Robert and Julie's Amazing Stuff to Blow Your Mind Christmas


Claimed to be the biggest Santa Claus in the world, 7ft 8 inch Jacob Hudson Nacken is fitted for his costume by a tailor on arrival in New York from Germany.
Claimed to be the biggest Santa Claus in the world, 7ft 8 inch Jacob Hudson Nacken is fitted for his costume by a tailor on arrival in New York from Germany.
Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty

There's absolutely no denying that it's Christmas. Heck, it's apparently been Christmas for months here in Atlanta, where the MARTA train service pipes in horrific holiday music as if a high enough dosage will inoculate us against unknown ailments while we wait for the train. Meanwhile, there's extra snack food in the HSW break room, holiday celebrations abound and SOMETHING WEARING JINGLE BELLS moves around in the walls.

So Julie and I decided to celebrate the season in an appropriate manner. No, don't let the image deceive you. We did NOT record a podcast about the Germany's secret plan to breed an army of 7-foot Santa's capable of surviving the void of space without a suit. Instead, we centered in on these two equally crazy, scientifically-based topics:

The Santa Claus Machine How does Santa Claus do it? How does he make so many kind of toys and gadgets in his humble, old-timey workshop? Clearly his elves have harnessed the power of nanomanufacturing to produce a universal constructor. But what does this mean for the fate of the planet? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I consider the possibilities of limitless custom manufacturing and a grey goo Christmas.

STREAM THE EPISODE RIGHT HERE: [audio http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/podcasts.howstuffworks.com/hsw/podcasts/sciencelab/2011-12-15-stbym-santa-claus.mp3]

Give the Gift of a Mystery Box Why are mystery packages so appealing? How do they improve our mental faculties and fuel our creativity? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Julie share tales of sealed envelopes, quantum thought experiments, virginity boxes and things Pandora should never have opened. You might even score a gift idea or two.

STREAM THE EPISODE RIGHT HERE: [audio http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/podcasts.howstuffworks.com/hsw/podcasts/sciencelab/2011-12-13-stbym-mystery-box.mp3]

I leave you with this basket of holiday nightmare:

So there you have it! You can find the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast on iTunes, Zune and the RSS feed. And don't forget the free HowStuffWorks App!

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About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.