The Stuff of Life

The Stuff of Life

Eavesdrop on experts and researchers as they ponder what makes our world so maddening, so strange and so achingly beautiful. Not to mention ridiculous. Join Julie Douglas for this week’s episode of The Stuff of Life, a podcast by HowStuffWorks.com.... Show More

Episodes

May 19, 2017 34 min

America, the home of rugged individualist. Or not. Each of us is connected to each other, relies on one another, gives and takes, consciously or unconsciously weaving the web of support that it takes to make a society. Let’s face it: we need each other. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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May 12, 2017 29 min

In this episode we look at how we manufacture fear in the mind with a trip back in history to a psyops mission, a visit to to a haunted attraction, and a peek into the political house of horror, “Doomocracy.” Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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May 5, 2017 26 min

1963 was a year of chaos and social upheaval. Sound familiar? Time, it would seem, is circular, something the American Survey of Fears proves out. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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April 28, 2017 30 min

Ah, the “good ol days.” If America had its own brochure it would depict rocking chairs on front porches, pristine farms and tidy downtowns. But did this America ever exist? And is thinking it did doing us some serious psychological harm? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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April 21, 2017 34 min

Adolescence: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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The Stuff of Life is packing up its bags and moving to Fridays. Find out why. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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April 12, 2017 29 min

Some men dance, many don’t. What are the unspoken rules that govern the ways we move our body, and what does it say about our society and how we treat each other? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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April 5, 2017 31 min

The antidote to being a jerk is empathy. And thankfully it appears to be hard-wired in the human brain. And yet … we’re increasingly casting off the ability to walk a mile in another person's shoes. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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March 29, 2017 32 min

We all want to hit the eject button on reality and look for a different way to live our lives at one point or another. How about through transforming yourself into another species, meditating on your existence, or just laughing your ass off? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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March 22, 2017 36 min

‘Anger in its time and place,’ wrote the essayist Charles Lamb, ‘May assume a kind of grace.’ We look at how anger can be clarifying, even helpful, and we find out how it can morph into its more dangerous and corrupting form, hate. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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March 15, 2017 18 min

No matter where you fall on the political spectrum we can all agree that more than ever, the world feels broken. In this episode, we take a trip to Washington DC on the day of the inauguration and the eve of the Women’s March. And we look to Kintsugi, the Japanese art of repairing broken things, to find out how to mend ourselves. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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March 30, 2016 28 min

In this episode we look at the idea that life is just a game. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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March 23, 2016 20 min

Nature gave us the first songs -- the patterns and melodies that we replicate in instruments, and our own voices. We take a visit to the exhibit, "Wild Music," to look at our deep connection to nature and music. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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March 16, 2016 26 min

The Earth is wrapped in an atmosphere that weighs 5.5 quadrillion tons. And inside this atmosphere the weather creates a crazy quilt of conditions. To say that the weather is unpredictable is to sum up our entire existence. And to personify weather is deeply human. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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March 9, 2016 21 min

Finding our way in the world is one of the most fundamental things we humans do, and maps map it possible. But on some level, these maps are a thing of fiction. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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March 2, 2016 20 min

In this episode we’ll look at how, as the bereaved, we find solace in ritual – everything from providing comfort food to hiring professional mourners. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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February 24, 2016 32 min

In this episode we put out a pot of tea, a plate of cucumber sandwiches, and we take a seat with death. What is a “good death,” how do we achieve it and how might our dreams help? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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February 17, 2016 18 min

In some ways our stuff is ourselves – it tells a story about who we are. But why do some of us develop pathological attachments to objects? Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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February 10, 2016 30 min

In one way or another we’re all trying to transcend death, whether it’s through an “I was here” graffiti scrawl or an e-epic-length autobiography. In this episode we look at our attempts to achieve immortality – through objects that we store in time capsules, and through the information we store in the avatars we build of ourselves. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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One of the top American fears, alongside walking alone at night and personal injury, is public speaking. Find out why it can be so terrifying to step into the spotlight. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers

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