Stuff To Blow Your Mind

Stuff To Blow Your Mind

www.howstuffworks.com
Deep in the back of your mind, you’ve always had the feeling that there’s something strange about reality. There is. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they examine neurological quandaries, cosmic mysteries, evolutionary marvels and our transhuman future.


From the Vault: The Slayer
Oct 12 • 92 min
Myth and folklore are full of monsters and the heroes who slay them. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick meet some of these fabulous slayers and discuss the science and potential meaning of their bloody endeavors.…
Burned from the Mind’s Eye, Part 1
Oct 10 • 67 min
From the VHS horrors of “The Ring” and claims of psychic photography to cutting edge research into neuro technology, humanity continues to wrestle with the notion of the mind’s eye. In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert and Joe dive…
Our Cars, Our Bodies, Our Minds
Oct 8 • 75 min
In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe consider the cognitive effects of driving. How does it alter our perceptions of self? How might driving prevent cognitive decline? What are the benefits of automotive ergonomics and how do we…
From the Vault: Jenny Greenteeth
Oct 5 • 79 min
According to certain English folktales, a vile creature lurks in the slime-caked dark of local ponds. When little ones wander too close to shore, she lashes out to drown them in her slippery embrace. She has many names: Nelly Longarms, Peg Powler, the…
I Drink Your Blood Type
Oct 3 • 63 min
Gather round ye blood drinkers and children of the night, for in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe will discuss human blood types — what they are, why they exist and what powers they hold. It’s all required listeners for any serious…
Demogorgon
Oct 1 • 60 min
You probably know the Demogorgon as the powerful demon lord from Dungeons and Dragons, or perhaps as the interdimensional monster from “Stranger Things.” But where does this curious name come from? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and…
From the Vault: Five Reasons to Never Take Your Space Helmet Off
Sep 28 • 80 min
You’ve consumed enough science fiction to know something the average red shirt doesn’t: Never take your space helmet off on a foreign planet. But if you’re still tempted to breathe deep the gathering gloom, how about five compelling scientific reasons not…
Mark Mandica: Amphibian Conservation and Vilified Reptiles
Sep 26 • 54 min
Mark Mandica, executive director of the Amphibian Foundation, returns to Stuff to Blow Your Mind to discuss the ongoing challenges of amphibian conservation as well as the value of two unfairly-vilified reptiles: the copperhead snake and the common…
Daniel Whiteson: Particles and Science
Sep 24 • 42 min
How do we relate to the unseen worlds of particle physics and distant stars? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, physicist Daniel Whiteson, co-host of the podcast Daniel and Jorge Explain the Universe drops in for a chat about particle physicists,…
From the Vault: Euphemisms
Sep 21 • 82 min
Sure, euphemisms allow us to talk about something unpleasant or taboo without actually invoking the dreaded word or words — but what else is going on? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow your Mind podcast, Robert and Joe explore the linguistic power of…
The One Ring
Sep 19 • 47 min
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss the most powerful artifact in J.R.R. Tolkien’s epic fantasy series and how it…
Flares from Infinity: Sagittarius A* Part 2
Sep 17 • 41 min
A super massive black hole broods at the center of our galaxy. In this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter, Robert and Joe discuss just what that means — and doesn’t mean — for humanity, our solar system and our future. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
From the Vault: John Dee, Part 2
Sep 14 • 45 min
Elizabethan scholar Dr. John Dee was one of the most learned men of the 16th century, applying his intense mathematical intellect to matters scientific, political, alchemical and occult. He advised Queen Elizabeth, sought communion with angelic beings,…
Flares from Infinity: Sagittarius A* Part 1
Sep 12 • 56 min
A super massive black hole broods at the center of our galaxy. In this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter, Robert and Joe discuss just what that means — and doesn’t mean — for humanity, our solar system and our future. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Summer Reading 2019
Sep 10 • 88 min
It’s never too late for Summer Reading! In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe welcome back former co-host Christian Sager, host of the podcast Supercontext for a discussion of recent reads. Jump on it before summer ends! Learn more…
From the Vault: John Dee, Part 1
Sep 7 • 66 min
Elizabethan scholar Dr. John Dee was one of the most learned men of the 16th century, applying his intense mathematical intellect to matters scientific, political, alchemical and occult. He advised Queen Elizabeth, sought communion with angelic beings,…
The Voynich Manuscript, Part 2
Sep 5 • 50 min
Browse the libraries of the world and you’ll find nothing stranger and perplexing than the so-called Voynich Manuscript, a 15th century tome that has perplexed linguists and codebreakers for hundreds of years — and remains a mystery. In this episode of…
The Voynich Manuscript, Part 1
Sep 3 • 53 min
Browse the libraries of the world and you’ll find nothing stranger and perplexing than the so-called Voynich Manuscript, a 15th century tome that has perplexed linguists and codebreakers for hundreds of years — and remains a mystery. In this episode of…
From the Vault: Illusory Truth Effect, Part 2
Aug 31 • 50 min
If a lie is repeated often enough, are we more likely to believe it? Sadly, the answer is yes. Psychologists call it the illusory truth effect and it influences both our daily lives and the larger movements of politics and culture. Join Robert and Joe for…
Listener Mail: That’s a Bummer
Aug 29 • 74 min
Yes, it’s listener mail time once more, this time with e-mails about B.U.M.M.E.R. social media platforms, planetary defense, the Tingler, psychedelics and more. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Surfing Neanderthals
Aug 27 • 40 min
What do recent studies about surfer’s ear and neanderthals reveal about their relationship with the ocean? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss the condition and some recent findings regarding the neanderthals. Learn more…
From the Vault: Illusory Truth Effect, Part 1
Aug 24 • 76 min
If a lie is repeated often enough, are we more likely to believe it? Sadly, the answer is yes. Psychologists call it the illusory truth effect and it influences both our daily lives and the larger movements of politics and culture. Join Robert and Joe for…
School Dreams
Aug 22 • 57 min
Have you ever experienced dreams of forgotten classes, impossible exams and other examples of school-age anxiety? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the pervasive nature of the school dream. Learn more about your ad-choices…
Lot’s Wife: Flesh into Salt
Aug 20 • 46 min
You’ve probably heard the Biblical tale of Lot’s wife, in which a trio of angels destroy a couple of ancient cities and the resulting blast turns a woman into a pillar of salt. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe set aside most of…
From the Vault: The Dark Side of Neuroplasticity
Aug 17 • 52 min
When you hear the word “neuroplasticity,” you probably think of it in terms of a young brain’s ability to learn or an older brain’s struggles to rebound from injury. The possibility of a neuroplasticity-boosting drug remains one of medicine’s true holy…
How to Survive a Great Fall
Aug 15 • 54 min
Anticipating a fall from 10,000 feet or more? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss your chances of survival. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
The Weird World of Prehistoric Transylvania
Aug 13 • 44 min
This episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind takes listeners to Transylvania, where a rogue baron made important early strides in the field of paleobiology and where, during the Late Cretaceous period, giant pterosaur dubbed “Dracula” feasted on pony-sized…
From the Vault: Chariots of the Gods
Aug 10 • 82 min
Chances are, you’re already quite familiar with the notion the ancient astronauts visited the earth and gave humans the tech support they needed to climb the ladder of civilization. There’s no true proof to back it up, yet ancient astronaut speculation is…
Asteroid 2019 OK: The Little Doomsday
Aug 8 • 56 min
The near-Earth object (NEO) known as Asteroid 2019 OK just made an unexpected close pass, raising the hair on the back of humanity’s collective neck. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe weigh the risks posed by other NEOs and…
Bonus Episode: Ephemeral’s Alex Williams
Aug 7 • 57 min
Former Stuff to Blow Your Mind producer and host of the podcast Ephemeral drops in for a chat about the media of yesteryear and related topics. Listen in and learn more at www.ephemeral.show Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Social Media Is a B.U.M.M.E.R.
Aug 6 • 72 min
How will you feel the day you finally delete all your social media accounts? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss some of the arguments for doing just that in Jaron Lanier’s book “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media…
From the Vault: The Gods Must Be Counterintuitive
Aug 3 • 68 min
What’s the key to a lasting myth, a captivating religion or a sensational film pitch? Some cognitive scientists and anthropologists argue that the key is a minimally counterintuitive narrative: the right balance of the mundane with just a dash of the…
The Tingler
Aug 1 • 75 min
It’s time for another movie episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind and you might be surprised to discover all the weird and wonderful themes at work in the often-dismissed 1959 Vincent Price film “The Tingler.” Not only does it dwell on fear and symbiosis,…
Introducing Sleepwalkers
Jul 31 • 5 min
If there’s one thing that sets people apart from machines, it’s creativity, right? Automation may take over certain jobs, but what happens when algorithms start to learn from our work to create their own? This episode, we speak with people using AI to…
Listener Mail: The Psychedelic Experience
Jul 30 • 61 min
It’s listener mail time again, this time devoted entirely to feedback on Stuff to Blow Your Mind’s five-part series on psychedelics. Join Robert and Joe as they read everyone’s submitted thoughts and experiences. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
From the Vault: MDMA, Part 2
Jul 27 • 44 min
Some of you have tried the ecstasy. Others have merely heard about the drug on a TV sitcom, or heard about it in a news report. Either way, MDMA’s power resonates through our culture — and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish the truth form the…
Electric Microbe Land
Jul 25 • 48 min
It’s easy to think of electricity as the domain of Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and Street Fighter’s Blanka. But as Robert and Joe explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, it’s also the domain of microbes — and it will change the shape of future…
TEETH: Dental Evolution and Marching Molars
Jul 23 • 45 min
Where do teeth come from and how do different dental variations in the animal world force us to rethink our glorious chompers? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore dental evolution and the wondrous marching molars of…
From the Vault: MDMA, Part 1
Jul 20 • 68 min
Some of you have tried the ecstasy. Others have merely heard about the drug on a TV sitcom, or heard about it in a news report. Either way, MDMA’s power resonates through our culture — and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish the truth form the…
TEETH (with Katie Goldin)
Jul 18 • 46 min
Katie Goldin is back with a new season of Creature Feature, so she joins Robert and Joe on Stuff to Blow Your Mind for a chat about strange and amazing teeth in the animal kingdom. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Psychedelics: The Manifested Mind, Part 5
Jul 16 • 53 min
What are psychedelics? How have these substances influenced human minds and culture? What exactly do they invoke in the brain and how could a renaissance of scientific study into their properties improve our lives? In this series of Stuff to Blow Your…
From the Vault: Timothy Leary, Part 2
Jul 13 • 52 min
Idolized by some and reviled by others, Timothy Leary remains an icon of 1960s counterculture and psychedelic self-exploration. But who was this rebel, psychologist and celebrity? What did he reveal about LSD’s power and potential? Join Robert and…
Psychedelics: The Manifested Mind, Part 4
Jul 11 • 46 min
What are psychedelics? How have these substances influenced human minds and culture? What exactly do they invoke in the brain and how could a renaissance of scientific study into their properties improve our lives? In this series of Stuff to Blow Your…
Psychedelics: The Manifested Mind, Part 3
Jul 9 • 75 min
What are psychedelics? How have these substances influenced human minds and culture? What exactly do they invoke in the brain and how could a renaissance of scientific study into their properties improve our lives? In this series of Stuff to Blow Your…
From the Vault: Timothy Leary, Part 1
Jul 6 • 55 min
Idolized by some and reviled by others, Timothy Leary remains an icon of 1960s counterculture and psychedelic self-exploration. But who was this rebel, psychologist and celebrity? What did he reveal about LSD’s power and potential? Join Robert and…
Psychedelics: The Manifested Mind, Part 2
Jul 4 • 65 min
What are psychedelics? How have these substances influenced human minds and culture? What exactly do they invoke in the brain and how could a renaissance of scientific study into their properties improve our lives? In this series of Stuff to Blow Your…
Psychedelics: The Manifested Mind, Part 1
Jul 2 • 83 min
What are psychedelics? How have these substances influenced human minds and culture? What exactly do they invoke in the brain and how could a renaissance of scientific study into their properties improve our lives? In this series of Stuff to Blow Your…
From the Vault: The Science of Holy Butter
Jun 29 • 52 min
There’s more to butter than meets the eye. Each yellow pat of fatty goodness is nothing short of processed solar energy, and its long history entails many a magical and sacred rite. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian consider…
Roman Extinctions
Jun 27 • 62 min
Humans are capable of amazing technological and societal feats, but we’ve also brought much misery, death and destruction to our world. We are currently in the midst of the sixth great extinction event — the Holocene extinction — and the ravages of human…
Listener Mail: Fatberg City
Jun 25 • 68 min
It’s time for another listener mail and this time we have field reports from the war on fatbergs in the world’s sewers — plus various other e-mails related to recent episodes. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
From the Vault: The Fartonomicon
Jun 22 • 62 min
What is a fart? From what foul bodily depths does it arise? Join Stuff to Blow Your Mind hosts Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they crack open the Fartomicon. Explore the fascinating chemistry of flatus, recoil in horror at the thought of medieval fart…
The Facial Feedback Hypothesis
Jun 20 • 65 min
To what extent does the act of smiling generate happiness in the mind of the smiler? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss the Facial Feedback Hypothesis and what it means for our complex human emotions. Learn more about your…
Silent Running
Jun 18 • 79 min
It’s time for another movie episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind and this time Robert and Joe are talking about 1972’s “Silent Running,” in which Bruce Dern and his robot pals are caught in an endless chase. It’s a discussion of sci-fi, space botany,…
From the Vault: Life on Venus
Jun 15 • 59 min
The planet Venus might seem a hellish destination and an unlikely place to find extraterrestrial life. And yet, many experts agree that life may have existed in the planet’s ancient oceans — and may thrive yet within the upper atmosphere. Join Robert and…
Against ‘Survival of the Fittest’
Jun 13 • 50 min
Is natural selection REALLY survival of the fittest? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss where the phrase comes from and how well it actually matches up with our understanding of evolution. Learn more about your ad-choices…
Brain Soup and Liquid Brains
Jun 11 • 54 min
Is there ever a good scientific reason to turn brains into soup? What does all of this have to do with the concept of “liquid brains?” Robert and Joe explore on Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
From the Vault: Finite and Infinite Games
Jun 8 • 56 min
How do you play the game of life? Do you play it as a finite game or an infinite one? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss the 1986 philosophy book “Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility” by…
Q2: Bones of the Plumed Serpent
Jun 6 • 45 min
In the Stuff to Blow Your Mind episode “Quetzalcoatl: The Winged Serpent,” Robert and Joe discussed the feathered snake god of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica — as well as the giant pterosaur named after it. In this episode, fossils and myth come together in a…
The Soap Dragon
Jun 4 • 48 min
What monsters of fatty flesh lie slumbering in the sewer guts of our great cities? Join Robert and Joe as they venture into the dark to discover the beast we all made together. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
From the Vault: Neurosecurity: Dawn of the Brain Hackers
Jun 1 • 80 min
While hackers and malware can certainly cause a great deal of damage and misery, these dangers can’t hurt us physically, right? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Joe are sorry to say you’re wrong — and as more…
The Great Wave
May 30 • 56 min
For centuries, sailors have told stories of mountainous killer waves that rise out of the ocean without warning. Join Robert and Joe for a discussion of the history and science of rogue waves. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Doppelganger Network
May 28 • 61 min
In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss Doppelgangers, fairy imposters, the brain basis for the feeling of familiarity, and a unique way of understanding the impact of social media and modern communications technology. Learn…
From the Vault: Beyond the Uncanny Valley
May 25 • 55 min
From bad CGI characters to creepy humanoid robots, everyone knows the uncanny valley effect when they see it. But where did this idea come from and to what extent is it actually a thing? Join Robert and Joe as they descend into the uncanny valley and…
Listener Mail: Sacred Squirrels and More
May 23 • 63 min
It’s time for another bag of Stuff to Blow Your Mind listener mail, plus a minor update on sacred squirrels. Join Robert, Joe and your friendly neighborhood mailbot dig into your thoughts on recent episodes. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Introducing Ephemeral
May 22 • 9 min
Lost materials, dropped threads, forgotten stories. Ephemera in the way that it’s intertwined in our lives. All those things, tangible and intangible, that you wish you could take just one more look at before they vanish into the past. Listen wherever…
Deep Sea Ecology with Diva Amon
May 21 • 62 min
In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe chat with deep sea marine biologist Diva Amon about life in the deep ocean — from the wonderous organisms that thrive there to the human activities that threaten their future. Learn more about…
From the Vault: Into the Uncanny Valley
May 18 • 63 min
The far side of the uncanny valley rises steeply, assaulting our psyche as our artificial human likenesses creep ever closer toward perfection. But what happens when we actually emerge on the other side? What happens to human society when video footage is…
The Science of Thulsa Doom, Part 2
May 16 • 54 min
It’s time for another movie-themed Stuff to Blow Your Mind episode. In fact, it’s TWO episodes. This time Robert and Joe discuss the 1982 sword and sorcery picture “Conan the Barbarian.” Join them as they gush over the film’s charismatic villain Thulsa…
The Science of Thulsa Doom
May 14 • 45 min
It’s time for another movie-themed episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind — and this time Robert and Joe are discussing the 1982 sword and sorcery picture “Conan the Barbarian.” Join them as they gush over the film’s charismatic villain Thulsa Doom (James…
From the Vault: Carl Zimmer on Heredity’s Power
May 11 • 70 min
Why does heredity hold such power over us? How did the ancients contemplate it and how is genetic technology changing the shape of future heredity? In this classic episode, Robert and Joe chat with acclaimed science writer Carl Zimmer about the topics…
Send an Owl/Raven/Pigeon!
May 9 • 67 min
Harry Potter sends messages by owl. The characters of ‘Game of Thrones’ employ ravens. Meanwhile, real-life messenger pigeons have carried messages for thousands of years. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe consider just why the…
Almost Cannibals
May 7 • 66 min
What’s the line between cannibalism and mere predation? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe consider some thought-provoking cases of predation and cannibalism in the animal world. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
From the Vault: Coral Sex in the Sea
May 4 • 76 min
Sure coral reefs are rich, vibrant ecosystems, but did you know they also have a kinky side? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, “Sex in the Sea” author Dr. Marah J. Hardt returns to chat about coral reproduction and the role this…
The Fallacy of Alignment: Fundamental Attribution Error, Part 2
May 2 • 37 min
How do we consider and predict the actions and intentions of others? How much do we lean on an individual’s presumed internal disposition versus the particulars of their situation? In this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter, Robert and Joe consider the…
The Fallacy of Alignment: Fundamental Attribution Error, Part 1
Apr 30 • 46 min
How do we consider and predict the actions and intentions of others? How much do we lean on an individual’s presumed internal disposition versus the particulars of their situation? In this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter, Robert and Joe consider the…
Invention: Toilets, Part 1
Apr 27 • 52 min
Have you subscribed to Robert and Joe’s other podcast INVENTION yet? If not, here’s a taste of what they’re up to in part 1 of their look at toilet technology, from the oldest latrine pit to the modern flushing commode. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Sacred Mountain, Part 2
Apr 25 • 47 min
Why do sacred mountains exist in so many cultures and myths? To what extent could high altitude conditions contribute to the way our mind processes these breathtaking environments? In this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter, Robert and Joe explore the…
The Sacred Mountain, Part 1
Apr 23 • 50 min
Why do sacred mountains exist in so many cultures and myths? To what extent could high altitude conditions contribute to the way our mind processes these breathtaking environments? In this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter, Robert and Joe explore the…
From the Vault: Humanity’s THC Odyssey
Apr 20 • 61 min
Humans have known about cannabis for thousands of years, crafting hemp textiles and consuming its psychoactive THC. In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Christian Sager examine the cannabis plant, its travels through human…
The Imp of the Perverse
Apr 18 • 56 min
In 1845, Edgar Allan Poe wrote a tale about a man overcome by the compulsion to confess to the heinous crime he sought to keep secret. The conundrum pops up in other Poe tales as well, but the so called “Imp of the Perverse” also invades the human mind…
The Pressure
Apr 16 • 63 min
Atmospheric pressure. Water pressure. Geologic pressure. What exactly IS pressure and how do humans interact with it? Join Robert and Joe for a look at examples on and within planet Earth — as well as beyond. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
From the Vault: Bicameralism, Part 2
Apr 13 • 93 min
In 1976, psychologist Julian Jaynes presented the world with a stunning new take on the history of human consciousness. His book “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” hypothesized that ancient humans heard hallucinated…
Against Narrative: Are stories bad for us? Part 2
Apr 11 • 54 min
It’s hard to imagine human beings without storytelling and literature. Surely, these are some of the very things that define us. Narratives give our lives and our world meaning, but what if there’s a dark side to their sorcerous power? In this Stuff to…
Against Narrative: Are stories bad for us? Part 1
Apr 9 • 48 min
It’s hard to imagine human beings without storytelling and literature. Surely, these are some of the very things that define us. Narratives give our lives and our world meaning, but what if there’s a dark side to their sorcerous power? In this Stuff to…
From the Vault: Bicameralism, Part 1
Apr 6 • 78 min
In 1976, psychologist Julian Jaynes presented the world with a stunning new take on the history of human consciousness. His book “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” hypothesized that ancient humans heard hallucinated…
The Dark Crystal
Apr 4 • 63 min
It’s time for another movie-themed episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind and this time Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick are bound for the world of Thra in Jim Henson’s 1982 masterpiece “The Dark Crystal.” What are we to make of these complex creatures,…
Listener Mail: The Quickening
Apr 2 • 63 min
Once more, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick bust out some listener mail — with the aid of their mailboy Karny, who was accidently infected by the recent “Highlander 2” episode and is now displaying symptoms of multiple Highlander personality disorder. Learn…
From the Vault: Eternal Youth, Part 2
Mar 30 • 51 min
Throughout history, humans have faced the inexorable process of aging and death. We’ve dreamt up countless myths to explain why we age and what comes of seeking immortality, but what does science tell us about the process? Why do we age? What purpose does…
Flatus Ex Machina, Part 2
Mar 28 • 44 min
Why is it so hilarious when robots and artificial intelligence fail? What does it reveal about comedy itself and our technological anxiety? Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore in this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter. In this second episode, the…
Flatus Ex Machina, Part 1
Mar 26 • 47 min
Why is it so hilarious when robots and artificial intelligence fail? What does it reveal about comedy itself and our technological anxiety? Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore in this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter. Learn more about your ad-choices…
From the Vault: Eternal Youth, Part 1
Mar 23 • 48 min
Throughout history, humans have faced the inexorable process of aging and death. We’ve dreamt up countless myths to explain why we age and what comes of seeking immortality, but what does science tell us about the process? Why do we age? What purpose does…
M.I.B. or N.I.B. ?
Mar 21 • 52 min
Belief in UFOs is very much like a religion. It can fulfill the same purpose in an individual’s life, give them a community of believers and provide grander framework for mundane life. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe…
Bugs Under The Skin
Mar 19 • 64 min
Ever feel like there are bugs crawling around in your body? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore alleged incidents, medical publications and the reality of delusional parasitosis. Learn more about your…
From the Vault: Don’t Drink the Salt Water
Mar 16 • 51 min
Whether you draw your wisdom from 18th century poems or experience in the surf, you probably know that drinking seawater is a terrible idea. But exactly why shouldn’t you drink saltwater? What happens if you do? Can it really drive you mad with…
Let’s Make a List
Mar 14 • 75 min
Why are humans so fascinated by lists? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the reason we can’t pass a top 10 clickbait headline and are forever haunted by incomplete lists. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Tunnelers
Mar 12 • 52 min
How deep into the Earth have humans traveled? How far have we drilled? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore some interesting lows from the history of mining, geologic exploration and good old fashioned…
From the Vault: Jade Immortality
Mar 9 • 44 min
Chinese aristocracy of the Western Han Dynasty embarked on their journey into the afterlife within garments of stone — luxurious suits of jade armor entailing thousands of individual plates sewn together with gold, silver or silk. In this episode of Stuff…
Highlander 2: The Sciencing
Mar 7 • 68 min
Yes, the time of the Quickening is at hand! In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick finally make good on their threat to devote an entire episode to the 1991 film “Highlander II: The Quickening” and whatever science might…
The Lost Daughters of Aten: Planet 9
Mar 5 • 47 min
Pluto may not be a planet, but it definitely exists. Not every case is so clear. The history of near-Earth astronomy contains many cases of bodies that may or may not have ever existed in the solar system we call home. In this episode of Stuff to Blow…
From the Vault: Talos
Mar 2 • 61 min
Among the many humanoid gods and bestial monsters of Greek mythology, one finds a peculiar outlier: Talos the bronze automaton. Said to stalk the shores of Crete, Talos pelted suspicious ships with rocks and immolated enemy soldiers with its smoldering…
The Lost Daughters of Aten, Part 1
Feb 28 • 56 min
Pluto may not be a planet, but it definitely exists. Not every case is so clear. The history of near-Earth astronomy contains many cases of bodies that may or may not have ever existed in the solar system we call home. In this episode of Stuff to Blow…
Mystery of the Sea Circles
Feb 26 • 53 min
We’ve all heard about crop circles, and the entirely terrestrial reason they pop up in the occasional wheat field. But what about strange circles on the bottom of the sea? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss…
From the Vault: The Winter People, Part 2
Feb 23 • 48 min
Do you feel like a different person during the winter? In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick examine the extent to which winter affects human health and culture. From the winter transformations of the…
Gáe Bulg: The Spear of Death
Feb 21 • 50 min
Irish myth tells of a spear so deadly, that its deployment is certain death. Forged from the bones of sea monsters, the Gáe Bulg would send barbs through its victim’s every vein — but only if the hero threw it with their foot. In this episode of Stuff to…
Ideophones: How does this word feel?
