Posts Tagged: ‘evolution’
This Saturday marks the 25th anniversary of Warhammer 40k, which is sort of a big deal if you’re male between the ages of 13 and 60 who digs sci-fi violence and the sweet, seductive scent of acrylic paint. The franchise kicked off in 1987 as a sci-fi take on Games Workshop’s fantasy tabletop game “Warhammer.” From there, it steadily sucked in sci-fi influences to become its own distinct world: novels, movies, video games and of course vast armies of tiny soldiers.
I grew up painting figurines and playing war games with my dad, so I have a warm place in my heart for Games Workshop. But the don’t pay me to reminisce. They pay me to bring the science. So here, for your enjoyment, are five sciencey reasons to be thankful for the Warhammer 4oK universe:
If you were born a baby spider, things would have turned out much differently for you. You’d have been mostly brain, for example. Researchers have long suspected that tiny spiders — the young of which are routinely born deformed yet grow into normally proportioned adults — are born with very large brains. Now they know it, thanks to what I imagine is research that amounted to dissecting deformed spider babies carried out by arachnid specialists at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, down Panama way.
We all know “funny” when he encounter it, but just what’s going on inside the human mind when we snicker at the word “wiener” or revel in a well-crafted pun? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I dive into the world of humor to discuss the evolutionary purpose of humor and just how it changes the world around us.
I know, this sounds like a question you’d hear a DJ wail out at a rave. But seriously, ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEO-EVOLUTION?
Humans have been around 130,000, evolving into the charming specimens we are today. But what if you could take an evolutionary process of more than 100,000 years and in just 100 years DIY human evolution? Julie and I discuss if evolution as we know it is over and if we might have the technological power to weed out disease and give our future progeny super-human attributes.
In the great game of evolution, elephants have racked up an impressive list of achievements. For example: They’re the largest living land animal, and scientists are still studying the their prodigious brainpower. This intelligence is readily observable in the wild. Some appear to have an artistic streak (check out the video below). Humans even pay homage […]
by Josh Clark | April 20, 2011
Our current understanding of allergies are that they are defensive measures launched unnecessarily against benign intruders like pollen, which is mistaken by the immune system as a threatening foreign invader. The concept of immunotherapy is based on this logic: By exposing the immune system to small consistent doses of a benign substance like pollen the immune system won’t launch a full-on attack.
by Robert Lamb | April 15, 2011
Like most cartoon characters, the Simpsons all have four fingers (except for God, as listener Deming pointed out to us) while us humans have five. Why is that? Why five and not, say, six or two? In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I turn our attention to our own fleshy keyboard paddles to ask why so many creatures evolved with a five-fingered discount.
by Josh Clark | March 16, 2011
Alistair Clarke, an evolutionary theorist has a new book coming out wherein he’s managed to reduce the amount of pleasure we derive from humor into a pretty simple equation. According to the release on Science Daily, humor (h) is equal to the amount of misinformation present in a joke or bit (m), times the “extent to which the individual [the joke receiver] is susceptible to taking it seriously (s).”
Whether you wield a battle axe or a q-tip, you’re engaging in classic tool user behavior. In this episode of Stuff to Blow Your Mind, Julie and I get to the heart of animal tool use. Just what is it all about and how does the brain see that blood-dripping blade or wax-coated cotton swab as a part of your body? Plus, primates aren’t the only amazing tool users out there. Prepare that brain of yours for the exploits of crows with sticks, elephants with canteens, naked mole rats with tiny masks and octopi who go all “Gilligan’s Island” on some coconuts.
There’s nothing like a good infectious beat, especially if you’re Carl Jung in Africa, fearful that an atmosphere thick with shamanistic African drumming will literally drive you insane. This little chapter from the famous psychiatrist’s life also inspired this excellent Peter Gabriel track, “The Rhythm of the Heat.” This is exactly some of the ground Julie and I tackle in this week’s episodes of the Stuff to Blow Your Mind podcast.
Recent Postings by Category
- Thank You and Best Wishes to Marshall Brain
- Contest – Design a $300 house and win $25,000
- How the Philtrum works – the place under your nose where your face comes together
The Coolest Stuff on the Planet
- Why can a 5 foot 8 inch man dunk a basketball on a 10 foot rim while some people of taller stature can’t?
- What happens to our sun once it runs out of fuel?
- How do we know the age of the universe?
Stuff Mom Never Told You
- Hollywood’s First Magical Makeover Movie
- 7 Types of ‘Friends with Benefits’ Relationships
- How Sad Breakup Songs Make Us Feel Better
Stuff to Blow Your Mind
- Blow Your Mind: Slay Your Paper Tigers
- Space Religion: Cao Dai and the 72 Inhabited Exoplanets
- Blow the Mind: Objects of Love
Stuff You Should Know
- “In The Neighborhood” by Jon Stewart Mosman
- “Frame Story” by Adam Pracht
- “Thanatos” by Christopher Vincola
The Stuff of Genius
- Show Notes: Heart-stopping Last Laps of Racing
- Never say Never: Jaguar XJ220 Spotted in the Wild!
- What’s your pick for the 2013 Indianapolis 500 pace car?
- PopStuff Show Notes: Episode 152: Final Episodes
- PopStuff Show Notes: Episode 151: Mailbag!
- PopStuff Show Notes: Episode 150: Barbie!
Stuff They Don't Want You To Know
Stuff to Change the World
- Who will own the Arctic?
- Obesity: The New Global Crisis
- Bill Gates Makes For A Pretty Decent Cartoon