Right Now in BrainStuff

This video shows a family effort in launching a balloon into the stratosphere, 17 miles up. The balloon carries a camera and an iPhone, which acts as a tracking device to aid recovery:If you would like to send up a balloon of your own, this month's i ...

What is a Nor'easter?

Nor'easters are storm systems that frequently occur in the eastern United States during winter. In this episode, Marshall explains where Nor'easters get their name, how they work and why some Nor'easters are more powerful than others.

Here is the setup. Take a clear plastic (or glass) drinking glass. Fill it with cool tap water. Let it sit on the counter for a couple of hours. In some cases you will come back to find dozens of small bubbles clinging to the inside of the glass. why?

How do they backlight LCD screens?

In this episode, Marshall explains the two technologies that are used to backlight LCD panels.

A sand rail (also sometimes known as a dune buggy*) is a car stripped down to the barest essentials, as you can see in this video:The video demonstrates how simple a sand rail really is. A sand rail consists of:The classic sand rail is powered by the ...

Probably because of all the history classes we all took in grades 1 through 12, many people have a impression of the railroads that comes from the 1800s. We imagine hundreds or thousands of men building railroad tracks using hand-carried wooden railroad ties and hammers. The following video has made the rounds since it was released, with well over half a million views. It is fascinating in a "How It's Made" sense, because it shows an amazing amount of automation now used in the process...

What exactly is jello made from?

Jello is tasty, colorful and fun to eat, but what's in it? One of its ingredients, gelatin, comes from animals. Marshall Brain breaks down the chemistry of jello and gelatin in this episode.

Corrugated cardboard is one of those things that you never really think about, but chances are you see it every day. Look around you. As I am sitting here looking around my office, there is a cardboard box of printer paper, a cardboard box from a UPS package received yesterday, and a cardboard box containing one of the kids' toys. The garage and closets are filled with boxes. Empty cardboard boxes are so common at any retail store that there is usually a special compactor out back to handle all of them. Cardboard is everywhere...

Back in 2003, Aron Ralston became famous for cutting off his own arm. The arm had become wedged under a boulder in a remote area of Utah, and the only way to save himself was to cut it off and go for help...

You Asked: When a brain transplant is performed, does the patient lose his or her memories? --- Abby, Shoreham, N.Y. Marshall Brain Answers: We are still a few years away from the first human brain transplant or head transplant, although there have been experiments in animals. The following videos are not for the weak-stomached, but they do show that experiments have been done in sustaining severed brains and heads, and even transplanting heads, for several decades...

What's the best way to get Twitter or Facebook followers?

In this episode, Marshall Brain launches the first of a series of experiments with social media. Tune in to learn more about the new BrainStuff Twitter and Facebook accounts and Marshall's social media experiments.

Apparently there are not many people who can complete the gallon-of-milk challenge without puking their guts out. It is nearly impossible for someone to drink a gallon of milk in an hour without throwing up. But why? What makes milk so difficult to drink?

In the following video, John Brenkus submits to a choke hold (specifically a "rear naked choke") by BJ Penn in order to understand the effects of a choke hold on the human brain. It only takes 9 seconds for him to become unconscious...

When I pay for groceries by check, where does that check go?

When you write a check to purchase goods and services, it passes through the hands of several banks before the process is complete. Marshall explains how checks are processed through intermediary banks in this episode.

You Asked:Why can't they solve the mystery of Oak Island off the coast of Nova Scotia? --- Chad, DesMoines, IowaMarshall Brain Answers:Let's start by reviewing the mystery of Oak Island, also known as the Money Pit - a mystery that people have been t ...

Is it harmful to breathe 100 percent oxygen?

Oxygen is a necessary component of the air we breathe; but in its pure form, it can be hazardous to one's health. Marshall Brain explains how breathing pure oxygen harms the human body in this episode.

You Asked:What happens to water if it's not allowed to expand when frozen? --- Tony, Cut Off, La.Marshall Brain Answers:In nature, or in your kitchen freezer, water expands when it freezes. It gets about 9% bigger. This video gives you a dramatic dem ...

You asked:How is gunpowder made? --- Nick, Swansboro, N.C.Marshall Brain Answers:People have been making gunpowder for many centuries. The basic recipe is therefore well-known and looks like this: 75% Potassium nitrate, 15% Charcoal, 10% SulfurWhat y ...

We run into all these different kinds of alcohol. Let's look at the differences.First there's the alcohol you drink, like Ethanol that you purchase as a car fuel is the same kind of alcohol found in whiskey, but it has been distilled to the point whe ...

You Asked:How do steam boilers work? --- Dominic, Sacramento, Calif.Marshall Brain Answers:You find steam boilers in power plants, factories, steam locomotives, etc. The basic idea is simple - water is turned to steam with a source of heat.Fire tube ...