Right Now in Stuff to Blow Your Mind

No discussion of great sci-fi cinema is complete without mention of “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The 1968 classic is 50 years old this year, so Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick figured it the perfect time to board the Discovery One and discuss its many scientific and futurist elements, as well as the legacy of Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke’s creation.

2001: A Space Odyssey

No discussion of great sci-fi cinema is complete without mention of “2001: A Space Odyssey.” The 1968 classic is 50 years old this year, so Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick figured it the perfect time to board the Discovery One and discuss its many scientific and futurist elements, as well as the legacy of Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke’s creation.

From the Vault: Post-Empirical Science

Most scientists declare empirical falsifiability -- the notion that a theory may be proven right or wrong via scientific investigation -- to be the core principle of science. Others, such as string theorists, think science should move beyond those boundaries. Is empiricism an unnecessary straight jacket? Is “post-empirical science” an oxymoron? Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast. (Originally published Sept. 15, 2016)

Fear and the Autonomous Cyber Weapon

We often focus our fear in the wrong direction -- developing flying anxieties when we should be more concerned about that ride to the airport. We also tend to focus on autonomous weapons when we should be thinking more about autonomous CYBER weapons. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a discussion of cyber warfare. 

Divine Weapon: The Trident

What are we to make of the trident? The three-toothed spear has seen service as the divine weapon of mythic deities, the fishing implement of common mortals and a symbolic weapon in gladiatorial combat. What does it mean, and was it ever a practical weapon? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick look for answers in myth, archaeology and military history. 

From the Vault: To The Escape Pod!

Ever wanted to climb into the safe, metal womb of an escape pod and blast yourself free of this doomed vessel called life? Sure you have, but in the meantime consider some of the real-life air, space and terrestrial escape capsules that humans have envisioned over the years. Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick tell you all about it in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast. (Originally published Nov. 24, 2016)

The Gods Must Be Counterintuitive

What’s the key to a lasting myth, a captivating religion or a sensational film pitch? Some cognitive scientists and anthropologists argue that the key is a minimally counterintuitive narrative: the right balance of the mundane with just a dash of the unreasonable and unexpected. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they discuss the minimal counterintuitiveness effect. 

Astronauts in Spaceships Getting Coffee

How can humanity ever hope to thrive without Earth if it can’t even function without its morning cup of coffee? Fortunately, engineers have devised increasingly practical means of brewing and sipping coffee in space -- neither of which are easy feats in microgravity. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a consideration of space coffee. 

From the Vault: When We Think About Cyborgs

What began as a 1960s term for a retrofitted human space explorer has become a focal point for considerations of human and machine interaction, technological culture, biomechanics and feminist identity. Join Robert Lamb and Christian Sager as they set aside the brain/computer interfaces for a discussion of what it is to be a "cyborg" in 2016. (Originally published April 19, 2016)

Summer Reading 2018, Part 2

It's a summer tradition! Once more, Stuff to Blow Your Mind devotes a summer episode to the discussion of fiction, non-fiction and children's books that the hosts read over the course of the last year. So listen in and maybe one of these books will accompany you on your next beach trip.

Summer Reading 2018, Part 1

It's a summer tradition! Once more, Stuff to Blow Your Mind devotes a summer episode to the discussion of fiction, non-fiction and children's books that the hosts read over the course of the last year. So listen in and maybe one of these books will accompany you on your next beach trip.

From the Vault: Transhumanist Rapture War, Part 2

What do the transhumanist visions and singularitarians have in common with Christian rapture doctrine, apocalyptic prophesies and far-future saviors? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they explore the space for common ground -- and conflict -- between genetically modified cyborgs and Heaven-teleported believers in this two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. (Originally published Aug 25, 2016)

The Ashen Light

Does the dark side of Venus occasionally glow with a dim, haunting phosphorescence? It’s one of astronomy’s oldest and most enduring mysteries. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for an examination of the ashen light.

Stuff to Blow Your Mind Live Shows 2018!

Stuff to Blow Your Mind has a whole new set of live shows! Here are the details on where to find Stuff to Blow Your Mind on the road.

Galactic Civilization’s End

If a technological civilization manages to survive itself, how will it fare against the larger challenges of a changing and hostile universe? If humanity ascends the Kardashev scale, how will our unrecognizable and godlike descendants cope with the end of the universe itself? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for an exploration of the cosmic end times. 

From the Vault:  Transhumanist Rapture War, Part 1

What do the transhumanist visions and singularitarians have in common with Christian rapture doctrine, apocalyptic prophesies and far-future saviors? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they explore the space for common ground -- and conflict -- between genetically modified cyborgs and Heaven-teleported believers in this two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. (Originally published Aug 23, 2016)

Illusory Truth Effect, Part 2: Fight the Lies

If a lie is repeated often enough, are we more likely to believe it? Sadly, the answer is yes. Psychologists call it the illusory truth effect and it influences both our daily lives and the larger movements of politics and culture. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a two-part discussion of untruths, the human mind and just what you can do to fight the big lies at work in your world. 

Illusory Truth Effect, Part 1: The Big Lie

If a lie is repeated often enough, are we more likely to believe it? Sadly, the answer is yes. Psychologists call it the illusory truth effect and it influences both our daily lives and the larger movements of politics and culture. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a two-part discussion of untruths, the human mind and just what you can do to fight the big lies at work in your world. 

From the Vault: Sexbots

Sex between humans and machines is nothing new in the world of science fiction. Their forms range from angelic mechanoids to victimized humanoids, but the robotic lover is almost always an expression of purely human anxieties. Yet as real-world technology advances, we’re left to ponder the emerging form of the sex bot -- and the possibilities range from mere animate fetishes to therapeutic surrogates. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Christian Sager consider arguments for and against the embrace of synthetic paramours.(Originally published March 30, 2017)

The Dark Side of Neuroplasticity

When you hear the word “neuroplasticity,” you probably think of it in terms of a young brain’s ability to learn or an older brain’s struggles to rebound from injury. The possibility of a neuroplasticity-boosting drug remains one of medicine's true holy grails, but is there a dark side? Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss the balance of plasticity and stability in the human mind.