Stuff You Should Know

Stuff You Should Know

United States

How does LARP work? How does fingerprinting work? Join Josh and Chuck as they explore the Stuff You Should Know about everything from psychology to propellant in this podcast from HowStuffWorks.com.

Episodes

How Optical Illusions Work  

Now you see it, now you don't — optical illusions can fool us into seeing what's not actually there. But what causes that disconnect between perception and reality? Learn all about this visual trickery in today's episode.

How the Hyperloop Will Work  

If you’re out there, Elon Musk, this one’s for you (although you already everything in this episode). Everybody else, buckle in and sit back for a 700 mph thrill ride from LA to SF in 35 minutes - coming soon!

Solitary Confinement: Cruel and Unusual  

In our continuing exploration of crime and punishment, we take a look at the practice of solitary confinement. To be sure, it has its place in prisons, sometimes for protection of the inmates themselves. However, leaving people in solitary for weeks, months and even years is another thing. We explore this cruel and unusual punishment in today's episode.

Southerners Aren’t Lazy and Dumb, They Just Had Hookworm  

There was a time when the lower classes of the American South were considered lazy and dimwitted, a stereotype that still somewhat survives today. But this stereotype was rooted in fact. Hookworms, it turns out, were sapping Southerners’ life force.

Pain Scales: Yeeeow!  

Pain is subjective; it is whatever the person experiencing it says it is. But to effectively treat pain, it helps to quantify it, which is why medicine came up with pain scales.

History of the Trail of Tears, Part II  

In the second of two parts, what was once a voluntary resettlement program becomes a violent, forced relocation under the leadership of President Andrew Jackson.

History of the Trail of Tears, Part I  

In this first of two episodes on the Trail of Tears, learn about the forces that converged to create the series of events that formed the basis of what may be the most brutal decade in American history.

How Free Speech Works  

Freedom of speech and the press are values vital to American democracy. But the First Amendment doesn't really define free speech, and plenty of expressions are restricted. Learn all about the ins and outs of this cherished right in today's episode.

How Famines Work  

It’s common knowledge that famines are usually caused by major droughts: Rain doesn’t fall, crops don’t grow, and people go hungry. But recent research suggests that while weather may trigger famines, they may actually be more of a human-made catastrophe.

The ins and outs of the DEATH TAX  

The estate tax, also known as the death tax, is not new. It's actually been around in some form since ancient Rome. Some say it's a necessary tax to help prevent resting on your inheritance laurels. Others say it's straight up double tax robbery. Learn all about this controversial tax today.

The Black Panther Party  

The Black Panther Party was a complex political movement that was unfairly painted as a militant group who hated white people. Far from it, they were actually men and women trying to affect change in their community. Their history is one of the more interesting American stories, from the early stages of policing the police to their community service efforts to their inevitable fall. Learn all about the Black Panther Party right now...

Tardigrades: Nature's Cuddly, Indestructible Microanimal  

You can burn them, freeze them, shoot them into space – they wouldn’t bat an eyelash, even if they had eyelashes. Go into the microcosmos and learn about the tiny animals that are so astoundingly durable, they can survive conditions not found here on Earth.

Live from San Francisco: How Malls Work  

In this show recorded live on January 5, 2017 at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre, Josh and Chuck delve into the history and the heyday of the church of consumerism and what it means for local communities and our capitalist society at large when malls die.

The Quinoa Revolution!  

Quinoa is a trendy food, right alongside kale and anything else farm to table. But it's really an ancient grain. Although it's not exactly a grain at all. Technically it's a pseudo-cereal. But it is tasty and nutritious, a true superfood. Learn all about the food with the funny name in today's episode.

What's the future of virtual sex?  

In the not too distant future, sex may not involve being in the same room as your partner. In fact, your partner may not even have to be a human. We're talking virtual sex here. Couple VR with high tech, smart sex toys and intercourse as we know it may be a thing of the past. Except not really.

Elastics: Where God and Science Smooch  

You could be forgiven for thinking the story behind elastics was boring. You’d still be wrong, though. The story of what’s holding up your underwear is a global drama, replete with war, industrial espionage, colonialism, destitute inventors – everything!

How Pacifism Works (And Could It?)  

There is deep disagreement over whether humans are essentially peaceful or essentially warlike. Depending on your view you may see pacifism as either hopelessly naïve or the unsung response to conflict that’s kept us from wiping ourselves out.

How Dictators Work  

There are many types of dictators, from so called 'benevolent' ones to the kind who rule with an iron fist. There are also many ways they can come into power, and they don't all include violence. Learn all about dictators past and present in today's episode.

How Soylent Works  

Soylent is a meal replacement drink, but not really. So what is it? Total sustenance in a glass? Some say so. Is it made from humans? No, that's just a movie. Learn all about this odd concoction in today's episode.

Are Artificial Sweeteners Really Bad For You?  

Artificial sweeteners have gotten a bad rap in the press for as long as they’ve been in use. But is it just the result of a fear of science or do artificial sweeteners cause real harm? A mounting body of studies is starting to paint a pretty grim picture.

How Watersheds Work  

Unless you happen to be standing on a hilltop or swimming in the ocean right now, you are on a watershed. These unsung wonders of topography and hydrology are an important contributor to the rain cycle and yet we humans tend to abuse them.

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