The Stuff of Life

The Stuff of Life

United States

Eavesdrop on experts and researchers as they ponder what makes our world so maddening, so strange and so achingly beautiful. Not to mention ridiculous. Join Julie Douglas for this week’s episode of The Stuff of Life, a podcast by


Wired: As Above, So Below  

America, the home of rugged individualist. Or not. Each of us is connected to each other, relies on one another, gives and takes, consciously or unconsciously weaving the web of support that it takes to make a society. Let’s face it: we need each other.


In this episode we look at how we manufacture fear in the mind with a trip back in history to a psyops mission, a visit to to a haunted attraction, and a peek into the political house of horror, “Doomocracy.”

Studies in Desperation  

1963 was a year of chaos and social upheaval. Sound familiar? Time, it would seem, is circular, something the American Survey of Fears proves out.

The Nostalgia Factory  

Ah, the “good ol days.” If America had its own brochure it would depict rocking chairs on front porches, pristine farms and tidy downtowns. But did this America ever exist?

Teen Dream  

Adolescence: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

Special Announcement: It's All Odin's Fault  

The Stuff of Life is packing up its bags and moving to Fridays. Find out why.

Men Dancing  

Some men dance, many don’t. What are the unspoken rules that govern the ways we move our body, and what does it say about our society and how we treat each other?

The Empathy Wall  

The antidote to being a jerk is empathy. And thankfully it appears to be hard-wired in the human brain. And yet … we’re increasingly casting off the ability to walk a mile in another person's shoes.

The Great Escape  

We all want to hit the eject button on reality and look for a different way to live our lives at one point or another. In this episode we explore ways of plotting that great escape.

The Big Hurt: Hate & Anger  

In this episode we look at how anger can be clarifying, even helpful, and we find out how it can morph into its more dangerous and corrupting form, hate.


No matter where you fall on the political spectrum we can all agree that more than ever, the world feels broken. In this episode, we take a trip to Washington DC on the day of the inauguration and the eve of the Women’s March.

Life the Game  

In this episode we look at the idea that life is just a game.

The First Songs  

Nature gave us the first songs -- the patterns and melodies that we replicate in instruments, and our own voices. We take a visit to the exhibit, "Wild Music," to look at our deep connection to nature and music.

Under the Weather  

The Earth is wrapped in an atmosphere that weighs 5.5 quadrillion tons. And inside this atmosphere the weather creates a crazy quilt of conditions. To say that the weather is unpredictable is to sum up our entire existence. And to personify weather is deeply human.

Map of Self  

Finding our way in the world is one of the most fundamental things we humans do, and maps map it possible. But on some level, these maps are a thing of fiction.

Mourner for Hire  

In this episode we’ll look at how, as the bereaved, we find solace in ritual – everything from providing comfort food to hiring professional mourners.

Life at the Death Café  

In this episode we put out a pot of tea, a plate of cucumber sandwiches, and we take a seat with death. What is a “good death,” how do we achieve it and how might our dreams help?

An Object Lesson  

In some ways our stuff is ourselves – it tells a story about who we are. But why do some of us develop pathological attachments to objects?

Building Eternity  

In one way or another we’re all trying to transcend death, whether it’s through an “I was here” graffiti scrawl or an e-epic-length autobiography. In this episode we look at our attempts to achieve immortality – through objects that we store in time capsules, and through the information we store in the avatars we build of ourselves.

Glossophobia: The Fear of Public Speaking  

One of the top American fears, alongside walking alone at night and personal injury, is public speaking. Find out why it can be so terrifying to step into the spotlight.

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