Right Now in Stuff to Blow Your Mind

From the sirens of 'The Odyssey' to 'The Creature From the Black Lagoon' and beyond, humans have always imagined their underwater doubles. In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert and Joe discuss the revealing myth and fiction of mermaids and gillmen -- as well as the aquatic ape theory and the biological possibilities of an aquatic humanoid.

From the Vault: Better Living Through Tetris

In their previous episode, Robert and Joe explored the geometric hallucinations of Tetris syndrome. Now they're back for a serious look at the ways in which a good dose of cascading, interlocking tetrominoes might just cure what ails ya -- from lazy eye to full-blown post-traumatic stress disorder. (Previously published Dec. 3, 2015)

Listener Mail: Talos, Homunculi, Winter and More

Join Robert and Joe for another round of Stuff to Blow Your Mind listener mail, in which they read and attend to your thoughts and insight on recent episodes. This round features discussions on the speed of Talos, homunculi generations, Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw traditions, werewolves and more.

Don't Drink the Salt Water

Whether you draw your wisdom from 18th century poems or experience in the surf, you probably know that drinking seawater is a terrible idea. But exactly why shouldn’t you drink saltwater? What happens if you do? Can it really drive you mad with hallucinations? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe look to the world of biology for answers.

From the Vault: Tetris Syndrome

To play a game of “Tetris” is to invite a geometric invasion into your mind. After hours of intense block manipulation, you finally set aside your gaming device. You take a deep breath, close your eyes -- and there the frenzied, multicolored tetrominoes continue to cascade across your vision. They build walls in your dreams and shape the patterns of your very thought. What’s going on inside the mind of a 'Tetris' player and what can we learn from so-called 'Tetris' syndrome. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore. (Originally published Dec 1, 2015)

Meditation Lab: Empathy and Energy

We all know what meditation looks like, and many of us know what it feels like. But what does it provide us in return for these brief periods of mental and physical stillness? Join Robert and Joe as they talk to Emory University meditation researcher Dr. Jennifer Muscaro about the challenges of objective scientific meditation research and the empathetic potential of compassion meditation. Plus they’ll check in with Vedic meditation instructor Jill Wener and discuss stress and adaptation energy.

Where’s my eternal youth? Part 2

Throughout history, humans have faced the inexorable process of aging and death. We’ve dreamt up countless myths to explain why we age and what comes of seeking immortality, but what does science tell us about the process? Why do we age? What purpose does it serve in natural selection? Indeed, what can science offer us in the way of eternal youth? Robert and Joe seek to find out in this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration.

Podcast Lookout: Bicameral Killers, Blackface DJs

Robert Lamb chimes in on some non-STUFF podcasts that he really digs. This time around, listen to a hauntingly bicameral horror tale and the story of blackface DJs in Europe.

From the Vault: Aphantasia

Mental images play an important role in our daily experience of reality, from thoughts of the past to daydreams, fantasies and entire worlds of the imagination. Just what’s happening when we see through the mind’s eye and what on Earth is it like for individuals who experience aphantasia and experience no visual imagination at all? In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore. (Originally published May 10, 2016)

Where’s my eternal youth? Part 1

Throughout history, humans have faced the inexorable process of aging and death. We’ve dreamt up countless myths to explain why we age and what comes of seeking immortality, but what does science tell us about the process? Why do we age? What purpose does it serve in natural selection? Indeed, what can science offer us in the way of eternal youth? Robert and Joe seek to find out in this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration.

Talos: The Bronze Automaton

Among the many humanoid gods and bestial monsters of Greek mythology, one finds a peculiar outlier: Talos the bronze automaton. Said to stalk the shores of Crete, Talos pelted suspicious ships with rocks and immolated enemy soldiers with its smoldering embrace. Does this myth reveal Greek attitudes toward technology? What existing technologies can we decode in its description? Robert and Joe explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.

From the Vault: The Forer Effect

From palm-reading fortune tellers to professionally-administered Myers Briggs test, everyone’s a sucker for a an ego-stroking personality assessment. In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the subtle forces of the Forer effect. (Originally published July 23, 2015)

The Winter People, Part 2

Do you feel like a different person during the winter? In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert and Joe examine the extent to which winter affects human health and culture. From the winter transformations of the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw people to the latest studies on seasonal genetic changes, prepare to contemplate the icy dark.

The Winter People, Part 1

Do you feel like a different person during the winter? In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert and Joe examine the extent to which winter affects human health and culture. From the winter transformations of the Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw people to the latest studies on seasonal genetic changes, prepare to contemplate the icy dark.

Space Music: Team Doyobi

Robert Lamb discusses the music of Team Doyobi ‎in another Space Music post.

From the Vault: The Stone of Madness

Madness has always intrigued artists, and medieval paintings sometimes presented this malady's treatment via the surgical removal of cranial stone. What was the stone of madness? Was it mere fantasy, metaphor or an actual medical condition? In this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe collect their trepanation tools and investigate. (Originally published Jan 7, 2016)

Baby Jesus and the Homunculus

We’ve all marveled at the grotesque, oddly-proportioned old man babies in medieval art -- but why did artists of the period pain such creatures? In this special Christmas episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the convergence of the homunculus theory of human reproduction, the nativity and the infants of medieval and renaissance art.

Art Spotlight: The Medieval Christ Child

Robert Lamb shares a number of medieval paintings referenced in the podcast episode 'Baby Jesus and the Homunculus.'

Adam C. English Reveals the Historic Saint Nick

Robert Lamb chats with Adam C. English, Chair of the Department of Christian Studies at Campbell University and author of 'The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra.'

First Messenger From an Alien Star

In recent weeks, the first recorded object from another star system appeared in our solar neighborhood. Dubbed 'Oumuamua,' the interloper stirs both our scientific curiosity and imagination. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss the latest findings.