Feb 19 • 64 min
What’s an ideophone? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the place where sounds, meanings and the possible roots of language converge. Learn more about your…
From the Vault: The Winter People, Part 1
Feb 16 • 48 min
Do you feel like a different person during the winter? In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick examine the extent to which winter affects human health and culture. From the winter transformations of the…
Cupid’s Leaden Arrow
Feb 14 • 51 min
It’s Valentine’s Day again, which summons images of mythic Cupid and his bow. But we often forget that Cupid has TWO arrows in his quiver: the golden arrow of desire and the leaden arrow of aversion. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb…
Listener Mail: Crab Sabbath
Feb 12 • 52 min
It’s listener mail time again and Karnie the mailbot seems rather grumpy about a particular holiday. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they read and respond to various listener mail from the past month. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
From the Vault: Minds of Musical Emptiness
Feb 9 • 50 min
We’re all wired to enjoy different forms of music, but for some of us the wiring is missing entirely. Join Robert Lamb and Christian Sager as they explore the curious conditions of amusia and auditory agnosia in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind…
Marah Hardt talks Snails, Sex and the Sea
Feb 7 • 69 min
It’s almost Valentine’s Day, so it’s time to invite marine biologist and “Sex in the Sea” author Dr. Marah Hardt back on the show again! Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they chat with STBYM’s only four-time guest about all manner of marine…
Demon Eaters and Possessed Tools
Feb 5 • 63 min
As we slide into the Year of the Earth Pig, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick turn to the legend of the demon slayer Zhōng Kuí and follow a procession of spirits across the sea to Japan, where discarded tools spark spirit possessions, not joy. Sorry, Marie…
From the Vault: Aquatic Humanoids, Part 2
Feb 2 • 64 min
From the sirens of ‘The Odyssey’ to ‘The Creature From the Black Lagoon’ and beyond, humans have always imagined their underwater doubles. In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert and Joe discuss the revealing myth and fiction of…
Ships of Life: Shipwrecks
Jan 31 • 62 min
Water vessels serve the humans who made them, but that doesn’t mean other lifeforms don’t benefit as well. In this pair of Stuff to Blow Your Mind episodes, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the various organisms that thrive aboard functional,…
Ships of Life: Stowaways
Jan 29 • 57 min
Water vessels serve the humans who made them, but that doesn’t mean other lifeforms don’t benefit as well. In this pair of Stuff to Blow Your Mind episodes, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the various organisms that thrive aboard functional,…
From the Vault: Aquatic Humanoids, Part 1
Jan 26 • 62 min
From the sirens of “The Odyssey” to “The Creature From the Black Lagoon” and beyond, humans have always imagined their underwater doubles. In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss the revealing myth and…
Invasion of the Globsters, Part 2
Jan 24 • 43 min
When mysterious globs of meat wash up on the shores of human civilization, we have a tendency to see beasts in the blobs and have always tried to imagine the creature in the carnage. Welcome to the world of globsters, where mounds of putrid sea flesh…
Invasion of the Globsters, Part 1
Jan 22 • 49 min
When mysterious globs of meat wash up on the shores of human civilization, we have a tendency to see beasts in the blobs and have always tried to imagine the creature in the carnage. Welcome to the world of globsters, where mounds of putrid sea flesh…
From the Vault: Bathysphere, Part 2
Jan 19 • 44 min
In 1930, American naturalist William Beebe began his descent in a spherical, unpowered submarine known as a Bathysphere — and in doing so visited a world previously unseen by human beings. In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb…
Split Brain, Part 2
Jan 17 • 57 min
Our brains are composed of two hemispheres, but in what ways are they truly separate? In which ways are they one? In this bisected Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore what we’ve learned from split brain experiments…
Split Brain, Part 1
Jan 15 • 54 min
Our brains are composed of two hemispheres, but in what ways are they truly separate? In which ways are they one? In this bisected Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore what we’ve learned from split brain experiments…
From the Vault: Bathysphere, Part 1
Jan 12 • 46 min
In 1930, American naturalist William Beebe began his descent in a spherical, unpowered submarine known as a Bathysphere — and in doing so visited a world previously unseen by human beings. In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb…
The Alien Biped
Jan 10 • 40 min
As humans, we’re quite accustomed to our weird vertical spines and precarious two-legged gait. But habitual bipedalism is far from the norm. When did it first occur on planet Earth? Will the robotic future walk on two legs? And can we reasonably expect…
The Room of Infinite Unpleasantness
Jan 8 • 75 min
If you were to create the most unpleasant room humanly possible, what sort of design choices would you employ? What would the space look like and, more to the point, how would it make you feel? Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore in this episode of…
From the Vault: Biophilia
Jan 5 • 69 min
Why are humans so drawn to the natural world of biodiverse organisms? Is this longing merely part of our culture or do we possess an innate and even genetic tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they…
Thought Experiments
Jan 3 • 72 min
Stuff to Blow Your Mind frequently discusses thought experiments on the show, from Schrödinger’s Cat to the Infinity Hotel. But what constitutes a thought experiments? How long have they been around and what are the seven categories? Robert Lamb and Joe…
Listener Mail: The Fires of Orc
Jan 1 • 58 min
It’s a new year full of new topics, but first comes a final bag of listener mail from 2018. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick consider your thoughts and experiences on the previous month’s episodes. Learn more about…
From the Vault: Artificial Gravity
Dec 29, 2018 • 87 min
Humans are creatures of gravity. We’re born into it. Life as we know it evolved to thrive in it. So what’s a gravitational organism to do in the low-gravity and zero-gravity expanses beyond Earth? You can’t bring it with you, but scientists have cooked up…
Christmas Island, Part 2: Deca Deca Pod Y’all
Dec 27, 2018 • 48 min
Welcome to Christmas Island, a place where it’s still only Christmas once a year… but where red crabs swarm across the land and enormous coconut crabs feast on carrion in the forests. So deck the halls with boughs of SCUTTLING HORROR as Robert Lamb and…
Christmas Island, Part 1: Crabs Rule Everything Around Me
Dec 25, 2018 • 49 min
Welcome to Christmas Island, a place where it’s still only Christmas once a year… but where red crabs swarm across the land and enormous coconut crabs feast on carrion in the forests. So deck the halls with boughs of SCUTTLING HORROR as Robert Lamb and…
From the Vault: Tree of Life
Dec 22, 2018 • 61 min
Sacred trees. World trees. Holy trees of wisdom, immortality and the soul. They seem to grow from every culture on Earth and their roots dig deep into the soil of prehistory. What do they mean? Why are we so drawn to their symbolic power? Join Robert Lamb…
Virgin Birth
Dec 20, 2018 • 43 min
For Christians, the Christmas centers around a miraculous virgin birth. But don’t worry, secular holiday revelers, because nature has its own virgin births to wonder over. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore…
Invention: The Guillotine
Dec 19, 2018 • 55 min
Stuff to Blow Your Mind hosts Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick have a brand new show — and they’re dropping a full episode of it into the STBYM feed. The show is INVENTION and this episode dives into the history, invention and legacy of the head-chopping…
Ritual of Oak and Mistletoe
Dec 18, 2018 • 48 min
Twas the night before Christmas and deep in the woods, a sacrifice was planned by the Gauls and their Druids… Yes, in this holiday episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the curious biology of everyone’s favorite…
From the Vault: Baby Jesus and the Homunculus
Dec 15, 2018 • 62 min
We’ve all marveled at the grotesque, oddly-proportioned old man babies in medieval art — but why did artists of the period pain such creatures? In this special Christmas episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the…
Strange Milk
Dec 13, 2018 • 61 min
Mammals are the true milk-bearers of nature, but there are a host of non-mammals that secrete various strange and wonderful milk-analogues. From avians to invertebrates, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the anomalous world of non-mammalian milk in…
Katie Goldin talks ‘Creature Feature’
Dec 11, 2018 • 51 min
In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, guest Katie Goldin from the podcast ‘Creature Feature’ drops in to chat with Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick about weird biology and maybe a monster or two. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
From the Vault: Greek Fire
Dec 8, 2018 • 79 min
To engage the ships of Byzantine Empire was to risk the horrors of Greek fire, a medieval weapons system that empowered ships to spew forth flaming liquid on enemy ships and crew members. The secrets of Greek fire are lost to history, but historians and…
The Electric Ark
Dec 6, 2018 • 54 min
What if the Ark of the Covenant was actually a bronze-age machine capable of storing an electrostatic charge? It almost certainly wasn’t, but the idea is a great excuse to explore the understanding of electricity in the ancient world. Join Robert Lamb and…
The Ark of the Covenant
Dec 4, 2018 • 70 min
What was the Ark of the Covenant? A mere ceremonial vessel for sacred items? A radio for speaking to God? The golden chest of the ancient Hebrews has fascinated historians, theologians, scientists, dreamers and Nazi-punching archeologists for ages. In…
From the Vault: Satanic Panic
Dec 1, 2018 • 60 min
What are we to make of alleged ritual satanic abuse and the moral panic that spread in the 1980s and 90s? Robert Lamb and Christian Sager enter a world of religion, fear and demons of the mind. (originally published April 16, 2015) Learn more about your…
‘Oumuamua II: Revenge of the First Messenger
Nov 29, 2018 • 73 min
Everyone’s favorite interstellar travel has been back in the news, thanks to curious speed increases and an intriguing paper on the possibility of alien solar sail technology. So join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they dock once more with ‘Oumuamua as…
Halloween Hangover Listener Mail, Part 2
Nov 27, 2018 • 54 min
Halloween may be over, but that doesn’t mean all the ghosts and ghouls are banished to the cellar. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they bust dive into the listener mail bag from October 2018. Learn more…
From the Vault: Dangerous Foods III
Nov 24, 2018 • 71 min
Thanksgiving is a time of feasting and the wages of feasting, and so Robert and Joe are here to dish up a third installment of Stuff to Blow Your Mind’s “Dangerous Foods” series. Do you dare bite into the likes of licorice, giant Namibian bullfrog,…
Halloween Hangover Listener Mail, Part 1
Nov 22, 2018 • 60 min
Halloween may be over, but that doesn’t mean all the ghosts and ghouls are banished to the cellar. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they bust dive into the listener mail bag from October 2018. Learn more…
Animals That Eat Poop
Nov 20, 2018 • 62 min
Thanksgiving is a time during which many Americans eat things they shouldn’t — so it’s a perfect time to discuss coprophagia in the animal kingdom. But, unlike many holiday dinners, these examples of poop-eating organisms are not exercises in dysfunction.…
From the Vault: Dangerous Foods II
Nov 17, 2018 • 72 min
Can your heart stand the shocking facts about toxic potatoes, mad honey and the mysteries of the dead man’s fingers? In this classic episode, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick enjoy a heaping helping of potentially dangerous menu choices. (Originally…
Motivated Numeracy and the Politics-ridden Brain
Nov 15, 2018 • 68 min
If science were a candle in the dark, we’d need only spread its light to combat climate change denial and vaccine conspiracy theories. But what if the problem is more complex than that? What if a quirk of human cognition enables us to remain willingly in…
Stone Age Technology with Dietrich Stout
Nov 13, 2018 • 65 min
Paleolithic tools inform not just our understanding of prehistoric lives, but also the evolution and nature of the human mind. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick chat with Emory University’s Associate Professor of…
From the Vault: The Gordian Knot of Race
Nov 10, 2018 • 41 min
How deep-seated are today’s racial issues? In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Julie Douglas explore how something so abstract - like unconscious racial biases - can have real-world implications. (Originally published March…
Ig Nobel Prizes 2018: Part 2
Nov 8, 2018 • 65 min
Each year, the Ig Nobel prizes honor the weirdest and wackiest contributions to humanity’s scientific understanding of the natural world. In this pair of Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast episodes, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick unpack each of this year’s…
Ig Nobel Prizes 2018: Part 1
Nov 6, 2018 • 48 min
Each year, the Ig Nobel prizes honor the weirdest and wackiest contributions to humanity’s scientific understanding of the natural world. In this pair of Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast episodes, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick unpack each of this year’s…
From the Vault: Cambrian Monster Mash
Nov 3, 2018 • 75 min
Welcome to the ocean of monsters. In this classic episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick travel back 500 million years to the monster-haunted waters of the Cambrian period. Meet the monstrous trilobite, anomalocaris,…
Listener Mail: The Squirrel Is Not Enough
Nov 1, 2018 • 55 min
To follow up our two-part look at the secret, bloody life of the common squirrel, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick present an entire listener mail episode devoted to your field reports on skuggs. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Anthology of Horror, Volume 1
Oct 30, 2018 • 105 min
From “Night Gallery” to “Tales From the Crypt,” everyone loves a great horror anthology show. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a new ghoulish tradition, as they pick a few notable installments from horror anthology TV and cinema history in order to…
Bret Wood on ‘The Control Group’
Oct 29, 2018 • 27 min
Bonus episode! Join Stuff to Blow Your Mind hosts Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they chat with Bret Wood, writer and director of “The Control Group,” a fiction podcast from How Stuff Works that explores the dark history of CIA-funded mind control…
From the Vault: The First Monster
Oct 27, 2018 • 80 min
Humans love monsters, but when did we first dare to dream up bestial hybrids and chimerical horrors? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick consider the 35-40 thousand-year-old Löwenmensch statues. Who…
The Slayer
Oct 25, 2018 • 92 min
Myth and folklore are full of monsters and the heroes who slay them. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick meet some of these fabulous slayers and discuss the science and potential meaning of their bloody endeavors.…
Quetzalcoatl: The Winged Serpent
Oct 23, 2018 • 63 min
From the Aztec temples of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica to the 1980s monster film “Q: The Winged Serpent,” the feathered serpent god Quetzalcoatl soars high over the human imagination. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick…
From the Vault: The Halloween Costume Made Me Do It
Oct 20, 2018 • 71 min
What happens when we slip into a costume? Be it a monster pelt, a sexy witch or a simple children’s ghost mask, a psychological transformation takes place. Join Robert Lamb and Christian Sager for a fittingly seasonal look at enclothed cognition and…
Vampire Clinic, Part 2
Oct 18, 2018 • 54 min
Vampire legends are a global phenomenon, and the trope of the blood-sucking humanoid shows no signs of vanishing from human traditions. But can we trace its origins back to any specific diseases and medical symptoms? In this blood-stained episode of Stuff…
Vampire Clinic, Part 1
Oct 16, 2018 • 67 min
Vampire legends are a global phenomenon, and the trope of the blood-sucking humanoid shows no signs of vanishing from human traditions. But can we trace its origins back to any specific diseases and medical symptoms? In this blood-stained episode of Stuff…
From the Vault: Ghoul
Oct 13, 2018 • 53 min
If your fictional diet contains significant quantities of horror or dark fantasy, then you’ve likely encountered the ghoul: a scavenging, grave-robbing race of unnatural beings with an insatiable hunger for the dead. As Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick…
The Curse
Oct 11, 2018 • 85 min
What does it mean when a beggar, wizard or witch spits a curse at another human being? Why does this particular work of magic weigh so heavily in human history? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick take a…
The Great Basilisk
Oct 9, 2018 • 74 min
Behold the Great Basilisk, the crowned monster whose mere glance can kill a mortal and reduce wilderness to desert ash. Medieval bestiaries attest to its might, but today some futurists dread its name as an all-powerful malicious artificial intelligence.…
From the Vault: Carnivorous Plants
Oct 6, 2018 • 72 min
Are humans truly safe from the hunger of meat-eating plants? Can we trust the trees that loom over us? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss myths and fictions of killer trees, the science of carnivorous plants and the curious…
The Killer’s Mask
Oct 4, 2018 • 67 min
The masked psychopathic killer is a staple of horror fiction, and yet almost no real-life serial killers employed masks in the commission of their crimes. Why is this? What does the discrepancy between fact and fiction reveal both about the reality of…
Jenny Greenteeth: Horror at the Water’s Edge
Oct 2, 2018 • 78 min
According to certain English folktales, a vile creature lurks in the slime-caked dark of local ponds. When little ones wander too close to shore, she lashes out to drown them in her slippery embrace. She has many names: Nelly Longarms, Peg Powler, the…
From the Vault: John C. Lilly
Sep 29, 2018 • 79 min
The figure of John C. Lilly as psychedelic dolphin communicator burns in the collective memory as a counterculture avatar, yet his legacy embodies far more than the mythologized and/or vilified figure that most of us know. Join Robert Lamb and Christian…
Listener Mail: Robots of Theseus
Sep 27, 2018 • 60 min
It’s listener mail time again and the plan to gradually replace every part of our mailbot Karnie is complete. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they read and respond to various listener mail from the past month. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Salamander Talk with Mark Mandica
Sep 25, 2018 • 61 min
Wade into the amazing and weird world of salamanders and other notable amphibians as Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick chat with Mark Mandica, executive director of The Amphibian Foundation. Gain a new level of appreciation for these fabulous organisms and…
From the Vault: Mixologia
Sep 22, 2018 • 90 min
While the cocktail is an inherently American invention, the history of combining alcohols with other substances to create potent, drinkable concoctions dates back to ancient times. While you might expect dangerous ingredients to have a place in a wizard’s…
Age of the Earth, Part 2
Sep 20, 2018 • 68 min
Scientific consensus currently holds that the Earth is a 4.5 billion-year-old planet in a 13.8 billion-year-old universe. But how do we know? Why do religious models of a much younger (or older) Earth fail to pass the baloney test? In this two-part Stuff…
Age of the Earth, Part 1
Sep 18, 2018 • 62 min
Scientific consensus currently holds that the Earth is a 4.5 billion-year-old planet in a 13.8 billion-year-old universe. But how do we know? Why do religious models of a much younger (or older) Earth fail to pass the baloney test? In this two-part Stuff…
From the Vault: Syphilis
Sep 15, 2018 • 72 min
Doctors have called it the great imitator because this destructive venereal disease can manifest almost any symptom. Initially spreading through sexual contact, Syphilis can remain dormant in the body for decades before flaring up again in brutally…
The Obvious: Invisible Gorillas of the Mind
Sep 13, 2018 • 69 min
What is truly obvious in life? What does the word even mean? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a look at how we engage with the natural world — from invisible gorilla experiments to the realm of phenomenology. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
On Teasing
Sep 11, 2018 • 56 min
We all know teasing when we see it or experience it, but what role does it play in human interactions? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind as they explore hurtful, playful and educative teasing. Learn more about…
From the Vault: Black Stone of Mecca
Sep 8, 2018 • 78 min
The Kaaba marks the geographic center of the Islamic world, and here one finds Al-Hadjar Al-Aswad, the Holy Black Stone of Mecca. Islamic traditions hold that the once white white stone blackened with humanity’s sins, but various scientific theories point…
Kirk Allen and Maladaptive Daydreaming
Sep 6, 2018 • 67 min
We all daydream and many of us funnel our imagination into creative acts. But what happens when these exercises overpower us? In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the strange case of nuclear physicist…
Kirk Allen and the Cooperative Illusion
Sep 4, 2018 • 57 min
We all daydream and many of us funnel our imagination into creative acts. But what happens when these exercises overpower us? In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the strange case of nuclear physicist…
From the Vault: Jump Into The Void
Sep 1, 2018 • 47 min
Ever wrestle with the illogical quasi-compulsion to throw yourself off a cliff or building? Don’t worry! You’re probably not suicidal, but merely touched by the ‘call of the void’ or ‘high place phenomenon.’ In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind…
Squirrels, Part 2: A Skugg Mystery
Aug 30, 2018 • 46 min
You might think you know squirrels, but what do you REALLY know about these woodland tree rodents? In this special two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss their appetite for meat, their alleged acts of savagery…
Squirrels, Part 1: The Bloody Beast
Aug 28, 2018 • 58 min
You might think you know squirrels, but what do you REALLY know about these woodland tree rodents? In this special two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss their appetite for meat, their alleged acts of savagery…
From the Vault: A Taste of MSG
Aug 25, 2018 • 58 min
In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the history and science of MSG and explore just why we demonized it for so long. (Originally published Aug. 30, 2016) Learn more about your ad-choices at…
World Without Predators
Aug 23, 2018 • 64 min
What would the world be like without predators? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the essential role of predators in Earth’s ecosystems and the terrible, cascading effects of their loss. A world without…
The Ship of Theseus
Aug 21, 2018 • 72 min
An ancient ship rots in the harbor and so we restore it piece by piece until nothing of the original ship remains. Is it still the same ship? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they discuss one of history’s more mind-boggling thought experiments. Learn…
From the Vault: The Cobra Effect
Aug 18, 2018 • 59 min
In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the perverse world of unintended consequences and the cobra effect. (Originally published Sept. 13, 2016) Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Listener Mail: Tridents, Aliens, Microgravity
Aug 16, 2018 • 66 min
It’s time for another dose of listener mail. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they read YOUR feedback on recent episodes related to coffee in space, tridents, Jungfrau Park and more. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
2001: A Space Odyssey
Aug 14, 2018 • 87 min
No discussion of great sci-fi cinema is complete without mention of “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The 1968 classic is 50 years old this year, so Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick figured it the perfect time to board the Discovery One and discuss its many…
From the Vault: Post-Empirical Science
Aug 11, 2018 • 72 min
Most scientists declare empirical falsifiability — the notion that a theory may be proven right or wrong via scientific investigation — to be the core principle of science. Others, such as string theorists, think science should move beyond those…
Fear and the Autonomous Cyber Weapon
Aug 9, 2018 • 55 min
We often focus our fear in the wrong direction — developing flying anxieties when we should be more concerned about that ride to the airport. We also tend to focus on autonomous weapons when we should be thinking more about autonomous CYBER weapons. Join…
Divine Weapon: The Trident
Aug 7, 2018 • 69 min
What are we to make of the trident? The three-toothed spear has seen service as the divine weapon of mythic deities, the fishing implement of common mortals and a symbolic weapon in gladiatorial combat. What does it mean, and was it ever a practical…
From the Vault: To The Escape Pod!
Aug 4, 2018 • 97 min
Ever wanted to climb into the safe, metal womb of an escape pod and blast yourself free of this doomed vessel called life? Sure you have, but in the meantime consider some of the real-life air, space and terrestrial escape capsules that humans have…
The Gods Must Be Counterintuitive
Aug 2, 2018 • 67 min
What’s the key to a lasting myth, a captivating religion or a sensational film pitch? Some cognitive scientists and anthropologists argue that the key is a minimally counterintuitive narrative: the right balance of the mundane with just a dash of the…
Astronauts in Spaceships Getting Coffee
Jul 31, 2018 • 52 min
How can humanity ever hope to thrive without Earth if it can’t even function without its morning cup of coffee? Fortunately, engineers have devised increasingly practical means of brewing and sipping coffee in space — neither of which are easy feats in…
From the Vault: When We Think About Cyborgs
Jul 28, 2018 • 75 min
What began as a 1960s term for a retrofitted human space explorer has become a focal point for considerations of human and machine interaction, technological culture, biomechanics and feminist identity. Join Robert Lamb and Christian Sager as they set…
Summer Reading 2018, Part 2
Jul 26, 2018 • 53 min
It’s a summer tradition! Once more, Stuff to Blow Your Mind devotes a summer episode to the discussion of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books that the hosts read over the course of the last year. So listen in and maybe one of these books will…
Summer Reading 2018, Part 1
Jul 24, 2018 • 58 min
It’s a summer tradition! Once more, Stuff to Blow Your Mind devotes a summer episode to the discussion of fiction, non-fiction and children’s books that the hosts read over the course of the last year. So listen in and maybe one of these books will…
From the Vault: Transhumanist Rapture War, Part 2
Jul 21, 2018 • 49 min
What do the transhumanist visions and singularitarians have in common with Christian rapture doctrine, apocalyptic prophesies and far-future saviors? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they explore the space for common ground — and conflict — between…
The Ashen Light
Jul 19, 2018 • 67 min
Does the dark side of Venus occasionally glow with a dim, haunting phosphorescence? It’s one of astronomy’s oldest and most enduring mysteries. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for an examination of the ashen light. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Galactic Civilization’s End
Jul 17, 2018 • 68 min
If a technological civilization manages to survive itself, how will it fare against the larger challenges of a changing and hostile universe? If humanity ascends the Kardashev scale, how will our unrecognizable and godlike descendants cope with the end of…
From the Vault: Transhumanist Rapture War, Part 1
Jul 14, 2018 • 52 min
What do the transhumanist visions and singularitarians have in common with Christian rapture doctrine, apocalyptic prophesies and far-future saviors? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they explore the space for common ground — and conflict — between…
Illusory Truth Effect, Part 2: Fight the Lies
Jul 12, 2018 • 50 min
If a lie is repeated often enough, are we more likely to believe it? Sadly, the answer is yes. Psychologists call it the illusory truth effect and it influences both our daily lives and the larger movements of politics and culture. Join Robert Lamb and…
Illusory Truth Effect, Part 1: The Big Lie
Jul 10, 2018 • 75 min
If a lie is repeated often enough, are we more likely to believe it? Sadly, the answer is yes. Psychologists call it the illusory truth effect and it influences both our daily lives and the larger movements of politics and culture. Join Robert Lamb and…
From the Vault: Sexbots
Jul 7, 2018 • 59 min
Sex between humans and machines is nothing new in the world of science fiction. Their forms range from angelic mechanoids to victimized humanoids, but the robotic lover is almost always an expression of purely human anxieties. Yet as real-world technology…
The Dark Side of Neuroplasticity
Jul 5, 2018 • 51 min
When you hear the word “neuroplasticity,” you probably think of it in terms of a young brain’s ability to learn or an older brain’s struggles to rebound from injury. The possibility of a neuroplasticity-boosting drug remains one of medicine’s true holy…
Listener Mail: Dreams, Subs and Goddesses
Jul 3, 2018 • 79 min
Once more, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick turn to Karnie the Mailbot for listener reactions and commentaries on recent episodes. Strap in for discussion of dreams, submarines, ancient goddesses and more. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
From the Vault: The Inca Kingdom of Fibers
Jun 30, 2018 • 64 min
Welcome to the Kingdom of the Inca, where hundreds of rope bridges connect an imperial highway system and fiber-armored soldiers wield woven slings against the enemies of the Emperor. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe…
Chariots of the Gods
Jun 28, 2018 • 81 min
Chances are, you’re already quite familiar with the notion the ancient astronauts visited the earth and gave humans the tech support they needed to climb the ladder of civilization. There’s no true proof to back it up, yet ancient astronaut speculation is…
Black Holes, Part 3: The Future
Jun 26, 2018 • 54 min
Nothing can escape the pull of a black hole, not even Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a three-part exploration of these incredible, invisible regions of the cosmos where ponderous mass warps the very fabric of space and…
From the Vault: Humanzee
Jun 23, 2018 • 66 min
Chimpanzees are humanity’s closest living relative, but there’s both wonder and existential horror in that closeness. A species barrier separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom, but what if a chimp/human hybrid were to bridge that barrier? Join…
Black Holes, Part 2: Detection
Jun 21, 2018 • 45 min
Nothing can escape the pull of a black hole, not even Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a three-part exploration of these incredible, invisible regions of the cosmos where ponderous mass warps the very fabric of space and…
Black Holes, Part 1: Phantom
Jun 19, 2018 • 55 min
Nothing can escape the pull of a black hole, not even Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a three-part exploration of these incredible, invisible regions of the cosmos where ponderous mass warps the very fabric of space and…
From the Vault: The Substance of Silence
Jun 16, 2018 • 68 min
We all have a pretty good notion of noise, but what exactly is silence? Is it a substance or an absence? Between the mindflaying quiet of soundless rooms to wildlife ambience and white noise machines, what is the ideal balance of silence? In this episode…
Interview: Carl Zimmer on Heredity’s Power
Jun 14, 2018 • 68 min
Why does heredity hold such power over us? How did the ancients contemplate it and how is genetic technology changing the shape of future heredity? Robert and Joe chat with acclaimed science writer Carl Zimmer about the topics explored in his new book…
World Science Festival 2018 Field Report
Jun 12, 2018 • 71 min
Robert Lamb attended the 2018 World Science festival in New York City and had the chance to chat with its founder, physicist Brian Greene — as well as a couple of noted panelists: physicist Max Tegmark and anthropologist Barbara J. King. This episode…
From the Vault: P vs. NP
Jun 9, 2018 • 57 min
What does it mean to solve a problem in our universe? That’s a trickier question than you might think, with some fairly high-stakes ramifications in the worlds of computing and even philosophy. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and…
Sleep and Creativity
Jun 7, 2018 • 67 min
What roles does sleep play in human creativity? Can we learn in our dreams? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a look at famous accounts of dream inspiration and scientific research into the link between creativity and sleep. And yes, they want you to…
Troubled Sleep in the Arks of Doom
Jun 5, 2018 • 58 min
It’s hard enough to sleep just knowing that dozens of nuclear ballistic missile submarines haunt the oceans, each containing the means to rain nuclear annihilation on the world. But what’s it like to sleep aboard these arks of doom? It actually ties into…
From the Vault: Early Days Electric, Part 2
Jun 2, 2018 • 70 min
Electricity lost its magic over the course the 18th and 19th centuries. The “invisible fire” steadily transitioned from a mysterious force of wonder to a mundane reality of daily modern life. In this two-part edition of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and…
Finite and Infinite Games
May 31, 2018 • 55 min
How do you play the game of life? Do you play it as a finite game or an infinite one? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss the 1986 philosophy book “Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and…
Quantum Immortality
May 29, 2018 • 68 min
What is quantum immortality? How do we get from quantum physics to thought experiment suicide machines and what does it all say about the nature of our reality? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick dive into the…
From the Vault: Early Days Electric, Part 1
May 26, 2018 • 57 min
Electricity lost its magic over the course the 18th and 19th centuries. The “invisible fire” steadily transitioned from a mysterious force of wonder to a mundane reality of daily modern life. In this two-part edition of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert…
The Alphabet and the Goddess, Part 2
May 24, 2018 • 41 min
What happened to the worship of goddesses? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore Leonard Shlain’s hypothesis from his 1998 book “The Alphabet Versus the Goddess,” in which the author argues that the…
The Alphabet and the Goddess, Part 1
May 22, 2018 • 51 min
What happened to the worship of goddesses? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore Leonard Shlain’s hypothesis from his 1998 book “The Alphabet Versus the Goddess,” in which the author argues that the…
From the Vault: Techno-Religion, Part 2
May 19, 2018 • 56 min
We often think of technology and religion as distinct and separate worlds, but what happens when they converge? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick in this two-part episode as they examine religious world views shaped by technology, such as John Murray…
Life on Venus
May 17, 2018 • 58 min
The planet Venus might seem a hellish destination and an unlikely place to find extraterrestrial life. And yet, many experts agree that life may have existed in the planet’s ancient oceans — and may thrive yet within the upper atmosphere. Join Robert Lamb…
Crazy Ants and Electricity
May 15, 2018 • 50 min
Do crazy ants crave electronics? Do they feast on that sweet, sweet juice? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick dispel some myths and explore the science of this particular insect invader. Learn more about your…
From the Vault: Techno-Religion, Part 1
May 12, 2018 • 47 min
We often think of technology and religion as distinct and separate worlds, but what happens when they converge? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick in this two-part episode as they examine religious world views shaped by technology, such as John Murray…
Listener Mail: Of AI Minds and Human Farts
May 10, 2018 • 62 min
Once more, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick consult recent offerings of listener mail for your thoughts on artificial intelligence, demonic flatulence and more. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Boltzmann Brains Revisited
May 8, 2018 • 65 min
Space brains. Religious models of infinity. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they revisit the topic of Boltzmann brains and discuss the general history of infinity. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
From the Vault: Animal Sex Cannibals
May 5, 2018 • 60 min
Sexual cannibalism is a rarity in the natural world, and scientists are still attempting to understand the act as practiced by mostly arachnids and insects. Why consume your mate after or during sexual intercourse? Why venture into such a scenario in the…
Unicorns of the Natural World
May 3, 2018 • 57 min
While the unicorn itself is a creature of fantasy and legend, one-horned and one-tusked animals do reside in the natural world. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they examine several extant and extinct species noted for their solitary protrusions —…
Unicorns of the Mythic World
May 1, 2018 • 65 min
Jorge Luis Borges tells us that the oldest unicorn legends are nearly identical to the most recent ficitonal treatments — but why is that? Why is the notion of a sacred, one-horned horse so resilient in human culture? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your…
From the Vault: Jumping Fish
Apr 28, 2018 • 80 min
Fish belong in the water, right? What business do they have leaping out of their world and into ours? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the surprisingly fascinating, dangerous and mysterious world of…
Evolution and the City: The Birds
Apr 26, 2018 • 84 min
How have birds adapted to the artificial environments of human cities? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick sit down with educator, writer and Audubon Society birder Jason Ward about everything from urban hawks to…
Evolution and the City: The Beasts
Apr 24, 2018 • 68 min
Human cities are the ultimate artificial environments — and we’re not the only organisms to call them home. In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick consider some of the adaptive animals that have taken to city…
From the Vault: Library of Babel
Apr 21, 2018 • 72 min
In Jorge Luis Borges’ masterful short story “The Library of Babel,” librarians and cultists wander a vast honeycomb library of hexagonal rooms — rooms that contain not only all books but all possible books, from unwritten masterpieces to tomes of…
Listener Mail: Kingdom of the Face Blind
Apr 19, 2018 • 56 min
What’s it like to live with prosopagnosia or face blindness? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they devote an entire Stuff to Blow Your Mind episode to listener thoughts, observations and experiences. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Fartonomicon
Apr 17, 2018 • 61 min
What is a fart? From what foul bodily depths does it arise? Join Stuff to Blow Your Mind hosts Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as the crack open the Fartomicon. Explore the fascinating chemistry of flatus, recoil in horror at the thought of medieval fart…
From the Vault: Hollywood Acid
Apr 14, 2018 • 78 min
From the corrosive blood of the “Alien” xenomorph to the various Bond and Batman villains’ use of the iconic acid vat, popular media presents us with a dramatic and largely unrealistic vision of acidic power. What are our strongest acids and superacids…
Machine Consciousness and P-Zombies
Apr 12, 2018 • 71 min
If a machine told you it was conscious, how could you tell if it was lying? Indeed, how can you tell that any random human in your life is lying when they speak of their own consciousness. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a stirring discussion on AI…
The Singing Colossus of Memnon
Apr 10, 2018 • 64 min
The twin Egyptian statues erected by Amenophis III were already ancient relics when Roman travelers visited them in the first century CE. One stood tall and unconquered by some 1400 years of sun and sand, the other lay toppled by a recent earthquake. The…
From the Vault: Myth-Fleshed Fossil
Apr 7, 2018 • 70 min
Are the fossilized monsters of paleontology and the fantastic monsters of myth one and the same? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they discuss the realm of of geomythology, entailing the possible ancient real-world origins of dragons, griffins,…
Face Blindness
Apr 5, 2018 • 54 min
It’s easy to take the human brain’s facial recognition powers for granted, unless there’s a malfunction. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the science of prosopagnosia or face blindness. Learn more about…
The Cambodian Stegosaurus
Apr 3, 2018 • 63 min
Do Cambodian temple ruins speak to a time when humans and dinosaurs coexisted? Absolutely not, but it’s a great excuse for Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick to talk about the armored stegosaurus, Ta Prohm temple, young Earth creationism and avian evolution.…
From the Vault: Saturn’s Brood
Mar 31, 2018 • 72 min
The planet Saturn offers far more than rings to those who venture within its gravitational influence. This wind-swept gas giant also holds sway over no fewer than 53 moons, including such wonders as the atmosphere-shrouded Titan, two-faced Iapetus and…
The Bathysphere: William Beebe Descends
Mar 29, 2018 • 43 min
In 1930, American naturalist William Beebe began his descent in a spherical, unpowered submarine known as a Bathysphere — and in doing so visited a world previously unseen by human beings. In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb…
The Bathysphere: Life in the Deep
Mar 27, 2018 • 45 min
In 1930, American naturalist William Beebe began his descent in a spherical, unpowered submarine known as a Bathysphere — and in doing so visited a world previously unseen by human beings. In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb…
From the Vault: Jupiter’s Children
Mar 24, 2018 • 69 min
Of all the moons of Jupiter, Callisto, Ganymede, Europa and Io tantalize us the most. These alien worlds of ice, fire, desolation and hidden oceans tantalize us with their possibility for extraterrestrial life and human exploration of the outer solar…
Leviathan: The Wolf of Whale Street
Mar 22, 2018 • 65 min
Canst thou draw out Livyatan melvillei with a hook? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the awesome undersea world of carnivorous whales — as well as the sperm whale ancestor that may have preyed on its fellow…
Life Beyond The Shield
Mar 20, 2018 • 56 min
Life on Earth depends on the planet’s natural shielding, otherwise solar and cosmic radiation would ravage our small blue world. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, sponsored by the National Geographic Channel’s series ‘One Strange Rock,’ Robert…
From the Vault: Bird Intelligence
Mar 17, 2018 • 75 min
Just what are the upper limits of avian cognitive ability? Various studies reveal how certain bird species engage in mental time travel, tool use, self recognition, theory of mind and even meta-cognition. But how do their non-mammalian brains actually…
The Nuts and Bolts of Boltzmann Brains
Mar 15, 2018 • 66 min
Do your ever have the feeling that your entire reality is just a momentary hallucination inside a randomly formed space brain? If so, then this is the podcast episode for you! In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick…
I Ching: The Book of Changes
Mar 13, 2018 • 61 min
The Book of Changes stands as one of the most important divination texts in human history — and a foundational text of Chinese culture in general. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss the I Ching. How does it…
From the Vault: Tip of the Tongue
Mar 10, 2018 • 56 min
Your know the feeling. You’re trying to recall the name of a time-keeping musical device or the the actor who played Fredo in ‘The Godfather’ and all that comes to mind is a memory-hole in the shape of a metronome or John Cazale. It’s on the tip of your…
Listener Mail: Crab Faces, Anus Myths and More
Mar 8, 2018 • 71 min
Once again, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick read listener mail related to recent episodes. You’ll hear myths about the anus, reflections on samurai crab faces, Egyptian religion, salt water consumption, virtual reality and more. Learn more about your…
War, Pain and the Super Soldier
Mar 6, 2018 • 71 min
The history of war is filled with examples of soldiers who, in the heat of battle, fail to register the full extent of their injuries. In fact, some of our oldest accounts of battle seem devoid of pain’s emotional context. For humans possess two systems…
From the Vault: Hyper-Real Religion
Mar 3, 2018 • 75 min
When does a protest religion become an actual faith? What happens when purely fictional modes of belief leak off the page or screen? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they discuss modern religious movements, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster…
The Great Eyeball War, Part 2
Mar 1, 2018 • 66 min
Are apps, smart phones and social media sucking us dry? As Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss in this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, the modern media experience certainly depletes our attention. Learn all about the ramifications of this…
The Great Eyeball War, Part 1
Feb 27, 2018 • 53 min
Are apps, smart phones and social media sucking us dry? As Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss in this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, the modern media experience certainly depletes our attention. Learn all about the ramifications of this…
From the Vault: The Science of Whining
Feb 24, 2018 • 38 min
Unless you’ve lived your life in a childless fortress of seclusion, you’ve likely encountered the maddening, high-pitched whine of a complaining child. But what is whining? Is it universal? Why is it so annoying and just what’s being communicated between…
The Proteus Effect
Feb 22, 2018 • 61 min
What effect does a virtual reality avatar have on the user? Can it alter your identity? Can it change how you behave in the real world? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the Proteus Effect, named for the…
Carl Sagan and the Samurai Crabs
Feb 20, 2018 • 64 min
Legend has it that a variety of crabs contain the ghosts of a drowned samurai army — and each bears a grimacing warrior face on their backs to prove it. But what can we really gather from this biological peculiarity? In the book and TV series “Cosmos,”…
From the Vault: Dune Biology
Feb 17, 2018 • 70 min
Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel ‘Dune’ is a game-changing saga of space-age feudalistic intrigue, rampaging sandworms and prescient mind drugs on a desert world. Even today, the work resonates with scientific wonder and philosophical intrigue, so join Robert…
The Chinese Typewriter (with Tom Mullaney)
Feb 15, 2018 • 66 min
Where the technolingustic systems of the west meet the non-alphabetic written characters of the east, the Chinese typewriter emerges. It’s a story of technological innovation, linguistic imperialism and China’s 19th and 20th century struggle over national…
Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor
Feb 13, 2018 • 70 min
You’ve seen the photos of the famed terracotta warriors, but no one in over 2200 years has glimpsed inside the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. It’s a chamber where rivers of mercury trace the empire’s form beneath a ceiling starscape of…
From the Vault: Dune Technology
Feb 10, 2018 • 68 min
Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel ‘Dune’ is a game-changing saga of space-age feudalistic intrigue, rampaging sandworms and prescient mind drugs on a desert world. Even today, the work resonates with scientific wonder and philosophical intrigue, so join Robert…
Animal Lies: Six Tales of Mimicry and Deception
Feb 8, 2018 • 64 min
What are the shadiest lies in the animal kingdom? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, join Robert and Joe as they explore six different organisms and the fabulous ways they deceive each other and rival species. Meet cuckoos, cuttlefish, mountain…
Anchor in the Mind
Feb 6, 2018 • 56 min
Anchoring bias is one of the most powerful and easily exploited vulnerabilities in the human mind. Throughout your life, people, companies and organizations will use it to influence your thoughts and control your behavior. In this episode of Stuff to Blow…
From the Vault: Tears of Re
Feb 3, 2018 • 78 min
In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, enter a kingdom within a kingdom: the remarkable honey-and-wax monarchy within a beehive and the organizational complexity of ancient Egypt. Join Robert and Joe as they discuss the importance of apiculture in…
Evolution of the Anus
Feb 1, 2018 • 63 min
Chances are, you take the anus for granted — at least so long as it’s behaving itself. Yet this fascinating anatomical feature has a deep evolutionary history and is itself a marvel of engineering. Join Robert and Joe for a look at this most marvelous…
Miasma Theory and the Evil Air
Jan 30, 2018 • 64 min
Prior to the germ theory of disease, miasma theory ruled the day — the notion that bad air, full of destructive particles, wafted out from the foul places of the earth to corrupt everything it touched. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert…
From the Vault: Techno-Telepathy
Jan 27, 2018 • 62 min
You’ve always wanted to meet a sensitive alien telepath who could understand you like no one else, but SETI is really dropping the ball on your galactic personal ad. Could new technologies that push the frontiers of brain science allow telepathic…
Aquatic Humanoids, Part 2
Jan 25, 2018 • 63 min
From the sirens of ‘The Odyssey’ to ‘The Creature From the Black Lagoon’ and beyond, humans have always imagined their underwater doubles. In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert and Joe discuss the revealing myth and fiction of…
Aquatic Humanoids, Part 1
Jan 23, 2018 • 60 min
From the sirens of ‘The Odyssey’ to ‘The Creature From the Black Lagoon’ and beyond, humans have always imagined their underwater doubles. In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert and Joe discuss the revealing myth and fiction of…
From the Vault: Better Living Through Tetris
Jan 20, 2018 • 50 min
In their previous episode, Robert and Joe explored the geometric hallucinations of Tetris syndrome. Now they’re back for a serious look at the ways in which a good dose of cascading, interlocking tetrominoes might just cure what ails ya — from lazy eye to…
Listener Mail: Talos, Homunculi, Winter and More
Jan 18, 2018 • 62 min
Join Robert and Joe for another round of Stuff to Blow Your Mind listener mail, in which they read and attend to your thoughts and insight on recent episodes. This round features discussions on the speed of Talos, homunculi generations, Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw…
Don’t Drink the Salt Water
Jan 16, 2018 • 51 min
Whether you draw your wisdom from 18th century poems or experience in the surf, you probably know that drinking seawater is a terrible idea. But exactly why shouldn’t you drink saltwater? What happens if you do? Can it really drive you mad with…
From the Vault: Tetris Syndrome
Jan 13, 2018 • 72 min
To play a game of “Tetris” is to invite a geometric invasion into your mind. After hours of intense block manipulation, you finally set aside your gaming device. You take a deep breath, close your eyes — and there the frenzied, multicolored tetrominoes…
Meditation Lab: Empathy and Energy
Jan 11, 2018 • 64 min
We all know what meditation looks like, and many of us know what it feels like. But what does it provide us in return for these brief periods of mental and physical stillness? Join Robert and Joe as they talk to Emory University meditation researcher Dr.…
Where’s my eternal youth? Part 2
Jan 9, 2018 • 50 min
Throughout history, humans have faced the inexorable process of aging and death. We’ve dreamt up countless myths to explain why we age and what comes of seeking immortality, but what does science tell us about the process? Why do we age? What purpose does…
From the Vault: Aphantasia
Jan 6, 2018 • 58 min
Mental images play an important role in our daily experience of reality, from thoughts of the past to daydreams, fantasies and entire worlds of the imagination. Just what’s happening when we see through the mind’s eye and what on Earth is it like for…
Where’s my eternal youth? Part 1
Jan 4, 2018 • 46 min
Throughout history, humans have faced the inexorable process of aging and death. We’ve dreamt up countless myths to explain why we age and what comes of seeking immortality, but what does science tell us about the process? Why do we age? What purpose does…
Talos: The Bronze Automaton
Jan 2, 2018 • 60 min
Among the many humanoid gods and bestial monsters of Greek mythology, one finds a peculiar outlier: Talos the bronze automaton. Said to stalk the shores of Crete, Talos pelted suspicious ships with rocks and immolated enemy soldiers with its smoldering…
From the Vault: The Forer Effect
Dec 30, 2017 • 51 min
From palm-reading fortune tellers to professionally-administered Myers Briggs test, everyone’s a sucker for a an ego-stroking personality assessment. In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the subtle forces of the Forer…
The Winter People, Part 2
Dec 28, 2017 • 48 min
Do you feel like a different person during the winter? In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert and Joe examine the extent to which winter affects human health and culture. From the winter transformations of the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw people…
The Winter People, Part 1
Dec 26, 2017 • 47 min
Do you feel like a different person during the winter? In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert and Joe examine the extent to which winter affects human health and culture. From the winter transformations of the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw people…
From the Vault: The Stone of Madness
Dec 23, 2017 • 55 min
Madness has always intrigued artists, and medieval paintings sometimes presented this malady’s treatment via the surgical removal of cranial stone. What was the stone of madness? Was it mere fantasy, metaphor or an actual medical condition? In this…
Baby Jesus and the Homunculus
Dec 21, 2017 • 61 min
We’ve all marveled at the grotesque, oddly-proportioned old man babies in medieval art — but why did artists of the period pain such creatures? In this special Christmas episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the convergence of the…
First Messenger From an Alien Star
Dec 19, 2017 • 51 min
In recent weeks, the first recorded object from another star system appeared in our solar neighborhood. Dubbed ‘Oumuamua,’ the interloper stirs both our scientific curiosity and imagination. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe…
Machine God: Artificial Superintelligence
Dec 14, 2017 • 68 min
Voltaire famously postulated that if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him. As humanity approaches the technological singularity, this statement takes on new meaning. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe contemplate…
Ophiocordyceps: Fungal Puppet Masters
Dec 12, 2017 • 56 min
The fungus Ophiocordyceps unilateralis is the Mona Lisa of mind control parasites. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss the latest findings on its insidious ant-hijacking antics — as well as a few other favorite biological…
This Present Moment: Philosophy & Neuroscience
Dec 7, 2017 • 56 min
What is now? What is the present moment? These questions continue to stagger us, for nothing is so simultaneously familiar and alien than the passage of time. Nothing seems more “real” to us that the present, yet it vanishes into nothing at every attempt…
This Present Moment: Experience and Physics
Dec 5, 2017 • 59 min
What is now? What is the present moment? These questions continue to stagger us, for nothing is so simultaneously familiar and alien than the passage of time. Nothing seems more “real” to us that the present, yet it vanishes into nothing at every attempt…
Tree of Life
Nov 30, 2017 • 59 min
Sacred trees. World trees. Holy trees of wisdom, immortality and the soul. They seem to grow from every culture on Earth and their roots dig deep into the soil of prehistory. What do they mean? Why are we so drawn to their symbolic power? Join Robert and…
Listener Mail: Leary, Bicameralism and Monsters
Nov 28, 2017 • 79 min
Once more, Stuff to Blow Your Mind powers up the mailbot and considers YOUR comments, stories, insights and questions on recent episodes. In this installment, Robert, Joe and Christian discuss Timothy Leary, bicameralism, twins and all sorts of monsters.…
Dangerous Foods III: A Festival of Pain
Nov 23, 2017 • 70 min
Thanksgiving is a time of feasting and the wages of feasting, and so Robert and Joe are here to dish up a third installment of Stuff to Blow Your Mind’s ‘Dangerous Foods’ series. Do you dare bite into the likes of licorice, giant Namibian bullfrog,…
When will the Earth become uninhabitable?
