Right Now in Stuff to Blow Your Mind

It’s time for another movie episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind and this time Robert and Joe are talking about 1972’s “Silent Running,” in which Bruce Dern and his robot pals are caught in an endless chase. It’s a discussion of sci-fi, space botany, environmentalism and the relationship between humans and the forest. 

From the Vault: Life on Venus

The planet Venus might seem a hellish destination and an unlikely place to find extraterrestrial life. And yet, many experts agree that life may have existed in the planet's ancient oceans -- and may thrive yet within the upper atmosphere. Join Robert and Joe in a quest for Venusian aliens. (Originally published May 17, 2018)

Against ‘Survival of the Fittest’

Is natural selection REALLY survival of the fittest? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss where the phrase comes from and how well it actually matches up with our understanding of evolution.

Brain Soup and Liquid Brains

Is there ever a good scientific reason to turn brains into soup? What does all of this have to do with the concept of “liquid brains?” Robert and Joe explore on Stuff to Blow Your Mind. 

From the Vault: Finite and Infinite Games

How do you play the game of life? Do you play it as a finite game or an infinite one? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss the 1986 philosophy book “Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility” by American scholar James P. Carse. (Originally published May 31, 2018)

Q2: Bones of the Plumed Serpent

In the Stuff to Blow Your Mind episode “Quetzalcoatl: The Winged Serpent,” Robert and Joe discussed the feathered snake god of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica -- as well as the giant pterosaur named after it. In this episode, fossils and myth come together in a discussion of Adrienne Mayor’s geomythology take on the plumed serpent.  



The Soap Dragon

What monsters of fatty flesh lie slumbering in the sewer guts of our great cities? Join Robert and Joe as they venture into the dark to discover the beast we all made together.

From the Vault: Neurosecurity: Dawn of the Brain Hackers

While hackers and malware can certainly cause a great deal of damage and misery, these dangers can’t hurt us physically, right? In this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast, Robert and Joe are sorry to say you’re wrong -- and as more biotechnology and brain-computer interface creeps into our lives, the risk will only go up. Tune in for a discussion on inherent vulnerability, looming technology and what needs to happen to protect us. (Originally published June 1, 2017)

The Great Wave

For centuries, sailors have told stories of mountainous killer waves that rise out of the ocean without warning. Join Robert and Joe for a discussion of the history and science of rogue waves.

The Doppelganger Network

In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss Doppelgangers, fairy imposters, the brain basis for the feeling of familiarity, and a unique way of understanding the impact of social media and modern communications technology.

From the Vault: Beyond the Uncanny Valley

From bad CGI characters to creepy humanoid robots, everyone knows the uncanny valley effect when they see it. But where did this idea come from and to what extent is it actually a thing? Join Robert and Joe as they descend into the uncanny valley and explore just what's going on in our minds when we lock eyes with less-than-human simulacrums. (Originally published April 6, 2017)

Listener Mail: Sacred Squirrels and More

It’s time for another bag of Stuff to Blow Your Mind listener mail, plus a minor update on sacred squirrels. Join Robert, Joe and your friendly neighborhood mailbot dig into your thoughts on recent episodes. 

Introducing Ephemeral

Lost materials, dropped threads, forgotten stories. Ephemera in the way that it’s intertwined in our lives. All those things, tangible and intangible, that you wish you could take just one more look at before they vanish into the past. Listen wherever podcasts are found and learn more at www.ephemeral.show

Deep Sea Ecology with Diva Amon

In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe chat with deep sea marine biologist Diva Amon about life in the deep ocean -- from the wonderous organisms that thrive there to the human activities that threaten their future.

From the Vault: Into the Uncanny Valley

The far side of the uncanny valley rises steeply, assaulting our psyche as our artificial human likenesses creep ever closer toward perfection. But what happens when we actually emerge on the other side? What happens to human society when video footage is no longer the gold standard? Robert and Joe investigate. (Originally published April 4, 2017)

The Science of Thulsa Doom, Part 2

It’s time for another movie-themed Stuff to Blow Your Mind episode. In fact, it's TWO episodes. This time Robert and Joe discuss the 1982 sword and sorcery picture “Conan the Barbarian.” Join them as they gush over the film’s charismatic villain Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) and explore the real world of giant snakes, Set, snake arrows and more.

The Science of Thulsa Doom

It’s time for another movie-themed episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind -- and this time Robert and Joe are discussing the 1982 sword and sorcery picture “Conan the Barbarian.” Join them as they gush over the film’s charismatic villain Thulsa Doom (James Earl Jones) and explore the real world of giant snakes, Set, snake arrows and more. 

From the Vault: Carl Zimmer on Heredity's Power

Why does heredity hold such power over us? How did the ancients contemplate it and how is genetic technology changing the shape of future heredity? In this classic episode, Robert and Joe chat with acclaimed science writer Carl Zimmer about the topics explored in his  book “She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity.” (Originally published June 14, 2018)



Send an Owl/Raven/Pigeon!

Harry Potter sends messages by owl. The characters of ‘Game of Thrones’ employ ravens. Meanwhile, real-life messenger pigeons have carried messages for thousands of years. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe consider just why the homing pigeon is perfect for this job -- and why owls and ravens are not. 

Almost Cannibals

What’s the line between cannibalism and mere predation? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe consider some thought-provoking cases of predation and cannibalism in the animal world.