BrainStuff

BrainStuff

Whether the topic is popcorn or particle physics, you can count on BrainStuff to explore -- and explain -- the everyday science in the world around us.

Episodes

February 28, 2024 7 mins

Our brains release the hormone oxytocin during pleasant circumstances and bonding experiences -- but can we really take it to induce those experiences? Learn why it's complicated in this episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: thttps://health.howstuffworks.com/human-body/systems/endocrine/oxytocin.htm

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Pistol shrimp (aka snapping shrimp) can 'shoot' bubbles that go off louder than a gun and will stun prey or dig into rock. Learn more (including how they're inspiring nuclear fission research) in this episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://animals.howstuffworks.com/marine-life/pistol-shrimp.htm

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As London grew throughout the 1800s, it became clear that there wasn't enough real estate for its deceased citizens. Learn how the London Necropolis Railway took the funerary show on the road in this classic episode of BrainStuff.

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Beer and soda both form sudsy bubbles when you pour them, so why does soda's foam dissipate while beer's forms a head? Learn about foam physics in this classic episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/edible-innovations/beer-form-head-not-soda.htm

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February 15, 2024 9 mins

Maya Angelou was a people's poet -- an artist, activist, and teacher whose words resonate from Supreme Court Justices to internet memes. Learn more about her through a few of her own quotes in this episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://history.howstuffworks.com/historical-figures/maya-angelou-quotes.htm To hear more from today's writer, Yves Jeffcoat, listen to her podcast, On Theme: https://www.ontheme.show/ 

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February 14, 2024 9 mins

Scurvy is a serious condition that's easily cured with access to vitamin C. Learn why humans get it (and why it was the scourge of the high seas) in this episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://health.howstuffworks.com/diseases-conditions/rare/scurvy.htm

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February 13, 2024 6 mins

Cattle burp so much methane into our atmosphere that it's the equivalent of how much cars pollute every day. Learn what researchers are trying to do about the gassy situation in this episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://animals.howstuffworks.com/mammals/methane-cow.htm 

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February 6, 2024 7 mins

The water cycle brings Earth's water from the clouds to the ground and back again -- but how did it get here in the first place? Learn about the leading theories in this episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/earth/geophysics/water-come-from.htm

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These mantises look like beautiful, bright orchids -- and some use that to aggressively attract prey. Learn more in today's episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://animals.howstuffworks.com/insects/orchid-mantis.htm

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When we lose weight, it doesn't just vanish. Learn how our bodies shrink fat cells in this classic episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/diet-fitness/weight-loss/lost-weight.htm/printable

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Some claims make it sound like probiotics are a cure-all, but what has research found so far? Learn more about these supplements for your microbiome in this classic episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/preventive-care/probiotic.htm

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February 2, 2024 7 mins

As a pedestrian, crossing the street wherever you want can be dangerous -- which is why it's still technically illegal in many American jurisdictions. Learn more in this episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-driving-safety/accidents-hazardous-conditions/jaywalking-crime.htm

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Though beautiful, Bradford pear trees are invasive in the U.S., use up precious water, are brittle -- and smell decidedly funky. Learn more in this episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://home.howstuffworks.com/whats-that-smell-dreaded-bradford-pear.htm

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January 25, 2024 6 mins

To celebrate the anniversary of poet Robert Burns' birth on January 25, 1759, Scottish people all over the world observe Burns Night each year. Learn about the verse, the bagpipes, and of course the haggis in this episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://people.howstuffworks.com/culture-traditions/holidays-other/get-out-haggis-its-burns-night.htm

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January 24, 2024 7 mins

White dwarfs have almost all the mass of a normal star squished into a ball the size of our Earth -- and that comes with a lot of gravitational power. Learn how they can tear planets to shreds in this episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://science.howstuffworks.com/white-dwarfs-shred-planets.htm

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January 23, 2024 10 mins

These adorable aquatic salamanders are voracious hunters -- and have myth-like powers of regeneration. Learn more about the axolotl in this episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://animals.howstuffworks.com/endangered-species/axolotl.htm

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Stop signs were always the red octagons we know today -- so how was the color chosen, and why has it stuck? Learn about the history and psychology of red traffic signals in this classic episode of BrainStuff.

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From the outdated Presidential Fitness Test to today's FITNESSGRAM, Americans have been giving standardized fitness tests to middle school kids for decades. Learn the past and present of these exams in this classic episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/diet-fitness/exercise/could-pass-kids-middle-school-fitness-test.htm

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January 20, 2024 7 mins

Buying a cheap phone containing prepaid minutes and texts with cash can help you preserve anonymity in some ways, but companies and governments still have ways of listening in. Learn more in this episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://electronics.howstuffworks.com/burner-phones.htm

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In the early 1900s, psychologists went to great lengths to study their subjects without letting them know they were being watched. Learn more about their research (and about how ethical standards would prevent it from happening today) in this episode of BrainStuff, based on this article: https://history.howstuffworks.com/historical-events/ridiculous-history-when-scientists-hid-beds-do-research.htm

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