Right Now in BrainStuff

In countries like the United States, people have a superstitious fear of one particular date: Friday the 13th. But why? In this episode, Marshall discusses the two main fears that have fueled the Friday the 13th superstitions, as well as their origins.

Your computer's hard disk stores all your information, but what happens if it gets damaged or dies? In this episode, Marshall Brain explains why it's important to back up your hard disk and weighs the advantages and disadvantages of three backup methods.

Bullet-resistant glass, commonly referred to as ""bulletproof,"" is a special type of glass designed to resist bullets. Tune in to this episode to learn how different types of bullet-resistant glass work.

You've probably heard of tear gas before, but did you know that Mace is a form of it? Learn more about the three commonly used types of tear gas -- how they work and what they're used for -- in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

Hard disk drives and connections have been getting faster and faster. In this episode, Marshall discusses the evolution of the hard disk and the shockingly fast drives available today.

Some clothes have tags that say "wash before wearing" or "wash separately." Find out why it's sometimes a good idea to wash new clothes before you wear them in this episode.

Today's cell phones are amazingly compact, complex devices that provide a wide array of services. Discover the origins of these technological wonders, and the technology that makes them work, in this episode of BrainStuff.

Toasting is a tasty way to increase the durability of bread, and automatic toasters are a convenient way to make toast. Learn more about the chemical change that turns bread into toast and the mechanism behind toasters in this episode of BrainStuff.

Diesel engines are more efficient than engines that run on gasoline, yet they've never really caught on in passenger cars in the United States. Discover the many reasons why diesel engines aren't the norm in this episode of BrainStuff.

Almost all cell phones have a capacity for caller ID, which identifies the phone number at the other end of a telephone connection -- but how does it work? Listen in as Marshall Brain breaks down the basics of this surprisingly simple technology.

The word 'hamburger' seems to imply that pork is a main ingredient, but in fact, this famous beef sandwich got its name from a city. Learn more about the origins and spread of the hamburger in this episode of BrainStuff.

A Harley Davidson motorcycle emits a very distinctive sound because of the unique way its engine works. Find out more in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

When you drink cold water, your body exerts an effort to warm up the liquid and, in doing so, burns calories. So does that make drinking ice water an effective weight loss strategy? Find out in this episode of BrainStuff.

Some gasoline contains MTBE, or methyl tertiary butyl ether. Find out why MTBE is added to gasoline in the first place, and why it's no longer a popular additive, in this episode of BrainStuff.

When manual transmissions are put in reverse, they produce a loud, whirring noise. What's the culprit? Gears. Marshall Brain explains how helical and spur gears work in manual transmissions in this episode.

The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is the world's largest emergency oil stockpile. But why do we have it? Where do we keep it? Find out why the United States created this reserve and where the oil is stored in this episode.

The Radio Data System, or RDS, allows your radio to display information like song titles and radio station call signs. Find out how the RDS works in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

There are many different types of residential real estate: traditional houses, condos, mobile homes, etc. But what's the difference between these types? Marshall Brain breaks it down for you in this episode of BrainStuff.

In the current U.S. debate over health care reform, a government-sponsored public option has been a controversial topic. Tune in to this episode of BrainStuff to hear Marshall Brain explain the nuances and implications of the public option.

The greens on a golf course are famously smooth and perfect-looking, but how do they get that way? Discover how careful planning, the right ingredients and a whole lot of maintenance yield a flawless green in this episode of BrainStuff.