Dead Ideas

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We explore ideas once believed to be true but no longer. Each dead idea is explored in all its glorious eccentricity.

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The Podcast of Extinct Thoughts and Practices
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2019-08-25 21:47
last episode published
2019-08-25 20:40
publication frequency
9.19 days
B. T. Newberg, Anna Bratton, Nick Moen author  
Number of Episodes
Detail page
Society & Culture History Comedy



Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Best of the Best: Pulp Fiction/Da Derga’s Hostel Mashup – Irish History

It's another best of the best for you! This one has it all: romance, plunder, mimes - and it all ends in a bloodbath! This was our first mashup and it's still one of my favorite episodes. What are your faves? Let me know at or on...
B. T. Newberg author

Best of the Best: Ghost in the Tablet – Gilgamesh/Ghost in the Shell Mashup – Sumerian History

We’re trying something new here on Dead Ideas. We have a sizeable back-catalog of episodes, many of which new listeners may never have heard, and which long-time listeners may have forgotten. So, we’re reprising classic episodes that are among the best...
B. T. Newberg author

Put That City to the Sword: Julius Caesar Slaughters Avaricum, Feat. Neil Eckart – Roman History

When was the last time you put a city to the sword? It's not something we do much anymore today. But there was a day and age when it was quite normal to slaughter every last man, woman, and child in a captured city. Neil Eckart of the podcast War and C...
B. T. Newberg author

Gender in Game of Thrones: Its Legacy

What will Game of Thrones be remembered for? I would argue it's not its supposed character realism, nor it's moral ambiguity. Rather, it will be its depiction of unusual gender identities in fantasy. No other major fantasy show that I can think of does...
B. T. Newberg author

What It’s Like to Make a Podcast: An Interview with Sam Hume of Pax Britannica

What's it like to make a podcast? Sam Hume of the new show Pax Britannica talks with me about all the ups and downs of podcasting. Check out Sam's show. Be sure to support the show at to get your portrait drawn! Music and...
B. T. Newberg author

Doomsday, 1000 AD: How Millenarianism Ushered in the Crusades, Feat. Neil Eckart – European History

The end is nigh! Or so they've been saying since the year 1000 A.D. Today, Neil Eckart of the podcast War and Conquest tells us about millenarianism, the medieval idea that the world was coming to crashing halt at the end of the millennium. So, how did...
B. T. Newberg author

Dan Carlin of Hardcore History: Full Interview for the History of History Podcasting

Last time we delved into the History of History Podcasting, and now we are giving you the full interview with none other than the host of Hardcore History, Dan Carlin. For the rest of the full interviews, check out our Patreon feed at
B. T. Newberg author

The History of History Podcasting, Feat. Dan Carlin, Bob Packett, Lars Brownworth, Cam Reilly, Lara Eakins, Robin Pierson, Roifield Brown, Jordan Harbour, Travis Dow, Glen Gibbs, and Liz Covart

This is it: the first ever attempt at a history of our genre, history podcasting. I've interviewed nearly a dozen podcasters and spoke to dozens more to bring you this story, which comes to you with our characteristic Dead Ideas quirk (would you expect...
B. T. Newberg author

Steampunk Rome VI: Rome Industrial – An Interview with Jordan Harbour of Twilight Histories – Roman History

Now that you know ancient Rome fell just shy of an industrial revolution, why not enjoy a world where Rome does industrialize? That's Jordan Harbour's Rome Industrial setting, which he is here to talk to us about today. Jordan is the host of Twilight H...
B. T. Newberg author

Steampunk Rome V: A Pyrrhic Victory: The Death of Ancient Science – RPG, Pt 3 – Egyptian, Greek, and Roman History

Success is at hand for Andre's character Pyrrho. But it is a Pyrrhic victory, for after that we recount the history of the backward slide of science from the Roman conquest into the Middle Ages, until its final rebirth in the Renaissance and Enlightenm...
B. T. Newberg author

Steampunk Rome IV: The Great Library of Alexandria – RPG, Pt 2 – Egyptian, Greek, and Roman History

Arriving at the Great Library of Alexandria, Andre's character Pyrrho of Pergamum searches for the secret plans for the floating statue. But in order to get his hands on them, he must first solve several science and engineering challenges. Along the wa...
B. T. Newberg author

