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human condition

Push the Frontier

You’ve seen enough Westerns and Game of Throne episodes to know a frontier when you see it, but what exactly is this boundary between the laws of your world and the promise or threat of another? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss the membranous nature of frontier in world-systems theory, as well as Frederick Jackson Turner’s influential thesis on the American frontier. See more »

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. See more »

Where is my mind?

Today, most humans accept the brain as the seat of human consciousness, but this was not always the case. Join Robert and Joe as they explore ancient, alternative views on the anatomical center of reason and tackle contemporary mysteries regarding the neurological seat of consciousness. Where is your mind? Prepare to find out… See more »

The Demon-Haunted Mind

Demons exist only within the human imagination, but that doesn’t make them harmless. If positive religious world views can result in a more positive state of mind, then might belief in soul-clawing, life-wrecking horned Hell fiends edge one closer to the edge of madness? Join Robert and Christian as they explore a recent study on the topic, and they might even summon a demon or two from the realms of myth. See more »

Sailors on a Dark Sea: Political Extremism, Child’s Play

As we sail through this world of technological marvel and complex systems, it’s easy to assume we know the watery depths that yawn beneath our hull. As it turns out, however, it’s all an illusion of explanatory depth. We think we understand day-to-day gadgets, but are at a loss to explain their functionality. We think we understand policy and politics, but are better at explaining why we hold our beliefs than how particular policies might solve life’s hideous problems. In this two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe dip into the waters of cognitive illusion. See more »

Sailors on a Dark Sea: Illusion of Explanatory Depth

As we sail through this world of technological marvel and complex systems, it’s easy to assume we know the watery depths that yawn beneath our hull. As it turns out, however, it’s all an illusion of explanatory depth. We think we understand day-to-day gadgets, but are at a loss to explain their functionality. We think we understand policy and politics, but are better at explaining why we hold our beliefs than how particular policies might solve life’s hideous problems. In this two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe dip into the waters of cognitive illusion. See more »

The Nature of Heroism

Heroes permeate our culture, from mythic archetypes and pop-culture superheroes to real-life humans who risk their lives for others. But from where does heroism emerge? Robert and Christian explore the question in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind Podcast. See more »

The Science of Coincidence

What are we to make of coincidence? From the numerological cats cradles we weave around famous events to the curious ways human lives converge through time, coincidence seems to fly in the face of reason and even suggest the supernatural. In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the synchronicity, statistics and psychology of coincidence. See more »

Cargoism: Science, Desire and the Cargo Cults

During the Second World War, Melanesian islanders encountered the vast, commercial systems of Allied and Japanese forces. Cargo Cults sprang up in the wake of such contact, typified by deification and a ritualistic appeal to the impossible return of material wealth. What can such encounters tell us about science, programing, sustainability and the human condition? Robert and Christian explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. See more »

Wicked Problems

How do you solve a problem like crime, poverty or climate change? The answer, like the problem itself, is elusive and amorphous. These are not “tame problems,” but “wicked problems” -- conundrums that defy even the powerful problem-solving powers of scientific ingenuity. Join Robert and Christian for a proper Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration. See more »