Have you ever experienced dreams of forgotten classes, impossible exams and other examples of school-age anxiety? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the pervasive nature of the school dream.
You’ve probably heard the Biblical tale of Lot’s wife, in which a trio of angels destroy a couple of ancient cities and the resulting blast turns a woman into a pillar of salt. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe set aside most of the theology to ponder if and how a human body could become a big old chunk of salt.
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 and Joe discuss the balance of plasticity and stability in the human mind. (Originally published July 5, 2018)
This episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind takes listeners to Transylvania, where a rogue baron made important early strides in the field of paleobiology and where, during the Late Cretaceous period, giant pterosaur dubbed “Dracula” feasted on pony-sized dwarf sauropods.
Chances are, you’re already quite familiar with the notion the ancient astronauts visited the earth and gave humans the tech support they needed to climb the ladder of civilization. There's no true proof to back it up, yet ancient astronaut speculation is a 20th century invention -- and one tied closely to a single bestselling author. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss Erich von Däniken and Carl Sagan's thoughts on ancient aliens. (Originally published June 28, 2018)
The near-Earth object (NEO) known as Asteroid 2019 OK just made an unexpected close pass, raising the hair on the back of humanity’s collective neck. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe weigh the risks posed by other NEOs and discuss what we’re doing to track them and even stop an incoming doomsday rock.
How will you feel the day you finally delete all your social media accounts? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss some of the arguments for doing just that in Jaron Lanier’s book “Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now.”
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 and Joe as they discuss the minimal counterintuitiveness effect. (Originally published August 2, 2018)
It’s time for another movie episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind and you might be surprised to discover all the weird and wonderful themes at work in the often-dismissed 1959 Vincent Price film “The Tingler.” Not only does it dwell on fear and symbiosis, but it also features the first reference to LSD in a major motion picture.
If there's one thing that sets people apart from machines, it's creativity, right? Automation may take over certain jobs, but what happens when algorithms start to learn from our work to create their own? This episode, we speak with people using AI to generate films, poetry, music, and even recipes. And the founder of Google X, Sebastian Thrun, explains what's powering this new wave of AI. All episode of Sleepwalkers are available to binge now!
It’s listener mail time again, this time devoted entirely to feedback on Stuff to Blow Your Mind’s five-part series on psychedelics. Join Robert and Joe as they read everyone’s submitted thoughts and experiences.
Some of you have tried the ecstasy. Others have merely heard about the drug on a TV sitcom, or heard about it in a news report. Either way, MDMA's power resonates through our culture -- and sometimes it's hard to distinguish the truth form the misinformation. But what exactly is this psychoactive agent? Where does it come from and what sort of effect does it have on the human experience? Join Robert and Christian as they explore the origins and properties of MDMA. (Originally published Dec. 17, 2015)
It’s easy to think of electricity as the domain of Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla and Street Fighter’s Blanka. But as Robert and Joe explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, it’s also the domain of microbes -- and it will change the shape of future technology.
Where do teeth come from and how do different dental variations in the animal world force us to rethink our glorious chompers? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore dental evolution and the wondrous marching molars of elephants and manatees.
Some of you have tried the ecstasy. Others have merely heard about the drug on a TV sitcom, or heard about it in a news report. Either way, MDMA's power resonates through our culture -- and sometimes it's hard to distinguish the truth form the misinformation. But what exactly is this psychoactive agent? Where does it come from and what sort of effect does it have on the human experience? Join Robert and Christian as they explore the origins and properties of MDMA. (Originally published Dec. 15, 2015)
What are psychedelics? How have these substances influenced human minds and culture? What exactly do they invoke in the brain and how could a renaissance of scientific study into their properties improve our lives? In this series of Stuff to Blow Your Mind episodes, Robert and Joe explore the world of entheogens.
Idolized by some and reviled by others, Timothy Leary remains an icon of 1960s counterculture and psychedelic self-exploration. But who was this rebel, psychologist and celebrity? What did he reveal about LSD’s power and potential? Join Robert and Christian for a special two-part look at the man, the time and the drug he championed. Turn on, tune in, drop out... (originally published Sep 21, 2017)