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Brains On!

Minnesota Public Radio

Brains On is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from MPR News and KPCC. Co-hosted each week by kid scientists and reporters from public radio, we ask questions ranging from the science behind sneezing to how to translate the purr of cats, and go wherever the answers take us.

Brains On is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from MPR News and KPCC. Co-hosted each week by kid scientists and reporters from public radio, we ask questions ranging from the science behind sneezing to how to translate the purr of cats, and go wherever the answers take us.
More Information

Location:

Minneapolis, MN

Description:

Brains On is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from MPR News and KPCC. Co-hosted each week by kid scientists and reporters from public radio, we ask questions ranging from the science behind sneezing to how to translate the purr of cats, and go wherever the answers take us.

Language:

English


Episodes

Chop: The science of cooking, pt. 3

6/19/2018
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Our knives are drawn and ready to mince and dice our way through the science of chopping. In this episode we'll find out what happens to that carrot you're chopping on a molecular level (spoiler alert: the knife never actually touches it!). We also visit a knifemaker's studio and talk to Splendid Table host Francis Lam to get his chopping tips. This is the third in a five part series on the science of cooking, made in collaboration with America's Test Kitchen Kids. For more recipes and...

Duration:00:32:52

Chill: The science of cooking, pt. 2

6/12/2018
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From ice cubes to ice cream, cold things are a crucial part of cuisine. How do we use chill to our advantage? This is part two of our series on the science of cooking, a collaboration with the brilliant foodies at America's Test Kitchen Kids. This episode is (literally) super cool. We're figuring out how refrigerators work and why some of their parts are hot. We're traveling back in time to find out how selling ice became a very big business (for a while anyway). And we'll learn why ice...

Duration:00:30:36

Heat: The science of cooking pt. 1

6/5/2018
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We’ve teamed up with America’s Test Kitchen Kids to delve into the scrumptious science of cooking. You’ve sent in so many great cooking questions that we had to spread the answers over four episodes. This is our first installment: HEAT. What crazy chemical reactions does heat trigger in food? How do microwave ovens work -- and why can’t you put metal in them when they’re lined with metal? We’ll answer those questions, find out how feeding squirrels helped profoundly change how we prepare...

Duration:00:34:32

Boogers and sun sneezes: Know your nose

5/29/2018
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In this encore mash-up episode, we revisit some fascinating facts that will help you get to know your nose. Why does the sun make some people sneeze? And where do boogers come from anyway? Plus: A brand new moment of um answers the question: "Why do sloths move so slow?"

Duration:00:22:47

The wonderful weirdness of water

5/22/2018
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Pour yourself a nice glass of water, and take a close look at it. Seems pretty boring, right? It’s clear, doesn’t have a taste or smell, and just sits there. It you were trying to come up with the most ordinary thing imaginable, water might be right up there with shoelaces or potato chips. But behind it’s bland appearance, a wonderfully weird substance is hiding in plain sight. In this episode of Brains On, we explore some of the weird things water can do, like move against gravity! Or cut...

Duration:00:31:12

Smash Boom Best: Bats vs. Owls (new show alert!)

5/15/2018
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For the past few months, we’ve been working on a top secret project and we’re so excited we finally get to share it with you! It’s a new show called Smash Boom Best and it’s nothing but debates. Sort of like the ones you’ve heard on Brains On, but with a few new twists. It’s a little faster paced, a little sillier and we hope you’ll think it’s a lot of fun. Today: Wings out, eyes wide -- we’re swooping in on a battle between a perfect pair of creatures of the night. Which is cooler: Bats?...

Duration:00:29:27

What was the first robot? And more from Robotstravaganza

5/8/2018
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What was the first robot? What is artificial intelligence? How do robots "learn?" In this special episode, we have pieces from our live Robotstravaganza show in Boston. We meet some awesome robots (including one that's very cuddly), debate whether robots are good for humanity or bad, and find out what robots can learn from nature. Plus a mystery sound and a Moment of Um that answers the question, "How do oysters make pearls?"

Duration:00:35:21

What's in your water?

5/1/2018
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What’s in your water, and how did it get there? Clean water is a must, but modern living can put a lot of bad stuff in it. Road salt, fertilizer, dog doo-doo, heavy metals - how do these things get in our water? Why should we care? And how can we tell if our water is healthy? In this episode we hitch a ride on the water cycle with a pair of water drops. We learn about what caused the Flint water crisis. And we hear about one young girl’s award-winning idea for a faster way to test lead in...

Duration:00:28:04

What makes paint stick?

4/24/2018
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Paint goes on wet, then it dries — and it’s stuck there. But how does it stick? We’re going to zoom way in to find out. We’ll visit a forensic chemist, a painter who makes his own paint and a party happening at the molecular level.

