culture

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.

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.

MSG: Umami and Chinese Restaurant Syndrome

In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the history and science of MSG and explore just why we demonized it for so long.

Wicker Men, Mock Kings and Ritualized Regicide

When you think about human sacrifice, you probably envision blood-soaked altars where the weak and defeated are massacred to a divine force. But what about situations where the most powerful member of a society, even a divine king, is sacrificed for the good of the people? Join Robert and Joe as they discuss literal, figurative and symbolic ritual regicide in human civilization.

Tooth, Mind and Soul: Dental Modification

When you think of body modification, you probably don't think about your teeth. Yet dental modification takes place throughout the world, from ancient superstitious practices to the modern cult of the Hollywood smile. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore the world of tooth filling, tooth blackening and even tooth extraction as a means to treat illness and transform the soul.

Tetris Syndrome: A Mind Made of Blocks

To play a game of "Tetris" is to invite a geometric invasion into your mind. After hours of intense block manipulation, you finally set aside your gaming device. You take a deep breath, close your eyes -- and there the frenzied, multicolored tetrominoes continue to cascade across your vision. They build walls in your dreams and shape the patterns of your very thought. What's going on inside the mind of a "Tetris" player and what can we learn from so-called "Tetris" syndrome. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore.

Final Girls: Feminism, Slashers & Culture

The "final girl" trope has become a standard horror cinema convention, in which a single strong female character outruns, outsmarts and outstabs her murderous pursuer to stand victorious amid the slain. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Christian explore the film roots, cultural resonance and symbolic power of the final girl.

Supernormal Stimuli

No longer limited by the constrains of their environment or biology, humans have remade their world. Why walk when you can soar? Why shout when you can whisper in the ear of a listener halfway round the world? And why limit yourself to normal stimuli when you can condense the sensory world into nuggets of superstimuli. Join Robert and Julie in this classic episode as they discuss junk food, gaming, pornography, the Internet and beauty itself all in the framework of natural biology.

Monster of the Week: The Gelflings of Thra

Explore the science behind the Gelflings of 'The Dark Crystal.'

Syphilis Through The Ages

It's difficult to overstate the impact of syphilis on the Western world, and it remains a threat to this day despite effective antibiotic treatments. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie explore the history of the illness and its cultural effects, from powdered wigs and false noses to surgical advances and vampire myths.