Nov 21, 2017 • 65 min
Earth is our home, but how much longer can it remain so? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Christian explore the many threats to terrestrial habitability, from the cosmically distant to the frighteningly close at hand.…
An Attempt to Understand Zoophilia
Nov 16, 2017 • 67 min
Human culture emerges from a legacy of lives lived in close proximity to wild and domesticated animals. We see it in our myths and, in its most taboo and perplexing form, we see it in zoophilia. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and…
Ig Nobels 2017: Vampires, Vaginal Music & Cheese
Nov 14, 2017 • 43 min
Each year, the Ig Nobel prizes celebrate the most absurd and humorous efforts in legitimate scientific research – and 2017’s winners do not disappoint. Join Robert, Joe and Christian as they discuss all 10 studies in a special three-part Stuff to Blow…
Ig Nobels 2017: Crocodile Slots, Twins & Old Ears
Nov 9, 2017 • 47 min
Each year, the Ig Nobel prizes celebrate the most absurd and humorous efforts in legitimate scientific research – and 2017’s winners do not disappoint. Join Robert, Joe and Christian as they discuss all 10 studies in a special three-part Stuff to Blow…
Ig Nobels 2017: Liquid Cats, Didgeridoos & More
Nov 7, 2017 • 58 min
Each year, the Ig Nobel prizes celebrate the most absurd and humorous efforts in legitimate scientific research – and 2017’s winners do not disappoint. Join Robert, Joe and Christian as they discuss all 10 studies in a special three-part Stuff to Blow…
From the Vault: Mind Flayers
Nov 3, 2017 • 76 min
If you’ve watched Stranger Things 2, then you know another beloved Dungeons and Dragons monster pops up as an analogy for an extra-dimensional menace: the mind flayer. Join Robert and Christian for the 2016 episode ‘The Body Illithid: Science of the Mind…
Creepypasta 4: More SCP, Polybius and Grifter
Nov 2, 2017 • 87 min
Dive into a world of indestructible reptiles, killer video games, bizarre god towers and haunted video tapes as Robert and Christian take on a fourth helping of creepypasta. Join them on Stuff to Blow Your Mind as they seek scientific, psychological and…
The Monstrosity/Cuteness Spectrum
Oct 31, 2017 • 85 min
It seems the unavoidable fate of all terrifying monsters, doesn’t it? We reduce the most horrifying creatures of myth, legend and folklore to an adorable kids costume or a mega-cute illustration. Why can’t we help ourselves? In this episode of Stuff to…
The First Monster
Oct 26, 2017 • 79 min
Humans love monsters, but when did we first dare to dream up bestial hybrids and chimerical horrors? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Joe consider the 35-40 thousand-year-old Löwenmensch statues. Who created these images…
Optography: Image in a Dead Man’s Eye
Oct 24, 2017 • 46 min
Pseudoscience often enters our world where magic fails us, seeming to make the impossible possible via the invocation of actual scientific and technological marvels. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore the unmistakably…
Cambrian Monster Mash
Oct 19, 2017 • 73 min
Welcome to the ocean of monsters. In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Joe travel back 500 million years to the monster-haunted waters of the Cambrian period. Meet the monstrous trilobite, anomalocaris, opabinia,…
A Game of Werewolf
Oct 17, 2017 • 78 min
If you’ve ever played the party game ‘Werewolf,’ then you know the thrill of weeding out secret lycanthropes in a medieval village — or devouring the villagers secretly in the night. But the game goes far beyond parlor fun and mild roleplaying as numerous…
Stuff to Blow Your Mind Live: Stranger Science
Oct 12, 2017 • 86 min
With another season of “Stranger Things” just around the corner, the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast explores the mind rending science behind government research into psychic phenomena, sensory deprivation tanks, interdimensional travel and the real-life…
Six Ghost Stories
Oct 10, 2017 • 84 min
Human superstition provides us with an overwhelming wealth of ghost stories, each an unreal creation that reveals something crucial about culture, history and psychology. In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Christian explore…
Science of It: Deadlights and Derry
Oct 5, 2017 • 74 min
If you’ve read Stephen King’s “It” or recoiled in fear from the 2017 film and the 1990 miniseries, then perhaps you’ve wondered what science can reveal about Pennywise the Dancing Clown and the horrors of Derry, Maine. Join Robert and Christian as they…
Laughing During Horror Movies
Oct 3, 2017 • 49 min
Have you ever heard inappropriate laughter during a horror movie? For that matter, are you the guilty party? Join Robert and Christian as they explore our curious reactions to frightful cinema and how horror and comedy converge in the human mind. Learn…
Bonus: R. Scott Bakker, Consciousness & Consult
Sep 29, 2017 • 79 min
In this special bonus episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, author R. Scott Bakker returns to the show for a discussion of consciousness, philosophy, artificial intelligence, inhuman minds and the conclusion to his 2017 novel “The Unholy Consult.” Don’t…
Bicameralism, Part 2: The Silent Pantheon
Sep 28, 2017 • 90 min
In 1976, psychologist Julian Jaynes presented the world with a stunning new take on the history of human consciousness. His book “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” hypothesized that ancient humans heard hallucinated…
Bicameralism, Part 1: The Voice of God
Sep 26, 2017 • 76 min
In 1976, psychologist Julian Jaynes presented the world with a stunning new take on the history of human consciousness. His book “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” hypothesized that ancient humans heard hallucinated…
Timothy Leary, Part 2: Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out
Sep 21, 2017 • 52 min
Idolized by some and reviled by others, Timothy Leary remains an icon of 1960s counterculture and psychedelic self-exploration. But who was this rebel, psychologist and celebrity? What did he reveal about LSD’s power and potential? Join Robert and…
Timothy Leary, Part 1: The Science of LSD
Sep 19, 2017 • 54 min
Idolized by some and reviled by others, Timothy Leary remains an icon of 1960s counterculture and psychedelic self-exploration. But who was this rebel, psychologist and celebrity? What did he reveal about LSD’s power and potential? Join Robert and…
Listener Mail: Media and Memory
Sep 14, 2017 • 67 min
Join Robert, Joe and Christian for another listener mail extravaganza! They’ll read your feedback on human memory, science communication, Chinese culture, history and more. Plus is Karny the Mailbot in love? Tune in to find out. Learn more about your…
Poison and the Rhino Horn
Sep 12, 2017 • 61 min
Can a chalice made of rhino horn detect poison? Can its ground powder serve as an aphrodisiac? The science is at best sketchy on both fronts, but such beliefs continue to endanger the world’s remaining rhinoceros species. In this episode of Stuff to Blow…
The Psychology of Tattoos
Sep 7, 2017 • 73 min
Do you have a tattoo? If so, you probably have an interesting story to go with it, or some personal insight into just what the design and the experience mean to you. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian discuss the science of…
Chakram: Spinning Death in Myth, War & Physics
Sep 5, 2017 • 47 min
It’s easy to assume that spinning, ring-shaped blades are weapons best left to Hindu gods and TV warrior princesses. But long before humans invented the peaceful Aerobie, ancient Indian warriors unleashed spinning chakram against their enemies — and Sikh…
Green Beard Genes
Aug 31, 2017 • 57 min
Join Robert and Joe as they explore the world of green beard genes and their role in biological altruism. The Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast takes you from the writings of William D. Hamilton and Richard Dawkins to laboratory results entailing ants,…
Shared False Memories and The Mandela Effect
Aug 29, 2017 • 64 min
If you’ve ever reminisced with friends about movies that never existed or historical details that never came to pass, then you’ve experienced the weirdness of shared false memories. Also known as the Mandela Effect, it’s led some to interpret erroneous…
Are we condemned to repeat history?
Aug 24, 2017 • 55 min
Philosopher George Santayana said that ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ If that’s true, then can an extensive understanding of past events help human civilization avoid future catastrophes? In this episode of Stuff to Blow…
Greek Fire: The Byzantine Secret Weapon
Aug 22, 2017 • 78 min
To engage the ships of Byzantine Empire was to risk the horrors of Greek fire, a medieval weapons system that empowered ships to spew forth flaming liquid on enemy ships and crew members. The secrets of Greek fire are lost to history, but historians and…
Six Deadly Poisons
Aug 17, 2017 • 70 min
Deadly elixirs in tiny bottles play into the cruelest machinations of history, fiction and myth. In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, join Robert and Christian as they sneak six of these deadly concoctions from the poisoner’s chest and…
Path of Totality: See the Eclipse!
Aug 15, 2017 • 66 min
There’s a total solar eclipse sweeping across the center of the United States on Monday, August 21, 2017, so here’s a special Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast episode to enhance the experience! Join Robert and Joe for practical viewing tips and a rundown…
Alien Abduction Experience, Part 2
Aug 10, 2017 • 54 min
What are we to make of alien abduction experiences? Scientific investigation points to a barrage of logical explanations for abnormal sensory experience, from sleep paralysis and temporal lobe anomalies to false memory encoding. Interpret it all within…
Alien Abduction Experience, Part 1
Aug 8, 2017 • 67 min
What are we to make of alien abduction experiences? Scientific investigation points to a barrage of logical explanations for abnormal sensory experience, from sleep paralysis and temporal lobe anomalies to false memory encoding. Interpret it all within…
The Science of Secrets
Aug 3, 2017 • 102 min
Can you keep a secret? If so, what’s the psychic weight of that secret? How does secret keeping fit into human evolution and the modern shape of human society? Join Robert and Joe as they discuss the science of secrets and secret keeping in this episode…
The Buddha is a Mountain
Aug 1, 2017 • 53 min
One of the largest historical statues in the world, China’s Lèshān Grand Buddha has overlooked the Dàdù river for 1200 years. Carved from the side of a mountain, this serene titan is a testament to human artistry and the Anthropocene Epoch. Join Robert…
Sharks of Summer (with Marah Hardt of ‘Sex in the Sea’)
Jul 27, 2017 • 72 min
If you watch enough ‘Jaws’ and Shark Week, you’re bound to see sharks as ravenous death machines. But is it really more appropriate to think of these ancient creatures as LIFE machines? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and…
Svalbard: Land of Snow and Apocalypse Arks
Jul 25, 2017 • 69 min
The Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard has it all: glaciers, polar bears, scientific researchers and an epic seed vault built to survive the apocalypse. Join Robert and Christian as they discuss this frigid environment and the human activities that have…
Summer Reading: Aliens, Microbes, Cocktails and More
Jul 20, 2017 • 76 min
It’s time once again for Robert, Joe and Christian to share a selection of fiction, nonfiction and comic book reads to enhance your summer travels — or simply boost your reading list. Join your Stuff to Blow Your Mind hosts as they discuss volumes about…
The Biophilia Hypothesis
Jul 18, 2017 • 68 min
Why are humans so drawn to the natural world of biodiverse organisms? Is this longing merely part of our culture or do we possess an innate and even genetic tendency to focus on life and lifelike processes? Join Robert and Joe as they discuss Edward O.…
Artificial Gravity: Cosmic Wheels and Hurtling Towers
Jul 13, 2017 • 85 min
Humans are creatures of gravity. We’re born into it. Life as we know it evolved to thrive in it. So what’s a gravitational organism to do in the low-gravity and zero-gravity expanses beyond Earth? You can’t bring it with you, but scientists have cooked up…
Order out of Chaos: How to Create a Universe
Jul 11, 2017 • 69 min
Numerous mythologies speak to the birth of our universe out of darkness and chaos, but can humans follow in the footsteps of the gods? Can we create a universe in the lab? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Joe explore the…
Cultural Appropriation
Jul 6, 2017 • 59 min
We’ve all heard charges of cultural appropriation in everything from fashion and music to personal world view, but what’s actually at stake here? What is cultural misappropriation, when does it have negative consequences and how does it fit into our…
Sword of the Samurai
Jul 4, 2017 • 62 min
Appreciation for the katana cuts across cultures and genres, slicing into the hearts of history buffs, japanophiles, comic book fans and more. But what’s so special about the sword of the Samurai? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and…
Ticks, Mites and Mysterious Lone Star Illnesses
Jun 29, 2017 • 72 min
Ticks are, in the words of Pliny the Elder, ‘the foulest and nastiest creature that be.’ If these blood sucking arachnids and their mite brethren weren’t horrible enough, they’re second only to the mosquito in the risk of blood borne human pathogens. In…
CRISPR and the Genetic Astronaut
Jun 27, 2017 • 70 min
In 1960, scientists Nathan Kline and Manfred Clynes envisioned a spacefaring cyborg, technologically augmented to endure the rigors of space travel. The subsequent six decades of space exploration largely ignored this radical suggestion, but the advent of…
Extended Cognition: Brain, Fingers, Web and Krang
Jun 22, 2017 • 73 min
It’s easy to think yourself a mere brain within a human body — a cognitive machine making sense out of all the incoming sense data from outside world. But what if other parts of the body and even objects beyond the body serve a vital role in our…
Name Thy Demons: The Roots of Human Violence
Jun 20, 2017 • 83 min
Is human civilization growing less violent? Cognitive scientist Steven Pinker argued the point in his 2011 book ‘The Better Angels of Our Nature,’ in which he also defined the ‘five inner demons’ that push us to wrath. Know them — speak their true names —…
AI, Machine Learning and Human Creativity
Jun 15, 2017 • 80 min
Just as manufacturing automation cuts into human jobs, the prospect of creative artificial intelligence raises the specter of robot writers, robot artists and robot musicians who never sleep and always agree with their patron. But paranoia aside, where…
Science Communication Breakdown
Jun 13, 2017 • 56 min
Science enabled humans to ascend out of the darkness and tackle life’s problems with systematic, self-correcting rigidity. Yet, when faced with scientific consensus on climate change and other issues, some citizens, politicians and even scientists dig in…
There But For Science: Blood Navigation
Jun 8, 2017 • 79 min
Imagine a world in which sailing ships navigate by the yelps of tormented dogs and nuclear submarines whisper to each other via the screams of rabbits and their murdered young? In both of these cases, science won out over magical thinking — and actual…
The Tower of Babel
Jun 6, 2017 • 85 min
An ancient people build a tower to touch the heavens. A vengeful god disrupts the project through the splintering of human language. Everyone’s left to pick up the pieces. The Tower of Babel myth resonates out from the Mesopotamian cradle of civilization,…
Neurosecurity: Dawn of the Brain Hackers
Jun 1, 2017 • 79 min
While hackers and malware can certainly cause a great deal of damage and misery, these dangers can’t hurt us physically, right? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Joe are sorry to say you’re wrong — and as more…
Height, Health and Human Happiness
May 30, 2017 • 60 min
Tall people. Short People. Somewhere-in-between people. What are we to make of human height and its relationship to overall health and personality? Robert and Christian explore in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast. All heights welcome.…
Five Reasons to Never Take Your Space Helmet Off
May 25, 2017 • 78 min
You’ve consumed enough science fiction to know something the average red shirt doesn’t: Never take your space helmet off on a foreign planet. But if you’re still tempted to breathe deep the gathering gloom, how about five compelling scientific reasons not…
R. Scott Bakker: On Alien Philosophy and Fantasy
May 23, 2017 • 74 min
Canadian author R. Scott Bakker is best known for his Second Apocalypse saga, a series of dark fantasy novels that explore philosophical and even neuroscientific ideas through a world of sorcery, holy wars and inhuman evil. In this episode of the Stuff to…
Hook Suspension and the Complexity of Pain
May 18, 2017 • 54 min
Hook suspension challenges our perceptions of pain. We see practitioners, pierced through the flesh with hooks, suspended by chains and yet smiling as if lost to a state of bliss. What are they feeling? Where does this practice come from and how does it…
Escape Velocity: Jack Parsons and the New Magick
May 16, 2017 • 53 min
Jack Parsons wanted to break free, from both the limits of Earth and the boundaries of traditional early 20th century American thought. He devoted his short life to the scientific pursuit of rocket engineering and the occult exploration of magick. As…
Weird Wonders of House Gastropoda
May 11, 2017 • 51 min
The world of slugs and snails is a grotesque circus of fever-dream horrors and biological marvels. Join Robert and Christian for a six-species dive into their life cycles of slime, iron plating, deadly neurotoxins and more. Learn more about your…
Jade Immortality: Burial Armor of the Han Dynasty
May 9, 2017 • 44 min
Chinese aristocracy of the Western Han Dynasty embarked on their journey into the afterlife within garments of stone — luxurious suits of jade armor entailing thousands of individual plates sewn together with gold, silver or silk. In this episode of Stuff…
Push the Frontier
May 4, 2017 • 65 min
You’ve seen enough Westerns and Game of Throne episodes to know a frontier when you see it, but what exactly is this boundary between the laws of your world and the promise or threat of another? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe…
STBYM Live: Weird Science in the Windy City
May 2, 2017 • 79 min
Robert, Christian and Joe transport you back to the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893, when the neoclassical architecture of Daniel Burnham’s White City loomed on the shores of Lake Michigan, Nikola Tesla’s alternating current powered thousands of…
Listener Mail: In One Ear, Out the Third Eye
Apr 27, 2017 • 75 min
Robert, Joe and Christian call in the mailbot for yet another dose of listener feedback. Join them as they read your thoughts on everything from the uncanny valley and the Black Stone of Mecca to hook suspension and the science of guessing. Learn more…
H. R. Giger and the Biomechanical Soul
Apr 25, 2017 • 95 min
We’ve all seen the surreal biomechanical art of the late H.R. Giger, but the artist’s mainstream success and the undying appeal of his ‘Alien’ sometimes prevent a full appreciation of his dark vision. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and…
Where is my mind?
Apr 20, 2017 • 68 min
Today, most humans accept the brain as the seat of human consciousness, but this was not always the case. Join Robert and Joe as they explore ancient, alternative views on the anatomical center of reason and tackle contemporary mysteries regarding the…
Fossil Action Scenes: Dino Birth and Prehistoric Combat
Apr 18, 2017 • 87 min
Fossilized remains provide exciting insight into the biology and behavior of prehistoric beasts, but sometimes the fossil record gives us even more — a bonafide action scene! In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explain fossilization…
Disease Takes Flight on Leathery Wings
Apr 13, 2017 • 43 min
Bats have been demonized through history. Our folklore and horror stories tell us they’re something to be afraid of because they’re ‘creatures of the night’ with weird abilities like echolocation. And recent events tell us they carry diseases that could…
The Demon-Haunted Mind
Apr 11, 2017 • 63 min
Demons exist only within the human imagination, but that doesn’t make them harmless. If positive religious world views can result in a more positive state of mind, then might belief in soul-clawing, life-wrecking horned Hell fiends edge one closer to the…
Beyond the Uncanny Valley
Apr 6, 2017 • 55 min
The far side of the uncanny valley rises steeply, assaulting our psyche as our artificial human likenesses creep ever closer toward perfection. But what happens when we actually emerge on the other side? What happens to human society when video footage is…
Into the Uncanny Valley
Apr 4, 2017 • 61 min
From bad CGI characters to creepy humanoid robots, everyone knows the uncanny valley effect when they see it. But where did this idea come from and to what extent is it actually a thing? Join Robert and Joe as they descend into the uncanny valley and…
Sexbots: From Objectification to Therapeutic Surrogates
Mar 30, 2017 • 58 min
Sex between humans and machines is nothing new in the world of science fiction. Their forms range from angelic mechanoids to victimized humanoids, but the robotic lover is almost always an expression of purely human anxieties. Yet as real-world technology…
Fertility, Ovulation and Consumer Decision Making
Mar 28, 2017 • 68 min
For 50 percent of the population, ovulation plays a role in human behavior — but to what extent? Marketing researcher and social psychologist Kristina Durante contends that ovulation plays a large role in the decision making process of fertile females. If…
Be a Better Guesser With Fermi Estimation
Mar 23, 2017 • 82 min
How many eyeballs are in the jar? How many piano tuners ply their trade in Chicago and how many intelligent alien civilizations await us in the universe? These questions might seem overwhelming, but Fermi estimation allows us to break down overwhelming…
Far Below: The London Underground Mosquito
Mar 21, 2017 • 52 min
Unnatural tunnels worm and weave their way beneath centuries of accumulated London sprawl, and here a few natural creature assume unnatural behaviors — including the humble mosquito. For wherever humans travel, into whatever new shapes they give the…
Two Minutes To Midnight: The Doomsday Clock
Mar 16, 2017 • 59 min
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists continues to calculate humanity’s countdown to annihilation, but who calculates the doomsday clock and what factors bring us closer to midnight? Robert and Christian explore in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind…
The Necessity of Patient Zero
Mar 14, 2017 • 58 min
Patient zero looms large in our collective consciousness. Through carelessness, impropriety or sheer twisted luck, they introduce highly contagious pathogens into new human populations — if not the human species itself. But where does the science end and…
Life After Radiation: Sickness, Death and Sustenance
Mar 9, 2017 • 67 min
While fictional monsters and superheroes consume rads like video game power-ups, radiation is a trickier matter in reality — from everyday radiation to the destructive exposure associated with nuclear accidents and nuclear war. In this episode of the…
One-Armed Bandits: The Science of Slot Machines
Mar 7, 2017 • 64 min
You may call it a slot machine, a fruit machine or a one-armed bandit, but the reality is the same: an algorithmically precise machine designed to drain the human gambler of all his or her earnings. Where did these insidious machines come from? How do…
Mandala: Memory Palace and Simulated Worlds
Mar 2, 2017 • 51 min
The mandalas of Tibetan Buddhism entice us as artistic expressions, meta symbols and conscience expressions of a complex spiritual cosmology. In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Christian explore the nature of Tibetan…
Books of Flesh: Anthropodermic Bibliopegy
Feb 28, 2017 • 59 min
The libraries of horror fiction typically offer many a dark tome bound in human flesh, but do books like the ‘Necronomicon Ex-Mortis’ of ‘Evil Dead’ really exist? They do, and the true story of skin-clad literature will chill you. Join Robert and…
The Secret Intellect of Animals, Part 2
Feb 23, 2017 • 79 min
In the second of two episodes, Christian and Joe continue their discussion of animal cognition, including animal morality, tool use, mental time travel, culture, and other strange clues to the intellectual complexity of our cousins in the animal kingdom.…
The Secret Intellect of Animals, Part 1
Feb 21, 2017 • 67 min
In the 18th century, David Hume wrote that “no truth appears to me more evident than that beasts are endow’d with thought and reason as well as men.” Yet animal cognition has remained a controversial subject in science ever since. In the first of two…
The Holy Black Stone of Mecca
Feb 16, 2017 • 77 min
The Kaaba marks the geographic center of the Islamic world, and here one finds Al-Hadjar Al-Aswad, the Holy Black Stone of Mecca. Islamic traditions hold that the once white white stone blackened with humanity’s sins, but various scientific theories point…
The Mystery of Crab Boxing
Feb 14, 2017 • 37 min
Boxer crabs stand out amid their crustacean brethren due to their amazing tool use — a mutualistic relationship between these tiny crabs and the living sea anemones they employ as weapons. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian…
Jump Into The Void
Feb 9, 2017 • 46 min
Ever wrestle with the illogical quasi-compulsion to throw yourself off a cliff or building? Don’t worry! You’re probably not suicidal, but merely touched by the ‘call of the void’ or ‘high place phenomenon.’ In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind…
Scientific Reductionism
Feb 7, 2017 • 74 min
You might have read that ‘love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs,’ but would it really be better explained as the behavior of a large aggregation of elementary particles and their quantum mechanical and electrodynamic properties? Would a perfect a…
100 Days Later: Mathematics of a Zombie Apocalypse
Feb 2, 2017 • 54 min
When it comes to the particulars of a fictional zombie apocalypse, the particulars are all over the place — but it’s always fun to throw fantastic monsters up against the wall of science to see what sticks. In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind…
Chinese Immortality: Elixirs and Enlightened Beings
Jan 31, 2017 • 73 min
From deathless beheaded warriors and sacrificial heroines to mystical hermits, Chinese mythology is rich with tales of the undying. After all, the notion of immortality is as old as recorded history, so it makes sense to find a diverse, uniquely Chinese…
Chinese Zodiac: Superstition, Economics & Destiny
Jan 26, 2017 • 71 min
As we celebrate Chinese New Year and enter the year of the fire rooster, join Robert and Joe for an encore Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration of the Chinese zodiac and some interesting studies related to its impact on birth rates, economics and…
Interplanetary War
Jan 24, 2017 • 112 min
Syfy’s ‘The Expanse,’ based on the James S. A. Corey book series, revolves around conflict between human-seeded planetary civilizations — namely a UN-governed Earth and an independent Martian state. How does this vision match up with futurist predictions…
Sailors on a Dark Sea: Political Extremism, Child’s Play
Jan 19, 2017 • 61 min
As we sail through this world of technological marvel and complex systems, it’s easy to assume we know the watery depths that yawn beneath our hull. As it turns out, however, it’s all an illusion of explanatory depth. We think we understand day-to-day…
Sailors on a Dark Sea: Illusion of Explanatory Depth
Jan 17, 2017 • 82 min
As we sail through this world of technological marvel and complex systems, it’s easy to assume we know the watery depths that yawn beneath our hull. As it turns out, however, it’s all an illusion of explanatory depth. We think we understand day-to-day…
Mixologia: Potions, Cocktails & Deadly Spirits
Jan 12, 2017 • 88 min
While the cocktail is an inherently American invention, the history of combining alcohols with other substances to create potent, drinkable concoctions dates back to ancient times. While you might expect dangerous ingredients to have a place in a wizard’s…
The Science of Holy Butter
Jan 10, 2017 • 50 min
There’s more to butter than meets the eye. Each yellow pat of fatty goodness is nothing short of processed solar energy, and its long history entails many a magical and sacred rite. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian consider…
The Myth of Green Tea Hallucinations
Jan 5, 2017 • 55 min
Read the 1872 ghost story “Green Tea” and you might worry that a fresh cup of Sencha might summon visions of a demonic ghost monkey. But don’t fear! In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore the myth and likelihood of green…
Exorcism/Adorcism
Jan 3, 2017 • 65 min
You’ve likely never attended an exorcism, but popular culture ensures that you know what one is. Yes, we’re talking the forced removal of a demonic entity from the human psyche, but what else can we glean about this paranormal experience from shamanistic…
What Mind Control Feels Like
Dec 29, 2016 • 90 min
If mind control is possible, whether enabled by hard neurotechnology or good old fashioned social and linguistic suggestion, what does it feel like? What is it like to be controlled by a will other than your own? Would you even know it was happening?…
The Body Illithid: Science of the Mind Flayers
Dec 27, 2016 • 75 min
If Dungeons and Dragons has ever touched your life, then you’re probably familiar with the tentacled, brain-sucking Illithids. Even in a fantasy world so rich in bizarre monstrosities, the Mind Flayers stand out as shockingly alien. Yet the Illithids are…
Dangerous Foods II: The Second Course
Dec 22, 2016 • 71 min
In a world… where few people know the source of their foods and everyday meals seem the safest refuge, some dishes have deadly designs. From the masters of terror who brought you last year’s Stuff to Blow Your Mind episode ‘A Six Course Feast of Dangerous…
A Six Course Feast of Dangerous Foods
Dec 20, 2016 • 51 min
Considering a holiday feast of toxic sushi and deadly casserole? Then this encore presentation is for you. Join Robert and Joe for a six-course meal of culinary danger! Discover six foods that deliver a lethal taste profile when carelessly prepared or…
The Nature of Heroism
Dec 15, 2016 • 72 min
Heroes permeate our culture, from mythic archetypes and pop-culture superheroes to real-life humans who risk their lives for others. But from where does heroism emerge? Robert and Christian explore the question in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your…
Euphemisms: Linguistic Transmutation
Dec 13, 2016 • 81 min
Sure, euphemisms allow us to talk about something unpleasant or taboo without actually invoking the dreaded word or words — but what else is going on? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow your Mind podcast, Robert and Joe explore the linguistic power of…
Artes Mathematicall: The Diviner John Dee
Dec 8, 2016 • 44 min
Elizabethan scholar Dr. John Dee was one of the most learned men of the 16th century, applying his intense mathematical intellect to matters scientific, political, alchemical and occult. He advised Queen Elizabeth, sought communion with angelic beings,…
Artes Mathematicall: The Conjurer John Dee
Dec 6, 2016 • 64 min
Elizabethan scholar Dr. John Dee was one of the most learned men of the 16th century, applying his intense mathematical intellect to matters scientific, political, alchemical and occult. He advised Queen Elizabeth, sought communion with angelic beings,…
Listener Mail VII: Fill Your Ears
Dec 1, 2016 • 63 min
It’s listener mail time again! Join Robert, Joe and Christian for listener feedback on combat drugs, only child syndrome, technology without fire, ghost marriage, forensics and more. Plus Karnie the Mailbot scans itself for viruses and reboots for action.…
The Creep
Nov 29, 2016 • 75 min
You’ve all witnessed and been witnessed by the Creep, but what attributes compose this unsettling character? Why do we fear the creep and what, indeed, are we to make of the Creep in the mirror? Join Robert and Joe for an autopsy of this most unsavory…
To The Escape Pod!
Nov 24, 2016 • 95 min
Ever wanted to climb into the safe, metal womb of an escape pod and blast yourself free of this doomed vessel called life? Sure you have, but in the meantime consider some of the real-life air, space and terrestrial escape capsules that humans have…
Is social media driving us insane?
Nov 22, 2016 • 89 min
If our collective social, cultural and political angst may be compared to a fire, then social media often seems the kiln that contains it. But are resources such as FaceBook and Twitter mere vessels for the blistering heat, or are they complacent in the…
I Was Eaten by a Giant Spider
Nov 18, 2016 • 71 min
The spiders that occur in nature are not a creeping menace — rather, they are a true invisible ally of humankind. But if one were to grow to 1950s sci-fi proportions, even the arachnophiliacs among us would have to admit we had a problem on our hands. How…
A World Before Fire: The Human Flame
Nov 17, 2016 • 47 min
Humans existed before their mastery of fire, albeit in a rather primitive state — and yes, even Earth itself knew an age when fire itself was not only scarce, but chemically impossible. In this two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe…
A World Before Fire: The Terrestrial Anomaly
Nov 15, 2016 • 39 min
Humans existed before their mastery of fire, albeit in a rather primitive state — and yes, even Earth itself knew an age when fire itself was not only scarce, but chemically impossible. In this two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe…
Combat Stims: Better Warriors Through Chemistry
Nov 10, 2016 • 70 min
Combat stims and pharmacological power-ups are a staple of our gun-blazing video games, enabling players to rack up atrocious body counts. But what’s the reality of combat drugs? How do we separate legends from reality and just what our soldiers currently…
Only Child Syndrome: Brats, Myths and Little Emperors
Nov 8, 2016 • 59 min
What sort of behavior, personality and life can we expect from an only child? A lot of cultural expectations persist about the singleton, from the spoiled Veruca Salt of “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” to the “little emperors” who rose up in the…
Incu-succubi: Demon in the Halls of Sleep
Nov 1, 2016 • 79 min
Incubi and succubi emerge from Western demonology as supernatural seducers who prey on human passion. But of course seductive demons and sexual ghosts can be found in traditions around the world. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe…
Frankenstein: 200 Years of Scientific Dread
Oct 27, 2016 • 77 min
Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein” has terrified the world for nearly two centuries, thanks to countless adaptations and the timeless nature of the 1816 text. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian discuss the modern world that this…
Creepypasta 3: The SCP Foundation
Oct 25, 2016 • 87 min
Is there science behind the creepypasta? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian return to the realm of online folklore and collaborative fiction for a look at the Special Containment Procedures (SCP) Foundation. Learn more about…
Now I am Become Death: Cotard’s Delusion
Oct 20, 2016 • 44 min
Consider Cotard’s Delusion, also known as Cotard’s Syndrome, that rare mental illness in which the patient comes to believe themselves a corpse. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe investigate tales of the deathly deluded. Learn…
Death Roots: Dreams and Science of Carnivorous Plants
Oct 18, 2016 • 71 min
Are humans truly safe from the hunger of mean-eating plants? Can we trust the trees that loom over us? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss myths and fictions of killer trees, the science of carnivorous plants and the curious…
Will-o’-the-Wisp: A Light in the Swamp
Oct 13, 2016 • 82 min
There was a time when strange lights appeared in the marshlands. Commoners might have known the eerie luminescence as “Will-o’-the-Wisp” or “Hinky Punk,” while the learned pondered the mysteries of “Ignis Fatuus.” Superstitions aside, what natural…
The Creepypasta Experiments
Oct 11, 2016 • 79 min
Surf the Internet long enough and you’ll happen upon creepypasta: little cut-and-paste snippets of horror that blur the lines between reality and the fantastic. These collectively assembled amalgams of pop culture influences take on their own amorphous…
The 2016 Ig Nobels: Pale Horses, Dead Flies and Quantified Bullroar
Oct 6, 2016 • 62 min
Each year, a magazine called The Annals of Improbable Research awards the Ig Nobel prizes to honor the weirdest and funniest scientific projects ever undertaken by humans. In this pair of Stuff to Blow Your Mind episodes, Robert, Joe and Christian discuss…
The 2016 Ig Nobels: Rat Pants, Mooning and the Sincerity of Rocks
Oct 4, 2016 • 77 min
Each year, a magazine called The Annals of Improbable Research awards the Ig Nobel prizes to honor the weirdest and funniest scientific projects ever undertaken by humans. In this pair of Stuff to Blow Your Mind episodes, Robert, Joe and Christian discuss…
Conjoined Dreamers
Sep 29, 2016 • 77 min
Is the dream world a solitary creation of the sleeping mind, or can we share these spaces of fear, wonder and desire with other dreamers? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore Carl Jung’s collective unconscious as well…
The Nine Dream Worlds of Frederik van Eeden
Sep 27, 2016 • 79 min
Have you ever desired a map of the dream world? Look no further than the ideas and practices of Dutch psychiatrist Frederik van Eeden. Influenced by Hindu philosophy, mysticism and panpsychism, van Eeden coined the term ‘lucid dreaming’ along with eight…
Undead Genes: Genetic Activation After Death
Sep 22, 2016 • 36 min
While more elaborate visions of the afterlife view mortal existence as a sort of larval stage in a grander human timeline, science tells us that death is the end. The human mind blinks out of existence as the brain dies. The vast multicellular,…
Weird Mushrooms!
