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Stuff To Blow Your Mind

Deep in the back of your mind, you’ve always had the feeling that there’s something strange about reality. There is. Join Robert and Joe as they examine neurological quandaries, cosmic mysteries, evolutionary marvels and our transhuman future on Stuff To Blow Your Mind, a podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

From the Vault: Dune Biology

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 and Joe for a two-part exploration of the science of 'Dune.' In this episode, explore the lifecycle of the sandworm, mentats and the power of the spice. (Originally published Oct. 1, 2015)
Sat, 17 Feb 2018 06:00:04 -0500

The Chinese Typewriter (with Tom Mullaney)

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 identity. Join Robert and Joe as they chat with Thomas S. Mullaney about his book 'The Chinese Typewriter: A History.'
Thu, 15 Feb 2018 10:00:00 -0500

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

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 precious stones. We know where it is, yet it remains just outside of our scientific reach. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the first emperor’s life and afterlife. Plus Anney and Lauren from FoodStuff drop by to discuss their episode on lunar new year foods.
Tue, 13 Feb 2018 12:41:36 -0500

From the Vault: Dune Technology

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 and Joe for a two-part exploration of the science of 'Dune.' First up, consider the real-life possibilities of water-recycling stillsuits, the Holtzman Effect and the war against thinking machines. (Originally published Sept. 29, 2015)
Sat, 10 Feb 2018 08:29:20 -0500

Animal Lies: Six Tales of Mimicry and Deception

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 alcon blue butterflies, nursery web spiders, femme fatal lightning bugs and the death's head hawk moth.
Thu, 08 Feb 2018 13:55:53 -0500

Anchor in the Mind

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 to Your Mind, Robert and Joe tell you what you need to know and to fight the anchor in your mind.
Tue, 06 Feb 2018 06:00:05 -0500

From the Vault: Tears of Re

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 ancient Egypt and chat with 'The Tears of Re' author entomologist Gene Kritsky. (Previously published Mar 17, 2016)
Sat, 03 Feb 2018 09:39:13 -0500

Evolution of the Anus

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 alimentary portal.
Thu, 01 Feb 2018 06:00:02 -0500

Miasma Theory and the Evil Air

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 and Joe explore the origins or the theory, its effects on society and how it eventually gave way to an accurate understanding of contagion.
Tue, 30 Jan 2018 14:05:00 -0500

From the Vault: Techno-Telepathy

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 communication between humans? Join Robert and Joe as they make a case for the slogan, 'Talk is cheap. Scan me!' (Previosuly published Dec. 22, 2015)
Sat, 27 Jan 2018 07:34:27 -0500

Aquatic Humanoids, Part 2

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 mermaids and gillmen -- as well as the aquatic ape theory and the biological possibilities of an aquatic humanoid.
Thu, 25 Jan 2018 11:51:23 -0500

Aquatic Humanoids, Part 1

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 mermaids and gillmen -- as well as the aquatic ape theory and the biological possibilities of an aquatic humanoid.
Tue, 23 Jan 2018 11:55:32 -0500

From the Vault: Better Living Through Tetris

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 full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder. (Previously published Dec. 3, 2015)
Sat, 20 Jan 2018 06:00:03 -0500

Listener Mail: Talos, Homunculi, Winter and More

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 traditions, werewolves and more.
Thu, 18 Jan 2018 11:54:20 -0500

Don't Drink the Salt Water

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 hallucinations? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe look to the world of biology for answers.
Tue, 16 Jan 2018 14:10:20 -0500

From the Vault: Tetris Syndrome

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 continue to cascade across your vision. They build walls in your dreams and shape the patterns of your very thought. What’s going on inside the mind of a 'Tetris' player and what can we learn from so-called 'Tetris' syndrome. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore. (Originally published Dec 1, 2015)
Sat, 13 Jan 2018 06:00:00 -0500

Meditation Lab: Empathy and Energy

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. Jennifer Muscaro about the challenges of objective scientific meditation research and the empathetic potential of compassion meditation. Plus they’ll check in with Vedic meditation instructor Jill Wener and discuss stress and adaptation energy.
Thu, 11 Jan 2018 06:00:03 -0500

Where’s my eternal youth? Part 2

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 it serve in natural selection? Indeed, what can science offer us in the way of eternal youth? Robert and Joe seek to find out in this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration.
Tue, 09 Jan 2018 12:00:00 -0500

From the Vault: Aphantasia

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 individuals who experience aphantasia and experience no visual imagination at all? In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore. (Originally published May 10, 2016)
Sat, 06 Jan 2018 12:00:00 -0500

Where’s my eternal youth? Part 1

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 it serve in natural selection? Indeed, what can science offer us in the way of eternal youth? Robert and Joe seek to find out in this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration.
Thu, 04 Jan 2018 12:00:00 -0500

Talos: The Bronze Automaton

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 embrace. Does this myth reveal Greek attitudes toward technology? What existing technologies can we decode in its description? Robert and Joe explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Tue, 02 Jan 2018 12:00:00 -0500

From the Vault: The Forer Effect

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 effect. (Originally published July 23, 2015)
Sat, 30 Dec 2017 06:00:04 -0500

The Winter People, Part 2

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 to the latest studies on seasonal genetic changes, prepare to contemplate the icy dark.
Thu, 28 Dec 2017 06:00:02 -0500

The Winter People, Part 1

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 to the latest studies on seasonal genetic changes, prepare to contemplate the icy dark.
Tue, 26 Dec 2017 06:00:03 -0500

From the Vault: The Stone of Madness

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 classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe collect their trepanation tools and investigate. (Originally published Jan 7, 2016)
Sat, 23 Dec 2017 06:00:00 -0500

Baby Jesus and the Homunculus

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 homunculus theory of human reproduction, the nativity and the infants of medieval and renaissance art.
Thu, 21 Dec 2017 06:00:04 -0500

First Messenger From an Alien Star

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 discuss the latest findings.
Tue, 19 Dec 2017 16:26:11 -0500

Machine God: Artificial Superintelligence

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 the nature of gods and what it would mean to create an artificial superintelligence.
Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:00:44 -0500

Ophiocordyceps: Fungal Puppet Masters

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 puppet masters.
Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:45:31 -0500

This Present Moment: Philosophy & Neuroscience

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 to capture or quantify it. In this special two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe dive into the experience, physics, philosophy and neuroscience of now.
Thu, 07 Dec 2017 06:00:04 -0500

This Present Moment: Experience and Physics

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 to capture or quantify it. In this special two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe dive into the experience, physics, philosophy and neuroscience of now.
Tue, 05 Dec 2017 10:13:51 -0500

Tree of Life

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 Christian for a stirring exploration.
Thu, 30 Nov 2017 06:00:05 -0500

Listener Mail: Leary, Bicameralism and Monsters

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.
Tue, 28 Nov 2017 09:10:44 -0500

Dangerous Foods III: A Festival of Pain

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, hallucinogenic fish and wriggling octopus tentacles?
Thu, 23 Nov 2017 06:00:03 -0500

When will the Earth become uninhabitable?

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.
Tue, 21 Nov 2017 06:00:00 -0500

An Attempt to Understand Zoophilia

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 Christian attempt to demystify this abnormal realm of human behavior in a straightforward, tactful manner.
Thu, 16 Nov 2017 13:27:00 -0500

Ig Nobels 2017: Vampires, Vaginal Music & Cheese

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 Your Mind feature. It’s time to finish this three-part series with hair legged vampires, intravaginal music and cheese.
Tue, 14 Nov 2017 06:00:00 -0500

Ig Nobels 2017: Crocodile Slots, Twins & Old Ears

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 Your Mind feature. In part 2, you’ll gamble with crocodiles, stare at your twin’s reflection and measure some old man ears.
Thu, 09 Nov 2017 06:00:00 -0500

Ig Nobels 2017: Liquid Cats, Didgeridoos & More

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 Your Mind feature. Up first, prepare yourself for sex-swapped cave bugs, liquid cats, a better way to drink coffee and the health benefits of the didgeridoo.
Tue, 07 Nov 2017 16:53:43 -0500

From the Vault: Mind Flayers

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 Flayers,' in which they explore the real-world science behind these tentacled, brain-sucking monsters.
Fri, 03 Nov 2017 06:00:00 -0400

Creepypasta 4: More SCP, Polybius and Grifter

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 cultural connections between the Internet’s weirdest fiction-shrouded urban legends and the human condition.
Thu, 02 Nov 2017 06:00:05 -0400

The Monstrosity/Cuteness Spectrum

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 Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the battle between cuteness and monstrosity, with examples drawn from Japanese traditions.
Tue, 31 Oct 2017 09:57:04 -0400

The First Monster

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 of lion-headed men? What do they represent and what do they reveal about human cognition?
Thu, 26 Oct 2017 15:43:00 -0400

Optography: Image in a Dead Man's Eye

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 necromantic world of optography, a 19th century notion that the last images seen by the dead might be retrieved from the flesh and fluid of the eye.
Tue, 24 Oct 2017 10:39:29 -0400

Cambrian Monster Mash

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, hallucigenia, wiwaxia, pikaia and leanchoilia. Plus, Dr. Anton Jessup drops by for a visit.
Thu, 19 Oct 2017 10:56:25 -0400

A Game of Werewolf

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 studies in deception, artificial intelligence and game theory look to its complex social mechanics. Join Robert and Joe as they seek for meaning in the long, murderous night of the werewolf.
Tue, 17 Oct 2017 16:11:29 -0400

Stuff to Blow Your Mind Live: Stranger Science

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 researcher lurking behind the fictional Dr. Brenner. Join hosts Robert, Joe and Christian for a live journey into the upside-down from New York Comic Con 2017.
Thu, 12 Oct 2017 09:23:00 -0400

Six Ghost Stories

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 six ghost stories from around the world and discuss what they reveal about the (living) human experience.
Tue, 10 Oct 2017 10:37:00 -0400

Science of It: Deadlights and Derry

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 consider the monster science of the creature itself and various, real world explanations that grown-ups might turn to for a town gone bad.
Thu, 05 Oct 2017 10:01:31 -0400

Laughing During Horror Movies

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.
Tue, 03 Oct 2017 09:46:00 -0400

Bonus: R. Scott Bakker, Consciousness & Consult

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 worry, Robert and Joe will issue warnings prior to the spoiler section of the episode.
Fri, 29 Sep 2017 05:00:04 -0400

Bicameralism, Part 2: The Silent Pantheon

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 voices in place of conscious thought, and presented archaeological, literary, historical and religious evidence to support this highly controversial view. Join Robert and Joe as they dissect bicameralism and discuss the evidence, the criticisms and more in this two-parter.
Thu, 28 Sep 2017 05:00:05 -0400

Bicameralism, Part 1: The Voice of God

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 voices in place of conscious thought, and presented archaeological, literary, historical and religious evidence to support this highly controversial view. Join Robert and Joe as they dissect bicameralism and discuss the evidence, the criticisms and more in this two-parter.
Tue, 26 Sep 2017 11:53:42 -0400

Timothy Leary, Part 2: Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out

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 Christian for a special two-part look at the man, the time and the drug he championed. Turn on, tune in, drop out...
Thu, 21 Sep 2017 06:00:03 -0400

Timothy Leary, Part 1: The Science of LSD

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 Christian for a special two-part look at the man, the time and the drug he championed. Turn on, tune in, drop out...
Tue, 19 Sep 2017 08:54:27 -0400

Listener Mail: Media and Memory

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.
Thu, 14 Sep 2017 14:22:05 -0400

Poison and the Rhino Horn

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 Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the magical beliefs surrounding rhino horn and exactly what science has to say about the matter.
Tue, 12 Sep 2017 06:00:03 -0400

The Psychology of Tattoos

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 tattoos and the psychology behind why we get them and how the world sees us afterwards.
Thu, 07 Sep 2017 17:34:29 -0400

Chakram: Spinning Death in Myth, War & Physics

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 warriors continued to use them in combat up into the 19th century. Join Robert and Christian as they explore the mythic power, military history and aerodynamics of this marvelous flying halo.
Tue, 05 Sep 2017 15:08:35 -0400

Green Beard Genes

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, slime molds and rodent sperm trains.
Thu, 31 Aug 2017 13:09:43 -0400

Shared False Memories and The Mandela Effect

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 memories of 90s Sinbad movies as paranormal events. But as Robert and Christian explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, it all boils down to the complex, amazing and fallible way our memory works.
Tue, 29 Aug 2017 09:04:30 -0400

Are we condemned to repeat history?

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 Your Mind, Robert and Christian turn to the field of cliodynamics and its attempts to identify the cycles of social unrest and violence. Can we avoid the terror of history?
Thu, 24 Aug 2017 14:03:49 -0400

Greek Fire: The Byzantine Secret Weapon

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 scientists continue to theorize its formula and deployment details. Join Robert and Joe as they discuss the weapon’s history, predominant theories on its specifics and the risks and rewards of secret keeping.
Tue, 22 Aug 2017 06:00:03 -0400

Six Deadly Poisons

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 explore each one’s power and place in human history.
Thu, 17 Aug 2017 12:15:49 -0400

Path of Totality: See the Eclipse!

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 on the celestial mechanics at work in the sky above.
Tue, 15 Aug 2017 14:53:08 -0400

Alien Abduction Experience, Part 2

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 confines of a sci-fi narrative and you have a revealing, kaleidoscopic view of the 20th century zeitgeist in all its wonder, hope, anxiety and yearning. Join Robert and Christian for this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-part examination of paranormal experience in the space age.
Thu, 10 Aug 2017 12:30:20 -0400

Alien Abduction Experience, Part 1

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 confines of a sci-fi narrative and you have a revealing, kaleidoscopic view of the 20th century zeitgeist in all its wonder, hope, anxiety and yearning. Join Robert and Christian for this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-part examination of paranormal experience in the space age.
Tue, 08 Aug 2017 12:22:18 -0400

The Science of Secrets

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 of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.
Thu, 03 Aug 2017 16:50:49 -0400

The Buddha is a Mountain

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 and Joe for a discussion of the Buddha’s history, meaning and the overarching theme of humanity’s remaking of the natural world.
Tue, 01 Aug 2017 11:44:51 -0400

Sharks of Summer (with Marah Hardt of ‘Sex in the Sea’)

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 Christian welcome 'Sex in the Sea' author Marah Hardt back on the podcast for a discussion of embryonic cannibalism, virgin shark birth, conservation efforts and more.
Thu, 27 Jul 2017 10:51:28 -0400

Svalbard: Land of Snow and Apocalypse Arks

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 come to define it.
Tue, 25 Jul 2017 13:30:18 -0400

Summer Reading: Aliens, Microbes, Cocktails and More

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 alien worlds, space vampires, nuclear war, content creation, cocktails and more.
Thu, 20 Jul 2017 13:29:41 -0400

The Biophilia Hypothesis

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. Wilson’s biophilia hypothesis and explore arguments for and against this captivating view of nature lovers.
Tue, 18 Jul 2017 06:00:04 -0400

Artificial Gravity: Cosmic Wheels and Hurtling Towers

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 a few different schemes to replicate its effects. Join Robert and Joe for a full exploration in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.
Thu, 13 Jul 2017 10:20:21 -0400

Order out of Chaos: How to Create a Universe

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 primordial darkness of multiple cosmologies as well as the theoretical depths of human-created universes and simulated realities.
Tue, 11 Jul 2017 10:24:37 -0400

Cultural Appropriation

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 historical and scientific understanding of the human experience? Robert and Christian explore.
Thu, 06 Jul 2017 09:00:14 -0400

Sword of the Samurai

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 Christian discuss the science of this most skillful blade, the grisly test for its sharpness and its importance in Japanese culture.
Tue, 04 Jul 2017 06:00:02 -0400

