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Here We Are

Starburns Audio

Globetrotting and mind exploring comedian Shane Mauss interviews scientists each week on journey to answer the biggest questions about the meanings of life (as well as a bunch of other random stuff you never imagined you would care about). Favorite topics include: psychology, biology, evolution, cognitive biases, behavioral economics, mating, animal behavior, neuroscience, and the subconscious

Globetrotting and mind exploring comedian Shane Mauss interviews scientists each week on journey to answer the biggest questions about the meanings of life (as well as a bunch of other random stuff you never imagined you would care about). Favorite topics include: psychology, biology, evolution, cognitive biases, behavioral economics, mating, animal behavior, neuroscience, and the subconscious


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Globetrotting and mind exploring comedian Shane Mauss interviews scientists each week on journey to answer the biggest questions about the meanings of life (as well as a bunch of other random stuff you never imagined you would care about). Favorite topics include: psychology, biology, evolution, cognitive biases, behavioral economics, mating, animal behavior, neuroscience, and the subconscious





Shane talks with clinical psychologist, Dr. Mark Swogger, about his new research which focuses on the potential individual and public health benefits of kratom use. He also studies interventions for individuals whose use of more dangerous substances is causing them harm, taking into account psychopathy and other moderators of successful treatment. Dr. Swogger's research background includes numerous studies of violence, suicidal behavior, and recidivism among justice-involved people. Consider...


Preparing for Climate Change

Shane talks with science and technology writer, David Pogue, about his new book "How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide to Surviving the Chaos" which offers practical advice for how we should ready ourselves for the future of the planet. David talks about what to grow, what to eat, how to build, how to insure, where to invest, how to prepare your children and pets, and even where to consider relocating when the time comes....



Shane talks with anthropologist, Gina Bria, and wellness doctor, Dana Cohen about their book "Quench" which explores the new science on hydration. Is water really the only source of hydration? How do humans in desert climates stay hydrated exclusively from the foods they eat? For over two decades, Dr. Dana Cohen has been on the leading edge of integrative and functional medicine, guiding thousands of patients through protocols that initiate cellular repair and restore balance to the body....


Lost Wallet Study

Shane talks with behavioral economist, Alain Cohn, about his fascinating study that examines the trade off between honesty and self-interest. They purposefully lost 17,000 wallets in 40 countries all around the world. Surprisingly, people were more likely to return wallets with more money in them! Alain shares some interesting and unexpected implications of his research. Alain Cohn is an Assistant Professor of Information at the University of Michigan School of Information. His research lies...


Anthropomorphic Health

B. N. Horowitz, M.D., turns to the natural world for insights into health and development. She has faculty appointments at Harvard Medical School, Harvard University’s Department of Human Evolutionary Biology, and is Professor of Medicine in the UCLA Division of Cardiology. She co-directs the UCLA Evolutionary Medicine Program. In her work she studies a diverse range of animals in their natural settings to uncover evolved adaptations with potential relevance to human health challenges. She...


Applied Cognition

Return guest Joel Suss is so interesting and does really unique work. His research interests focus on understanding and improving perceptual-cognitive performance (e.g., anticipation, decision making) in complex and challenging operational settings (e.g., law enforcement, security, military command and control, aviation, and emergency medicine). For example, he investigates ways to train police officers to make better decision in stressful situations. Another project, in conjunction with...


Gender Norms

I had this conversation with Dr. Beth A. Livingston last September and I'm finally releasing it today. We talk about gender norms and biases and how they impact career growth and perpetuate limiting beliefs for both men and women. This was a very enlightening discussion and it was a pleasure to learn from someone with such a vast understanding of these topics. Dr. Beth A. Livingston is an Assistant Professor in Management and Entrepreneurship at the University of Iowa's Tippie College of...


Wearable Tech + Covid w/Prof. Michael Snyder

Wearables can do so much more than count your steps. They can also be used for detecting abnormalities caused by Covid up to 10 days before symptoms arise. In this episode, Dr. Michael Snyder explores the many uses of wearable health monitoring technology Michael Snyder is a genomicist, systems biologist, and entrepreneur. He is the Stanford B. Ascherman Professor and Chair of Genetics and Director of Genomics and Personalized Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. Years ago he...


The Courage to Suffer

Authors of ‘The Courage to Suffer: A New Clinical Framework for Life's Greatest Crises’ join me to talk about mental health, spirituality, what happens when a crisis makes you rethink the coherence of the very narratives that used to keep you going. Rather than trying to dismiss and escape suffering we can find ways to accept and thrive within it. Sara A. Showalter Van Tongeren has more than twelve years of clinical social work experience in settings such as private practice, foster care,...


