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Unexplainable

Author: Vox

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Unexplainable takes listeners right up to the edge of what we know … and then keeps on going. Host Noam Hassenfeld and an all-star team of reporters — Byrd Pinkerton, Meradith Hoddinott, and Mandy Nguyen — tackle scientific mysteries, unanswered questions, and everything we learn by diving into the unknown. New episodes drop every Wednesday.

153 Episodes
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Seventy-five percent of the seafloor remains unmapped and unexplored, but the first few glimpses scientists have gotten of the ocean’s depths have completely revolutionized our understanding of the planet. For show transcripts, go to vox.com/unxtranscripts For more, go to vox.com/unexplainable And please email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox: vox.com/givepodcasts Please take a second to help us learn more about you! vox.com/podcastsurvey Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
If you just stood up and shouted, “It’s Mount Everest, duh!” then take a seat. Not only is Everest’s official height constantly changing, but three other mountains might actually be king of the hill. For show transcripts, go to vox.com/unxtranscripts For more, go to vox.com/unexplainable And please email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox: vox.com/givepodcasts Please take a second to help us learn more about you! vox.com/podcastsurvey Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Way back when forests first evolved on Earth … they might have triggered one of the biggest mass extinctions in the history of the planet. What can we learn from this ancient climate apocalypse? For show transcripts, go to vox.com/unxtranscripts For more, go to vox.com/unexplainable And please email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by becoming a Vox Member today: vox.com/members Please take a second to help us learn more about you! vox.com/podcastsurvey Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Can we stop aging?

Can we stop aging?

2024-05-1539:381

From blood transfusions to enzyme boosters, our friends at Science Vs dive into the latest research on the search for the fountain of youth. For show transcripts, go to vox.com/unxtranscripts For more, go to vox.com/unexplainable And please email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox: vox.com/givepodcasts Please take a second to help us learn more about you! vox.com/podcastsurvey Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
A snake. A shark. They got pregnant with no male involved. In fact, scientists are finding more and more species that can reproduce on their own. What’s going on? Note: We mention that a stingray named Charlotte might be pregnant via parthenogenesis. It has since been announced that she was not pregnant, but ill. For show transcripts, go to vox.com/unxtranscripts For more, go to vox.com/unexplainable And please email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox: vox.com/givepodcasts Please take a second to help us learn more about you! vox.com/podcastsurvey Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Itch hunt

Itch hunt

2024-05-0121:26

Itch used to be understood as a mild form of pain, but scientists are learning this sense is more than just skin deep. How deep does it go? For show transcripts, go to vox.com/unxtranscripts For more, go to vox.com/unexplainable And please email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox: vox.com/givepodcasts Please take a second to help us learn more about you! vox.com/podcastsurvey Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Life as we know it needs water, but scientists can’t figure out where Earth’s water came from. Answering that question is just one piece of an even bigger mystery: “Why are we here?” (Updated from 2023) For show transcripts, go to vox.com/unxtranscripts For more, go to vox.com/unexplainable Vox is also currently running a series called Home Planet, which is all about celebrating Earth in the face of climate change: vox.com/homeplanet And please email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox: vox.com/givepodcasts Please take a second to help us learn more about you! vox.com/podcastsurvey Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Is Earth alive?

Is Earth alive?

2024-04-1729:225

A cell is alive. So is a leaf and so is a tree. But what about the forest they’re a part of? Is that forest alive? And what about the planet that forest grows on? Is Earth alive? Science writer Ferris Jabr says: Yes. For show transcripts, go to bit.ly/unx-transcripts For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable Vox is also currently running a series called Home Planet, which is all about celebrating Earth in the face of climate change: http://vox.com/homeplanet And please email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Please take a second to help us learn more about you! vox.com/podcastsurvey Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The alpha myth

The alpha myth

2024-04-1041:451

The researcher who popularized the idea of the alpha wolf has spent decades trying to take it back. Our friends over at Pablo Torre Finds Out try to uncover how science got it wrong. For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show. Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox: bit.ly/givepodcasts Please take a second to help us learn more about you! vox.com/podcastsurvey Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The eclipse chasers

The eclipse chasers

2024-04-0322:132

Solar storms can wreak havoc on power grids, satellites, even astronauts — but scientists still struggle to predict them. One possible way forward? Chasing eclipses. For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show. Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The Yips

The Yips

2024-03-2731:052

Think about the thing you’ve practiced more than anything else in the world. Maybe it’s painting. Or writing. Or playing the piano. Now imagine you wake up one day and you just can’t do it. You’re not sick. You’re not injured. But that one thing is impossible. It’s called the yips, and even the most talented people in the world experience it. What could cause them to lose their superpowers? And is there anything they can do to get them back? For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show. Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Diagnosing diseases such as endometriosis can require difficult steps, like surgery. But researchers are hoping to use menstrual fluid to make detecting the condition much easier. For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show. Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The bleeding edge

The bleeding edge

2024-03-1320:213

Periods and menstrual fluid have long been overlooked by scientists. Now, researchers are starting to suspect they might be sources of medical treasure. For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show. Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Aliens from Earth?

