Thu, May

What Is Good Mental Health? & The Weird Thing About Memory

Are the things in your kitchen laid out efficiently? We often place kitchen items randomly – or wherever they fit. This episode begins with a quick little test you can do that could ultimately save you hours in the kitchen. Source: Mary Collette Rogers author of Take Control of Your Kitchen.

What does it mean to be mentally healthy? Is it possible to have outstanding mental health or are we all a bit flawed? To get a better understanding about your mental health, I’d like you to listen to Camilla Nord. She leads the Mental Health Neuroscience Lab at the University of Cambridge and she is author of the book The Balanced Brain – The Science of Mental Health. She offers some great insight into how a mentally healthy brain handles the ups and downs of life.

Just because you remember something doesn’t mean that is how it happened. While the human memory is amazing and serves us well, it can be amazingly inaccurate. The fact is you forget a lot more than you remember and over time those memories blur, fade and distort. Yet without your memory, you wouldn’t be able to function. To bring this all into focus is Charan Ranganath. He is a professor of psychology and neuroscience and director of the Dynamic Memory Lab at the University of California at Davis and author of the book Why We Remember: Unlocking Memory’s Power to Hold on to What Matters.

Is it true that having a large and bold signature says something about your personality? Maybe so according to a study of 605 bosses with big signatures. Listen as I explain why working for one of those types of bosses might be challenging. 

Everyday Health Hacks & A New Approach to Conflict

When you drink something and start choking, people often say, “Oh it must’ve gone down the wrong pipe.” This episode begins by explaining what the wrong pipe is and why it’s there. 

A lot of health advice is just plain wrong. Myths abound when it comes to taking care of yourself. Here to explode some of those myths and offer some sound advice on your health is Dr. Karan Rajan. He is a surgeon who has millions of followers on social media where he dispenses solid, high quality health advice. He is also author of the book, This Book May Save Your Life: Everyday Health Hacks to Worry Less and Live Better. Listen as he offers suggestions on maintaining your gut, your heart, your nose and ears and so much more. Here is a link to his YouTube channel. 

All of us frequently find ourselves in conflict with other people. You can’t escape it but you can get better at dealing with the conflict. Joining me to offer some excellent advice on just how to do that is Jayson Gaddis He is one of the world’s leading authorities on interpersonal conflict. For almost two decades, Jayson has helped individuals, couples, and teams get to the bottom of their deepest conflicts. Jayson is author of the book Getting to Zero: How to Work Through Conflict in Your High-Stakes Relationships.

Heating your home in the winter can be very expensive. One big reason is that a lot of your expensive heat leaks out. Listen as I reveal some of the places heat seeps out that you may not realize. 

Your Incredible Sense of Smell & Overcoming Burn Out

Gotta big decision to make? Before you make it, you might want to wash your hands first. This episode begins with the explanation for why it is such a good idea. 

Can you really smell fear from someone ? Why do some odors make you feel sick while others are extremely pleasant? Why do some smells trigger vivid memories? These are just some of the questions I tackle with Jude Stewart author of the book Revelations in Air: A Guidebook to Smell. When you hear what she has to say, you will have renewed respect for your sense of smell.

You often hear people talk about being “burned out.” What does that mean? Is burnout a real thing or just a vague complaint. What are the actual symptoms? Perhaps most importantly, what causes burnout and what is the cure? For some important insight into all of this, listen to my guest, Jonathan Malesic. He was once a tenured professor who got burned out. So, he quit. Afterwards he studied burnout and wrote a terrific book about it called The End of Burnout: Why Work Drains Us and How to Build Better Lives. If you have ever felt burned out, you need to hear this conversation.

“Listen to your gut.” That is common advice for people who have an important decision to make. Is it good advice or are there situations when your gut instinct may lead you down the wrong path? Listen as I discuss this. Source: Wray Herbert author of On Second Thought: Outsmarting Your Mind’s Hard-Wired Habits.

Why You Eat When You’re Not Hungry & Predictions and Coincidences

The concept of body language is based on the idea that what you do with certain body parts sends a message to other people. This apparently holds true for your belly button. Today’s episode begins by explaining what message your belly button sends to others and what theirs sends to you. Source : Source: Janine Driver author of You Say More Than You Think.

