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Virtual Empathy

A new article suggests that the Oculus VR headset may be the first step to allowing people to truly experience what it is like to live a different kind of life. This could allow designers to create “empathy engines” whereby users may come to feel emotion for their fellow man in a virtual space.  Anthony and Jeff think this is a great idea, especially if causes douchey diners to tip their wait staff.  More Details/Download MP3 →
Cuddle-Workshop

These Hugs Ain’t Free

A woman in Oregon has opened a cuddle service for those looking for a bit of personal contact, but definitely no sexy stuff. Anthony works through his own issues with touching, Jeff determines the fair market value of intimacy, and everybody wonders what to do at a pheromone party.  More Details/Download MP3 →
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Sleep Working

Researchers in Paris recently proved that the brain can continue to classify words into categories even after it has gone to sleep, causing Jeff and Anthony to wonder what scientists do to make their test subjects fall asleep during an experiment, and how this kind of non-stop brain activity might be harnessed by corporate America.  More Details/Download MP3 →
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Phantom Phone Menace

A new article about the phenomenon of “phantom” phone notifications – those strange moments when you senses a vibration from your cell phone that didn’t actually happen – has Jeff ranting on the crazy thoughts that such sensations evoke, and Anthony hearing voices.  Is technology making us crazy, or have alerts been messing with the human mind since the beginning of time?  More Details/Download MP3 →

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Algorithm is a Dancer

In an attempt to better understand pop music, Dr. Lior Shamir created an algorithm that can correctly identify and track the Beatles artistic output over the evolution of their career.  Now, the same technology is being used to predict whether songs, movies, and other entertainment will be popular, and could even replace creators altogether. Jeff is worried that an equation will never have the soul required to create true beauty, while Anthony is convinced all art can be reduced to math.  More Details/Download MP3 →
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U Mad Bro?

Across all cultures and geographies, humans scrunch up their faces in the exact same way when they are angry, and a new article examines several possible evolutionary explanations for the consistency.  One theory is that older people are more intimidating, but Anthony is ready to fight any older person he meets.  Jeff admits to getting angry… and you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.  More Details/Download MP3 →
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Positively Pessimistic

Jeff found an article in the Atlantic that posits that a certain type of negative thinking, called defensive pessimism, might actually be more conducive to productivity and well-being than thinking positively.  Anthony, of course, is all over this idea, and calls it pragmatic.  Could expecting the worst actually be beneficial?  What about if you’re seven years old?  More Details/Download MP3 →
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The Sun is Yellow and Other Lies

Anthony found an article explaining how astronomers gussy up space photography to convey the scope and beauty of the cosmos, and now he has to break it to Jeff that every image he’s ever seen of the galaxy isn’t really as rich and vibrant as depicted.  Is it important for science to be strictly accurate, or does artistic license play into scientific method?  More Details/Download MP3 →

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Telepathy is Real! (kinda)

Researchers have now successfully transferred words from one conscious mind to another over long distances… is a sentence that is technically true, but the details of how they did it reveal that true telepathy is still a long way off.  That doesn’t stop Anthony and Jeff from proposing ways real telepathic communication could be great and/or terrible.  Who needs the Apple Watch when you’ve got a brain-to-brain interface!  More Details/Download MP3 →