Ticks, Mites and Mysterious Lone Star Illnesses

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 this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss ticks, chiggers and the mysterious illnesses associated with the lone star tick -- one of which generates a meat allergy in the host.
Thu, 29 Jun 2017 11:03:17 -0400

CRISPR and the Genetic Astronaut

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 gene editing tools like CRISPR present raise new questions. Might genetic alterations give future astronauts the 'right stuff?' What would the physiology of a genetically-augmented space traveler even look like? Robert and Joe explore in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.
Tue, 27 Jun 2017 10:59:22 -0400

Extended Cognition: Brain, Fingers, Web and Krang

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 cognition? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Joe discuss the concept of extended cognition and how it relates to the human condition, number systems, spider webs, octopuses, mantises and even a fictional alien brain monster.
Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:16:19 -0400

Name Thy Demons: The Roots of Human Violence

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 -- and you have the power to undermine their influence. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore Pinker's thesis and draw in supporting research and dissenting opinions.
Tue, 20 Jun 2017 14:17:50 -0400

AI, Machine Learning and Human Creativity

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 will creative machine learning take us? Robert and Christian discuss some possibilities in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.
Thu, 15 Jun 2017 12:50:17 -0400

Science Communication Breakdown

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 their heels and deny the shape of our current understand. Why do some people doubt scientific consensus? What’s wrong in science communication? Robert and Joe attempt to find an answer.
Tue, 13 Jun 2017 20:30:55 -0400

There But For Science: Blood Navigation

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 scientific advances stepped in to solve the problems. Join Robert and Joe as the discuss the powder of sympathy and 20th century state-sponsored paranormal research.
Thu, 08 Jun 2017 20:13:08 -0400

The Tower of Babel

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, but what does it mean? Was there really a tower? Join Robert and Joe as they discuss everything from the art of Bruegel the Elder to 'Snow Crash.'
Tue, 06 Jun 2017 16:21:52 -0400

Neurosecurity: Dawn of the Brain Hackers

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 biotechnology and brain-computer interface creeps into our lives, the risk will only go up. Tune in for a discussion on inherent vulnerability, looming technology and what needs to happen to protect us.
Thu, 01 Jun 2017 15:03:10 -0400

Height, Health and Human Happiness

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.
Tue, 30 May 2017 16:40:51 -0400

Five Reasons to Never Take Your Space Helmet Off

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 to? Join Robert and Joe as they discuss 'Alien: Covenant' and explore some very compelling biological and radiological reasons to remain helmeted on an alien hell world.
Thu, 25 May 2017 16:17:24 -0400

R. Scott Bakker: On Alien Philosophy and Fantasy

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 Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe chat with Bakker about his recent paper 'On Alien Philosophy,' published in the The Journal of Consciousness Studies. Plus, as a long-time fan, Robert throws in a few questions about Bakker’s approach to fiction and the strange creatures that occupy his created worlds.
Tue, 23 May 2017 18:06:00 -0400

Hook Suspension and the Complexity of Pain

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 fit into the larger human experience? Join Robert and Christian as they explore this most-outsider form of masochistic performance art.
Thu, 18 May 2017 03:00:00 -0400

Escape Velocity: Jack Parsons and the New Magick

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 such, Parsons is a contradiction -- a counterculture figure that continues to fascinate us with his mystery. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore the work and wonder that moved his life.
Tue, 16 May 2017 03:00:00 -0400

Weird Wonders of House Gastropoda

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.
Thu, 11 May 2017 03:00:00 -0400

Jade Immortality: Burial Armor of the Han Dynasty

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 to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore this ancient funeral custom and both the scientific and superstitious qualities of jade.
Tue, 09 May 2017 03:00:00 -0400

Push the Frontier

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 discuss the membranous nature of frontier in world-systems theory, as well as Frederick Jackson Turner’s influential thesis on the American frontier.
Thu, 04 May 2017 03:00:00 -0400

STBYM Live: Weird Science in the Windy City

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 decorative incandescent lamps, and the original Ferris Wheel gave visitors from all around the world a view from the top. Join them for a live C2E2 2017 discussion on the great wheel, the Parliament of World Religions and the H. H. Holmes Murder Castle.
Tue, 02 May 2017 03:00:00 -0400

Listener Mail: In One Ear, Out the Third Eye

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.
Thu, 27 Apr 2017 03:00:00 -0400

H. R. Giger and the Biomechanical Soul

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 Christian explore the psychology and themes present in Giger’s art and chat with artist E.C. Steiner on Giger’s influences and more.
Tue, 25 Apr 2017 03:00:00 -0400

Where is my mind?

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 neurological seat of consciousness. Where is your mind? Prepare to find out…
Thu, 20 Apr 2017 03:00:00 -0400

Fossil Action Scenes: Dino Birth and Prehistoric Combat

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 and discuss examples of birth, mating behavior and deadly dinosaur-on-dinosaur combat written in the rocks.
Tue, 18 Apr 2017 03:00:00 -0400

Disease Takes Flight on Leathery Wings

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 kill us. But bats could also have super immune systems that allow them to live long lives, avoid cancer and fight off viruses. What can we learn from them? Robert and Christian explore...
Thu, 13 Apr 2017 03:00:00 -0400

The Demon-Haunted Mind

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 edge of madness? Join Robert and Christian as they explore a recent study on the topic, and they might even summon a demon or two from the realms of myth.
Tue, 11 Apr 2017 03:00:00 -0400

Beyond the Uncanny Valley

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 no longer the gold standard? Robert and Joe investigate.
Thu, 06 Apr 2017 03:00:00 -0400

Into the Uncanny Valley

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 explore just what's going on in our minds when we lock eyes with less-than-human simulacrums.
Tue, 04 Apr 2017 03:00:00 -0400

Sexbots: From Objectification to Therapeutic Surrogates

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 advances, we’re left to ponder the emerging form of the sex bot -- and the possibilities range from mere animate fetishes to therapeutic surrogates. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian consider arguments for and against the embrace of synthetic paramours.
Thu, 30 Mar 2017 03:00:00 -0400

Fertility, Ovulation and Consumer Decision Making

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 her research holds true, then it means corporations and even political parties are already attempting to game ovulation for their own benefit. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian examine and discuss the research.
Tue, 28 Mar 2017 03:00:00 -0400

Be a Better Guesser With Fermi Estimation

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 mysteries into smaller, digestible problems. Robert and Joe will guide you through the numbers in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.
Thu, 23 Mar 2017 03:00:00 -0400

Far Below: The London Underground Mosquito

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 environment, the drinkers of their blood inherently follow. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the curious ways of the London Underground mosquito. Mind the gap… between species!
Tue, 21 Mar 2017 03:00:00 -0400

Two Minutes To Midnight: The Doomsday Clock

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 podcast.
Thu, 16 Mar 2017 03:00:00 -0400

The Necessity of Patient Zero

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 the game of scapegoating and othering begin? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore the concept of patient zero in science, history and myth.
Tue, 14 Mar 2017 03:00:00 -0400

Life After Radiation: Sickness, Death and Sustenance

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 Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Joe explore the nature of radiation, its effects on living tissue and the curious world of radiotrophic fungi.
Thu, 09 Mar 2017 03:00:00 -0500

One-Armed Bandits: The Science of Slot Machines

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 they ensorcell us? In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the science and psychology of slot machine gambling behavior.
Tue, 07 Mar 2017 03:00:00 -0500

Mandala: Memory Palace and Simulated Worlds

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 Buddhism, the meaning within mandalic art and how this all connects to the western mnemonic system known as ‘the memory palace’ and the modern use of simulated worlds.
Thu, 02 Mar 2017 03:00:00 -0500

Books of Flesh: Anthropodermic Bibliopegy

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 Christian as they crack open the history and science of anthropodermic bibliopegy.
Tue, 28 Feb 2017 03:00:00 -0500

The Secret Intellect of Animals, Part 2

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. Afterwards, they speak to Dutch-American primatologist Frans de Waal about his book and his thoughts on the future of animal intelligence research.
Thu, 23 Feb 2017 03:00:00 -0500

The Secret Intellect of Animals, Part 1

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 episodes, Christian and Joe discuss the work of Dutch-American primatologist Frans de Waal, and ask the question of not just whether animals are smarter than we understand, but why the evidence of animal cognition is often so difficult for we humans to grasp.
Tue, 21 Feb 2017 03:00:00 -0500

The Holy Black Stone of Mecca

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 to geological and potentially cosmic origins. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss the mythic, historical and scientific substance of the Kaaba.
Thu, 16 Feb 2017 03:00:00 -0500

The Mystery of Crab Boxing

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 look at a pair of studies that expand on their amazing use of weapons.
Tue, 14 Feb 2017 03:00:00 -0500

Jump Into The Void

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 podcast, Robert and Christian explore some of the more enlightening theories about this experience.
Thu, 09 Feb 2017 03:00:00 -0500

Scientific Reductionism

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 scientific worldview ultimately reduce all explanations to fundamental physics, or is there genuine novelty at the higher levels of complexity we find in everything from superconductors to politics? Join Robert and Joe for a journey into the innerverse of complexity, reductionism and emergence.
Tue, 07 Feb 2017 03:00:00 -0500

100 Days Later: Mathematics of a Zombie Apocalypse

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 podcast, Robert and Christian explore a few different studies that examine the undead plague from the standpoint of mathematics and infections disease.
Thu, 02 Feb 2017 03:00:00 -0500

Chinese Immortality: Elixirs and Enlightened Beings

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 take on the trope. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, join Robert and Joe as they contemplate tales and traditions from Taoist sorcery, alchemy and Chinese folktales.
Tue, 31 Jan 2017 03:00:00 -0500

Chinese Zodiac: Superstition, Economics & Destiny

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 individual destiny. As always, you can take astrology with a grain of salt, but the impact on human behavior and culture is undeniable.
Thu, 26 Jan 2017 03:00:00 -0500

Interplanetary War

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 concerning interplanetary war, the rigors of space travel and postcolonial cultural schisms? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore and even chat with 'The Expanse' executive producer Naren Shankar.
Tue, 24 Jan 2017 03:00:00 -0500

Sailors on a Dark Sea: Political Extremism, Child’s Play

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 gadgets, but are at a loss to explain their functionality. We think we understand policy and politics, but are better at explaining why we hold our beliefs than how particular policies might solve life’s hideous problems. In this two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe dip into the waters of cognitive illusion.
Thu, 19 Jan 2017 03:00:00 -0500

Sailors on a Dark Sea: Illusion of Explanatory Depth

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 gadgets, but are at a loss to explain their functionality. We think we understand policy and politics, but are better at explaining why we hold our beliefs than how particular policies might solve life’s hideous problems. In this two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe dip into the waters of cognitive illusion.
Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:00:00 -0500

Mixologia: Potions, Cocktails & Deadly Spirits

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 potion or a philosopher's goblet, modern cocktails and spirits have also dabbled with nefarious elixirs. Join Robert and Joe as they explore the history, myth and science behind it all in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Thu, 12 Jan 2017 03:00:00 -0500

The Science of Holy Butter

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 curious nature of butter.
Tue, 10 Jan 2017 03:00:00 -0500

The Myth of Green Tea Hallucinations

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 tea hallucinations.
Thu, 05 Jan 2017 03:00:00 -0500

Exorcism/Adorcism

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 rites of exorcism and the psychological principles of dissociative identity disorder and cognitive dissonance? As “The Exorcist” creeps in on its 43rd anniversary, Robert and Christian discuss the real and imaginary forces at work in the demon-haunted mind.
Tue, 03 Jan 2017 12:00:00 -0500

What Mind Control Feels Like

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? Robert and Joe explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Thu, 29 Dec 2016 03:00:00 -0500

The Body Illithid: Science of the Mind Flayers

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 not without their parallels in the natural world -- and even in human civilization. Join Robert and Christian for a science-grounded look at everyone’s favorite Underdark horror.
Tue, 27 Dec 2016 03:00:00 -0500

Dangerous Foods II: The Second Course

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 Foods' comes the holiday dread of 'Dangerous Foods II: The Second Course.' Can your heart stand the shocking facts about toxic potatoes, mad honey and the mysteries of the dead man’s fingers? 'Dangerous Foods II: The Second Course.' This time, it’s personal.
Thu, 22 Dec 2016 03:00:00 -0500

A Six Course Feast of Dangerous Foods

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 consumed by the uninitiated diner -- and tune in for a brand NEW 'Deadly Foods' episode on Thursday.
Tue, 20 Dec 2016 03:00:00 -0500

The Nature of Heroism

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 Mind Podcast.
Thu, 15 Dec 2016 03:00:00 -0500

Euphemisms: Linguistic Transmutation

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 euphemisms to alter and transform the tone or meaning of everyday communication.
Tue, 13 Dec 2016 03:00:00 -0500

Artes Mathematicall: The Diviner John Dee

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, advocated British expansion and plunged the depths of human knowledge in age of great change. In this second of two episodes on the topic, Robert and Christian discuss Dr. Dee’s involvement in science, statecraft, cryptography and espionage.
Thu, 08 Dec 2016 03:00:00 -0500

Artes Mathematicall: The Conjurer John Dee

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, advocated British expansion and plunged the depths of human knowledge in age of great change. In this first of two episodes on the topic, Robert and Christian discuss the world, life and magic of the enigmatic Dr. Dee.
Tue, 06 Dec 2016 03:00:00 -0500

Listener Mail VII: Fill Your Ears

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.
Thu, 01 Dec 2016 03:00:00 -0500

The Creep

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 archetype.
Tue, 29 Nov 2016 03:00:00 -0500

To The Escape Pod!

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 envisioned over the years. Robert and Joe tell you all about it in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.
Thu, 24 Nov 2016 03:00:00 -0500

Is social media driving us insane?

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 flame’s intensity? Robert and Christian explore in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.
Tue, 22 Nov 2016 03:00:00 -0500

I Was Eaten by a Giant Spider

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 do spiders eat their prey, and what would it be like if a human being were consumed by an impossibly large spider? Robert and Joe explore in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.
Fri, 18 Nov 2016 03:00:00 -0500

A World Before Fire: The Human Flame

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 venture back to a time before the flame and consider the curious, interconnected ascension of man and fire. In part two, consider how fire enabled the evolutionary and technological ascent of humanity.
Thu, 17 Nov 2016 03:00:00 -0500

A World Before Fire: The Terrestrial Anomaly

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 venture back to a time before the flame and consider the curious, interconnected ascension of man and fire. In part one, explore the chemistry of a flameless Earth and the possibility of alien technology without fire.
Tue, 15 Nov 2016 03:00:00 -0500

Combat Stims: Better Warriors Through Chemistry

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 taking to enable, survive and live with the violence of their profession? Robert and Christian explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Thu, 10 Nov 2016 03:00:00 -0500

Only Child Syndrome: Brats, Myths and Little Emperors

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 wake of China’s One Child Policy. But what’s the truth of the matter? Robert and Christian explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Tue, 08 Nov 2016 03:00:00 -0500

Incu-succubi: Demon in the Halls of Sleep

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 explore the basics of incubus and succubus myths, a few international variants and the possible biological, psychological and neurological explanations for these paranormal encounters.
Tue, 01 Nov 2016 03:00:00 -0400

Frankenstein: 200 Years of Scientific Dread

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 science-fiction horror classic emerged from and the dark shadow it continues to cast over scientific endeavor.
Thu, 27 Oct 2016 03:00:00 -0400

Creepypasta 3: The SCP Foundation

Is there science behind the creepypasta? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, explore a few specimens from the SCP Foundation.
Tue, 25 Oct 2016 03:00:00 -0400

Now I am Become Death: Cotard's Delusion

Delusions often drive home the ephemeral nature of perceived reality, even blurring the lines between life, death and imagined states of un-death. Such is the case with 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.
Thu, 20 Oct 2016 03:00:00 -0400

Death Roots: Dreams and Science of Carnivorous Plants

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 absence of mean-eating plants in our natural world.
Tue, 18 Oct 2016 03:00:00 -0400

Will-o'-the-Wisp: A Light in the Swamp

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 phenomenon was at work here, before accounts of false fires in the night largely vanished from history? In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe search for answers.
Thu, 13 Oct 2016 03:00:00 -0400

The Creepypasta Experiments

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 power -- and more than a few of them seem to involve shadowy science experiments. So in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore the real-life science behind a handful of experiments from the world of creepypasta.
Tue, 11 Oct 2016 03:00:00 -0400

The 2016 Ig Nobels: Pale Horses, Dead Flies and Quantified Bullroar

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 this year's winners. In part two, you’ll hear about profiles in lying, pale horses, automotive alchemy, the passion of a fly collector, and people who find profundity in meaningless statements.
Thu, 06 Oct 2016 03:00:00 -0400

The 2016 Ig Nobels: Rat Pants, Mooning and the Sincerity of Rocks

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 this year's winners. In part one, you can expect to hear about rats with pants, the personalities of rocks, scientific mooning, mirror-assisted itch relief, as well as the lived experience of goatmen and badgermen.
Tue, 04 Oct 2016 03:00:00 -0400

Conjoined Dreamers

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 as the science of linked dreaming via computer interfaces.
Thu, 29 Sep 2016 03:00:00 -0400

The Nine Dream Worlds of Frederik van Eeden

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 other specific states of dreaming. Join Robert and Christian as they explore his seven kingdoms of sleep.
Tue, 27 Sep 2016 03:00:00 -0400

Undead Genes: Genetic Activation After Death

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, microbiota-colonized empire collapses into decay. And yet, as things fall apart, certain genes have been observed to activate. Join Robert and Joe as they explore the world of ‘undead genes.’
Thu, 22 Sep 2016 03:00:00 -0400

Weird Mushrooms!

