Right Now in Stuff to Blow Your Mind

Against Narrative: Are stories bad for us? Part 2

It’s hard to imagine human beings without storytelling and literature. Surely, these are some of the very things that define us. Narratives give our lives and our world meaning, but what if there’s a dark side to their sorcerous power? In this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the storyteller’s potent spell.

Against Narrative: Are stories bad for us? Part 1

It’s hard to imagine human beings without storytelling and literature. Surely, these are some of the very things that define us. Narratives give our lives and our world meaning, but what if there’s a dark side to their sorcerous power? In this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the storyteller’s potent spell. 

From the Vault: Bicameralism, Part 1

In 1976, psychologist Julian Jaynes presented the world with a stunning new take on the history of human consciousness. His book “The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind” hypothesized that ancient humans heard hallucinated voices in place of conscious thought, and presented archaeological, literary, historical and religious evidence to support this highly controversial view. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they dissect bicameralism and discuss the evidence, the criticisms and more in this two-parter. (originally published Sep 26, 2017)

The Dark Crystal

It’s time for another movie-themed episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind and this time Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick are bound for the world of Thra in Jim Henson’s 1982 masterpiece “The Dark Crystal.” What are we to make of these complex creatures, mythological themes and cosmological alignment? 






Listener Mail: The Quickening

Once more, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick bust out some listener mail -- with the aid of their mailboy Karny, who was accidently infected by the recent “Highlander 2” episode and is now displaying symptoms of multiple Highlander personality disorder.  

From the Vault: 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 Lamb and Joe McCormick seek to find out in this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration. (Originally published Jan. 9, 2018)

Flatus Ex Machina, Part 2

Why is it so hilarious when robots and artificial intelligence fail? What does it reveal about comedy itself and our technological anxiety? Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore in this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter. In this second episode, the joke's on us. 

Flatus Ex Machina, Part 1

Why is it so hilarious when robots and artificial intelligence fail? What does it reveal about comedy itself and our technological anxiety? Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore in this Stuff to Blow Your Mind two-parter. 

From the Vault: 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 Lamb and Joe McCormick seek to find out in this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration. (Originally published Jan. 4, 2018)

M.I.B. or N.I.B. ?

Belief in UFOs is very much like a religion. It can fulfill the same purpose in an individual's life, give them a community of believers and provide grander framework for mundane life. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick consider the similarities between the so-called “men in black” and the devil. 

Bugs Under The Skin

Ever feel like there are bugs crawling around in your body? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore alleged incidents, medical publications and the reality of delusional parasitosis. 

From the Vault:  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 Lamb and Joe McCormick look to the world of biology for answers. (Originally published Jan. 16, 2018)

Let's Make a List

Why are humans so fascinated by lists? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the reason we can’t pass a top 10 clickbait headline and are forever haunted by incomplete lists. 

The Tunnelers

How deep into the Earth have humans traveled? How far have we drilled? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore some interesting lows from the history of mining, geologic exploration and good old fashioned subterranean living. 

From the Vault: Jade Immortality

Chinese aristocracy of the Western Han Dynasty embarked on their journey into the afterlife within garments of stone -- luxurious suits of jade armor entailing thousands of individual plates sewn together with gold, silver or silk. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Christian Sager explore this ancient funeral custom and both the scientific and superstitious qualities of jade. (Originally published May 9, 2017)

Highlander 2: The Sciencing

Yes, the time of the Quickening is at hand! In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick finally make good on their threat to devote an entire episode to the 1991 film "Highlander II: The Quickening" and whatever science might be rendered from its plot. They wanted this to be a six-part series, but our boss tells us... there can be only one.

The Lost Daughters of Aten: Planet 9

Pluto may not be a planet, but it definitely exists. Not every case is so clear. The history of near-Earth astronomy contains many cases of bodies that may or may not have ever existed in the solar system we call home. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick continue their journey through space to survey once-hypothetical bodies that took work to prove, once-imagined bodies that are now confirmed phantoms, and the unsolved mysteries where questions remain. This time, the destination is a hypothetical planet beyond the orbit of Pluto. 

From the Vault: Talos

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 Lamb and Joe McCormick explore in this classic episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. (Originally published Jan. 2, 2018)

The Lost Daughters of Aten, Part 1

Pluto may not be a planet, but it definitely exists. Not every case is so clear. The history of near-Earth astronomy contains many cases of bodies that may or may not have ever existed in the solar system we call home. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick take a journey through space to survey once-hypothetical bodies that took work to prove, once-imagined bodies that are now confirmed phantoms, and the unsolved mysteries where questions remain.

Mystery of the Sea Circles

We’ve all heard about crop circles, and the entirely terrestrial reason they pop up in the occasional wheat field. But what about strange circles on the bottom of the sea? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss the mystery of these ephemeral patterns and what scientists discovered about their origin.