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Episodes

  • How often do state quarters come out?

    Sep 19, 2014 | 2 min
    A new state quarter is released about every ten weeks, and they're released according to the order in which each state joined the union. Learn more about state quarters in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.
  • How often do state quarters come out?

    Sep 19, 2014 | 2 min
    A new state quarter is released about every ten weeks, and they're released according to the order in which each state joined the union. Learn more about state quarters in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.
  • How often do state quarters come out?

    Sep 19, 2014 | 2 min
    A new state quarter is released about every ten weeks, and they're released according to the order in which each state joined the union. Learn more about state quarters in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.
  • How Botulism Works

    Sep 17, 2014 | 3 min
    Botulism bacteria creates a type of poisoning and paralysis -- but how does it actually work? Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn more about the effects and spread of botulism.
  • How do gasoline direct injection engines work?

    Sep 15, 2014 | 6 min
    The latest improvement on the internal combustion engine is called gasoline direct injection. In this episode, Marshall explains how gasoline direct injection technology works -- and how soon we'll see it in production vehicles.
  • How do big city shell and three-card monte games work?

    Sep 10, 2014 | 6 min
    Shell games and three-card monte games are common sights in big cities, but did you know they're scams? Marshall explains the similar principles and tricks behind these "games" -- and why you can't win them -- in this episode.
  • What is Low-E glass?

    Sep 8, 2014 | 7 min
    Low-emissivity (Low-E) glass is a special, expensive type that blocks out ultraviolet and infrared light. This coated glass can help protect your furniture and improve the energy efficiency of your home, as Marshall Brain explains in this episode.
  • Where should I sit to get the best ride on a roller coaster?

    Sep 5, 2014 | 5 min
    Each roller coaster car is moved by the cars connected to it, which makes the experience of riding a rollercoaster a bit different in each car. Learn which seat on a roller coaster is best for you, based on science and your personal preferences.
  • Is it possible to rescue water-soaked electronics?

    Sep 3, 2014 | 4 min
    Is it possible to rescue an electronic device dunked in water? In this episode, Marshall recounts an unfortunate meeting between a GPS device and a dog's water bowl. Tune in to learn whether or not he was able to fix it.
  • Why do people choke under pressure?

    Sep 1, 2014 | 8 min
    Anyone who watched the Master's tournament knows that Rory McElroy famously choked under pressure -- but what exactly happened? In this podcast, Marshall explores the science behind choking in stressful or intimidating situations
  • How do bake and broil settings differ?

    Aug 29, 2014 | 4 min
    Kitchen ovens typically have two settings: bake and broil. What's the difference between the two? Explore the science behind baking and broiling in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • How is olive oil made?

    Aug 27, 2014 | 8 min
    People across the planet love olive oil, and it's not hard to see why: This tasty liquid lends flavor to hundreds of dishes, and it's been used for thousands of years. But how does it get from the tree to the bottle? Tune in to find out.
  • How did the moon get there?

    Aug 25, 2014 | 6 min
    The moon has orbited over human civilization since the dawn of time, but it took us thousands of years to figure out how it actually got there. Tune in as Marshall Brain examines the formation of the moon.
  • How do calorie meters work?

    Aug 22, 2014 | 3 min
    It's easy to jump on an exercise machine and watch the calorie meter -- but how accurate are these meters? Learn more about calorie meters in this HowStuffWorks podcast
  • How does popcorn work?

    Aug 20, 2014 | 2 min
    Popcorn is a ubiquitous snack, but there's nothing commonplace about its creation. How does a kernel of corn become a puffed white treat? Find out in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • How Cooking at High Altitudes Works

    Aug 18, 2014 | 3 min
    The boiling point of water decreases as altitude increases -- generally, this temperature decreases by one degree for every 540 feet of altitude. Learn more about cooking at high altitudes in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.
  • Why do cats have whiskers?

