The Wholesome Show

A podcast

Should we regulate the algorithm?

Everyone's using Artificial Intelligence these days! Why if you aren't machine learning your police stats, generative adversarial networking your shark spotting, or automating your video game design, you're just not with it!

But not all artificial intelligence is as good as its boosters might argue... and in fact, we should probably start to think about regulating the machine, before it decides to regulate us.

We explore!

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

Subliminal Messages!

Tiny messages, hidden in screens... Backwards lyrics, instructing you to worship Satan... (rate us 5 stars in the iTunes store)

Subliminal messages! Do you think you're immune to them? Or are you deeply worried that the devil is going to get in through a backwards bit of music? (rate us 5 stars in the iTunes store)

Whether they work or not, they've certainly made some people stupid - so we explore! (rate us 5 stars in the iTunes store)

Why Does Australia Gamble So Damn Much?

It's great to be number one at some things - who wouldn't want to have the world's longest toes, the world's fastest pet fish, or the world's grandest collection of wood? For countries it can be great too - the world's craziest TV game shows, the world's most efficient beetroot growing system, or the world's coolest academics!


But sometimes being number one sucks... No one wants to have the most murders, the most unhappiness, or the most car crashes...

Well guess what Australia: we're number one at something that sucks too.

Problem gambling.

Even worse - there's daylight between us and number two.

We investigate why Australia gambles so damn much!

A Million And One Uses For Sperm!

Most people think there's just one use for sperm - making babies, taking part in the miracle of life!

But guess what listener, those most people are wrong! There's actually hundreds of weird uses for sperm, including as an awesome suit of armour wearing delivery mechanism for cancer drugs!

We investigate these uses, and the weird scientists who are so fascinated by the stuff...

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

The Placebo Effect!

It's an odd thing, but modern scientific medicine depends on doctors occasionally - just occasionally - lying to your face.

In this episode we explore the bizarre world of the placebo effect, and its crucial role in modern medicine...

The Schmidt Pain Index!

OMG it's a Tarantula Hawk Wasp! Quick question, what body part would you get stung on, for science? Or if you're a little terrified of the Tarantula Hawk Wasp, which other stinging thing would you let sting you?

Now sensible people would say 'nowhere' and 'none of them', but Justin O. Schmidt ain't sensible people... Instead, he's a hero of science, happy to get stung by every stinging thing that nature can throw at him!

We explore the Schmidt Pain Index!

Capturing Carbon! With Klaus Lackner

I hate to break it to you, but if we're going to keep this world even vaguely liveable, we not only need to stop pumping carbon into the atmosphere (though we should definitely do that), we're going to need to suck it back out. 

We explore how, with 'the grandfather' of negative emissions solutions to climate change, Professor Klaus Lackner!

The Best Years Of Your Life!

Listener, have you had the best years of your life - or are your best years still ahead of you? 

Sure, our language learning peak (when we were 7 or 8) or our strength peak (25) might be behind many of us, but it turns out no matter what age you are, there's still good things to come... For many of us, we're still going to get better at arithmetic!

Want to know when you're going to peak? We explore!

World's Best Academic Fraud!

I hate to break it to you, but in the world of science and research there are some... bad apples. Folk who'll bend the rules to get ahead, get their research out there, make a stellar career.

Well, some of them get caught - and we investigate those villains out there giving good hard working academics a bad name!

Brain In A Jar / Connectome In The Cloud!

Just wondering: at the end of your long glorious life, would you store your brain in a freezer with the hope of being thawed out - or uploaded to the cloud - in future centuries? 

Well we've explored the science... and this weird world is getting closer!

The New Flat Earthers!

"Something happened in 2015," he says, " was then that many people on the internet became flat earth adherents."

I don't mean to alarm you listener - you are, after all, a lover of science, a lover of sensible, well produced knowledge - but flat eartherism (or globular denialism, if you want to flip it around) is SO HOT RIGHT NOW. If there was a chart tracking weird anti-scientific beliefs,* it'd be number one with a bullet.

What we want to know is do people actually believe it? And if they do, why is it growing so fast?


Pollen Pollen Pollen - With Professor Simon Haberle!

Here in the Southern half of the universe it's coming up to spring - and you know what that means: lambs frolicking in meadows, teenagers frolicking in meadows, people with hay fever sneezing!

To celebrate the oncoming season of the sneeze, we explore the world of pollen with ThatPollenGuy, Professor Simon Haberle - we talk ancient roadways, 3d printing, huge sneezes and excellent pollen collections!

Big Impact Impact! With Professor Mark Reed!

Back in the olden days we beard stroking eggheads used to sit around in our ivory towers, picking buttercups of wisdom, musing deep thoughts about the nature of the cosmos. Profound, but a little bit... useless.

But that's all gone now! These days, we're creators of impact - making a difference to the world - changing lives for the better!

Well, maybe. Or at least, we're trying to...

So to help make The Wholesome Show the highest impact podcast it can possibly be, we sat down for a chat with the world leading expert of impact, Professor Mark Reed of Newcastle University. Listen in to hear Mark's *one word* strategy on how to have high impact. One word!


PREDATORy journals!

It's a jungle out there in the academic world... and stalking in the midst of that jungle is a threat - to knowledge, to trust, to our very lives! That's right, it's the PREDATOR! (Predatory journals that is). We explore!

Death by Selfie!

Listener, we love selfies at The Wholesome Show - we've taken photos with every z grade celebrity we can get our hands on!... But I have to confess, I didn't know they were so dangerous...

That's right, 10 times as many people die of selfies every year as die of shark attack! It's terrible, so to save you from a terrible selfie related death, we've explored...


Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg 2018;24(2):129–135 DOI: 10.5505/tjtes.2017.83103

Polarised by Disgust!

Imagine dancing through the forest, barefoot and fancy free. But shoeless, your foot lands... on a slug... and the slug squelches like jelly between your toes.


Well it turns out, this is not only objectively gross, but it can make you more politically conservative!

We explore the political psychology of disgust!

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!