Sep 20, 2016 • 52 min
Join Robert and Christian as they crack open the sacred book of the shroom and examine a half-dozen examples of magnificently weird mushrooms. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Beyond this Vale of Testing: Post-Empirical Science
Sep 15, 2016 • 71 min
Most scientists declare empirical falsifiability — the notion that a theory may be proven right or wrong via scientific investigation — to be the core principle of science. Others, such as string theorists, think science should move beyond those…
Scalp Hunters and the Cobra Effect
Sep 13, 2016 • 57 min
In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the perverse world of unintended consequences and the cobra effect. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
STBYM Live: Prime Directives & Planetary Contamination
Sep 8, 2016 • 57 min
The Prime Directive serves as the Federation’s philosophical backbone, no matter how often our favorite Trek heroes bend and break its values in order to save the day. How does this policy match up with current space exploration procedures, colonial Earth…
Chinese Ghost Marriage: The Rite of Mínghūn
Sep 6, 2016 • 53 min
In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, join Robert and Christian for an investigation into the practice, history and exploitation of ghost marriage. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
The Substance of Silence
Aug 31, 2016 • 67 min
We all have a pretty good notion of noise, but what exactly is silence? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
MSG: Umami and Chinese Restaurant Syndrome
Aug 30, 2016 • 56 min
In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the history and science of MSG and explore just why we demonized it for so long. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
The Great Transhumanist Rapture War: Part 2
Aug 25, 2016 • 47 min
Join Robert and Joe as they explore the space for common ground — and conflict — between genetically modified cyborgs and heaven-teleported believers in this two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Great Transhumanist Rapture War: Part 1
Aug 23, 2016 • 51 min
What do the transhumanist visions and singularitarians have in common with Christian rapture doctrine, apocalyptic prophesies and far-future saviors? Join Robert and Joe as they explore the space for common ground — and conflict — between genetically…
Curious Incident of the Guinea Worm in the Dog
Aug 18, 2016 • 50 min
Humans have waged a decade-spanning war of extinction against the parasitic Guinea worm. With cases down roughly 99.99 percent from 1986, it would seem the struggle is nearly at an end. Now our inhuman adversary has found a new place to hide — and that…
OSIRIS-REx: NASA’s Journey to the Netherworld
Aug 16, 2016 • 48 min
In the year 2018, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx will rendezvous with the asteroid Bennu, a 1,614-foot near Earth object that might just collide with our world at some point in the 22nd century. OSIRIS-REx will explore this carbonaceous wanderer, but it will also…
Listener Mail VI: The Listener Mailbox of Babel
Aug 11, 2016 • 47 min
Yet again, the mailbot brings forth the responses and queries of many loyal Stuff to Blow Your Mind listeners. Join Robert, Christian and Joe on a sacred journey to catalog the Listener Mailbox of Babel and eventually find the precious texts of the…
Welcome to the Mosquito Factory
Aug 9, 2016 • 47 min
In humanity’s ongoing war against mosquito borne illness, some of the most innovative offense comes in the form mosquito breeding programs. Yes, these “mosquito factories” are all about manipulating the enemy rather than simply killing them. Join Robert…
Saturn’s Brood: Beyond the Outer Ring
Aug 4, 2016 • 71 min
The planet Saturn offers far more than rings to those who venture within its gravitational influence. This wind-swept gas giant also holds sway over no fewer than 53 moons, including such wonders as the atmosphere-shrouded Titan, two-faced Iapetus and…
O Time Thy Pyramids: The Library of Babel
Aug 2, 2016 • 71 min
In Jorge Luis Borges’ masterful short story “The Library of Babel,” librarians and cultists wander a vast honeycomb library of hexagonal rooms — rooms that contain not only all books but all possible books, from unwritten masterpieces to tomes of…
Minds of Musical Emptiness
Jul 28, 2016 • 49 min
We’re all wired to enjoy different forms of music, but for some of us the wiring is missing entirely. Join Robert and Christian as they explore the curious conditions of amusia and auditory agnosia in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.…
The Great Flood
Jul 26, 2016 • 55 min
From tales of Utnapishtim and Noah to Yü and Manu, everyone loves a good mythical deluge. But why are flood myths so important? What sort of natural phenomena could cause the sort of massive flooding likely to resonate through the heritage memories of a…
The Failings of Forensic Science, Part II
Jul 21, 2016 • 44 min
What if bad science put you in prison for a crime you didn’t commit? How many guilty offenders are still out there because of pseudoscience, fraud or disorganized laboratories? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, join Joe and Christian for part…
The Failings of Forensic Science, Part I
Jul 19, 2016 • 59 min
What if bad science put you in prison for a crime you didn’t commit? How many guilty offenders are still out there because of pseudoscience, fraud or disorganized laboratories? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Joe and Christian review the use…
Leaping Mullets! Flying Fish! Breaching Sharks!
Jul 14, 2016 • 79 min
Fish belong in the water, right? What business do they have leaping out of their world and into ours? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the surprisingly fascinating, dangerous and mysterious world of leaping, jumping and…
Coral Sex in the Sea (With Guest Marah J. Hardt)
Jul 12, 2016 • 74 min
Sure coral reefs are rich, vibrant ecosystems, but did you know they also have a kinky side? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, “Sex in the Sea” author Dr. Marah J. Hardt returns to chat about coral reproduction and the role this…
Summer Reading 2016: Time Enough at Last
Jul 7, 2016 • 61 min
It’s a summer tradition, so once more the hosts of Stuff to Blow Your Mind share their fiction and nonfiction reading recommendations with listeners. That means science, science fiction, horror, children’s books and more — all with a distinct STBYM…
Biohacking and the Road to Transhumanism
Jul 5, 2016 • 93 min
Humanity is on the road to transhumanism, but some individuals are a little farther down the technologically-evolved highway than the rest of us. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian discuss the definition of transhumanism and…
Incomplete/Unfinished
Jun 30, 2016 • 62 min
How are we to process an incomplete or unfinished work? Art, literature and film all present us with partial works, yet our reaction varies. Some works remain incomplete due to tragedy or neglect, while others are intentionally non finito. We demand some…
Mystery of the Myth-Fleshed Fossil
Jun 28, 2016 • 69 min
Are the fossilized monsters of paleontology and the fantastic monsters of myth one and the same? Join Robert and Joe as they discuss the realm of of geomythology, entailing the possible ancient real-world origins of dragons, griffins, giants the cyclops…
Pieces of a Human: The Science of Artificial Organs
Jun 23, 2016 • 62 min
Imagine a future in which much-needed transplant organs are printed on demand, grown within the bodies of humanized animals or plucked fresh and dripping from the organ vats. It’s the age of artificially grown organs and yes, gentle listener, we already…
A New Kingdom of Life: Synthetic Biology
Jun 21, 2016 • 60 min
Genomic maps unfurl before us and edited genetic codes alter the expression of life. The past few decades have seen tremendous advancements in genetic engineering, but exactly what takes place in modern gene-editing? What is synthetic biology and how soon…
The Forbidden Void: Cases Against Space
Jun 16, 2016 • 75 min
For most of us, space exploration seems like a no-brainer. By venturing out into the cosmic ocean, we advance our technology, unravel the secrets of our universe and further ensure the long term survival of the human race. Not everyone’s on board,…
Colossal: The Science of Human Height
Jun 14, 2016 • 65 min
From fictional obsessions with impossible giants to questions to height psychology and the upper and lower limits of human size, join Robert and Joe for a massive exploration of human height in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast. Learn…
Wicker Men, Mock Kings and Ritualized Regicide
Jun 9, 2016 • 75 min
When you think about human sacrifice, you probably envision blood-soaked altars where the weak and defeated are massacred to a divine force. But what about situations where the most powerful member of a society, even a divine king, is sacrificed for the…
Penile Transplants (With Special Guest Mary Roach)
Jun 7, 2016 • 68 min
The year is 2016 and we officially live in the age of the penis transplant — and while the notion may stir giggles from some, there’s nothing humorous about the cancer survivors and wounded soldiers who can benefit from such surgeries. In this episode of…
The Science of Necrophilia
Jun 1, 2016 • 61 min
Don’t run away! True enough, this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind considers a most repellent sexual atrocity, but there’s more to necrophilia than the sexual abuse of human corpses. Join Robert and Christian as they discuss necrophilia in the…
The Science of Coincidence
May 31, 2016 • 52 min
What are we to make of coincidence? From the numerological cats cradles we weave around famous events to the curious ways human lives converge through time, coincidence seems to fly in the face of reason and even suggest the supernatural. In this episode…
Unraveling the Mythic
May 26, 2016 • 68 min
Mythology is a powerful force, but what exactly IS myth? How does it differ from legend and folklore? How do we study it?Join Robert and Christian as they consider the powerful, polyfunctional nature of myth and all the various ways we interpret it. Learn…
Your Experiences With Aphantasia
May 24, 2016 • 55 min
Following the recent episode “Aphantasia: Blindness of the Mind’s Eye,” a number of Stuff to Blow Your Mind listeners wrote in about their own inability to summon voluntary mental images. Join Robert and Joe as they read and discuss some of the many…
Akademgorodok: Siberia’s Super Science Town
May 19, 2016 • 54 min
Hidden away in the cold of Siberia’s forest is an alternative to Silicon Valley, what some refer to as Russia’s Silicon Forest. You can think of it as Russia’s Eureka or Limetown — maybe even the Siberian scientific Hogwarts, but Akademgorodok has…
Organic Panic: A Dietary Dilemma
May 17, 2016 • 48 min
We all build our new bodies out of the foods we eat, so why not obtain the best building materials we can afford? It’s a reasonable thought, but the concept of “organic food” is often confusing. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and…
The Quest for Hollywood Acid
May 12, 2016 • 76 min
From the corrosive blood of the “Alien” xenomorph to the various Bond and Batman villains’ use of the iconic acid vat, popular media presents us with a dramatic and largely unrealistic vision of acidic power. What are our strongest acids and superacids…
Aphantasia: Blindness of the Mind’s Eye
May 10, 2016 • 57 min
Mental images play an important role in our daily experience of reality, from thoughts of the past to daydreams, fantasies and entire worlds of the imagination. Just what’s happening when we see through the mind’s eye and what on Earth is it like for…
Cannabis Files: Medical Marijuana
May 5, 2016 • 36 min
It’s easy to misjudge “medical marijuana” as an attempt by cannabis advocates to legitimize their favorite herb, but medicinal use of cannabis dates back to ancient times. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore both…
Cannabis Files: Humanity’s THC Odyssey
May 3, 2016 • 60 min
Humans have known about cannabis for thousands of years, crafting hemp textiles and consuming its psychoactive THC. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian examine the cannabis plant, its travels through human populations and its…
Listener Mail V: Computing the Hyper-Real
Apr 28, 2016 • 66 min
Once more, the mailbot delivers the spoils of listener feedback and your loyal Stuff to Blow Your Mind hosts read and respond to them. Join Robert, Christian and Joe as they cover everything from computing and hyperreal religions to cargo cults and even…
Jupiter’s Children: A Voyage to the Galilean Moons
Apr 26, 2016 • 69 min
Of all the moons of Jupiter, Callisto, Ganymede, Europa and Io tantalize us the most. These alien worlds of ice, fire, desolation and hidden oceans tantalize us with their possibility for extraterrestrial life and human exploration of the outer solar…
Tree Man Disease
Apr 21, 2016 • 47 min
Imagine a disease that warps and petrifies the flesh, transforming normal skin into bark-like growths that slowly consume the hands and feet. Commonly known as “tree man disease,” Epidermodysplasia Verruciformis (EV) is one of the rarest medical…
When We Think About Cyborgs
Apr 19, 2016 • 73 min
What began as a 1960s term for a retrofitted human space explorer has become a focal point for considerations of human and machine interaction, technological culture, biomechanics and feminist identity. Join Robert and Christian as they set aside the…
Tip of the Tongue
Apr 14, 2016 • 55 min
Your know the feeling. You’re trying to recall the name of a time-keeping musical device or the the actor who played Fredo in “The Godfather” and all that comes to mind is a memory-hole in the shape of a metronome or John Cazale. It’s on the tip of your…
Algorithms In The Blood: The P vs. NP Problem
Apr 12, 2016 • 55 min
What does it mean to solve a problem in our universe? That’s a trickier question than you might think, with some fairly high-stakes ramifications in the worlds of computing and even philosophy. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe…
Vampire Physics, Mathematics & Evolution
Apr 7, 2016 • 52 min
The human obsession with vampires runs deep, so deep that it survives our consistent attempts to squeeze all the mystery and fun out of the topic. Inject a little science, however, and the patient returns once more to a state of fabulous un-life. Join…
Cargoism: Science, Desire and the Cargo Cults
Apr 5, 2016 • 58 min
During the Second World War, Melanesian islanders encountered the vast, commercial systems of Allied and Japanese forces. Cargo Cults sprang up in the wake of such contact, typified by deification and a ritualistic appeal to the impossible return of…
The Unsettling Depths of Bird Intelligence
Mar 31, 2016 • 74 min
Just what are the upper limits of avian cognitive ability? Various studies reveal how certain bird species engage in mental time travel, tool use, self recognition, theory of mind and even meta-cognition. But how do their non-mammalian brains actually…
Hyper-Real Religion: Pastafarianism and Beyond
Mar 29, 2016 • 74 min
When does a protest religion become an actual faith? What happens when purely fictional modes of belief leak off the page or screen? Join Robert and Joe as they discuss modern religious movements, the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the rise of…
Wound Mouth of the Undying Hydra
Mar 24, 2016 • 47 min
Behold a tentacled, immortal predator with a wound for a mouth. No, this isn’t the product of a horror writer’s fever dream, but rather a denizen of the natural world. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian consider the hydra,…
Wicked Problems
Mar 22, 2016 • 61 min
How do you solve a problem like crime, poverty or climate change? The answer, like the problem itself, is elusive and amorphous. These are not “tame problems,” but “wicked problems” — conundrums that defy even the powerful problem-solving powers of…
Beekeeping, Ancient Egypt and the Tears of Re
Mar 17, 2016 • 77 min
In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, enter a kingdom within a kingdom: the remarkable honey-and-wax monarchy within a beehive and the organizational complexity of ancient Egypt. Join Robert and Joe as they discuss the importance of apiculture in…
Creepypasta 2: Disturbing Smiles & Lidless Eyes
Mar 15, 2016 • 63 min
You asked for it, you got it. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian return to the Creepypasta files and discuss some actual science behind the “Jeff the Killer” tale of mutilation and madness. Why do fake files creep us out? Are…
Sex Cannibals of the Animal Kingdom
Mar 10, 2016 • 59 min
Sexual cannibalism is a rarity in the natural world, and scientists are still attempting to understand the act as practiced by mostly arachnids and insects. Why consume your mate after or during sexual intercourse? Why venture into such a scenario in the…
Talking Knots in the Inca Kingdom of Fibers
Mar 8, 2016 • 63 min
Welcome to the Kingdom of the Inca, where hundreds of rope bridges connect an imperial highway system and fiber-armored soldiers wield woven slings against the enemies of the Emperor. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the…
Osedax: Sex Life of an Ocean Bone Worm
Mar 3, 2016 • 66 min
Enter the world of the osedax worm, where mouthless female scavengers liquefy the bones of dead whales with acid-drenched roots — and where each female’s body contains a harem of tiny, sperm-producing males. Robert and Christian discuss the bizarre lives…
The Medusa Nebula: A Monstrous Beauty of Space
Mar 1, 2016 • 29 min
Join Robert and Christian as they consider the beauty and composition of the Medusa nebula in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Listener Mail IV: The Listening
Feb 25, 2016 • 60 min
It’s that time again. Join Robert, Joe and Christian for another round of robot-delivered listener mail. They’re read your missives concerning everything from the Chinese zodiac and psychopaths to solar sails, MDMA and the X-Files. Learn more about your…
John C. Lilly: Province of the Mind
Feb 23, 2016 • 78 min
The figure of John C. Lilly as psychedelic dolphin communicator burns in the collective memory as a counterculture avatar, yet his legacy embodies far more than the mythologized and/or vilified figure that most of us know. Join Robert and Christian as…
Dreams of Orgonon: Sex, Storms & Death
Feb 18, 2016 • 72 min
Do you believe there’s a natural energy that permeates the universe? Wilhelm Reich did, calling it “orgone.” He also thought it was generated by orgasms, could manipulate the weather and cure cancer. Join Joe and Christian as they review Reich’s life…
Echoborg: The Computer Controls You
Feb 16, 2016 • 50 min
Imagine a future in which powerful AIs use human surrogates or “echoborgs” to speak their words and socialize with humans. The living, breathing avatar simply recites the computer’s words at the conference table, serving as a humanizing conduit for an…
Tractable Thunder: Early Days of Electricity, Part 2
Feb 11, 2016 • 69 min
Electricity lost its magic over the course the 18th and 19th centuries. The “invisible fire” steadily transitioned from a mysterious force of wonder to a mundane reality of daily modern life. In this two-part edition of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and…
The Holy Amber: Early Days of Electricity, Part 1
Feb 9, 2016 • 54 min
Electricity lost its magic over the course the 18th and 19th centuries. The “invisible fire” steadily transitioned from a mysterious force of wonder to a mundane reality of daily modern life. In this two-part edition of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and…
Weaponized Animals: From Fire Pigs to Bomb Bats
Feb 4, 2016 • 41 min
Warfare has always played a central role in human civilization, but we’ve always invited to share the rest of the animal kingdom to share in the violence and misery — sometimes as actual weapons. Join Robert and Christian as they explore the history of…
Tooth, Mind and Soul: Dental Modification
Feb 2, 2016 • 60 min
When you think of body modification, you probably don’t think about your teeth. Yet dental modification takes place throughout the world, from ancient superstitious practices to the modern cult of the Hollywood smile. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your…
A Six Course Feast of Dangerous Foods
Jan 28, 2016 • 55 min
Join Robert and Joe for a six-course meal of culinary danger! In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, discover six foods that deliver a lethal taste profile when carelessly prepared or consumed by the uninitiated diner. Learn more about your…
Chinese Zodiac: Superstition, Economics & Destiny
Jan 26, 2016 • 69 min
As we celebrate Chinese New Year and enter the year of the fire monkey, join Robert and Joe for a Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration of the Chinese zodiac and some interesting studies related to its impact on birth rates, economics and individual…
Humanzee: Breaking the Species Barrier
Jan 21, 2016 • 65 min
Chimpanzees are humanity’s closest living relative, but there’s both wonder and existential horror in that closeness. A species barrier separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom, but what if a chimp/human hybrid were to bridge that barrier? Join…
Space Mirrors: Weapons, Energy & Propulsion
Jan 19, 2016 • 37 min
What can you accomplish with a space mirror? Quite a lot, actually. You can use them to gaze far into the cosmos, to propel exploration craft and even cast patches of light back down on night-cloaked regions of the planet. In this episode of Stuff to Blow…
X-Files Science Part II: Bugs, Hybrids and Hypnosis
Jan 14, 2016 • 83 min
We want to believe. With the return of The X-Files to television Joe and Christian go digging through Scully’s reports for scientific answers to the big themes of the show. Join us to learn more about regression hypnosis, weaponized bees, alien…
X-Files Science Part I: Mutants & Parasites
Jan 12, 2016 • 79 min
With the return of television’s The X-Files, it’s never been a better time to look at the science behind the show. Join Joe and Christian as they examine the possibilities of classic Monsters of the Week, including otherworldly parasites, killer mutants,…
The Stone of Madness
Jan 7, 2016 • 53 min
Madness has always intrigued artists, and medieval paintings sometimes presented this malady’s treatment via the surgical removal of cranial stone. What was the stone of madness? Was it mere fantasy, metaphor or an actual medical condition? In this…
New Year’s Resolutions: Science and Moral Behavior
Jan 5, 2016 • 64 min
So many of our most common resolutions for personal improvement are inherently narcissistic: Quit smoking, lose weight, get in shape. We want to look sexier, feel stronger and live forever. But beyond this alternately self-gratifying and self-flagellating…
Pink Snow, Black Snow, Space Snow, Weird Snow
Dec 31, 2015 • 55 min
Sure, snow is one of those amazing natural wonders that we so often take for granted, but this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind is more concerned with the weirder corners of our winter wonderland. We’re talking pink snow, black snow, blood snow, blue…
The Science of ‘Ant-Man’
Dec 29, 2015 • 65 min
The 2015 movie “Ant-Man” continues a long Hollywood tradition of miniaturization sci-fi, but how much real science is there in this tale of tiny superheroes and lovable ants? Join Robert and Christian as they shrink down to the film’s level and discuss…
Holiday Monsters & Listener Mail
Dec 24, 2015 • 58 min
Christmas is here again, so join Robert, Joe and Christian as they discuss a few holiday monsters and tend to your listener mail. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Brain-to-Brain: The Science of Techno-Telepathy
Dec 22, 2015 • 63 min
You’ve always wanted to meet a sensitive alien telepath who could understand you like no one else, but SETI is really dropping the ball on your galactic personal ad. Could new technologies that push the frontiers of brain science allow telepathic…
Grand Theft Genome: Genestealers in the Wild
Dec 17, 2015 • 64 min
When it comes to gene transfer, most organisms — yourself included — play by the rules and stick to sexual and/or asexual reproduction. But then there are the genestealers, organisms that just take the genes they want from other species. Join Robert and…
Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Child
Dec 15, 2015 • 61 min
Due to a strange combination of nature and nurture, some children unfortunately develop into murderers. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian try to understand what causes juvenile homicide, how likely it is and whether these…
MDMA: Pharmacological Healer
Dec 10, 2015 • 42 min
In the form of recreational ecstasy, the psychoactive drug MDMA carries with it a stigma of wide-eyed ravers, free love and counterculture pharmacological spirituality. But beyond its cultural legacy, MDMA offers a potent therapeutic tool for doctors and…
MDMA: Pharmacological Ecstasy
Dec 8, 2015 • 67 min
Some of you have tried the ecstasy. Others have merely heard about the drug on a TV sitcom, or heard about it in a news report. Either way, MDMA’s power resonates through our culture — and sometimes it’s hard to distinguish the truth form the…
Better Living Through Tetris
Dec 3, 2015 • 49 min
In their previous episode, Robert and Joe explored the geometric hallucinations of Tetris syndrome. Now they’re back for a serious look at the ways in which a good dose of cascading, interlocking tetrominoes might just cure what ails ya — from lazy eye to…
Tetris Syndrome: A Mind Made of Blocks
Dec 1, 2015 • 70 min
To play a game of “Tetris” is to invite a geometric invasion into your mind. After hours of intense block manipulation, you finally set aside your gaming device. You take a deep breath, close your eyes — and there the frenzied, multicolored tetrominoes…
Listener Mail: Robot Thanksgiving
Nov 26, 2015 • 55 min
It’s Thanksgiving in the United States, so Robert, Joe and Christian dine with their devoted mailbot Karnie to consider a selection of Stuff to Blow Your Mind listener mail related to recent episodes. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
But, Mom! The Science of Whining
Nov 24, 2015 • 36 min
Unless you’ve lived your life in a childless fortress of seclusion, you’ve likely encountered the maddening, high-pitched whine of a complaining child. But what is whining? Is it universal? Why is it so annoying and just what’s being communicated between…
The Self-Mummifying Monk
Nov 19, 2015 • 44 min
We tend to think of mummification as either an environmental event or a mortuary act perpetrated by others, but mummification can also occur as an act of ritualized self destruction. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian…
Space Weapons: Rods From God
Nov 17, 2015 • 43 min
You may call it “rods from god,” project Thor” or a glorious “hypervelocity rod bundle,” but this theoretical space weapon comes down to one devastating reality: A space-empowered nation’s ability to raise a 20-foot tungsten rod up into orbit and then…
The 2015 Ig Nobels: Kisses, Stings & Dino Chickens
Nov 12, 2015 • 63 min
Each year, the Ig Nobel prizes honor the weirdest and wackiest contributions to humanity’s scientific understanding of the natural world. In this pair of Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast episodes, Robert, Joe and Christian unpack each of this year’s…
The 2015 Ig Nobels: Unboiled Eggs & Urine Speed
Nov 10, 2015 • 54 min
Each year, the Ig Nobel prizes honor the weirdest and wackiest contributions to humanity’s scientific understanding of the natural world. In this pair of Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast episodes, Robert, Joe and Christian unpack each of this year’s…
The Fist Punch Theory of Evolution
Nov 5, 2015 • 43 min
Did the human fist evolve to punch faces? Did our faces evolve to take punches? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore University of Utah biologist David Carrier’s research into human evolution — including his 2015 study…
Sanity/Insanity: The Rosenhan Experiment
Nov 3, 2015 • 45 min
How do we know precisely what constitutes “normality” or mental illness? And if there is a difference, can anybody detect it? Even professionals? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the groundbreaking 1973 study that saw…
Ghouls: Myth, Fiction and… Evolutionary Heritage?
Oct 29, 2015 • 52 min
If your fictional diet contains significant quantities of horror or dark fantasy, then you’ve likely encountered the ghoul: a scavenging, grave-robbing race of unnatural beings with an insatiable hunger for the dead. As Robert and Joe explore in this…
I Drink Your Blood
Oct 27, 2015 • 54 min
Global myth cycles are rife with blood-drinkers and blood bathers. Often, the tale centers around the notion of young blood as a fountain of youth. The aging countess or decrepit monster needs only to drink from young veins in order to restore a failing…
Will-o’-the-Wisp: A Light in the Swamp
Oct 22, 2015 • 65 min
There was a time when strange lights appeared in the marshlands. Commoners might have known the eerie luminescence as “Will-o’-the-Wisp” or “Hinky Punk,” while the learned pondered the mysteries of “Ignis Fatuus.” Superstitions aside, what natural…
Final Girls: Feminism, Slashers & Culture
Oct 20, 2015 • 55 min
The “final girl” trope has become a standard horror cinema convention, in which a single strong female character outruns, outsmarts and outstabs her murderous pursuer to stand victorious amid the slain. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert…
The Creepypasta Experiments
Oct 15, 2015 • 78 min
Surf the Internet long enough and you’ll happen upon creepypasta: little cut-and-paste snippets of horror that blur the lines between reality and the fantastic. These collectively assembled amalgams of pop culture influences take on their own amorphous…
Human Remains: Past, Present and Future
Oct 13, 2015 • 77 min
Humanity currently stands at a crossroads in the treatment of its dead. Forced to contend with the environmental and economic downsides to modern mortuary customs, various innovators look back to our most basic burial customs and recreate them with a…
The Halloween Costume Made Me Do It
Oct 8, 2015 • 70 min
What happens when we slip into a costume? Be it a monster pelt, a sexy witch or a simple children’s ghost mask, a psychological transformation takes place. Join Robert and Christian for a fittingly seasonal look at enclothed cognition and deindividuation.…
Egyptian Mummies: A Cosmic, Mortuary Odyssey
Oct 6, 2015 • 66 min
Ancient Egyptian mummification is not unlike sci-fi space travel in many respects. The leading minds of the day preserved a chosen human within a costly vessel, and then they sent that vessel on a journey across time and space to another world — a…
The Science of Dune: Biology
Oct 1, 2015 • 68 min
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Frank Herbert’s “Dune,” the game-changing 1965 sci-fi novel full of space-age feudalistic intrigue, rampaging sandworms and prescient mind drugs on a desert world. Even today, the work resonates with scientific…
The Science of Dune: Technology
Sep 29, 2015 • 66 min
This year marks the 50th anniversary of Frank Herbert’s “Dune,” the game-changing 1965 sci-fi novel full of space-age feudalistic intrigue, rampaging sandworms and prescient mind drugs on a desert world. Even today, the work resonates with scientific…
Poison Arrows, Chinese Medicine and Werewolves
Sep 24, 2015 • 52 min
Perhaps you’ve heard of wolf’s bane as curative or even causal agent in the mythology of lycanthropy, yet the appeal of this very real plant reaches far beyond the realm of werewolves. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian…
One-Armed Bandits: The Science of Slot Machines
Sep 22, 2015 • 61 min
You may call it a slot machine, a fruit machine or a one-armed bandit, but the reality is the same: an algorithmically precise machine designed to drain the human gambler of all his or her earnings. Where did these insidious machines come from? How do…
The Unlanguaged Mind: A World Built With Words
Sep 17, 2015 • 37 min
How can we even imagine a life without language when language itself plays such a crucial role in human cognition? Can you even imagine a world in which nothing has a name? Join Robert and Christian as they continue their exploration of the brain’s…
The Unlanguaged Mind: Feral Children
Sep 15, 2015 • 47 min
The feral child occupies two worlds: that of lighthearted myth and depressing reality. We entertain ourselves with fantasies about wolf-reared infants, but most studies of feral children stem from cases of extreme child abuse and neglect. Join Robert and…
Palimpsests: Reading History’s Blank Pages
Sep 10, 2015 • 52 min
Historians learn a great deal from historical texts — and not only that which was written, but that which was unwritten. Join Robert and Christian as they explore the world of palimpsests, the erased books just under the surface of ancient tomes. Modern…
Wes Craven Tribute: Serpents, Rainbows & Zombies
Sep 8, 2015 • 51 min
With the recent passing of horror director Wes Craven, it seems appropriate to cover the science behind his 1988 film “The Serpent and the Rainbow.” Join Robert and Christian for a discussion of Haitian folklore, zombie powder and the challenges of…
Tail as Old as Time: Part 2
Sep 3, 2015 • 51 min
Where is the human tail? Our embryos lose them in the womb and our great ape kin lost them in the shadows of evolutionary history. Join Robert and Joe as they continue to explore the worlds of human tails and even a Utopian dream of tailed transhumans.…
Tail as Old as Time: Part 1
Sep 1, 2015 • 47 min
Tails are a common feature in the animal kingdom, fulfilling just about every role from comfy blanket to instrument of venomous death. Join Robert and Joe as they explore some of the more outstanding uses, including your dog’s caudal language and the…
The Science of Necrophilia
Aug 27, 2015 • 63 min
Don’t run away! True enough, this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind considers a most repellent sexual atrocity, but there’s more to necrophilia than the sexual abuse of human corpses. Join Robert and Christian as they discuss necrophilia in the animal…
V2K: The Microwave Auditory Effect
Aug 25, 2015 • 47 min
Voice-to-skull or V2K technology is generally the stuff of paranoid government conspiracies, and yet the microwave auditory effect is very real. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe consider the military and commercial applications…
Born Under the Caul
Aug 20, 2015 • 41 min
While all humans develop inside an amniotic sac, only a rare few are born with part of it enveloping their face. These membranous veils protect us in utero, but what does it mean when a newborn is covered in one at birth? In this episode of Stuff To Blow…
Your Health as a Mars Colonist
Aug 18, 2015 • 61 min
Sure, you need to get your butt to Mars, but what are the long-term health ramifications of life on the Red Planet? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore reduced gravity, radiation, toxic dust and a microbiotic desert. Learn…
The Strain: Dissecting del Toro’s Vampires
Aug 13, 2015 • 64 min
Guillermo del Toro’s “The Strain” continues to enthrall readers and viewers — and, love it or hate it, there’s no denying the complexity and creativity that del Toro and co-author Chuck Hogan poured into the series’ vampires. In this episode of Stuff to…
Echoborg: The Computer Controls You
Aug 11, 2015 • 49 min
Imagine a future in which powerful AIs use human surrogates or “echoborgs” to speak their words and socialize with humans. The living, breathing avatar simply recites the computer’s words at the conference table, serving as a humanizing conduit for an…
Summer Reading 2015: Books to Blow Your Mind
Aug 6, 2015 • 71 min
It’s a summer tradition, so once more the hosts of Stuff to Blow Your Mind share their fiction and nonfiction reading recommendations with listeners. That means science, science fiction, horror and more — all with a distinct STBYM flavor. Learn more about…
From Hell’s Heart: The Science of Spite
Aug 4, 2015 • 47 min
What are we to make of spite? As humans, we lash out to hurt our neighbor due to petty grudges and prejudices all the time. Yet we’re also capable of such altruistic grace. How are these two opposites linked in the human condition and just how important…
Listener Mail: The Mailbot Reboots
Jul 30, 2015 • 51 min
We’ve entered a new era of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, so it’s time for Robert, Joe and Christian to reboot the mailbot with updated user data. As the former “Arnie” comes back online, your three hosts will answer some recent e-mail and social media missives…
The Dreams of R. Buckminster Fuller
Jul 28, 2015 • 58 min
Imagine a world where cities fly, we all drive three-wheeled cars and mainly eat Jell-O. This is where the dreams of architect and engineer Richard Buckminster “Bucky” Fuller would have taken us. At his height, Bucky was influential between the 1930s and…
Something for Everybody: The Forer Effect
Jul 23, 2015 • 49 min
From palm-reading fortune tellers to professionally-administered Myers Briggs test, everyone’s a sucker for a an ego-stroking personality assessment. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the subtle forces of the Forer effect.…
My Body is Made of Glass
Jul 21, 2015 • 47 min
Imagine waking to a new, terrifying sensation: Your seemingly organic body is actually made of glass. While doctors and loved ones insist otherwise, you know in your heart that the slightest bump or fall will shatter you into a million shards. While cases…
Stigmata: Madness or Miracle?
Jul 16, 2015 • 38 min
In the previous episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explored the Christian tradition of the stigmata and its 13th century originator, Saint Francis of Assisi. But what are we to make of of all the stigmatics to follow in the saint’s…
Stigmata: Patient Zero
Jul 14, 2015 • 51 min
According to Christian tradition, a stigmatic prays to God so zealously, so faithfully that Christ’s crucifixion wounds of manifest in the form of bleeding sores and gorey holes. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore…
Grizzly Bears from Outer Space
Jul 9, 2015 • 62 min
A region of space barely a thousandth of a square degree on the sky contains a whopping 5,500 galaxies. Making the probability that there exists at least one planet that could support life pretty tantalizing. What might that life form look like? Robert…
The Psychedelic Nightmare of Ergotism
Jul 7, 2015 • 46 min
Imagine an entire 15th-century town overcome by a collective waking nightmare. The afflicted walk the streets with blackened limbs and seeping sores, all while psychotic hallucinations assault their fragile hold on sanity. Join Robert and Joe as they…
The Future of Addiction
Jul 2, 2015 • 32 min
Highly addictive substances like meth and heroin are formidable enemies for the recovering addict, but what does the future hold for their treatment? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore the use of electromagnetic…
The Science of Addiction
Jun 30, 2015 • 38 min
What is addiction? Why are some people predisposed to it and what happens in the brain when addiction takes hold? In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie break it all down for you and ponder the addiction-shattered brain.…
The Memory Palace Revisited (with Nelson Dellis)
Jun 25, 2015 • 38 min
Stroll into the memory palace, an imagined location that just might expand your brain power. In this classic episode you’ll learn all about the Method of Loci, a mnemonic device that allows mental athletes to perform astounding acts of recall. Plus, in…
Escape from Universe 25
Jun 23, 2015 • 37 min
Explore Universe 25, a 101-square-inch tank designed as a utopia for mice and a mirror of human behavior. Every detail of the structure was crafted with comfort in mind: a never-ending supply of food; a constant 68 degree F temperature; a self-cleaning…
Detective Story
Jun 18, 2015 • 65 min
Everyone loves a good whodunit, but why does the figure of the fictional detective tower so staggeringly over the modern world? He or she is a seeker of truth, a resolver of conflict, a subcultural liaison and perhaps even a shaman for an increasingly…
Supernormal Stimuli
Jun 16, 2015 • 36 min
No longer limited by the constrains of their environment or biology, humans have remade their world. Why walk when you can soar? Why shout when you can whisper in the ear of a listener halfway round the world? And why limit yourself to normal stimuli when…
Techno-Religion for the Masses: Part 2
Jun 11, 2015 • 55 min
We often think of technology and religion as distinct and separate worlds, but what happens when they converge? Join Robert and Joe in this two-part episode as they examine religious world views shaped by technology, such as John Murray Spear’s electrical…
Techno-Religion for the Masses: Part 1
Jun 9, 2015 • 45 min
We often think of technology and religion as distinct and separate worlds, but what happens when they converge? Join Robert and Joe in this two-part episode as they examine religious world views shaped by technology, such as John Murray Spear’s electrical…
Mass Extinction: Earth’s Cycle of Annihilation
Jun 4, 2015 • 61 min
Five mass extinction events have ravaged the species of Earth, and we just might be living in the sixth. How can humanity survive the threat of cosmic calamity and its own tireless work to unbalance the world? Robert and Christian discuss in this episode…
Heartbeat in the Brain, Hole in the Skull
Jun 2, 2015 • 35 min
Trepanation is an ancient surgical procedure and we’ve found the millennia-aged skulls to prove it - each punctured and gouged to relieve inner-pressure and inner-madness. But is such cranial perforation truly a relic of a primitive age or do modern…
Silk of the Spider, Thread of the Future
May 28, 2015 • 37 min
Spider silk is nothing short of an engineering marvel. Weight for weight, it’s stronger than steel and tougher than Kevlar. But spiders are disagreeable creatures. Unlike the silkworms, they’ve proven unwilling to bow to humanity’s domestication, but that…
Scientifically Sound Weather Superstitions
May 26, 2015 • 30 min
At one time in human history superstitions were the guiding force in a person’s life — rules of thumb to live by. Find out which pieces of lore and superstition are actually spot-on and why in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast. Learn…
The Science of Coincidence
May 21, 2015 • 52 min
What are we to make of coincidence? From the numerological cats cradles we weave around famous events to the curious ways human lives converge through time, coincidence seems to fly in the face of reason and even suggest the supernatural. In this episode…
Gazing into the Eclipse
May 19, 2015 • 57 min
Amid the regular cycle of sun and moon stalks a darkness — a darkness that ancient humans perceived as cosmic abandonment, portent and demonic disruption. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the celestial mechanics,…
Vacation Tribulation
May 14, 2015 • 37 min
Why do some people take vacations and others fret to take off time? We’ll find out which nations go on holiday the most and least, the benefits of downtime, and we’ll discuss how time off messes with the mind (in a good way). Learn more about your…
There’s a Problem with Your Study
May 12, 2015 • 30 min
Science has advanced human civilization to an astounding degree, but what happens when science gets it wrong? What does it mean that a good half of published biomedical research cannot be replicated? From the publish-or-perish world of modern science…
Power of the Nap
May 7, 2015 • 39 min
Why do we feel so refreshed after a power nap and so sapped after a mega nap? Do coffee naps work and just what sort of benefits can we get out of an extra 20 minutes in the hammock? Explore the answers in this episode of the STBYM podcast. Learn more…
Animal Sexual Fluidity
May 5, 2015 • 32 min
Why do some species change sex and how to they carry out this remarkable transformation? This episode of the STBYM podcast takes you into a world of hermaphrodites, clownfish and the high-stakes game of reproduction in the animal kingdom. Learn more about…
The Ring of Gyges
Apr 30, 2015 • 32 min
Before H.G. Wells’ Invisible Man and J.R.R. Tolkien’s One Ring, there was the Ring of Gyges: a mythical artifact that turned the wearer invisible. Would such anonymity turn you into a law-breaking monster, or does morality extend beyond the fear of…
Road Warriors
Apr 28, 2015 • 38 min
Perhaps you’ve witnessed something you’d call “road rage” out there on Earth’s highways. Perhaps you’ve even engaged in it yourself. But where does mere aggressive driving end and true violence begin? Where does the notion of “road rage” come from and to…
Space Roar
Apr 23, 2015 • 25 min
In 2006, NASA discovered “space roar” -a sound that’s six times louder than what they expected to hear when they eavesdropped on space. Inexplicably weird, right? Stuff to Blow Your Mind explores. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Power of Polite
Apr 21, 2015 • 43 min
Kindly step this way to the politeness theory where you’ll discover the power of good manners. We’ll also discuss which countries are the most polite and discreetly mention the ones that are the least polite. Thank you for your time and attention. Learn…
Satanic Panic
Apr 16, 2015 • 59 min
What are we to make of alleged ritual satanic abuse and the moral panic that spread in the 1980s and 90s? Christian Sager joins Robert for an exploration of religion, fear and demons of the mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Grimoire: Occult Books and the Magic of Writing
Apr 14, 2015 • 58 min
We’re all familiar with such fictional grimoires as “The Necronomicon,” but what about the rich legacy of occult books and cryptic tomes that preceded its invention? Robert and guest host Christian Sager investigate and maybe summon a demon or two. Learn…
Mean World Syndrome
Apr 9, 2015 • 38 min
Is there more violence in the world today, or have we just been watching too many CSI shows? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Julie and Robert explore cultivation theory and the idea that we live in a mean, mean world. Learn more…
What’s the largest snake that has ever existed?
