From the Vault

From the Vault: Ghoul

If your fictional diet contains significant quantities of horror or dark fantasy, then you've likely encountered the ghoul: a scavenging, grave-robbing race of unnatural beings with an insatiable hunger for the dead. As Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore in this episode, the roots of ghouldom sink back into pre-Islamic Arabic folklore -- as well into the distant evolutionary history of humanity itself. (Originally published October 29, 2015)

From the Vault: Carnivorous Plants

Are humans truly safe from the hunger of meat-eating plants? Can we trust the trees that loom over us? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe discuss myths and fictions of killer trees, the science of carnivorous plants and the curious absence of mean-eating plants in our natural world. (Originally published October 18, 2016)

From the Vault: Mixologia

While the cocktail is an inherently American invention, the history of combining alcohols with other substances to create potent, drinkable concoctions dates back to ancient times. While you might expect dangerous ingredients to have a place in a wizard’s potion or a philosopher's goblet, modern cocktails and spirits have also dabbled with nefarious elixirs. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick as they explore the history, myth and science behind it all in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind. (Originally published Jan. 12, 2017)

From the Vault: Black Stone of Mecca

The Kaaba marks the geographic center of the Islamic world, and here one finds Al-Hadjar Al-Aswad, the Holy Black Stone of Mecca. Islamic traditions hold that the once white white stone blackened with humanity’s sins, but various scientific theories point to geological and potentially cosmic origins. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss the mythic, historical and scientific substance of the Kaaba. (Originally published on Feb. 16, 2017)

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)

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) 

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)

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)

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)

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)