airlinerofthefuture-feature Retrofuturist Flashback: Air-Liner of the Future

Here’s another amazing vision of the future, this time from 1914. “Air-Liner of the Future” by C Dudley Tennant depicts an age in which transatlantic air liners soar along at 10,000 feet, but then descend in the case of an

steampunkskeptic-feature Retrofuturist Flashback: 1829 Steampunk Satire

Think of it as reverse-steampunk if you will. Instead of re-imagining an outrageous future from the affected vantage point of 19th century Europe, we see here a satirical take on our steam-driven future from the actual vantage point of 1829

simonoftrent-feature Medieval Myths of Menstruating Jewish Men

Medieval men looked down on menstruation as something unnatural and  unclean. In a word, they considered it monstrous — to the point that “menstrum” is often written as “monstrum” in the 15th century gynecological treatise “Secreta Mulierum.” According to historian

thedead-feature The Threat of Ancient Mesopotamian Zombies

As we’ve discussed in previous STBYM episodes about zombies, the notion of shambling undead hoards strikes a real chord with our modern world. They’re an endless checklist. They’re a fantasy in which indiscriminate violence solves all our problems. So zombiemania

whale-podcast-feature Podcast Notes: Eaten Alive!

So we’re really excited about our episode “Eaten Alive!” since the possibility of whole, live consumption by a giant predator is truly the stuff of human nightmares. As we discuss in the episode, there’s also something beautiful about it.  Be

Blow Your Mind: Nutmeg, the Scary Spice

Sure, you sprinkle nutmeg indifferently on your eggnog, but do you know its bloody history and psychotropic properties? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I discuss the weird, mind-bending, sickening and depressing side of an

Black Blizzards of the Dust Bowl

Just look at that photo. It was 1935 and a leviathan of dust advanced on a parched and decimated land. Families fled. Farms fell into ruin. The Dust Bowl terrorized the prairie lands of North America and threatened to turn

Blow Your Mind: Bugs, Twinkies and Ancient Foods

You are what you eat, which poses an interesting conundrum for a species that eats everything from fermented baby birds and laboratory snake cakes to fresh fruit and grains. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and

The Pooping Duck: Marvel of 18th Century Robotics

Radiolab’s recent “A Clockwork Miracle” episode concerns a sixteenth-century mechanical monk, but Jad also briefly mentions the wonders of a robotic pooping duck from the 1700s. Yep, you read that right: a centuries-old automaton designed to digest food and poop

Blow Your Mind: Technology of the Ancients

Yes, the notion of Vedic nuclear weapons decimating ancient Indian cities is a more than a bit far-fetched. Yet from the mysterious Antikythera mechanism to Archimedes’ death ray, we’re continually fascinated by the idea of ancient advanced technology. In this

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