Apr 7, 2015 • 36 min
Everyone loves a giant snake tale, but what’s really the largest serpent on the planet? Hunt for the answer across space and time in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Power of Shame
Apr 2, 2015 • 32 min
Shame is a powerful emotion that, depending on the way you frame it, can be a force for either good or evil. Find out what the difference is between embarrassment, guilt and shame. Do dogs feel shame? And have you ever suffered from second-hand…
The Gordian Knot of Race
Mar 31, 2015 • 40 min
To “see no color” is to gloss over the deep-seated racial issues that exist today. Find out about how something so abstract - like unconscious racial biases - can have real-world implications in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast. Learn…
The School to Prison Pipeline
Mar 26, 2015 • 32 min
No one ever says they want to be a convict when they grow up. Julie and Robert look at the School-to-Prison pipeline and the variables that form this insidious system in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Send in the Exploding Termites
Mar 24, 2015 • 24 min
Enter a world where toxic ants and termites explode at will to stave off murderous invasions - a world of highly-evolved chemical weapons an ruthless guerrilla tactics. It’s all in this bombastic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your…
Optimal Inattention
Mar 19, 2015 • 33 min
It may not always be polite but optimal inattention, aka willful ignoring, someone or something is a necessity. Let’s explore with a study on hands and feet, not to mention our wildly distracted eyes in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.…
Leprechaun Hallucinations
Mar 17, 2015 • 34 min
It’s Saint Patrick’s Day, so our minds inevitably turn to the little people of Irish folklore. But diminutive fairy folk pop up in folk traditions around the world. Listen in for a celebration of the myth and science behind those Leprechaun encounters in…
Cry Me a River
Mar 12, 2015 • 31 min
Tears are an integral part of the shared human language of expression — even though at one time in history a display of public waterworks was considered “emotional incontinence.” Explore the world of lachrymal effluvia with us, won’t you? Learn more about…
Could you outrun a fireball?
Mar 10, 2015 • 31 min
It’s a Hollywood classic: Our hero leaps in the nick of time, right before tendrils of flames close in. But could you escape a raging fire in real life? Run from wild fires and explosions in this red-hot episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more…
The Scent of Cognition
Mar 5, 2015 • 28 min
We are enrobed in a world of scent, and as we know it’s a heady powerful one — with the power to make and summon memories. But this power is far more deep-seated in the brain than we previously thought. The ability to smell may even be root our ability to…
How much does the soul weigh?
Mar 3, 2015 • 31 min
Is it possible to measure the energy lost when the “soul” departs the body? Take a tour of soul-weighing and the quest to make what is immaterial material ijn this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Respect the Rat
Feb 26, 2015 • 48 min
You may think rats are just vermin, but the fact is they own huge metropolitan cities like New York. And when it comes to science they’ve contributed an immense amount of data (although not voluntarily). Find out how similar rats are to humans and whether…
Pineal Optics: My Third Eye
Feb 24, 2015 • 35 min
Prepare to open that third eye, listeners, because Robert and Julie are taking you on a journey from philosophical ponderings about human spirituality to scientific explorations of the human pineal gland and the extra parietal eye common to other animals…
Love at First Sight
Feb 19, 2015 • 45 min
Does love at first sight really exist? And is it biological or cultural? Stuff to Blow Your Mind explores this split-second phenomenon. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Objects of Love
Feb 17, 2015 • 38 min
We live in a world of objects to which we assign varying degrees of worth, from old newspapers to treasured action figures, family heirlooms and golden idols. What’s it all about? Where does this object attachment come from? Tune in to learn more in this…
Sealed with a Bacterial Kiss
Feb 12, 2015 • 34 min
Find out about the bacterial life of a passionate kiss as Robert and Julie explore the human smooch. Is kissing instinctual and learned, and what does it have to with food, if anything? Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Spanish Fly: The Deadly Aphrodisiac
Feb 10, 2015 • 21 min
It’s easy to assume the so-called “Spanish fly” is nothing but a myth, but this legendary aphrodisiac is as real as it is deadly. Just why did humans come to treat male sexual dysfunction with ground-up blister beetles? How does it work and why is the…
Lingerie Probability
Feb 5, 2015 • 35 min
We live within the lingerie industrial complex, but dare we tease apart the lacy cords that bind us? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, explore the behavioral underpinnings of sexy underthings, rat-based experimentation and the future of date…
In the Pink
Feb 3, 2015 • 40 min
From its modern gender connotations to its absence on the ROYGBIV electromagnetic spectrum, the color pink has a lot to answer for. Does staring into pink truly calm the savage beast and reduce physical strength, or is it a strong color of flayed flesh…
Into the Ossuary: Consult the Bones - Part 2
Jan 29, 2015 • 28 min
You and your skeleton are cordially invited to join your Stuff to Blow Your Mind hosts on an excursion into the bone-choked depths of the HowStuffWorks ossuary. What curious skulls and skeletal specimens will they uncover? What curious science and…
Into the Ossuary: Consult the Bones - Part 1
Jan 27, 2015 • 30 min
You and your skeleton are cordially invited to join your Stuff to Blow Your Mind hosts on an excursion into the bone-choked depths of the HowStuffWorks ossuary. What curious skulls and skeletal specimens will they uncover? What curious science and…
Almost Blue
Jan 22, 2015 • 40 min
Up in the sky and down in the ocean, blue is the endcap of our visuall existence.One that may even influence us subconsciously. Find out why this color is the ultimate magician, appearing mostly as an illusion, in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your…
So Cute I Could Eat You Up
Jan 20, 2015 • 27 min
What do tears of joy and the desire to pinch a baby’s cheek have to do with one another? Quite a lot. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, find out about dimorphous expressions, as well as the siren call of baby scents that lure the joyful aunt to…
Whisperings & ASMR
Jan 15, 2015 • 38 min
Shhhh! Some of us are listening intently to a certain tone, one that sends waves of pleasure down our spine. It’s called autonomous sensory meridian response. Robert and Julie explore, and while they’re at it, they’ll find out if whispering exists among…
Extraordinary Science of 2014
Jan 13, 2015 • 31 min
Sex-reversed genitalia and tractor beams — just a few of the extraordinary discoveries and breakthroughs of 2014. How have they changed our perception of the universe and ourselves? Join in on the discussion in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind…
Astonishing Science of 2014
Jan 8, 2015 • 36 min
Find out what the most astonishing moments in science were in 2014 and why they may just be game-changers for humanity. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Sonic Illusions
Jan 6, 2015 • 35 min
Imagine exploring a cave and discovering paintings that appear to come alive with a few claps of your hand. Enter the cave of forgotten sounds with Robert and Julie and they spelunk their way through sonic illusions. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Brainhacking 101: New Year, New Habits
Jan 1, 2015 • 27 min
How long does it take to make or break a habit? Is this really the year you make major changes or learn a new craft? Robert and Julie break down the science of it all in this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Dung Beetle Mania!
Dec 30, 2014 • 31 min
Find out how and why dung beetles have been capitalizing on poop in a big way for 30 million years. Also, these little guys may be the world’s tiniest astronomers. Robert and Julie reveal why. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Give the Gift of a Mystery Box
Dec 25, 2014 • 38 min
Why are mystery packages so appealing? How do they improve our mental faculties and fuel our creativity? In this classic episode, Robert and Julie share tales of sealed envelopes, quantum thought experiments, virginity boxes and things Pandora should…
The Necessary Spice
Dec 23, 2014 • 32 min
Spices are essentially chemical weapons. They protect a plant from animals and microbes. yet humans long ago learned to hack these defenses and use them to flavor their food. Join Robert and Julie for a discussion of spice and evolution. Learn more about…
Scrooge: Post-traumatic Embitterment Disorder
Dec 18, 2014 • 32 min
Was Scrooge’s bitterness an actual mental disorder? And was his visitation by the ghosts of the past, present and future his subconscious mind’s attempt at DIY psychotherapy? Or did he merely spike his pot of gruel with a little mind-altering…
Deconstructing the Grinch
Dec 16, 2014 • 32 min
Find out why the Grinch had the personality of a toadstool sandwich, with arsenic sauce. Robert and Julie explore the physiology of the Green One, not to mention his self-imposed social isolation, which may have contributed to the woefully diminutive size…
Mystery of the Antler
Dec 11, 2014 • 39 min
Why do deer and moose boast antlers? How does this material grow faster than any living vertebrate bones on Earth? You’d think we’d know the answers to these questions, but antlers remain far more mysterious than we often realize. Join Robert and Julie as…
Bring Your Own Oxygen
Dec 9, 2014 • 25 min
What if you could suck all the oxygen out of a room with a nifty piece of material? Soon you may be able to with a crystalline material that stores, binds and releases oxygen. Find out how, and join Robert and Julie for a little Oxygen 101, including the…
The Future of Tattoos
Dec 4, 2014 • 30 min
Whether you’re a tattoo virgin or a sleeved-and-stamped ink enthusiast, there’s no denying the cultural staying power of the tattoo. But where do we go from here? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, explore the world of cutting-edge and…
The Science of Tattoos
Dec 2, 2014 • 41 min
Tattoos allow us to make the outer body reflect the inner self. In a life of flux, they allow us to make names, symbols, gods and ideas a semi-permanent part of corporeal form. Then again, they also allow others to mark us as “criminal” or “outsider.”…
The Science of Comfort
Nov 27, 2014 • 43 min
What does comfort mean to you? Thanksgiving dinner? A cup of tomato soup and a warm blanket? In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie examine the particulars of comfort, why we crave it and what happens when we have too much of…
Surviving Thanksgiving
Nov 25, 2014 • 34 min
You may not be the turkey on the chopping block, but holiday get-togethers with family can make you feel that way. Find out how to navigate the holiday in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Fecal Transplants and You
Nov 20, 2014 • 35 min
What if you were suffering from a debilitating bacterial infection and you found out that pumping someone else’s fecal matter into your rectum could vanquish it. Find out about fecal microbiota transfers and why we might one day seek out “artisanal” poop…
Listener Mail: Arnie’s Revenge
Nov 18, 2014 • 33 min
Robert and Julie bow down to the will of Arnie the Mailbot and finally get to the mounting stack of listener mail. Tune in for discussions on past episodes, mind-bending concepts and the future of humanity — all while a laser-armed mail-bot runs amok in…
Reboot the Biosphere
Nov 13, 2014 • 25 min
Sure Biosphere 2 was the laughingstock of the science community when its mission came to a close in 1993. (Blame the Star Trek-like uniforms.) But scientific findings spiraled out of it long after the project was officially canceled. Some 150 papers and…
Two Years and 20 Minutes Inside Biosphere 2
Nov 11, 2014 • 47 min
Enter Biosphere 2 with Robert and Julie and tour a technological wonder of the early 90s — a 7,200,000 cubic foot Earth-in-miniature. Find out about this “Eden on top of an aircraft” and what went awry when eight people sealed themselves inside a…
The Spiral of Silence
Nov 6, 2014 • 36 min
Have you ever heard someone say something you disagreed with and kept your opinions to yourself? You, my friend, just fell into the spiral of silence. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Mass Hysteria and the Mad Gasser
Nov 4, 2014 • 49 min
Did a masked madman terrorize a sleepy Illinois town with a paralyzing gas gun? Or did something equally bizarre transpire back in August of 1944? Lend an ear to this bone-chilling episode of Stuff to Blow your Mind and explore the topic of mass hysteria…
The Science of Uncanny Music
Oct 30, 2014 • 41 min
Why is scary music so scary? Why does an uncanny tune creep us out so? Is it all context and culture or is there something deeper at work? In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie provide the answers and Christopher Gladwin of…
What’s in a witches’ brew?
Oct 28, 2014 • 39 min
Gather round the cauldron with Robert and Julie as they ladle out hefty servings of magical thinking, medieval psychedelics, feminist history and the power of ritual. Just what was old-school witchery all about? This classic episode has some answers.…
The Dark
Oct 23, 2014 • 39 min
What about darkness is so unsettling? Find out about the most extreme instances of an absence of light and how it works on our bodies. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Steven Johnson: How We Got to Now
Oct 21, 2014 • 28 min
Glass, Cold, Sound, Clean, Time and Light. Just a random collection of items in the physical world, right? Not in the hands of science journalist Steven Johnson, who weaves a revelatory tale of technological wonders in his new book and PBS series, “How We…
Trypophobia: Fear of Holes
Oct 16, 2014 • 30 min
Phobias can arise from all sorts of lurking dangers, like venomous snakes. But holes? Is trypophobia really a thing? Find out why a person might fear an array of innocent holes and the role social contagion could play. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Zen of Pain
Oct 14, 2014 • 50 min
Can pain elevate us to a higher state of conscious? Can we find peace and forgiveness with self-inflicted cuts and lashes? Join Robert and Julie as they raise the lantern of science to the humanity’s longstanding quest for liberation through physical…
The Infinity Hotel
Oct 9, 2014 • 34 min
Imagine a hotel with infinite rooms and infinite guests. Do you fancy they have space for one more late arrival? Join Robert and Julie as they check into the Infinity Hotel to discover how the concept of infinity affects mathematics, physics and the…
Infinity + One
Oct 7, 2014 • 23 min
Contemplate the boundless. Contemplate the endless. Join Robert and Julie as they discuss what infinity is, what infinity isn’t and the philosopher’s never-ending quest to unravel the nature of cosmic, mathematical and divine infinities. Learn more about…
Wendigo…
Oct 2, 2014 • 38 min
What are we to make of this evil spirit of Algonquin folklore, said to transform unfortunate travelers into cannibalistic monsters? Have true accounts of “wendigo psychosis” actually occurred in the Canadian wilds? Join Robert and Julie as they explore…
The Horror Movie Aphrodisiac
Sep 30, 2014 • 49 min
Are horror movies a sure-fire aphrodisiac? Does the haunted house really exit into the bed room? Join Robert and Julie as they examine the old scary movie seduction trope and look for the scientific connection between scares and sexual arousal. Learn more…
How Rewilding Works
Sep 25, 2014 • 34 min
The Anthropocene era has exacted quite a toll on Earth’s ecosystem, but could rewilding reverse the damage and restore balance to Earth? Could it bring the human individual and human culture as a whole back in line with the natural order of things? Maybe…
The Ghosts of Evolution
Sep 23, 2014 • 36 min
We now inhabit the Anthropocene era — one where man-made environments have displaced entire ecosystems and the plants and animals that inhabited them. Knowing that all species are interconnected — including us bipedal chatterboxes — how will vanishing…
Money and Happiness
Sep 18, 2014 • 39 min
Can money buy happiness? Find out if being flush with cash really makes a difference in your outlook. Join Robert and Julie once more for a fascinating examination of the human condition on the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast. Learn more about your…
Greed Redux
Sep 16, 2014 • 36 min
Would you like more money? Sure, we all would. In this encore presentation, Robert and Julie dive into the world of Scrooge McDuck, King Midas and look at how greed is expressed in the brain. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Myth of Average
Sep 11, 2014 • 32 min
Find out why using statistical averages to understand individuals is a crappy strategy for healthcare and education. Robert and Julie also look at how playing to the average affects our everyday world. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Ignorance is Bliss
Sep 9, 2014 • 33 min
Why do we humans sometimes stick our heads in the sand — even at the risk of our health and well-being? Robert and Julie explore the topic of information aversion. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Attention Schema Theory: Consciousness and God
Sep 4, 2014 • 42 min
Life is an enduring mystery. We’re forced to unravel the mystery of human consciousness from within, while the enigma of cosmos bears down on us from beyond. We whisper the words “self” and even “god” to ground ourselves in an ocean of chaos, but what’s…
Gaming the Flow
Sep 2, 2014 • 33 min
Join Robert and Julie as they explore what is to enter “the flow state,” a place of both clarity and ecstasy that some say leads to ultimate contentment. So how do you achieve it and why are game designers so interested in it? Learn more about your…
Syphilis Through The Ages
Aug 28, 2014 • 48 min
It’s difficult to overstate the impact of syphilis on the Western world, and it remains a threat to this day despite effective antibiotic treatments. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore the history of the illness and its…
Syphilis: The Great Imitator
Aug 26, 2014 • 28 min
Doctors have called it the great imitator because this destructive venereal disease can manifest almost any symptom. Initially spreading through sexual contact, Syphilis can remain dormant in the body for decades before flaring up again in brutally…
The Mathematics of Happiness
Aug 21, 2014 • 37 min
Is there a mathematical equation for happiness? Is there a formula for contentment? Explore the science and chase the ephemeral in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
The Power of Origami
Aug 19, 2014 • 39 min
There’s far more to origami than paper swans. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore the mathematics and real-world applications of intricately folded sheets. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Quarantine
Aug 14, 2014 • 31 min
Sure, we’ve all seen medical quarantines against infectious disease in the movies, but how do they work in real life? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Understanding Ebola
Aug 12, 2014 • 37 min
The word “Ebola” is enough to summon feelings of fear, body horror and even xenophobia. But don’t give in to paranoia. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie arm you with information about Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as…
The Scientist and the Shaman: Hallucination
Aug 7, 2014 • 32 min
In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and Robert continue their discussion of the overlap between shamanism and cognitive neuroscience. In particular, what sort of hallucinatory experiences do substances like DMT, psilocybin and salvia…
The Scientist and the Shaman: My Egoic Mind
Aug 5, 2014 • 34 min
A shaman consumes a psychedelic mushroom and visits the spirit world. Meanwhile, a scientist studies the effects of psilocybin on depression and conceptions of self. In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss the common ground shared by these disciplines…
Wind Beneath My Surgical Wings, Part 2
Jul 31, 2014 • 28 min
Can science give us the wings we’ve always envied in birds? Can plastic surgery elevate us to a higher human form? In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss Joseph Rosen’s posthuman philosophy and ponder what we’d have to do to transform arms into wings.…
Wind Beneath My Surgical Wings, Part 1
Jul 29, 2014 • 25 min
Can science give us the wings we’ve always envied in birds? Can plastic surgery elevate us to a higher human form? In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss Joseph Rosen’s posthuman philosophy and ponder what we’d have to do to transform arms into wings.…
Lost Continent: Part 2
Jul 24, 2014 • 25 min
There’s something intoxicating about the notion of a lost continent. Imagine an entire landscape - perhaps even an entire civilization untouched by Western colonialism or perhaps lost beneath ancient, cataclysmic waves. But lost continents are far from…
Lost Continent: Part 1
Jul 22, 2014 • 32 min
There’s something intoxicating about the notion of a lost continent. Imagine an entire landscape - perhaps even an entire civilization untouched by Western colonialism or perhaps lost beneath ancient, cataclysmic waves. But lost continents are far from…
Humanity’s Lullaby
Jul 17, 2014 • 32 min
Lullabies are soothing, grotesque and universal. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore the surprisingly rich world of human sleep songs. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Earwax: Portable Time Capsules
Jul 15, 2014 • 22 min
Why do we have ear wax? Why does it build up and what can it tell us about ourselves? Enter the mysterious ear canal in this sticky new episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Ballad of the Electric Fish
Jul 10, 2014 • 22 min
How does the electric eel generate its juice and how did six different lineages of bioelectric fish evolve on this planet of ours? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Junk Food Junkies
Jul 8, 2014 • 46 min
Why does junk food hold such power over us? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie get to the bottom of modern humanity’s favorite supernormal stimuli. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Designer Genes
Jul 3, 2014 • 30 min
Gene therapy, DNA analysis and genetically modified organisms are increasingly part of our everyday reality. But where is this road taking us and how will it change us on the way? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your…
Summer Reading 2014
Jul 1, 2014 • 40 min
Looking for a good, intelligent beach read? Join Robert and Julie for their annual Summer Reading episode, loaded with fiction and non-fiction reading recommendations for the curious mind: zombies, animals, Marilyn Monroe, torture, monsters, Muppets,…
A Perfect Circle
Jun 26, 2014 • 31 min
What is a mathematically perfect circle and why doesn’t it exist in our universe? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind as Robert and Julie look high and low in a universe of imperfection. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Neural Pixie Dust
Jun 24, 2014 • 32 min
The future of brain-machine interaction will expand human intelligence and forever alter our experience of reality, but where are we now and how long till neurotechnology elevates us to higher human form? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your…
The Science of H.P. Lovecraft
Jun 19, 2014 • 63 min
Legendary weird fiction author H.P. Lovecraft revolutionized our understanding of supernatural horror in the early 20th century, but he was also a science writer and lived in a time of tremendous scientific advancement and global war. Join Robert and…
Listener Mail: The Power of Names
Jun 17, 2014 • 33 min
As a follow-up to their podcast episode on the nominative determinism, Robert and Julie share YOUR thoughts on names and the power of names in this special listener mail episode. Plus, who knows what else they’ll chat about? Learn more about your…
The Future of Addiction
Jun 12, 2014 • 31 min
Highly addictive substances like meth and heroine are formidable enemies for the recovering addict, but what does the future hold for their treatment? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore the use of electromagnetic…
The Science of Addiction
Jun 10, 2014 • 38 min
What is addiction? Why are some people predisposed to it and what happens in the brain when addiction takes hold? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie break it all down for you and ponder the addiction-shattered brain. Learn more…
The Status of Flatus
Jun 5, 2014 • 37 min
The Status of Flatus: What is a fart? What’s the science behind passing gas and why does volume, frequency and stench very so much from person to person? Answers await, gentle listener, as Robert and Julie discuss the biology behind breaking wind in this…
The Troglofauna of Fraggle Rock
Jun 3, 2014 • 42 min
The Troglofauna of Fraggle Rock: What do the fun-loving denizens of Jim Henson’s “Fraggle Rock” have in common with real-life cave animals? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind as Robert and Julie discuss the ecology of Fraggle Rock and the…
Supernormal Stimuli
May 29, 2014 • 35 min
No longer limited by the constrains of their environment or biology, humans have remade their world. Why walk when you can soar? Why shout when you can whisper in the ear of a listener halfway round the world? And why limit yourself to normal stimuli when…
Heartbeat in the Brain, Hole in the Skull
May 27, 2014 • 32 min
Trepanation is an ancient surgical procedure and we’ve found the millennia-aged skulls to prove it - each punctured and gouged to relieve inner-pressure and inner-madness. But is such cranial perforation truly a relic of a primitive age or do modern…
You Are Here: Proprioception
May 22, 2014 • 35 min
How do we know who and where we are in this ocean of chaos? It’s easy to take this question for granted, but the answer goes beyond our five senses and into the realm of body schema, golgi tendon organs and out-of-body experiences. Close your eyes and…
A Boy Named Sue
May 20, 2014 • 33 min
A Boy Named Sue: What’s in a name? Does a parentally-bestowed “Fred” force one fate on a hapless child and “Moon Unit” or “Brock” quite another? Join Robert and Julie for a discussion on the power of names and nominative determinism in this Stuff to Blow…
The Science of Beards
May 15, 2014 • 42 min
You’ve probably been wondering, “Is there any data about facial hair, particularly gloriously groomed beards?” Why, yes, there is. Find out how facial hair transforms perception and whether or not it could help blunt a few blows in a bar fight, all in…
Over the Moon
May 13, 2014 • 31 min
Over the Moon: What if we, over at the mother company Earth, Inc., looked at “assets” in our solar system like a corporation looks at its assets? What if we set our sights on that ne’er-do-well moon? Find out how we could harness the moon’s resources to…
Future Shock: Part II
May 8, 2014 • 34 min
Future Shock: Back in 1970, Alvin Toffler’s book “Future Shock” envisioned a future human civilization outpaced, overstimulated and mentally stunned by relentless technological and social change. Today, we live in the very future Toffler warned everyone…
Future Shock: Part I
May 6, 2014 • 43 min
Future Shock: Back in 1970, Alvin Toffler’s book “Future Shock” envisioned a future human civilization outpaced, overstimulated and mentally stunned by relentless technological and social change. Today, we live in the very future Toffler warned everyone…
Rethinking Genitalia
May 1, 2014 • 32 min
Rethinking Genitalia: We’re a culture obsessed with human bodies, gender and the morphological differences between male and female. But what happens when we consider gender reversal in nature, as well as the amazing sex-reversed cave insects of the…
The Cuckoo Mafia
Apr 29, 2014 • 32 min
The Cuckoo Mafia: Sure, humans have their organized crime, but what about the Earth’s other residents? Are their animal mafias? How does “crime” even work outside the confines of human culture? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn…
The Habitable Epoch
Apr 24, 2014 • 30 min
The Habitable Epoch: What if we’re wrong. What if life isn’t a rarity in a dead cosmos, but rather a common occurrence in the habitable epoch 10 to 20 million years after the Big Bang? Explore the mind-blowing possibility with Robert and Julie. Learn more…
Rise of the Vampire Bat
Apr 22, 2014 • 43 min
Rise of the Vampire Bat: It’s a hard-knock life for an exclusive blood drinker, yet somehow three species of vampire bat take full honors as the only obligate sanguivores. How did they evolve? How does vampire physiology work? Tune into this bloodthirsty…
The Shadow People
Apr 17, 2014 • 50 min
Do strange shadow people haunt the corners of our existence, or is there a scientific answer within the human brain? Join Robert and guests Ben and Matt of Stuff They Don’t Want You To Know as they discuss the answers. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Rites of Spring
Apr 10, 2014 • 32 min
The season of rebirth may be one of the most uplifting seasons humans experience, with a sense of renewal and meaning materializing before their eyes in nature. But could it change our perception and behavior. And is there a dark side to spring? Learn…
Through the Looking Glass
Apr 8, 2014 • 40 min
What are we to make of the mirror world? We surround ourselves with looking glasses, yet rarely understand exactly what we’re observing. Our reflected doubles gaze back at us, affecting the way we carry ourselves and the way we experience our own bodies.…
Extreme Survivors of the Animal World
Apr 3, 2014 • 30 min
Extreme Survivors of the Animal World: Think you’ve got what it takes to hack it in an unforgiving world? You may have the brains, human, but creatures such as the Saharan silver ant, the Pompeii worm and the tardigrade have the brawn. Learn all about…
Outsourcing Memory
Apr 1, 2014 • 42 min
Outsourcing Memory: From digital photography to Internet spellcheckers, we allocate more and more of our cognitive processes to the cloud. But what do we ultimately gain from all of this - and what do we lose? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow…
Labyrinths
Mar 27, 2014 • 32 min
Labyrinths: Join Robert and Julie once more for their classic series on mazes and labyrinths. Having escaped from the confusion of the Minoan maze, it’s time to walk the serene, calming paths of the Chartres Labyrinth. Why is this experience so different?…
Mazes
Mar 25, 2014 • 41 min
Mazes: Join Robert and Julie once more for their classic series on mazes and labyrinths. In this episode, enter the Minoan maze and wander its endless halls. Feel your heart race. Feel your limbs quiver as the minotaur’s roar echoes through the walls.…
Acid Flashbacks
Mar 20, 2014 • 38 min
Acid Flashbacks: Are acid flashbacks real or are they merely a ghost story of psychedelic culture or anti-drug messaging? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie discuss the misconceptions as well as the real science of Hallucinogen…
A Musical Time Machine for the Brain
Mar 18, 2014 • 39 min
A Musical Time Machine for the Brain: What is music doing to our perception of time? It seems to transport us to the past. It speeds things up and slows things down. And just how do others exploit these qualities to manipulate us? Find out in this episode…
Your Body Odor,Your Destiny
Mar 13, 2014 • 26 min
Your Body Odor,Your Destiny: Can body odor be destiny? Can it portend health or illness, who we’re attracted to and repulsed by? Find out in this pungently scientific episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Image: © H. Armstrong Roberts/ClassicStock/Corbis…
Maneater
Mar 11, 2014 • 48 min
Maneater: What happens when an animal turns maneater? Is it the irresistible taste of human flesh? Is it the ease of a human kill? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie look to the environmental, biological and bad-luck causes that…
Listener Mail: Strange Sleep and Past Lives
Mar 6, 2014 • 23 min
Strange Sleep and Past Lives: In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie once again call forth the robot and take care of some accumulated listener mail on strange sleep, lucid dreaming, reincarnation and other topics. Learn more about…
The Barry White Effect
Mar 4, 2014 • 22 min
The Barry White Effect: What does voice quality tell us about sexual fitness in a potential mate? Do the deep, velvet tones of Barry White have a scientifically-proven effect on our libido? What about Marilyn Monroe’s high, breathy voice? All shall be…
Empathic Elephants
Feb 27, 2014 • 31 min
Empathic Elephants: The elephant is Earth’s largest surviving land creature and an example of nature at its most majestic. But these amazing creatures also boast self awareness, a high intelligence and a startling capacity for empathy. Join Robert and…
The Illusion of Continuity
Feb 25, 2014 • 27 min
The Illusion of Continuity: What is perceptual constancy and how does the illusion of continuity pull a fast one over our brains? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind as Robert and Julie discuss the science behind Dancing Spider-Man, the…
Reincarnation Blues
Feb 20, 2014 • 38 min
The metaphysics of reincarnation are nothing short of enthralling, from the notion of an immortal soul drifting through myriad life forms to the intimidating Wheel of Samsara with its heavenly and hellish realms. Why does this version of immortality…
Night Janitors of the Brain
Feb 18, 2014 • 17 min
The Night Janitors of the Brain: Do you think other species ever look at humans and raise an eyebrow at the amount of sleep we need? Do cockroaches and eyelash mites leave messages on our foreheads in microscopic Sharpies? Perhaps “I just popped on an…
My Slimey Valentine: Slug Sex Revisited
Feb 13, 2014 • 24 min
Slug Sex: Whether you’re a hopeless romantic or a Valentine’s hater, Robert and Julie have quite the episode for you. Prepare to have your mind blown as they expose the daring, disgusting, weaponized, cannibalistic and marathon lovemaking ways of slugs…
The Problem of Immortality: Terror Management Theory
Feb 11, 2014 • 44 min
Humans are haunted by death. It awaits us all with open arms and all we can do is dream of its blissful antithesis: immortality. And so we’ve constructed a fortress of ideas to protect us against the terror of impermanence: astral bodies, bodily…
Leechpunk: The Power of Leeches
Feb 6, 2014 • 26 min
The Power of Leeches: Are leeches mere bloodsucking parasites or do these creatures have a place in modern medicine? Plus learn about the very real 19th century invention that incorporated bottled leeches. Tune into this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind…
The Meaning of Stonehenge
Feb 4, 2014 • 25 min
The Meaning of Stonehenge: Stonehenge remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of the ancient world. Was it a burial ground for aristocratic families, a Druid temple or pilgrimage for those observing the seasons? Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Building of Stonehenge
Jan 30, 2014 • 28 min
The Building of Stonehenge: Rising up from the plains of Salisbury, England is a mammoth structure that has existed for 5,000 years. How was it constructed and what can it tell us about the Neolithic and Bronze Age people who built it? Learn more about…
It’s a Trap!
