About Julie Douglas

Julie Douglas is a podcaster, writer and editor at HowStuffWorks.com and a sometimes phlebotomist and pyrotechnician, not to mention a fabulist of bios. She likes to pronounce the "s" in her last name as though it were silent, although no one else will. Mostly she's interested in finding out what makes us tick, and so far, science is the best tool she's found to interrogate the universe with. Along with co-host Robert Lamb of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, she's game for exploring everything from nanotechnology used in military exoskeletons to marauding monkeys high on hallucinogens. She lives in Atlanta with her most excellent spouse and their whirling-dervish-of-a- toddler daughter. You can find her musings on Twitter at @BlowtheMind and on Facebook at the official Stuff to Blow Your Mind page.

Most Recent: Julie Douglas Postings

It’s Friday, which means it’s time to take a step back and see what the Internets machine churned out this week. On tap: Dancing with the squids. Chromatophores bust a move. Did you get your flu shot? Bacteria, one step closer to world domination. Legendary pickpocket + military = strange bedfellows What a cluster#%*@ — […]

Tags: , , , , , ,

So the nice folks at the E4 Elementary Education Conference in Minneapolis let Robert and I do our song and dance in front of them, and the tune we chose to waltz to was, “We Are All Scientists” — this idea that science isn’t a shirt we put on, it’s the shirt we’re born into.

Along with last week’s episode, How to Think Like a Child, today’s episode builds on this theme, exploring the idea that we’re natural Euclidean navigators of our universe, blueprinting our surroundings like engineers and using our powers of abstraction to tell a story about all that we observe and can understand.

Tags: , ,

Join Robert and me as we time travel to the Ordovician period, some 488 million years ago. According to “Kraken” author Wendy Williams, “For a while the seas were deliciously warm and the planet seems to have been a kind of Garden of Eden, a time of nirvana that allowed life to flourish in many […]

Tags: , , , , ,

In this week’s podcast Robert and I put on our metaphorical jammies, dim the lights and look at the science behind the occultist hijinks of our youths, all while braiding each other’s hair. What we discover about how our eyes can “see” ghosts (the Troxler effect); and our own innate strength, not to mention unconscious movements of our muscles known as the ideomotor effect, is far more intriguing than any made-by-Hasbro spirit could cook up.

And lest you listen to the podcast and realize that one of your long-held beliefs about something that happened to you in your childhood has been dashed — like levitating a friend using only two fingers– don’t despair. Think of it less as being pantsed by science and more like exposing the man behind the curtain, aka your endlessly imaginative, beautiful brain.

Tags: , , , , ,

According to Ken Jennings (yes, that Ken Jennings) in his book, “Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks,” maps show us two kinds of places: the familiar stomping grounds of our personal geography and far-flung lands that quietly beckon, intertwining the past, present and future.

In this episode we’ll find out what’s going on in the noggin when we look at a map, why we’re biased toward an x/y axis and why a London cab driver has such an extraordinarily large hippocampus.

Tags: , , , , ,

In the animal kingdom, if you’ve got a cute mug you just scored yourself a “pass” as a potential meal for most humans. But if your homo sapien overlords aren’t circulating photos of you with funny captions, or if you’re widely feared, you’re probably on the menu — or at the very least persona non […]

Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve just permanently installed my scat freak flag in my cubicle. (Perhaps I should refer to it as a fecal flag.) Today’s podcast, “The Brilliant and Terrifying Future of Toilets,” could finally cement my rep here at HSW as the resident Scatologist (please, please, please!)

From fecal transplants and the unorthodox digestive lives of sloths, to the toilet that Dante might have had Satan use, we’re doing the dirty work to keep you all updated on scat innovations as much as possible.

Why? Because three things in life are necessary to our survival: eating, sleeping and pooping. Without the latter expression of our physicality, we’d pretty much be toast. With that in mind, once again Robert and I delve into the heart of darkness, this time to podcast about what kind of toilet technology you can expect to see in the future.

Tags: , ,

Oddly, the day after Robert and I recoded the podcast, “Is privacy an illusion*?” I saw this headline on NY Times, “How to Fix (or Kill) Web Data About You.” It’s not woo-woo odd, mind you, just timely odd since it discusses the various ways that you can follow your online data trail and scrub it free of past transgressions (or at least try).

In the podcast we discuss the fact that we’re all so eager to streamline our lives through the convenience of technology that most of us think nothing of sharing our most personal data. Think about all of the pieces of information you’ve floated into a data stream — from the crappy album review you left on Amazon and your Peru vacation pics on Flickr to online results of your IQ — and then think about stitching together every iota of information to form a composite of yourself. What sort of picture would it paint? What could go wrong with a seemingly endless stream of data about ourselves that we’ve given of our own volition?

Tags: , ,

Ah, symbiosis. It’s taking place everywhere, at this very moment. Consider: Trillions of bacteria are milling about in your gut, and they greatly outnumber your gut’s own cells. If your gut were picking tonight’s movie by quorum, the bacteria would win out. (Sorry to say that you’ll be watching Dustin Hoffman in “Outbreak,” once again.)

Tags: , , , ,

Recent Postings by Category