Right Now in BrainStuff

Research shows that spending money on experiences instead of objects can make you happier, but can it make you a better person? Learn what scientists have found in this episode of BrainStuff.

How Do Nutrients Get into the World's Oceans?

Phytoplankton are responsible for a lot of the oxygen we breathe, and their wellbeing is made possible by... deserts. Yes. Learn how the Saraha Desert and other dusty debris feeds our oceans in this episode of BrainStuff.

Who Does the Real Magic: Magicians, or Assistants?

The gender roles of traditional stage magicians and 'lovely assistants' can seem outdated, but behind the scenes, the work has always been pretty equal. Learn how being a magician's assistant works in this episode of BrainStuff.

BrainStuff Classics: How Do Laugh Tracks Work?

Sitcoms use laugh tracks all the time. But where do they come from? Do they really make us laugh along? Learn about the origins and psychology of laugh tracks in this classic episode of BrainStuff.

BrainStuff Classics: Why Do Dogs Tilt Their Heads?

Is this adorable behavior rooted in sensory necessity or purposeful gesticulation? We explore what may be the cutest research ever in this classic episode of BrainStuff.

Why Do Books Smell So Good?

Researchers have set out to catalog the scent compounds that make books and libraries smell so welcoming. Learn how in this episode of BrainStuff.

Can You Train a Bee?

Spoiler alert: Totally. Bees and other insects can learn, and thus be trained, using scents. Learn how they could sniff out everything from bombs to cancer in this episode of BrainStuff.

What If Bandages Could Monitor Your Wound?

Today's bandages work pretty well, but is it time for an upgrade? Learn how researchers are creating smart bandages in this episode of BrainStuff.

What Makes Stars Twinkle?

On a clear night, the stars seem to wink and twinkle in the sky. Learn why in this episode of BrainStuff.

Can We Make Roads Out of Recycled Plastic?

Plastics clog our ecosystems and our roads need maintenance -- could fixing one problem help solve the other? Learn how researchers are recycling plastics into useful materials in this episode of BrainStuff.

BrainStuff Classics: How Does Aspirin Work?

How does aspirin target your pain? The plants that aspirin were derived from have been used as medicine for about 6000 years, we finally discovered how it works in 1971, and we explain it in this episode of BrainStuff.

BrainStuff Classics: How Do One-Way Mirrors Work?

How can a single piece of glass look like a mirror from one side but a window from the other? Learn how materials technology makes it possible in this episode of BrainStuff.

Can Different Species of Birds Understand Each Other?

Birds and other animals can learn to "talk" to one another, and even work together to spread warnings about predators nearby. Learn how it works in this episode of BrainStuff.

Can Absurdly Big Numbers Be Useful?

The bigger that numbers get, the harder they are for us to conceive of -- but that doesn't mean they can't be useful. Learn about some just ridiculously huge numbers in this episode of BrainStuff.

Why Shouldn't You Hold in a Sneeze?

Better out than in. Learn why a politely covered sneeze beats holding one back in this episode of BrainStuff.

What Did Our Ancestors Really Eat?

Figuring out what foods were on ancient menus can be tricky, but a mummy called Ötzi the Iceman was preserved with his last meal still intact. Learn what scientists found out about his eating habits in this episode of BrainStuff.

Could Recycled Urine Make Sustainable Fertilizer?

Sports stadiums have a lot of grass that needs to be fertilized, and a lot of urine to dispose of. Learn how researchers are working to solve both problems at once in this episode of BrainStuff.

BrainStuff Classics: How Do Erasers Erase?

Erasers lift our mistakes right off the page, but it's not magic -- it's the microscopic physics of stickiness. Learn how erasers work in this episode of BrainStuff.

BrainStuff Classics: How Do Antiperspirants Work?

Every day, millions of people safeguard themselves against excessive sweat with a quick roll of antiperspirant. But what does this stuff do, exactly? Learn how it works in this episode of BrainStuff.

Why Does It Feel So Good To Be Scared?

Plenty of things are scary these days, so why do people pay good money to see horror movies and go to 'haunted' houses? Learn why psychologists say these fearful experiences are helpful in this episode of BrainStuff.