Bronson Arcuri

Bronson Arcuri is a video producer at NPR, where he directs the "Planet Money Shorts" video series and helps out with Tiny Desk Concerts from time to time. He also produced "Elise Tries" and "Ron's Office Hours" along with the "Junior Bugler" series, which he still insists was "pretty good for what it was."

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It is really hard these days to make money in the movie industry. Most movies don't make money. But there is a notable exception: horror movies.

Seven of the 10 most profitable films of all time are horror movies, and the reason why is quite simple: Horror movies are cheap to make, and they're insanely popular.

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Four hundred years ago, Isaac Le Maire helped found the Dutch East India Company. (You might remember them from history class: Think big wooden boats, trips across rough seas, and lots and lots of spices).

Anyway, Le Maire got caught up in a dispute over some expense reports, and so his co-directors essentially banished him from the spice trade.

Anyone else might've backed away, but Le Maire wanted revenge. And so the short sell was born.

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What exactly makes an Irish pub an Irish pub?

In the 1970s, Irish architecture student Mel McNally spent his final year in school studying the design of Irish pubs (partly as an excuse to drink with his buddies). They hit up all the famous pubs in Dublin and brought along their sketchbooks and a measuring tape to answer one question: What makes these places work?

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In the 1950s, Stefan Mandel won the Romanian lottery twice.

And then he took his winnings, packed his bags and settled in Australia, where he won the lottery 12 more times. Yeah, you read that correctly: 12.

So how did this math whiz beat the system?

A century ago, stuff was expensive. Back then, people relied on nature to make things: Toothbrushes were made of silver, combs were made of tortoiseshell, and clothes were made of cotton (well, they still use a lot of cotton, but you get the point.)

Then, in 1907, a chemist named Leo Baekeland found a way to take the useless gunk leftover from making kerosene and turn it into plastic. It opened up a whole world of affordable products. Suddenly, everyone could get one of everything.

This is the story of how plastic was first made and how maybe we went too far with it.