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

Lactose intolerance is rare in the U.S., but worldwide it's way more common. Learn what causes this and how researchers explain the divide in this episode of BrainStuff.

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Though we've all heard about how Rosa Parks' small act of resistance on a Montgomery bus sparked a boycott that spurred the civil rights movement, a lot of us get the details wrong. Learn the real story of Rosa Parks in this episode of BrainStuff.

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The so-called Birthday Paradox isn't a true paradox -- it's a fascinating example of how bad humans are at off-the-cuff probability. Learn what the Birthday Paradox is and how it works in this episode of BrainStuff.

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Our breath can smell bad for a number of reasons, but it tends to be worse first thing in the morning. Learn why in this classic episode of BrainStuff.

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February 14, 2020 7 min

Many humans enjoy eating chocolate -- but is it because of the taste, or because of compounds in the candy that simulate happiness in our brains? Learn about how chocolate affects us in this episode of BrainStuff.

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February 13, 2020 4 min

Cats seem to love kneading at soft things with their front paws -- but why do they do it? Learn about this (sometimes very pointy) behavior in today's episode of BrainStuff.

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February 12, 2020 6 min

Balut is a street food delicacy found in Southeastern Asia -- and around the world. Learn about this eggy treat in today's episode of BrainStuff.

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February 11, 2020 8 min

Single-use plastics are plastics made to be thrown away after one use. Learn why they're so damaging and how we can do better in this episode of BrainStuff.

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George P. Burdell has received several degrees, flown missions in several wars, hosted countless campus balls, and ordered countless pizzas -- but he's never technically existed. Learn about Georgia Tech's legendary student in this episode of BrainStuff.

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Crooke's radiometer is a device containing vanes that appear to spin because they're pushed by light itself, but that's not quite right. Learn what's really happening in this episode of BrainStuff.

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White noise generators are useful for masking all kinds of annoying sounds -- but what is white noise, and how does it work? Learn about white noise (and other 'colors') in this episode of BrainStuff.

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With most goods and services, as their price goes up, demand goes down -- but not so with luxury items from diamonds to college educations. Learn how Veblen goods work in this episode of BrainStuff.

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February 6, 2020 5 min

Mongooses are small, weasely mammals that can -- and do -- kill and eat big, venomous king cobras. Learn how they manage to come out on top in this grudge match in today's episode of BrainStuff. 

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Stacks of rocks called cairns have long been used for navigation and decoration, but scientists are now asking hikers to stop making them. Learn how simply moving rocks can be hugely destructive (even if you put them back) in this episode of BrainStuff.

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February 4, 2020 5 min

The phrase 'holy cow' is an example of a minced oath -- a substitute for a taboo phrase. Learn how baseball was involved in its popularity in this episode of BrainStuff.

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Land animals tend to have an upper limit of size, beyond which they risk extinction. Learn why (and how King Kong is a great example of this) in today's episode of BrainStuff. 

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Sure, dogs age differently than humans -- but is a year for us really like seven years for them? Learn the truth about your dog's age in this classic episode of BrainStuff.

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Ranch is the most popular salad dressing in the United States, but what is that flavor supposed to be? Learn the history and modern make-up of ranch flavor in this classic episode of BrainStuff.

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The most expensive 30-second commercial slot in this weekend's Super Bowl sold for $5.6 million, but the total cost to make these ads is more like $30 million. Learn what kind of return on investment companies hope to make in this episode of BrainStuff.

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Press briefings have been a regular event at the White House since the late 1800s, so why has the Trump administration cancelled them? Learn about the history behind the practice (and what's replaced them) in this episode of BrainStuff.

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