Stuff To Blow Your Mind

Stuff To Blow Your Mind

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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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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