Join Robert and Christian as they crack open the sacred book of the shroom and examine a half-dozen examples of magnificently weird mushrooms.
Tue, 20 Sep 2016 03:00:00 -0400

Beyond this Vale of Testing: Post-Empirical Science

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 boundaries. Is empiricism an unnecessary straight jacket? Is “post-empirical science” an oxymoron? Robert and Joe explore in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.
Thu, 15 Sep 2016 03:00:00 -0400

Scalp Hunters and the Cobra Effect

Bounties have a way of complicating the economics of human decency and indecency, resulting in hoards of rats, ill-gotten pig tails and the escalating genocidal horror of scalp hunting in Colonial America. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the perverse world of unintended consequences and the cobra effect.
Tue, 13 Sep 2016 03:00:00 -0400

STBYM Live: Prime Directives & Planetary Contamination

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 history and our most dangerous terrestrial ideas? Robert, Joe and Christian explore in this special LIVE Stuff to Blow Your Mind presentation from Star Trek: Mission New York.
Thu, 08 Sep 2016 03:00:00 -0400

Chinese Ghost Marriage: The Rite of Mínghūn

To many outsiders, the tradition of ghost marriage in China and other parts of Asia may seem bizarre and even a little ghoulish, but the practice is grounded in long, rich cultural tradition of ancestor veneration. 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.
Tue, 06 Sep 2016 12:00:00 -0400

The Substance of Silence

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 of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Joe look for answers and, yes, also discuss a few sound-sensitive monsters and the likelihood of blowing up a humanoid head with sound.
Wed, 31 Aug 2016 03:00:00 -0400

MSG: Umami and Chinese Restaurant Syndrome

Monosodium glutamate has accumulated quite an undeserving reputation over the years, forcing many an Asian restaurant to post “No MSG” signs lest customers run in fear of foreign, flavor-hacking chemicals. 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.
Tue, 30 Aug 2016 03:00:00 -0400

The Great Transhumanist Rapture War: Part 2

Join Robert and Joe as they explore the space for common ground — and conflict — between genetically modified cyborgs and heaven-teleported believers.
Thu, 25 Aug 2016 03:00:00 -0400

The Great Transhumanist Rapture War: Part 1

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 modified cyborgs and Heaven-teleported believers in this two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Tue, 23 Aug 2016 11:27:32 -0400

Curious Incident of the Guinea Worm in the Dog

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 place is man's best friend.
Thu, 18 Aug 2016 13:01:51 -0400

OSIRIS-REx: NASA's Journey to the Netherworld

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 bring a portion of it back home. Join Robert and Christian as they discuss the mission and chat with space scientists Dr. Amy. A Simon about OSIRIS-REx.
Tue, 16 Aug 2016 12:49:07 -0400

Listener Mail VI: The Listener Mailbox of Babel

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 legendary Crimson Inbox.
Thu, 11 Aug 2016 14:22:17 -0400

Welcome to the Mosquito Factory

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 and Christian as they explore the world of GMO mosquitoes, Wolbachia bacteria and the possible wages of mosquito eradication.
Tue, 09 Aug 2016 17:04:19 -0400

Saturn's Brood: Beyond the Outer Ring

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 sponge-like Hyperion. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the mysteries of the Saturnian moons.
Thu, 04 Aug 2016 12:59:50 -0400

O Time Thy Pyramids: The Library of Babel

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 typographical nonsense. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe venture into this metaphoric labyrinth for contemplations of genetics, cosmology, philosophy, computer programming and magic.
Tue, 02 Aug 2016 13:19:12 -0400

Minds of Musical Emptiness

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.
Thu, 28 Jul 2016 13:02:32 -0400

The Great Flood

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 flood-traumatized civilization? Join Robert and Christian for a Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration.
Tue, 26 Jul 2016 12:53:36 -0400

The Failings of Forensic Science, Part II

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 two of our review of forensic science in the courtroom. How accurate is the analysis of fingerprints, ballistics, hair, bite marks, fire and DNA?
Thu, 21 Jul 2016 13:08:45 -0400

The Failings of Forensic Science, Part I

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 of forensic science in law enforcement. Scientific evidence is prevalent in both courtrooms and popular culture. But why are we only recently questioning its validity?
Tue, 19 Jul 2016 15:27:56 -0400

Leaping Mullets! Flying Fish! Breaching Sharks!

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 gliding fish. From skewering swordfish and breaching sharks to the alleged urethra-bound candiru, nature provides more than a few mind-blowing specimens of note.
Thu, 14 Jul 2016 15:58:44 -0400

Coral Sex in the Sea (With Guest Marah J. Hardt)

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 vital, threatened organism plays in our world.
Tue, 12 Jul 2016 17:21:00 -0400

Summer Reading 2016: Time Enough at Last

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 flavor.
Thu, 07 Jul 2016 14:47:17 -0400

Biohacking and the Road to Transhumanism

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 some of the DIY pioneers and cyborg harbingers preparing us for Homo sapiens 2.0.
Tue, 05 Jul 2016 17:34:23 -0400

Incomplete/Unfinished

How are we to process an incomplete or unfinished work? Art, literature and film all present us with such partial works, yet our reaction varies. Some works remain incomplete due to tragedy or neglect, while others are intentionally non finito. We demand some incomplete compositions completed, while others remain sacrosanct testaments to the creator’s talent. Join Robert and Joe as they discuss the nature of incomplete works.
Thu, 30 Jun 2016 12:15:54 -0400

Mystery of the Myth-Fleshed Fossil

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 and other wonders.
Tue, 28 Jun 2016 15:03:34 -0400

Pieces of a Human: The Science of Artificial Organs

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 have one foot planted within this amazing, Frankenstein-tinged world. Join Robert and Christian for a discussion of artificial organs in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Thu, 23 Jun 2016 16:52:57 -0400

A New Kingdom of Life: Synthetic Biology

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 might we see the first synthetic human genome? Robert and Christian explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Tue, 21 Jun 2016 16:55:13 -0400

The Forbidden Void: Cases Against Space

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, however. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore some past and present arguments against space exploration.
Thu, 16 Jun 2016 17:20:57 -0400

Colossal: The Science of Human Height

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.
Tue, 14 Jun 2016 13:50:18 -0400

Wicker Men, Mock Kings and Ritualized Regicide

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 good of the people? Join Robert and Joe as they discuss literal, figurative and symbolic ritual regicide in human civilization.
Thu, 09 Jun 2016 12:39:26 -0400

Penile Transplants (With Special Guest Mary Roach)

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 Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian discuss recent advances in penile transplant surgery and chat with author Mary Roach, who devotes two chapters of her new book “Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War” to urotrauma and genital transplant surgery.
Tue, 07 Jun 2016 16:40:12 -0400

The Science of Necrophilia

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 animal kingdom, including one rare case of "functional necrophilia" that actually produces offspring. Stay for the later half of the episode and you'll also plunge the psychological depths of human necrophilia in all its varied forms.
Wed, 01 Jun 2016 14:31:30 -0400

The Science of Coincidence

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 classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the synchronicity, statistics and psychology of coincidence.
Tue, 31 May 2016 14:56:24 -0400

Unraveling the Mythic

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.
Thu, 26 May 2016 16:45:14 -0400

Your Experiences With Aphantasia

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 listener mails on the matter.
Tue, 24 May 2016 12:57:36 -0400

Akademgorodok: Siberia's Super Science Town

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 encapsulated Russia’s scientific dreams since the 1950s. Join Robert and Christian as they discuss the place some describe as a “scientific utopia.”
Thu, 19 May 2016 16:23:16 -0400

Organic Panic: A Dietary Dilemma

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 Christian look to see what science has to say about organic and conventional foods.
Tue, 17 May 2016 12:13:27 -0400

The Quest for Hollywood Acid

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 actually like? How do they generate those acid effects in the movies? And just what sort of blood courses through the xenomorph’s veins? Robert and Joe explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Thu, 12 May 2016 15:03:57 -0400

Aphantasia: Blindness of the Mind's Eye

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 individuals who experience aphantasia and experience no visual imagination at all? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore.
Tue, 10 May 2016 13:11:16 -0400

Cannabis Files: Medical Marijuana

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 historical and modern uses of “the green medicine.”
Thu, 05 May 2016 11:49:42 -0400

Cannabis Files: Humanity's THC Odyssey

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 famed sensory and psychological effects.
Tue, 03 May 2016 17:41:48 -0400

Listener Mail V: Computing the Hyper-Real

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 Dungeons and Dragons.
Thu, 28 Apr 2016 14:38:11 -0400

Jupiter's Children: A Voyage to the Galilean Moons

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 system. Join Robert and Joe for a mind bending exploration of the great gas giant’s Galilean Moons.
Tue, 26 Apr 2016 13:55:20 -0400

Tree Man Disease

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 conditions in the world, yet the extreme, deformative nature of the disease continues to intrigue media consumers around the world. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore the science of EV, it’s links to Human Papillomavirus and why we can’t look away.
Thu, 21 Apr 2016 11:17:26 -0400

When We Think About Cyborgs

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 brain/computer interfaces for a discussion of what it is to be a “cyborg” in 2016.
Tue, 19 Apr 2016 18:08:44 -0400

Tip of the Tongue

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 tongue and it's a universal experience of memory retrieval. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, join Robert and Joe as they discuss the science of TOT phenomenon and what you can do to prevent it.
Thu, 14 Apr 2016 16:07:27 -0400

Algorithms In The Blood: The P vs. NP Problem

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 explore the inherent logic of problem-solving in our universe, with some attention to a special example of an outstanding problem in computer science: P vs. NP.
Tue, 12 Apr 2016 14:44:50 -0400

Vampire Physics, Mathematics & Evolution

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 Robert and Christian as they explore the fluid dynamics of blood drinking, the mathematics of pandemic vampirism and the evolution of real-world blood drinkers.
Thu, 07 Apr 2016 17:13:56 -0400

Cargoism: Science, Desire and the Cargo Cults

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 material wealth. What can such encounters tell us about science, programing, sustainability and the human condition? Robert and Christian explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Tue, 05 Apr 2016 16:40:02 -0400

The Unsettling Depths of Bird Intelligence

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 work, and what might a technologically-advanced bird species even look like? Join Robert and Joe as they explore the avian mind.
Thu, 31 Mar 2016 13:40:54 -0400

Hyper-Real Religion: Pastafarianism and Beyond

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 so-called hyper-real religions.
Tue, 29 Mar 2016 16:41:45 -0400

Wound Mouth of the Undying Hydra

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, from its mythological namesake to all the fascinating scientific studies about its sex life, longevity and penchant for tearing itself a new mouth hole each and every mealtime.
Thu, 24 Mar 2016 16:23:05 -0400

Wicked Problems

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 scientific ingenuity. Join Robert and Christian for a proper Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration.
Tue, 22 Mar 2016 16:33:38 -0400

Beekeeping, Ancient Egypt and the Tears of Re

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 ancient Egypt and chat with “The Tears of Re” author entomologist Gene Kritsky.
Thu, 17 Mar 2016 10:00:00 -0400

Creepypasta 2: Disturbing Smiles & Lidless Eyes

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 people really opting for permanent, surgical smiles? Could fictional Jeff get his eyelids replaced and how does this dark tale mirror reality? Find out.
Tue, 15 Mar 2016 21:51:20 -0400

Sex Cannibals of the Animal Kingdom

Sexual cannibalism is a rarity in the natural world, and scientists are still attempting to understand the act as practiced by mong mostly arachnids and insects. Why consume your mate after or during sexual intercourse? Why venture into such a scenario in the first place? Join Robert and Joe as they explore the thoroughly inhuman world of sexual cannibalism.
Thu, 10 Mar 2016 13:42:50 -0500

Talking Knots in the Inca Kingdom of Fibers

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 khipu system of knotted, colored string that served as a physical notation system in lieu of written language.
Tue, 08 Mar 2016 16:16:17 -0500

Osedax: Sex Life of an Ocean Bone Worm

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 of the osedax worms and invite “Sex in the Sea” author Dr. Marah J. Hardt for a discussion on this and other fascinating modes of deep-water reproduction.
Thu, 03 Mar 2016 17:39:16 -0500

The Medusa Nebula: A Monstrous Beauty of Space

Join Robert and Christian as they consider the beauty and composition of the Medusa nebula.
Tue, 01 Mar 2016 15:30:39 -0500

Listener Mail IV: The Listening

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.
Thu, 25 Feb 2016 16:23:14 -0500

John C. Lilly: Province of the Mind

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 they examine the life, career and ideas of Lilly the scientist, Lilly the counterespionage researcher and Lilly the psychonaut. Welcome to the province of the mind.
Tue, 23 Feb 2016 10:21:06 -0500

Dreams of Orgonon: Sex, Storms & Death

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 work, including a personal visit to his Orgonon observatory. We cover Reich’s history, his contributions to alternative medicine and psychoanalysis, his orgone theories and his construction of orgone accumulators and cloudbusters.
Thu, 18 Feb 2016 14:50:02 -0500

Echoborg: The Computer Controls You

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 inhuman will. It may sound like the stuff of science fiction and TV’s “Black Mirror,” but such experiments are a reality in artificial intelligence research. Join Robert and Joe as they get to know the echoborgs and cyranoids among us in this classic STBYM episode.
Tue, 16 Feb 2016 18:35:19 -0500

Tractable Thunder: Early Days of Electricity, Part 2

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 Joe explore the various electrical experiments, stunts, inventions, performances, innovations, occultisms and atrocities that transformed the tractable thunder.
Thu, 11 Feb 2016 17:18:45 -0500

The Holy Amber: Early Days of Electricity, Part 1

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 Joe explore the various electrical experiments, stunts, inventions, performances, innovations, occultisms and atrocities that transformed the tractable thunder.
Tue, 09 Feb 2016 10:00:00 -0500