Have you ever eaten food when you weren’t actually hungry? Or continued to eat even though you were full – and then regretted it? I imagine we all have. What if there was a way to stop that and actually enjoy the food you eat even more? That’s what you are going to hear from Dr. Jud Brewer. He is a professor at Brown University’s School of Public Health author of the book The Hunger Habit: Why We Eat When We’re Not Hungry and How to Stop. If you have ever eaten for a reason other than hunger, you need to hear what he has to say. His app is called Eat Right Now and is available wherever you get your apps.

Generally, people don’t understand how randomness or coincidences really work and how they affect predictions we make about our own futures. It seems that coincidences happen a lot more often than you think and randomness doesn’t look as random as you would expect. How all this works together is fascinating as you will hear from my guest Kit Yates. He is a senior lecturer of mathematical science in the UK and author of the book How to Expect the Unexpected: The Science of Making Predictions―and the Art of Knowing When Not To.

Kit Yates’ last appearance here was episode 362 about the math of life and death. Hear it here 

Back in 2008 a list came out from Oxford University of the 10 most overused and despised words and phrases in the English language. Listen as I tell you what they are and hear how familiar they still sound 16 years later. 

Should You Work for Yourself? & The Science of Creativity


Kissing has a lot of benefits you likely never knew. And it appears that the more you kiss – the more the benefits. This episode begins with several really good reasons why you should kiss someone more often. 

People who have their own business are often revered. Being an entrepreneur is considered a worthy accomplishment. And many people think it is the best path to career success. Is it though? While there are certainly perks to being self-employed, there are also some dangers and pitfalls. Joining me to explain the good and the bad of owning your own business is Benjamin Waterhouse He is a professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and author of the book, One Day I’ll Work for Myself: The Dream and Delusion That Conquered America.

Creativity is often misunderstood. Just because something is different or unusual doesn’t make it creative. And have you ever wondered what is the difference between creativity and innovation? Can you make yourself more creative? These are just a few of the questions I discuss with Barry Kudrowitz. He is a professor of product design at the University of Minnesota and has taught toy design for over a decade. In fact, he co-designed a Nerf toy amongst other things. Barry is the author of the book Sparking Creativity: How Play and Humor Fuel Innovation and Design.

Space heaters can be extremely useful in the cold winter months, but they can also be a serious hazard. If you use a space heater to stay warm, listen as I reveal some important precautions that will keep you safe. 

Why Success Never Feels Like It Should & Are You Really Responsible for Your Actions?


Texting and email seem to have replaced the telephone as a primary means of communication. Still, the telephone is sometimes a better option. When it is – how can you make sure you get a call back or a response of some kind? Listen and I’ll tell you. Source: Bill Jensen author of Simplicity Survival Handbook (https://amzn.to/3MMDmt7).

Have you ever accomplished a goal and thought – “Hey if I can do that, what ELSE can I accomplish?” It seems success is rarely totally satisfying. Instead, it creates an itch for more success. That place in your brain where that happens is what my guest calls “Wonderhell.” And it turns out to be a fascinating place to explore. Listen as I speak about it with Laura Gassner Otting. She is frequently featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show and Harvard Business Review and she is author of the book Wonderhell: Why Success Doesn’t Feel Like it Should and What to Do About It (https://amzn.to/40EycFi)

There are actually people who believe that you are not responsible for your actions or decisions. In other words, that you have no free will. They believe everything is predetermined – that it is unfair to punish criminals, for example, because whatever they did wrong was not their choice. Then there is the other side of the argument. Joining me to explain why we do have free will – and to help try to understand why some people believe we do not is Kevin Mitchell, an associate professor of genetics and neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin and author of the book, Free Agents: How Evolution Gave Us Free Will (https://amzn.to/49vncy2) Here is the link for the episode featuring Robert Sapolsky arguing against free will: https://www.somethingyoushouldknow.net/566-do-we-really-have-free-will-how-to-handle-rejection-better/

