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Ever wanted to know how music affects your brain, what quantum mechanics really is, or how black holes work? Do you wonder why you get emotional each time you see a certain movie, or how on earth video games are designed? Then you’ve come to the right place. Each week, Sean Carroll will host conversations with some of the most interesting thinkers in the world. From neuroscientists and engineers to authors and television producers, Sean and his guests talk about the biggest ideas in science, ...
 
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Evolution by natural selection is one of the rare scientific theories that resonates within the wider culture as much as it does within science. But as much as people know about evolution, we also find the growth of corresponding myths. Simon Conway Morris is a paleontologist and evolutionary biologist who’s new book is From Extraterrestrials to An…
 
Welcome to the August 2022 Ask Me Anything episode of Mindscape! These monthly excursions are funded by Patreon supporters (who are also the ones asking the questions). We take questions asked by Patreons, whittle them down to a more manageable number — based primarily on whether I have anything interesting to say about them, not whether the questi…
 
The idea of an “interest rate” might seem mundane and practical, in comparison to our usual topics around here, but there is a profound philosophical idea lurking in the background: if you lend me money now against the promise of me paying you back more in the future, I am relating the different values that a certain sum has to me at different mome…
 
Recent years have seen a revolution in the study of exoplanets, planets that orbit stars other than the Sun (or don’t orbit stars at all). After a few tentative detections in the 1990s, dedicated instruments in the 2000s have now pushed the number of known exoplanets into the thousands, enough to begin to categorize their distribution and propertie…
 
When a car bomb kills Daphne Caruana Galizia on the beautiful Mediterranean island of Malta, the hunt for her killers exposes secrets with consequences that go far beyond its shores. In the aftermath of her death an international team of journalists comes together to continue her work. Along the way they start to uncover clues that might lead to he…
 
We describe the world using language — we can’t help it. And we all know that ordinary language is an imperfect way of communicating rigorous scientific statements, but sometimes it’s the best we can do. Linguist N.J. Enfield argues that the difficulties run more deeply than we might ordinarily suppose. We use language as a descriptive tool, but it…
 
Welcome to the July 2022 Ask Me Anything episode of Mindscape! These monthly excursions are funded by Patreon supporters (who are also the ones asking the questions). I take the large number of questions asked by Patreons, whittle them down to a more manageable size — based primarily on whether I have anything interesting to say about them, not whe…
 
The United States is suffering from an epidemic of tragic gun violence. While a political debate rages around the topic of gun control, it remains important to understand the causes and possible remedies for gun violence within the current system. Andrew Papachristos is a sociologist who uses applied network science to study patterns of street viol…
 
On May 4, 2001, Bonny Lee Bakley was found fatally shot in a car on a dark North Hollywood street. The prime suspect was her husband, famed actor Robert Blake. But Bonny, a longtime con artist, had plenty of enemies. She left behind a trail of men she’d scammed, and she had a volatile relationship with Christian Brando, the troubled son of movie st…
 
All of us construct models of the world, and update them on the basis of evidence brought to us by our senses. Scientists try to be more rigorous about it, but we all do it. It’s natural that this process will depend on what form that sensory input takes. We know that animals, for example, are typically better or worse than humans at sight, hearing…
 
Welcome to the June 2022 Ask Me Anything episode of Mindscape! We are inaugurating a slightly different publication schedule, in which these monthly AMA will take the place of one of the regular Monday episodes, rather than being in addition to all of them. A slight tweak that will hopefully make my obligations a little more manageable. These month…
 
The 200th episode of Mindscape! Thanks to everyone for sticking around for this long. To celebrate, a solo episode discussing a set of issues naturally arising at the intersection of philosophy and physics: how to think about probabilities and expectations in a multiverse. Here I am more about explaining the issues than offering correct answers, al…
 
Time is everywhere, pervading each aspect of intellectual inquiry — from physics to philosophy to biology to psychology, and all the way up to politics. Considerations of time help govern a nation’s self-conception, decide who gets to vote and enjoy other privileges, and put limits on the time spent in office. Not to mention the role of time as a p…
 
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