Weaponized Animals: From Fire Pigs to Bomb Bats

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 weaponized animals, from flaming war pigs in ancient Greece to high-tech incendiary bats in the Second World War.
Thu, 04 Feb 2016 15:38:00 -0500

Tooth, Mind and Soul: Dental Modification

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 Mind, Robert and Christian explore the world of tooth filling, tooth blackening and even tooth extraction as a means to treat illness and transform the soul.
Tue, 02 Feb 2016 11:27:52 -0500

A Six Course Feast of Dangerous Foods

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.
Thu, 28 Jan 2016 14:16:57 -0500

Chinese Zodiac: Superstition, Economics & Destiny

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 destiny. As always, you can take astrology with a grain of salt, but the impact on human behavior and culture is undeniable.
Tue, 26 Jan 2016 16:28:30 -0500

Humanzee: Breaking the Species Barrier

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 Robert and Christian as they explore the case history of Russian biologist Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov and his attempts to breed a human/chimp hybrid in the early 20th century.
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:10:59 -0500

Space Mirrors: Weapons, Energy & Propulsion

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 Your Mind, Robert and Christian discuss the power of space mirrors.
Tue, 19 Jan 2016 15:16:25 -0500

X-Files Science Part II: Bugs, Hybrids and Hypnosis

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's mythology. Join us to learn more about regression hypnosis, cloning, bees, alien hybridization and more. Just remember... trust no one.
Thu, 14 Jan 2016 13:19:35 -0500

X-Files Science Part I: Mutants & Parasites

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 and more. We'll add present research to the scientific theories surrounding the show during its initial release to find if the truth is out there.
Tue, 12 Jan 2016 13:50:31 -0500

The Stone of Madness

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 episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe collect their trepanation tools and investigate.
Thu, 07 Jan 2016 15:46:22 -0500

New Year's Resolutions: Science and Moral Behavior

Many of our most common resolutions for personal improvement are inherently narcissistic: Quit smoking, lose weight, get in shape. But beyond this alternately self-gratifying and self-flagellating topography lies the most quintessential self-improvement project of all: Being a better person. Can science show us how to re-engineer our moral behavior and live better lives? Robert and Joe explore.
Tue, 05 Jan 2016 17:50:52 -0500

Pink Snow, Black Snow, Space Snow, Weird Snow

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 snow, alien snow, conspiracy theory snow and giant snow. Join Robert and Joe as they plunge knee-deep in the weird flakey stuff.
Thu, 31 Dec 2015 14:49:11 -0500

The Science of 'Ant-Man'

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 loveable ants? Join Robert and Christian as they shrink down to the film’s level and discuss physics, the quantum realm and the fantastic world of ant biology.
Tue, 29 Dec 2015 11:32:18 -0500

Holiday Monsters & Listener Mail

Christmas is here again, so join Robert, Joe and Christian as they discuss a few holiday monsters and tend to your listener mail.
Thu, 24 Dec 2015 09:00:00 -0500

Brain-to-Brain: The Science of Techno-Telepathy

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 communication between humans? Join Robert and Joe as they make a case for the slogan, “Talk is cheap. Scan me!”
Tue, 22 Dec 2015 11:58:08 -0500

Grand Theft Genome: Genestealers in the Wild

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 Joe as they discuss the mind-bending world of horizontal gene transfer.
Thu, 17 Dec 2015 11:28:58 -0500

Twinkle, Twinkle, Killer Child

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 offenders may kill again. Through studies in psychopathy and neuroscience we’re looking for an answer to the scariest question: could my child be a killer?
Tue, 15 Dec 2015 11:02:33 -0500

MDMA: Pharmacological Healer

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 therapists -- if we can only unravel its mysteries. Join Robert and Christian for a look at past and current studies into the healing properties of this powerful substance.
Thu, 10 Dec 2015 14:23:27 -0500

MDMA: Pharmacological Ecstasy

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 misinformation. But what exactly is this psychoactive agent? Where does it come from and what sort of effect does it have on the human experience? Join Robert and Christian as they explore the origins and properties of MDMA.
Tue, 08 Dec 2015 11:27:47 -0500

Better Living Through Tetris

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 full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder.
Thu, 03 Dec 2015 10:36:57 -0500

Tetris Syndrome: A Mind Made of Blocks

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 continue to cascade across your vision. They build walls in your dreams and shape the patterns of your very thought. What’s going on inside the mind of a “Tetris” player and what can we learn from so-called “Tetris” syndrome. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore.
Tue, 01 Dec 2015 14:57:19 -0500

Listener Mail: Robot Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving in the United States, so Robert, Joe and Christian dine with their devoted mailbot Karnie to consider a selection of listener mail related to recent episodes.
Thu, 26 Nov 2015 09:00:00 -0500

But, Mom! The Science of Whining

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 parent and child? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Joe explore.
Tue, 24 Nov 2015 09:00:00 -0500

The Self-Mummifying Monk

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 consider the Sokushinbutsu of Japan, who once engaged in a process of ascetic self-mummification that spanned years of extreme body modification. Their purpose? To travel through time...
Thu, 19 Nov 2015 15:36:47 -0500

Space Weapons: Rods From God

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 drop it on an enemy target with mass-accelerated force. No bombs, no lasers, just pure reentry power. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore the feasibility of rod-based warfare.
Tue, 17 Nov 2015 16:35:09 -0500

The 2015 Ig Nobels: Kisses, Stings & Dino Chickens

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 winners. In this episode, explore the wonders of dinosaur chickens, medicinal speed bumps, passionate kisses, dino chickens, Moulay Ismael the Bloodthirsty and the sting index.
Thu, 12 Nov 2015 10:57:11 -0500

The 2015 Ig Nobels: Unboiled Eggs & Urine Speed

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 winners. In this episode, explore the wonders of unboiled eggs, urination speed, “huh” literature, police bribes and disastrous managers.
Tue, 10 Nov 2015 11:12:36 -0500

The Fist Punch Theory of Evolution

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 that involves a cadaver-armed punching machine.
Thu, 05 Nov 2015 09:53:37 -0500

Sanity/Insanity: The Rosenhan Experiment

How do we know precisely what constitutes "normality" or mental illness? And if there is a difference, can anybody know it when they see it? Even professionals? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the groundbreaking 1973 study that saw eight otherwise-healthy “pseudopatients” admitted to 12 different psychiatric facilities and diagnosed with mental illness.
Tue, 03 Nov 2015 14:02:35 -0500

Ghouls: Myth, Fiction and... Evolutionary Heritage?

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 episode, the roots of ghouldom sink back into pre-Islamic Arabic folklore -- as well into the distant evolutionary history of humanity itself.
Thu, 29 Oct 2015 15:53:23 -0400

I Drink Your Blood

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 body. Yet science has a way of catching up with myth, and in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the history of medicinal blood drinking and the startling scientific reality of rejuvenation through transfusions of young blood.
Tue, 27 Oct 2015 14:21:58 -0400

Will-o'-the-Wisp: A Light in the Swamp

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 phenomenon was at work here, before accounts of false fires in the night largely vanished from history? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe search for answers.
Thu, 22 Oct 2015 15:23:52 -0400

Final Girls: Feminism, Slashers & Culture

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 and Christian explore the film roots, cultural resonance and symbolic power of the final girl.
Tue, 20 Oct 2015 18:28:02 -0400

The Creepypasta Experiments

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 power -- and more than a few of them seem to involve shadowy science experiments. So in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore the real-life science behind a handful of experiments from the world of creepypasta.
Thu, 15 Oct 2015 19:16:14 -0400

Human Remains: Past, Present and Future

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 suitably high-tech design twist. Join Robert and Joe for a look at human remains and the way we help (or hinder) their return to the soil.
Tue, 13 Oct 2015 16:06:00 -0400

The Halloween Costume Made Me Do It

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.
Thu, 08 Oct 2015 16:10:14 -0400

Egyptian Mummies: A Cosmic, Mortuary Odyssey

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 dangerous and uncertain world inhabited by monsters and alien entities. Join Robert and Christian as they explore the cosmology and process of Egyptian mummification, as well as the actual alien entities these necronauts encountered: graverobbers, Victorian ghouls and the probing curiosity of modern science.
Tue, 06 Oct 2015 15:20:18 -0400

The Science of Dune: Biology

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 wonder and philosophical intrigue, so join Robert and Joe for a two-part exploration of the science of “Dune.” In this episode, explore the lifecycle of the sandworm, mentats and the power of the spice.
Thu, 01 Oct 2015 12:27:28 -0400

The Science of Dune: Technology

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 wonder and philosophical intrigue, so join Robert and Joe for a two-part exploration of the science of “Dune.” First up, consider the real-life possibilities of water-recycling stillsuits, the Holtzman Effect and the war against thinking machines.
Tue, 29 Sep 2015 11:15:16 -0400

Poison Arrows, Chinese Medicine and Werewolves

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 consider the role of wolf's bane in traditional Chinese medicine, early biological warfare and natural insect defenses.
Thu, 24 Sep 2015 12:34:44 -0400

One-Armed Bandits: The Science of Slot Machines

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 they ensorcell us? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the science and psychology of slot machine gambling behavior.
Tue, 22 Sep 2015 12:28:50 -0400

The Unlanguaged Mind: A World Built With Words

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 linguistic operating system.
Thu, 17 Sep 2015 13:30:22 -0400

The Unlanguaged Mind: Feral Children

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 Christian as the explore human language acquisition and childhood without words.
Tue, 15 Sep 2015 14:58:18 -0400

Palimpsests: Reading History's Blank Pages

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 technology allows us to uncover more and more of their secrets, while the idea of the palimpsest itself serves as a powerful metaphor for media, the mind and maybe life itself.
Thu, 10 Sep 2015 13:14:27 -0400

Wes Craven Tribute: Serpents, Rainbows & Zombies

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 filmmaking.
Tue, 08 Sep 2015 14:47:30 -0400

Tail as Old as Time: Part 2

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.
Thu, 03 Sep 2015 13:06:52 -0400

Tail as Old as Time: Part 1

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 scorpion that sheds its own tail and anus.
Tue, 01 Sep 2015 16:38:39 -0400

The Science of Necrophilia

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 kingdom, including one rare case of "functional necrophilia" that actually produces offspring. Stay for the later half of the episode and you'll also plunge the psychological depths of human necrophilia in all its varied forms.
Thu, 27 Aug 2015 16:11:18 -0400

V2K: The Microwave Auditory Effect

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 for what some people call microwave telepathy.
Tue, 25 Aug 2015 18:16:29 -0400

Born Under the Caul

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 Mind, Robert and Christian explore what a birth caul is and the many superstitions and omens attached to their presence.
Thu, 20 Aug 2015 17:15:38 -0400

Your Health as a Mars Colonist

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.
Tue, 18 Aug 2015 15:57:37 -0400

The Strain: Dissecting del Toro's Vampires

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 Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore some real-world organisms that line up nicely with the science of “The Strain.”
Thu, 13 Aug 2015 16:14:00 -0400

Echoborg: The Computer Controls You

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 inhuman will. It may sound like the stuff of science fiction and TV’s “Black Mirror,” but such experiments are a reality in artificial intelligence research. Join Robert and Joe as they get to know the echoborgs and cyranoids among us.
Tue, 11 Aug 2015 16:34:38 -0400

Summer Reading 2015: Books to Blow Your Mind

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.
Thu, 06 Aug 2015 15:54:31 -0400

From Hell's Heart: The Science of Spite

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 is spite in the framework of civilization? Robert and Christian explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Tue, 04 Aug 2015 15:46:06 -0400

Listener Mail: The Mailbot Reboots

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 from you the listener.
Thu, 30 Jul 2015 14:48:01 -0400

The Dreams of R. Buckminster Fuller

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 1950s. But his legacy today is largely that of a designer and a counterculture symbol, not as an inventor. In this episode of Stuff To Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian examine the life of Fuller, as well as the success of his dymaxion inventions and geodesic domes.
Tue, 28 Jul 2015 14:53:36 -0400

Something for Everybody: The Forer Effect

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.
Thu, 23 Jul 2015 15:08:38 -0400

My Body is Made of Glass

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 of glass delusion largely vanished in the early 19th century, a few cases persist to this day. What underlies this bizarre psychiatric disorder? Robert and Joe explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Tue, 21 Jul 2015 10:36:32 -0400

Stigmata: Madness or Miracle?

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 footsteps? Are these holy wounds the work of deceptive self-harm, masochistic devotion or psychosomatic anomaly?
Thu, 16 Jul 2015 15:42:53 -0400

Stigmata: Patient Zero

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 gory holes. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore stigmata patient zero in the form of Saint Francis of Assisi. What real-life illness might underlie this 13th century mystic’s legendary condition?
Tue, 14 Jul 2015 15:43:56 -0400

Grizzly Bears from Outer Space

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 lifeform look like? Robert and Joe discuss cosmologist Fergus Simpson's statistical argument that an extraterrestrial could weigh in at 660 pounds. My friend, can your heart stand the shocking facts of grizzly bears from outer space?
Thu, 09 Jul 2015 16:55:12 -0400

The Psychedelic Nightmare of Ergotism

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 explore the world of Ergotism and discuss how a toxic fungus terrorized and inspired generations of Medieval Europeans.
Tue, 07 Jul 2015 17:31:41 -0400

The Future of Addiction

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 classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore the use of electromagnetic stimulation, vaccines and other treatments to help win the battle.
Thu, 02 Jul 2015 14:11:42 -0400

The Science of Addiction

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.
Tue, 30 Jun 2015 11:52:38 -0400

The Memory Palace Revisited (with Nelson Dellis)

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 this updated publication of the episode, learn the secrets firsthand from 3-time USA memory champion Nelson Dellis.
Thu, 25 Jun 2015 15:05:47 -0400

Escape from Universe 25

Julie and Robert 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 environment and spacious apartments for its inhabitants. So what contributed to Universe 25's spiral into degradation and violence? And why were a subset of mice dubbed "The Beautiful Ones?"
Tue, 23 Jun 2015 13:36:32 -0400

Detective Story

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 secular world. Join Robert and Christian for dive through the history, science and cultural resonance of the detective story.
Thu, 18 Jun 2015 18:14:12 -0400

Supernormal Stimuli

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 you can condense the sensory world into nuggets of superstimuli. In this classic episode, join Robert and Julie as they discuss junk food, gaming, pornography, the Internet and beauty itself all in the framework of natural biology.
Tue, 16 Jun 2015 14:33:38 -0400

Techno-Religion for the Masses: Part 2

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 messiah, the simple prayer wheel and the psycho-spiritual technologies of Scientology.
Thu, 11 Jun 2015 16:28:30 -0400

Techno-Religion for the Masses: Part 1

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 messiah, the simple prayer wheel and the psycho-spiritual technologies of Scientology.
Tue, 09 Jun 2015 13:41:13 -0400

Mass Extinction: Earth's Cycle of Annihilation

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 of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Thu, 04 Jun 2015 15:47:29 -0400

Heartbeat in the Brain, Hole in the Skull

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 trepanation advocates have a point in their quest to free the brain’s heartbeat from its prison of bone? Tune in to this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind to find out.
Tue, 02 Jun 2015 17:03:14 -0400

Silk of the Spider, Thread of the Future

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 hasn’t stopped scientists from stealing the secrets. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, enter a world of spider silk medicine, nanomaterials, optics, music and of course transgenic goats.
Thu, 28 May 2015 13:58:04 -0400

Scientifically Sound Weather Superstitions

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.
Tue, 26 May 2015 14:42:26 -0400

The Science of Coincidence

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 of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the synchronicity, statistics and psychology of coincidence.
Thu, 21 May 2015 14:10:21 -0400

Gazing into the Eclipse

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, mythology and terrestrial ramifications of solar and lunar eclipses.
Tue, 19 May 2015 17:52:03 -0400

Vacation Tribulation

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).
Thu, 14 May 2015 15:48:22 -0400

There's a Problem with Your Study

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 careerism to the pitfalls of WEIRD populations, Stuff to Blow Your Mind explores.
Tue, 12 May 2015 14:22:47 -0400

Power of the Nap

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, then feel free to take an optional catnap.
Thu, 07 May 2015 15:32:37 -0400

Animal Sexual Fluidity

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.
Tue, 05 May 2015 17:27:56 -0400

The Ring of Gyges

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 judgement and punishment? From Plato to modern psychology, Stuff to Blow Your Mind explores…   
Thu, 30 Apr 2015 10:13:37 -0400

Road Warriors

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 what extent does it match up with humanity's peculiar love of the automobile? Find out in this episode of the STBYM podcast.  
Tue, 28 Apr 2015 14:14:53 -0400

Space Roar

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?
Thu, 23 Apr 2015 14:34:06 -0400

The Power of Polite

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.
Tue, 21 Apr 2015 13:57:12 -0400

Satanic Panic

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.
Thu, 16 Apr 2015 13:49:34 -0400

Grimoire: Occult Books and the Magic of Writing

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.
Tue, 14 Apr 2015 15:24:16 -0400

Mean World Syndrome

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. 
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 12:00:06 -0400

What's the largest snake that has ever existed?

