BrainStuff

BrainStuff Podcast

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.

How Did the Bear-Sized Beaver, Castoroides, Work?
A couple million years ago, species of bear-sized beavers roamed North America. Learn more about how Castoroides lived in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

BrainStuff Classics: Did Neanderthals Use Glue?
Neanderthals distilled tar more than 100,000 years before modern humans created glue. Learn how archaeologists compared three potential ways they might've done it in this classic episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

BrainStuff Classics: How Does Captain America's Shield Work?
Captain America's indestructible shield may be a work of fiction, but that won't stop us from trying to figure out how it might work in the real world. Learn more about the history and science behind Cap's shield in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


What's It Like to Live and Work in Antarctica?
The South Pole's frigid desert continent bears very little natural life, but hundreds of researchers and support staff live and work there. Learn what that's like in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

What's Up With America's European Replica Towns?
Scattered throughout the U.S. are small towns built to look like old-timey European villages. Learn the stories behind a few such towns in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

Did the Pilgrims Really Land at Plymouth Rock Because They Ran Out of Beer?
The Pilgrims who came to America on the Mayflower were supposed to start their colony further south, but dwindling rations made them settle for Plymouth Rock. Learn why beer was so key in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


Why Do People Store Art in Freeports?
Some of the world's most precious antiquities and works of art aren't in museums or private homes -- they're stored away in freeports. Learn how freeports work in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

Does Element 115 Really Have a Connection With UFOs?
Element 115, also known as moscovium, was first created by humans in 2003 -- but does it have any connection with the element by the same name rumored to have been worked with in Area 51? Learn the stories behind both in today's episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

BrainStuff Classics: What Have the Voyager Spacecraft Taught Us?
Voyager 1 and 2 have left the solar system, but we're still learning about ourselves and our galaxy from the information they've sent. Learn more in this classic episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


BrainStuff Classics: Can Simple Fruit Peels Revive Dead Land?
Decades after a truckloads of orange peels were added to a degraded plot of land, the pasture is flourishing. Learn more about this experiment in today's classic episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

Why Do Dogs Love Belly Rubs But Cats Don't?
Going in for a belly rub can garner a significantly different reaction from a cat versus a dog. Learn why in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

How Have Hispanic Americans Helped Shape the U.S.?
The United States has grown and thrived thanks to the contributions of Hispanic Americans. Learn about a few key moments in American history made possible by its Hispanic citizens in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


Is Stainless Steel Really Stainless?
No, stainless steel isn't completely stain-proof or damage-proof, but this category of steels is very tough and versatile. Learn more about types of stainless steel and how to care for them in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

What Are Some of Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Landmark Cases?
As a Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg helped decide some truly landmark cases, resulting in a more just world for all Americans. Learn about a few of them in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

How Do Mantis Shrimp Work?
These crustaceans are so powerful that they can kill prey with a single blow -- and they communicate in ways no other animals can. Learn more about the amazing mantis shrimp in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


BrainStuff Classics: Do Jellyfish Sleep?
Jellyfish don't have brains, but (spoiler alert) they do seem to sleep. Learn how this may teach us more about human sleep in today's classic episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

Who Does the Cooking for Cooking Shows?
Lots of the prep and plating that we see on cooking shows happens off camera. Learn more about how cooking shows work in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


How Does the Great Green Wall Work?
The Great Green Wall is an African environmental project that's both massive and locally led, and it stands to help communities create and restore healthy land like never before. Learn more about it in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

Is It Safe to Drive Without a Gas Cap?
Modern cars have lots of failsafes to help you remember to reattach your gas cap after feuling -- but what if you drive off without it? Learn what can happen and what to do about it in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

What Happens If a Dog Loses Its Sense of Smell?
Like humans, dogs can lose some of all of their sense of smell due to illness or injury. Learn the common causes os anosmia in dogs -- and why afflicted pups usually do just fine -- in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


Can Foods Really Boost Your Immune System?
Eating particular foods can indeed help your immune system -- but it's not exactly a boost. Learn how certain nutrients help your body fight infections (and how to get those nutrients) in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

BrainStuff Classics: Can Playing Pretend Help Kids Focus?
When kids pretend to be a hero like Batman, it lets them separate themselves from temptation and stay on task. Learn more about the Batman Effect in this classic episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


Why Does Grief Sometimes Come in Waves?
A grief attack, sometimes called a Sudden (or Subsequent) Temporary Upsurge in Grief, can feel debilitating -- but they are temporary. Learn more about STUGs in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

How Did Triceratops Work?
These gigantic, plant-eating, three-horned dinosaurs were some of the last that walked the Earth. Learn more about Triceratops in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

How Are Hot Dogs Made?
What actually goes into these sausages that American eat by the billion? Learn how hot dogs work in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


How Does the Butterfly Effect Work?
The term 'butterfly effect' was coined in the 1960s to help explain how complicated weather is, but it can be applied to many complex or chaotic systems. Learn more about the butterfly effect (and what we often get wrong about it) in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

Why Do We Celebrate Labor Day?
Labor Day signals the end of summer in the United States and Canada, but it began as a celebration of workers and their hard-earned rights. Learn about the history of Labor Day in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

BrainStuff Classics: How Did Boston and New York's Accents Develop?
These two American English accents were influenced by British English accents -- but were British accents influenced by them? And what does Boston have against the letter 'R'? Learn more about these accents in this classic episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


Why Is a Universal Flu Vaccine So Difficult to Develop?
Today's flu vaccines can absolutely prevent or lessen an influenza infection, but they have to be taken yearly and don't always work. Learn why -- and what researchers are doing about it -- in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

