Highbrow Drivel

Highbrow Drivel

Hilarious takes from serious experts. Each week I'm joined by a new stand up comedian and a new expert to discuss their field of expertise. We're talking the big topics, the brain, space, climate science, psychedelics and all the areas you're most likely to end up when you're drunk, at the end of a party, just trying to figure it all out. . It's a light, funny and easily accessible way to hear the latest from some seriously mind blowing experts.

Episodes

May 7, 2021 61 min

What's the deal with manners? The weird, often arbitrary rules that we abide and judge people  by? In this episode we dive into where they come from, their purpose and some of the weirdest social conventions lost in time. 

Expert guest:
Stephen Mennell is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at University College Dublin (which is the largest university in the confederal National University of Ireland). Stephen does research in Sociolo...

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May the 4th is days away. We thought we'd invite the awesome Dr Jeni Millard from the Awesome Astronomy podcast back on the show to chat to comedian, mate and Star Wars aficionado, Steele Saunders about helicopters on mars, terraforming other planets and aliens.

Expert guest:
Dr Jenifer Millard is now officially a Dr. Since our last chat she's officially received her PhD, is making appearances of BBC Radio all over the place...

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Race, it's a crazy hot mess that needs unpacking. In this week's episode, I get the amazing Dr. Nitasha Tamar Sharma to join me on the podcast to help me unpack the mixed race experience. Because it's a crazy hot bed topic and I wanted to be greedy and discuss my own personal experience a bit more, there's no guest comedian on this episode. 

Expert guest:
Nitasha Tamar Sharma is a professor at Professor at Northwest...

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We're back in space, this time with an Author, Activist and Astrophysicists who's list of achievements is so long I wonder if she's managed to build a time machine to manage it all and an awesome actor / writer and comedian. We discuss the ethics of science, the way trouble with gatekeepers in education and finally, someone explains cosmic acceleration in a way I can understand. 

Expert guest:
Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinste...

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Is there such thing as bad music? How important was music to human evolution? Is musicology a real thing? And, why is Baby Shark one of our expert guests favourite bits of new music? All this and more in this week's episode.

Expert guest:
Michael Spitzer is a Professor of Music (otherwise known as a musicologist) at the University of Liverpool. His newly published book 'The Musical Human: A History of Life on Earth' take...

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How do you know if you know yourself? In this episode we speak to one of the leading scientists in the world of metacognition to find out what self-awareness is, why we have it, whether it's a blessing or a curse and how our own self-awareness impacts us.

Our expert guest:
Dr. Steve Fleming is one of the world's leading experts in the field of metacognition (the fancy science word for self-awareness). He is a  Wellcome Trus...

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Let's face it, most of us have got used to ignoring the fact that our tech has become a sneaky spy selling our every move to the highest bidder. So how do we change that? In this week's episode I talk to Joshua Fairfield, an internationally recognised law and technology scholar / author, who happens to be extremely funny and Davina Bentley, an international awesome comedian who happens to be a lawyer. We talk about the in&#...

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According to some cancel culture is rife and freedom of speech is under attack, but then a look around most mainstream newsrooms and social media platforms will show a lot of people getting a lot of money and attention for saying the kinds of things that you allegedly aren't allowed to say anymore. So is cancel culture one big which hunt? Or is it more a matter of which c%^t needs to be canceled next? We take a look at the impa...

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We're kicking it ol' school....Really ol' school. This week we're joined by Ahir Shah and Dr Emma Dunne to talk all things dinosaurs.  In one the most fun episodes we've ever recorded we cover whether birds are carry around the regret of no longer being a dinosaur, whether you can judge a person based on their favourite dinosaur, what it's like to work in a job where the most knowledgeable experts have an av...

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If you've ever had an orgasm, you're probably not surprised to hear that people like them. But, unfortunately in news that will surprise few women but too many men, women cum significantly less than men in hetrosexual couples. The massive difference is known as 'the orgasm gap.' Just in time for International Women's Day I talked to comedian Ginnia Cheng, and psychology postdoctoral student Jessica Jordan to dis...

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I have 99 problems and the economic structures that allow billionaires to exist cause 98 of them. In this episode we speak to Suse Steed, who is both a former economist and a comedian (a great venn diagram for a guest on this show) and MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle who went viral after he had the unfortunate experience of dealing with the feigned indignation of Emma Barnett when discussing billionaires. 
In this episode we discuss:

  • Whether ...
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    Ever forget your own name? Or know that you know something but just can't seem to remember it? How about those times where an absolute random memory you didn't even know you have pop into your head for no reason? This week we ask a cognitive psychologist what's happening in the brain that makes our memory such a tricky thing. And, if we can't trust our memory, how does that impact our ideas about who we are. Joining...

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    For Valentine's Day we look at the way sex robots, bereavement tech, algorithms and more will impact the future of dating. Joining me on this episode is crowd favourite Juan Miles and dating coach Rachel New. In the episode we also discuss the way one clever dater hacked the OkCupid algorithm to get 5 dates per day. You can learn more about that at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJod9kRYyao

    Juan Miles
    Juan is an Argentinian...

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    Why do we dream? How can you learn to lucid dream? How do you prevent nightmares and why in the hell do random people end up in your dreams? We discuss all that and more  in this week's episode.

    Expert guest: Dr Caroline Horton.
    Caroline directs the DrEAMSLab at Bishop Grosseteste University. She is also the host of of the Sleep Science Pod.  You can stay up-to-date with her on Twitter at @sleepandmemory

    Comedian Guest: Neil ...

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    We're off to infinity and beyond with the mind blowing Jenifer Millard (soon to be Dr.) and the hilarious Eve Ellenbogen.
    In this episode we discuss how scientists can almost, but not quite see the big bang, whether or not the universe can die, whether Elon Musk will get to live out his fantasy of owning space slaves (or just what it will take for us to set up a colony on Mars), the three Mars missions that are taking place, wh...

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    In this week's episode we talk dating.

    Expert guest:
    Hayley Quinn is an internationally recognised dating coach and founder of the UK’s largest dating coaching company. She has over 2 Million views on her TED talk and over 100,000 YouTube subscribers.

    She is the spokesperson for Match, the biggest online dating platform in the world. She has been featured on BBC1, Sky and Channel 4 and is a regular columnist for Cosmopolitan.

    Her ...

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    In this week's episode I talk to Dr Bradley Wiggins about the pervasive power of memes. From a way to shame school friends who were too excited about their Goosebump books to becoming a way to communicate serious political ideals, including many problematic ones, the meme has evolved rapidly over the last decade.

    Dr Bradley Wiggins is  the Associate Professor and Department Head of Media Communications at Webster Vienna Private...

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    Poll after poll has shown that most people believe climate change is an important issue that we need to act on. And yet, for more than 3 decades the response to this from governments around the world has been inadequate. So, on today's episode, instead of talking about how to convince climate change deniers that it's real I ask a politician who is passionate about climate action why his colleagues have been so slow to act

    Ro...

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    Machine learning and artificial intelligence already play a huge role in our life.  From trivial things like what movies and songs are recommended to us, to important things like politics (or vice versa depending on your perspective) machines are shaping what we discover and how and that's only set to grow. So who decides how this happens? Should we be concerned and how do we make sure the impacts of these machines is monitored...

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    Conspiracy theories spread like wildfire in 2020, which is unfortunate, because wildfire also spread like wild fire in 2020 and some of the conspiracy theories downplayed the impacts of climate change, which scientists agree leads to an increased chance of wildfires. ]

    If that intro seemed a little confusing to you, you're not alone. Conspiracy theories from Qanon to the cause and severity of the coronavirus gained mainstream at...

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