    Aug 15, 2014 | 4 min
    Cat whiskers, also known as "tactile hairs," are very different from a cat's regular body hair. In this episode, Marshall explains how these hairs are unique and what cats use them for.
  • How Color Blindness Works

    Aug 13, 2014 | 2 min
    Color blind individuals can suffer from an inability to differentiate between hues, and occasionally may not be able to see any colors at all. Learn more about color blindness in this HowStuffWorks podcast.
  • Why do limbs fall asleep?

    Aug 11, 2014 | 2 min
    Pressure on nerves can cause the nerves to stop sending impulses to the brain, causing limbs to fall asleep. Learn more about limbs falling asleep in this HowStuffWorks podcast.
  • Why do electric plugs have holes?

    Aug 8, 2014 | 3 min
    You might have noticed that plugs for electric appliances have two holes. There are three reasons for these apertures -- find out what they are in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • What is the right way to remove a leech?

    Aug 6, 2014 | 3 min
    People have cooked up all sorts of ways to remove leeches over the years, but the simplest is still the most effective. Discover how to safely detach a leech using your hands in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • What's the deal with milk?

    Aug 4, 2014 | 4 min
    Milk is often touted as a "miracle drink," full of restorative, nutritional properties. And there's some truth to this claim. Find out why mammal milk is called "the perfect food" in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • How do one-way mirrors work?

    Aug 1, 2014 | 4 min
    One-way mirrors are ubiquitous in crime dramas, but how do they work? Discover the secret behind one-way mirrors in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • Why does lettuce stored in a bag stay fresh longer?

    Jul 30, 2014 | 3 min
    Many foods you'll find at the grocery store -- like lettuce, for example -- are stored in special plastic packaging called MAP that helps them stay fresh longer. Find out what MAP is, and how it keeps food fresh longer, in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • How much sugar do they really put in soda?

    Jul 28, 2014 | 3 min
    Sodas and soft drinks contain a surprising amount of sugar -- more than you might expect. Tune in as Marshall Brain reveals how much sugar is in soda in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • What is market capitalization?

    Jul 23, 2014 | 3 min
    If all the money in the US only totals 8 trillion dollars, how can the New York Stock Exchange have stocks valued at 26 trillion dollars? Tune in as Marshall Brain breaks down the practice of stock capitalization in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • What causes that howling sound in PA systems?

    Jul 21, 2014 | 3 min
    A public address system's speakers emit strange noises, or feedback, when sound gets re-amplified. Get a detailed explanation of how feedback occurs in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.A public address system's speakers emit strange noises, or feedback, when sound gets re-amplified. Get a detailed explanation of how feedback occurs in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • How does safety glass work?

    Jul 18, 2014 | 4 min
    Laminated safety glass has been around since the 1920s. Find out how safety glass is made, how it works and what it's used for in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • Why shouldn't you go swimming right after a meal?

    Jul 16, 2014 | 4 min
    As children, many of us have been admonished not to go swimming for at least an hour after eating. But, as it turns out, there's biology behind this commonplace advice. Tune in to this episode to find out why you shouldn't swim right after you eat.
  • Why can you hear the ocean in a seashell?

    Jul 14, 2014 | 3 min
    There are various theories about why you can hear ocean-like sounds when you hold a seashell up to your ear. Marshall Brain explains what you're probably hearing in that seashell -- and why you don't need a shell to hear it -- in this episode.
  • What is an Omega-3 fatty acid?

    Jul 11, 2014 | 7 min
    Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to the human body. Tune in to hear Marshall Brain explain the chemistry of fat molecules and fatty acids, Omega-3s in particular, in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • What do those diamond-shaped signs on buildings mean?

    Jul 9, 2014 | 4 min
    The National Fire Protection Agency, or NFPA, uses these signs to indicate hazardous materials stored in an unknown building. Listen in to learn how the signs work -- and how they help firefighters -- in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • Should you turn your computer off when it's not in use?

    Jul 7, 2014 | 4 min
    When it comes to the question of whether or not you should turn off your computer when you're not using it, there's no simple answer. Tune in to get Marshall's thorough take on the topic in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • How big is the universe?

    Jul 4, 2014 | 3 min
    If all the matter in the universe was pushed into one corner, how much space would it take up? Listen in as Marshall Brain explores the size of the universe in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.
  • Why does hydrogen peroxide foam when you put it on a cut?