Aliens from Earth?

2024-03-0628:034

Was there a technologically advanced species living on Earth long before humans? And if one had existed, how would we know? (Updated from 2022) For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show. Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
They’re not looking for UFOs or decoding government secrets. They’re doing something much simpler. For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show. Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Airborne diseases kill millions of people a year, despite available antibiotics and vaccines. But scientists think there might be another solution to fighting these diseases, one that harnesses the power of light. For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show. Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Why do we cry?

Why do we cry?

2024-02-1426:254

Humans seem to be the only animals that cry from emotion. This Valentine’s Day, we’re wondering: What makes our tears so special? (Updated from 2022) For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show. Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Safety questions have haunted aspartame — the no-calorie sweetener used in many diet soft drinks and other low-calorie products — since its invention. Some answers exist, but should we trust them if they were influenced by the beverage industry? For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show. Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
The case for cursing

The case for cursing

2024-01-3128:172

Can swearing make you stronger? For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show. Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Today's internet is built on a series of locks and keys that protect your private information as it travels through cyberspace. But could all these locks be broken? (Updated from 2022) For more, go to http://vox.com/unexplainable It’s a great place to view show transcripts and read more about the topics on our show. Also, email us! unexplainable@vox.com We read every email. Support Unexplainable by making a financial contribution to Vox! bit.ly/givepodcasts Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
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Comments (45)

squogg

I love Unexplainable, but I don't love this shared podcast episode. Couldn't finish it. I expected a few alpha jokes given the content, but hearing this story from what sounds like a bunch of bros is making my eyes hurt from rolling so hard. Ugh

Apr 13th
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squogg

ugh Such a frustrating episode. I know it's unexplainable, but damn. Hopefully more funding will find this topic soon.

Mar 14th
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Chak Olate

Is anyone else having trouble with the constant ding sounds? I was actually relieved when they went to commercial

Mar 7th
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N Rankin

would love to see one on the Bootes Void!

Jan 27th
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squogg

Oof yeah that's quite the conundrum: Do we clean up the plastic that's become a habitat for different species?

Jan 18th
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squogg

🤯 This is wild! ... and freaky

Sep 15th
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Christian Camacho Villalón

Terrible episode, completely biased. It's mostly the option of the reporters presented as "scientific discussion".

Jul 6th
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Julie Luker

Great. A cold-adapted elephant in a warming world. How in the world did that NOT occur to you? Not to mention that elephants are highly intelligent and social creatures. How will they react to a significantly different, 'off' elephant? There is so much wrong here!

Apr 30th
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squogg

Soooo... how long are we going to hear snipits of Byrd's acid trip with a can of Dr. Pepper before a full episode comes out? 😂

Apr 12th
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squogg

Bread hiccupper here! Mine is mostly with super soft bread and angel food cake. To stop them, I take a giant breath in, hold it, then slooooooooowly exhale. Usually works after the first round.

Apr 1st
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squogg

Surprised they didn't mention this was a repeat episode (they typically do). Anywho, for a dramatized version of Henrietta's discovery, go check your local theater for Silent Sky. It's an excellent play about her life and work.

Apr 1st
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squogg

This episode is asking some wild questions 🤯🤯

Mar 13th
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squogg

As someone who wants to connect with my half siblings and to be found by my bio-family, I was disheartened to hear how strongly she felt about not wanting to meet any potential family members. I know my paternal family will never become a huge part of my life and I won't magically have someone to call "dad," but I'd still love to know who they are. I'm also fascinated by which traits are nurture vs. nature.

Mar 12th
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squogg

Wait. Your pupils can get smaller just by visualizing really bright light?! 🤯 Fascinating!

Mar 2nd
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squogg

This reminds me more of Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind than Black Mirror 🤨

Feb 27th
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squogg

This episode is a trip! It blows my mind thinking of all the amazing ways in which science can tell us about the universe and how it all began.

Feb 21st
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squogg

I just have to say how much I absolutely love Noam Hassenfeld's music. It's such a delightful addition to these episodes 🥰

Feb 21st
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niaakima

If I had a nickel for everytime this dude said Like I could buy a tesla

Feb 20th
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squogg

That was the best forest rave music I've ever heard! 🤣

Feb 8th
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squogg

I had never considered we don't know what clouds actually looked like before we started messing with the atmosphere. So wild! Can't wait to learn what information we obtain from Whaler journals.

Feb 2nd
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