Duration:00:29:39

Allergy attack: How our bodies can overreact (Encore)

4/10/2018
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Pollen, peanuts, dust mites. These things aren't poisonous - so why do some people's bodies act like they are? In this episode, we'll find out what happens during an allergic reaction, explore why only some people have allergies and hear about new treatments. Plus: a brand new Moment of Um answers the question "Why do sunsets have so many colors?" and we'll read a new group of listeners to be added to the Brains Honor Roll! Brains On is sponsored today by Acer Swift 5 (visit acer.com,...

Duration:00:29:12

Mystery Sound Extravaganza 2018

4/3/2018
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Sounds abound all around. Do you think your ears are up to the task? We have an episode chock full of nothing but mystery sounds to challenge and stretch your listening powers. Also, did you hear that the Brains On store is open? We couldn't be happier with the t-shirts and other goodies we have to offer. Have a look! Brains On is sponsored today by: • ButcherBox (butcherbox.com/brainson and enter "BRAINSON" at checkout) • Squarespace (enter offer code BRAINSON)

Duration:00:34:38

How do animals breathe underwater? (Encore)

3/27/2018
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Our lungs are great at getting oxygen out of the air, but if we needed to do that underwater, we'd be sunk. So how do fish, shrimp, jellyfish and other marine animals breathe underwater? And what happens when there is no oxygen in the water for them to breathe? We answer those questions plus a brand new Moment of Um tackles this sticky one: "Why do we have earwax?" And a new group of listeners gets inducted into the Brains Honor Roll! Give a listen!Today Brains On is sponsored by: • Acer...

Duration:00:30:35

'The Rice Cakes and the Oni': A story from Circle Round

3/20/2018
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Sometimes we're in the mood for a good story, so we're turning our show over to Circle Round this week. It's a podcast produced by WBUR in Boston that tells folktales from around the world. These stories are funny, surprising, suspenseful and downright charming. Here's one we think you'll dig. It stars a kid who loves making jokes, so you know it's up our alley. In the meantime, we're hard at work on some exciting new episodes -- including a brand new show. We'll be able to tell you more...

Duration:00:17:23

Circadian rhythm pt. 2: Beyond human

3/13/2018
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Circadian rhythms keep our bodies on schedule. But what about the rest of the animal and plant world? Turns out, most living things run on similar cycles. In this episode we take a look at why some animals hibernate. There's also an interview with a plant. Wait, what?!? You read that right: A PLANT!!! All that and a trip back to pre-history, to see how staying up late might have helped mammals survive all those dinosaurs. Three-word hint: nocturnal bottleneck hypothesis.

Duration:00:30:54

Video game music: From 8-bit to orchestras (encore)

3/6/2018
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You know how important music can be when it comes to gaming. But what if you choose to play without music? Or, what if you replace the music with your own soundtrack? How does that affect your playing? We're going to dig into the psychology of video game music, explain how the interactivity of video game music works and figure out what "8-bit" means. You can find all of that in this episode, plus a new group of names added to the Brains Honor Roll and brand new Moment of Um answers the...

Duration:00:30:22

'Is it opposite day?' and other mind-bending paradoxes

2/20/2018
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Think about it: the answer to the question "Is it opposite day?" will always be no. It's a head-scratcher. So how do you figure out if it is, in fact, opposite day? We talk to two philosophers who walk us through how questions like these can bend and twist the truth -- and our minds. We learn about the sinister-sounding "Liar Paradox." And we find out that it's not only our brains that use logic, it's used by the machines all around us too. Plus: A brand new mystery sound and an answer to...

Duration:00:26:40

Meet Sandy, the left-handed mutant snail

2/6/2018
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Sandy is a mutant snail whose shell coils to the left instead of the right. For humans, being left-handed or right-handed can definitely affect the way we experience life, though that mismatch is usually just a minor nuisance. But sometimes, sidedness can change the future of an entire species.

Duration:00:12:06

Dolphins vs Octopuses: Showdown in the sea!

1/30/2018
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Two of Earth's most amazing animals go head to head in our latest debate. We're asking you to decide which animal reigns supreme. Is it the eight-armed, three hearted, shape-shifting octopus? Or the speed swimming, echo-locating, super-jumping dolphin? Listen along as Marc argues for #TeamOctopus and Sanden fights for #TeamDolphin. We'll learn amazing facts about both sides along the way. Plus an aquatic Mystery Sound, some deep-sea stand up comedy and a Moment of Um answering why...

Duration:00:56:58

Dogs: What's the secret of their sense of smell? (Encore)

1/23/2018
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If you've ever seen a dog, you know they like to sniff -- the ground, people, each other's butts. They like to smell just about everything. But why? We're digging into the science of smell and how dogs are able to decode things we can't even begin to imagine. Plus a brand new Honor Roll and a new Moment of Um: How do bees make honey?

Duration:00:27:44

Mary Shelley and the science of Frankenstein

1/16/2018
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Frankenstein has become a pop culture mainstay and it all started off as a novel written by an 18-year-old woman written in the early 1800s. As we celebrate the 200th anniversary of the novel's publication, we look at how Mary Shelley was inspired by science and how the lessons of the book still resonate with the scientific world today. And for more on electricity, check out our four-part series from December.

Duration:00:07:18