    Jul 2, 2014 | 2 min
    Hydrogen peroxide's foaming action is due to the catalase in blood and cells. Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn how hydrogen peroxide interacts with catalase.
  • How hair length works

    Jun 30, 2014 | 3 min
    As hair cells form in follicles, they push other cells out of the follicle. Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn more about your hair's growth and rest phases.
  • What is a medical leech?

    Jun 25, 2014 | 3 min
    Medical leeches are raised in captivity and help patients heal wounds. Discover how leeches and other parasites are used for medical purposes in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • How does water desalination work?

    Jun 23, 2014 | 3 min
    Most of the water on the planet is salty, so people have come up with various ways to turn it into freshwater. Explore three methods of desalinating water in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • Why does my hard drive make that churning sound?

    Jun 20, 2014 | 4 min
    Inside the hard drive of many computers, a small arm moves across the face of the hard disk. Tune in to this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com to discover how the movement of this arm produces sound -- and why the arm must move to load files.
  • What would happen on a carousel moving at the speed of light?

    Jun 18, 2014 | 3 min
    If you could spin a carousel fast enough, would time stand still for the people on the carousel? Theoretically, it's a reasonable assumption. Join Marshall Brain as he breaks down the speed of light and time in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • How can I make artificial snow in my backyard?

    Jun 16, 2014 | 4 min
    If you live in a cold enough climate, you can make fake snow just like they do for ski resorts. In this episode, Marshall shares two techniques for creating artificial snow in your own backyard -- and what to do if you live in a warm climate.
  • How do space suits work?

    Jun 11, 2014 | 2 min
    Space suits provide oxygen, pressurize air, and control an astronaut's temperature. Learn more about space suits in this classic HowStuffWorks podcast, one of our editors' hand-picked favorites.
  • What is a light year?

    Jun 9, 2014 | 4 min
    A light year is a way of measuring distance -- specifically, the distance light can travel in one year. Just how far is that? Check out this classic Brainstuff podcast from HowStuffWorks' archives to learn more about astronomy.
  • How do the Northern Lights work?

    Jun 6, 2014 | 4 min
    The Northern Lights, also known as the aurora borealis, occur when charged electrons from the sun interact with the Earth's magnetic field. Learn more about auroras and solar activity in this episode.
  • What would happen if the polar ice caps melted?

    Jun 4, 2014 | 5 min
    Learn more about melting ice caps, global warming and rising sea levels in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • What causes the smell after rain?

    Jun 2, 2014 | 5 min
    The smell of rain is often linked with spring, and it's been alluded to in poems, songs and stories for centuries. But what exactly causes this distinctive smell? Tune in and find out.
  • How Rearview Mirrors Work

    May 30, 2014 | 3 min
    How can the same piece of glass have two different amounts of reflection? Learn more about rearview mirrors in this HowStuffWorks podcast.
  • Can I see the stuff astronauts left on the moon?

    May 28, 2014 | 3 min
    Using a telescope to view the moon is fascinating -- but could we see the leftovers of NASA's lunar expeditions? Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn more about lunar landings and telescopes.
  • How can I recover a deleted file from my computer?

    May 26, 2014 | 5 min
    In many cases, it's possible to recover files that have been deleted by using your computer's Recycle Bin. Marshall Brain reveals ways to recover deleted files -- and how to erase them permanently -- in this episode.
  • How Light Wave Interference Works

    May 23, 2014 | 4 min
    When white light hits a film of oil floating on water, most of it passes through the film, but some of the light is reflected off the top and bottom layers of the film. Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn more about light wave interference.
  • How Phones Work During Power Outages

    May 21, 2014 | 3 min
    Phone companies use generators to ensure that landline phones will work, even in the event of a power outage. Learn more about phone systems in this HowStuffWorks podcast.
  • How Liquid Smoke Works

    May 19, 2014 | 2 min
    By cooling smoke, the hydrocarbons forming smoke can be condensed, thinned, and bottled in a liquid form. Learn about the process of bottling liquid smoke in this HowStuffWorks podcast.
  • How are old black and white movies colorized?

