US vs. USSR in the Korean Peninsula The Korean War The post-war years North Korea & China Nuclear weapons (and why do they real…
 
Confused about the difference between Great Britain and The United Kingdom, and always wondered when to call someone British instead of English, Scottish, Welsh or Irish? Let's clear it up, and explain how we got to this, admittedly, pretty complicated situation. In today's episode we cover: Bye bye European Union Do people in the UK know the diffe…
 
It's time for Part 2 of our most common mistakes people make when learning English. In today's episode we cover: Recap of Part 1 Why you shouldn't focus on grammar (and how to actually learn grammar) Why you shouldn't just do 'survival' listening Why you don't need to go to an English-speaking country (and how to create your own immersion course) H…
 
It's time to take a look at the most common mistakes people make when learning English, and how to avoid them. In today's episode we cover: 📍 Strategic vs. Specific mistakes 📕 Why you shouldn't use traditional language learning content 👀 Why you shouldn't judge your progress against that of others 📈 Are there really any English learning hacks? 😍 Ho…
 
Do you believe in conspiracy theories? Millions of people around the world do. Today we're going to ask ourselves why, talk about why they can be so seductive, and zoom in on some of the wackiest ones out there. This episode covers: 👀 What is a conspiracy theory? 👄Why conspiracy theories can be so seductive 🧠Why do we seek connections between event…
 
Britain's biggest contribution to gastronomy, the sandwich, was invented 250 years ago. How it was invented may surprise you though. Today it's time for part 4 of our mini-series on British food, where we go for a journey into sandwich history. In today's episode we cover: 10 days left to get promotional price for transcripts & key vocabulary Earl …
 
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