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.
Tue, 07 Apr 2015 11:52:17 -0400

The Power of Shame

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 embarrassment?
Thu, 02 Apr 2015 12:47:28 -0400

The Gordian Knot of Race

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.
Tue, 31 Mar 2015 13:36:00 -0400

The School to Prison Pipeline

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.
Thu, 26 Mar 2015 13:21:21 -0400

Send in the Exploding Termites

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 guerilla tactics. It’s all in this bombastic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Tue, 24 Mar 2015 16:21:28 -0400

Optimal Inattention

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.
Thu, 19 Mar 2015 15:03:43 -0400

Leprechaun Hallucinations

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 this classic STBYM podcast episode.
Tue, 17 Mar 2015 11:32:59 -0400

Cry Me a River

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?
Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:37 -0400

Could you outrun a fireball?

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?
Tue, 10 Mar 2015 11:57:24 -0400

The Scent of Cognition

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 think.
Thu, 05 Mar 2015 13:20:54 -0500

How much does the soul weigh?

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 in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Tue, 03 Mar 2015 11:49:13 -0500

Respect the Rat

You may think rats are just vermin, but the fact is they own huge metropollitan 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 or not they're capable of empathy.
Thu, 26 Feb 2015 14:36:57 -0500

Pineal Optics: My Third Eye

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 in this classic episode.
Tue, 24 Feb 2015 09:00:00 -0500

Love at First Sight

Does love at first sight really exist? And is it biological or cultural? Julie and Robert explore this split-second phenomenon.
Thu, 19 Feb 2015 18:17:34 -0500

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 learn more.
Tue, 17 Feb 2015 13:32:54 -0500

Sealed with a Bacterial Kiss

Find out about the bacterial life of a passionate kiss as Julie and Robert explore the human smooch. Is it instinctual or learned?
Thu, 12 Feb 2015 09:00:00 -0500

Spanish Fly: The Deadly Aphrodisiac

It's easy to assume 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 Marque de Sade involved in all of this? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.  
Tue, 10 Feb 2015 10:57:56 -0500

Lingerie Probability

We live within the lingerie industrial complex, but dare we tease apart the lacey 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 night undies.
Thu, 05 Feb 2015 11:28:56 -0500

In the Pink

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 and blood? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Tue, 03 Feb 2015 14:13:43 -0500

Into the Ossuary: Consult the Bones - Part 2

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 cultural anomalies will factor into their discoveries? Grab a torch and join them in the depths in part 2 of 2.
Thu, 29 Jan 2015 09:52:26 -0500

Into the Ossuary: Consult the Bones - Part 1

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 cultural anomalies will factor into their discoveries? Grab a torch and join them in the depths in part 1 of 2.
Tue, 27 Jan 2015 13:43:27 -0500

Almost Blue

Up in the sky and down in the ocean, blue is the end cap of our visual 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 Mind podcast.
Thu, 22 Jan 2015 14:11:58 -0500

So Cute I Could Eat You Up

What do tears of joy and the desire to pinch a baby's cheek have to do with one another? Quite a lot. Find out about dimorphous expressions, as well as the siren call of baby scents that lure the joyful aunt to its cheek in the first place.
Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:50:21 -0500

Whisperings & ASMR

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 any non-human primates.
Thu, 15 Jan 2015 13:07:16 -0500

Extraordinary Science of 2014

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?
Tue, 13 Jan 2015 12:06:33 -0500

Astonishing Science of 2014

Find out what the most astonishing moments in science were in 2014 and why they may just be game-changers for humanity.
Thu, 08 Jan 2015 14:59:12 -0500

Sonic Illusions

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.
Tue, 06 Jan 2015 16:40:37 -0500

Brainhacking 101: New Year, New Habits

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.
Thu, 01 Jan 2015 09:00:00 -0500

Dung Beetle Mania!

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.
Tue, 30 Dec 2014 10:15:22 -0500

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 classic episode, Robert and Julie share tales of sealed envelopes, quantum thought experiments, virginity boxes and things Pandora should never have opened. You might even score a gift idea or two.
Thu, 25 Dec 2014 09:00:00 -0500

The Necessary Spice

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.
Tue, 23 Dec 2014 10:34:37 -0500

Scrooge: Post-traumatic Embitterment Disorder

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 something-something?
Thu, 18 Dec 2014 17:14:08 -0500

Deconstructing the Grinch

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 of his heart.
Tue, 16 Dec 2014 17:11:29 -0500

Mystery of the Antler

Why do animals such as deer and moose boast antlers? How does this bony 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 tend to realize. Join Robert and Julie as they discuss the science of antlers and how these animal weapons factor into both ancient human history and professional athlete urine samples.
Thu, 11 Dec 2014 09:00:00 -0500

Bring Your Own Oxygen

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 question, "What lifeform provides half of the world's oxygen?"' Hint: It's not trees.
Tue, 09 Dec 2014 12:11:34 -0500

The Future of Tattoos

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 near-future high-tech tattoos, from glowing raver ink to tattoos that actually serve as technological interfaces.  
Thu, 04 Dec 2014 16:22:19 -0500

The Science of Tattoos

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." Join Robert and Julie as they explore not only the science of tattoos, but also a bit of their rich and varied history.
Tue, 02 Dec 2014 17:21:52 -0500

The Science of Comfort

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 a good thing.
Thu, 27 Nov 2014 09:00:00 -0500

Surviving Thanksgiving

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.
Tue, 25 Nov 2014 11:38:21 -0500

Fecal Transplants and You

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 samples to cure what ails us.
Thu, 20 Nov 2014 14:30:46 -0500

Listener Mail: Arnie's Revenge

Robert and Julie bow down to the will of Arnie the Mailbot and finally get to the mounting stack of listener mail.
Tue, 18 Nov 2014 17:10:14 -0500

Reboot the Biosphere

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 scads of new insights into the environment are due to the visionary wonderland that is Biosphere 2.
Thu, 13 Nov 2014 13:44:57 -0500

Two Years and 20 Minutes Inside Biosphere 2

Enter Biosphere II 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 biosphere for two years.
Tue, 11 Nov 2014 09:42:26 -0500

The Spiral of Silence

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. Find out why.
Thu, 06 Nov 2014 10:53:45 -0500

Mass Hysteria and the Mad Gasser

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 (AKA mass psychogenic disorder), from dancing plagues and witch trials of old to our modern age of bioterrorism.
Tue, 04 Nov 2014 12:44:09 -0500

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? In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie provide the answers and Christopher Gladwin of The Wyrding Module provides some unsettling tunes and a few answers of his own.
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 13:33:53 -0400

What's in a witches' brew?

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.
Tue, 28 Oct 2014 12:16:21 -0400

The Dark

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.
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 10:14:13 -0400

Steven Johnson: How We Got to Now

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 Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World." Join Julie and Robert for an interview with the man behind the book and series.
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:31:56 -0400

Trypophobia: Fear of Holes

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.
Thu, 16 Oct 2014 09:00:00 -0400

The Zen of Pain

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 suffering.
Tue, 14 Oct 2014 09:00:00 -0400

The Infinity Hotel

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 possibility of a boundless multiverse.
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 09:44:41 -0400

Infinity + One

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.  
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 09:00:00 -0400

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 explore the mythic, anthropologic and scientific dimensions of this fearsome legend.
Thu, 02 Oct 2014 09:00:00 -0400

The Horror Movie Aphrodisiac

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 jump scares and sexual arousal.
Tue, 30 Sep 2014 09:00:00 -0400

How Rewilding Works

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 we won't have to go off-Earth after all.
Thu, 25 Sep 2014 09:00:00 -0400

The Ghosts of Evolution

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 flora and fauna affect evolution? Will humans be added to the list of ghosts haunting the evolutionary halls of Earth?
Tue, 23 Sep 2014 09:00:00 -0400

Money and Happiness

Can money buy happiness? Find out if being flush with cash really makes a difference in your outlook.
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:00:00 -0400

Greed Redux

Would you like more money? Sure, we all would. In this encore presentation, Julie and Robert dive into the world of Scrooge McDuck, King Midas and look at how greed is expressed in the brain.
Tue, 16 Sep 2014 11:04:46 -0400

The Myth of Average

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.
Thu, 11 Sep 2014 09:00:00 -0400

Ignorance is Bliss

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 information aversion.
Tue, 09 Sep 2014 10:42:15 -0400

Attention Schema Theory: Consciousness and God

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 it really all about?
Thu, 04 Sep 2014 11:02:40 -0400

Gaming the Flow

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?
Tue, 02 Sep 2014 10:42:20 -0400

Syphilis Through The Ages

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 cultural effects, from powdered wigs and false noses to surgical advances and vampire myths.
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 12:19:01 -0400

Syphilis: The Great Imitator

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 disfiguring, debilitating and deadly ways. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore the science of Syphilis.
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 10:37:21 -0400

The Mathematics of Happiness

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.
Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:38:36 -0400

The Power of Origami

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.
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 10:49:18 -0400

Quarantine

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.
Thu, 14 Aug 2014 12:29:10 -0400

Understanding Ebola

The word “Ebola” is enough to summon feelings of fear, body horror and even xenophobia. But don’t give in to paranoia. Tune in to this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind as Robert and Julie arm you with information about Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever.
Tue, 12 Aug 2014 11:20:48 -0400

The Scientist and the Shaman: 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 human bodies have trace elements of DMT? Find out in this classic episode of STBYM.
Thu, 07 Aug 2014 12:10:17 -0400

The Scientist and the Shaman: 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 the common ground shared by these disciplines in a classic episode of STBYM.
Tue, 05 Aug 2014 16:29:21 -0400

Wind Beneath My Surgical Wings, Part 2

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 all about it in this classic episode of STBYM.
Thu, 31 Jul 2014 13:27:34 -0400

Wind Beneath My Surgical Wings, Part 1

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. Learn all about it in this classic episode of STBYM.
Tue, 29 Jul 2014 14:46:22 -0400

Lost Continent: Part 2

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 mere whimsy and fictional fancy. Amid the dreams and occult whispers, reason and science emerge to dazzle the imagination.
Thu, 24 Jul 2014 10:34:26 -0400

Lost Continent: Part 1

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 mere whimsy and fictional fancy. Amid the dreams and occult whispers, reason and science emerge to dazzle the imagination.
Tue, 22 Jul 2014 13:15:20 -0400

Humanity's Lullaby

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.
Thu, 17 Jul 2014 10:32:52 -0400

Earwax: Portable Time Capsules

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.
Tue, 15 Jul 2014 11:39:13 -0400

Ballad of the Electric Fish

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.
Thu, 10 Jul 2014 13:15:53 -0400

Junk Food Junkies

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.
Tue, 08 Jul 2014 15:32:08 -0400

Designer Genes

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.
Thu, 03 Jul 2014 13:32:45 -0400

Summer Reading 2014

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.
Tue, 01 Jul 2014 12:40:02 -0400

A Perfect Circle

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.
Thu, 26 Jun 2014 16:27:38 -0400

Neural Pixie Dust

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 Mind.
Tue, 24 Jun 2014 14:06:25 -0400

The Science of H.P. Lovecraft

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
Thu, 19 Jun 2014 16:38:32 -0400

Listener Mail: The Power of Names

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?
Tue, 17 Jun 2014 14:41:10 -0400

The Future of Addiction

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 stimulation, vaccines and other treatments to help win the battle.
Thu, 12 Jun 2014 13:18:58 -0400

The Science of Addiction

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.
Tue, 10 Jun 2014 17:01:01 -0400

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 classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Thu, 05 Jun 2014 11:16:52 -0400

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 show’s ecological message.
Tue, 03 Jun 2014 15:28:42 -0400

Supernormal Stimuli

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 you can condense the sensory world into nuggets of superstimuli. Join Robert and Julie as they discuss junk food, gaming, pornography, the Internet and beauty itself all in the framework of natural biology.
Thu, 29 May 2014 12:18:04 -0400

Heartbeat in the Brain, Hole in the Skull

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 trepanation advocates have a point in their quest to free the brain’s heartbeat from its prison of bone? Tune in to this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind to find out.
Tue, 27 May 2014 14:49:48 -0400

You Are Here: Proprioception

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 reach out for yourself…
Thu, 22 May 2014 13:02:23 -0400

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 Your Mind podcast episode.
Tue, 20 May 2014 15:20:19 -0400

The Science of Beards

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.
Thu, 15 May 2014 16:02:02 -0400

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 do more of Earth's bidding. Mahahahahawaha.
Tue, 13 May 2014 15:53:06 -0400

Future Shock: Part II

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 about. How did his predictions hold up and how can we stave off the terrors of future shock? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Thu, 08 May 2014 15:34:34 -0400

Future Shock: Part I

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 about. How did his predictions hold up and how can we stave off the terrors of future shock? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Tue, 06 May 2014 12:53:24 -0400

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 Neotrogla genus? The females of these species boast a penis-like, sperm-collecting "gynosome," which fits perfectly inside the male's sperm-offering "phallosome." Listen to this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind and turn everything you know about gender on its head.
Thu, 01 May 2014 14:08:44 -0400

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.
Tue, 29 Apr 2014 13:16:14 -0400

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.
Thu, 24 Apr 2014 14:44:22 -0400

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 episode of Stuff to Blow your Mind to find out.
Tue, 22 Apr 2014 16:51:01 -0400

The Shadow People

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.
Thu, 17 Apr 2014 10:04:15 -0400

Can animals be gay?