    May 16, 2014 | 3 min
    Adding color to black and white movies is incredibly tedious. To speed up the process, the coloring is done on a computer, using a digital version of the film. Learn more about colorization in this HowStuffWorks podcast.
  • What do the yellow and black wires in a home telephone jack do?

    May 14, 2014 | 3 min
    It only takes two wires to connect a phone, but most house wiring contains four wires. Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn why.
  • What Happens to Blood During the Embalming Process?

    May 12, 2014 | 4 min
    The embalming process is designed to keep the body preserved until the funeral, but how exactly does it work and what happens to bodily fluids like blood? Get the gory details in this HowStuffWorks podcast.
  • Will a really big earthquake sink Western California?

    May 9, 2014 | 8 min
    Given California's history of earthquakes and major fault lines, it's not surprising that people speculate about parts of California breaking off into the ocean. Fortunately, seismic forces don't work that way, as Marshall Brain explains in this episode.
  • What makes us yawn?

    May 7, 2014 | 5 min
    Yawning is a universal human behavior, yet scientists still don't know exactly why we do it or what purpose it serves. Marshall Brain explores some of the theories behind yawning in this episode.
  • What is Windows Safe Mode?

    May 5, 2014 | 5 min
    Safe Mode is a feature of the Windows operating system that allows users to load a limited version of the system in order to troubleshoot problems. Learn more about using Safe Mode in this episode.
  • What makes glass transparent?

    May 2, 2014 | 5 min
    The transparency of materials has to do with their molecular state. Discover how silica and heat produce the transparent material we call glass in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • What is a blowout preventer?

    Apr 30, 2014 | 6 min
    The massive oil spill that flooded the Gulf of Mexico should have been prevented by a fail-safe device called a Blowout Preventer, or BOP. Find out how this safety mechanism is supposed to work -- and why it didn't -- in this episode.
  • What is a rice krispy?

    Apr 28, 2014 | 58 min
    Like many cereals, rice krispies are made by puffing grains -- in this case, rice. Find out how rice krispies and other puffed cereals are manufactured in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • When I pay by check, where does that check go?

    Apr 23, 2014 | 6 min
    When you write a check to purchase goods and services, it passes through the hands of several banks before the process is complete. Marshall explains how checks are processed through intermediary banks in this episode.
  • How does hemp work?

    Apr 21, 2014 | 4 min
    Hemp fibers are coarse and strong, perfect for things like rope -- hemp is also more environmentally friendly than many other crops. Listen in as Marshall Brain takes a look at the controversy surrounding hemp in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • How do self-cleaning ovens work?

    Apr 18, 2014 | 4 min
    What does it take for an oven to clean itself? A whole lot of heat! Marshall Brain explains how these special ovens use intense temperatures to burn off baking spills and debris in this episode.
  • How Marshmallows Work

    Apr 16, 2014 | 3 min
    Marshmallows are an old candy -- they've been around since the 1800s. The name marshmallow comes from the original recipe, which called for sap from the marshmallow plant. Check out this HowStuffWorks to learn more about the history of marshmallows.
  • How do honeybees make honey?

    Apr 14, 2014 | 3 min
    When it comes to making honey, bees are skilled chemists. Discover how they use enzymes to turn sugary flower nectar into a sweet, stable food source in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • How do scratch-and-sniff stickers work?

    Apr 11, 2014 | 3 min
    Scratch-and-sniff stickers are novelties that delight both children and adults. Sniff out the ingenious technology that makes them work in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • What is low-power FM (LPFM)?

    Apr 9, 2014 | 4 min
    FM radio stations have high operating costs, so they're seldom affordable to individuals and small organizations that want to use them for not-for-profit purposes. Find out how LPFM stations work in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • How does satellite Internet work?

    Apr 7, 2014 | 4 min
    If you're trying to access the Internet in a very rural or remote place, satellite Internet is probably your best bet. In this episode, Marshall explains how satellite Internet works.
  • Why is cotton more absorbent than nylon?

