Right Now in Stuff to Blow Your Mind

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.

From the Vault: Post-Empirical Science

Most scientists declare empirical falsifiability -- the notion that a theory may be proven right or wrong via scientific investigation -- to be the core principle of science. Others, such as string theorists, think science should move beyond those boundaries. Is empiricism an unnecessary straight jacket? Is “post-empirical science” an oxymoron? Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast. (Originally published Sept. 15, 2016)

Fear and the Autonomous Cyber Weapon

We often focus our fear in the wrong direction -- developing flying anxieties when we should be more concerned about that ride to the airport. We also tend to focus on autonomous weapons when we should be thinking more about autonomous CYBER weapons. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a discussion of cyber warfare. 

Divine Weapon: The Trident

What are we to make of the trident? The three-toothed spear has seen service as the divine weapon of mythic deities, the fishing implement of common mortals and a symbolic weapon in gladiatorial combat. What does it mean, and was it ever a practical weapon? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick look for answers in myth, archaeology and military history. 

From the Vault: To The Escape Pod!

Ever wanted to climb into the safe, metal womb of an escape pod and blast yourself free of this doomed vessel called life? Sure you have, but in the meantime consider some of the real-life air, space and terrestrial escape capsules that humans have envisioned over the years. Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick tell you all about it in this episode of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast. (Originally published Nov. 24, 2016)

The Gods Must Be Counterintuitive

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 Lamb and Joe McCormick as they discuss the minimal counterintuitiveness effect. 

Astronauts in Spaceships Getting Coffee

How can humanity ever hope to thrive without Earth if it can’t even function without its morning cup of coffee? Fortunately, engineers have devised increasingly practical means of brewing and sipping coffee in space -- neither of which are easy feats in microgravity. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a consideration of space coffee. 

From the Vault: When We Think About Cyborgs

What began as a 1960s term for a retrofitted human space explorer has become a focal point for considerations of human and machine interaction, technological culture, biomechanics and feminist identity. Join Robert Lamb and Christian Sager as they set aside the brain/computer interfaces for a discussion of what it is to be a "cyborg" in 2016. (Originally published April 19, 2016)

Summer Reading 2018, Part 2

It's a summer tradition! Once more, Stuff to Blow Your Mind devotes a summer episode to the discussion of fiction, non-fiction and children's books that the hosts read over the course of the last year. So listen in and maybe one of these books will accompany you on your next beach trip.

Summer Reading 2018, Part 1

It's a summer tradition! Once more, Stuff to Blow Your Mind devotes a summer episode to the discussion of fiction, non-fiction and children's books that the hosts read over the course of the last year. So listen in and maybe one of these books will accompany you on your next beach trip.