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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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