October 23, 2012

#346: Corn on Macabre

This week we celebrate Halloween by taking a close look at the psychology of scariness, including why zombies, ghosts, and Grim Reapers give so many of us delightful thrills rather than existential horror. Why are we fascinated with death and the afterlife? It’s part of what makes us human. We look at cultural differences in celebrating, mourning, and coping with mortality, and cheer those who look fear in the face by, say, successfully skydiving from 100,000 feet. And we run down the Week in Geek, getting hyped about the earth-sized planet orbiting Alpha Centauri B that Swedish scientists discovered last week (go Sweden!); marking the unprecedented gathering of all five Trek captains at a recent London con; and giving props to Sarah Silverman’s dad for defending his family from a self-righteous rabbi with an open letter that begins “Hey, @$$hole…” You go, Dad.

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