Steampunk Rome III: Hellenistic Science, Hell Yeah – RPG, Pt 1 – Greek and Roman History

So Roman tech was pretty surprising, but still more surprising is that all that was developed centuries earlier in the Hellenistic period. What's up with that? Today we explore the development of Hellenistic science, then go deep into that world with a...
B. T. Newberg author

Steampunk Rome II: The Industrial Revolution That Didn’t Happen (And Why Not) – Roman History

So why didn't Rome undergo an industrial revolution? Today, we take a look at some of the contributing factors for 18th-century Britain and see how Rome stacks up. Be sure to support the show at to get your portrait drawn!...
B. T. Newberg author

Steampunk Rome I: An Ancient Industrial Revolution (Almost) – Roman History

For our final series, we're doing the steam technology of the ancient world that died and had to be resurrected in 18th-century Europe. How close was Rome to being able to construct a working steam locomotive? That may sound silly, but you won't think ...
B. T. Newberg author

The Canals of Mars – American History, Science History

Is the surface of Mars criss-crossed by lines so long and straight they can only be constructions of an advanced alien civilization? Many astronomers in the late 19th and early 20th century thought so. Join us in this jaunt into the frailty of human pe...
B. T. Newberg author

The Vamp: Theda Bara, Cinema’s First Sex Symbol – Halloween Special – Women’s History, American History

In the early 20th century, the word "vampire" was used to mean something quite different: a female sexual predator. And no one struck more fear into the hearts of men than cinema's first sex symbol, silent film actress Theda Bara. Happy Halloween. Fea...
B. T. Newberg author

Court Eunuchs V: Sex in the City: Stories from Byzantium – Byzantine Roman History

What can the sex lives of Byzantines tell us about court eunuchs? Find out today in these sizzling chariot-cab confessions. Be sure to support the show at to get your portrait drawn! Music and graphic design by Rachel Wes...
B. T. Newberg author

Court Eunuchs IV: The Varangian Guard – An Interview with Robin Pierson – Byzantine Roman History, Viking History

Today, we're talking Vikings in Byzantium with special guest Robin Pierson of the History of Byzantium podcast. What were these big-bearded warriors doing standing next to beardless eunuchs? And why were both Vikings and eunuchs entrusted with such imp...
B. T. Newberg author

Court Eunuchs III: When in Rome: Narses in the Reconquest of Italy – Byzantine Roman History

How awkward is it for the Roman Empire to not control Rome? Uh, yeah, this cannot stand. Anna's back today to finish the story of eunuch general Narses, as he completes Justinian's reconquest of the Eternal City! Be sure to support us on Patreon at ww...
B. T. Newberg author

Court Eunuchs II: Call of Duty: Narses in the Nika Riots and Beyond – Byzantine Roman History

Today, Anna takes the lead with the story of the eunuch general Narses! In this episode, we get an overview of Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora, and then we see Narses make his first appearance in quelling the infamous Nika Riots. Finally, he hea...
B. T. Newberg author

Top 5 Peeves of History Podcasting – Two-Year Anniversary Special

Happy anniversary! We're getting cranky today with our 5 biggest peeves of history podcasting - what we consistently get annoyingly wrong. We call out our fellow podcasters, with plenty of self-deprecating humor as well. Last, we talk a little more abo...
B. T. Newberg author

Court Eunuchs I: Third Gender of Byzantium – Byzantine Roman History

Did you know that Byzantine culture recognized three genders? This begins our new series on Byzantine court eunuchs, and today it's all about different constructions of gender. That, and cutting off your junk to get ahead! Follow the spectacular rise a...
B. T. Newberg author

Tuberculean Chic: A 19th-cen. Fashion Inspired by Tuberculosis – featuring Dig: A History Podcast

Forget heroine chic. This is tuberculean chic! This episode, courtesy of Dig: A History Podcast, features a most peculiar fashion "look" inspired by the White Plague, i.e. tuberculosis. For credits, show notes, and further reading see ...
B. T. Newberg author

Berserkers VIII Finale: Suicide Swords – Suicide Squad/Göngu-Hrolf’s Saga Mashup – Viking History

