Music

This is Your Brain Deciding to Buy an Album

What's the neuroscience behind out decision to buy an album? Read this post from Robert Lamb to find out.

Christmas Mixes To Combat Decision Fatigue

What holiday coffee should I order? What gifts should I buy? What holiday treats should I bake? All those little choices add up, depleting your ego and leaving you incapable of tackling bigger problems in your life. It's called Decision fatigue and it sucks you dry. So just as I advised you on Halloween mixes to combat decision fatigue, I thought I'd dish out some Christmas choices as well.

More Halloween Mixes To Combat Decision Fatigue

If you're throwing a Halloween shindig this year, you know the anguish that comes with putting together a spectacular playlist. Is "Monster Mash" too lame? Is "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" kosher with my converging friend groups? Decisions, decisions, decisions. And of course all those decisions lead to decision fatigue. Think too long and hard over playlists and pizza topping early in the day and you'll be hard pressed to make a call on the big stuff later on. Julie and I did a podcast episode on the topic and there's a great New York Times article on the topic. Save yourself some mental anguish and leave the Halloween tunes to a professional DJ. Now let' get funky.

Blow Your Mind: The Sound Aquatic

Underwater operas? Submerged speaker systems? Mysterious deep sea noises and the monsters who make them? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and explore the rich world of underwater sound. First up, here's the article on pool speakers I wrote: How Underwater Sound Systems Work. Next, if you want to sample those bloopy, unidentified underwater sounds a bit more, you can listen to all of them in their Krakeny wonder right here at the NOAA website. And yes, be sure to read How Cthulhu Works as well. And now onto the music...

Does dubstep suck?

So HowStuffWorks has a new article titled "How Dubstep Works," which summoned a number of likes on the HowStuffWorks Facebook page, but also some much-expected dubstep hatred in the comments section. That's sort of how it goes with dubstep, an electronic dance music subgenre celebrated and maligned with equal fervor. For my own part, I can see both sides.

Thanksgiving: Psychology, Gratitude, Funky Music

So once more residents of the United States find themselves on a collision course with the Thanksgiving holiday. Some of us make a point of celebrating it, some are obligated and others disregard it as much as possible. Between the traditional turkey gluttony and America's historical mistreatment of Native Americans, there are certainly some good excuses to abstain. Growing up. I didn't really care about the whole gratitude thing to be honest. Today, however, it feels appropriate to think a bit about what's good in life and how little I've done to diverse any of it -- and it looks like science backs me up on that.

Why are so many musical minds also so well suited for crunching numbers? Whether it's Art Garfunkel's masters degree in mathematics or the structure of the chromatic scale, it's easy to correlate music and math. But what's the truth of the matter? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I venture into the overlap between the world of song and the world of calculation. We discuss what's going on the brain, what surveys have to say about it and we'll even call back to the interview I did with DJ Irk on the subject.

Blow Your Mind: Invasion of the iPod People

Today's episode is something of a puzzle, and we need you guys to helps us piece it together. What happens when we plug into our electronic gadgets and tune out the rest of the world? What kind of world do we live in when everyone gets to pump their own continuous, custom soundtrack in and alter reality's emotional decor. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I discuss the so-called Walkman Effect and the manner in which our precious music and personal electronics alter the reality we live in.

Beatboxing for the Blind, Beardyman and SXSW

Julie and I will be joining the Stuff Mom Never Told You podcastrixs in Austin, TX this Friday for South By Southwest! Show up at Driskill Hotel at 3:30 P.M. on March 11 with an Interactive badge and you'll get to meet us, greet us and watch us do this podcasting thing. Sadly, we will be long gone from Austin before most of the awesome music starts happening, so I won't be witness to the amazing beatbox/DJ virtuoso Beardyman on the 19th.

I've been thinking about this since a fellow traveler mentioned it over vacation. "No one wants to go into space anymore," he said. "It all started with the Walkman. The kids all slipped on headphones and retreated inward." I'm paraphrasing a little there and I should stress that no one's implying that the rise in headphone usage directly links to the public's decreased interest in space exploration. But the notion still keeps kicking around my skull. What changed in us when the Walkman swept across the world?