Did Paintings Portray Food More Realistically Than Instagram?
People have been depicting wildly lavish foods for a lot longer than Instagram has been around. Learn about the history of what people eat versus what they show in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


Are Most Words Already Trademarked?
Spoiler alert: Yep, most of the commonly used words (and names!) in the English language are already trademarked. Learn more about how trademarks work in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

What Does It Mean to Be a Modern-Day Explorer?
The planet Earth is fairly well charted at this point, but we humans still have a drive to explore. Learn how modern-day exploration works in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

How Can You Help After a Natural Disaster?
Seeing footage after a hurricane or other natural disaster makes us want to help, but some actions are a better use of time and money than others. Learn how to make your aid go the furthest in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


BrainStuff Classics: How Do Squirrels Organize Their Nuts?
Research suggests that squirrels use memory strategies to remember where they put the good nuts. Learn more in this classic episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

BrainStuff Classics: How Old Is the Number Zero?
An analysis of the ancient Indian Bakhshali manuscript suggests the numerical symbol zero, as we use it today, may be centuries older than previously believed. Learn more in this classic episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

What Do the Numbers on Interstate Signs Mean?
American interstates aren't given those numbers randomly. Learn how information is coded into every number -- and how this high-speed road system got its start -- in today's episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


What's the Largest Lake in the World?
Siberia's Lake Baikal is so massive that it contains islands that have their own lakes. Learn about this ocean in the making, its amazing wildlife, and the myths about it in today's episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

How Do Hurricanes Get Their Names?
Hurricanes weren't always given names. Learn how the tradition began and how the names rotate from year to year in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

Who Were the First Cowboys?
The cowboy is an American icon, but the profession originated with Native American workers tending Spanish horses and cattle in Central America. Learn about the vaquero in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


What Were the World's Last Woolly Mammoths?
Early humans did help hunt woolly mammoths to extinction, but the last surviving pockets of these animals were remote from humans. Learn more about them in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

BrainStuff Classics: Are Wolves Smarter Than Dogs?
A new study put dogs and wolves head to head in the intelligence department. Guess which species won? Find out on BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

BrainStuff Classics: What Ruined City Lies Under Tunisia's Waters?
Archaeologists discovered what they believe to be ruins of the Roman city of Neapolis in the Mediterranean, near Tunisia. Learn what they found out about it in this classic episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


How Do Trebuchets Work?
Trebuchets are a type of catapult that crushed castles in the Middle Ages. Learn how these siege engines helped kingdoms wage war in today's episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

How Micro Are Microclimates?
We often think of climate on the global scale, but trends in weather can be much smaller -- a whole climate can be tracked on the surface of a leaf. Learn more about microclimates in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

How Does Jane Elliott's Blue Eyes/Brown Exercise Work?
In the 1960s, a Midwestern elementary school teacher became famous -- or infamous -- for walking her third-grade class through an exercise about racial discrimination. Learn about Jane Elliott and her blue eyes/brown eyes exercise in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


Who Insures Race Cars and Their Drivers?
Yes, race cars and race car drivers buy insurance, too -- and yes, it works a little differently. Learn about how NASCAR teams are insured in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

Why Does Fertilizer Sometimes Explode?
We usually think of fertilizer as being a good thing -- so how can it cause so much destruction? Learn why ammonium nitrate can cause deadly explosions in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


BrainStuff Classics: Why Is a Brain-Shaped Blob In Canada?
The magnificent bryozoan is a colonial organism that usually lives in warm ponds and lakes east of the Mississippi River. Learn what it's doing in western Canada in this classic episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

How Can Hair Be Tougher than Razor Blades?
Hair is much softer than steel. So how can shaving cause a razor blade to dull? Learn how a few researchers figured out the answer -- and how they may provide a solution -- in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

What Family Has Won the Most Nobel Prizes?
Spoiler alert: Marie and Pierre Curie started the family that has won more Nobel prizes than any other in history. Learn the Curie family's story in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


Who Owns the Rights to Dinosaur Fossils?
In some countries, important fossils are considered shared cultural heritage and can't be privately owned; in others, private sellers can make millions off dino fossils at auction. Learn more about owning dinosaur remains in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

Why Does the White House Have a Rose Garden?
The White House's Rose Garden is a presidential sanctuary and event space for gatherings big and small -- but how did it get started? Learn about the history of the Rose Garden in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

What Are Daddy Longlegs, Anyway?
There's an urban myth that daddy longlegs are the world's most venomous spiders, but most creatures by this name are neither venomous nor spiders. Learn more about daddy longlegs in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


BrainStuff Classics: What Do Hurricane Categories Mean?
Hurricanes are the strongest storms on the planet, but there's a big difference between a Category 1 and a Category 5 (and all the storms in between). Learn more about how we classify hurricanes in this classic episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


How Did the Saltwater Underground Railroad Work?
In America, most of the Underground Railroad moved enslaved people north to freedom -- but Florida's Saltwater Underground Railroad moved people south, to the Bahamas. Learn how it worked in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

Are You Putting on Enough Sunscreen?
We all know sunscreen can help save our skin, but new research indicates that most of us aren't using it correctly. Learn how to get the most out of your UV protection in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...

Where Should You Go on a Science Road Trip?
There are adventures to be had everywhere, but we've picked a few of our favorite science-themed road trip destinations to spark your curiosity. Learn about beautiful places to explore fossils, geology, and rocket science in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...


How Do Tanuki Work?
Tanuki are East Asian animals that look like a dog with the face of a raccoon. Learn about their behavior and the myths surrounding them in this episode of BrainStuff. Learn more about your ad-choices at https://news.iheart.com/podcast-advertisers...