The Gazette... the First Newspaper *
Before this time, the daily or weekly news was distributed via word-of-mouth by eavesdroppers or by royal proclamations posted in the public square. This year, Venetian printers are producing a few sheets of throw-away news that they sell for a small coin called a gazetta. It is worth about a penny and a half. These "penny papers" are scorned because of their low price and ubiquity, yet people buy them like they do modern gossip rags. The idea of printing newspapers filled with important facts will not occur to the printers until the American Civil War when they will notice a dramatic increase in sales whenever they print more-or-less accurate war news such as casualty numbers rather than the usual "Our side is fighting for all that is good and their side is biting off the heads of live puppies." You've heard that riff a million times.      
Predictably, Nostradamus Writes His First Almanac
Almanacs are becoming popular these days. They are more than a calendar. They point out certain important dates such as when to plant certain crops; what the weather will be like on average in certain areas; when to visit the barbershop for bloodletting (that is why there is a red stripe on the barber pole) and, of course, natural astronomical data so that you can run your horoscope. Michel de Nostredame is a doctor in his 50s who has few patients these days probably due to a few poorly chosen remarks that were seen as bad omens. He has decided to join the crowd and publish an almanac under a new name: Nostradamus. He includes a few predictions for the future. These prophesies instantly catch the interest of the people including a number of very important people. He will include predictions in future almanacs and he is planning several volumes made up exclusively of his predictions of the future.  
Sweden Falters in It's Foothold on Finland
The town of Helsinki is established as a trading post by King Gustav the 1st of Sweden to serve as competition with the Hanseatic (hahn-say-ATTIC) League. It won't really work out and the town will bump along for years, trying to figure out what it will become. In 1809, the Russians will spank the Swedes and take Finland away from them. That will be the time when Helsinki really takes off. In the modern day it will be the capital and largest city in Finland.
This Year on Wikipedia
Year 1550, Wikipedia.
- * The asterisk in the section header indicates that it was read on the podcast.
- Riff - definition of Riff. The Free Dictionary (2015). Retrieved on 3 April 2015. “A repeated or varied theme, idea, or phrase”
- Words from History (PDF), Books on Words, Houghton Mifflin. “About 1550, printed sheets containing news began to circulate in Venice--the forerunner of our modern newspapers. They were small, crude and inexpensive. A copy might be bought for a single small coin, or else that coin might buy admittance into a gathering where the news sheet was read aloud. The coin used for the purpose was a 'gazzetta' and the word for the coin was transferred to the news sheet itself.”
- Gazet - definition of Gazet. The Free Dictionary (2015). Retrieved on 2 April 2015. “A Venetian coin, worth about three English farthings, or one and a half cents.”
- Gazette - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 April 2015. “Gazzetta became an epithet for newspaper during the early and middle 16th century, when the first Venetian newspapers cost one gazzetta.”
- gazette. Online Etymology Dictionary (2015). Retrieved on 2 April 2015. “We are indebted to the Italians for the idea of newspapers. The title of their gazettas was, perhaps, derived from gazzera, a magpie or chatterer; or, more probably, from a farthing coin, peculiar to the city of Venice, called gazetta, which was the common price of the newspapers.”
- Eric Burns. Infamous Scribblers: the Founding Fathers and the Rowdy Beginnings of American Journalism. Public Affairs. ISBN 9781586483340.
- The Yiddish Handbook: 40 Words You Should Know. DailyWritingTips.com (2015). Retrieved on 3 April 2015. “shtup - Literaly &lquot;to stuff.&rquot; Used as a euphemism for sex.”
- JOHN EDWARDS' MISTRESS DEMANDS DNA TEST FOR BABY!. The National Enquirer (2015). Retrieved on 3 April 2015. “The ENQUIRER was the first to expose the extramarital affair in 2007, and Rielle's sudden move to determine paternity is a clear signal that she is no longer willing to protect the philandering politician, who still has not admitted that he's the father of her baby.”
- "Fatal Descent of Germanwings Plane Was ‘Deliberate, -- French Authorities Say", The New York Times, New York Times Company, March 26, 2015. Retrieved on 3 April 2015. “Andreas Lubitz was breathing, steady and calm, in the final moments of Germanwings Flight 9525. It was the only sound from within the cockpit that the voice recorder detected as Mr. Lubitz, the co-pilot, sent the plane into its descent.”
- Nostradamus - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 2 April 2015. “After another visit to Italy, Nostredame began to move away from medicine and toward the occult. Following popular trends, he wrote an almanac for 1550, for the first time Latinising his name from Nostredame to Nostradamus. He was so encouraged by the almanac's success that he decided to write one or more annually. Taken together, they are known to have contained at least 6,338 prophecies, as well as at least eleven annual calendars, all of them starting on 1 January and not, as is sometimes supposed, in March.”
- Bloodletting - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 3 April 2015. “Bloodletting (or blood-letting) is the withdrawal of blood from a patient to cure or prevent illness and disease.”
- Serial Experiments Lain - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 3 April 2015. “Tachibana Industries, the company that creates the NAVI computers, is a reference to Apple computers: 'tachibana' means 'Mandarin orange' in Japanese. NAVI is the abbreviation of Knowledge Navigator, and the HandiNAVI is based on the Apple Newton, one of the world's first PDAs.”
- Boston Molasses Disaster - Wikipedia (2015). Retrieved on 3 April 2015. “The Boston Molasses Disaster, also known as the Great Molasses Flood and the Great Boston Molasses Tragedy, occurred on January 15, 1919, in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, in the United States. A large molasses storage tank burst, and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets at an estimated 35 mph (56 km/h), killing 21 and injuring 150. The event has entered local folklore, and for decades afterward residents claimed that on hot summer days the area still smelled of molasses.”