History

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. 

The Bathysphere: Life in the Deep

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. 

War, Pain and the Super Soldier

The history of war is filled with examples of soldiers who, in the heat of battle, fail to register the full extent of their injuries. In fact, some of our oldest accounts of battle seem devoid of pain’s emotional context. For humans possess two systems of pain: sensory pain and conscious pain. Join Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick for a discussion that spans the battlefields of human history and future, invoking everything from the bicameral mind to current neuroscience.

Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor

You’ve seen the photos of the famed terracotta warriors, but no one in over 2200 years has glimpsed inside the tomb of Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China. It’s a chamber where rivers of mercury trace the empire’s form beneath a ceiling starscape of precious stones. We know where it is, yet it remains just outside of our scientific reach. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the first emperor’s life and afterlife. Plus Anney and Lauren from FoodStuff drop by to discuss their episode on lunar new year foods.

From the Vault: Tears of Re

In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, enter a kingdom within a kingdom: the remarkable honey-and-wax monarchy within a beehive and the organizational complexity of ancient Egypt. Join Robert and Joe as they discuss the importance of apiculture in ancient Egypt and chat with 'The Tears of Re' author entomologist Gene Kritsky. (Previously published Mar 17, 2016)

Miasma Theory and the Evil Air

Prior to the germ theory of disease, miasma theory ruled the day -- the notion that bad air, full of destructive particles, wafted out from the foul places of the earth to corrupt everything it touched. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Robert and Joe explore the origins or the theory, its effects on society and how it eventually gave way to an accurate understanding of contagion.

Talos: The Bronze Automaton

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 and Joe explore in this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind.