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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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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…
 
The origin of life here on Earth was an important and fascinating event, but it was also a long time ago and hasn’t left many pieces of direct evidence concerning what actually happened. One set of clues we have comes from processes in current living organisms, especially those processes that seem extremely common. The Krebs cycle, the sequence of …
 
The concept of the city is a crucial one for human civilization: people living in proximity, bringing in resources from outside, separated from the labors of subsistence so they can engage in the trade of goods and ideas. But we are still learning how cities grow and adapt to new conditions, as well as how we can best guide them to be livable as we…
 
Welcome to the May 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 whet…
 
To say that event A causes event B is to not only make a claim about our actual world, but about other possible worlds — in worlds where A didn’t happen but everything else was the same, B would not have happened. This leads to an obvious difficulty if we want to infer causes from sets of data — we generally only have data about the actual world. H…
 
Evolution has equipped species with a variety of ways to travel through the air — flapping, gliding, floating, not to mention jumping really high. But it hasn’t invented jet engines. What are the different ways that heavier-than-air objects might be made to fly, and why does natural selection produce some of them but not others? Richard Dawkins has…
 
Humans are related to all other species here on Earth, but some are closer relatives than others. Primates, a group that includes apes, monkeys, lemurs, and others besides ourselves, are our closest relatives, and they exhibit a wide variety of behaviors that we can easily recognize. Frans de Waal is a leading primatologist and ethologist who has l…
 
Every time we make an important decision, it’s hard not to wonder how things would have turned out had we chosen differently. The set of all those hypothetical lives is a kind of “multiverse” — not one predicted by quantum mechanics or cosmology, but a space of possibilities that is ripe for contemplation. In their new movie Everything Everywhere A…
 
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