Right Now in Stuff to Blow Your Mind

While the cocktail is an inherently American invention, the history of combining alcohols with other substances to create potent, drinkable concoctions dates back to ancient times. While you might expect dangerous ingredients to have a place in a wizard’s potion or a philosopher's goblet, modern cocktails and spirits have also dabbled with nefarious elixirs. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they explore the history, myth and science behind it all in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. (Originally published Jan. 12, 2017)

Age of the Earth, Part 2

Scientific consensus currently holds that the Earth is a 4.5 billion-year-old planet in a 13.8 billion-year-old universe. But how do we know? Why do religious models of a much younger (or older) Earth fail to pass the baloney test? In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the answers.

Trailer: Daniel & Jorge Explain the Universe

There's a new show coming that we think you'll dig! Daniel’s a particle physicist who conducts research using the Large Hadron Collider. Jorge’s the cartoonist behind PhD comics, one of the web’s geekiest (and funniest) comics! And with their powers combined, they’re on a mission to Explain the Universe!  Join them as they discuss some of the simple but profound questions about existence, explaining the science in a fun, shorts-wearing and jargon-free way. Daniel & Jorge Explain the Universe premieres on September 25th. Click here to subscribe.

Age of the Earth, Part 1

Scientific consensus currently holds that the Earth is a 4.5 billion-year-old planet in a 13.8 billion-year-old universe. But how do we know? Why do religious models of a much younger (or older) Earth fail to pass the baloney test? In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the answers.

From the Vault: Syphilis

Doctors have called it the great imitator because this destructive venereal disease can manifest almost any symptom. Initially spreading through sexual contact, Syphilis can remain dormant in the body for decades before flaring up again in brutally disfiguring, debilitating and deadly ways. 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 classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Julie Douglas explore the history of the illness and its cultural effects, from powdered wigs and false noses to surgical advances and vampire myths. (Originally published August 26-28, 2014) 

The Obvious: Invisible Gorillas of the Mind

What is truly obvious in life? What does the word even mean? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a look at how we engage with the natural world -- from invisible gorilla experiments to the realm of phenomenology. 

On Teasing

We all know teasing when we see it or experience it, but what role does it play in human interactions? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind as they explore hurtful, playful and educative teasing.

From the Vault: Black Stone of Mecca

The Kaaba marks the geographic center of the Islamic world, and here one finds Al-Hadjar Al-Aswad, the Holy Black Stone of Mecca. Islamic traditions hold that the once white white stone blackened with humanity’s sins, but various scientific theories point to geological and potentially cosmic origins. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss the mythic, historical and scientific substance of the Kaaba. (Originally published on Feb. 16, 2017)

Kirk Allen and Maladaptive Daydreaming

We all daydream and many of us funnel our imagination into creative acts. But what happens when these exercises overpower us? In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the strange case of nuclear physicist Kirk Allen, whose imagination may have gotten the better of him -- and his psychoanalyst. Dive into the world of cooperative illusions and maladaptive daydreaming. 

Kirk Allen and the Cooperative Illusion

We all daydream and many of us funnel our imagination into creative acts. But what happens when these exercises overpower us? In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the strange case of nuclear physicist Kirk Allen, whose imagination may have gotten the better of him -- and his psychoanalyst. Dive into the world of cooperative illusions and maladaptive daydreaming. 

From the Vault: Jump Into The Void

Ever wrestle with the illogical quasi-compulsion to throw yourself off a cliff or building? Don’t worry! You’re probably not suicidal, but merely touched by the 'call of the void' or 'high place phenomenon.' In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert Lamb and Christian Sager explore some of the more enlightening theories about this experience.(Originally published Feb. 9, 2017)

Squirrels, Part 2: A Skugg Mystery

You might think you know squirrels, but what do you REALLY know about these woodland tree rodents? In this special two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss their appetite for meat, their alleged acts of savagery and various other facts that will make you reconsider the skugg and respect its kingdom. In this episode, things get weird. 

Squirrels, Part 1: The Bloody Beast

You might think you know squirrels, but what do you REALLY know about these woodland tree rodents? In this special two-part episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss their appetite for meat, their alleged acts of savagery and various other facts that will make you reconsider the skugg and respect its kingdom. Up first, let’s talk about their bloody diet...

From the Vault: A Taste of MSG

In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the history and science of MSG and explore just why we demonized it for so long. (Originally published Aug. 30, 2016) 

World Without Predators

What would the world be like without predators? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the essential role of predators in Earth’s ecosystems and the terrible, cascading effects of their loss. A world without predators isn’t heaven. It’s hell. 

The Ship of Theseus

An ancient ship rots in the harbor and so we restore it piece by piece until nothing of the original ship remains. Is it still the same ship? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they discuss one of history’s more mind-boggling thought experiments. 

Space Music: Andy Stott, Time Zero

Robert Lamb blogs about the space music of Andy Stott and Innerpsace.

From the Vault: The Cobra Effect

In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the perverse world of unintended consequences and the cobra effect. (Originally published Sept. 13, 2016)

Listener Mail: Tridents, Aliens, Microgravity

It's time for another dose of listener mail. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they read YOUR feedback on recent episodes related to coffee in space, tridents, Jungfrau Park and more. 

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.