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Biology

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.

Ticks, Mites and Mysterious Lone Star Illnesses

Ticks are, in the words of Pliny the Elder, 'the foulest and nastiest creature that be.' If these blood sucking arachnids and their mite brethren weren’t horrible enough, they’re second only to the mosquito in the risk of blood borne human pathogens. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss ticks, chiggers and the mysterious illnesses associated with the lone star tick -- one of which generates a meat allergy in the host.

CRISPR and the Genetic Astronaut

In 1960, scientists Nathan Kline and Manfred Clynes envisioned a spacefaring cyborg, technologically augmented to endure the rigors of space travel. The subsequent six decades of space exploration largely ignored this radical suggestion, but the advent of gene editing tools like CRISPR present raise new questions. Might genetic alterations give future astronauts the 'right stuff?' What would the physiology of a genetically-augmented space traveler even look like? Robert and Joe explore in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.

Extended Cognition: Brain, Fingers, Web and Krang

It’s easy to think yourself a mere brain within a human body -- a cognitive machine making sense out of all the incoming sense data from outside world. But what if other parts of the body and even objects beyond the body serve a vital role in our cognition? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Joe discuss the concept of extended cognition and how it relates to the human condition, number systems, spider webs, octopuses, mantises and even a fictional alien brain monster.

Monster of the Week: Blade the Dhampir and Slime Mites

What do Blade the vampire slayer and the lowly slime mite have in common? Robert Lamb explores...

Height, Health and Human Happiness

Tall people. Short People. Somewhere-in-between people. What are we to make of human height and its relationship to overall health and personality? Robert and Christian explore in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast. All heights welcome.

Weird Wonders of House Gastropoda

The world of slugs and snails is a grotesque circus of fever-dream horrors and biological marvels. Join Robert and Christian for a six-species dive into their life cycles of slime, iron plating, deadly neurotoxins and more.

Monster of the Week: The All-Powerful Sarlacc

Robert Lamb considers the natural world parallels to the Star Wars Universe’s deadly denizen of the Great Pit of Carkoon…

H. R. Giger and the Biomechanical Soul

We’ve all seen the surreal biomechanical art of the late H.R. Giger, but the artist’s mainstream success and the undying appeal of his 'Alien' sometimes prevent a full appreciation of his dark vision. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore the psychology and themes present in Giger’s art and chat with artist E.C. Steiner on Giger’s influences and more.

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...