Right Now in BrainStuff

In 1947, U.S. military scientists launched the very first Earth animals into space: fruit flies. But why these diminutive bugs in particular? Learn about their trip to the final fronteir in this episode of BrainStuff.

Did an 19th-Century Man Predict Your Death?

In the 1820s, an insurance actuary by the name of Benjamin Gompertz wrote an equation that reliably predicts when people are going to die. Learn how it works in this episode of BrainStuff.

Is the Human Brain Hardwired for Poetry?

Poems activate different parts of the human brain than other types of literature do, and our brains seem hardwired to enjoy the patterns in poetry. Learn why this may be in today's episode of BrainStuff.

What Happens to Wine Grape Waste?

After winemakers extract grapes' juice, they're left with a lot of fruit skins and pulp. Learn what happens to all that goo in this episode of BrainStuff. 

Why Are So Many People Nearsighted?

By 2050, half the world will be nearsighted. Researchers tracking the spread of this eye condition (also called myopia) have a few hypotheses about why it's happening. Learn more in this episode of BrainStuff.

How Can a Plant Outsource Photosynthesis?

Plants use photosynthesis to survive, but some plants outsource that job to other living things, like fungus. Learn how it works in this episode of BrainStuff.

How Much Electricity Can Urine Provide?

Researchers have created pee-powered fuel cells that can light outdoor portable bathrooms. Learn how (and why) in this episode of BrainStuff. 

Could Platypus Milk Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Disease?

For everything that's weird and wondrous about the platypus, we probably shouldn't be surprised that its milk may help save countless lives, but here we are. Learn how in this episode of BrainStuff.

Does Diabetes Lead to Disordered Eating?

People with Type 1 diabetes are more likely to experience eating disorders, and the consequences can be serious. Learn why, and what can be done to help, in this episode of BrainStuff.

What Makes Durian Fruit Smell So Bad?

Durian fruit is prized as a delicacy and staple -- and it smells like rotting. Learn how a group of cancer researchers mapped its genome to get to the bottom of this stench (and hopefully find something medicinally useful) in this episode of BrainStuff.

Is There a Gene for Infidelity?

Some animals mate for life -- and others decidedly don't. Learn what researchers have discovered about cheating by studying voles and humans alike in this episode of BrainStuff.

How Much Salt Is Too Much?

You've probably heard you should cut back on salt, but we need it to survive -- we're hardwired to crave it. So why cut back? And how much is actually harmful?

How Is New Laser Technology Discovering Ancient Ruins?

Ancient ruins, long grown over by massive forests, can now be found painlessly -- all thanks to lasers. Learn how LiDAR techology is preserving forests and uncovering lost Mayan infrastructure in this episode of BrainStuff.

Is Prozac Endangering Crabs' Survival?

When we take medications, we sometimes excrete chemicals that get flushed into our oceans. In the case of fluoxetine (Prozac), those chemicals seem to be chilling crabs out -- which is bad for the crabs.

Botox Exists Thanks to Bad Sausages

Botox wrinkle therapy contains a tiny dose of a deadly bacterial toxin, but the story of how it was discovered is even stranger than that fact. Learn the history of botulinum toxin, plus how it's used in non-cosmetic medicine, in this episode of BrainStuff.

Can Your Face's Temperature Reveal Your Mood?

Research shows that parts of a person's face grow cooler depending on their mood and stress level. Could this be used to help people in stressful jobs, like pilots? 

What's the Difference Between Eggs of Different Colors?

Brown, white, blue, or green: Chicken eggs come in a spectrum of colors, but they all cook up the same. Learn what makes eggs different colors in this episode of BrainStuff.

What's the Most Dangerous Air Pollution?

The most hazardous air pollution may be particles too tiny to see, but it also may be easily avoided. Learn what researchers have found in this episode of BrainStuff. 

What If Cockroaches Went Extinct?

Being surprised by a roach in your kitchen (which is very clean, thank you) can be enough to wish the whole genus would just go away. But what would the world be like if there were no cockroaches?

How Did Spring Break Get Its Start?

College spring break has brought millions of students to Southern beaches and cities to party, but how did this tradition get started? And what are the alternatives?