Comedy Sex God | Pete Holmes

This week I talk with my good friend and multi-talented Pete Holmes! I wanted to have a spiritual conversation with someone outside of academia for a change. Pete and I always have really great philosophical discussions and I really appreciate his take on a lot of things. Check out Pete's philosophical/spiritual autobiography "Comedy Sex God" on Amazon or wherever you get your books! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Holiday Covid Update w/Nina Fefferman

Covid update with my favorite guest on the subject! Nina Fefferman has spent her career modeling future pandemics. Because of Covid, she’s gone from a theoretical to an applied mathematician. Her interdisciplinary makes her one of the most knowledgeable people at the intersection of mathematics and evolutionary biology. She consistently takes us on a path through the either/or fallacies of health VS economy which have become so politicized and guides us through an exploration of nuance and...


Anthropologists on Witchcraft

Take a peek inside the life of the people who get to peek inside the lives of others. This week I talk with two anthropologists about what it's like to go and live in an extremely different culture. We talk about shamanism, leadership, witchcraft and what past health care and court systems might have looked like. Zach Garfield is an evolutionary anthropologist who investigates how behaviors such as leadership and followership, decision-making, and economic strategies are related to...


Biodiversity Loss

On this episode, we chat about biodiversity loss as a key issue in our modern world. We emphasize the impact it has on increasing of disease in our modern environment which isn’t something normally addressed in public discourse. This doesn’t just impact humans, but the majority of wildlife has lost habitat and the space needed to avoid pathogen spread. Additionally, globalization has introduced invasive viruses to novel environments which lack defense to them. Dr. Debra Miller is Professor...


The Economics of Covid | Solo Episode

In this rare solo episode, I explore what it's like as a comedian, show producer, and science communicator trying to navigate Covid, the economy, public perception, regulations, and marketing while considering the many additional variables and challenges that come along with planning a tour. Thank you for watching and being an inquisitive being. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Your Brain on Birth Control w/ Dr. Sarah Hill

Professor Sarah Hill of the Hill Evolutionary Social Psychology Lab at Texas Christian University returns to the show to talk about her new book ‘This Is Your Brain on Birth Control: The Surprising Science of Women, Hormones, and the Law of Unintended Consequences’ Sarah is such a dream guest. In addition to being very funny and not afraid to talk about social taboos, her work is also not just really unique and mind-blowing but is also incredibly important information for anyone and an...


Do You Really Need Spine Surgery?

David Hanscom is author of the book ‘Do You Really Need Spine Surgery?’. He is a renowned complex deformity spinal surgeon of 30 years and his experiences both in the medical industry and with his own health gave him a new perspective on chronic pain, the medical industry, and mental health that is a fresh perspective in a world where questionable surgeries and treatments can often be overprescribed. His pioneering book, ‘Back in Control: A Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain’ showed...


Underwater Volcanoes + Scallop Porn

Volcanic activity, submarine adventures, and scallop porn are on today’s menu. If that is somehow not enticing enough, you’re also going to find out what percentage of a scallop’s body weight is gametes. Guess high as it may be nature’s most impressive money shot. Skylar Bayer is a marine ecologist who studies population dynamics and marine conservation. She’s also does a ton of science communication including producing the science storytelling show The Story Collider. She even shares a fun...


Narcissism + Social Psychology

Shane talks with personality expert, William Keith Campbell. He is an American social psychologist known for his research on narcissism. He is a professor in the Department of Psychology in the University of Georgia's Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. Thank you for watching and being an inquisitive being. 𝐀𝐛𝐨𝐮𝐭 𝐇𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐖𝐞 𝐀𝐫𝐞: Stand-up comedian, adventurer and science enthusiast Shane Mauss has been interviewing scientists each week since 2014. Originally from La Crosse,...


The Media Dilemma

Technology is amazing. But it also comes with a number of concerns. How much should we worry and about what? Did you know that there used to be similar concerns about books? Socrates believed that writing was not an effective means of communicating knowledge and now we know he said that over two thousand years ago because of writing. But maybe this time the threat is real. What does the research have to say? Ken Reid – Comedian, TV nerd, and host of the fantastic podcast ‘TV Guidance...


Gene Editing Flies

I am pleased to welcome back the most enthusiastic guest I've had, Barrett Klein, along with first time guest, Lyric Bartholomay. We discuss genetically modified flies, what could cause some people to be more attractive to mosquitoes and other buggers, and why you should save bugs from your shower drain! Entomologist, Barrett Klein is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. Lyric Bartholomay is a vector biologist from the University of Wisconsin–Madison....