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 11, 2020 4 min

Goldfish can survive in icy lakes and your poorly cleaned aquarium in part because they make their own alcohol. Learn more about how goldfish work in this classic episode of BrainStuff.

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The Harlem Renaissance was a period of great social, intellectual, and artistic invention that deeply impacts our world to this day. Learn how it got started and why it was so important in this episode of BrainStuff.

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Moths pollinate more of our food than researchers previously realized. Learn more about insect pollination in this episode of BrainStuff.

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July 8, 2020 6 min

Popular music and video often use rain as a metaphor for melancholy, but does rainy weather really affect our mood? Learn about the psychology (or lack thereof) behind the rainy-day blues in this episode of BrainStuff.

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The Titanoboa cerrejonensis was a massive snake related to modern boas -- but it might've grown to 47 feet (14 meters) in length. Learn about this extinct South American serpent in today's episode of BrainStuff.

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The massive, historic Liberty Bell wasn't always cracked, and wasn't always named that. Learn what history knows (and doesn't know) about the Liberty Bell in this episode of BrainStuff.

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What we now call grandfather clocks were around for a long time before they got that name. Learn how a pop song renamed them -- and a few legends that may have inspired the song -- in this classic episode of BrainStuff.

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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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