Invention

Invention

From agriculture to the X-ray machine, Stuff to Blow Your Mind hosts Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore the inventions we created, and how they created us.... Show More

Episodes

March 23, 2020 53 min

A fungal accident in the early 20th century opened the door for the medical wonders of the antibiotic age. In this episode of Invention, Robert and Joe explore what came before and how Alexander Fleming’s discovery changed the world. (Originally published 7/15/19)

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March 16, 2020 58 min

Where do new words come from? Robert and Joe explore in the latest episode of Invention.

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March 9, 2020 56 min

Where do new words come from? Robert and Joe explore in the latest episode of Invention.

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March 2, 2020 55 min

You may very well encounter barbed wire everyday -- and, in all likelihood, you see THROUGH this flesh-ripping barrier. Where did this invention come from? How did it change the world? Robert and Joe discuss “the devil’s rope” in this episode of Invention.

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February 24, 2020 53 min

Fire technology depends on the ability to not only create and foster fire, but also the ability to snuff it out as needed. Today, the fire extinguisher is an important active fire protection device, but where does this technology emerge in human techno-history? Robert and Joe explore in this episode of Invention.

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February 17, 2020 51 min

Fire technology depends on the ability to not only create and foster fire, but also the ability to snuff it out as needed. Today, the fire extinguisher is an important active fire protection device, but where does this technology emerge in human techno-history? Robert and Joe explore in this episode of Invention.

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February 10, 2020 40 min

Mastery of fire was one of humanity’s greatest technological leaps forward, but even the ability to create fire only gets you so far if the flame is not easily generated and/or transferred. Thus, the millennia-spanning quest to create the subtle technology we so easily take for granted: the modern matchstick. Join Robert and Joe for a multi-episode Invention exploration on fire-generation technology.

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February 3, 2020 47 min

Mastery of fire was one of humanity’s greatest technological leaps forward, but even the ability to create fire only gets you so far if the flame is not easily generated and/or transferred. Thus, the millennia-spanning quest to create the subtle technology we so easily take for granted: the modern matchstick. Join Robert and Joe for a multi-episode Invention exploration on fire-generation technology.

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January 27, 2020 59 min

Mastery of fire was one of humanity’s greatest technological leaps forward, but even the ability to create fire only gets you so far if the flame is not easily generated and/or transferred. Thus, the millennia-spanning quest to create the subtle technology we so easily take for granted: the modern matchstick. Join Robert and Joe for a multi-episode Invention exploration on fire-generation technology.

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January 20, 2020 50 min

It’s easy to take the pencil for granted, but that eraser-capped wooden cylinder with a core of graphite has a story and a history -- and Robert and Joe explore it in this episode of Invention.

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The Mai Tai isn’t only the most famous Tiki cocktail, it’s one of the most well known cocktails on the planet. But where does it come from? Who invented it? In this episode of Invention, Robert and Joe turn to noted Tiki historian and mixologist Jeff “Beachbum” Berry for answers.

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January 6, 2020 63 min

Chopsticks are such an intuitive and precise eating utensil, it’s easy to assume they’ve been with us. But as Robert Lamb and Joe McCormick explore, this neolithic invention didn’t really leave the kitchen for the dinner table in a major way till the fifth century CE. Prepare to explore the invention of chopsticks. (Originally published 12/17/18)

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December 30, 2019 44 min

Join your Invention hosts Robert and Joe for another round of listenener mail on recent episodes devoted to the Microwave Oven and all sorts of toys.

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December 23, 2019 47 min

As the first year of Invention comes to a close, Robert and Joe catch up on listener mail for everything from air conditioning and ketchup to toys and bubble wrap.

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December 16, 2019 77 min

As the holiday season sets in, Robert and Joe open up Santa’s toy bag to consider the invention of various toys -- toys intended to teach, toys intended to puzzle and toys that leverage technology for good old fashioned childhood fun.

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December 9, 2019 54 min

As the holiday season sets in, Robert and Joe open up Santa’s toy bag to consider the invention of various toys -- toys intended to teach, toys intended to puzzle and toys that leverage technology for good old fashioned childhood fun.

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December 2, 2019 59 min

As the holiday season sets in, Robert and Joe open up Santa’s toy bag to consider the invention of various toys -- toys intended to teach, toys intended to puzzle and toys that leverage technology for good old fashioned childhood fun.

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November 25, 2019 43 min

You probably use one everyday: to warm up your lunch, to explode pats of butter or simply to reheat your coffee. But how does a microwave oven work and where does this amazingly useful invention come from? Find out in this episode of Invention!

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November 18, 2019 43 min

You probably use one everyday: to warm up your lunch, to explode pats of butter or simply to reheat your coffee. But how does a microwave oven work and where does this amazingly useful invention come from? Find out in this episode of Invention!

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November 11, 2019 68 min

In this episode of Invention, Robert and Joe continue the month’s journey through human CULINARY techno-history -- this time with the story of the turnspit dog. This now-extinct breed of dog turned the meat in many a European kitchen, before it was replaced by machines.

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