You frequently hear people say the phrase, “That’s a whole nother story.” But is nother a real word? That depends. Listen as I explain. https://www.merriam-webster.com/grammar/whole-nother

How You Can Win Friends and Influence People & Important Strategies for a Good Night’s Sleep

Food labels are full of claims. They say things like “All-Natural” or “Doctor Recommended” or “Made with Whole Grains.” Should you be impressed or are those words and phrases a lot of nothing and nonsense? I begin this episode by revealing why those phrases are worded the way they are and what they actually mean. https://www.cornucopia.org/2010/05/nutrition-buzzwords-make-hay-out-of-grains-of-truth/

Convincing people to do what you want can be a challenge. One of the best ways is to get people to do it because they WANT to do it rather than trying to coerce or convince them. This is according to Christopher Hadnagy who is a global security expert and author of the book Human Hacking Win Friends, Influence People, and Leave Them Better Off for Having Met You (https://amzn.to/3iMz58R)Listen as he shares some valuable insight into what motivates people to give you what you want, why it is so effective and exactly how to do it.

You likely have trouble sleeping from time to time. In fact just about everyone does. There are plenty of reasons people don’t sleep. Sometimes your mind is racing, or you are worried about something or it could also be something you ate or drank or even how your bedroom is configured. Here to discuss why people have trouble with their sleep is health journalist Kim Jones author of the book Trick Yourself to Sleep: 222 Ways to Fall and Stay Asleep from the Science of Slumber (https://amzn.to/2MtdFS7). Listen today and tonight you just might sleep like a baby.

One of the hardest things on your car’s engine is – when you start it. Listen as I explain why cold engine starts are so tough on your car and how to ease the strain. Source: Jack Gillis author of The Car Book (https://amzn.to/2Ym0DIX)

Choice: How Your Instincts Can Get You in Trouble & Why There’s No Center of The Universe


You have probably heard that poinsettia plants are poisonous to people and pets. Really? How poisonous? Can you die from eating them or what? Should you be concerned and keep them out of your home? This episode begins with an explanation of just how dangerous poinsettias are – and are not. https://www.stranges.com/are-poinsettias-poisonous/

Our keen human instincts have helped us survive all these years. However, some of those instincts are not so practical in today’s modern world. This is according to evolutionary biologist Dr. Rebecca Heiss, author of the book Instinct: Rewire Your Brain with Science-Backed Solutions to Increase Productivity and Achieve Success (https://amzn.to/3oxbQTq). Rebecca joins me to discuss how instincts such as the instinct for self-deception and variety and the fear of others can really sabotage your success. She also offers strategies to help override those instincts when you need to.

What’s inside a black hole? What exactly is a multiverse? At what point will the sun stop burning? These are just a few of the fascinating questions I explore with Daniel Whiteson, professor of physics at UC Irvine and author of the book Frequently Asked Questions About the Universe (https://amzn.to/3oCeTtR). Listen as Daniel takes important and complex concepts about the universe and makes them interesting and understandable.

Your sense of touch is more complicated than you realize. What you touch and how it feels can actually alter the way you think. Listen as I reveal some fascinating research about how your sense of touch works.


Your Illusion of Knowledge & Has Restaurant Nutrition Really Improved?

SYSK - Timing is important, especially when it comes to the big life decisions you make. In fact, the time of day you make a big decision matters a lot. This episode begins with an explanation of how timing can impact decisions you make and what is the best time of day to decide anything.

Human beings tend to think they are smarter than they actually are. We also have a tendency to believe things that are simply not true. This is according to Philip Fernbach associate professor at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado in Boulder and author of a book called The Knowledge Illusion. Listen as he explains why we think this way and what the ramifications are for all of us.

You might think that with so much emphasis on healthy eating that restaurants would be serving up some healthier and more nutritious food today. But that doesn’t seem to be the case. Dariush Mozaffarian, MD is a professor of Medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine and Editor-in-Chief, Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter. He conducted some fascinating research into how nutritious restaurant meals are and the findings will likely surprise you. If you are concerned about your health, you will want to hear what he has to say.

