Right Now in BrainStuff

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...

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 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 ...

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 ...

Chances are that you are sitting in a chair right now, so it seems like you are stationary. But in fact you are moving through the universe at a tremendous speed at this very moment. Let's take a look at where all that motion is coming from.The first ...

An automobile's catalytic converter uses a catalyst to convert harmful exhaust fumes into harmless ones. Find out what happens when your catalytic converter stops working properly -- and how you can tell -- in this episode.

You Asked:What happens to your Social Security Number after you die? --- Billy, Kissimmee, Fla.Marshall Brain Answers:Social security numbers of dead people get loaded into a database called the Social Security Death Index. This turns out to be a pub ...

If you watch the following video, you will be able to see one of the world's leading card-throwing experts practicing his craft. With a business card and a flick of his wrist he can pop balloons, extinguish candles, hit targets, etc.:Around the 50-se ...

You Asked:How do ice breaking ships work? --- Chris, Reading, Penn.Marshall Brain Answers:An ice breaking ship has three things that help it do its job. First, it has a high-strength hull that is able to crash through ice that can grow up to 10 feet ...

You Asked:How do tattoo machines work? --- Jerry, Cave City, Ark.Marshall Brain Answers:The basic idea behind a tattoo machine is simple. You have an The needle is usually a needle bar with several needle points attached to it. You can see the needle ...