If you’ve ever pondered the existence of same-sex penguin couples, then this is the podcast for you. In this classic STBYM episode, Robert and Julie explore homosexuality among animals. Why does it exist? How much of our own human baggage do we drag into this question?
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 13:35:28 -0400

Rites of Spring

Spring may be one of the most uplifiting 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?
Thu, 10 Apr 2014 11:53:37 -0400

Through the Looking Glass

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. Travel through the looking glass in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Tue, 08 Apr 2014 14:23:12 -0400

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 them in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Thu, 03 Apr 2014 12:06:29 -0400

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 Your Mind.
Tue, 01 Apr 2014 12:20:41 -0400

Labyrinths

Join Robert and Julie once more for their classic series on mazes and labryinths.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? Learn all about the calming effects of labyrinths on the mind.
Thu, 27 Mar 2014 11:40:13 -0400

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. Explore the world of mazes andhow they affect the brains of humans and rats.
Tue, 25 Mar 2014 14:12:36 -0400

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 real science of Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder or HPPD.
Thu, 20 Mar 2014 16:33:18 -0400

A Musical Time Machine for the Brain

What is music doing to our perception of time? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind with Robert and Julie.  
Tue, 18 Mar 2014 13:28:03 -0400

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.
Thu, 13 Mar 2014 14:06:27 -0400

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 land humans on a predator’s dinner menu.
Tue, 11 Mar 2014 14:34:53 -0400

Listener Mail: 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.
Thu, 06 Mar 2014 16:47:03 -0500

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 revealed in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Tue, 04 Mar 2014 13:05:45 -0500

Empathic Elephants

Elephants are amazing, majestic creatures for a number of reasons – including their startling capacity for empathy. Join Robert and Julie as they discuss these gentle giants and their highly intelligent, social qualities.
Thu, 27 Feb 2014 14:16:11 -0500

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 with Robert and Julie.   
Tue, 25 Feb 2014 13:42:26 -0500

Reincarnation Blues

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 appeal to us? And what, if anything, can science tell us about the survival of the soul? Join Robert and Julie for a rich discussion on the reincarnation.
Thu, 20 Feb 2014 15:51:04 -0500

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 apex predator’s head.” We may be the most successful species in existence, but that doesn’t mean sleep is just another one of our “choices” as a human being. It is a necessity for survival, even though it requires immobility and vulnerability. Prepare to meet the night janitors of the human brain.
Tue, 18 Feb 2014 12:15:59 -0500

My Slimey Valentine: Slug Sex Revisited

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 and snails. Originally published in 2013, the episode is now updated with a new page from the slug Kama Sutra that will leave you squirming.
Thu, 13 Feb 2014 11:35:09 -0500

The Problem of Immortality: Terror Management Theory

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, reincarnation, bodily resurrection and the immaterial soul. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie discuss the Terror Management Theory, which holds that fear of death and the quest for immortality command every facet of our lives. Discover how reminders of mortality affect or personal ethics and decision making, from the cash register to the voting booth.
Tue, 11 Feb 2014 12:09:00 -0500

Leechpunk: 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 for all sorts of vein-tapping goodness.
Thu, 06 Feb 2014 15:11:50 -0500

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?
Tue, 04 Feb 2014 12:41:01 -0500

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?
Thu, 30 Jan 2014 17:31:32 -0500

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.
Tue, 28 Jan 2014 11:53:30 -0500

Memory/Story Editing

Ever wish you could take a troubling event from your past and dial down the memory without subjecting yourself to total recall erasure?
Thu, 23 Jan 2014 11:52:13 -0500

Werewolf Principle: Adapting Humans for Space

Will astronauts of the future be able to adapt their physiology for long-term space travel and life on other planets? In this episode, Robert and Julie explore the ideal physical modifications that could theoretically create the world's best astronaut.
Tue, 21 Jan 2014 11:29:08 -0500

Hibernation: The Ultimate Suspended Animation

What is hibernation exactly? Revisit the topic with Julie and Robert as they enter the hibernacula and discuss this perplexing biologic state.
Thu, 16 Jan 2014 09:00:00 -0500

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?
Tue, 14 Jan 2014 09:00:00 -0500

Beauty and the Beholder

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.
Thu, 09 Jan 2014 12:06:27 -0500

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, Robert and Julie explore the answers in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Thu, 09 Jan 2014 12:06:00 -0500

Brain Hacking 101: 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.
Tue, 07 Jan 2014 09:00:00 -0500

Cluttered Desks, Cluttered Minds & 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.
Thu, 02 Jan 2014 13:39:23 -0500

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.
Tue, 31 Dec 2013 09:00:00 -0500

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.
Thu, 26 Dec 2013 09:00:00 -0500

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.
Tue, 24 Dec 2013 09:00:00 -0500

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.
Thu, 19 Dec 2013 09:00:00 -0500

Carrot and Stick: A Genetic Santa Story

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.
Tue, 17 Dec 2013 09:00:00 -0500

Fist Bumps vs. Bacteria

Can a simple fist bump help us out in a war against antibiotic resistant bacteria? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Thu, 12 Dec 2013 09:00:00 -0500

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 leavings. Learn all about it in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.  
Tue, 10 Dec 2013 09:00:00 -0500

Welcome to the Panopticon

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 physical and metaphorical prison.
Thu, 05 Dec 2013 10:49:58 -0500

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.
Tue, 03 Dec 2013 09:00:00 -0500

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 just in time for Thanksgiving.
Thu, 28 Nov 2013 09:00:00 -0500

Into the Mouth of Thanksgiving

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 distant ancestors may have had better chompers than ours.
Tue, 26 Nov 2013 12:58:39 -0500

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.
Thu, 21 Nov 2013 10:21:48 -0500

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.
Tue, 19 Nov 2013 09:00:00 -0500

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.
Thu, 14 Nov 2013 13:42:18 -0500

The Science of Cute

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.
Tue, 12 Nov 2013 09:00:00 -0500

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 autotomy in both the vertebrate and invertebrate worlds. Plus why can’t humans do this? And how might it benefit regeneration science?
Thu, 07 Nov 2013 09:00:00 -0500

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.
Tue, 05 Nov 2013 15:24:32 -0500

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 for this special Halloween edition of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Thu, 31 Oct 2013 11:08:09 -0400

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 explore the mythic, anthropologic and scientific dimensions of this fearsome legend.
Tue, 29 Oct 2013 14:02:44 -0400

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.
Thu, 24 Oct 2013 15:53:42 -0400

Naked Terror

Is there a link between nudity and fear? Nudists and never-nudes alike can find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Tue, 22 Oct 2013 13:13:20 -0400

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.
Thu, 17 Oct 2013 10:26:29 -0400

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.
Tue, 15 Oct 2013 12:22:31 -0400

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.
Thu, 10 Oct 2013 12:20:02 -0400

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?
Tue, 08 Oct 2013 11:10:06 -0400

Dread Anxiety

What is dread and how are we supposed to cope with it? Find out in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Thu, 03 Oct 2013 13:25:52 -0400

Teaching Robots to Love

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.
Tue, 01 Oct 2013 10:54:18 -0400

Tyrannosaurus Sex

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?
Thu, 26 Sep 2013 11:55:47 -0400

Ouroboros: The Tail-Eating Serpent

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 can be seen in everything from storms on Saturn to nanotechnology.
Tue, 24 Sep 2013 12:27:03 -0400

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 actually may be balm for the soul.
Thu, 19 Sep 2013 14:13:19 -0400

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 list.
Tue, 17 Sep 2013 11:33:28 -0400

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 not-so-real science of the deadly “sharknado.”
Thu, 12 Sep 2013 11:56:40 -0400

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 explore the manner by which clothing items allow us to wrap ourselves in symbolic power and become something new.
Tue, 10 Sep 2013 12:04:33 -0400

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.
Thu, 05 Sep 2013 17:05:54 -0400

Here There Be Sea Monsters

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 whales the size of islands.
Tue, 03 Sep 2013 10:35:39 -0400

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 explore the world of cannibalistic insects and their kin.
Thu, 29 Aug 2013 13:15:34 -0400

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 special gloves? All this and more shall be revealed…
Tue, 27 Aug 2013 13:54:34 -0400

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 – and how they constantly influence our unconscious mind.
Thu, 22 Aug 2013 17:02:20 -0400

Walls

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.
Tue, 20 Aug 2013 12:07:57 -0400

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 shall be discussed.
Thu, 15 Aug 2013 12:47:08 -0400

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.
Thu, 08 Aug 2013 13:29:57 -0400

Sideshow Secrets Revealed

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.
Tue, 06 Aug 2013 12:23:16 -0400

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 ponderings over the Dante’s “Inferno” and Milton’s “Paradise Lost” from modern mathematicians, meteorologists and even Galileo.
Thu, 01 Aug 2013 14:05:25 -0400

The Problem of Hell

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 of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie discuss the origins of belief in Hell, the philosophical problems it entails and just what sociologists and economists think about its effects on the real world.
Tue, 30 Jul 2013 11:45:43 -0400

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, Robert and Julie discuss the ways in which we might manage or even engineer the microbiology of these indoor worlds.
Thu, 25 Jul 2013 12:38:42 -0400

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.
Tue, 23 Jul 2013 11:51:07 -0400

The Mystery of Human Consciousness

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 philosophic warnings of the New Mysterians.
Thu, 18 Jul 2013 12:31:51 -0400

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 meanings behind insect songs.
Tue, 16 Jul 2013 09:35:21 -0400

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 synchronicity and social adaptation.
Thu, 11 Jul 2013 11:35:48 -0400

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 rhythmic rubbing of stakes. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie take you inside the world of worm grunting.
Tue, 09 Jul 2013 11:04:43 -0400

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.
Thu, 04 Jul 2013 11:27:30 -0400

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 investigation collide.
Tue, 02 Jul 2013 14:41:20 -0400

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.
Thu, 27 Jun 2013 10:18:31 -0400

Clocking In: The Nature of Time

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.
Tue, 25 Jun 2013 12:15:42 -0400

Summer Reading: Guest Picks

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 podcast hosts Cristen Conger, Lauren Vogelbaum and Tracy V. Wilson pop in with titles as well.
Thu, 20 Jun 2013 10:12:38 -0400

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 graphic novels. Something here might just make your summer.
Tue, 18 Jun 2013 13:55:56 -0400

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 episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 13:45:10 -0400

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 science of the womb-to-tomb wet box.
Tue, 11 Jun 2013 11:59:09 -0400

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 of science literate brainiacs? Stuff to Blow Your Mind travels to Finland (metaphorically) to find out.
Wed, 05 Jun 2013 10:21:05 -0400

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 and physiology – and to what extent is one driving the other? Find out in this Stuff to Blow Your Mind episode.
Tue, 04 Jun 2013 13:01:31 -0400

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 audience member. Why do we fall for it? What’s going on in the brain? All shall be explained in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your mind.
Thu, 30 May 2013 11:17:49 -0400

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.
Tue, 28 May 2013 11:46:42 -0400

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.
Thu, 23 May 2013 10:38:02 -0400

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.
Tue, 21 May 2013 13:52:54 -0400

The Status of Flatus

What is a fart? What’s the science behind passing gas and why does volume, frequency and stench vary so much from person to person? Answers await, gentle listener, as Robert and Julie discuss the biology behind breaking wind.
Thu, 16 May 2013 11:54:56 -0400

Zombie Apocalypse PSA

Atlanta is in shambles. Parasite-infected humans wander the streets, attacking everyone in sight. Robert and Julie hole up in the HSW headquarters to shed light on the “zombie outbreak” by highlighting real-life examples of zombification by parasitic organisms.
Tue, 14 May 2013 14:17:39 -0400

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 things.
Thu, 09 May 2013 15:42:41 -0400

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 your liquefied food.
Tue, 07 May 2013 17:09:19 -0400

Nude Space Walk

In order to travel in space, humans have to bring a fragment of their native environment with them. But what would happen if you took off your helmet or launched out the airlock in the buff? In this episode, Robert and Julie look for the answers.
Thu, 02 May 2013 18:06:26 -0400

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, Robert and Julie examine the mental strains of life and space and how to address them.
Tue, 30 Apr 2013 14:12:47 -0400

Eaten Alive!

Ah, to be swallowed whole by a colossal beast. To some this idea is bliss; to most it’s the stuff of nightmares. But can any creature truly swallow a human whole? Join Robert and Julie as they adventure into the belly of a colossal whale.
Thu, 25 Apr 2013 13:10:29 -0400

From Nose to Tail: 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 stomach science.
Tue, 23 Apr 2013 15:55:27 -0400

Talking 'Gulp' With Mary Roach

We all love Mary Roach, so in this episode 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 questions and discuss how to eat with your butt.
Thu, 18 Apr 2013 16:50:23 -0400

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 basecamp: a world of smell, taste, saliva and gnashing teeth.
Tue, 16 Apr 2013 14:37:17 -0400

Human Lightning Rods

Some folk claim to attract undue attention from electrical storms. But what does science have to say about people who incur the wrath of Thor upwards of six or seven times? In this episode, Robert and Julie explore the world of human lightning rods.
Thu, 11 Apr 2013 17:01:15 -0400

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’s happening? In this episode, Robert and Julie discuss personal magnetism and why your watches keep breaking.
Tue, 09 Apr 2013 13:21:07 -0400

3D Printer of the Gods II

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.
Thu, 04 Apr 2013 16:31:01 -0400

STBYM Listener Mail Extravaganza

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.
Mon, 01 Apr 2013 11:04:23 -0400

3D Printer of the Gods, Part 1

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.
Fri, 29 Mar 2013 19:16:35 -0400

Slay Your Paper Tigers

We all know paperwork is nothing like battling a tiger -- but do our bodies know? Is our brain wired for fight or flight regardless of the modern stakes? Join Julie and Robert as they discuss how and why our brains interpret annoyances as ancient enemies.
Thu, 28 Mar 2013 16:06:43 -0400

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 learn more.
Tue, 26 Mar 2013 13:01:21 -0400

Talking 'Space Chronicles' with Neil DeGrasse Tyson

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.
Fri, 22 Mar 2013 16:57:56 -0400

SETI: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Part 2

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.
Thu, 21 Mar 2013 16:50:50 -0400

SETI: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, Part 1

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.
Tue, 19 Mar 2013 15:52:58 -0400

Wind Beneath My Surgical Wings, Part 2

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.
Mon, 18 Mar 2013 14:38:14 -0400

Wind Beneath My Surgical Wings, Part 1

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.
Thu, 14 Mar 2013 16:34:33 -0400

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 those Leprechaun encounters.
Tue, 12 Mar 2013 14:52:38 -0400

Pica: Dirt for Dinner

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.
Thu, 07 Mar 2013 17:41:45 -0500

Elevators and the Humans who Use Them

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.
Tue, 05 Mar 2013 12:42:45 -0500

Regurgitation Celebration

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.
Thu, 28 Feb 2013 14:50:11 -0500

Ghost in the Genetic Machine: Humans

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.
Tue, 26 Feb 2013 12:38:17 -0500

Ghost in the Genetic Machine: Animals

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.
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 13:13:46 -0500

The Memory of Slime

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.
Tue, 19 Feb 2013 12:41:36 -0500

My Slimey Valentine: The Slug Life

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 and snails.
Thu, 14 Feb 2013 16:33:36 -0500

Trilogy of Slime: Tales of Slimedom in the Animal Kingdom

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.
Tue, 12 Feb 2013 15:24:37 -0500

Multitasking Maniacs and the One Track Mind

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.
Thu, 07 Feb 2013 16:48:15 -0500

Interrupting Cow: Multitasking, Interruptions and Distractions

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.
Tue, 05 Feb 2013 11:26:20 -0500

Pineal Optics: My Third Eye

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.
Thu, 31 Jan 2013 10:44:49 -0500

Undercover Actors and the Shadow Self

Whether you're an undercover cop, an actor or just playing nice at work, you've had experience pretending to be a someone else. But how does it affect the real you? Join Robert and Julie as they delve into the science of personality and the shadow self.
Tue, 29 Jan 2013 15:21:02 -0500

Wrestling with Kayfabe (with guest Colt Cabana)

Professional wrestling is somwhat of a cultural oddity, as it blurs the lines between reality, fiction, sport and theatre. Join Robert, Julie and “Art of Wrestling” podcaster Colt Cabana as they lock up with wrestling’s mind-twisting layers of fiction.
Thu, 24 Jan 2013 15:32:24 -0500

Cool Science You May Have Missed in 2012

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.
Tue, 22 Jan 2013 14:13:50 -0500

Big Science of 2012

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.
Thu, 17 Jan 2013 12:12:30 -0500

Willpower

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.
Tue, 15 Jan 2013 16:38:13 -0500

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? Join Robert and Julie as they discuss the calming effects that labyrinths have on the mind.
Thu, 10 Jan 2013 16:23:46 -0500

Mazes

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.
Tue, 08 Jan 2013 16:58:58 -0500

I Was a Teenage Teen: The Science of Teen Angst

The teenage brain is a wonderful thing, full of intense rewiring and rapid shifts in priority. In this episode, Julie and Robert reminisce about the teenagers they were and just what was going on in their brains to fuel all that odd, erratic behavior.
Thu, 03 Jan 2013 16:42:53 -0500

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.
Tue, 01 Jan 2013 15:08:01 -0500

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 human bodies have trace elements of DMT?
Thu, 27 Dec 2012 11:43:34 -0500

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 the common ground shared by these disciplines.
Fri, 21 Dec 2012 12:48:09 -0500

Nutmeg: The Scary Spice

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.
Thu, 20 Dec 2012 16:10:38 -0500

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 to the rest of the animal kingdom.
Tue, 18 Dec 2012 17:08:59 -0500

The Dark Side of Creativity

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.
Thu, 13 Dec 2012 15:43:51 -0500

Parasite Got Your Tongue?