    Apr 4, 2014 | 5 min
    When water comes in contact with the complex molecules that make up cotton and nylon, it causes a different action in each material -- but why? Listen in as Marshall Brain breaks down the science behind water absorption in this podcast.
  • What is an IP address?

    Apr 2, 2014 | 4 min
    Every computer that's connected to the Internet has its own unique "address." Tune in as Marshall explains how IP addresses work -- and how many of them exist -- in this episode.
  • What happens when pregnant women smoke cigarettes?

    Mar 31, 2014 | 5 min
    When pregnant women smoke, they expose their developing babies to a host of addictive, harmful chemicals. In this episode, Marshall Brain explains how nicotine and other compounds found in cigarettes affect developing fetuses.
  • What is a funicular railway?

    Mar 28, 2014 | 5 min
    A funicular railway combines the technology of an elevator and a train. But how do they actually work? Learn more about these fascinating railways -- and how old they are -- in this episode.
  • How are LCD screens backlit?

    Mar 26, 2014 | 5 min
    In this episode, Marshall explains the two technologies that are used to backlight LCD panels. Tune in to learn more about the science behind LCD panels.
  • What is a stratospheric aerosol?

    Mar 24, 2014 | 3 min
    Stratospheric aerosols have been proposed as a new way to combat global warming -- but what's the science behind this proposal? Discover how stratospheric aerosols would work in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • What is Schadenfreude?

    Mar 21, 2014 | 5 min
    Schadenfreude is a German word that means taking pleasure in someone else's pain. But it's not the same as sadism, as Marshall Brain explains in this episode.
  • Tiny Houses

    Mar 19, 2014 | 5 min
    Tiny houses are part of a growing trend, but why would someone want an itty bitty house? In this episode, Marshall talks about the benefits and challenges of building a tiny home.
  • Why use a humidifier in your home in the winter?

    Mar 17, 2014 | 5 min
    Lots of people use humidifiers in their homes, especially in winter. But why? Marshall discusses some advantages of using humidifiers (and disadvantages of not using them) and different types of home humidifiers.
  • Why is carbon monoxide so poisonous?

    Mar 14, 2014 | 3 min
    The structure of hemoglobin causes oxygen to bind loosely to iron -- however, carbon monoxide binds very tightly to the blood's iron, reducing your ability to breathe. Check out this podcast from HowStuffWorks to learn more.
  • What is the heat index?

    Mar 12, 2014 | 4 min
    Your body has efficient ways to release excess heat, but high temperatures and high humidity create a sticky situation. Find out how the heat index keeps you abreast of dangerous heat situations in this HowStuffWorks podcast.
  • What is a Nor’easter?

    Mar 10, 2014 | 4 min
    Nor'easters are storm systems that frequently occur in the eastern United States during winter. In this episode, Marshall explains where Nor'easters get their name, how they work and why some Nor'easters are more powerful than others.
  • How do smoke detectors intercommunicate?

    Mar 7, 2014 | 3 min
    Some AC-powered smoke detectors are wired to communicate with each other. So when one unit is triggered, all of the units go off. Find out how this intercommunication works in this episode.
  • Where did the potato chip come from?

    Mar 5, 2014 | 5 min
    Potato chips were invented in 1853 by an American cook named George Crum, and they've been a popular food item ever since. Learn more about George Crum and the evolution of the potato chip in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • What causes poison ivy blisters?

    Mar 3, 2014 | 4 min
    When people get a rash from poison ivy, their bodies are reacting to a chemical called urushiol. Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn more about poison ivy rashes.
  • How do mood rings work?

    Feb 28, 2014 | 5 min
    Mood rings claim to reflect changes in your emotional state -- and, in a way, they do. Discover the science behind mood rings in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • What makes your knuckles pop?

    Feb 26, 2014 | 5 min
    Learn more about the anatomy (and chemistry) behind that popping sound your knuckles make when you crack them in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • Could I see a flashlight beam from Earth on the moon?

