Right Now in BrainStuff

How Do Starling Murmurations Work?

Starlings flock in swooping, harmonious groups of thousands of birds called murmurations. Learn how these birds pull off such an amazing feat through simple actions in this episode of BrainStuff.

Is Sparkling Water Good For You?

More people are drinking fizzy water, both plain and in a boggling array of flavors. Learn about the different types of sparkling water and what you should watch out for in this episode of BrainStuff.

Why Is There a Rhino-Shaped Cave in Washington State?

Yes, there’s a cave shaped like a rhinoceros in Washington State. Learn how it was created and discovered in this episode of BrainStuff.

How Many Trees Would We Need to Plant to Slow Climate Change?

Trees pull and store carbon, but lots of land that could support them is deforested. Learn how researchers think planting trees could help mitigate climate change in this episode of BrainStuff.

Why Aren’t There Female CPR Mannequins?

Research shows that women are less likely to receive CPR when they need it, and fixing that might require introducing training mannequins with breasts. Learn about a project that’s trying to help in this episode of BrainStuff.

Do Beaches Need Seashells?

Seashells are a pretty sight on beaches, but it turns out that they play an important role in seaside structures and ecosystems. Learn why -- and why shell poaching is a problem -- in this episode of BrainStuff.

Introducing: Parklandia

A married couple packed up everything from their home in Chicago and bought an RV to travel the country full-time, with one goal: to visit as many national parks as possible along the way. With each stop in each park, Brad and Matt Kirouac immerse themselves and the listeners – and the Kirouac’s dog Finn! – in these beautiful, larger-than-life places and share our discoveries about what makes them truly special, from the intimidating wildlife of the Everglades to the cinematic lore of Redwood, all with a dash of what it’s really like to live in an RV full time.

The first three episodes of Parklandia are now available! Listen here

What's the History of Paternity Testing?

Humans have only very recently developed scientific ways of proving who a child's biological father is, but that didn't stop us from trying beforehand. Learn the weird history of paternity tests in this episode of BrainStuff.

How Do Blue Whales Work?

The blue whale is the largest known animal to ever grace the planet -- they may be twice as big as Megalodon was! Learn what science knows (and doesn't know) about blue whales in this episode of BrainStuff.

What Is Peyote?

In brief, peyote is a cactus with hallucinogenic properties that's been used in religious ceremonies for centuries. Learn how it works and why it's endangered in today's episode of BrainStuff.

Why Does America Use Fahrenheit Instead of Celsius?

Most of the rest of the world uses the Celsius scale to describe temperature, but the U.S. uses Fahrenheit. Learn the origins and histories of these two scales in today's episode of BrainStuff.

How Are Ethnicity and Race Different?

The concepts of ethnicity and race are both human inventions with no basis in science, but these concepts have huge impacts on us and our world. Learn the difference between ethnicity and race in this episode of BrainStuff.

What Is the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon?

Also called the frequency illusion or recency illusion, the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon occurs when you learn something new, then notice instances of it everywhere. Learn how it works and how it got its name in this episode of BrainStuff.

Could Frozen Zoo DNA Stave Off Species' Extinction?

As human civilization encroaches on wild animals' habitats, some face extinction. Learn how researchers hope to someday use frozen DNA sample taken from zoo animals to replenish wild populations in this episode of BrainStuff.

How Does the Hippocampus Work?

Without the hippocampus, our brains have serious trouble recalling and recording certain types of long-term memories. Learn how this brain structure works in today's episode of BrainStuff.

Is Permafrost Really Permanent?

Despite its name, permafrost doesn't necessarily last forever -- and when it melts, it can have a negative effect on the environment. Learn how permafrost works (and how it preserves long-dead creatures so well) in this episode of BrainStuff.

What's the Difference Between Coroners and Medical Examiners?

These two types of professional death investigators often work together, but their jobs are usually distinct. Learn the difference in this episode of BrainStuff. 

How Do Animals Get Their Scientific Names?

The person who discovers a new species gets to name it -- but what do 'new' and 'discover' mean here? And do all names get approved? Learn how scientific naming and taxonomy work in this episode of BrainStuff (plus, meet a fish named after Greedo).

Should You Rent Grass-Mowing Goats?

Goats were the original weed wackers, and they're still super effective at controlling lawns and brush today. Learn why they're gaining popularity again in this episode of BrainStuff.

How Will Exploring Saturn's Moon Titan Be Different?

NASA recently announced that they're sending a rotorcraft to explore Saturn's giant moon Titan from the land and air. Learn how the Dragonfly mission will be different than other otherworldly explorations in this episode of BrainStuff.