Contagion: epidemiology, snake oil, and curve-flattening

Current events

Our world is on the brink of some possibly extreme unpleasantness. Known unknowns threats to civilization. Humanity is bad at planning for statistically-likely-but-not-definite disaster.


The anti-scientific garbage that starts to overflow in the face of a public health crisis. Goop. Alex Jones. Snake oil. Homeopathy. Price gouging. Levels of understanding and respect for the severity of the current pandemic across age groups.


R0, or basic reproduction number. Vulnerable sub-populations. Prisons. Social distancing. Hoarding toilet paper and… meat? The nipah virus.

Human behaviour

Social distancing. Hoarding steak and toilet paper.


Historical pandemics. Rate of spead and pandemic reach in the premodern and modern worlds. Propaganda and the “Spanish Flu” of 1918. Wildlife as natural disease reservoirs. Wildlife farming and infectious disease overflow. Disease-spread mitigation. Getting germs in your holes Wash your hands!


Contagion: iTunes | Amazon
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center:
Why new diseases keep appearing in China by Vox: YouTube
Medlife Crisis: YouTube
Planet Money Podcast:
The Indicator from Planet Money:
Self-experimentation in medicine: Wikipedia


Prospect movie backdrop

Prospect: sleep rhythm, amputation, and meat-sack organic gemstones

Indie scifi

Impressive shoestring productions. Remembering Moon. Lived-in duct-tape science fiction.

Sleep cycles

Circadian rhythms. Setting our clocks by light exposure. Light exposure and activity levels. Wearing your sunglasses at night. Different varieties of blindness and sleep rhythms. Retinal sensitivity to light.

Space prospectin’

Alien meat-testicle gems. Personal testicular security systems. Organic gemstones. Pearl production. How attractive our kidney stones might be to alien speculators. “Real” utility vs perceived value.

Wound handling

Wound sealing. Stopping bleeding in an emergency with caulking foam. Packing a wound full of tiny tampons. Failed experiments in would sealing with: beads, marbles, beans, etc. Amputation history. Ancient Greek amputation practices and efficiency records in the Napoleonic and American Civil Wars.


Prospect: iTiunes | Amazon | YouTube

Island of Dr Moreau (1996) backdrop

The Island of Dr. Moreau (feat. Joe Ruppel, History Nerd) : Episode 62

Stream the movie:
iTunes | Amazon

The Island of Dr Moreau

What: Marlon Brando goes to island, does creepy things to animals
Directed by: John Frankenheimer
Starring: Marlon Brando, Val Kilmer, David Thewlis, Fairuza Balk, Mark Dacascos, Ron Perlman

Featuring guest co-host
Joe Ruppel Photo
Joe Ruppel, history nerd

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John Carpenter's The Thing Backdrop

Carpenter’s The Thing (feat. Cae & Ryan) : Episode 61

Stream the movie:
iTunes | Amazon

John Carpenter’s The Thing

What: An alien life form threatens humanity at an antarctic research facility
Directed by: John Carpenter
Starring: Kurt Russell, Wilford Brimley, Keith David

Featuring guest co-hosts

Caelum Rale headshot Ryan Bingham headshot
Caelum Rale, artist Ryan Bingham, lawyer

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The Exorcist backdrop

The Exorcist (feat. Adrian Falcone, Internet Nerd) : Episode 60

Stream the movie:
iTunes | Amazon

The Exorcist

What: Two priests fight a little girl.
Directed by: William Friedkin
Starring: Linda Blair, Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Jason Miller

Featuring guest co-host
Adrian Falcone
Adrian Falcone (@AdrianBFalcone), internet nerd

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the fountain backdrop

The Fountain (feat. Daniel Barker, Science Communicator) : Episode 49

Stream the movie:
iTunes | Amazon

The Fountain

What: We loved The Fountain! Go watch it! A really pretty film with a love story spanning vast space and time.
Directed by: Darren Aronofsky
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Rachel Weiss, Ellen Burstyn

Featuring guest co-host
Daniel Barker headshot
Daniel James Barker of Uncertainty Principle the Podcast

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Transcendence movie backdrop

Transcendence (feat. Zoltan Istvan, Transhumanist) : Episode 40

Stream the movie:
iTunes | Amazon


What: In the movie Transcendence: Johnny Depp pretty much becomes the lawnmower man. On the show: we run off into the weeds and ramble about the singularity. 🙂
Directed by: Wally Pfister
Starring: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy, Kate Mara

Featuring guest co-host
zoltan istvan headshot
Zoltan Istvan, Transhumanist presidential candidate

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