Right Now in BrainStuff

The season you were born in helps determine whether you'll have allergies, but science has never understood why. Learn what a team of researchers are discovering in this episode of BrainStuff.

Why Shouldn't Compressed Air Canisters Be Shaken?

Many spray canisters call for being shaken, but not compressed air. Learn how both types work (and the dangers of shaking the wrong type) in this episode of BrainStuff. 

Why Can't I Taste My Tongue?

Your tongue is an amazing sensory instrument -- so why can't it taste itself? Many philosophers have pondered the same thing. Learn more in this episode of BrainStuff.

What Was the First Killer Robot?

Science fiction buzzes with evil robots and AI, but real-life machines are much less sinister -- if not less potentially deadly. Learn the real concerns (and possible solutions) about killer robots in this episode of BrainStuff.

Is Our Tipping System Gratuitous?

The way we tip and pay servers in North American restaurants fosters unfair and unequal paychecks for the whole staff. But it's so entrenched -- how can we fix it? Learn more in this episode of BrainStuff.

Why Were Fruit Flies the First Animal in Space?

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.