Posts Tagged: ‘pirates’

During the golden age of piracy, standard operating procedure for a pirate was to commandeer a ship, gather a crew, and start plundering and pillaging. Stede Bonnet, on the other hand, bought a ship, paid for it with real money, had it outfitted with cannons, and named it the Revenge. Then, with his legitimately acquired pirate vessel, he went out plundering. As you might imagine would be the case for a pirate who went and commissioned a pirate ship, he wasn’t very good at it.

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Maria Hallett, former lover of pirate Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy, was a central character in the story of the Whydah shipwreck, one of several Sarah and I covered in shipwreck-themed podcast series recently. In fact, she may have been the whole reason the Whydah was in New England on April 26, 1717, when it met that massive storm off the coast of Cape Cod that led to its demise. We didn’t have the chance to talk about Maria’s fate in that episode, so I wanted to do that here.

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Here’s a fun question for all of you: Who is your favorite pirate? Growing up in North Carolina, I learned an awful lot about Blackbeard, because he spent so much time hanging around my fair state, so I’d probably say he was my childhood favorite. As an adult, I’ve enjoyed getting to know that boozy pirate Captain Morgan, and because I’m scared of crocodiles, I’ve always had a lot of sympathy for Captain Hook.

I’m no expert on pirate culture, but even my cursory education is enough to show me that women are more sidekicks than stars on the dangerous high seas. That’s why it was so fun to record our latest episode of Stuff Mom Never Told You about female pirates.

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Nigeria is a country that has a lot of oil. It also has a somewhat more Wild West feeling than more developed parts of the world do. And parts of the country experience crushing poverty that provides people with a certain desperation. When you put these elements together you get backyard oil refineries. This photo […]

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This week on TechStuff, Chris and I talked about a couple of topics that have been in the news recently. On Monday, we discussed automated cars that take the human driver out of the experience. Recently, Google revealed that the company had been testing self-driving cars on California roads to the tune of about 140,000 miles (225,308 kilometers) so far. But the idea of the self-driving car is much older. Check out the episode to hear more.

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When U.S. Senator Ted Stevens declared the Internet to be a “series of tubes,” the media had an all-out field day. While that jumbled congressional speech might have been deemed representative of the ridiculous sputterings of a man so far removed from the digital generation as to be ranking at about the same level of Internet savvy as your spam-happy great-aunt Astrid, well, in a general way, Stevens wasn’t too terribly far off the mark — especially if he had substituted the word “cables” for “tubes.”

Because the Internet is, in part, a vast web of cables — cables that fiber optic info needs to travel through. In particular, an absurdly long network of underwater cables that are pretty darn vulnerable to just about everything — even frowning at them is, well, pretty much frowned upon — as I recently read in this hilarious article by Robert Evans over at So how would say, those ever-industrious Somali pirates, attempt to go about this dastardly act of digital demolition if they were hell-bent on taking down the Internet in a blaze of under-reported glory? (Keep in mind, we wouldn’t have the Internet to turn to after the fact, so how on Earth would we hear about it?)

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A picture paints a thousand words: If you are a paying customer, this is what you get This was one (perhaps the only) advantage to video tape – you had some level of control over this kind of time-wasting stuff. [[[Jump to previous Funny...]]]

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Ghost ships are always popping up in folklore and fiction — there’s the Flying Dutchman of Wagner’s “Der Fliegende Holländer,” the Black Pearl in “Pirates of the Caribbean,” and hey, even the eponymous “Ghost Ship” in Disney’s TaleSpin.

Of course in fiction, the primary problem with ghost ships is their crews of undead pirates, or at best, lonesome, cursed sailors who unknowingly forecast doom.

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Approximately 7,000 clay soldiers guard the burial site of Qin Shi Huangdi, China’s first emperor. Learn more about the emperor’s mysterious army in this podcast from

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