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Tangentially Speaking with Dr. Christopher Ryan

Ever wanted to hang with a dominatrix, comedian, famous health guru, scientist, author or Italian prince? Here's your chance. Tangentially Speaking is dedicated to the idea that good conversation is spontaneous, organic, revelatory, and free to go down unexpected paths.
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Dec 15, 2014

You know Andy. This is his third visit to Tangentially Speaking as the guest. He's also co-hosted several epic episodes. He's a professor of World Religions and World Literature, a fascinating dude, and my pal.

Dec 8, 2014

From Dan's site: DAN PARDI is passionate about food, movement, and sleep. Interested in developing low-cost, high value health solutions. Also interested in anthropology, evolutionary biology, exercise and inactivity physiology, cognition, neuroeconomics, decision making, circadian biology, epistemology, gastronomy, food culture and politics, agriculture, sustainable practices, and dogs. Activities include mountain biking, CrossFit, hiking, dancing, and long walks with my headphones.

More info:

  1. Stanford MedX presentation - 20min (wish I had more time!)
  2. Dan's article for Kresser - How mush sleep do you need?
  3. Academic articles on GHB neurobiology and abuse liability - both real snoozers! 
  4. Twitter: @dansplanhealth
Dec 3, 2014

Doug Fry has written extensively on aggression, conflict, and conflict resolution. He believes that anthropology holds important current-day lessons: “The macroscopic perspective of anthropology, with its expansive time frame and culturally comparative orientation, provides unique insights into the nature of war and holds some concrete lessons for how to develop a more safe and peaceful world.” 

Fry’s most recent edited book is titled War, Peace and Human Nature (Oxford, 2013)and contains 27 chapters by leaders in the fields of biology, primatology, forager studies, peace studies, psychology, and social cultural anthropology. His previous book, Beyond War: The Human Potential for Peace, is a fantastic introduction to this material for non-specialist readers.


Nov 25, 2014

Dr. Cacilda Jethá is unlike anyone you've ever met. Guaranteed. My wife, friend, co-author, and partner in crime for the past 15 years, she can't remember how many people have died in front of her, or how many babies she's delivered. She's part Indian, part Persian, part African, part Portuguese, and speaks seven languages. She lives at the nexus of many worlds and moves between them with incredible grace, generosity, and humor.

Nov 17, 2014

Justin grew up splitting his time between a difficult , not particularly open-minded home situation in rural Washington and weekend visits to his dad and dad's long-term, loving (male) partner in Seattle. Now he's a firefighter in Portland, OR.


Nov 10, 2014

In 1972, Rick decided to dedicate his life to bringing psychedelics out of the shadows and into laboratories and clinicians' offices, where they certainly belong. His persistence is paying off—to the benefit of thousands of people whose suffering can be alleviated by these sacred substances. 

Nov 6, 2014

A tribute to Parliament-Funkadelic, with thanks to my friend, Mike, and The Edsel Ford Funk Victory Tape.

Nov 3, 2014

Amber Lyon is a three-time Emmy Award-winning journalist, filmmaker, photographer, and explorer known for her use of submersion journalism, or becoming part of the story, to find the truth. Lyon is the founder of the news site, and the web show and podcast Reset with Amber Lyon. Lyon has traveled the world investigating natural cures, focusing on the ancient use of entheogens to treat and purge trauma.  She ventured deep into the Amazon to study the Shipibo use of the psychoactive brew Ayahuasca, and studied medicinal mushroom use by native curanderas in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico, Thailand and Indonesia. 

Oct 27, 2014

Professor John Helliwell studies what makes people happy, and how we can maximize life-satisfaction. Learn more about his work here.

Oct 20, 2014

This is a special episode. I was on stage at the Upright Citizen's Brigade theater in Hollywood with comedians Moshe KasherNicky Glazer, and Nick Kroll. I think the idea was roughly to make fun of me and my wacky theories for an hour. I had a blast, as you'll hear, and gave them plenty of material to work with.

Oct 13, 2014

When Aidan's car broke down four years ago, that was the last straw. He quit his job, threw his stuff into a bag, and hit the road, where he's been ever since. A young man who is clearly on an authentic quest of some sort, he's smart, articulate, and very thoughtful. This episode features his original music (and a cameo by Werner Herzog, just because). Download Aidan's music here.

Oct 6, 2014

Stephen O'Donnell paints exquisite "historicized self-portraits" in which his face appears in some unexpected places. Check out his work here.

Sep 29, 2014

Dr. Tonia Mills is an anthropologist with an additional degree in child development. She lived for years with the Beaver Indians of British Columbia and has studied many aspects of their society—particularly their beliefs around reincarnation. One of the many fascinating people I've met thanks to Stanley Krippner, Tonia shares some fascinating, intimate stories from her life among the Beaver people.

Sep 28, 2014

My second summer in Alaska. This time, I got a job on a tender, and found myself engaged in an epic struggle for the soul of a young man. Photos at

Sep 22, 2014

I don't always agree with renegade historian Thad Russell—you'll hear that we disagree passionately about "Death Panels" and whether Americans die in the streets—but I respect his intelligence and ballsy insistence on telling it like he sees it.

Sep 16, 2014

You may know her from her very popular web series, Ask a Mortician, from a previous episode of this podcast (#25), or as the author of the fantastic book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematory. Caitlin and I talk about life, death, and publishing. 

Sep 8, 2014

Mitch Schultz wrote and directed the documentary, DMT: The Spirit Molecule (narrated by Joe Rogan). We talk about consciousness, making movies, and the joys of Austin, Texas. Find out more at


Sep 2, 2014

Coupla very smart, very funny guys. They've been on Letterman, Conan, and late night what have you. Zach does crazy videos and rap, while Myq is a wordsmith extraordinaire. If you want to hear the part of the conversation where they were asking me questions, you'll find that here.

Aug 31, 2014

It's 1983, and I'm on my first trip to a foreign culture with a sharpened Kung-Fu star hanging from my neck. One thing leads to another and I realize I've stumbled into something far deeper, and more dangerous, than I could have imagined.

Aug 27, 2014

In which I spend some time working the slime line, scam my way out the door, and wake up on the wrong side of a jealous performance artist.

Aug 26, 2014

A Korean kid in the American South, adopted by people who probably shouldn't have, lesbian, super-smart Harvard student, stand-up comic, diagnosed with an incurable disease at 30 ... Mandy has been there and there and there and back. Please join us for this powerful, heartfelt conversation about belonging, family, and that familiar feeling that we're getting better and dying at the same time.

Aug 18, 2014

The only man I know who has passed a joint to a chimp sitting next to him in a tree, (or at least, who's admitted it to me!) Richard is a man of many dimensions. In part 1 of what I hope will be a multi-part series, we talk about his education, his first foray into business with one of America's first mountain bike shops, and what lessons rugby imparts in the "third half," among many other fruitful tangents. 

Aug 11, 2014

Ceara is a sweet, smart, sexy young woman who degrades, dismisses and denigrates men over the internet. And they pay her handsomely to do it! What a world.

Aug 4, 2014

One of the leading ethnobotanists in the world, Dennis has just published a fantastic memoir about his fascinating life (much of it shared with his very famous brother, Terence) called Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss.

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