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

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Myth of Green Tea Hallucinations  

Read the 1945 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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