The grand finale to our series is a tale chock full of no less than 19 berserkers, all villains. And just like the movie Suicide Squad, we're telling it from the bad guys' perspective. So, get ready for Suicide Swords: Berserker Battallion! With a soun...
B. T. Newberg author

Berserkers VII: Why Go a-Viking in the First Place? – An Interview with Lee Accomondo – Viking History

We're joined today by the host of the Viking Age Podcast, Lee Accomondo. Together, we're turning back the clock to the early Viking Age today to ask: what got this whole thing started? Why leave the farms and fjords to risk life and limb on some foolis...
B. T. Newberg author

Berserkers VI: Origins: Pipe-smoking Werewolves of Doom? – Viking History

We go down the rabbit hole today as we explore the possible deep origins of berserkers in initiatory cults and Indo-European wolf traditions. Buckle in - it's going to be a bumpy ride! Special thanks to Faoladh for pointing us at some of the more obsc...
B. T. Newberg author

Berserkers V: Shieldmaidens and Badass Women – Viking History

We're continuing to explore the Viking world, and today we ask: did Viking women really fight? Were they truly badass? Be sure to support the show at to get your portrait drawn! Music and graphic design by Rachel Westhoff...
B. T. Newberg author

Berserkers IV: The Duel at the Althing – RPG – Viking History

Andre's character Snorri Ankle-grabber shows up at the Althing, the greatest assembly of Iceland, and attempts to convict his stepfather for manslaughter. Will this game of law devolve into a violent duel? Find out today on... Berserker Court! Be sure...
B. T. Newberg author

Father’s Day Special: Personal Stories of My Father’s Side of the Family

Happy Father's Day, everybody. Today I'm telling stories of my father's side of the family. It's a tale of adventure, tragedy, murder, loss, and triumph. Join me as we explore what it means to try to live up to the expectations of those that have gone ...
B. T. Newberg author

Berserkers III: Law and Vengeance – RPG – Viking History

Today we experience life as a berserker in medieval Iceland on the cusp of Christianization. In this roleplaying epsidoe, Andre faces some tough choices on his road to vengeance! Be sure to support the show at to get your ...
B. T. Newberg author

Berserkers II: Tales of Sex, War, and So Much More – Viking History

Today we explore the Viking world of the berserkers, from the Rus to Scandinavia and Iceland, covering everything from longship warfare to romance with dubious queens. Be sure to support the show at to get your portrait dr...
B. T. Newberg author

Berserkers I: Shield-biting Badasses of the Viking Age – Viking History

They were the howling, shield-biting badasses of the Viking Age! Who were these frightening fighters? What were they really like? We’re exploring all that and more in our new epic series on Viking berserkers! Be sure to support the show at www.patreon...
B. T. Newberg author

The Topless Renaissance – French History, Women’s History

It's our first-ever dead fashion: the Reniassance trend of showing one boob! Believe it or not, that was an actual fashion among court ladies in France and beyond. That's right, we're really classing it up today. We're talking about the topless Renaiss...
B. T. Newberg author

Technocracy IV: Technocracy Today – Interview with Justin Lazzara – North American History

Technocracy isn't dead! Today we talk to a card-carrying modern technocrat, Justin Lazzara. How has the movement grown and changed? Find out with us today. Be sure to support the show at to get your portrait drawn! Music ...
B. T. Newberg author

Technocracy III: Welcome to the Technate! – Alternate History – North American History

What if the Technate succeeded? Today, we indulge in a bit of alternate history, constructing a timeline where North America joins into one nation ruled by experts. Then we explore what life might be like in 2018 in that alternate timeline world. Welc...
B. T. Newberg author

Technocracy II: Techno-snark and the Techno-future – North American History

It gets snarky today with snippets of articles from a 1937 Technocratic magazine, and it gets visionary with excerpts from Harold Loeb's visionary book Life In a Technate: What It Might Be Like. Be sure to support the show at
B. T. Newberg author

Technocracy I: Functional Control Is Imperative – North American History

Our new series is a 1930s vision of techno-topia! It's not only from the 30s, though - while long past its heyday, a small Technocracy movement still exists today, which only makes this all the more interesting. This movement that proposed all of North...
B. T. Newberg author

