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Moment of Um

Author: American Public Media

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Moment of Um is your daily answer to those questions that pop up out of nowhere and make you go… ummmmmmm. Brought to you by your friends at Brains On at APM Studios.
518 Episodes
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Octopuses are some of the most incredible animals on Earth. They have three hearts and their blood is blue! Plus, they can taste and smell things with the suction cups on their powerful arms. But do octopuses have brains? We asked wildlife expert Paul Bartell to help us find the answer.Got a question for this cephalo-PODcast? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll blow your mind with the answer!
Let’s say you’re watching a bunch of people run a marathon. The runners are pumping their legs, sure. But they’re also swinging their arms. Why is that? And why do we swing them when walking too?  We asked Rachel Adenekan of Stanford University to help explain why that swinging motion is so universal. Got a Moment of Um question that’s keeping you at arm’s length? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll point a finger at the answer.
If you’ve ever smacked a mosquito on your arm, you might have seen a little smear  of red blood on your skin afterward. But just whose blood was it? Do we have the same blood as insects? We asked biologist Claire Rusch from the University of Washington to help us find the answer.Got a question that’s buzzing around in your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, because we’re the type to help you find an answer!
In fall we like to change up our wardrobe from shorts and T-shirts to pants and sweaters. And guess what, trees do that too! Except they change the color of their leaves. Why is that? We asked Marlyse Duguid from the Yale School of the Environment to help us find the answer.Got a question that’s leaf-ing you stumped? Send it to us atBrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll put your mind at (for)rest.
Dogs have an amazing sense of smell, incredible hearing, and the most adorable tail wags. But do they remember anything from when they were puppies? We asked canine cognition researcher Alexandra Horriwitz to help us find the answer.Got a question that’s dog-gone delightful? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’re paw-sitive we’ll help find an answer.
Why do we go bald?

Why do we go bald?

2024-06-1409:161

Humans are mammals, which means that we have hair on our bodies and heads. Sometimes, as people get older, they lose some of that head hair. How does it happen? Do hair goblins come at night and sneak away with those silky strands? Ok, it’s probably not that. We asked pediatrician Dr. Emma Gerstenzang to help us find the answer.Got a hair-raising question? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help tease out the answer. 
People think alligators and crocodiles are really scary - and lots of people don’t understand the difference between them. But wildlife biologist Venetia Briggs-Gonzalez says they are very cool and helps us get to the bottom of their distinctive qualities!Got a Moment of Um question that’s chomping away at your curiosity? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help hunt the answer.
Do microbes sleep?

Do microbes sleep?

2024-06-1206:30

Our world is FULL of microorganisms, or microbes for short! They’re tiny microscopic living things like bacteria– and they do so much for us! They help us digest our food. They help make some medicines– like antibiotics. They even help make some of our favorite foods like bread and cheese. Microbes sure are busy, but do they ever sleep? We asked microbiologist Daniel Bond to help us find the answer.Got a question that’s keeping you up at night? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we won’t sleep on it!
If you’ve ever taken a close look at a beehive you can see that it is covered in tiny hexagons! But why is that? We asked bee researcher Jessica Kevill to help us find the answer.Got a Moment of Um question that’s buzzing around in your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help get it all sorted out.
A black hole is an area of outer space where gravity is so strong that nothing can get out … not even light! But what’s actually inside a black hole? Are there asteroids? Whole planets? A 1988 Buick LeSabre? We asked astrophysicist Amanda Farah to help us find the answer.Got a question that’s just your cup of gravi-TEA? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help find the hole truth! 
Why do we have bones?

Why do we have bones?

2024-06-0707:04

Bones! We’ve got lots of them. Leg bones, arm bones, face bones, even ear bones! But…not all animals even have bones inside their bodies. So what are our skeletons for? Why do we have them?  We asked pediatrician Dr. Emma Gerstenzang to help us find the answer.Got a topic you’d like to bone up on? Send us a question at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll paTELLa you the answer. 
Have you ever stayed up late talking to your friends while watching movies, or yelled for your teammates at a soccer match, or screamed at the top of your lungs walking through a haunted house? Maybe you woke up the next day with a hoarse, scratchy voice that you didn’t even recognize. In this episode, we talk to Dr. Jennifer Long, an otolaryngologist, about why we lose our voice when we yell or talk loudly.Do you have a Moment of Um question that’s so good it makes you want to scream? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help vocalize the answer.
Lots of people love sparkly, pretty things – especially precious stones, like diamonds. But who decides which stones are precious? And what makes diamonds so special? We asked geologist Marc M. Hirschmann to help us find the answer.Got a priceless question? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help find a jewel of an answer!
Have you ever been tempted to lick something frozen? Hopefully not, because your tongue could get stuck!  But don’t worry, we talked to engineer Alexis Noel all about why our tongue sticks to ice, and what to do about it if that happens to you!Do you have a Moment of Um question that’s so good it’s giving you the chills? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help unfreeze your brain.
In places all over the world, there are ancient paintings in caves and on cliff walls that were made thousands of years ago by the people living there. But this was way before modern paints, and those people couldn’t mosey down to the craft store to buy their brushes…so how did they make their paintings? We asked anthropologist David Ian Howe to help us find the answer.Got a question that’s close to your heART? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll draw on all our knowledge to find the answer. 
How do bubbles pop?

How do bubbles pop?

2024-05-3108:302

Bubbles are everywhere! Soap bubbles, fizzy seltzer bubbles, underwater bubbles – even bubblegum bubbles!  But how do bubbles pop? We asked mechanical engineer Jacy Bird to help us find the answer.Got a question that you’re bursting to share? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll POP by with the answer.
Why is pee yellow?

Why is pee yellow?

2024-05-3005:461

Pee is super cool! It’s 95% water. It’s sterile. And it can be a window into our overall health. But why is it yellow? We asked mechanical engineer Patricia Yang to help us find the answer.Got a Moment of Um question? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help find the answer.
All different kinds of giant prehistoric creatures used to walk the Earth, from 20-foot-tall sloths to sharks longer than a school bus.. They all seem huge in our imaginations, but were animals in the past actually bigger than animals on Earth now? We asked paleontologist Kristi Curry Rogers to help us find the answer.Got a BIG question? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help size up the answer!
If there’s one thing that’s generally known about sharks, it’s that they have sharp teeth. But have you heard they have to keep moving to stay alive? Why is that? In this episode we talk to shark scientist Melissa Cristina Marquez about this very question.Do you have a Moment of Um question that seems kind of fishy? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll chew on the answer.
When our skin gets irritated, it reacts! And sometimes a rash appears. Rashes can be red, itchy, painful and bumpy… But how does our skin make them? We asked pediatrician Dr. Anjuli Gansto help us find the answer.Got a question under your skin? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll rash to find the answer!
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Comments (12)

Antonia Galluzzi

this podcast is amazing!♡

Sep 6th
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Jack Mandel

sorry for the incoveniance

Nov 23rd
Reply (3)

Mora Petshop

everyone do not ge mean like jack up there ok its a bad behavior

Jun 3rd
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Jack Mandel

Sandin is ugly and I hate this podcast!THER SOOOOOOO DUMB I HATE THEM SOOOOOO MUCH!HELPPP MEEEEEEEEE STOPPPPP PLEASEEEE NOOOOOOOOOO!

Mar 25th
Reply (5)