Jan 28, 2014 • 37 min
It’s a Trap: Humans aren’t alone in their ability to craft a clever trap out of their surroundings. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie look to the insect and arachnid world for deadly examples. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Memory/Story Editing
Jan 23, 2014 • 38 min
Ever wish you could take a troubling event from your past and dial down the memory without subjecting yourself to total recall erasure? Explore the science of memory/story editing in this Stuff to Blow Your Mind episode. Learn more about your ad-choices…
Werewolf Principle: Adapting Humans for Space
Jan 21, 2014 • 38 min
The Werewolf Principle: Will astronauts of the future be able to adapt their physiology for long-term space travel and life on other planets? In this classic STBYM episode, Robert and Julie explore the ideal physical modifications that could theoretically…
Hibernation: The Ultimate Suspended Animation
Jan 16, 2014 • 27 min
Hibernation: What is hibernation exactly? Is it the opposite of sleep? Is it the future of manned space exploration? Revisit the topic with Julie and Robert as they enter the hibernacula and discuss this perplexing biologic state. Learn more about your…
The War on Creativity
Jan 14, 2014 • 32 min
The War on Creativity: There’s an entire industry dedicate to creativity and innovation. But do people - and corporations-really want to “think outside of the box.” Is there an inherent bias against creativity? Image credit: Guillermo Legaria/AFP/Getty…
Up in the Air
Jan 9, 2014 • 38 min
Up in the Air: How long can a bird stay in the air? How about an airplane? From human flight to the future of laser-powered drone aircraft, the answers may surprise you in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. And be sure to click here for a…
Brain Hacking 101: New Habits for a New Year
Jan 7, 2014 • 29 min
New Habits for a New Year: How long does it take to make or break a habit? Is this really the year you make major changes or learn a new craft? Robert and Julie break down the science of it all in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Featured art:…
Cluttered Desks, Cluttered Minds & Toddler Hands
Jan 2, 2014 • 39 min
Cluttered Desks, Cluttered Minds and Toddler Hands: Toddlers might not seem like scientists when they mash up a banana or throws noodles at the wall, but research reveals that messy hands often indicate a hungry mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Normalcy Bias and Psychogenic Death
Dec 31, 2013 • 35 min
Normalcy Bias and Psychogenic Death: Why do some people continue on with their normal lives when reality comes crashing down on them? Why don’t they run for cover or try to jump ship? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about…
Comedic Impressions of the Wild
Dec 26, 2013 • 21 min
Comedic Impressions of the Wild: Why do birds and other animals imitate other animals? Why would an elephant learn to speak Korean? All of this and more shall be explored in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Snowflake Doppelganger
Dec 24, 2013 • 28 min
Snowflake Doppelganger: Are snowflakes really one of a kind? How do they form and what do they have to do with grade school art projects, personal identity, climate change and Jack the Ripper? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. And be…
Thanatosis: Playing Dead to Survive
Dec 19, 2013 • 42 min
Thanatosis: Playing Dead to Survive: There’s more to playing dead that meets the eye. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore the science of tonic immobility and thanatosis. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Carrot and Stick: A Genetic Santa Story
Dec 17, 2013 • 23 min
Santa or Krampus? Gifts or a stocking full of coal? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie look at negative and positive reinforcement and a new study that looks at the genetics behind each. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Fist Bumps vs. Bacteria
Dec 12, 2013 • 21 min
Fist Bumps vs. Bacteria: Can a simple fist bump help us out in a war against antibiotic-resistant bacteria? And what strange corners of the Earth might provide us the artillery we need to fight these deadly enemies? Find out in this episode of Stuff to…
Urine for a Treat
Dec 10, 2013 • 31 min
Urine For a Treat: A urine sample reveals a great deal about the person from whence it trickled, but can we drink it? Can it cure what ales us? Does it help with jellyfish stings? The latest science sheds new light on our old myths regarding those salty…
Welcome to the Panopticon
Dec 5, 2013 • 32 min
Welcome to the panopticon, both a prison of design and a prison of the mind, where everyone is susceptible to surveillance and no one knows who’s being watched. Join Robert and Julie as they explore the history, design and philosophical import of this…
The Science of Smiles
Dec 3, 2013 • 33 min
The Science of Smiles: Just try to resist the power of the human smile. We dare you! In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore the science behind all those upside-down frowns. Be sure to check out the accompanying image gallery…
Gluttony Revisited
Nov 28, 2013 • 34 min
Gluttony Revisited: When does mere appetite transform into disorder? And what are we to make of the monstrous “sport” of competitive eating? Join Robert and Julie as they revisit one of the sins from their “Seven Deadlies” series (CLICK HERE to explore…
Into the Mouth of Thanksgiving
Nov 26, 2013 • 24 min
While your stomach may rumble at the thought of Thanksgiving’s bounty, your mouth is trembling in fear. Join Robert and Julie as they discuss the oral health battle that takes place between Streptococcus mutans and teeth enamel and find out why our…
Skeptics and Sasquatches
Nov 21, 2013 • 30 min
Skeptics and Sasquatches: What are we to make of the Sasquatch, bigfoot, skunk ape and yeti? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie discuss why the fabled creature doesn’t hold up to scientific scrutiny. Learn more about your…
Before Science
Nov 19, 2013 • 20 min
Before Science: When did the word “scientist” enter our vocabulary? How did science take off as the driving force of modern culture and what of the natural philosophers of old? Listen in to this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind for all the details.…
The Dexter of Parasites
Nov 14, 2013 • 25 min
The Dexter of Parasites: Yes, in the same way Dexter preyed on other serial killers, parasitic organisms are targeted by parasites as well. Join Robert and Julie as they discuss the world of hyperparasites. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Science of Cute
Nov 12, 2013 • 35 min
Why do kitten faces and cartoon cuties hold such power over us? Why does the sight of a puppy tug our heart strings? Find out in this Stuff to Blow Your Mind journey into the science of cute. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Autotomy: Nature’s Dismemberment Plan
Nov 7, 2013 • 36 min
Autotomy: Nature’s Dismemberment Plan: When threatened, some species of lizards simply jettison their own twitching tails form their bodies. It’s grisly but effective. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore the science of…
Into the Hologenome
Nov 5, 2013 • 31 min
Into the Hologenome… How can the bacterial fauna thriving inside our bodies influence evolution? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Monster Mash: Mummies and Trolls
Oct 31, 2013 • 22 min
Monster Mash: Mummies and Trolls: Could real science possible explain a horror movie mummy’s murderous escape from a museum or a troll’s transformation into stone? In the same tradition as their gremlin and zombie episodes, Robert and Julie give it a try…
Wendigo…
Oct 29, 2013 • 38 min
Wendigo: What are we to make of this evil spirit of Algonquin folklore, said to transform unfortunate travelers into cannibalistic monsters? Have true accounts of “wendigo psychosis” actually occurred in the Canadian wilds? Join Robert and Julie as they…
Tainted Love Hormone
Oct 24, 2013 • 26 min
Tainted Love Hormone: There’s a dark side to oxytocin. Tune into this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind for the latest research on the dark side of the love hormone. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Naked Terror
Oct 22, 2013 • 43 min
Is there a link between nudity and fear? Does naked combat make us more powerful or more vulnerable? Nudists and never-nudes alike can find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Listener Mail Roundup
Oct 17, 2013 • 34 min
Listener Mail Roundup: The Stuff to Blow Your Mind mailbag grows and the mail-bot grows increasingly insane in its boredom. To remedy the situation, Robert and Julie devote an entire episode to catching up. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Ig Nobel Science of 2013
Oct 15, 2013 • 24 min
Ig Nobel Science of 2013: The IgNobel Prizes never fail to highlight the absurdity of scientific research. In this episode, Robert and Julie look at five of 2013’s winners. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
STBYM: Three Years of Word Salad
Oct 10, 2013 • 33 min
STBYM: Three Years of Word Salad: Robert and Julie celebrate 3 years of cranium-popping episodes and discuss how Stuff to Blow Your Mind has changed their lives. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
The Science of Uncanny Music
Oct 8, 2013 • 22 min
The Science of Uncanny Music: Why is scary music so scary? Why does an uncanny tune creep us out so? Is it all context and culture or is there something deeper at work? Robert and Julie provide the answers and Christopher Gladwin of The Wyrding Module…
Dread Anxiety
Oct 3, 2013 • 38 min
What is dread and how are we supposed to cope with it? Why do we let it control our lives so much? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Teaching Robots to Love
Oct 1, 2013 • 19 min
Will our robots ever love us? And what does that question reveal about the true nature of this much-touted human emotion? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Tyrannosaurus Sex
Sep 26, 2013 • 23 min
Climb into the dinosaur hot tub machine with us on this classic STBYM episode featuring the concept of the cloacal kiss and the very direct question: how did dinosaurs — with all their spikes and plates — get it on? Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Ouroboros: The Tail-Eating Serpent
Sep 24, 2013 • 26 min
The ouroboros is an ancient symbol of a mythical serpent or dragon that bites its own tail. It has come to represent, rebirth, infinity and the continuous wheel of cycles. But it also turns out to be a clever way for some animals to defend themselves and…
Nostalgia: The Kryptonite of Existential Angst?
Sep 19, 2013 • 39 min
Nostalgia: The Kryptonite of Existential Angst? Nostalgia is a bittersweet emotion that evokes a pleasurable memory tinged with the knowledge that you can never really go back. Find out why nostalgia was once considered a psychiatric disorder and why it…
Word Aversion: The Story of Moist
Sep 17, 2013 • 38 min
Word Aversion: The Story of Moist: Put your favorite pair of slacks on and join guest host Allison Loudermilk as she and Julie get to the bottom of word aversion. Find out why the word “moist” is so maligned and see if your favorite worst word made the…
Fire Tornado vs Sharknado
Sep 12, 2013 • 25 min
Fire Tornado vs Sharknado: What would win in a fight, a swirling column of fire or a vortex full of killer sharks? It’s not a question to dismiss slightly, so join Robert and Julie as they break down the real science of fire tornadoes as well as the…
Human Paper Dolls: Enclothed Cognition
Sep 10, 2013 • 37 min
Human Paper Dolls:Enclothed Cognition: Can a doctor’s lab coat make you feel smarter and more confident? Does a police uniform give the wearer a sense of power? The answers may surprise you. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie…
Microchimerism: The Mother Inside You
Sep 5, 2013 • 26 min
Microchimerism: The Mother Inside You: Does a mother retain cells from her child? Does the child retain cells form the mother? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie introduce you to the fantastic world of microchimerism. Learn more…
Here There Be Sea Monsters
Sep 3, 2013 • 43 min
Medieval and renaissance maps are resplendent with sea monsters, but what were these fanciful beasts all about? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie breakdown the science, economics and mythology of sea serpents, walruses and…
Fine Young (Animal) Cannibals
Aug 29, 2013 • 48 min
Fine Young (Animal) Cannibals: Cannibalism is a bit yucky in the human world, but for animals it’s just a matter of economics. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie expore the world of cannibalistic insects and their kin. Learn more…
The Left-Handed Scissors
Aug 27, 2013 • 28 min
The Left-Handed Scissors: Lefties make up 10 percent of the population, but what are we to make of their curious inversion? Why do they exist? Why do they excel at sports and murder? And might they one day rise up and force right-handed folks to wear…
Symbols on the Brain
Aug 22, 2013 • 47 min
Symbols on the Brain:A symbol can instantly convey an abstract idea that would require paragraphs of traditional language to relate. So what are they all about? In this episode, Robert and Julie explore the manner in which symbols take hold of our brain -…
Walls
Aug 20, 2013 • 29 min
Walls:Civilizations surround themselves in walls. They raise walls against enemies, against the environment and against the spirit world. In this classic episode, Robert and Julie examine walls, from Ming Dynasty battlements to the galactic borders of our…
The Science of Staring
Aug 15, 2013 • 37 min
The Science of Staring: Your mother always told you it’s not polite to stare - and yet we do. Why is starring a part of who we are? Why do subway staring contests occur and can we actually feel people’s eyes crawling over our bodies? All of this and more…
Satellite Junkies and the Day of the Fall
Aug 8, 2013 • 37 min
Satellite Junkies and the Day of the Fall: Humanity has become addicted to satellite technology. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore the sort of withdrawals we’d feel if the satellites all fell from the sky. Learn more…
Sideshow Secrets Revealed
Aug 6, 2013 • 41 min
What’s the real science behind beds of nails, sword swallowing and headless women? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie strip away the carnie veneer and get right to the facts. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Science of Hell
Aug 1, 2013 • 37 min
The Science of Hell: Artists aren’t alone in their fascination with Hell. Scientists two have long sought to breach the fiery gates and figure out just how it works. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore scientific…
The Problem of Hell
Jul 30, 2013 • 58 min
Belief in Hell is problematic at best. How do we relate to our fellow human beings while sorting them into an imagined afterlife of torment? How do we relate to faiths and myths that heap such additional darkness on an already bleak world? In this episode…
Roller Derby Microbiome
Jul 25, 2013 • 39 min
Roller Derby Microbiome: Once upon a time, the word “outdoors” wasn’t a thing. But then humans invented “indoors,” and with it an artificial environment containing an artificial environment of microorganisms. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind,…
Cubicle Doom
Jul 23, 2013 • 47 min
Cubicle Doom: Can your office cubical kill you? Might an open-floor office plan save your life or drive you to madness? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie examine the science and psychology of our artificial work spaces. Learn…
The Mystery of Human Consciousness
Jul 18, 2013 • 43 min
What is consciousness? Can we test for it? And how to we rectify the seemingly disparate realities of physical brain and immaterial mind? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie consider the hard problem of human consciousness and the…
Insect Love Song
Jul 16, 2013 • 27 min
Insect Love Song: The night is alive with insects. To our human ears their song is mere cacophony, but it’s actually a vast web of communication signals. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie decode the Insect Internet for the…
Clap, Clap, Clap Your Hands
Jul 11, 2013 • 25 min
Clap, Clap, Clap Your Hands:Resist the urge to clap at the next concert or play you attend - IF YOU DARE! Because as Robert and Julie explain in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, applause is viral. It’s hard-coded into our mental capacity for…
Grunting the Conqueror Worm
Jul 9, 2013 • 30 min
Grunting the Conqueror Worm: Behold the conqueror earthworm, a creature introduced to North America mere centuries ago and now virtually unstoppable. And yet some humans know the means of summoning these worms from the Earth using only music or the…
A Cuppa Joe
Jul 4, 2013 • 42 min
A Cuppa Joe:Just what’s in a cup of coffee? Why does it make us feel so invincible and why does it make us poop so much? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
How to Beat the Thought Police
Jul 2, 2013 • 44 min
How to Beat the Thought Police: Want to know how to beat a polygraph test? How about current and near-future fMRI lie detection tests? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie take you to the place where neuroscience and criminal…
Isolation Chambers: Float Follow-Up
Jun 27, 2013 • 43 min
Isolation Chambers: Float Follow-Up: In a previous episode, Robert and Julie discussed the science of sensory deprivation chambers and now they’re back from their own first-hand experiences inside the womb-to-tomb wet box. Learn more about your ad-choices…
Clocking In: The Nature of Time
Jun 25, 2013 • 43 min
Clocking in: What is time? What’s the best way to measure it? And is it all an illusion anyway? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie discuss the fourth dimension and the clock on the wall. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Summer Reading: Guest Picks
Jun 20, 2013 • 38 min
In this special episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie invite six guests to share their recommendations for summer reading. You’ll hear from science author Mary Roach, musician DJ Food and author David Barnett. Plus fellow HowStuffWorks…
Summer Reading: Robert and Julie’s Picks
Jun 18, 2013 • 37 min
Summer Reading: Robert and Julie’s Picks: Once again, your Robert and Julie are here to share some summer reading recommendations with their curious listeners. Explore their delightful buffet of science, sci-fi, children’s books, literary fiction and…
The Quietest Room in the World
Jun 12, 2013 • 37 min
The Quietest Room in the World: In Minneapolis, MN there’s a room that blocks 99.99 percent of all sound. It’s a place of intense silence, intense calm and possibly intense madness. What happens when things are too quite? Robert and Julie explore in this…
Sensory Deprivation Chambers
Jun 11, 2013 • 35 min
Sensory Deprivation Chambers:Fancy a return to the womb? Ready to shut off the world of senses and dive into the inner you? Well, the sensory deprivation chamber awaits you. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie breakdown the…
Finnish Ed
Jun 5, 2013 • 29 min
Finnish Ed: STEM education in the US has been on educators and policymakers’ minds. One of the reasons is that the US has become far less competitive in terms of turning out a knowledge-based society. Could Finland hold the answer to raising a generation…
Invisible World of the No. 7
Jun 4, 2013 • 30 min
Invisible World of the No. 7:The 7 deadly sins, the 7 continents, the 7 seas: The no. 7 is everywhere. But is its prevalence simply a byproduct of the brain’s pattern recognition machinery, does the no. 7 play a significant role in both human psychology…
Ventriloquism: The Science of Dummies
May 30, 2013 • 33 min
Ventriloquism: The Science of Dummies: It’s time to rediscover ventriloquism, the surprisingly deft art of illusion that relies on a keen sense of comic timing and obsessive technique from the performer, as well as a buy-in into the illusion from the…
Extreme Mammals Part II
May 28, 2013 • 24 min
Extreme Mammals Part II: In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind series, Robert and Julie discuss the amazing world of prehistoric mammals and count down their favorite weird warm bloods from the smallest to largest. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Extreme Mammals Part I
May 23, 2013 • 26 min
Extreme Mammals Part I: In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind series, Robert and Julie discuss the amazing world of prehistoric mammals and count down their favorite weird warm bloods from the smallest to largest. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Science of Beards
May 21, 2013 • 42 min
The Science of Beards: Why do human males have beards? Do they protect us? Do they make us more fearsome? Better looking? More trustworthy? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Status of Flatus
May 16, 2013 • 35 min
The Status of Flatus: What is a fart? What’s the science behind passing gas and why does volume, frequency and stench very so much from person to person? Answers await, gentle listener, as Robert and Julie discuss the biology behind breaking wind. Learn…
Zombie Apocalypse PSA
May 14, 2013 • 42 min
Atlanta is in shambles. Parasite-infected humans wander the streets, stinking of death and attacking everyone in sight. Meanwhile Robert and Julie hold up in the HSW headquarters to shed light on the so-called “zombie outbreak” by highlighting real-world…
From Nose to Tail: The Colon
May 9, 2013 • 43 min
From Nose to Tail: The Colon: Finally, everything comes out in the end - which is to say it comes out of the end. Robert and Julie finish up their digestive journey with discussions of colon science, nutrient enemas, prison wallets and other astounding…
From Nose to Tail: Into the Intestines
May 7, 2013 • 10 min
From Nose to Tail: Into the Intestines: In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie continue to follow the journey of a haggis through the digestive system of man. Listen in as the small intestines absorb all sorts of vital nutrients from…
Nude Space Walk
May 2, 2013 • 36 min
Nude Space Walk: In order to travel in space, humans have to bring a fragment of their native environment with them in the form of a compressed capsule or EV suit. But what would happen if you took off your helmet or simply launched yourself out the…
Emotions in Outer Space
Apr 30, 2013 • 41 min
Emotions in Outer Space: Space madness. Freezing tears. Delirious astronauts tranquilized, duct taped to the wall and forced to listen to Phillip Glass. Yes, in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie examine the mental strains of life…
Eaten Alive!
Apr 25, 2013 • 41 min
Ah, to be swallowed whole and hugged within the stomach of a colossal beast. To some this idea is bliss; to most it’s the stuff of nightmares. But can any creature on Earth truly swallow a human whole and alive? How likely is it? Join Robert and Julie on…
From Nose to Tail: Can You Stomach It?
Apr 23, 2013 • 36 min
Can You Stomach It?: Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? What sorts of chemical wonders go on inside the human gut and what strange language is it speaking after a heavy dinner? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie discuss some…
Talking ‘Gulp’ With Mary Roach
Apr 18, 2013 • 6 min
Mary Roach Interview: We all love Mary Roach, so in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind Robert and Julie invite the “Stiff” author on the show to chat about her latest book “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal.” Plus she’ll answer listener…
From Nose to Tail: Mysteries of the Mouth
Apr 16, 2013 • 40 min
From Nose to Tail: Mysteries of the Mouth: Food goes on quite a fantastic journey through the human body and Stuff to Blow Your Mind is here to guide you on the way. Join Robert and Julie as they begin at digestion’s base camp: a world of smell, taste,…
Human Lightning Rods
Apr 11, 2013 • 23 min
Human Lightning Rods: Some folk claim to attract undue attention from electrical storms. Some even insist it’s hereditary. But what does science have to say about individuals who incur the wrath of Thor upwards of six or seven times? In this episode of…
Watch Stoppers
Apr 9, 2013 • 31 min
Watch Stoppers: We’ve all heard tales of individuals who simply cannot wear wrist watches. The time pieces simply stop working, time and time again. So what’ happening? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie discuss personal…
3D Printer of the Gods II
Apr 4, 2013 • 27 min
3D Printer of the Gods II: Oh, you’re into 3D printing? How 20 years ago. It’s one thing to print in the three spatial dimensions, quite another to factor in the fourth dimension of time. But it’s happening. And in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind,…
STBYM Listener Mail Extravaganza
Apr 1, 2013 • 28 min
Stuff to Blow Your Mind listeners regularly send in imaginative and jaw-dropping correspondence. Sadly, Julie and Robert rarely have time to read it all. So here’s a bonus episode devoted to your listener mail, courtesy of everyone’s favorite mailbot.…
3D Printer of the Gods, Part 1
Mar 29, 2013 • 40 min
Sure 3D printers are cool, but where will they ultimately take us? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie discuss some of the amazing things happening in 3D printing, what the future will bring and whether it will destroy us all.…
Slay Your Paper Tigers
Mar 28, 2013 • 19 min
Slay Your Paper Tigers: Sure, we all know a pile of paperwork or a job interview is nothing like a bloody battle to the death with a saber toothed tiger - but do our bodies know that? Is our brain still wired for fight or flight regardless of the modern…
Objects of Love
Mar 26, 2013 • 38 min
Objects of Love: We live in a world of objects to which we assign varying degrees of worth, from old newspapers to treasured action figures, family heirlooms and golden idols. What’s it all about? Where does this object attachment come from? Tune in to…
Talking ‘Space Chronicles’ with Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Mar 22, 2013 • 56 min
In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson chats with Robert and Julie about his new book “Space Chronicles” as well as mad science, philosophy, dark matter and humanity’s future amid the stars. Learn more about your…
SETI: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Part 2
Mar 21, 2013 • 28 min
Is there life out there in the cosmos and if so how do we find it? How might it find us? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and Robert discuss the history of SETI as well as what classic TV shows our alien neighbors might be listening to.…
SETI: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Part 1
Mar 19, 2013 • 18 min
Is there life out there in the cosmos and if so how do we find it? How might it find us? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and Robert discuss the history of SETI as well as what classic TV shows our alien neighbors might be listening to.…
Wind Beneath My Surgical Wings, Part 2
Mar 18, 2013 • 32 min
Can science give us the wings we’ve always envied in birds? Can plastic surgery elevate us to a higher human form? In this second part of this series, Robert and Julie continue exploring of posthuman philosophy and the possibility of winged humans. Learn…
Wind Beneath My Surgical Wings, Part 1
Mar 14, 2013 • 24 min
Can science give us the wings we’ve always envied in birds? Can plastic surgery elevate us to a higher human form? In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss Joseph Rosen’s posthuman philosophy and ponder what we’d have to do to transform arms into wings.…
Leprechaun Hallucinations
Mar 12, 2013 • 45 min
Leprechaun Hallucinations: As Saint Patrick’s Day nears, our minds inevitably turn to the little people of Irish folklore. But diminutive fairy folk pop up in folk traditions around the world. Listen in for a celebration of the myth and science behind…
Pica: Dirt for Dinner
Mar 7, 2013 • 28 min
Chances are you didn’t pack mud pies or clay bricks for lunch, but humans - like many animals - are not above pica in their diet. In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss the practice of dirt and mineral consumption and just what impulses are at work.…
Elevators and the Humans who Use Them
Mar 5, 2013 • 61 min
Like most ubiquitous technology, elevators are often ignored. But there would be no skyscrapers without them. There would be no tightly-packed awkwardness, no dusting of claustrophobic fear. Tune in to learn about the psychology and science of elevators.…
Regurgitation Celebration
Feb 28, 2013 • 32 min
While humans generally try to avoid puking, an upchuck is just another biological function for other creatures. In this episode, Robert and Julie present a vomitory smorgasbord of cud-chewing monkeys, acid-puking spiders, corpse-hurling vultures and more.…
Ghost in the Genetic Machine: Humans
Feb 26, 2013 • 35 min
To what extent are we shackled to genes? How does our upbringing, environment and our grandfather’s life choices affect the expression of our genome? Join Julie and Robert as they discuss epigenetic research and ponder underlying questions of free will.…
Ghost in the Genetic Machine: Animals
Feb 21, 2013 • 32 min
Between the code and the creature lies the epigenome, where environmental impulses alter genetic expression. Join Robert and Julie as they introduce epigenetics and gene memory. Join them as they discuss Lamarckian Evolution, mice, rats and flat worms.…
The Memory of Slime
Feb 19, 2013 • 20 min
So you’re telling me slime molds can solve mazes and recreate trade routes? Yes, indeed we are. In this episode, Julie and Robert explore the “intelligence” of slime molds and why they force us to re-think the evolution of intelligence. Learn more about…
My Slimey Valentine: The Slug Life
Feb 14, 2013 • 26 min
My Slimey Valentine: Whether you’re a hopeless romantic or a Valentine’s hater, Robert and Julie have quite the episode for you. Prepare to have your mind blown as they expose the daring, disgusting, weaponized, cannibalistic and marathon lovemaking ways…
Trilogy of Slime: Tales of Slimedom in the Animal Kingdom
Feb 12, 2013 • 36 min
We all love slime, but do we really respect it in all its glory? Join Julie and Robert for a mucus-coated journey through the slime of slugs, sea hags and fish. Learn how it provides locomotion, protection, communication and food. Learn more about your…
Multitasking Maniacs and the One Track Mind
Feb 7, 2013 • 44 min
Is multitasking a female super power, a learnable skill or pure myth? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and Robert consider our multitasking world, our unitasking minds and the rare “super taskers” capable of doing it all. Learn more about…
Interrupting Cow: Multitasking, Interruptions and Distractions
Feb 5, 2013 • 24 min
All joking aside, the Interrupting Cow takes a real toll on your brain and your work life. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie examine just how interruptions and distractions impact our cognitive functions. Learn more about your…
Pineal Optics: My Third Eye
Jan 31, 2013 • 36 min
Pineal Optics: Prepare to open that third eye, listeners, because Robert and Julie are taking you on a journey from philosophical ponderings about human spirituality to scientific explorations of the human pineal gland and the extra parietal eye common to…
Undercover Actors and the Shadow Self
Jan 29, 2013 • 42 min
Undercover Actors and the Shadow Self: In this episode, we discuss the place where cover and identity collide in the human mind. It’s a topic we first raised in our “Wrestling With Kayfabe” episode - so if you skipped that one because of the wrestling…
Wrestling with Kayfabe (with guest Colt Cabana)
Jan 24, 2013 • 63 min
Wrestling with Kayfabe: Professional wrestling is somewhat of a cultural oddity, as it blurs the lines between reality, fiction, sport and theater. Join Robert, Julie and “Art of Wrestling” podcaster Colt Cabana as they lock up with wrestling’s…
Cool Science You May Have Missed in 2012
Jan 22, 2013 • 39 min
A lot of cool science went down in 2012, but it’s possible you missed some of these smaller stories amid all the Mars landing and Higgs searching. In this episode, Julie and Robert take you on a journey full of immortal jelly fish and solar tornados.…
Big Science of 2012
Jan 17, 2013 • 48 min
As you leave 2012 in the dust, join Julie and Robert as they take one last look in the rearview mirror at some of the truly mind blowing science that went down in the past year. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Willpower
Jan 15, 2013 • 50 min
Temptation is all around us and as humans we only have so much willpower in the tank to fight it. In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss the science behind willpower, how we deplete this exhaustible resource and what you can do to boost your resolve.…
Labyrinths
Jan 10, 2013 • 35 min
Having escaped from the confusion of the Minoan maze, it’s time to walk the serene, calming paths of the Chartres Labyrinth. Why is this experience so different? Join Robert and Julie as they discuss the calming effects that labyrinths have on the mind.…
Mazes
Jan 8, 2013 • 41 min
Enter the Minoan maze and wander its endless halls. Feel your heart race. Feel your limbs quiver as the minotaur’s roar echoes through the walls. Join Robert and Julie as they explore the world of mazes and how they affect the brains of humans and rats.…
I Was a Teenage Teen: The Science of Teen Angst
Jan 3, 2013 • 42 min
The teenage brain is a wonderful thing, full of intense rewiring and rapid shifts in priority. In this episode, Robert and Julie reminisce about the teenagers they were and just what was going on in their brains to fuel all that odd, erratic behavior.…
New Year’s Life Hacks
Jan 1, 2013 • 47 min
New Year’s Life Hacks: Want improved focus this year? A better creative flow or stronger decision-making skills? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie run through some simple, scientifically-backed ways to maximize your new year.…
The Shaman and the Scientist: Hallucination
Dec 27, 2012 • 34 min
The Shaman and the Scientist: Hallucination: Join Robert and Julie as they continue their discussion of the overlap between shamanism and cognitive neuroscience. What sort of experiences do substances like DMT, psilocybin and salvia grant users? Why do…
The Shaman and the Scientist: My Egoic Mind
Dec 21, 2012 • 33 min
The Shaman and the Scientist: My Egoic Mind: A shaman consumes a psychedelic mushroom and visits the spirit world. Meanwhile, a scientist studies the effects of psilocybin on depression and conceptions of self. In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss…
Nutmeg: The Scary Spice
Dec 20, 2012 • 35 min
Sure, you sprinkle nutmeg indifferently on your eggnog, but do you know its bloody history and psychotropic properties? In this episode, Julie and Robert discuss the weird side of an everyday spice and why you should use it sparingly but often. Learn more…
The Science of Gremlins and Mogwai
Dec 18, 2012 • 43 min
The Science of Gremlins and Mogwai: Mogwai and Gremlins might seem the most unrealistic monsters of the 1980s, but nothing could be further from the truth. Join Robert and Julie as they dissect Gremlin/Mogwai biology and show you these creatures compare…
The Dark Side of Creativity
Dec 13, 2012 • 45 min
Creative minds make our favorite art and develop unique solutions to real-world problems. But is there a dark side? Are creative minds more prone to madness and deception? In this episode, Julie and Robert turn the tables on innovation. Learn more about…
Parasite Got Your Tongue?
Dec 11, 2012 • 19 min
Organisms do what they can to get ahead and sometimes that means crawling inside a fish head and chewing out a niche. In this episode, Robert and Julie get to know Cymothoa exigua, the horrifying and ingenious parasite that replaces a fish’s tongue. Learn…
The Killing Joke
Dec 6, 2012 • 40 min
Modern minds likely turn to Monty Python when the notion of lethal comedy arises, but accounts of death by laughter date back to ancient times. Can a joke really kill a person? In this episode, Robert and Julie explore the dark side of laughter. Learn…
The Healing Power of Laughter
Dec 4, 2012 • 38 min
They say laughter is the best medicine, but is there any science to back that up? In this episode, Julie and Robert discuss what laughter does to us physically and neurologically. And maybe, just maybe, Julie will grow to love laughter yoga. Learn more…
Why Fingerprints?
Nov 29, 2012 • 34 min
Why do we have fingerprints? Why are the human versions generally more complex than those of other animals? Join Robert and Julie as they delve into whorls and swirls, exploring the theories behind why we have these strange patterns on our fingertips.…
Jive Turkey
Nov 27, 2012 • 43 min
Jive Turkey: As another Turkey Day dawns on the United States, Julie and Robert stop to consider the great bird itself. Join them as they dive into the ancient history of this North American avian native, discuss the origins of its name and how humans…
The Science of Comfort
Nov 22, 2012 • 41 min
What does comfort mean to you? Thanksgiving dinner? A cup of tomato soup and a warm blanket? In this episode, Julie and Robert examine the particulars of comfort, why we crave it and what happens when we have too much of a good thing. Learn more about…
We Are All Scientists
Nov 20, 2012 • 31 min
While it might not feel like it, humans were born to crunch numbers, engineer solutions and scientifically evaluate the world. Join Robert and Julie as they discuss the research on our inborn abilities and how science is ultimately a part of who we are.…
How to Think Like a Child
Nov 15, 2012 • 49 min
Sure, a kid’s unique perspective allows him or her to see Puff the Magic Dragon and say the darndest things. But, as Julie and Robert discover, children are born scientists and their way of viewing the world serves as a fine example to adults. Learn more…
Consider the Packrat
Nov 13, 2012 • 26 min
It’s true: the word “packrat” is more than slang for hoarders and collectors. Join Robert and Julie as they discuss the pint-size rodent’s love of decoration and den-building. Plus how do their toilets aid cowboys and archeologists? Tune in to find out.…
Hammer of the Witches
Nov 8, 2012 • 60 min
Witchcraft trials are a part of our history, but what truly went on during the 1400s? Join Robert and Julie as they explore compelling theories about the nature of superstitious religious persecution. What went wrong? Is it still going wrong today? Learn…
Anthropocene: The Age of Man
Nov 6, 2012 • 39 min
When viewed from the standpoint of geologic time, what is humanity’s ultimate contribution? Have we founded an Age of Man with agriculture, industrialism and war? Join Robert and Julie as they ask hard questions about humanity’s relationship with Earth.…
Ordovician Waters: Life in the Age of Trilobites
Nov 1, 2012 • 30 min
Prepare to explore an alien Earth as Stuff to Blow Your Mind takes you back to the Ordovician Period, when invertebrates thrived in primal seas that covered most of the super continent Gondwana. Join Julie and Robert as they explore this age of change.…
Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board
Oct 31, 2012 • 35 min
Ever reach out to the spirit world with an ouija board? Or stare into a dark mirror for Bloody Mary? Perhaps peer-assisted levitation was more your style. In this episode, Robert and Julie bust through the fantasy of these paranormal parlor tricks and…
The Science of Haunted Houses
Oct 25, 2012 • 41 min
There’s a lot more going on at your local haunted attraction than costumes and chainsaws. In this episode, Robert and Julie venture to Atlanta’s Netherworld Haunted House to learn about the science and art behind the ghoulish shenanigans. Learn more about…
How do Animals Map the World?
Oct 23, 2012 • 22 min
Humans aren’t the only map masters on the planet. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and Robert explore the amazing ways that animals turn space into place and navigate the world around them. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Cartocacoethes: Map Mania!
