Podcasts

Be a Better Guesser With Fermi Estimation

 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. See more »

Far Below: The London Underground Mosquito

 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! See more »

Two Minutes To Midnight: The Doomsday Clock

 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. See more »

The Necessity of Patient Zero

 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. See more »

Life After Radiation: Sickness, Death and Sustenance

 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. See more »

One-Armed Bandits: The Science of Slot Machines

 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. See more »

Mandala: Memory Palace and Simulated Worlds

 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. See more »

Books of Flesh: Anthropodermic Bibliopegy

 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. See more »

The Secret Intellect of Animals, Part 2

 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. See more »

The Secret Intellect of Animals, Part 1

 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. See more »