The Wholesome Show

A podcast

The Dancing Plague of 1518!

In July 1518, Frau Troffea stepped out into the streets of Strasbourg and began to dance a fervent dance. She danced through the day - and through the night. 

In fact, she wouldn't stop dancing for somewhere between four and six days - and during that time 34 other people would join her. Over the course of the month, some 400 people would dance in the streets of Strasbourg.

But this wasn't fun. 

They couldn't stop. They writhed in pain, they screamed for help, they begged for mercy. But still, they danced.

We explore the Dance Plague of 1518, and the wider world of Mass Psychogenic Illness! 

The Wholesome Show is Dr Rod Lamberts and Dr Will Grant, proudly supported by the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science.


In Blockchain We Trust!

You can't go anywhere on the internet these days without someone launching something new on the blockchain - a new social network, a currency based on selfies, or a way to fund a trip to the moon! 

Is the blockchain the greatest new technology since podcasts? Or just the latest crazy snake oil to come out of the fevered imagination of the techno-mafia...? 

We explore!


Welcome To The Atomic Gardening Society!

The phrase NUCLEAR RADIATION conjures up pretty fearful images these days - reactor meltdowns at Chernobyl and Fukushima, the dead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the three-eyed fish of The Simpsons.

But for a brief window in the 1950s a movement of people sought to harness the power of the atom not for weapons or energy - but for ever better... garden crops!

We explore the Atomic Gardening Society!

“Safeguarding the atom: the nuclear enthusiasm of Muriel Howorth”[1]

The British J for the History of science Volume 45, Issue 4 (Special Issue: British Nuclear Culture), December 2012 , pp. 551-571…riel-howorth/…ning-society/…tomic-garden/…ants-with.html

Life In A Herd Part 1 - Introduction!

Three doctors sat down for a picnic by a river. An emergency physician, an intensive care specialist, and an epidemiologist. Suddenly they notice a body in the water!

They rush into the current to pull the man ashore, clear his airways and start giving CPR.

But then they see another person in the water, face down. They rush out, and drag her in. They clear her airways and do CPR.

But then a third body comes floating by! Suddenly the epidemiologist gets up and starts running. “Hey! Come back! Where are you going?” the others scream out to her. Looking over her shoulder she yell back: “I’m going upstream to see who’s throwing all these people in!”

Welcome to a series of episodes we're calling Life in a Herd!

In this series we're journeying with that epidemiologist upstream to find out who it is who's chucking the bodies of our modern world into the river. Over the next 7 episodes we'll talk to a range of key voices in the field of population health science, and reflect on what it all means.


Extrasensory Perception And The Replication Crisis!

Do you believe in the paranormal? In ghosts? In spoon bending? In the ability to move objects with your mind?

If you're like most rational science minded folks, then - wait for this - I can read your mind and your answer is 'hell no!'

But what if we told you that science itself... might not be so sure...

We explore the world of extrasensory perception and the replication crisis!



















Rod's Umbrella Rentals and the Chinese Social Credit System!

Your phone rings. But instead of your normal ringtone*... it's a weird voice saying "The person calling you is dishonest! The person calling you is dishonest!"

Welcome to the brave new world of China's rapidly developing Social Credit System - where trustworthy citizens earn points they can convert into free umbrella rental, and the untrustworthy find themselves blocked from flights, loans, houses and decent ringtones.

We sat down to explore - also learning about a finance system based on dick pics! A hacker website called FraudBoom! And government vetoed trips to Bunnings!

We Get A Work Healthiness Inspection!

Should your boss by you some trainers? Ruthless capitalists probably say no, but they're dickheads and wrong about a lot. Sensible people are starting realise more and more that the answer is probably yes - it'll make you healthier, and make their workplace more productive!

We sat down for a workplace health and wellbeing inspection (not an audit) with the awesome Christine and Michael from Healthier Work ACT.

As well as the benefits of a running shoe subsidy scheme, we also learned that scorecards are better than audits, you shouldn't sit on maggot farms, and cinema advertising works!

Hey Scientists: Let's Not Research Eugenics!

Does a huge head correlate with intelligence? No listener, of course it doesn't! But people used to think that, and wanted to craft society on that basis...

But here's the strange thing. While you might be thinking eugenics is just a historical topic, I hate to break it to you listener, there's still some folk out there who truly believe... Rod and Will sit down for a beer to explore!

Also: We explore the problems that occur when your research participants speak to the press! Also economic eugenics! And finally, nine other words that start with Eu: Euphemism! Euthanize! Euphorbia! Euphonium! Euthyroid! Eutrophic! Eukaryote! Eutectoid!

Prosthetic Giraffe Legs! Professor Margrit Shildrick!

Simple question listener, but would you cut your arm off and add a totally awesome prosthetic snake arm thing instead? Because people are doing that now and that's ***totally radical***!

Or a complicated ethical leap for society to take.

You know, one of the two.

We sat down for a beer with Professor Margrit Shildrick, Professor of Gender and Knowledge Production at Linkoping University, Sweden, to talk all things prostheses!

Also: Will admits to feelings that are right but wrong but weird but right! Don't explore them or judge them please.

The Importance of Whispering In Science Communication - Kate Hannah!

When I say the word 'hypervisibility', do you think of those awesome t-shirts in the 1980s that changed colour when you sweated? You probably should, but then you should also think of the problems faced by high profile women scientists and science communicators. They're hypervisible, which means trolls, attacks and threats...

Kate Hannah of Te Pūnaha Matatini (which means 'The Meeting Place of Many Faces') tells us more...

Also: Will pronounces something pretty good for an Australian!

This week The Wholesome Show is reporting from the Public Communication of Science and Technology (Network) Conference in Dunedin New Zealand - exploring the cutting edge of communicating science!

There's No Luck At The End Of Your Bed! Professor Maja Horst!

Lots of us think of science as a provider of solutions - but you know what? It's also - no matter how careful we might be - a provider of problems too.

Professor Maja Horst of the Department of Media, Cognition and Communication at the University of Copenhagen is fascinated in this, and the ways tabloid newspapers explore the problems and heroes of science. We had a chat to hear more!

This week The Wholesome Show is reporting from the Public Communication of Science and Technology (Network) Conference in Dunedin New Zealand - exploring the cutting edge of communicating science!

Stopping Wars With Science Communication! (Maybe!) - Karen Brounéus!

I hate to burst your bubble, but it turns out Freud was wrong! Reliving the past is not a universal panacea - particularly if your past involves hyper traumatic conflict situations...

Associate Professor Karen Brounéus is a peace and conflict researcher, exploring how the ideas of science communication can help in post conflict situations...

This week The Wholesome Show is reporting from the Public Communication of Science and Technology (Network) Conference in Dunedin New Zealand - exploring the cutting edge of communicating science!