Mohism VI Finale: Big Trouble in Little Moh-town – RPG – Chinese History

Today we put Mohist principles to the test. Andre's character returns to his home province and is forced to face complicated challenges of family, politics, and intrigue as a newly-trained Mohist. Featuring a soundtrack by Lunar Synth. Be sure to supp...
B. T. Newberg author

Mohism V: Your Mohist Training – RPG – Chinese History

Train with the Mohists! This week is a roleplaying episode in which Andre's character experiences what life is like as a Mohist-in-training in the Warring States Era. We read snippets from the actual text of the Mozi and struggle to grasp its ideas. B...
B. T. Newberg and history nerd friends author

Space Exploration in 1920: In Honor of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch – PDT3K – Science History

It's Valentine's Day, and this is a valentine to humanity, sort of. In honor of last week's Falcon Heavy Launch by SpaceX, we're reading a space exploration article from 1920. What was it like to imagine reaching space at such an early date? Let's foun...
B. T. Newberg and history nerd friends author

Mohism IV: The Castle of Horrors, Part 2 – Chinese History

I still haven't taken that damn city! We're continuing our Mohist military defense tactics mini-series in which I am attempting to take a city and Andre is using Mohist tactics against me. This time I'm sure to succeed! Or not... Be sure to support th...
B. T. Newberg and history nerd friends author

Mohism III: Dungeon Master Mo and the Castle of Horrors, Part 1 – Chinese History

The enemy is attacking - call the Mohists! Andre Sólo gives us the skinny on the military defense tactics for which the Mohists were so famous. And he gives me the fool's errand of attacking a city defended by a Mohist scholar. Woe is me. Be sure to su...
B. T. Newberg and history nerd friends author

Dead Contraceptives, feat. Kelly Nussbaum – Women’s History

We have a very special episode today: the first ever not hosted by me! Join guest host Kelly Nussbaum and me (as co-host) as we talk about all the ways women have tried to keep the bun out of the oven. Be sure to support the show at
B. T. Newberg and history nerd friends author

Mohism II: Working Class Philosophers

How did the Mohists see things differently in the Hundred Schools of Thought era? We find out today, as we explore their particular perspective as working class philosophers. We also learn lots about the early Confucians. Be sure to support the show at...

Mohism I: Ancient Chinese Leftists

They were the chief rivals of the Confucians in their early days, but today no one has heard of them. Meet the Mohists: a faction of hard-headed, big-hearted philosophers whose ideas would fit right in to modern leftist politics, but which were scorned...
B. T. Newberg, Anna Bratton, Nick Moen author

Christmas Ghost Stories: Glámr the Icelandic Draugr, and 13 Candles

More ghost stories! This year we hear a spooky tale from 13th-cen. Iceland: the story of Glámr the draugr! And as a bonus, Andre Sólo appears to read an original story of his own called "13 Candles." And don't forget you can get yourself drawn as a co...
B. T. Newberg, Anna Bratton, Nick Moen author

Self-mummification III: A Japanese Abelard and Heloise

To conclude our series, here's a a self-mummified monk whose bawdy tale could be called a Japanese Abelard and Heloise (i.e. the story Romeo and Juliet was based on, but with more genital mutilation). We also hear how self-mummification died, and even ...
B. T. Newberg, Anna Bratton, Nick Moen author

Self-mummification II: The Perfect Samurai and the Farmer Fuck-up

It's story time! Today we hear two stories of monks who self-mummified, one starting out as the perfect samurai, the other as a not-so-perfect farmer in samurai-era Japan. Be sure to support the show at to get your portrai...
B. T. Newberg, Anna Bratton, Nick Moen author

The Merry Thanksgiving of the Burglar and Plumber, 1895 – PDT3K

Our craziest Thanksgiving special yet! This unexpectedly weird story tells of a lone woman who hates union plumbers, who gets an unexpected visitor in the night. Featuring guest co-host Jon. Don't forget to contribute at t...
B. T. Newberg, Anna Bratton, Nick Moen author

Self-mummification I: Buddhist Mummies of Japan

That's right: *self*-mummification, mummifying yourself through a special 3000-day diet and regimen of spiritual exercises which will lead to your death but, if you do it correctly, will mummify your body and make you a sokushinbutsu or "Buddha in the ...
B. T. Newberg, Anna Bratton, Nick Moen author