    Feb 24, 2014 | 4 min
    If you shone a flashlight beam from Earth, would you be able to see it from the moon? It depends. Find out why -- and get a lesson in how light works -- in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • Why do tools have "drop forged" stamped on them?

    Feb 21, 2014 | 4 min
    Tools that say "drop forged" have been created using a technique called drop forging. Find out how drop forging and several other kinds of forging work, and why drop forging is a sign of a sturdy tool, in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • How does the lighter in a barbeque grill work?

    Feb 19, 2014 | 4 min
    A barbeque grill has a push-button lighter that relies on piezoelectricity to generate a spark. Learn more about how piezoelectricity works -- and the kinds of devices that use piezoelectric materials -- in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • How can you measure the height of a tall tower?

    Feb 17, 2014 | 4 min
    In this episode of BrainStuff, Marshall reveals three common techniques for measuring the height of tall objects like towers.
  • Why does the moon look bigger when it's near the horizon?

    Feb 14, 2014 | 5 min
    When the moon is near the horizon, it appears to be much bigger than when it's high in the sky. But is it really larger? Tune in to find out.
  • How do photochromatic lenses work?

    Feb 12, 2014 | 5 min
    Photochromatic lenses darken when exposed to the sun. Discover where these lenses came from, how they work and why they're commonly referred to as "transition" lenses in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • How does a movie clapperboard work?

    Feb 10, 2014 | 4 min
    A movie clapperboard isn't just a placemarker; this device helps movie makers synchronize a movie's audio and video elements. Find out how a traditional movie clapperboard works, as well as a digital one, in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • Why doesn't gasoline burn cleanly?

    Feb 7, 2014 | 4 min
    Since gasoline is a liquid formed of carbon and hydrogen, it's possible to trace the chemical reactions in car exhaust and understand what types of pollutants are created by a car's engine. Tune in and learn more about the science behind burning gas.
  • How do jet engines start?

    Feb 5, 2014 | 4 min
    If you've ever watched a jet engine start, you've probably noticed that the blades begin to rotate slowly before spinning up to full speed -- but why? Listen in as Marshall Brain breaks down the science behind jet engines in this episode.
  • Can cans and string really be used like a telephone?

    Feb 3, 2014 | 5 min
    You've probably heard of this trick before: Connecting two cans with a piece of string in the bottom of each can will supposedly allow people to speak over a distance to one another. Tune in as Marshall Brain explains how it works in this episode.
  • What is making my backyard sparkle at night?

    Jan 31, 2014 | 5 min
    One night, Marshall went outside with a headlight lamp on his head and discovered that his backyard was full of sparkling reflections. What were these sparkles? Discover the surprising answer in this episode.
  • What can you do to make yourself really unhappy?

    Jan 29, 2014 | 6 min
    There are lots of articles and research on happiness these days, but what about unhappiness? What makes us unhappy, and will avoiding it make us happy? In this episode, Marshall points out three behaviors that are sure to create unhappiness.
  • How do artificial flavors work?

    Jan 27, 2014 | 4 min
    Artificial flavors imitate natural flavors and are found in many processed products. Learn more about the chemistry of flavors, both natural and artificial, in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • How does high-speed rail work?

    Jan 24, 2014 | 6 min
    Although it's common in some countries, high-speed rail service isn't available in the United States -- yet. Tune in to learn more about this swift rail service -- and how soon we're likely to have it in the U.S. -- in this episode.
  • Is the sound on vinyl records better than on CDs?

    Jan 22, 2014 | 4 min
    The sound quality of vinyl records is sometimes better than that of CDs and DVDs -- and sometimes worse. Learn more about the difference between the sound quality of records, CDs and DVDs in this episode.
  • How do we measure sea level?

    Jan 20, 2014 | 5 min
    Sea level is an important measurement, but it's also a complicated one. Find out why in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • What does Pez mean?

    Jan 17, 2014 | 4 min
    Today, Pez candy dispensers are a sweet treat for children and a novelty for adults. Originally, however, they were created to help adults quit smoking. Learn more about the fascinating history of Pez in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • What is the difference between hardwood and softwood?

