July 6, 2015

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HFM 124 | The Origin of “The Finger”: Why Do We Call it The Bird?

We’ve all done it in moments of anger. But why do we use our middle finger to express anger? And why do we call it “the bird.” Suggestions range from The Battle of Agincourt in 1415 to Ancient Rome. We find out the history everyone’s favorite one-finger salute in this episode.

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May 25, 2015

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HFM 123 | The Most Productive People in History, Part 6: Elon Musk

Elon Musk is the inspiration for Tony Stark. The 43-year-old native South African is also CEO of SpaceX, the first private rocket company able to send payloads to the International Space Station. On top of that he is the CEO and chief product architect of Tesla Motors, which has produced a line of electric cars since 2008. Despite the cars running six figures, there is a months-long waiting list. He sells thousands of its Model S sedans per month and claims Tesla will sell a few million cars by 2025. If so, Musk will fulfill the dream of making electric cars a mass-market reality, which other car makers have failed to accomplish for over a century. 

Learn how he does what he does in this podcast.

Learn more about his life by getting my new book The Most Productive People in History: 18 Extraordinarily Prolific Inventors, Artists, and Entrepreneurs, From Archimedes to Elon Musk by clicking here. 

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May 18, 2015

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HFM 122 | The Most Productive People in History, Part 5: Thomas Aquinas

Thomas Aquinas is arguably the greatest theologian in Catholic Church. During his lifetime he wrote over 60 tomes of philosophy and theology, most the size of a scholar’s magnum opus. The total word count of his extant writings exceeds 6 million words, perhaps the largest set of complete works created by one man before the invention of the word processor. The pages of these books contain dense concepts – much more so than Isaac Asimov’s thoughtful-but-workmanlike prose – packing in enough ideas per paragraph to warrant a three-hour graduate student session. They include exegeses of scripture, theological syntheses (Summas), commentaries on church fathers or Aristotelian philosophy, and polemical works. Philosophy professor Peter Kreeft believes that were it not for the scarcity of parchment and ink, Thomas could have written more than 500 books in his lifetime.

How did he do it? By delegation, extraordinary focus, and always keeping his eyes on larger goals.

Learn more about his life by getting my new book The Most Productive People in History: 18 Extraordinarily Prolific Inventors, Artists, and Entrepreneurs, From Archimedes to Elon Musk by clicking here. 

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May 7, 2015

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HFM 121 | The Most Productive People in History, Part 4: Theodore Roosevelt

 

Theodore Roosevelt won the presidency twice, was the first American to earn a belt in judo, hunted, wrote numerous books, and read four hours a day even during the busiest moments of his political life. For good measure he also won a Nobel Peace Prize and visited the Panama Canal works, making him the first sitting president to leave the United States. How did he do it all? Learn more in this podcast episode. 

Learn more about his life by getting my new book The Most Productive People in History: 18 Extraordinarily Prolific Inventors, Artists, and Entrepreneurs, From Archimedes to Elon Musk by clicking here. 

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May 6, 2015

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HFM 120 | The Most Productive People in History, Part 3: Leonardo da Vinci

Few Renaissance figures have as many legends swirling around their life as Leonardo da Vinci. The myths persist because of the unconventional nature of his life. Leonardo was a painter, architect, sculptor, mathematician, engineer, musician, inventor, anatomist, geologist, botanist, cartographer, military strategist, and writer. Leonardo is the ideal of a multi-accomplished humanist figure, of limitless curiosity and feverish imagination. He employed unusual empirical methods of the time to approach his broad scope of interest. He made discoveries in optics, hydrodynamics, engineering, and anatomy. He conceived of flying machines, armored vehicles, calculators, the double hull, and even concentrated solar power. Few of his designs came to fruition – his flying machine would have crashed into the ground if ever built and tested – but some of his designs were manufactured, such as a machine that tested the tensile strength of wire and an automated bobbin winder.

Learn more about his life by getting my new book The Most Productive People in History by clicking here.

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May 5, 2015

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HFM 119 | The Most Productive People in History, Part 2: Thomas Edison

 

Thomas Edison is arguably the most prolific inventor in all of history, with 1,093 patents to his name. At one point Edison promised to turn out a minor invention every 10 days and a big thing every six months or so.

He largely made good on his promise. Edison is responsible for inventing the practical incandescent light bulb, phonograph, motion picture camera, cement making technology, batteries, and the electric power generation system. While Edison purchased and even stole some of these patents, nearly 100 percent of them were tied to commercial success and quickly influenced American technological life.

Did he accomplish this by brilliance, hard work, or stealing the inventions of better scientists like Nikola Tesla? A little bit of all of these.

Learn more about his life by getting my new book The Most Productive People in History by clicking here.

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May 4, 2015

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HFM 118 | The Most Productive People in History, Part 1: Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was nothing if not diversified in his talents. The Founding Father was a printer, scientist, inventor, diplomat, postmaster general, educator, philosopher, entrepreneur, library curator, and America’s first researcher to win an international scientific reputation for his studies in electrical theory. He even made contributions to knowledge of the Gulf Stream. 

How did he accomplish so much?

Learn more about his life by getting my new book The Most Productive People in History by clicking here.

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April 20, 2015

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HFM 117 | What Was Dental Hygiene Like During the Middle Ages?

Medieval peasants had rotting teeth if they had any at all, right? Not all all. They not only had pretty good dental hygiene, but it was even better than ours today.

For more from Tim O’Neil, check out these old podcasts:

http://www.michaelrank.net/2013/07/01/hfm-021-common-knowledge-about-medieval-history-that-is-incorrect-part-1-with-tim-oneill/

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April 6, 2015

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HFM 116 | Americana: The Brazilian City Where the Confederacy Still Lives

The United States has accepted immigrants throughout its history, but America has its emmigrants as well. Did you know there is a city in Brazil founded by Confederates who wanted to flee the U.S. during Reconstruction?

Welcome to Americana, Brazil.

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March 23, 2015

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HFM 115 | Real-Life Ghost Ships, Part 2: Mary Celeste

The discovery of the abandoned Mary Celeste in 1872 is the stuff of nightmares. The brigantine merchant ship was found in the Atlantic Ocean with its cargo and valuables completely untouched but still packed with six months’ worth of food and water. No sign of a single crew member or passenger could be seen.

The story only gets stranger from there.

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