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.
Tue, 11 Dec 2012 15:26:34 -0500

The Killing Joke

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.
Thu, 06 Dec 2012 17:36:11 -0500

The Healing Power of Laughter

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.
Tue, 04 Dec 2012 16:00:01 -0500

Why Fingerprints?

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.
Thu, 29 Nov 2012 17:26:29 -0500

Jive Turkey

As another Turkey Day dawns on the US, Julie and Robert stop to consider the great bird itself. Join them as they dive into the history of this avian, discuss the origins of its name and how humans continue to bend the bird to their Thanksgiving desires.
Tue, 27 Nov 2012 13:01:56 -0500

The Science of Comfort

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.
Thu, 22 Nov 2012 09:50:44 -0500

We Are All Scientists

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.
Tue, 20 Nov 2012 17:15:26 -0500

How to Think Like a Child

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.
Thu, 15 Nov 2012 15:42:01 -0500

Consider the Packrat

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.
Tue, 13 Nov 2012 16:11:09 -0500

Hammer of the Witches

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?
Thu, 08 Nov 2012 11:53:31 -0500

Anthropocene: The Age of Man

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 Julie and Robert as they ask hard questions about humanity’s relationship with Earth.
Tue, 06 Nov 2012 16:04:42 -0500

Ordovician Waters: Life in the Age of Trilobites

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.
Thu, 01 Nov 2012 16:43:26 -0400

Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board

Ever reach out to the spirit world? Or stare into a dark mirror for Bloody Mary? Or perhaps levitation was more your style. In this episode, Julie and Robert bust through the fantasy of these paranormal parlor tricks and examine the underlying science.
Wed, 31 Oct 2012 15:25:29 -0400

The Science of Haunted Houses

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.
Thu, 25 Oct 2012 14:50:40 -0400

How do Animals Map the World?

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.
Tue, 23 Oct 2012 13:20:49 -0400

Cartocacoethes: Map Mania!

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.
Thu, 18 Oct 2012 15:01:22 -0400

The Map-addled Brain

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.
Tue, 16 Oct 2012 12:50:57 -0400

Ig Nobel: Strange Science Part 2

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.
Thu, 11 Oct 2012 16:12:11 -0400

Ig Nobel: Strange Science, Part 1

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.
Tue, 09 Oct 2012 13:14:54 -0400

Cat People

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.
Thu, 04 Oct 2012 16:06:07 -0400

The Song of the Bat

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.
Tue, 02 Oct 2012 15:32:49 -0400

The Wild World of Bats

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.
Thu, 27 Sep 2012 16:29:34 -0400

Fire Walk With Me

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.
Tue, 25 Sep 2012 13:52:09 -0400

Life in the Plastic Palace

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.
Thu, 20 Sep 2012 16:29:33 -0400

Sleep No More

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.
Tue, 18 Sep 2012 15:10:09 -0400

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 resources.
Thu, 13 Sep 2012 17:49:40 -0400

The Mind of the Kraken

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.
Tue, 11 Sep 2012 15:11:43 -0400

The King-sized World of Gigantism

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.
Thu, 06 Sep 2012 14:51:34 -0400

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 half-human and half-fish.
Tue, 04 Sep 2012 12:58:56 -0400

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 learn more.
Thu, 30 Aug 2012 11:08:06 -0400

Personhood: The Animal and Robot Edition

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.
Tue, 28 Aug 2012 12:07:16 -0400

Personhood: The Human Edition

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.
Thu, 23 Aug 2012 13:18:08 -0400

It's Performance Art: Challenging Human Nature

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 Abramović and Stelarc.
Tue, 21 Aug 2012 14:28:23 -0400

The Amazing Minds of Infants

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.
Thu, 16 Aug 2012 15:34:15 -0400

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Robot

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?
Tue, 14 Aug 2012 15:18:33 -0400

The Penis Episode, Part Two

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).
Thu, 09 Aug 2012 17:26:57 -0400

The Penis Episode, Part One

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.
Tue, 07 Aug 2012 15:34:51 -0400

I Scream, You Scream

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.
Thu, 02 Aug 2012 14:58:57 -0400

Fecal Fossils: The Cave of Forgotten Poops

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.
Tue, 31 Jul 2012 13:22:41 -0400

There Once Was a Boson Named Higgs

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.
Thu, 26 Jul 2012 08:55:11 -0400

Yoga, Sex and Magic

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.
Tue, 24 Jul 2012 10:35:13 -0400

The Science of Downward Dog

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?
Thu, 19 Jul 2012 14:42:31 -0400

Eliminating River Blindness

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.
Tue, 17 Jul 2012 15:32:56 -0400

Magicology: The Science of Magic

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.
Thu, 12 Jul 2012 14:47:25 -0400

The Art and Science of Camouflage

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.
Tue, 10 Jul 2012 11:57:39 -0400

Life in the Weightless Void

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.
Thu, 05 Jul 2012 15:32:29 -0400

An Internet that Spans the Stars

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.
Tue, 03 Jul 2012 13:03:17 -0400

Meet Your Bacterial Masters

" 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."
Thu, 28 Jun 2012 14:06:51 -0400

The Search for a New Earth

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 elsewhere in the universe.
Tue, 26 Jun 2012 16:51:46 -0400

The Science of 'Prometheus'

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.
Thu, 21 Jun 2012 13:37:00 -0400

Fiction: Reality's Secret Master

" 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.
Tue, 19 Jun 2012 13:13:26 -0400

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.
Thu, 14 Jun 2012 17:41:32 -0400

The Bad Seed

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?
Tue, 12 Jun 2012 12:59:47 -0400

The Sound Aquatic

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.
Thu, 07 Jun 2012 11:02:04 -0400

Asteroid Gold Rush

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.
Tue, 05 Jun 2012 14:35:21 -0400

The Centaur with Two Hearts

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.
Thu, 31 May 2012 11:20:47 -0400

Summer Reading List

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.
Tue, 29 May 2012 12:38:44 -0400

Mitochondrial Eve

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.
Thu, 24 May 2012 12:06:56 -0400

The Skin We Live In

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.
Tue, 22 May 2012 13:30:21 -0400

Nebula in a Box

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."
Thu, 17 May 2012 14:37:09 -0400

Three Minutes Till Impact

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.
Tue, 15 May 2012 15:26:10 -0400

Touching the Void: Psychedelics and Death

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.
Thu, 10 May 2012 13:53:19 -0400

Walls

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.
Tue, 08 May 2012 13:12:46 -0400

Hibernation: The Ultimate Suspended Animation!

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.
Thu, 03 May 2012 11:18:02 -0400

Space Junk in the Trunk

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.
Tue, 01 May 2012 12:34:47 -0400

Contact Lenses of the Gods

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.
Thu, 26 Apr 2012 11:24:07 -0400

Oh the Lucid Dreams we Weave ...

" Whether we’re 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.
Tue, 24 Apr 2012 12:36:56 -0400

Voyager and the Scale of our Solar System

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.
Thu, 19 Apr 2012 11:37:41 -0400

The Odorous Language of Plants

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.
Tue, 17 Apr 2012 12:37:37 -0400

Illusions and Light

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.
Fri, 13 Apr 2012 12:48:23 -0400

The Seven Deadlies: 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.
Tue, 10 Apr 2012 10:26:23 -0400

Cat Parasites Conquer the World

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.
Thu, 05 Apr 2012 15:23:16 -0400

The Seven Deadlies: 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.
Tue, 03 Apr 2012 11:30:05 -0400

Virtual Sex and Linked Dreaming

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.
Thu, 29 Mar 2012 13:20:28 -0400

The Seven Deadlies: 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 lust.
Tue, 27 Mar 2012 13:04:56 -0400

Organisms: Heavyweight Division

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.
Thu, 22 Mar 2012 12:27:56 -0400

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 creatures (and more).
Tue, 20 Mar 2012 13:32:14 -0400

Stendhal Syndrome: Kicked in the Brain by Art

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.
Thu, 15 Mar 2012 09:57:20 -0400

The Seven Deadlies: Grasping 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 more.
Tue, 13 Mar 2012 12:49:05 -0400

Novelty Junkies

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?
Thu, 08 Mar 2012 11:14:01 -0500

The Seven Deadlies: Glutton Chops

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 gluttony.
Tue, 06 Mar 2012 11:43:39 -0500

Tidally Locked Perpetual Darkness

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.
Thu, 01 Mar 2012 11:26:52 -0500

The Seven Deadlies: Green With 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.
Tue, 28 Feb 2012 12:51:02 -0500

The Fantastic Voyage of Endoscopic Cameras

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.
Thu, 23 Feb 2012 11:21:03 -0500

The Seven Deadlies: Pride Cometh Before the Brain

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 pride.
Tue, 21 Feb 2012 13:56:30 -0500

Absolute Disgust

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.
Thu, 16 Feb 2012 11:45:27 -0500

Monogamy Shamogamy

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?
Tue, 14 Feb 2012 11:24:30 -0500

Can animals be gay?

If you’ve ever pondered the existence of same-sex penguin couples, then this is the podcast for you. In this episode, Julie and Robert explore homosexuality among animals. Why does it exist? How much of our own human baggage do we drag into this question?
Thu, 09 Feb 2012 08:56:18 -0500

In the Lair of the Rat King

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.
Tue, 07 Feb 2012 11:21:49 -0500

Virgin Galactic: $200,000 Ticket to Ride

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?
Thu, 02 Feb 2012 10:47:51 -0500

The Existential Horror of the Humanzee

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.
Tue, 31 Jan 2012 09:48:24 -0500

We Are Stardust

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.
Thu, 26 Jan 2012 12:16:51 -0500

Hug it Out

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.
Tue, 24 Jan 2012 10:44:57 -0500

The Science of Arguing

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.
Thu, 19 Jan 2012 10:16:32 -0500

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 discuss plans for a Living Earth Simulator.
Tue, 17 Jan 2012 13:34:20 -0500

Would You Rather: Bug Diet vs. Bacteria Diet

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.
Thu, 12 Jan 2012 12:20:55 -0500

Black Blizzards of the Dust Bowl

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?
Tue, 10 Jan 2012 13:24:14 -0500

Cheating in the Name of

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.
Thu, 05 Jan 2012 12:08:55 -0500

The Way of the Sword

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.
Tue, 03 Jan 2012 11:20:49 -0500

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 to cure the condition.
Thu, 29 Dec 2011 13:24:25 -0500

Newton: The Chuck Norris of Science

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.
Tue, 27 Dec 2011 14:03:02 -0500

Sunken Dangers

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.
Thu, 22 Dec 2011 08:50:14 -0500

Spontaneous Human Combustion

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 Robert enter the dubious world of spontaneous human combustion. Where does the science end and the nonsense begin?
Tue, 20 Dec 2011 13:01:53 -0500

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 manufacturing.
Thu, 15 Dec 2011 12:29:07 -0500

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 things Pandora should never have opened. You might even score a gift idea or two.
Tue, 13 Dec 2011 11:47:51 -0500

Nanohealthcare: The Tiny Doctors Inside Me

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.
Thu, 08 Dec 2011 11:17:00 -0500

Pyromania: What's Your Relationship with Fire?

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.
Tue, 06 Dec 2011 12:22:25 -0500

The Hashtag Heard Round the World

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.
Thu, 01 Dec 2011 10:45:47 -0500

Why do we protest?

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.
Tue, 29 Nov 2011 11:41:33 -0500

The Future of Stink

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.
Thu, 24 Nov 2011 14:19:49 -0500

Living with Robots: Can we build a better bot?

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.
Tue, 22 Nov 2011 11:50:56 -0500

Smells to Blow Your Mind

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.
Thu, 17 Nov 2011 12:38:07 -0500

Living With Robots: Worst Roomates Ever

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.
Tue, 15 Nov 2011 08:33:28 -0500

Martyrdom: Transcendence on the Rack

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.
Thu, 10 Nov 2011 12:04:23 -0500

This is Your Brain on Art

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?
Tue, 08 Nov 2011 13:35:17 -0500

The Science of Sports Fandom

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.
Thu, 03 Nov 2011 08:54:22 -0400

Humanity's Love Affair with an Apocalypse

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 apocalyptic love affair.
Tue, 01 Nov 2011 12:42:56 -0400

The Science of 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 of science-gone-wrong.
Thu, 27 Oct 2011 13:18:57 -0400

What's in a witches brew?

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.
Tue, 25 Oct 2011 12:17:24 -0400

The Candy Corn Menace

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.
Thu, 20 Oct 2011 10:16:07 -0400

The Creepy Cool World of Imaginary Friends

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.
Tue, 18 Oct 2011 11:12:08 -0400

Hulking Out With Hysterical Strength

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.
Thu, 13 Oct 2011 09:23:26 -0400

Evolution and the Orgasm Wars

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.
Tue, 11 Oct 2011 14:23:29 -0400

The Bystander Effect and You

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.
Thu, 06 Oct 2011 09:12:03 -0400

The Science of Lucky Pants

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.
Tue, 04 Oct 2011 11:54:39 -0400

Splendid Isolation

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.
Thu, 29 Sep 2011 12:00:34 -0400

Science of Pet Peeves

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.
Tue, 27 Sep 2011 11:43:34 -0400

Interview: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson

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.
Thu, 22 Sep 2011 10:12:09 -0400

Misophonia: Why Your Brain Hates the Sound of Gum Chewing

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.
Tue, 20 Sep 2011 11:56:42 -0400

Is free will an illusion?

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.
Thu, 15 Sep 2011 13:45:11 -0400

What if Earth was a cube?

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.
Tue, 13 Sep 2011 10:57:51 -0400

Decision Fatigue: Death by 1,000 Choices

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.
Thu, 08 Sep 2011 09:38:15 -0400

The Procrastinating Brain

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.
Tue, 06 Sep 2011 12:01:23 -0400

The Science of False Memories

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.
Thu, 01 Sep 2011 13:34:00 -0400

Don't Eat The Panda

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.
Tue, 30 Aug 2011 10:49:13 -0400

The Big Sting: Wasps vs. Bees

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.
Thu, 25 Aug 2011 11:33:54 -0400

Can my nightmares kill me?