Pretty much every car on the road has parking lights. But why? What purpose do they serve? Listen as I explain why your car is equipped with parking lights in the first place, why they are likely amber colored (at least in the U.S.) and when you should never use them. 


How The “User Experience” Became A Thing & How To Change Someone’s Mind

SYSK - “Don’t spoil the ending!” It seems no one wants to know how a story or movie ends until they see it end in real time. But maybe knowing the ending first could make the experience better. Is that possible? Listen and find out. alerts.  

Remember when computers and other electronic devices came with huge instruction manuals? Not anymore. Today we expect things to be user-friendly, so we don’t need instructions. The whole concept of the “user-friendly” and the demand for a good “user experience” actually traces back to a point in time not so long ago. Cliff Kuang is a user experience designer and author of the book User Friendly: How the hidden rules of design are changing the way we live, work, and play. Listen as he discusses the evolution that has gone from teaching people how to use complicated machines to making complicated machines easy for people to use.

Trying to change someone’s mind is often a waste of time. Clearly, arguing doesn’t work nor does rational explanation. Perhaps there is a better way. Or maybe it just isn’t worth the effort. Maybe people should believe whatever they wish. Eleanor Gordon Smith has researched this and written a book about it called Stop Being Reasonable: How We Really Change Our Minds. She joins me explain her fascinating research on why changing someone’s mind is amazingly difficult.

In almost every workplace people complain that it is either too hot or too cold. So how do you make sure you are comfortable no matter where the thermostat says? Listen for a quick and simple secret to feeling just right no matter what the temperature is. 


Why Parking Your Car Is Such a Pain & How Invisible Microbes Shape Your World

SYSK - Drinking coffee in the morning is a pleasant habit for many of us. However, this episode begins by explaining why you might want to smell your coffee as well as drink it to help you think better and be more productive.  

In many metropolitan areas, parking is the number one land use. The U.S. has 4 parking spaces for every car on the road! So why is it so hard to find a spot when you need one? That is what Henry Grabar is here to explain and discuss. Henry is a staff writer at Slate, and author of the book Paved Paradise: How Parking Explains the World. Listen and you will understand why parking is a much bigger deal than you ever realized.

Microbes are those little tiny organisms that you can’t see without a microscope -things like germs, bacteria, fungi. We have a tendency to think of them as dangerous or things that cause illness and disease. Yet, actually most of them don’t cause any harm and some are even good for you. And by the way, you have trillions of microbes on you and inside of you. Here to take us on a tour into the invisible world of microbes is Jake Robinson Jake is a microbial ecologist and author of the book Invisible Friends: How Microbes Shape our Lives and the World Around Us.

While some people do have food allergies, there aren’t as many as you might think. A lot of people who claim to be allergic to certain foods actually have an intolerance to the food. But that is not an actual allergy. Listen as I explain the difference


Improving Your Digital Body Language & How Food Affected Human Evolution


SYSK - Doctors are supposed to know medical truth from myth. Yet a lot of doctors are misinformed – at least on some things. This episode begins with some information about a survey that showed how many pediatricians believe in some common parenting advice that has been proven to be untrue. Source: Andrew Adesman, M.D. author of Baby Facts.

We all use digital means of communication because it makes it easy to keep in touch with people. Still there are some drawbacks. Often, emails, texts, chats and other electronic messages can be misinterpreted. Erica Dhawan is a speaker and trainer who is author of a book called Digital Body Language. Listen as she explores how to best use digital communication and avoid the missteps that so often happen that can lead to misunderstanding.

The food we eat today is very different than what humans ate when we were hunter gatherers. Today, much of our food is farmed. In fact, farming changed everything as did the development of cooking. Even herbs and spices changed the way we prepare and eat our food. Jonathan Silvertown professor of evolutionary ecology at the University of Edinburgh and author of the book Dinner with Darwin: Food, Drink, and Evolution joins me for an interesting discussion about how our food has changed over our history and what it has done to help humans evolve.

Do you know how often you are supposed to replace things like toothbrushes, pillows or kitchen sponges? Listen to hear some expert advice on when to throw the old one out and bring a new one in. And some of the recommendations may surprise you. 


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