History

From the Vault: Humanzee

Chimpanzees are humanity's closest living relative, but there's both wonder and existential horror in that closeness. A species barrier separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom, but what if a chimp/human hybrid were to bridge that barrier? Join Robert Lamb and Christian Sager as they explore the case history of Russian biologist Ilya Ivanovich Ivanov and his attempts to breed a human/chimp hybrid in the early 20th century. (Originally published Jan. 21, 2016)

Interview: Carl Zimmer on Heredity's Power

Why does heredity hold such power over us? How did the ancients contemplate it and how is genetic technology changing the shape of future heredity? Robert and Joe chat with acclaimed science writer Carl Zimmer about the topics explored in his new book “She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions, and Potential of Heredity.”

From the Vault: Early Days Electric, Part 2

Electricity lost its magic over the course the 18th and 19th centuries. The "invisible fire" steadily transitioned from a mysterious force of wonder to a mundane reality of daily modern life. In this two-part edition of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the various electrical experiments, stunts, inventions, performances, innovations, occultisms and atrocities that transformed the tractable thunder. (Originally published Feb 11, 2016)

From the Vault: Early Days Electric, Part 1

Electricity lost its magic over the course the 18th and 19th centuries. The "invisible fire" steadily transitioned from a mysterious force of wonder to a mundane reality of daily modern life. In this two-part edition of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the various electrical experiments, stunts, inventions, performances, innovations, occultisms and atrocities that transformed the tractable thunder. (Originally published Feb 9, 2016)

From the Vault: Techno-Religion, Part 2

We often think of technology and religion as distinct and separate worlds, but what happens when they converge? Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick in this two-part episode as they examine religious world views shaped by technology, such as John Murray Spear’s electrical messiah, the simple prayer wheel and the psycho-spiritual technologies of Scientology. (Originally published Jun 11, 2015)

Unicorns of the Mythic World

Jorge Luis Borges tells us that the oldest unicorn legends are nearly identical to the most recent ficitonal treatments -- but why is that? Why is the notion of a sacred, one-horned horse so resilient in human culture? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a look at the history of global unicorn myths and legends. Plus, don't be shocked if a satyr shows up. 

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. 

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? 

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. 

The Bathysphere: William Beebe Descends

In 1930, American naturalist William Beebe began his descent in a spherical, unpowered submarine known as a Bathysphere -- and in doing so visited a world previously unseen by human beings. In this two-part Stuff to Blow Your Mind exploration, Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick discuss humanity’s prior understanding of the deep ocean and Beebe’s astounding reports from the world a half mile down.