Unexplainable

Unexplainable

Unexplainable is a science show about everything we don’t know. Host Noam Hassenfeld is joined by an array of experts and Vox reporters each week to look at the most fascinating unanswered questions in science and the mind-bending ways scientists are trying to answer them. New episodes drop every Wednesday. From Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Episodes

August 10, 2022 47 min

Where eels come from is a surprisingly difficult question to answer, in large part because scientists have never actually seen them reproduce in the wild. Gastropod explains why eels are somehow still so mysterious.

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show.

Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com

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People yawn when they’re bored, right? So then why do athletes yawn before races? And why do so many animals yawn? … And why does reading this paragraph make you more likely to yawn?

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show.

Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com

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A lava planet, life on other worlds, the very first starlight in the universe — the most powerful space telescope ever built is ready to reveal many mysteries of the cosmos.

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show.

Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com

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July 13, 2022 35 min

Millions of Americans take dietary supplements — everything from vitamins and minerals to weight loss pills and probiotics. But because supplements are loosely regulated in the US, their makers don't have to prove that they work, or even that they are safe.

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show.

Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com

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June 29, 2022 29 min

Venus is the hottest, scariest planet in the solar system, but billions of years ago it may have been a lot like Earth, complete with an ocean of water. So, how did Venus go to hell? And could Earth be next?

This is the final episode of our four-part series, Lost Worlds, and it originally ran on December 1, 2021.

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

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June 22, 2022 31 min

Mars was once a very different planet, with rivers, lakes, and — potentially — life. NASA’s latest Mars rover is on a mission to find traces of past life. What happens if it does?

This is the third episode of our new four-part series, Lost Worlds.

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show.

Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com

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June 15, 2022 27 min

In all our searching of the universe, we’ve never seen another moon like ours. It's big, it's weird, it's played a huge role in shaping our planet. But how did we get it? Every possible story points to cataclysm.

This is the second episode of our new four-part series, Lost Worlds.

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

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June 8, 2022 27 min

Was there a technologically advanced species living on Earth long before humans? And if one had existed, how would we know?

This is the first episode of our new four-part series, Lost Worlds.

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show.

Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com

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May 25, 2022 27 min

Insect populations are shrinking all over the world, and entomologists are buzzing with questions: Why is this happening? How quickly? And, most concerningly, what does it mean for food supplies or even life as we know it?


For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show.

Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com

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May 18, 2022 26 min

A groundbreaking study claims to have found a way for a fully paralyzed person to communicate entirely via thought. Today, Explained breaks down the science and asks: Is it too good to be true?


For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show.

Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com

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May 11, 2022 24 min

Dreams are weird, but can they be a scientific tool? Can they teach us anything about humanity? About ourselves?


For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show.

Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com

We read every email.

Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts

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What are the scientific, family, and privacy implications?

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show.

Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com

We read every email.

Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts

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April 27, 2022 24 min

Octopuses are largely solitary animals, but there have been rare times — notably in the movie My Octopus Teacher — where they seem to have become comfortable around humans. But is it really possible to be friends with an octopus?

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show.

Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com

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April 20, 2022 30 min

Most deep-water creatures are bioluminescent. Marine biologist Edie Widder has spent the last 40 years trying to figure out why.

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show.

Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com

We read every email.

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April 13, 2022 26 min

In the 1920s, the scientist Werner Heisenberg came up with a wild idea that broke reality as Western science knew it. And it's still unsettling to think about. Benjamin Labatut's recent book, When We Cease to Understand the World, makes readers feel the aftershocks of the revelation, asking, "What's real?"

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

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April 6, 2022 27 min

Why stop at five senses? Just how much of the world can we perceive? And how much is out there that’s still out of reach, hiding in the dark?

This is the sixth and final episode of our six-part series, Making Sense.

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show.

Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com

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March 30, 2022 25 min

Close your eyes and try to imagine an apple. Can you see anything? Aphantasia is the inability to see with your mind’s eye. Since it was discovered, scientists have been asking the question: What is the mind’s eye even for?

This is the fifth episode of our six-part series, Making Sense.

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show.

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March 23, 2022 38 min

For thousands of years, there have been four basic tastes recognized across cultures. But thanks to Kumiko Ninomiya (a.k.a. the Umami Mama), scientists finally accepted a fifth. So could there be even more?

This is the fourth episode of our six-part series, Making Sense.

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show.

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March 16, 2022 30 min

Dogs can smell cancer, Covid-19, and many other health problems in humans. Now, scientists are trying to duplicate these powers in robotic sniffers. But there’s a big challenge here: Scientists don’t really understand how smell works. This is the third episode of our six-part series, Making Sense, and it originally ran on March 10, 2021.

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

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Doctors can save the lives of premature infants, but the process is often painful. Luckily, a solution might be as simple as a parent’s loving touch.

This is the second episode of our new six-part series, Making Sense.

For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable

It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show.

Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com

We read every email.

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