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The STEM Read Podcast: Fighting Mental Parasites with Dr. Andy Norman

As the pandemic continues, we’re all looking for ways to keep our bodies safe from the virus, but how do we keep our minds safe from bad ideas?

Dr. Andy Norman is an award-winning author and public philosopher who has researched the origins of human reasoning. He explores ways to protect people from bad ideas in his new book Mental Immunity: Infectious Ideas, Mind-Parasites and the Search for a Better Way to Think.

Host Gillian King-Cargile (@gkingcargile) interviews Dr. Norman about his book and his thoughts on STEM education, growth mindset and mental protection against bad ideas.

After that, we share a clip from one of NIU’s recent Future Telling webinars with authors Joelle Charbonneau and Aaron Starmer, who share details about their novels that explore memes, the internet and viral ideas.

The STEM Read podcast is produced in association with WNIJ. Support for the STEM Read podcast comes from NIU STEAM and Northern Illinois University.

· Andy Norman directs the Humanism Initiative at Carnegie Mellon University and is the founder of CIRCE, the Cognitive Immunology Research Collaborative.

· William McGuire’s ideas about “attitude inoculation” are used today for applications like preventing teens from smoking.

· Another great book to about talking about Climate Change is How to Change Minds About Our Changing Climate by Seth Darling and Doug Sisterson.

· Announcement of the Polio Vaccine

· Find the World Health Organization’s resources on fighting against the Infodemic.

· What is a meme? Check out SciShow’s video “The Science of Dank Memes.”

· Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

· Learn more about Joelle Charbonneau and her books like Need, Verify and The Testing.

· Learn more about Aaron Starmer and his books like Meme, Spontaneous and The Riverman.

· Joelle Charbonneau’s The Testing and Aaron Starmer’s The Only Ones were featured in STEM Read’s interactive fieldtrips and will be part of our virtual field trip collection.

· Listen to the rest of Aaron and Joelle’s conversation with STEM Experts on Future Telling: Does the Future Compute?.

· Register to attend our next free Future Telling webinar which takes place Wednesday, August 4, at 6:30 PM. The event is “Craters and Comets” with author Benjamin Percy and historian Andy Bruno.

· The STEM Read Podcast is one of the many ways we explore connections between STEM and storytelling. Find more resources, programs and events at stemread.com.

STEM Read theme music by Carl Nelson
Additional music by X3nus (CC BY 3.0)

Gillian King-Cargile is the creator and director of NIU's STEM Read, part of NIU Outreach.