Oct 18, 2012 • 34 min
Do you see a Thailand-shaped birthmark on Gorbachev’s forehead? Do clouds remind you of Australia and Indonesia? You may have cartocacoethes, the compulsion to see maps everywhere.Join Robert and Julie as they discuss the past, present and future of maps.…
The Map-addled Brain
Oct 16, 2012 • 39 min
Maps show us familiar places as well as far-flung locales that quietly beckon, intertwining the past, present and future. Join Julie and Robert as they explore how our brains work on maps, from neurons to the role of memory and storytelling in mapmaking.…
Ig Nobel: Strange Science Part 2
Oct 11, 2012 • 20 min
In part two of their 2012 Ig Nobel Prize coverage, Robert and Julie take listeners through some of the more amazing winners at this year’s awards ceremony. From monkey butts to exploding colonoscopies, first you’ll laugh and then you’ll think. Learn more…
Ig Nobel: Strange Science, Part 1
Oct 9, 2012 • 26 min
Yes, scientists have a sense of humor - and they have to if their big invention is a bra that doubles as a gas mask. Join Julie and Robert as they explore the Ig Nobel prizes - plus some of the strange studies honored at the 2012 awards ceremony. Learn…
Cat People
Oct 4, 2012 • 46 min
Whether you prefer cats, dogs or snakes, you have to admit that humanity’s relationship with felines is mysterious. Why do we live with these super predators? What does “meow” mean? Are they really our friends? Join Julie and Robert as they investigate.…
The Song of the Bat
Oct 2, 2012 • 33 min
Bats live in a sonic universe. They call out into the night and construct the world from their song. They listen to the sounds of prey, predator and the social squeaking of other bats. In this episode, Robert and Julie listen in on the song of the bat.…
The Wild World of Bats
Sep 27, 2012 • 49 min
Is the bat the most successful mammal on the planet? Quite possibly! In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and Robert explore the insect-munching, fruit-drinking, blood-lapping world of these amazing winged sound warriors. Learn more about…
Fire Walk With Me
Sep 25, 2012 • 41 min
In 2012, Tony Robbins marched thousands of barefoot followers through the coals, injuring under two dozen of them. What was going on in their minds (and in their feet)? Join Robert and Julie as they discuss the physics and mindset of the firewalker. Learn…
Life in the Plastic Palace
Sep 20, 2012 • 39 min
How much of your environment is made out of plastic? Where does it come from? Where does it go? How does plastic affect your iPhone’s weight? Join Julie and Robert as they discuss humanity’s relationship with plastic and the great Pacific garbage patch.…
Sleep No More
Sep 18, 2012 • 33 min
What if you could skip a night’s sleep without any side effects? It may sound impossible, but the age of sleep replacement drugs is just around the corner. Join Julie and Robert as they discuss the DARPA-funded meds that might let us dodge those 40 winks.…
City Creatures
Sep 13, 2012 • 50 min
City Creatures: Does a crowded street make you care less about your fellow man? Population density manipulates organisms in subtle and shocking ways. Join Robert and Julie as they look at how animals and humans respond to cramped conditions and depleted…
The Mind of the Kraken
Sep 11, 2012 • 45 min
What strange thoughts fill the brains of cephalopods? Do they ponder mysteries in their lightless lairs? Join Julie and Robert as they dive into the fascinating world of cephalopod intelligence, from the crafty octopus to the social cuttlefish and more.…
The King-sized World of Gigantism
Sep 6, 2012 • 43 min
Finally, a podcast about Andre the Giant, dinosaurs and Nuralagus rex the bunny king. In this episode, Julie and Robert discuss gigantism. What causes some humans to become giants? Why are island ecosystems like Wonderland? Tune in to learn more. Learn…
Hear The Mermaids Singing
Sep 4, 2012 • 31 min
Hear The Mermaids Singing: Humans have dreamed of mermaids for ages, but is there any substance to these myths? Is the aquatic ape theory more than just a tale for lonely sailors? Join Robert and Julie as they cast their science net and reel in something…
Mother’s Milk
Aug 30, 2012 • 36 min
Mother’s Milk: Milk isn’t just an infant-sustaining breast beverage. Join Julie and Robert as they explore the world of lactation. How does milk strengthen our bodies against infection? When did humans mutate into cross-species milk guzzlers? Tune in to…
Personhood: The Animal and Robot Edition
Aug 28, 2012 • 27 min
What exactly is personhood? Over time, the term “person” has evolved to include numerous concepts. In this episode, Julie and Robert explore the nature of personhood and sticky concept of consciousness as applied to animals and robots. Learn more about…
Personhood: The Human Edition
Aug 23, 2012 • 29 min
What exactly is personhood? Over time, the term “person” has evolved to include numerous concepts. In this episode, Julie and Robert explore the nature of personhood, why corporations are considered meta-people and the sticky concept of consciousness.…
It’s Performance Art: Challenging Human Nature
Aug 21, 2012 • 53 min
A woman in a museum stares into your soul. A man implants a cybernetic ear on his arm. A dog starves. In this episode, Robert and Julie dive into the world of performance art, discussing the works of such notable artists as Marina Abramovi? and Stelarc.…
The Amazing Minds of Infants
Aug 16, 2012 • 42 min
What goes on inside the minds of babes? Quite a lot, as it turns out. In this episode, Julie and Robert peer inside the infant brain to learn about their enhanced state of consciousness. Plus find out what baby brains have to do with alien abductions.…
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Robot
Aug 14, 2012 • 47 min
When it comes making art, most of us operate under a set of rules. So what happens when you feed machines code for churning out art? Plenty, as it turns out. And if creativity is the seat of the soul, what does that say about our uniqueness? Learn more…
The Penis Episode, Part Two
Aug 9, 2012 • 26 min
Sure, the penis is a rather ridonkulous organ, but it’s also a marvel of design. Join Robert and Julie for the second part of the penis episode, in which they investigate some of the strangest genitalia in the animal kingdom (and more). Learn more about…
The Penis Episode, Part One
Aug 7, 2012 • 28 min
Sure, the penis is a rather ridonkulous organ, but it’s also a marvel of design. In this episode, Robert and Julie explore a cornucopia of wanger-related topics. What do penises and earthworms have in common? Can you break your penis? Tune in for more.…
I Scream, You Scream
Aug 2, 2012 • 32 min
From screaming infants to cinematic scream queens, there’s no denying the universal language of yelling. But why do we do it? What are we communicating? In this episode, Julie and Robert explain how a little screaming can do you a world of good. Learn…
Fecal Fossils: The Cave of Forgotten Poops
Jul 31, 2012 • 26 min
You can learn a lot from an animal’s scat, even if that animal hasn’t walked the Earth since prehistoric times. In this episode, Robert and Julie explore the fascinating world of coprolite and ponder just what ancient humans and creatures ate. Learn more…
There Once Was a Boson Named Higgs
Jul 26, 2012 • 37 min
If you’re tired of hearing about the Higgs “don’t-call-me-a-god-particle” Boson but still want to know what it is, then this is the podcast episode for you. In this episode, Robert and Julie recount our hunt for the Higgs and what it means for science.…
Yoga, Sex and Magic
Jul 24, 2012 • 44 min
Sure, you’re no stranger to yoga, but how much do you know about its ancient origins in magical ritual and tantric sex? In this episode, Julie and Robert peer into yoga’s sensual past and consult modern science on what yoga can do for your sex life. Learn…
The Science of Downward Dog
Jul 19, 2012 • 54 min
About 20 million people in the U.S. practice some form of yoga. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind Julie and Robert suss out the claims and revelations — could it really be a telomere fountain of youth? And what poses should a newbie never do?…
Eliminating River Blindness
Jul 17, 2012 • 37 min
The parasitic worm onchocerciasis carries uses a bacterial cloaking device to colonize the human body, causing tremendous suffering and even blindness. Luckily, the Carter Center is waging a campaign against the parasite. Tune in to learn more. Learn more…
Magicology: The Science of Magic
Jul 12, 2012 • 37 min
Illusionists merely engage a fiction of sorcery, but there’s a rich foundation of neuroscience beneath the smoke and mirrors. In this episode, Julie and Robert explore the ways in which magicians manipulate our senses and the inner workings of our minds.…
The Art and Science of Camouflage
Jul 10, 2012 • 46 min
There’s far more to military camouflage than painting a tank green. As Robert and Julie discuss in this episode, camouflage design incorporates both the neuroscience of how we perceive the world and the art of cubism and textile design. Learn more about…
Life in the Weightless Void
Jul 5, 2012 • 48 min
We all know the potentially dangerous effects of microgravity, but what are the long-term effects? Join Robert and Julie as they wonder what life will be like if evolution continues in space. Imagine the plants and the strange humans who will tend them.…
An Internet that Spans the Stars
Jul 3, 2012 • 31 min
The Internet continues to spread its roots through our world, and soon it will launch cosmic seeds, spreading digital humanity into space. How will it all happen? In this episode, Julie and Robert contemplate the future of an interplanetary Internet.…
Meet Your Bacterial Masters
Jun 28, 2012 • 36 min
” Humans have mapped the microbiome and changed our understanding of the bacterial worlds thriving inside us. How will this affect our war on bacteria and the state of modern medicine? Julie and Robert discuss all of these questions in this episode.”…
The Search for a New Earth
Jun 26, 2012 • 30 min
Armed with state-of-the-art telescopes and other high-tech tools, astronomers are spotting new worlds at an astonishing rate. Could any of these planets support life? In this episode, Robert and Julie explore the continuing search for habitable planets…
The Science of ‘Prometheus’
Jun 21, 2012 • 64 min
In this episode, Robert and Julie suit up and venture into the dark and Gigery heart of ‘Prometheus.’ They’ll examine the film’s futuristic science as well as some of its themes. And fear not! You’ll only encounter spoilers after the commercial break.…
Fiction: Reality’s Secret Master
Jun 19, 2012 • 43 min
” Don’t underestimate the power of the storyteller. His tale may begin with whimsy, but by the end of it he’ll have changed the world you live in. He might even change who you are. In this episode, Julie and Robert examine fiction’s effect on reality.…
The Horror
Jun 14, 2012 • 38 min
The Horror: Why do we enjoy scary movies or a stroll through a haunted house? How is our response colored by our genes, evolution and culture? In this episode, Julie and Robert take a close look at what scares us and why we’re so addicted to terror.…
The Bad Seed
Jun 12, 2012 • 33 min
Tales of the enfant terrible have been with us for ages, terrifying us with the notion that strangeness in children portends something darker. But what does science have to say on the matter? Can children be psychopaths? If so, is there any hope for them?…
The Sound Aquatic
Jun 7, 2012 • 32 min
Underwater operas? Submerged speaker systems? Mysterious deep sea noises and the monsters who make them? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore the rich world of underwater sound. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Asteroid Gold Rush
Jun 5, 2012 • 18 min
Is there really gold in them there asteroids? Yes, and one private space company already has a three-step plan to suck them dry. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore the near and long-term future of asteroid mining. Learn…
The Centaur with Two Hearts
May 31, 2012 • 22 min
The mythical centaur represented man’s dual nature — and as one biologist points out, the creature would also need two hearts. In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss all things centaur, from the creature’s symbolic meaning to its fictional anatomy.…
Summer Reading List
May 29, 2012 • 39 min
Need new ideas for your summer reading? In this episode, Julie and Robert share their favorite books as well as a heads-up on what they intend to read this summer. Tune in to learn more about mind-blowing science fiction, non-fiction and literary fiction.…
Mitochondrial Eve
May 24, 2012 • 20 min
There’s something awe-inspiring about the prospect of a primordial mother figure. Scientists actually discovered such a woman - and her ghost resides in the genetics of every living human. In this episode, Julie and Robert get to know Mitochondrial Eve.…
The Skin We Live In
May 22, 2012 • 31 min
Our outer layer of flesh is beautiful, disgusting, painful and erotic. But what is it, exactly? What role does it play in anatomy and how will we change it in the future? In this episode, Robert and Julie take a close look at the skin we live in. Learn…
Nebula in a Box
May 17, 2012 • 27 min
We’ve all heard about panspermia, in which the building blocks of life theoretically travel to Earth from elsewhere. But from where, exactly? In this episode, Julie and Robert glimpse inside the nebulae of creation. Also, Robert talks about “The Blob.”…
Three Minutes Till Impact
May 15, 2012 • 30 min
Sure, your chances of going down in a plane crash are pretty slim — but what if it actually happens? Without a parachute, how can you hope to survive a deadly drop to Earth’s surface? In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss your survival plan. Learn…
Touching the Void: Psychedelics and Death
May 10, 2012 • 37 min
Can psychedelic drugs help prepare terminal patients for death? Can MDMA ease the pain of dying through the ultimate transcendent experience? In this episode, Julie and Robert discuss what some researchers believe may be the future of end-of-life care.…
Walls
May 8, 2012 • 28 min
Civilizations surround themselves in walls. They raise walls against enemies, against the environment and against the spirit world. In this episode, Robert and Julie examine walls, from Ming Dynasty battlements to the galactic borders of our universe.…
Hibernation: The Ultimate Suspended Animation!
May 3, 2012 • 29 min
What is hibernation exactly? Is it the opposite of sleep? Is it the future of manned space exploration? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and Robert enter the hibernacula and discuss this perplexing biologic state. Learn more about your…
Space Junk in the Trunk
May 1, 2012 • 27 min
How much junk can we accumulate in Earth’s orbit before we seal off our world? Before we cut the planet off from the cosmos and doom civilization to a new dark age? In this episode, Robert and Julie look skyward to space exploration’s garbage. Learn more…
Contact Lenses of the Gods
Apr 26, 2012 • 30 min
Imagine a contact lens that displays data against your eyeball, delivering everything from sports scores to soap operas. Contact lens display technology may make this a reality. In this episode, Robert and Julie explore this future augmented reality.…
Oh the Lucid Dreams we Weave …
Apr 24, 2012 • 41 min
Whether awake or dreaming, our neocortex is always shuffling about data and creating stories. But what if you could enter your dream and become the master of your fate? Join Julie and Robert as they weave a tale about how and why we lucid dream. Learn…
Voyager and the Scale of our Solar System
Apr 19, 2012 • 23 min
The Voyager probes continue their journey toward the edge of our solar system, but how much distance have they covered? In this episode, Julie and Robert wrestle with the scale of our solar system, from the atomic fires of our sun to the Ooort cloud.…
The Odorous Language of Plants
Apr 17, 2012 • 24 min
Do you speak the language of the carrots? From the screams of grass blades to the stink songs of carnivorous plants, the green kingdom is abuzz with the silent voices of plants. In this episode, Robert and Julie bend their ear to whispers in the leaves.…
Illusions and Light
Apr 13, 2012 • 18 min
The optical world we perceive is cast in illusion - and the properties of light itself dictate that reality. In this episode, Robert and Julie spin off a discussion of blue skies, sunlight and more. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Seven Deadlies: Sloth
Apr 10, 2012 • 26 min
Sloth: When does mere laziness become moral failure? When does apathy descend into sloth? In this episode, Julie and Robert tackle one final deadly sin, traveling through both Dante’s purgatory and the neural pathways of the human mind. Painting by…
Cat Parasites Conquer the World
Apr 5, 2012 • 45 min
The most successful organisms hide in the shadows. The parasite Toxoplasma gondii is just such a puppet master, and its marionettes include rodents, cats and human beings. In this episode, Julie and Robert uncover Toxo’s neural-hijacking scheme. Learn…
The Seven Deadlies: Wrath
Apr 3, 2012 • 40 min
Wrath: Where does wrath arise from in the human brain and why do we malign it as one of the seven deadly sins? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie continue the buffet of vice in an examination of human anger. Painting by Jacques…
Virtual Sex and Linked Dreaming
Mar 29, 2012 • 38 min
Imagine a future in which astronauts engage in virtual encounters with Earth-bound spouses. What sort of technology will make this possible? In this episode, Julie and Robert discuss computer-mitigated sexual experiences and linked dreaming. Learn more…
The Seven Deadlies: Lust!
Mar 27, 2012 • 41 min
Lust: Are we slaves to our desire? Can we resist our passions, or should we go full-satyr and embrace the inner goat? Join Robert and Julie as they journey through the maelstroms of Dante’s Inferno and into a scientific discussion of the “”sin”” called…
Organisms: Heavyweight Division
Mar 22, 2012 • 20 min
Just how big can an Earth organism get? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and Robert look at some of the heavyweight contenders for the largest life form on the planet - and the answer isn’t “blue whale.” What is it? Tune in to find out.…
Godzilla vs. Kong vs. Barbie
Mar 20, 2012 • 31 min
Godzilla vs. Kong vs. Barbie: Are you terrified of giant monster attacks? Well, this is the episode for you. Join Robert and Julie as they calm your fears with a healthy dose of science. Listen in as they examine the morphological limitations of gigantic…
Stendhal Syndrome: Kicked in the Brain by Art
Mar 15, 2012 • 33 min
Imagine a work of art so beautiful that it causes heart palpitations and hallucinations. This Stuff to Blow Your Mind episode dives into the surreal world of Stendhal syndrome. What’s the science behind this psychosomatic illness? Tune in to find out.…
The Seven Deadlies: Grasping Greed
Mar 13, 2012 • 39 min
Greed: Would you like more money? Sure, we all would. But how does greed break down in the mind? Where’s the line between appreciating wealth and complete corruption? In this episode, Julie and Robert dive into the world of Scrooge McDuck, King Midas and…
Novelty Junkies
Mar 8, 2012 • 24 min
Do you love new experiences and fresh ideas? Join Julie and Robert as they examine neophilia, the love of novelty. How can this swell-sounding human attribute lead one person down the road to ruin and another through a life of success? Learn more about…
The Seven Deadlies: Glutton Chops
Mar 6, 2012 • 38 min
Gluttony: When does appetite transform into disorder? What are we to make of competitive eating? Join Robert and Julie as they continue their science-guided tour of hell, chatting with gluttons in the Inferno’s third circle and considering modern forms of…
Tidally Locked Perpetual Darkness
Mar 1, 2012 • 22 min
Why do we never see the moon’s backside? What would the Earth be like if one side always faced the sun? In this episode, Robert and Julie contemplate tidally locked planets and moons, where one side of the globe burns while the other freezes in darkness.…
The Seven Deadlies: Green With Envy
Feb 28, 2012 • 37 min
Envy: Guided by science, Julie and Robert continue their journey through the pleasures and perils of the seven deadly sins. This time the vice of choice is envy, so prepare to discover the neuroscience behind schadenfreude in this episode. Painting by…
The Fantastic Voyage of Endoscopic Cameras
Feb 23, 2012 • 32 min
You no longer have to turn yourself inside out to travel through your digestive track. Just swallow a camera-bot, grab some pop corn, and watch the kernels traverse your guts. Join Robert and Julie as they look into the world of capsule endoscopy. Learn…
The Seven Deadlies: Pride Cometh Before the Brain
Feb 21, 2012 • 23 min
Pride: What is pride, and why is it considered such a bad thing? Is pride actually an evolutionary virtue? Join Julie and Robert as they take listeners on a guided tour of the so-called seven deadly sins. Tune in for a look at the science behind…
Absolute Disgust
Feb 16, 2012 • 39 min
There’s plenty of stuff in this world to summon your disgust. But why do we feel this way? Is there logic behind repulsion, and if so what is your brain trying to say? In this episode, Robert and Julie enter a world of hacking coughs, dog feces and more.…
Monogamy Shamogamy
Feb 14, 2012 • 32 min
From black vultures to angler fish, the Earth is home to many monogamous species. Humans, however, don’t quite make the list. In this episode, Julie and Robert explore why humans have a hard time with the concept of monogamy. Are we hard wired to stray?…
In the Lair of the Rat King
Feb 7, 2012 • 30 min
In medieval Germany it was a dire omen of plague-ridden doom. Today, it remains more of a grotesque cultural reference. Join Robert and Julie as they enter the lair of the rat king, and prepare to be shocked by the reality of microbial rat kings. Learn…
Virgin Galactic: $200,000 Ticket to Ride
Feb 2, 2012 • 32 min
Want to blast into space with celebrities? Virgin Galactic might just be your ticket to ride. Join Julie and Robert as they discuss the landmark space tourism venture and the future of space travel. Plus what might happen if Kanye ventured into space?…
The Existential Horror of the Humanzee
Jan 31, 2012 • 34 min
A Russian program to breed human/chimpanzee hybrids? Prisoners injected with animal testes? These grotesque tales shed light on the line between humans and chimpanzees. In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss humanity’s attempts to create a humanzee.…
We Are Stardust
Jan 26, 2012 • 22 min
The atoms in your heart once burned in the fires of a dead star. Does this constitute an almost-spiritual connection to the cosmos or is it mere chemistry? In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss the billion-year-old carbon inside us. Learn more about…
Hug it Out
Jan 24, 2012 • 43 min
Just what sort of hugger are you? Do you squeeze random strangers? Do you grapple your pals in a bear hug or go for the side-hug? In this episode, Julie and Robert discuss the science of hugging it out. Plus, you’ll learn about Robert’s most awkward hugs.…
The Science of Arguing
Jan 19, 2012 • 28 min
Why do we argue? How much bickering is ego sparring and to what extent our evolutionary heritage involved? Join Julie and Robert as they dive into the science behind arguing, from the argumentative theory of reasoning to the health benefits of squabbling.…
The Magic Eight Ball of Your Existence
Jan 17, 2012 • 37 min
The Magic Eight Ball of Your Existence: Imagine a computer model of the entire world, one on which world leaders can test their decisions and gauge the ripple effect of their actions. Is such a simulation possible? In this episode, Robert and Julie…
Would You Rather: Bug Diet vs. Bacteria Diet
Jan 12, 2012 • 37 min
So which would you choose: an exclusive diet of bugs for the rest of your life, or an endless string of fermented feasts? In this “Would You Rather?” episode, Julie and Robert present the facts and let you decide which diet you’d choose. Learn more about…
Black Blizzards of the Dust Bowl
Jan 10, 2012 • 28 min
Just what was the Dust Bowl? In this episode, Robert and Julie travel back to the ruined farms and black blizzards of the Great Depression. How did we plant trees to combat ecological damage, and how do we hope to defeat the Gobi Desert today? Learn more…
Cheating in the Name of
Jan 5, 2012 • 36 min
Have you ever cheated on a test? You’re not alone. But what goes on in a student’s mind when they reach for the cheat sheet and how does it play out in various cultures? In this episode, Robert and Julie look at what science has to say about cheating.…
The Way of the Sword
Jan 3, 2012 • 34 min
From samurai blades to claymores, the sword is one of humanity’s most iconic inventions, and they’ve cut a bloody swath across history. In this episode, Robert and Julie consider the way of the sword, from their manufacture to their use in film and more.…
Anatomy of a Hangover
Dec 29, 2011 • 37 min
Anatomy of a Hangover: Before your next New Year’s hangover, let’s explore what creates that splitting headache and the realization that you’re wearing half a gorilla costume. Join Julie and Robert as they lead you through the effects of drinking and tips…
Newton: The Chuck Norris of Science
Dec 27, 2011 • 29 min
You are unprepared for the awesomeness of Sir Isaac Newton. Sure, he contributed to science, but a deeper look into his life shows just how Chuck Norrisy the man was. Plug in your headphones and prepare to enter the obsessive mind of a scientific master.…
Sunken Dangers
Dec 22, 2011 • 24 min
What mysteries rest at the bottom of the sea? Which embody nature’s diversity? Which tell the tale of humanity’s darker side? In this episode, Robert and Julie look to the vessels lost beneath the waves, and the things that linger in their rusting hearts.…
Spontaneous Human Combustion
Dec 20, 2011 • 24 min
Do people really just go up in flames? Do grannies really flare up like roman candles in their rockers and is there anything in science that explains why a middle-aged bachelor might burn down to his sneakers without warning? In this episode, Julie and…
The Santa Claus Machine
Dec 15, 2011 • 22 min
The Santa Claus Machine: How does Santa Claus make so many gifts? Clearly his elves have harnessed the power of nanomanufacturing. But what does this mean for the planet? In this episode, Robert and Julie consider the possibilities of limitless custom…
Give the Gift of a Mystery Box
Dec 13, 2011 • 37 min
Give the Gift of a Mystery Box: Why are mystery packages so appealing? How do they improve our mental faculties and fuel our creativity? In this episode, Julie and Robert share tales of sealed envelopes, quantum thought experiments, virginity boxes and…
Nanohealthcare: The Tiny Doctors Inside Me
Dec 8, 2011 • 34 min
Imagine a future in which replacement organs grow in magnetic fields and smart pills work for months. Thanks to advances in nanotechnology, this age of super medicine is nearly here. In this episode, Robert and Julie explore the world of nanohealthcare.…
Pyromania: What’s Your Relationship with Fire?
Dec 6, 2011 • 37 min
When does an appreciation for fire turn into an obsession with the flickering, golden god? Who are firebugs, and what drives them to burn? In this episode, Julie and Robert slip into their best burn suits and hide the matches as they explore pyromania.…
The Hashtag Heard Round the World
Dec 1, 2011 • 32 min
Waves of protest continue across the globe, but modern protesters benefit from social media technology. In this episode, Julie and Robert discuss history’s largest protests, the Arab Spring, Occupy Wall Street and the future of protest. Learn more about…
Why do we protest?
Nov 29, 2011 • 39 min
Humans rarely seem to agree, but when we do the results can be staggering. How does the phenomenon called protesting actually work? In this episode, Robert and Julie examine the world of protest and share a few tips for surviving your next rally. Learn…
The Future of Stink
Nov 24, 2011 • 33 min
Will smell-o-vision make a comeback? Will our zombie movies smell like rotten flesh and our video games reek of voided bowels and fear? In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss the history of scented media and the emerging technology of printable smells.…
Living with Robots: Can we build a better bot?
Nov 22, 2011 • 39 min
Our cohabitation with robotic servants is pretty much guaranteed. So what are we doing today to make sure these are the sort of robot we can tolerate? In this episode, Julie and Robert discuss how our robotic caretakers are shaping up. Learn more about…
Smells to Blow Your Mind
Nov 17, 2011 • 26 min
Did you know that smell is the only one of your senses with a direct connection to your brain? Or that fancy cheese and David Beckham’s foot odor share the same molecular smells? In this episode, Robert and Julie break down the amazing science of smell.…
Living With Robots: Worst Roomates Ever
Nov 15, 2011 • 32 min
The robot invasion of our homes has begun, and the future is bright with robotic caregivers. But how to we plan to keep this cohabitation from feeling creepy? In this episode, Julie and Robert discuss “robot skin,” thought-anticipating machines and more.…
Martyrdom: Transcendence on the Rack
Nov 10, 2011 • 34 min
We’ve all seen images of saints and martyrs rising above their torments, but is it really possible to find transcendence on the rack? In this episode, Robert and Julie look into the connections between physical pain and religious experience. Learn more…
This is Your Brain on Art
Nov 8, 2011 • 44 min
Julie and Robert examine the neurological side of your trip to the museum. What happens when we lose ourselves in Mona Lisa’s smile or the nightmare worlds of Hieronymus Bosch? Were artists the first neuroscientists? Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Science of Sports Fandom
Nov 3, 2011 • 37 min
Why do humans devote so much time to organized sports? As it turns out, the roots of sports run deep. In this episode, Julie and Robert explore the evolutionary, tribal and neurological reasons to cheer on the Cornish Hens against the Fighting Cloacae.…
Humanity’s Love Affair with an Apocalypse
Nov 1, 2011 • 38 min
Apocalyptic Love Affair: Human beings are in love with the end. Ruined cities fill our dreams, and fears steers our thoughts through landscapes of bones and zombie hordes. In this episode, Robert and Julie examine the cognitive science behind our…
The Science of Frankenstein’s Monster
Oct 27, 2011 • 33 min
Frankenstein’s Monster: What are the ramifications of mad science? Frankenstein’s tortured creation has become an avatar for scientific horror. Join Robert and Julie as they explore the roots of Frankenstein’s monster. Learn more about the past and future…
What’s in a witches brew?
Oct 25, 2011 • 42 min
Gather round the cauldron with Julie and Robert as they ladle out hefty servings of magical thinking, medieval psychedelics, feminist history and the power of ritual. Just what was old-school witchery all about? This episode has the answers. Learn more…
The Candy Corn Menace
Oct 20, 2011 • 39 min
Whether scarfing down gummy worms or pouring an endless cascade of sugar into their breakfast cereal, children’s appetite for sweets seems insatiable. In this episode, Julie and Robert break down the science of childhood sugar madness. Learn more about…
The Creepy Cool World of Imaginary Friends
Oct 18, 2011 • 29 min
Why do kids chat with invisible friends? Those creepy encounters are just part of how the human brain works. Even the average adult brain engages in something very similar. Join Robert and Julie as they enter the world of imaginary friendship. Learn more…
Hulking Out With Hysterical Strength
Oct 13, 2011 • 30 min
Can a grieving mother summon the strength of 12 Hulk Hogans and lift a full-sized automobile up off the ground to save her son? In this episode, Robert and Julie take on the subject of hysterical strength and discuss the science behind hulking out. Learn…
Evolution and the Orgasm Wars
Oct 11, 2011 • 37 min
What would aliens make of the human orgasm? After all, science still hasn’t figured out exactly what the female orgasm is all about. In this episode, Julie and Robert examine the two warring factions in the debate over female orgasm evolution. Learn more…
The Bystander Effect and You
Oct 6, 2011 • 26 min
The next time your car breaks down, count the number of vehicles that pass you by. That’s the bystander effect in action. But why do people in crowds tend not to help those in need? Tune in to learn more about crowd apathy and what it says about humans.…
The Science of Lucky Pants
Oct 4, 2011 • 35 min
What do psychologists think about your lucky rabbit’s foot? In this episode, Robert and Julie break down the science of good luck rituals and charms. They look at what luck reveals about the human mind, as well as whether any of it actually works. Learn…
Splendid Isolation
Sep 29, 2011 • 46 min
Do you ever want to live alone in the desert, or does an afternoon alone give you the chills? Either way, isolation can have a profound influence on our health. In this episode, Robert and Julie wade into their isolation chambers to sort it all out. Learn…
Science of Pet Peeves
Sep 27, 2011 • 34 min
Can science explain why other people’s phone calls are so annoying? Or why Julie hates fake lavender scents and Robert flies into a rage over turn signals? In this episode your hosts discuss why everything is the worst and what we can do to cope. Learn…
Interview: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson
Sep 22, 2011 • 29 min
In this episode, Robert and Julie interview astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. What does the planet’s leading science communicator have to say about the future of space travel, mind-blowing cosmology and the science in America? Listen in to find out.…
Misophonia: Why Your Brain Hates the Sound of Gum Chewing
Sep 20, 2011 • 23 min
Does the sound of someone smacking gum drive you crazy? It’s possible you’re just a cranky jerk, but science presents another possibility: misophonia. Tune in to learn more about the mysterious condition that makes some noises so difficult to cope with.…
Is free will an illusion?
Sep 15, 2011 • 40 min
Your life is filled with choices and first steps down - or is it? According to many neuroscientists, free will is a sham. In this episode, Julie and Robert have no choice but to take a sobering look at decision making and the unconscious brain. Learn more…
What if Earth was a cube?
Sep 13, 2011 • 27 min
Imagine life on a cubed Earth. How would this alter our experience of gravity? How would it affect global climate? In this episode, Robert and Julie step foot on the impossibly square planet to better understand our world’s shape and properties. Learn…
Decision Fatigue: Death by 1,000 Choices
Sep 8, 2011 • 39 min
Could fretting over insignificant choices decrease your decision making effectiveness later in the day? Join Robert and Julie as they look at the causes — and effects — of decision fatigue. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
The Procrastinating Brain
Sep 6, 2011 • 40 min
Why do we procrastinate? Why do we put off dreaded tasks and long-held ambitions for short-term pleasures? In this episode, Robert and Julie break down procrastination. Listen in and learn more about what you can do to cut down on procrastination. Learn…
The Science of False Memories
Sep 1, 2011 • 36 min
We’re the recorded information of all the experiences that came before the present moment. So how do we deal with the knowledge that some of the memories that compose us are fraudulent? Join Robert and Julie as they examine the world of false memories.…
Don’t Eat The Panda
Aug 30, 2011 • 38 min
Humans have a complex relationship with other animals. Some are friends, and some are delicious. So why do we feel closer to some animals, while others are lunch? In this episode, Robert and Julie take a look at the world of eating and loving animals.…
The Big Sting: Wasps vs. Bees
Aug 25, 2011 • 33 min
Bees and wasps share a long history, and they’ve evolved into distinct forms. One hunts while the other farms. But which group would win in a war? Join Robert and Julie as they chronicle the battle between the honey masters and the sultans of sting. Learn…
Can my nightmares kill me?
Aug 23, 2011 • 30 min
Can nightmares scare us to death? Join Robert and Julie as they discuss the CDC’s investigation of sleep deaths - deaths that inspired Wes Craven to create the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise. Tune in to learn more about Brugada syndrome. Learn more…
The Science of Brain Wiping
Aug 18, 2011 • 33 min
Imagine if you could choose to erase a particularly agonizing or embarrassing memory with a quick injection or a handy pill. Sounds nifty, but could this ever happen in real life? Join Robert and Julie as they explore brain wiping techniques. Learn more…
Brood 13: Emergence of the Cicadas
Aug 16, 2011 • 23 min
It might sound like the title of a horror movie, but make no mistake: Brood 13 is real. In this episode, Robert and Julie explore the bizarre life of the periodical cicada, insects that emerge from the ground every 13 or 17 years. Tune in to learn more.…
Extreme Sleep: Parasomnia
Aug 11, 2011 • 31 min
Parasomnia: Most of us take sleep for granted, but there’s a world of bizarre slumbers out there that only parasomniacs understand. Enter the world of sleep walking, eating, paralysis, violence and snoregasms. Join Robert and Julie to learn more about…
The Lying Game
Aug 9, 2011 • 40 min
Is a lie mere deception, an occasional un-truth or something deeper? Join Robert and Julie as they plunge into the cognitive depths of lies to examine our abilities to linguistically warp perception. Tune in to learn more about lying. Learn more about…
Into the Dyson Sphere
Aug 4, 2011 • 30 min
When it’s not showing up in episodes of “Star Trek” or imprisoning Necron Star Gods, Dyson spheres are the brainchild of physicist Freeman Dyson. But what exactly are they are? Join Robert and Julie as they break down the nature of Dyson spheres. Learn…
The Cognitive Dissonance of Exorcisms
Aug 2, 2011 • 36 min
Priests in horror flicks drive demons out of innocent victims. But what’s really happening in these apparent showdowns between good and evil? Join Robert and Julie as they look at this exorcism through the lens of cognitive dissonance and personification.…
Sharks in Space
Jul 28, 2011 • 19 min
Although there’s no such thing as a shark in space (yet), sharks have provided invaluable information to NASA. In this episode, Robert and Julie take you from the ocean to outer space as they examine the relationship between NASA, science and sharks.…
Electronic Music
Jul 26, 2011 • 49 min
From Intelligent Dance Music to Auto Tune, electronic music is everywhere, but what’s really happening in the musical space shared by humans and machines? Join Robert and Julie as they discuss the authenticity, creativity and future of electronic music.…
Bugs, Twinkies and Ancient Foods
Jul 21, 2011 • 34 min
You are what you eat, which poses an interesting conundrum for omnivores. In this episode, Robert and Julie take a fascinating look at humanity’s earliest meals. How did we learn which berries could kill us? When did fire enter the picture? Learn more…
The Pooping Duck: When Robots Digest
Jul 19, 2011 • 31 min
Jacques de Vaucanson’s fabulous digesting duck was a clockwork miracle capable of reproducing the processes of ingestion, digestion and defecation. Join Robert and Julie to learn more about robotic digestion from the pooping duck to the modern day. Learn…
Walt Disney the Futurist
Jul 14, 2011 • 13 min
When you hear Walt Disney’s name, chances are you think of cartoons and theme parks. But do you know about Walt Disney the futurist? Join Robert and Julie as they examine Disney’s dreams for the future and his “conditional optimism” for the human race.…
Microdrone Soup
Jul 12, 2011 • 29 min
What’s that buzzing around the room? A bird? A plane? Nope, it’s just a robotic insect sent by some shadow government. Join Robert and Julie as they check in on drone technology, the rise of biomimetic bird-bots and just how the future may shake out.…
Funny or Die
Jul 7, 2011 • 44 min
We all know “funny” when we encounter it, but what’s going on inside the human mind when we feel amused? Join Robert and Julie as they discuss long-standing — and more recent — theories about humor’s evolutionary purpose. Learn more about your ad-choices…
Gimme That Old Time Space Religion
Jul 5, 2011 • 39 min
Space Religion: Will humans leave religion behind when they become an interplanetary species? Not hardly. Join Robert and Julie as they discuss how belief systems may change as a result of space exploration, on off-world colonization or extraterrestrial…
Math, Music and Mayhem
Jun 30, 2011 • 25 min
Whether it’s Art Garfunkel’s mathematics degree or the structure of the chromatic scale, it’s easy to correlate music and math. But why are so many musical minds also well suited for number crunching? Tune in to learn more about music and math. Learn more…
Poking Einstein’s Brain
Jun 28, 2011 • 29 min
How did Albert Einstein’s brain wind up on a road trip to hang with the author of “Naked Lunch?” In this episode, Robert and Julie give Einstein’s head cheese a serious poking to discuss the secrets of all the brain matter inside that skull of yours.…
Welcome to the Memory Palace
Jun 23, 2011 • 28 min
Stroll into the memory palace, an imagined location that just might expand your brain power. In this podcast, Robert and Julie discuss the Method of Loci, a mnemonic device that allows mental athletes to perform astounding acts of recall. Learn more about…
Do-it-yourself Organs
Jun 21, 2011 • 31 min
We’d all like to replace our failing organs with spare guts, but when will it be possible? Join Robert and Julie as they explain why the day is fast approaching. Tune in to learn how stem cells and organ scaffolding may change the future of medicine.…
Fathers of the Wild: The Good, Bad and the Ugly
Jun 16, 2011 • 35 min
What makes a dog a lousy father and a wolf a stellar patriarch? Join Robert and Julie as they anthropomorphize the animal kingdom in an effort to find out why some species are more like Cliff Huxtable while some are more like Darth Vader. Learn more about…
Are you ready for a neo-evolution?
Jun 14, 2011 • 22 min
Humans have spent ages evolving into the charming specimens we are today. But what if we could accelerate the pace of evolution, giving our future progeny super-human attributes? Join Julie and Robert as they discuss if evolution as we know it is over.…
Invasion of the iPod People
Jun 9, 2011 • 26 min
What happens when we plug into our gadgets and tune out the rest of the world? In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss the so-called Walkman Effect and the manner in which our precious music and personal electronics alter the reality we live in. Learn…
The Brilliant and Terrifying Future of Toilets
Jun 7, 2011 • 37 min
Although the subject makes some people very uncomfortable, sanitation is enormously important. But what kind of technology will we find in the toilets of the future? Join Robert and Julie as they investigate the future of sanitation. Learn more about your…
Night of the Platypus
Jun 2, 2011 • 23 min
With a duck’s head and a beaver’s body, the duck-billed platypus is often the butt of jokes. Yet this oddity helps us understand how creatures evolve. Join Robert and Julie as they investigate the unique anatomy of the platypus. Learn more about your…
Technology of the Ancients
May 31, 2011 • 43 min
The notion of Vedic nuclear weapons is a more than a bit far-fetched. Yet from the Antikythera mechanism to Archimedes’ death ray, people are fascinated by the idea of ancient advanced technology. Join Robert and Julie as they separate fact from fiction.…
Day of the Dolphin
May 26, 2011 • 34 min
Day of the Dolphin: In 1973, moviegoers watched dolphins carry out assassination plots in “The Day of the Dolphin,” part of the dolphin fever stirred up by John C. Lilly. But just how smart are these mammals? Join Robert and Julie as they enter the world…
This is Your Brain on Meditation
May 24, 2011 • 30 min
People around the world practice meditation, but what exactly is it, and how does it affect our brains? Join Robert and Julie as they look at the science behind meditation. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Machines, Morality and Sexbots
May 19, 2011 • 27 min
Can robots be programmed to behave ethically? It’s possible that future robots may possess emotions like empathy or guilt. Join Robert and Julie as they interview Dr. Ronald Arkin, a leading expert on the study of robotic consciousness modeling. Learn…
Is math a human invention or a human discovery?