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.
Tue, 23 Aug 2011 12:14:40 -0400

The Science of Brain Wiping

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.
Thu, 18 Aug 2011 11:38:28 -0400

Brood 13: Emergence of the Cicadas

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.
Tue, 16 Aug 2011 11:03:08 -0400

Extreme Sleep: 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 extreme sleep.
Thu, 11 Aug 2011 10:01:48 -0400

The Lying Game

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.
Tue, 09 Aug 2011 13:14:17 -0400

Into the Dyson Sphere

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.
Thu, 04 Aug 2011 16:07:31 -0400

The Cognitive Dissonance of Exorcisms

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.
Tue, 02 Aug 2011 14:13:31 -0400

Sharks in Space

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.
Thu, 28 Jul 2011 11:08:20 -0400

Electronic Music

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.
Tue, 26 Jul 2011 10:37:57 -0400

Bugs, Twinkies and Ancient Foods

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?
Thu, 21 Jul 2011 12:52:18 -0400

The Pooping Duck: When Robots Digest

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.
Tue, 19 Jul 2011 15:00:26 -0400

Walt Disney the Futurist

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.
Thu, 14 Jul 2011 14:46:04 -0400

Microdrone Soup

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.
Tue, 12 Jul 2011 13:38:40 -0400

Funny or Die

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.
Thu, 07 Jul 2011 11:26:06 -0400

Gimme That Old Time 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 contact.
Tue, 05 Jul 2011 10:32:38 -0400

Math, Music and Mayhem

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.
Thu, 30 Jun 2011 11:35:45 -0400

Poking Einstein's Brain

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.
Tue, 28 Jun 2011 13:08:05 -0400

Welcome to the Memory Palace

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.
Thu, 23 Jun 2011 14:16:03 -0400

Do-it-yourself Organs

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.
Tue, 21 Jun 2011 15:50:22 -0400

Fathers of the Wild: The Good, Bad and the Ugly

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.
Thu, 16 Jun 2011 13:00:04 -0400

Are you ready for a neo-evolution?

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.
Tue, 14 Jun 2011 15:01:34 -0400

Invasion of the iPod People

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.
Thu, 09 Jun 2011 15:04:12 -0400

The Brilliant and Terrifying Future of Toilets

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.
Tue, 07 Jun 2011 14:55:10 -0400

Night of the Platypus

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.
Thu, 02 Jun 2011 13:36:41 -0400

Technology of the Ancients

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.
Tue, 31 May 2011 12:30:40 -0400

Day of the Dolphin

In 1793, 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 of the Dolphin.
Thu, 26 May 2011 18:58:00 -0400

This is Your Brain on Meditation

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.
Tue, 24 May 2011 11:54:17 -0400

Machines, Morality and Sexbots

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.
Thu, 19 May 2011 12:47:43 -0400

Is math a human invention or a human discovery?

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?
Tue, 17 May 2011 16:31:15 -0400

999 Birthday Candles

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.
Thu, 12 May 2011 15:30:41 -0400

Atomic Bomb Parties and Nuclear Fallout

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.
Tue, 10 May 2011 13:39:06 -0400

Crimes of Paleontology

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.
Thu, 05 May 2011 14:11:29 -0400

The Placebo Effect: Brain Over Pain

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.
Tue, 03 May 2011 13:50:46 -0400

Change Your Mind the Hard Way

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.
Thu, 28 Apr 2011 11:08:02 -0400

Tyrannosaurus Sex

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.
Tue, 26 Apr 2011 11:40:53 -0400

The Quest for Cyberimmortality

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.
Thu, 21 Apr 2011 15:18:50 -0400

Is privacy an illusion?

Are computers approaching singularity? Join Robert and Julie as they discuss the quest for cyberimmortality.
Tue, 19 Apr 2011 17:48:23 -0400

Five-fingered Evolutionary Discount

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.
Thu, 14 Apr 2011 13:08:49 -0400

Neuromyths: What You Think You Know About Your Brain

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.
Tue, 12 Apr 2011 15:43:33 -0400

Does your dog really love you?

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.
Thu, 07 Apr 2011 12:24:05 -0400

Lying Robots and the Lies They Tell

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.
Tue, 05 Apr 2011 11:29:51 -0400

Why Your Brain Likes Conspiracy

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.
Thu, 31 Mar 2011 15:31:00 -0400

Pope on a Cosmic Rope

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.
Tue, 29 Mar 2011 13:55:20 -0400

Germ-free Dirty Hippies

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.
Thu, 24 Mar 2011 11:26:21 -0400

Symbiosis: My So-Called Parasitic Life

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.
Tue, 22 Mar 2011 14:41:34 -0400

To Terraform or Not to Terraform?

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.
Thu, 17 Mar 2011 10:11:04 -0400

(Kick)Astrobiology

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.
Tue, 15 Mar 2011 10:12:36 -0400

Woolly Mammoths For Sale

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.
Thu, 10 Mar 2011 17:20:50 -0500

Musical Hallucinations Gone Wild

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.
Tue, 08 Mar 2011 10:46:51 -0500

Attack of the Creative Brain

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.
Thu, 03 Mar 2011 14:26:45 -0500

Eat Popcorn. Eat Popcorn. Eat Popcorn.

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.
Tue, 01 Mar 2011 13:33:13 -0500

Planet Neanderthal

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.
Thu, 24 Feb 2011 13:16:13 -0500

Defeat Your Doppelgangers

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.
Tue, 22 Feb 2011 15:05:20 -0500

Are you smarter than an ant swarm?

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.
Thu, 17 Feb 2011 15:10:11 -0500

Children of Tomorrow, Raised by Machines

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.
Tue, 15 Feb 2011 10:15:44 -0500

Love, Hate and Robots

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.
Thu, 10 Feb 2011 13:56:05 -0500

Scientists in Love

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.
Tue, 08 Feb 2011 16:16:19 -0500

Underground Robotic Highways

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.
Thu, 03 Feb 2011 13:56:27 -0500

You're Such a Tool (User)

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.
Tue, 01 Feb 2011 15:20:20 -0500

The Werewolf Principle: Adapting Humans for Space

Will astronauts of the future be able to adapt their physiology for long-term space travel and life on other planets? In this episode, Robert and Julie explore the ideal physical modifications that could theoretically create the world's best astronaut.
Thu, 27 Jan 2011 12:20:35 -0500

Are computer viruses alive?

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.
Tue, 25 Jan 2011 16:22:42 -0500

The Life Aquatic

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.
Thu, 20 Jan 2011 12:28:56 -0500

The Future of Pain

Pain is a fundamental sensations. 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.
Tue, 18 Jan 2011 14:17:06 -0500

Inception: I Dream of Science

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.
Thu, 13 Jan 2011 15:15:44 -0500

Junkies of the Animal Kingdom

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.
Tue, 11 Jan 2011 14:01:08 -0500

Solar Sail Hobos Ride the Laser

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.
Thu, 06 Jan 2011 14:56:01 -0500

Beyond Human: Accessorize!

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.
Tue, 04 Jan 2011 13:20:00 -0500

Is your gut a genius?

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.
Thu, 30 Dec 2010 15:00:59 -0500

Fine Young Cannibals

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.
Tue, 28 Dec 2010 14:48:56 -0500

Life on the 500th Floor

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.
Thu, 23 Dec 2010 13:04:01 -0500

The Rock Star Weirdo Lives of Scientists

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.
Tue, 21 Dec 2010 15:41:55 -0500

Ladies' Night on Planet Earth

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.
Thu, 16 Dec 2010 11:36:02 -0500

The Overview Effect: Tripping Out in Space

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.
Tue, 14 Dec 2010 14:34:39 -0500

If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?

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.
Thu, 09 Dec 2010 12:27:05 -0500

Probing Questions About Alien Abduction

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.
Tue, 07 Dec 2010 11:38:24 -0500

Can music rebuild my brain?

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.
Thu, 02 Dec 2010 12:10:50 -0500

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 vestigial traits.
Tue, 30 Nov 2010 15:38:00 -0500

Stuff to Literally Blow Your Mind

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.
Thu, 25 Nov 2010 01:53:04 -0500

Has science explained life after death?

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.
Tue, 23 Nov 2010 13:49:49 -0500

You're So Vain, Earthlings

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.
Thu, 18 Nov 2010 21:24:43 -0500

Alien Etiquette 101

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.
Tue, 16 Nov 2010 16:35:35 -0500

The Podcast that Turns People Inside Out

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.
Thu, 11 Nov 2010 14:34:20 -0500

Shush! The Creatures are Sleeping

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.
Tue, 09 Nov 2010 13:14:53 -0500

Man Vs. Flu

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.
Thu, 04 Nov 2010 12:10:19 -0400

Cuddling up to the Cuttlefish

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.
Tue, 02 Nov 2010 14:46:58 -0400

Into the Graveyard

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.
Thu, 28 Oct 2010 15:08:37 -0400

Hanging with Hawking

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.
Tue, 26 Oct 2010 11:35:54 -0400

Mad Scientists: Frankenstein and the Fly

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.
Thu, 21 Oct 2010 13:00:43 -0400

How Military Snipers Work

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.
Tue, 19 Oct 2010 15:42:07 -0400

We Love the Periodic Table

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.
Thu, 14 Oct 2010 16:10:55 -0400

Science vs. Monsters!

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.
Tue, 12 Oct 2010 13:16:58 -0400

Monarchs Head for the Border

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.
Thu, 07 Oct 2010 13:36:16 -0400

Noise Pollution: Pipe Down, People!

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.
Tue, 05 Oct 2010 16:46:44 -0400

Flat Stanley Across the 11th Dimension

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.
Thu, 30 Sep 2010 15:28:06 -0400

Will California fall into the ocean?

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.
Tue, 28 Sep 2010 10:58:11 -0400

The Scientific Method

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.
Thu, 23 Sep 2010 12:31:59 -0400

A Thing Called Science

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.
Tue, 21 Sep 2010 12:50:35 -0400

Altruism is Alive and Well

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.
Thu, 16 Sep 2010 14:06:29 -0400

What did that bacterium say?

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.
Tue, 14 Sep 2010 13:51:46 -0400

The Wow Signal

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.
Thu, 09 Sep 2010 11:09:10 -0400

Packing for Mars with Mary Roach

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.
Tue, 07 Sep 2010 13:24:24 -0400

Emoticons Saved My Life

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.
Thu, 02 Sep 2010 13:28:15 -0400

Mulling over Maggots

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.
Tue, 31 Aug 2010 11:50:13 -0400

Latching on to Leeches

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.
Thu, 26 Aug 2010 11:24:26 -0400

Drilling for Offshore Oil

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.
Tue, 24 Aug 2010 15:56:43 -0400

In Search of Offshore Oil

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.
Thu, 19 Aug 2010 14:39:06 -0400

Are you mosquito bait?

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.
Tue, 17 Aug 2010 17:36:15 -0400

Prehistoric Monsters of the Deep

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.
Thu, 12 Aug 2010 14:10:36 -0400

Are lefties better at sports?

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.
Tue, 10 Aug 2010 13:08:38 -0400

Evolution in Action

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.
Thu, 05 Aug 2010 13:10:01 -0400

Diamonds Are a Scientist's Best Friend

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.
Tue, 03 Aug 2010 11:56:03 -0400

The Smelly Science of Perfume

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.
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 11:31:38 -0400

Smells like Science

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.
Tue, 27 Jul 2010 13:12:31 -0400

The Great Space Elevator

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.
Thu, 22 Jul 2010 12:40:00 -0400

The Kardashev Scale

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.
Tue, 20 Jul 2010 12:49:02 -0400

What is the smart grid?

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.
Thu, 15 Jul 2010 11:57:02 -0400

Growing a Green Roof

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.
Tue, 13 Jul 2010 11:57:27 -0400

Prosthetic Limbs

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.
Thu, 08 Jul 2010 10:38:05 -0400

Predators, Reapers and Robotic War

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.
Tue, 06 Jul 2010 14:59:45 -0400

World-Changing Science Experiments: Part Two

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.
Thu, 01 Jul 2010 12:23:41 -0400

World-Changing Science Experiments: Part One

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.
Tue, 29 Jun 2010 14:14:08 -0400

Science and Wine

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.
Thu, 24 Jun 2010 10:42:21 -0400

Death on Ice

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.
Tue, 22 Jun 2010 13:15:11 -0400

Time Travel: Hey, Grandpa

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.
Thu, 17 Jun 2010 10:47:00 -0400

Time Travel: Hey, Future Self

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.
Tue, 15 Jun 2010 14:50:10 -0400

Galactic Youngsters

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.
Thu, 10 Jun 2010 14:47:32 -0400

Will aliens destroy us?

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.
Tue, 08 Jun 2010 15:29:41 -0400

What's the dirt on composting?

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.
Thu, 03 Jun 2010 14:13:34 -0400

Are robots alive?

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.
Tue, 01 Jun 2010 14:31:21 -0400

Road Trip: FIRST Robotics

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.
Thu, 27 May 2010 14:08:18 -0400

Birth of a Planet

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.
Tue, 25 May 2010 14:34:11 -0400

A Star is Born

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.
Thu, 20 May 2010 13:32:01 -0400

Why Science Fiction Matters

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.
Tue, 18 May 2010 13:50:03 -0400

Toilets in Space

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.
Thu, 13 May 2010 15:58:44 -0400

Immunocontraception and You

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.
Tue, 11 May 2010 15:09:23 -0400

Regenerate This!

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.
Thu, 06 May 2010 13:14:13 -0400

Save the Bats!

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.
Tue, 04 May 2010 14:59:23 -0400

Death By Volcano

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.
Thu, 29 Apr 2010 11:07:35 -0400

How old is that artifact in the window?

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.
Tue, 27 Apr 2010 14:00:14 -0400

What drugs are astronauts on?

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.
Thu, 22 Apr 2010 12:05:35 -0400

The Virtues of Venom

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.
Tue, 20 Apr 2010 11:56:19 -0400

Tetris vs. PTSD

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.
Thu, 15 Apr 2010 10:50:41 -0400

Velociraptor Awareness Day

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.
Tue, 13 Apr 2010 17:19:40 -0400

Black Hole Bonanza

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.
Thu, 08 Apr 2010 14:40:19 -0400

Weapons that Changed the World

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.
Tue, 06 Apr 2010 11:38:59 -0400

What can gravity do for you?

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.
Thu, 01 Apr 2010 13:04:43 -0400

Book Sniffers and You

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.
Tue, 30 Mar 2010 14:25:26 -0400

5 Strange Things Written in Your Genes

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.
Thu, 25 Mar 2010 15:12:58 -0400

Weighing the Human Soul

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.
Tue, 23 Mar 2010 15:00:56 -0400

How To Get Lost in the Bermuda Triangle

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.
Thu, 18 Mar 2010 11:56:31 -0400

Are you smarter than a dolphin?

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.
Thu, 11 Mar 2010 11:27:57 -0500

Why do whales beach themselves?

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.
Tue, 09 Mar 2010 17:32:04 -0500

Running with Parasites

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.
Thu, 04 Mar 2010 12:36:21 -0500

How Hurricane Killing Works

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.
Tue, 02 Mar 2010 14:44:44 -0500

Topsy Rides the Lighting

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.
Thu, 25 Feb 2010 11:46:47 -0500

Fight Fire with Fire

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.
Tue, 23 Feb 2010 13:15:17 -0500

Those Crazy Komodos

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.
Thu, 18 Feb 2010 11:46:33 -0500

How well do you know the T. Rex?

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.
Tue, 16 Feb 2010 14:01:51 -0500

What exactly is a gene bank?

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.
Thu, 11 Feb 2010 11:23:28 -0500

What can blood spatter tell us?

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.
Tue, 09 Feb 2010 16:48:46 -0500

Dinner in Space!

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.
Thu, 04 Feb 2010 12:16:21 -0500

Do I live next to a Grow House?

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.
Tue, 02 Feb 2010 14:27:31 -0500

Are we better off in the dark?

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.
Thu, 28 Jan 2010 11:15:04 -0500

Mining the Moon

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.
Tue, 26 Jan 2010 12:41:19 -0500

How Exploding Lakes Work

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.
Thu, 21 Jan 2010 12:24:55 -0500

How Fighting Asteroids Works

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.
Tue, 12 Jan 2010 15:15:13 -0500

Amazing Infestations!

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.
Tue, 12 Jan 2010 15:07:22 -0500
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