    Jan 15, 2014 | 4 min
    When it comes to differentiating between hardwoods and softwoods, it's not a matter of hardness or density -- it's all about plant reproduction. Marshall explains what angiosperms and gymnosperms are in this episode.
  • Where does cork come from?

    Jan 13, 2014 | 5 min
    Most cork comes from special trees that grow in places near the Mediterranean Sea. Learn more about cork oak trees, cork properties, cork products and cork processing in this episode.
  • Is it true that a diesel engine can operate underwater?

    Jan 10, 2014 | 4 min
    Under certain circumstances, diesel engines can operate while submerged in water. Find out what it takes to waterproof an engine -- and why diesel engines are better candidates than their gasoline counterparts -- in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • How do stabilizer bars work?

    Jan 8, 2014 | 4 min
    Stabilizer bars are designed to keep your car from rolling when you make sharp turns. Learn more about how these bars work in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • What are motion cards and how do they work?

    Jan 6, 2014 | 4 min
    Motion cards, which have been around for decades, give the illusion of motion using multiple images and a special printing process. In this episode, Marshall discusses the technology behind motion cards and how it has improved over the years.
  • How does a CB radio antenna work?

    Jan 3, 2014 | 6 min
    A citizens band (CB) radio is often used by truck drivers to communicate while on the road, but how does it work? Marshall Brain gives a detailed explanation of how a CB radio's antenna works in this episode.
  • When you have an itch, what's happening under your skin?

    Jan 1, 2014 | 4 min
    Skin covers our bodies, so it's very easy for this delicate organ to get irritated. In this episode, Marshall explains why our bodies respond to irritants with an itching sensation -- and why we're programmed to scratch.
  • What is a digital signature?

    Dec 30, 2013 | 6 min
    A digital signature is a way to authenticate electronic documents. Find out what 'authentic' means in this context -- and how encryption is involved in the authentication process -- in this episode.
  • Why do some engines use a dry sump oil system?

    Dec 27, 2013 | 4 min
    Most car engines use a wet sump oil system, but some rely on a dry sump system. Find out how a dry sump system works -- and why it's advantageous -- in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • What are carbide tips?

    Dec 25, 2013 | 3 min
    Many cutting tools are made of materials like steel but have carbide tips, which stay sharper longer. Learn more about carbide tips in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.
  • Is it possible to use a leaf blower as a supercharger?

    Dec 23, 2013 | 9 min
    Leaf blowers are convenient, but are they living up to their potential? In this podcast, Marshall examines superchargers, explaining how a leaf blower can (theoretically) perform the same duties. Tune in and learn more about hacking leaf blowers.
  • How does a QWERTY keyboard work?

    Dec 20, 2013 | 5 min
    The QWERTY keyboard is the standard for most computers today, but why are the letters arranged in such a peculiar way? Learn more about the QWERTY keyboard's unusual layout -- and how it compares to the Dvorak design -- in this episode.
  • How does a fiber optic cable work?

    Dec 18, 2013 | 5 min
    Fiber optic cables make long-distance telephone communication and Internet access much more affordable and accessible. Get Marshall's explanation of fiber optic cables in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • Does airing out mattresses outside do any good?

    Dec 16, 2013 | 3 min
    Airing out rugs and mattresses outdoors is a great way to disinfect them, thanks to a little thing called ultraviolet light. Find out how UV light can disinfect everything from rugs to water in this episode of BrainStuff.
  • How Lava Lamps Work

    Dec 13, 2013 | 3 min
    Liquid motion lamps -- or lava lamps -- use heat to create slight differences in the density of two liquids. Learn more about lava lamps and density in this Brainstuff podcast.
  • How Dry Cleaning Works

    Dec 11, 2013 | 3 min
    Dry cleaning is not actually clean -- instead, it uses a petroleum solvent in place of water. Learn more about dry cleaning in this HowStuffWorks podcast.
  • How Dehumidifiers Work

    Dec 9, 2013 | 3 min
    Dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air -- but how does this actually work? Check out this HowStuffWorks podcast to learn more about dehumidifiers.