Hear and Now: Coffee So Bad It Made History!

Allison Loudermilk

Hear and Now: Coffee So Bad It Made History! HowStuffWorks Now
Hear and Now: Coffee So Bad It Made History! HowStuffWorks Now

It's time for this week's edition of the HowStuffWorks podcast roundup. First up is a story that highlights just how long and widespread our collective addiction to caffeine is. Turns out that Civil War soldiers relied heavily on coffee to keep them going, just as we do. But with war being what it is, it's hard to keep a fresh pot brewing, so one innovative soul named George Hummel dreamed up the Essence of Coffee, a thick, brown sludge that came in a can that was distributed to unsuspecting soldiers. Robert Lamb brings you that bit of history.  

We also have, appropriately enough, a story that spends a little time digging into why U.S. citizens head to the polls to vote on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Turns out that it's based on an 1845 federal law. Will the date ever change? Does the Tuesday business present a scheduling conflict for a lot of working folks? Christopher Hassiotis brings you that timely story written by Patrick J. Kiger.

Also, if you're not weary of election coverage, we have a few more articles on the election that you may want to check out like, what's it been like for regular people named Trump during this presidential election, do voting stickers encourage people to vote and, of course, how difficult it is for Americans who'd like to move to Canada.

Election aside, host Jonathan Strickland also covered a fun story about the intersection of haptic technology and Google Glass. Namely, Georgia Tech researchers conducted a small study that had 12 participants wearing Google Glass while playing an online game. As the participants played, half of them felt a vibrating motor tap out each letter of a word in Morse code. They also heard the letter through their headset. Not surprisingly, the group that got the Google Glass cues scored much higher when tested on Morse code than the group that didn't. Three cheers for learning a new skill with minimal effort.

Want to hear a lot more about these stories? Just push play on the podcast embedded here or check it out on your favorite podcasting service. And, as ever, if you like what you hear, please subscribe