Podcasts

From the Vault: Library of Babel

In Jorge Luis Borges' masterful short story "The Library of Babel," librarians and cultists wander a vast honeycomb library of hexagonal rooms -- rooms that contain not only all books but all possible books, from unwritten masterpieces to tomes of typographical nonsense. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick venture into this metaphoric labyrinth for contemplations of genetics, cosmology, philosophy, computer programing and magic. (Originally published Aug 2, 2016)

Listener Mail: Kingdom of the Face Blind

What's it like to live with prosopagnosia or face blindness? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they devote an entire Stuff to Blow Your Mind episode to listener thoughts, observations and experiences. 

The Fartonomicon

What is a fart? From what foul bodily depths does it arise? Join Stuff to Blow Your Mind hosts Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as the crack open the Fartomicon. Explore the fascinating chemistry of flatus, recoil in horror at the thought of medieval fart demons and consider the curious creatures that enjoy a flatulence-free existence. 

From the Vault: Hollywood Acid

From the corrosive blood of the "Alien" xenomorph to the various Bond and Batman villains' use of the iconic acid vat, popular media presents us with a dramatic and largely unrealistic vision of acidic power. What are our strongest acids and superacids actually like? How do they generate those acid effects in the movies? And just what sort of blood courses through the xenomorph's veins? Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. (Originally published May 12, 2016)

Machine Consciousness and P-Zombies

If a machine told you it was conscious, how could you tell if it was lying? Indeed, how can you tell that any random human in your life is lying when they speak of their own consciousness. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a stirring discussion on AI consciousness, philosophical zombies and the coming techno-cognitive dilemma. 

The Singing Colossus of Memnon

The twin Egyptian statues erected by Amenophis III were already ancient relics when Roman travelers visited them in the first century CE. One stood tall and unconquered by some 1400 years of sun and sand, the other lay toppled by a recent earthquake. The Romans mistakenly called them the Colossi of Memnon, and inscribed proof of their visit on the legs of the toppled colossus -- because it spoke to them. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss the singing colossus. Why did it start speaking? Why did it stop? 

From the Vault: Myth-Fleshed Fossil

Are the fossilized monsters of paleontology and the fantastic monsters of myth one and the same? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they discuss the realm of of geomythology, entailing the possible ancient real-world origins of dragons, griffins, giants the cyclops and other wonders. (Originally published Jun 28, 2016)

Face Blindness

It’s easy to take the human brain’s facial recognition powers for granted, unless there’s a malfunction. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the science of prosopagnosia or face blindness. 

The Cambodian Stegosaurus

Do Cambodian temple ruins speak to a time when humans and dinosaurs coexisted? Absolutely not, but it’s a great excuse for Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick to talk about the armored stegosaurus, Ta Prohm temple, young Earth creationism and avian evolution. 

From the Vault: Saturn's Brood

The planet Saturn offers far more than rings to those who venture within its gravitational influence. This wind-swept gas giant also holds sway over no fewer than 53 moons, including such wonders as the atmosphere-shrouded Titan, two-faced Iapetus and sponge-like Hyperion. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the mysteries of the Saturnian moons. (Originally published Aug 4, 2016)