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 the National Security Council Works  

Until recently, most people probably never paid much attention to the National Security Council. It's been around a long time though, and the president has quite a bit of leeway as to who sits at the table. Learn all about this important group of individuals in today's episode.

How Swearing Works  

Swearing is something that's been done across all cultures, virtually since humans began speaking. What is it about these taboo words that offend some, and are beloved by others? Does it help to relieve stress to swear? Are there general rules of thumb about when it's OK to swear? All of your questions are answered in today's episode.

How Corsets Work  

Sure, we're doing an episode on corsets. Why do you ask?

How Supervolcanoes Work  

Until recently, volcanologists thought supervolcanoes were simply massive volcanoes. But further research has revealed that they are far different - and far more dangerous - than previously imagined.

How Supreme Court Nominations Work  

Being nominated as a Supreme Court Justice is no small thing, and it doesn't always go as planned. With this week's confirmation of Justice Gorsuch, Josh and Chuck take a look at the process of getting named to America's highest court.

SYSK Selects: Can you die of a broken heart?  

In this week's SYSK Select episode, in the early 1990s, Japanese researchers found a strange anomaly in their study subjects, five people who had inexplicable heart attacks. From this first investigation has come a scientific mystery: Is it possible that the sudden loss of a loved one can be so difficult to bear that it can actually cause a heart attack and maybe kill you? Could the romantics be right?

How Empathy Works  

Empathy can often be confused with sympathy and regular old compassion. But it's not exactly either one of those. Some say a lack of empathy can indicate sociopathic tendencies, but that's not always true either. So what is empathy and what makes someone prone to empathize? Listen in to find out.

Composting: Nature's Most Interesting Process  

You may think composting is just a bunch of old banana peels rotting away into dirt but, friend, you're not looking closely enough. Inside that compost pile is a microcosmic universe doing some magical stuff.

SYSK Selects: How Filibusters Work  

In this week's SYSK Select episode, although lots of people incorrectly believe the filibuster was an intentional rule created by the founders of the U.S., this ancient method of stalling legislation was actually brought about in America by accident. Learn the ins and outs of this contentious quirk of parliamentary rules that allows a single senator to hijack the proceedings of the entire legislative body in this episode.

The Shroud Of Turin: No Ordinary Bed Sheet  

The Shroud of Turin is no ordinary bed sheet. Some think it's the burial cloth of Jesus. Others think it's an amazing piece of artwork. The truth is, we'll probably never know what it really is. The mystery of the Shroud of Turin awaits you...

How Foreign Accent Syndrome Works  

Foreign accent syndrome isn't when your mom talks funny when she goes abroad. It's an actual condition where people wake up one day with an entirely different accent, usually from some kind of head trauma. Learn all about this decidedly rare affliction today.

How the Hyperloop Will Work  

If you’re out there, Elon Musk, this one’s for you (although you already know 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 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 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.

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