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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 »

Curious Incident of the Guinea Worm in the Dog

 Curious Incident of the Guinea Worm in the Dog

Humans have waged a decade-spanning war of extinction against the parasitic Guinea worm. With cases down roughly 99.99 percent from 1986, it would seem the struggle is nearly at an end. Now our inhuman adversary has found a new place to hide -- and that place is man's best friend. See more »

Welcome to the Mosquito Factory

 Welcome to the Mosquito Factory

In humanity’s ongoing war against mosquito borne illness, some of the most innovative offense comes in the form mosquito breeding programs. Yes, these “mosquito factories” are all about manipulating the enemy rather than simply killing them. Join Robert and Christian as they explore the world of GMO mosquitoes, Wolbachia bacteria and the possible wages of mosquito eradication. See more »

Pieces of a Human: The Science of Artificial Organs

 Pieces of a Human: The Science of Artificial Organs

Imagine a future in which much-needed transplant organs are printed on demand, grown within the bodies of humanized animals or plucked fresh and dripping from the organ vats. It’s the age of artificially grown organs and yes, gentle listener, we already have one foot planted within this amazing, Frankenstein-tinged world. Join Robert and Christian for a discussion of artificial organs in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. See more »

A New Kingdom of Life: Synthetic Biology

 A New Kingdom of Life: Synthetic Biology

Genomic maps unfurl before us and edited genetic codes alter the expression of life. The past few decades have seen tremendous advancements in genetic engineering, but exactly what takes place in modern gene-editing? What is synthetic biology and how soon might we see the first synthetic human genome? Robert and Christian explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. See more »

Silk of the Spider, Thread of the Future

 Silk of the Spider, Thread of the Future

Spider silk is nothing short of an engineering marvel. Weight for weight, it’s stronger than steel and tougher than Kevlar. But spiders are disagreeable creatures. Unlike the silkworms, they’ve proven unwilling to bow to humanity’s domestication, but that hasn’t stopped scientists from stealing the secrets. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, enter a world of spider silk medicine, nanomaterials, optics, music and of course transgenic goats. See more »

5 Ways Space Can Drive You Insane

 5 Ways Space Can Drive You Insane

Venture into the madness of the yawning void... See more »

The Scientist and the Shaman: Hallucination

 The Scientist and the Shaman: Hallucination

Join Robert and Julie as they continue their discussion of the overlap between shamanism and cognitive neuroscience. What sort of experiences do substances like DMT, psilocybin and salvia grant users? Why do human bodies have trace elements of DMT? Find out in this classic episode of STBYM. See more »