Stuff To Blow Your Mind

Stuff To Blow Your Mind

United States

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

Episodes

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.

R. Scott Bakker: On Alien Philosophy & Dark 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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…

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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