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.... Show More

Episodes

July 4, 2020 5 min

The Tyrannosaurus rex was a giant predator, but its arms weren't much bigger than a human being's. Learn a few hypotheses about T. rex's arms in this classic episode of BrainStuff.

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Coal fires have burned beneath this Pennsylvania town for decades, driving away inhabitants with continual smoke, ash, and cave-ins. Learn how coal-seam fires work in this episode of BrainStuff.

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July 2, 2020 7 min

Real vanilla is much more expensive than synthetic vanilla. Learn about the delicate orchid that vanilla comes from and why most vanilla flavoring is synthetic in this episode of BrainStuff.

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A new bill aims to make Washington, D.C. the U.S.'s 51st state -- but why wasn't it created as a state to begin with, and why have similar bills failed in the past? Learn the history of the District of Columbia in this episode of BrainStuff.

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The hellbender salamander isn't nearly as scary as it sounds. Learn why they're mostly harmless -- and some of their populations are in danger -- in this episode of BrainStuff.

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The 'Streisand Effect' is when some powerful entity tries to repress information, but winds up publicizing it instead. Learn the history of the term and how the effect works in this episode of BrainStuff.

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All humans eventually develop bags under our eyes -- but why? Learn how it happens -- and about some inexpensive, unobtrusive home remedies -- in this classic episode of BrainStuff.​

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There's a distinct accent of yesteryear that's not quite British, and not quite American – so what gives? Learn about the Transatlantic accent, or Mid-Atlantic accent, in this classic episode of BrainStuff.

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June 26, 2020 8 min

The Tulsa Race Massacre of 1921 is the worst incident of interracial violence in U.S. history, yet it wasn't discussed for decades, and historians are still unearthing its details. Learn why, and what we do know about it, in this episode of BrainStuff.

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Carmine is a vibrant, long-lasting red dye that's extracted from crushed cochineal insects. Learn about the intriguing history and modern use of carmine in this episode of BrainStuff.

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June 24, 2020 5 min

Nailing down what makes a continent a continent is a surprisingly tricky business. Learn more about how we humans have defined landmasses, past and present, in this episode of BrainStuff.

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Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis asked fellow 19th-century doctors to wash their hands between conducting autopsies and delivering babies -- and was ridiculed for it. Learn how he and other sanitation pioneers helped save lives anyway in this episode of BrainStuff.

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June 22, 2020 5 min

In commensal biological relationships, one organism benefits from another's work without harming (or, often, even alerting) the worker organism. Learn more about commensalism in this episode of BrainStuff.

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Spoiler Alert: Yep, dry cleaning isn't dry. Instead, it uses a petroleum solvent in place of water. Learn more about dry cleaning in this classic episode of BrainStuff.

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Water is made up of hydrogen and oxygen, but in a form that we can't breathe. Learn more about how water works in this classic episode of BrainStuff.

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June 19, 2020 7 min

Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating Black American independence and commemorating the ongoing struggle for equality. Learn the history of Juneteenth in this episode of BrainStuff.

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Preference for using one hand over the other is both genetic and learned during childhood -- but can we change that later in life? Learn about how handedness and ambidexterity work in this episode of BrainStuff.

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June 17, 2020 10 min

Though it started as an obscure legal term, intersectionality has become the matter of some debate. Learn what it means and how it can help everyone out in this episode of BrainStuff.

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June 16, 2020 4 min

These small, grey garden critters go by many names and are more helpful than you might think. Learn about roly-poly 'bugs' (they're actually land crustaceans!) in this episode of BrainStuff.

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The United States has never postponed a presidential election. Learn why it would be extremely difficult to do so in this episode of BrainStuff.

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