3.29.16: Breaking the Bracket, Waiting in Lines, & Weird Capitals

Mar 29, 2016

With the final four now chosen, the frenzy of March Madness is more or less over - and by now, your bracket...may not be looking so good.  But what were the chances you'd get it right anyway? Despite the odds, some folks have managed to take their brackets pretty darn far. Today, we look at three very different strategies for predicting college ball.

And, from waiting for rides at Disney World, to standing for days in hopes of getting the first iPhone, we'll explore at the relatively short history of everybody's least favorite activity: waiting in line.

Listen to the full show. 

Breaking the Bracket

It's March, time for the annual rite of sports fans walking around bleary-eyed and talking about RPIs and brackets. For basketball addicts, picking March Madness brackets is about loyalty, and love of the game. For others, it's gut and still others, data.

That last one is the province of FiveThirtyEight.com, which recently collaborated with Fictionless on a video comparing strategiesNeal Paine joins us from 538 to explain. 

Waiting In Line

You'll find them at the bank.  At the grocery checkout.  At the DMV.  Maybe you stood in one to get your new iPhone, or to snag a pair of hot concert tickets when you were a teenager.  You've been standing in lines your whole life - and yet, the history of this incredibly boring, seemingly ubiquitous activity is a relatively short one. David Andrews is author of the book Why Does the Other Line Always Move Faster? a sort of cultural exploration of the queue. 

The Diaper Wars

Let's be honest - when you hear the term 'patent law', you probably don't perk up with interest.  But how about "patent war"?  This story, about an epic legal battle between two huge companies - and no, we're not talking about Apple versus Android - was produced by Audrey Quinn for the podcast Life of the Law.

You can listen to this story again at PRX.org

Weird Capitals

If you're looking for something to do in Connecticut, you can make a stop at the world capital of witch hazel near Watertown. Head a couple hours north and you might find yourself in the world capital of earmuffs - Farmington, Maine - south and you'll hit Havre-de-Grace, Maryland, world capital of decoy ducks.  Looking to get a nose job? Tehran is the place to go.

These are just a few examples of the weird and surprising capitals that are scattered around the globe and gathered by George Pendle for Atlas Obscura.

Related: From Accordions to Zippers, a Map of 90 of the World's Most Surprising Capitals.