Right Now in Stuff to Blow Your Mind

What drugs are astronauts on?

Make no mistake: Space is a very hostile environment. Astronauts in orbit suffer from conditions caused by the lack of gravity, small living quarters and other factors. So how do these astronauts cope? Tune in to learn more about the drugs used in space.

The Virtues of Venom

Sure, venom could kill you -- but it could also cure you. The medicinal use of venom dates back thousands of years and continues to the present day. Tune in as Allison and Robert break down the science behind venom and medicine in this podcast.

Stuff from the Science Lab Roundup: Velociraptors Playing Tetris

Let's talk Tetris, shall we? HowStuffWorks certainly has its share of gamers, Robert, Jonathan and Tracy among them. (Check out Tracy's recent GameCrush post if you don't believe me.) Lacking the skills, I'm not among them, but even I have dabbled in Tetris. And when I say "dabbled," I mean consumed by the simple game to the point that I had a hard time removing myself from my roommate's computer to complete my college thesis. I even dreamed about Tetris.

Tetris vs. PTSD

Everyone knows that video games are entertaining -- but could they have therapeutical value? Tune in and learn how Tetris may help victims of post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Velociraptor Awareness Day

Dinosaur appreciation days are few and far between -- but the Velociraptor is a special case. Listen in as Allison and Robert explore the amazing abilities and physiology of the Velociraptor in this podcast.

Oyster Roast to Oyster Reef

Early this spring, I kicked off the season at the Georgia Conservancy's oyster roast near Savannah, Ga. I'd never seen so many oysters in my life -- huge metal drums of them steaming away and large buckets of gritty-shelled clumps waiting invitingly on outdoor tables. Underneath each table, though, was a third container, one overflowing with the long, narrow shells characteristic of Georgia's intertidal oysters.

Black Hole Bonanza

A black hole forms when a star's core collapses, increasing in density until its gravitational pull becomes too powerful for light to escape. This creates a singularity -- and it happens in less than a second. Learn more about black holes in this podcast.

Space Music: The Artist Behind SolarBeat

We live in a musical universe. The waves and patterns are all there; we have but to translate them into sound. Such was the case with the recording made by Voyager I and II, and the latest example can be found online in the form of SolarBeat, a flash-based musical tool with a cosmic twist. Created by UK musician, artist and graphic designer Luke Twyman, SolarBeat takes the movements of the sun's orbital bodies and merges it with the concept of an old-timey music box. As each planet completes a revolution, it "rings" an imaginary metal tine. In this post, SolarBeat creator Luke Twyman of Neverest Songs takes a moment to answer a few questions about this little slice of Space Music .

Weapons that Changed the World

Here's the crazy thing about war: It breeds innovation. Since the dawn of civilization, human beings have searched for ways to kill each other. Join Robert and Allison as they explore the weapons that changed the world, from the horse to nuclear weapons.

Sorry it's been crickets here on the blog for a little while. We were busy sniffing books, contemplating gravity, observing our mid-digit hair and weighing our souls, of course. Also, Robert's been gone, trying to stop the lethal flow of Mountain Dew to the Large Hadron Collider. I kid. That gentleman who says he's from the future and was picked up rooting around the Big Bang machine isn't Robert at all. Does Robert wear "rather too much tweed for his age"? Nope. Is he from a "communist chocolate hellhole"? Not that I know of.

What can gravity do for you?

Gravity is a pervasive and ambiguous force -- we still don't understand everything about it. Yet every physical act on our planet involves gravity. Join Allison and Robert as they explore exactly how gravity affects the average person in this podcast.

Book Sniffers and You

You can learn a lot from a book's smell. For example, the books of heavy smokers tend to smell of smoke. When you smell a book, you're encountering more than 200 individual components combining to produce an olfactory fingerprint. Tune in to learn more.

5 Strange Things Written in Your Genes

Genetic polymorphism describes a basic fact of human life -- that every set of genes is unique. However, scientists have been able to detect many physical traits from genetic markers. Tune in to learn more about five fascinating genetic markers.

Weighing the Human Soul

In the early 1900s, Duncan Macdougall set out to prove the existence of the soul. By placing consumption patients on a scale as they died, he tried to find a difference between the weight of a person before and after death. Learn more in this podcast.

More Robots to Manhandle Human Corpses

Yes, if the prospect of corpse-eating warbots wasn't enough, Swiss engineers are keeping the dream of a horrifying and ghoulish robotic future alive with Virtobot, which will "not only study dead bodies virtually, but create a digital copy of the cadaver so that it might be studied years down the line." What's not to love?

The world of science is fantastically large, from mutant all-black penguins to genes (or the deletion thereof) that may allow mammals to regenerate limbs. Let's be honest. That same wondrous, curious world can also be intimidating. Somewhere along the line, a scientific concept may elude a student and, as a result, his or her curiosity about the natural world may slowly wither away. In the United States at least, we're not as good at science as we need to be, as suggested by President Obama's Excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education (STEM) initiative to push U.S. students from the middle of the pack to the front in these areas.

'Life' Debuts This Sunday

If you're privileged enough to live in the U.K., then you were all into "Life" back in November. Yeah, you Brits have already glutted yourself on groundbreaking documentary footage, wept at the sight of pelicans gobbling down gannets and gasped as the time-lapse starfish clip caused you to spill cold cider on yourselves. Now it's time for U.S. audiences to gape in amazement.

How To Get Lost in the Bermuda Triangle

Stretching from Miami to Bermuda and Puerto Rico, the notorious Bermuda Triangle has a bad reputation for wrecking ships and planes. But how much of this legend is based on science? Tune in and learn more in this episode.

My Favorite Organic Farmer Is a Robot

With increased focus on smaller farms, slow food and organic cultivation methods, it was only a matter of time till the robots shook hands with hippies and got serious about growing some arugula. Enter the GrowBot: A partnership between the Georgia Institute of Technology and Atlanta's independent food community, rogueApron, GrowBot explores the robotic possibilities for local organic farming. According to founder Lady Rogue, there's a misconception that organic farming is inherently anti-technology. You know what she means: bike-riding, sun tea-drinking treehuggers who prefer actual dirt to an episode of "Dirty Jobs."

Six Real-life Giant Robots

Giant robots have thrived in our popular culture for decades, rampaging through our comic books, video games, movies and Queen album covers. Their appearances in fiction are generally pretty easy to explain. After all, what else are you going to use to battle giant monsters (or other giant robots)? In reality, of course, we simply don't have to contend with rampaging, mutated monsters -- and I cannot stress enough how useless a giant robot would be against a hurricane or meteor. Yet at least six giant robots do in fact exist -- and we developed each of them with a particular purpose in mind.