May 17, 2011 • 38 min
In this episode, Robert and Julie take a sweeping look at math, addressing several important questions. For example: What is math? Where does math come from? What mathematical skills are we born with and how much can we understand? Learn more about your…
999 Birthday Candles
May 12, 2011 • 36 min
The Hayflick limit posits that we can live for 120 years. But recent research suggests we could live to for 1,000 years. Enter maverick biogerontologist Aubrey de Grey, who has pulled the rug out from under his entire field. Tune in to learn more. Learn…
Atomic Bomb Parties and Nuclear Fallout
May 10, 2011 • 31 min
In the 1950s, residents of Las Vegas partied hard, and their booze-fueled parties sometimes included a special treat — the observation of nuclear tests. So what happened next? Tune in as Robert and Julie breakdown the science behind nuclear fallout. Learn…
Crimes of Paleontology
May 5, 2011 • 43 min
It’s no secret that the history of paleontology is replete with hoaxes and incorrect conclusions — but how many can be chalked up to honest mistakes, and how many were scams? Tune in to learn more about the storied, sketchy history of paleontology. Learn…
The Placebo Effect: Brain Over Pain
May 3, 2011 • 34 min
A placebo is a fake medicine included in drug trials to show, through contrast, the benefits of the real medicine. Yet sometimes the patients taking the placebo still experience improvements — why? Tune in to learn more about the placebo effect. Learn…
Change Your Mind the Hard Way
Apr 28, 2011 • 38 min
When an iron rod shot through Phineas Gage’s head, it destroyed the majority of his left frontal lobe. He survived, but his personality and behavior changed — why? Tune in as Robert and Julie explore the relationship between the brain and the mind. Learn…
Tyrannosaurus Sex
Apr 26, 2011 • 25 min
Although scientists still aren’t sure exactly how dinosaurs reproduced, fascinating (and surprising) conjectures abound. Join Robert and Julie as they explore the procedures experts use to recreate the lives of dinosaurs, from the fossil record to DNA.…
The Quest for Cyberimmortality
Apr 21, 2011 • 33 min
Is it possible that human evolution is on the verge of transcending its organic roots? And, if it is possible, how could it actually occur? Join Robert and Julie as they explore the mind-blowing concept of cyberimmortality. Learn more about your…
Is privacy an illusion?
Apr 19, 2011 • 33 min
Are computers approaching singularity? Join Robert and Julie as they discuss the quest for cyberimmortality. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Five-fingered Evolutionary Discount
Apr 14, 2011 • 25 min
Mickey Mouse gets along just fine with four digits on each hand, so why do humans have five of these digits? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie ask why so many creatures evolved with a five-fingered discount. Learn more about…
Neuromyths: What You Think You Know About Your Brain
Apr 12, 2011 • 24 min
We all know the myth that we use only 10% of our brains, but how we know it’s a myth in the first place? In this episode, Robert and Julie interview neurosurgeon Dr. T. Glenn Pait and learn how neuroscience is changing the way we think about our brains.…
Does your dog really love you?
Apr 7, 2011 • 39 min
It’s often said that dogs are man’s best friend — but does science support this claim? In this episode, Robert and Julie examine the science behind human-canine relationships. Tune in to learn whether or not your pooch is sincere. Learn more about your…
Lying Robots and the Lies They Tell
Apr 5, 2011 • 40 min
Will robots of the future eventually surpass the intellectual plane of humanity? This event (which, as far as we know, hasn’t happened yet) is known as the robot singularity. Listen in to learn more about the growing role of robotics in society. Learn…
Why Your Brain Likes Conspiracy
Mar 31, 2011 • 34 min
The human brain strives to organize and classify sensory information. But what happens when new information conflicts with pre-existing data? Tune in as Julie and guest host Ben explore the fascinating phenomenon known as cognitive dissonance. Learn more…
Pope on a Cosmic Rope
Mar 29, 2011 • 22 min
Should extraterrestrials be converted to Catholicism, or are they somehow free from sin? In this episode, Julie and Robert contemplate the Vatican’s current stance on the cosmos and what it means for the future of belief on planet Earth. Learn more about…
Germ-free Dirty Hippies
Mar 24, 2011 • 28 min
It’s been said that cleanliness is close to godliness, but is it possible for a person to be too clean? In this episode, Julie and Robert analyze the relationship between hygiene, bacteria and health. Tune in to learn more. Learn more about your…
Symbiosis: My So-Called Parasitic Life
Mar 22, 2011 • 30 min
In the process known as symbiosis, two organisms of different species exist in close physical contact to the benefit of both organisms. But how does that work? Listen in to learn more about the process of symbiosis, and how it can affect human beings.…
To Terraform or Not to Terraform?
Mar 17, 2011 • 29 min
Think of terraforming as a planet-wide renovation project: By creating a more Earth-like atmosphere on Mars, some scientists hope to make more space for Earth’s burgeoning population. But could we really do it? Tune in to learn more about terraforming.…
(Kick)Astrobiology
Mar 15, 2011 • 19 min
Astrobiology is a lot more than sitting around wondering what aliens look like — instead, this discipline draws on multiple fields to study the basic building blocks of life in space or on other worlds. Join Robert and Julie as they explore astrobiology.…
Woolly Mammoths For Sale
Mar 10, 2011 • 29 min
You haven’t misread the title; rest assured that woolly mammoths are still extinct. However, there are several scientists trying revive mammoths — and they might just succeed. Tune in to learn more about mammoth cloning. Learn more about your ad-choices…
Musical Hallucinations Gone Wild
Mar 8, 2011 • 17 min
Have you ever had a musical hallucination? Not a song stuck in your head - but a genuine hallucination, real enough to completely fool your senses? Join Robert and Julie as they explore the causes of musical hallucinations. Learn more about your…
Attack of the Creative Brain
Mar 3, 2011 • 37 min
Creativity is one of humanity’s most crucial skills, and it is also one of the least-understood. In this episode, Robert and Julian explore the science, myths and theories surrounding creativity. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Eat Popcorn. Eat Popcorn. Eat Popcorn.
Mar 1, 2011 • 33 min
Subliminal messaging dates back to 1957, when James Vicary slipped images of popcorn and soda into films at a New Jersey theater. It spooks some consumers, but does it actually work? Tune in to learn more about the science behind subliminal messaging.…
Planet Neanderthal
Feb 24, 2011 • 39 min
For 200,000 years Neanderthals roamed Eurasia, yet over time the population dwindled and disappeared. In this podcast, Julie and Robert explore the story of Neanderthals, comparing them to modern humans and dispelling some popular myths along the way.…
Defeat Your Doppelgangers
Feb 22, 2011 • 37 min
Most people are familiar with the idea of a doppelganger — some mysterious copy or clone of another human being — but what’s the science behind this phenomenon? Tune in as Julie and Robert take a closer look at doppelgangers. Learn more about your…
Are you smarter than an ant swarm?
Feb 17, 2011 • 26 min
A single ant might not be Mensa material, but a colony of ants can produce some amazingly clever decisions. Tune in as Robert and Julie explore the study of swarm intelligence — and how it compares to human intelligence. Learn more about your ad-choices…
Children of Tomorrow, Raised by Machines
Feb 15, 2011 • 42 min
Will tomorrow’s school systems be dominated by infallible robotic instructors? Tune in as Julie and Robert explore the bounds of education, artificial intelligence and human-robot relationships in this podcast. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Love, Hate and Robots
Feb 10, 2011 • 33 min
Will the hopeless romantics of the future fall in love with robots? In this episode, Robert and Julie explore the line between love and hate — and what a world of beautiful robots may mean for the future. Tune in to learn more. Learn more about your…
Scientists in Love
Feb 8, 2011 • 35 min
Regardless of how brilliant they may be in the lab, scientists are still only human. With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, Robert and Julie recount the interactions between love and science. Tune in to learn more. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Underground Robotic Highways
Feb 3, 2011 • 29 min
As cars become increasingly sophisticated, more and more experts are contemplating the possibility of self-driving vehicles on automated highways. But how close are we to actually achieving this futuristic dream? The answer might surprise you. Learn more…
You’re Such a Tool (User)
Feb 1, 2011 • 29 min
Tool use isn’t unique to human beings — many other organisms have proven capable of learning to use tools in both wild and captive environments. In this episode, Julie and Robert take a closer look at Earth’s tool using life forms. Learn more about your…
The Werewolf Principle: Adapting Humans for Space
Jan 27, 2011 • 38 min
The Werewolf Principle: Will astronauts of the future be able to adapt their physiology for long-term space travel and life on other planets? In this classic STBYM episode, Robert and Julie explore the ideal physical modifications that could theoretically…
Are computer viruses alive?
Jan 25, 2011 • 30 min
Computer viruses can permanently damage the files of unprepared computer users, but does their behavior mean that they are living entities? Join Robert and Julie as they explore the similarities between organic life and the behavior of computer viruses.…
The Life Aquatic
Jan 20, 2011 • 36 min
The oceans cover the majority of Earth’s surface — that’s quite a bit of potential real estate. But what would it be like to live as an underwater denizen? Can people even do it safely? Tune in as Julie and Robert fill you in on life beneath the waves.…
The Future of Pain
Jan 18, 2011 • 30 min
Pain is a fundamental sensation. While it is by no means pleasant, it is certainly useful. In this podcast, Robert and Julie look at the newest scientific research and experimentation designed to exploit the biological responses to pain. Learn more about…
Inception: I Dream of Science
Jan 13, 2011 • 40 min
Modern science still hasn’t completely figured out what purpose dreams. In this podcast, Julie and Robert tackle the mysterious realm of dreams. Tune in to learn more about the nature of dreams and the way dreams relate to your waking life. Learn more…
Junkies of the Animal Kingdom
Jan 11, 2011 • 42 min
Human beings aren’t the only organisms with a predilection for mind-altering substances. In fact, the natural world is filled with bingers and boozers. Listen in and learn more about junkie animals. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Solar Sail Hobos Ride the Laser
Jan 6, 2011 • 34 min
NASA has been experimenting with solar sails that could become the future of spaceflight. But how do they work, exactly? Tune in as Julie and Robert break down the science of solar sails in this podcast. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Beyond Human: Accessorize!
Jan 4, 2011 • 37 min
It’s no secret that humanity’s strong suit is making tools — we certainly don’t have the best physical adaptations for swimming or flying. But could we use technology to mimic the superior traits of other organisms? Tune in and find out. Learn more about…
Is your gut a genius?
Dec 30, 2010 • 30 min
Each week, you can count on Robert and Julie to blow your mind with the latest — and strangest — stories from the world of science. Tune in and learn more in this episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Fine Young Cannibals
Dec 28, 2010 • 44 min
Each week, you can count on Robert and Julie to blow your mind with the latest — and strangest — stories from the world of science. Tune in and learn more in this episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Life on the 500th Floor
Dec 23, 2010 • 41 min
By 2050, experts believe approximately two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities. How will this urbanization change life for individuals, and how will it affect the world? Listen in and learn more about life on the 500th floor. Learn more…
The Rock Star Weirdo Lives of Scientists
Dec 21, 2010 • 38 min
It’s no secret that genius and eccentricity are related, but scientists can be downright weird. In this episode, Julie and Robert explore the bizarre lives of history’s greatest scientists. Tune in to learn more about clairvoyant dwarves, Tesla and more.…
Ladies’ Night on Planet Earth
Dec 16, 2010 • 32 min
James Brown said that “it’s a man’s world,” but he may have changed his tune if he’d seen the recent studies on gender and evolution. In this podcast, Julie and Robert ask what makes a person male or female — and why the days of males may be numbered.…
The Overview Effect: Tripping Out in Space
Dec 14, 2010 • 32 min
Does life in space permanently alter an astronaut’s mind? Join Robert and Julie as they analyze the physical and mental changes human beings experience in outer space, including the overview effect. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?
Dec 9, 2010 • 27 min
If a tree falls in an empty forest, does it make a sound? Originally this question was made for meditative purposes, but answering the question incorporates several fascinating ideas about human perception and psychology. Tune in to learn more. Learn more…
Probing Questions About Alien Abduction
Dec 7, 2010 • 36 min
Why are so many people convinced that they were abducted by aliens? In this episode, Julie and Robert explore the history of alleged abductions, along with the scientific explanations for the experiences of the witnesses. Tune in to learn more. Learn more…
Can music rebuild my brain?
Dec 2, 2010 • 32 min
It’s been said that music has the power to soothe savage beasts, but what scientific impact does music have on humans? In this episode, Julie and Robert explore the influence of music on human brain cells — and whether it can actually rebuild your brain.…
Evolutionary Hangover
Nov 30, 2010 • 33 min
Evolutionary Hangover: Vestigial traits are common in animals across the globe, but why? In this episode, Julie and Robert take a look at the genetic leftovers that lost their usefulness during evolution. Tune in to learn more about evolution, atavism and…
Stuff to Literally Blow Your Mind
Nov 25, 2010 • 22 min
Each week, Robert and Julie bring you fascinating, mind-blowing stories about the strangest things in the natural world — but how could your mind literally be blown? Tune in and learn more in this podcast. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Has science explained life after death?
Nov 23, 2010 • 33 min
Humans have believed in the soul for millennia, and the evolution of science hasn’t stopped the search for ghosts and the soul. In fact, modern scientists still search for proof of life after death. Tune in to learn more about the latest research. Learn…
You’re So Vain, Earthlings
Nov 18, 2010 • 30 min
How do individuals relate to reality? How has humanity attempted to interpret its position in the universe? From navel-gazing to the geocentric universe and beyond, the search for humanity’s place has become a long — and mind-blowing — enterprise. Learn…
Alien Etiquette 101
Nov 16, 2010 • 36 min
People from different cultures often interpret gestures and etiquette differently, and this can lead to serious misunderstandings. So how should humans interact with extraterrestrials? Tune in as Julie and Robert explore the nuances of alien etiquette.…
The Podcast that Turns People Inside Out
Nov 11, 2010 • 28 min
Inspired by Robert’s childhood fear of being turned completely inside out, our podcasters attempt to answer the age-old question: Can people really be turned inside out? Listen in and learn more in this episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Shush! The Creatures are Sleeping
Nov 9, 2010 • 39 min
Not all animals need the same amount of sleep. Some people get by on five hours a day, while other animals (cats, for instance) can easily sleep upward of ten hours a day. So what is sleep, and why don’t animals need the same amount? Tune in to find out.…
Man Vs. Flu
Nov 4, 2010 • 29 min
Influenza is a virus that causes the flu, and it shares a long, lethal history with the human race. In this episode, Robert and Allison explore what’s made the flu such a successful disease, and what you can do to avoid an infection. Learn more about your…
Cuddling up to the Cuttlefish
Nov 2, 2010 • 25 min
Would you like a pet that can change its appearance and create decoys from ink? What if it also shot through the water via jet propulsion? Then the cuttlefish is the pet for you. Listen in as Robert and Allison take a closer look at the cuttlefish. Learn…
Into the Graveyard
Oct 28, 2010 • 28 min
Many people find graveyards creepy, but what makes them so unsettling and spooky? In this special Halloween episode, Robert and Allison take you into the graveyard as they explore our cultural fears about cemetaries and share a little graveyard science.…
Hanging with Hawking
Oct 26, 2010 • 23 min
Stephen Hawking is one of the world’s most famous physicists, but why is he so famous? In this episode, Allison and Robert take a closer look at the fascinating career of Stephen Hawking. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Mad Scientists: Frankenstein and the Fly
Oct 21, 2010 • 30 min
Today mad scientists are common in fiction, and they appear in everything from comedies to science fiction. But they’re also relatively recent. What made them so popular? Tune in and learn more about mad scientists in the public consciousness. Learn more…
How Military Snipers Work
Oct 19, 2010 • 31 min
Military snipers use sophisticated technology and specialized techniques to wreak tremendous damage on enemy forces. But how do they work? In this episode, Robert and Allison break down the science behind snipers. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
We Love the Periodic Table
Oct 14, 2010 • 30 min
The periodic table is an invaluable tool for scientists across the planet — but how does it work? In this episode, Allison and Robert explore the creation of the periodic table. Tune in to learn more about the history and structure of the periodic table.…
Science vs. Monsters!
Oct 12, 2010 • 29 min
For thousands of years people across the world have frightened (and entertained) each other by swapping monster tales, but how do these monsters hold up in the eyes of science? In this podcast, Robert and Allison break down the science behind monsters.…
Monarchs Head for the Border
Oct 7, 2010 • 21 min
Each year, monarch butterflies fly south across North America, returning north in the spring. Normally the butterflies would never live long enough to complete the journey — yet these are not normal times. Tune in to learn more about monarch butterflies.…
Noise Pollution: Pipe Down, People!
Oct 5, 2010 • 29 min
Like any other form of pollution, loud noises can seriously affect your health over time — and that’s just the beginning. As Robert and Allison break down the science behind noise, they also explain how noise pollution affects the natural world. Learn…
Flat Stanley Across the 11th Dimension
Sep 30, 2010 • 21 min
The world famous globetrotter Flat Stanley is used to encourage literacy in children. Since Flat Stanley is two-dimensional, he’s a perfect jumping-off point for Robert and Allison’s exploration of string theory and our multidimensional universe. Learn…
Will California fall into the ocean?
Sep 28, 2010 • 22 min
Earthquakes are an inevitable part of living on Earth, and some places are far more prone to earthquakes than others. In this episode, Robert and Allison tackle the idea that California might sink into the ocean due to the San Andreas fault. Learn more…
The Scientific Method
Sep 23, 2010 • 27 min
Nowadays most people have heard of the scientific method, but what exactly is it? More importantly, how does it work? In the second segment of this two-part series, Robert and Allison explore the history (and application) of the scientific method. Learn…
A Thing Called Science
Sep 21, 2010 • 18 min
Civilization relies on science and couldn’t exist without it — but what exactly is science? In this episode, Allison and Robert explore the definition of science, from the questions it can tackle to the methods scientists use in their experiments. Learn…
Altruism is Alive and Well
Sep 16, 2010 • 29 min
If a person helps someone else without receiving an award, then that person has committed an act of altruism. Or have they? In this episode, Robert and Allison explore the science behind altruism in humans and other animals. Learn more about your…
What did that bacterium say?
Sep 14, 2010 • 26 min
Bacterial life is one of the most hardy life forms on Earth. But the impressive talents of bacteria aren’t limited to durability. Tune in to learn more about the strange bacterial ability to sense quorums and communicate with other bacteria. Learn more…
The Wow Signal
Sep 9, 2010 • 19 min
In 1997, researchers at Ohio State University detected an extraordinary signal from space. Could it have been a message from another civilization? Tune in as Allison and Robert break down the science behind the search for extraterrestrial intelligence.…
Packing for Mars with Mary Roach
Sep 7, 2010 • 20 min
As a science writer, Mary Roach has penned books on everything from cadavers to astronauts. In this episode, Allison and Robert interview Mary Roach about the future of space exploration. Listen in to learn what you’ll need to pack for a trip to Mars.…
Emoticons Saved My Life
Sep 2, 2010 • 27 min
An emoticon is a series of punctuation marks used to draw a picture and convey an emotion. But how did these emoticons come about, and why do they seem so universal? In this podcast, Robert and Allison explore the science behind facial expressions. Learn…
Mulling over Maggots
Aug 31, 2010 • 29 min
Maggots have a distinctive (and, some would say, repulsive) appearance. But throughout history doctors and healers have used maggots to treat ulcers and wounds. In this episode, Allison and Robert take a closer look at maggots and maggot therapy. Learn…
Latching on to Leeches
Aug 26, 2010 • 29 min
There are hundreds of different leech species, but they’re all built for one thing: sucking blood. Join Allison and Robert as they take a closer look at the leech’s adaptations, and the role these parasites may play in modern medicine. Learn more about…
Drilling for Offshore Oil
Aug 24, 2010 • 24 min
Last week, Robert and Allison broke down the science behind oil exploration. In the second segment of this series, the hosts explore the process of drilling for oil once a potential well is found. Tune in to learn more about drilling for oil. Learn more…
In Search of Offshore Oil
Aug 19, 2010 • 23 min
In an economy driven by fossil fuels, oil exploration is big business — but how do scientists actually find oil? In this podcast, Allison and Robert break down the techniques and technologies used to find offshore oil. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Are you mosquito bait?
Aug 17, 2010 • 24 min
Why do mosquitoes love biting certain people (and ignore others)? In this podcast, Robert and Allison take a closer look at the science behind mosquito bait. Tune in and learn why insects love — or loathe — biting you. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Prehistoric Monsters of the Deep
Aug 12, 2010 • 34 min
The Blue Whale is the largest living animal on Earth, but it isn’t the first gigantic sea creature. In this podcast, Allison and Robert examine the prehistoric dinosaurs of the deep. Tune in to learn more about real-life sea monsters. Learn more about…
Are lefties better at sports?
Aug 10, 2010 • 24 min
Roughly 10 percent of the human population is left-handed. This minority lives in a right-handed world, and many tools are made for right-handed people. But do left-handed people have any advantages over the righties? Tune in and find out. Learn more…
Evolution in Action
Aug 5, 2010 • 18 min
Charles Darwin’s revolutionary study of evolution isn’t even two hundred years old yet. In terms of evolutionary processes, this is a miniscule amount of time. Yet is is possible to observe evolution within our lifetimes? Tune in and find out. Learn more…
Diamonds Are a Scientist’s Best Friend
Aug 3, 2010 • 20 min
Although diamonds are incredibly expensive, they’re only lumps of concentrated carbon (one of the most common elements on earth). So how do these diamonds form — and how big can they grow? Tune in and learn why the largest diamonds may be in space. Learn…
The Smelly Science of Perfume
Jul 29, 2010 • 22 min
Designed entirely to cater to the sense of smell, perfume occupies a unique position in fashion and society. But when we catch the whiff of a passing perfume enthusiast, what are we really smelling? Tune in and learn more about the science behind perfume.…
Smells like Science
Jul 27, 2010 • 28 min
Smells surround us: Astronauts say that space and the moon possess unique aromas, and many animals also have their own unmistakable odors. In this episode, Robert and Allison explore the science behind smells, from space to your local cow pasture. Learn…
The Great Space Elevator
Jul 22, 2010 • 24 min
It’s no secret that space shuttles need a vast amount of fuel to escape the pull of gravity — but are space elevators a better alternative? In this episode, Robert and Allison explore the merits of literally building an elevator from Earth into space.…
The Kardashev Scale
Jul 20, 2010 • 21 min
When Nicolai Kardashev began searching the universe for intelligent life, he built an energy-based scale to measure the progress of any given civilization. Tune in to discover how this scale works — and why humanity’s place on the scale may surprise you.…
What is the smart grid?
Jul 15, 2010 • 25 min
Think of the U.S. power grid as one gigantic (and outdated) machine. This system works relatively well, but it has a lot of drawbacks. In this episode, Robert and Allison take a look at smart grid technology and how it may just save the U.S. power system.…
Growing a Green Roof
Jul 13, 2010 • 25 min
Are you stuck in the city, sweltering under the summer heat and missing the trees and grass of the natural world? Then why not transform the nearest rooftop into a garden or a park? Tune in and learn more about green roofs in this podcast. Learn more…
Prosthetic Limbs
Jul 8, 2010 • 25 min
Prosthetic limbs have been around for thousands of years, but could they eventually become superior to organic appendages? In this episode, Allison and Robert break down the latest — and future — developments in prosthetic technology. Learn more about…
Predators, Reapers and Robotic War
Jul 6, 2010 • 27 min
We know that robots are taking over more and more tasks traditionally performed by humans — but assembling cars isn’t the same thing as waging war. In this episode, Allison and Robert explore the current unmanned robots used by the U.S. military. Learn…
World-Changing Science Experiments: Part Two
Jul 1, 2010 • 17 min
In the second installment of Robert and Allison’s two-part series on history’s world-changing science experiments, your favorite science writers take a look at everything from primordial ooze to modern psychology. Tune in and learn more. Learn more about…
World-Changing Science Experiments: Part One
Jun 29, 2010 • 18 min
Science experiments aren’t just for high school students. In the first installment of this special two-part series, Allison and Robert take a look at some of history’s most important science experiments. Tune in and learn more in this episode. Learn more…
Science and Wine
Jun 24, 2010 • 24 min
Is the sense of taste subjective? Why are some wines bad news for people with particular allergies? If you’re anxious for the answers, never fear: In this episode, Allison and Robert take a look at science and wine. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Death on Ice
Jun 22, 2010 • 22 min
Is it possible to freeze a body and bring it back to life? Through cryonics, scientists preserve bodies at extremely low temperatures, hoping to revive them in the future, when advanced technology may prolong their lives. Tune in and learn more. Learn…
Time Travel: Hey, Grandpa
Jun 17, 2010 • 18 min
In the second episode of this two-part series, Robert and Allison check out the possibilities of travelling into the past. From wormholes to the grandfather paradox, there are many arguments for — and against — time travel. Tune in and learn more. Learn…
Time Travel: Hey, Future Self
Jun 15, 2010 • 14 min
Everyone’s familiar with the idea of time travel — but how would it work? This week Robert and Allison explore time travel, and this episode focuses on traveling to the future. So tune in and learn why you should — or shouldn’t — meet your future self.…
Galactic Youngsters
Jun 10, 2010 • 13 min
It’s difficult — some would say impossible — to comprehend the sheer size of one galaxy, much less the universe. But how do these gargantuan galaxies form? Tune in as Allison and Robert break down the science behind the formation of galaxies. Learn more…
Will aliens destroy us?
Jun 8, 2010 • 15 min
In science fiction, aliens are usually either incredibly benevolent or incomprehensibly evil — but how would real extraterrestrials behave? Learn more about aliens — and why Stephen Hawking thinks they may destroy us — in this podcast. Learn more about…
What’s the dirt on composting?
Jun 3, 2010 • 26 min
If you’re concerned about generating waste in your household, why not start composting? Breaking solid waste down with some help from microorganisms is a sure-fire way to decrease your waste, and it’s easier than you might assume. Tune in and learn more.…
Are robots alive?
Jun 1, 2010 • 17 min
With each year, scientists are building increasingly complex robots, leading to one vital question: At what point does a robot become defined as a living thing, rather than a mechanical device? Tune in to learn more about living robots in this podcast.…
Road Trip: FIRST Robotics
May 27, 2010 • 20 min
In this episode, Robert and Allison take a road trip to the Georgia Dome, where they grab an exclusive look at the FIRST Robotics competition. Tune in and learn more about the world’s largest grade-school robotics competition. Learn more about your…
Birth of a Planet
May 25, 2010 • 14 min
To most people, planets are one of the most familiar of astronomical objects. After all, we do live on one. But how do these massive spheres get their start? Tune in to learn more about the birth of planets — including our own — in this podcast. Learn…
A Star is Born
May 20, 2010 • 15 min
Like most things in the universe, stars begin as particles floating around in massive clouds of dust and gas. But what forces these particles to coalesce and form a star? Tune in and learn more about the birth of stars in this podcast. Learn more about…
Why Science Fiction Matters
May 18, 2010 • 33 min
Even people who don’t care for science fiction know about the genre — thousands of new science fiction stories come out every year. But why does science fiction matter? Tune in and learn the answer in this podcast. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Toilets in Space
May 13, 2010 • 22 min
Every astronaut knows that life in space requires numerous adjustments — after all, things just aren’t the same without gravity. So how exactly does a toilet work in space? Learn more about the science behind space’s supertoilets in this podcast. Learn…
Immunocontraception and You
May 11, 2010 • 20 min
Immunocontraception is a humane type of birth control that’s used to control wild animal populations. In this episode, Allison and Robert discuss the pros and cons of immunocontraceptives — and whether they’ll ever be used to control human reproduction.…
Regenerate This!
May 6, 2010 • 16 min
According to Richard J. Goss, “If there were no regeneration, there could be no life. If everything regenerated, then there could be no death.” But how does this process work? Join Robert and Allison as they explore the science behind regeneration. Learn…
Save the Bats!
May 4, 2010 • 18 min
As the only flying mammals, bats play unique roles in our world’s ecology. Yet in caves across North America more than a million bats have fallen prey to a mysterious affliction known as white nose syndrome. Tune in and learn more in this podcast. Learn…
Death By Volcano
Apr 29, 2010 • 25 min
People often think of volcanoes as conical mountains erupting ash, smoke and lava into the air. But how do they work? Why are they so dangerous? Listen in to learn more about volcanoes (and all the ways they can kill an unlucky bystander) in this podcast.…
How old is that artifact in the window?
Apr 27, 2010 • 18 min
Carbon dating is a way of determining the age of organic matter up to 50,000 years old. But how does it work? Listen in as Allison and Robert explore the uses of carbon dating, as well as the controversial artifacts dated by this method. Learn more about…
What drugs are astronauts on?
Apr 22, 2010 • 18 min
Make no mistake: Space is a very hostile environment. Astronauts in orbit suffer from conditions caused by the lack of gravity, small living quarters and other factors. So how do these astronauts cope? Tune in to learn more about the drugs used in space.…
The Virtues of Venom
Apr 20, 2010 • 24 min
Sure, venom could kill you — but it could also cure you. The medicinal use of venom dates back thousands of years and continues to the present day. Tune in as Allison and Robert break down the science behind venom and medicine in this podcast. Learn more…
Tetris vs. PTSD
Apr 15, 2010 • 20 min
Everyone knows that video games are entertaining — but could they have therapeutical value? Tune in and learn how Tetris may help victims of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers
Velociraptor Awareness Day
Apr 13, 2010 • 14 min
Dinosaur appreciation days are few and far between — but the Velociraptor is a special case. Listen in as Allison and Robert explore the amazing abilities and physiology of the Velociraptor in this podcast. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Black Hole Bonanza
Apr 8, 2010 • 12 min
A black hole forms when a star’s core collapses, increasing in density until its gravitational pull becomes too powerful for light to escape. This creates a singularity — and it happens in less than a second. Learn more about black holes in this podcast.…
Weapons that Changed the World
Apr 6, 2010 • 19 min
Here’s the crazy thing about war: It breeds innovation. Since the dawn of civilization, human beings have searched for ways to kill each other. Join Robert and Allison as they explore the weapons that changed the world, from the horse to nuclear weapons.…
What can gravity do for you?
Apr 1, 2010 • 22 min
Gravity is a pervasive and ambiguous force — we still don’t understand everything about it. Yet every physical act on our planet involves gravity. Join Allison and Robert as they explore exactly how gravity affects the average person in this podcast.…
Book Sniffers and You
Mar 30, 2010 • 12 min
You can learn a lot from a book’s smell. For example, the books of heavy smokers tend to smell of smoke. When you smell a book, you’re encountering more than 200 individual components combining to produce an olfactory fingerprint. Tune in to learn more.…
5 Strange Things Written in Your Genes
Mar 25, 2010 • 14 min
Genetic polymorphism describes a basic fact of human life — that every set of genes is unique. However, scientists have been able to detect many physical traits from genetic markers. Tune in to learn more about five fascinating genetic markers. Learn more…
Weighing the Human Soul
Mar 23, 2010 • 15 min
In the early 1900s, Duncan Macdougall set out to prove the existence of the soul. By placing consumption patients on a scale as they died, he tried to find a difference between the weight of a person before and after death. Learn more in this podcast.…
How To Get Lost in the Bermuda Triangle
Mar 18, 2010 • 20 min
Stretching from Miami to Bermuda and Puerto Rico, the notorious Bermuda Triangle has a bad reputation for wrecking ships and planes. But how much of this legend is based on science? Tune in and learn more in this episode. Learn more about your ad-choices…
Are you smarter than a dolphin?
Mar 11, 2010 • 21 min
Dolphins are one of Earth’s smartest animals. In fact, scientists still aren’t sure exactly how smart a dolphin is in relation to the average human being. Join Robert and Allison as they break down the science behind dolphin intelligence in this podcast.…
Why do whales beach themselves?
Mar 9, 2010 • 20 min
When whales or other aquatic mammals wash onto the shore, they are usually unable to return to the sea without help. What exactly causes a whale to beach, and how can scientists prevent it? Tune in and learn more in this episode. Learn more about your…
Running with Parasites
Mar 4, 2010 • 16 min
Are you a fan of running outside without shoes? Many people enjoy walking barefoot, especially in warmer weather. Yet there’s a dark side to the joy of a shoe-free life: parasites. Listen in and learn more about parasites in this episode. Learn more about…
How Hurricane Killing Works
Mar 2, 2010 • 14 min
When hurricanes hit land, they can cause enormous damage over a short span of time — but how can scientists stop these roving natural disasters? The answers may surprise you. Listen in and learn more in this episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Topsy Rides the Lighting
Feb 25, 2010 • 8 min
What do Edison, Tesla and an unfortunate elephant named Topsy have in common? They were all involved in “The War of Currents,” an ongoing battle over the standardization of electricity. Tune in and learn more about Topsy’s fate in this episode. Learn more…
Fight Fire with Fire
Feb 23, 2010 • 10 min
We’ve all heard the saying “fight fire with fire,” but could it actually work? Tune in as Robert and Allison break down the ways in which firefighters actually do use fire and explosives to fight fires in this episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Those Crazy Komodos
Feb 18, 2010 • 16 min
Located in Indonesia, Komodo dragons are one of nature’s fiercest living reptiles. They’re also the world’s largest lizard. Tune in as Robert and Allison investigate the unique lifestyle — and brutal dining habits — of the Komodo dragon. Learn more about…
How well do you know the T. Rex?
Feb 16, 2010 • 16 min
The Tyrannosaurus rex is one of history’s most well-known, feared and misunderstood dinosaurs. Children often learn that this dinosaur was a ferocious predator … but this might not be the whole story. Listen in and learn more in this podcast. Learn more…
What exactly is a gene bank?
Feb 11, 2010 • 16 min
A gene bank is a repository used to preserve genetic material for the future. Gene banks are not a modern concept — the idea dates back thousands of years. Tune in as Allison and Robert explore gene banks, from Noah’s Ark to the Doomsday Vault. Learn more…
What can blood spatter tell us?
Feb 9, 2010 • 10 min
To forensic scientists, a bloodstain is more than just a grisly ornament at a crime scene — so what exactly do they do with it? Turn in and learn more about bloodstain pattern analysis in this episode. Learn more about your ad-choices at…
Dinner in Space!
Feb 4, 2010 • 17 min
Let’s say you’re an astronaut: Each day you wake up, conduct research and make adjustments to your orbit. Eventually you grab some chow — but what kind of food do you eat, and why? Join Robert and Allison as they explore the science behind space food.…
Do I live next to a Grow House?
Feb 2, 2010 • 18 min
When drug dealers want to grow marijuana without getting caught, they often set up a “grow house.” These buildings look like any other building, and they often fool bystanders. Tune in and learn how to tell if your neighbors are running a grow house.…
Are we better off in the dark?
Jan 28, 2010 • 18 min
Most city dwellers are familiar with contaminated water and smoggy air — but have you heard of light pollution? Listen in as Allison and Robert explore the effects of light pollution — and whether humans are better off in the dark. Learn more about your…
Mining the Moon
Jan 26, 2010 • 13 min
Since helium-3 can be used to power the fusion reactors of the future, it may be one of the world’s most important fuel sources. It’s rare on Earth, but experts believe the moon may have an abundant supply. Tune in and learn more about moon mining. Learn…
How Exploding Lakes Work
Jan 21, 2010 • 14 min
During 1986, an unusual thing happened in Cameroon: Lake Nyos exploded, expelling a toxic cloud that killed roughly 1700 people. How could this happen? More importantly, could it happen again? Learn more about exploding lakes in this episode. Learn more…
How Fighting Asteroids Works
Jan 12, 2010 • 18 min
Asteroid impacts are inevitable. As they hurtle toward Earth, experts race against the clock to build an effective asteroid deterrent. Will they succeed in time? Learn more about asteroid fighters — and their plans to save the world — in this episode.…
Amazing Infestations!
Jan 12, 2010 • 25 min
From hordes of caterpillars in Liberia to the Australian mice plagues, infestations can occur in almost any part of the world. Join Robert and Allison as they explore some of the world’s largest — and strangest — infestations. Learn more about your…