Show cover of Unexplainable

Unexplainable

Unexplainable takes listeners right up to the edge of what we know ... and then keeps right on going. This Vox podcast explores scientific mysteries, unanswered questions, and all the things we learn by diving into the unknown. New episodes every Wednesday.

Tracks

Jumping the gun
At the 2022 World Athletics Championships, sprinter TyNia Gaither was disqualified for false starting ... after the gun went off. Officials said she started faster than humanly possible. How can that be? 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
33:58 09/21/2022
An Alzheimer's uproar
This past July, a bombshell report in Science magazine suggested that a key Alzheimer’s study might have contained manipulated evidence. What does this mean for over a decade's worth of research? And where does the field go from here? 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
37:40 09/14/2022
Salamander search party
One of the world’s most biodiverse aquifers is full of strange, blind creatures that have evolved in isolation for millions of years. But one is missing. This episode was reported by Benji Jones and Mandy Nguyen, who produced the episode. Editing from Meradith Hoddinott, Katherine Wells, Brian Resnick, and Noam Hassenfeld, who scored the episode. Mixing and sound design from Cristian Ayala. Fact-checking from Richard Sima. 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
28:19 08/31/2022
What did dinosaurs sound like?
They probably didn’t roar like lions. Their real voices were likely much, much weirder. We asked scientists to help us recreate these strange, extinct sounds. 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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
39:48 08/24/2022
Can ovaries make new eggs?
There's an old story scientists tell about human ovaries: that they are ticking clocks that only lose eggs, never gain them. Now that story might be changing, opening the door to new treatments for infertility and menopause. 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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
29:46 08/17/2022
Will the eel (slim, shady) please have sex?
Where eels come from is a surprisingly difficult question to answer, in large part because scientists have never actually seen them reproduce in the wild. Gastropod explains why eels are somehow still so mysterious. 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
47:49 08/10/2022
Yawn baby yawn
People yawn when they’re bored, right? So then why do athletes yawn before races? And why do so many animals yawn? … And why does reading this paragraph make you more likely to yawn? 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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
38:20 07/27/2022
What’s the James Webb telescope searching for?
A lava planet, life on other worlds, the very first starlight in the universe — the most powerful space telescope ever built is ready to reveal many mysteries of the cosmos. 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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
49:53 07/20/2022
Vitamin X
Millions of Americans take dietary supplements — everything from vitamins and minerals to weight loss pills and probiotics. But because supplements are loosely regulated in the US, their makers don't have to prove that they work, or even that they are safe. 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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
35:00 07/13/2022
Lost Worlds: What killed Venus?
Venus is the hottest, scariest planet in the solar system, but billions of years ago it may have been a lot like Earth, complete with an ocean of water. So, how did Venus go to hell? And could Earth be next? This is the final episode of our four-part series, Lost Worlds, and it originally ran on December 1, 2021. 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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
29:10 06/29/2022
Lost Worlds: Life on Mars?
Mars was once a very different planet, with rivers, lakes, and — potentially — life. NASA’s latest Mars rover is on a mission to find traces of past life. What happens if it does? This is the third episode of our new four-part series, Lost Worlds. 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
31:22 06/22/2022
Lost Worlds: Why do we have a moon?
In all our searching of the universe, we’ve never seen another moon like ours. It's big, it's weird, it's played a huge role in shaping our planet. But how did we get it? Every possible story points to cataclysm. This is the second episode of our new four-part series, Lost Worlds. 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
27:50 06/15/2022
Lost Worlds: Aliens from Earth?
Was there a technologically advanced species living on Earth long before humans? And if one had existed, how would we know? This is the first episode of our new four-part series, Lost Worlds. 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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
27:53 06/08/2022
Dropping like flies
Insect populations are shrinking all over the world, and entomologists are buzzing with questions: Why is this happening? How quickly? And, most concerningly, what does it mean for food supplies or even life as we know it? 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 Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
27:47 05/25/2022
Is telepathy real?
A groundbreaking study claims to have found a way for a fully paralyzed person to communicate entirely via thought. Today, Explained breaks down the science and asks: Is it too good to be true? 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
26:41 05/18/2022
Why do we dream?
Dreams are weird, but can they be a scientific tool? Can they teach us anything about humanity? About ourselves? 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
24:25 05/11/2022
Should I take a DNA ancestry test?
What are the scientific, family, and privacy implications? 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
29:09 05/04/2022
My octopus friend?
Octopuses are largely solitary animals, but there have been rare times — notably in the movie My Octopus Teacher — where they seem to have become comfortable around humans. But is it really possible to be friends with an octopus? 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
24:36 04/27/2022
Glow in the dark ocean
Most deep-water creatures are bioluminescent. Marine biologist Edie Widder has spent the last 40 years trying to figure out why. 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
30:30 04/20/2022
When reality broke
In the 1920s, the scientist Werner Heisenberg came up with a wild idea that broke reality as Western science knew it. And it's still unsettling to think about. Benjamin Labatut's recent book, When We Cease to Understand the World, makes readers feel the aftershocks of the revelation, asking, "What's real?" 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
26:38 04/13/2022
Making Sense: The sixth sense
Why stop at five senses? Just how much of the world can we perceive? And how much is out there that’s still out of reach, hiding in the dark? This is the sixth and final episode of our six-part series, Making Sense. 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
27:30 04/06/2022
Making Sense: Sight unseen
Close your eyes and try to imagine an apple. Can you see anything? Aphantasia is the inability to see with your mind’s eye. Since it was discovered, scientists have been asking the question: What is the mind’s eye even for? This is the fifth episode of our six-part series, Making Sense. 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
25:47 03/30/2022
Making Sense: The Umami Mama
For thousands of years, there have been four basic tastes recognized across cultures. But thanks to Kumiko Ninomiya (a.k.a. the Umami Mama), scientists finally accepted a fifth. So could there be even more? This is the fourth episode of our six-part series, Making Sense. 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
38:01 03/23/2022
Making Sense: No one nose
Dogs can smell cancer, Covid-19, and many other health problems in humans. Now, scientists are trying to duplicate these powers in robotic sniffers. But there’s a big challenge here: Scientists don’t really understand how smell works. This is the third episode of our six-part series, Making Sense, and it originally ran on March 10, 2021. 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
30:15 03/16/2022
Making Sense: The healing power of touch
Doctors can save the lives of premature infants, but the process is often painful. Luckily, a solution might be as simple as a parent’s loving touch. This is the second episode of our new six-part series, Making Sense. 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
29:10 03/09/2022
Making Sense: How sound becomes hearing
In the same way optical illusions trick our eyes, audio illusions can trick our ears. This raises a fundamental question: What is hearing, and how much of it is made up by our brains? This is the first episode of our new six-part series, Making Sense. You can find more of Diana Deutsch’s auditory illusions at https://bit.ly/3Mdh6H4, Matthew Winn's research at http://www.mattwinn.com/Research.html, and Mike Chorost's writing at https://michaelchorost.com 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
41:14 03/02/2022
The methane hunters
Methane traps more than 80 times as much heat as CO2 over the short term. So we could make a real difference on climate change this decade if we could stop leaking so much methane into the atmosphere. But before researchers and regulators can figure out how to do that, the methane hunters need to find the leaks. 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
23:51 02/16/2022
What is love?
Can science help us predict whether a relationship will succeed? Or is it all just chaos? 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
33:42 02/09/2022
A sonic tour of the solar system
What does it sound like on Mars? On Jupiter? Titan? This collaboration between the podcast Twenty Thousand Hertz and the composer Melodysheep imagines the soundscapes of other worlds. 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
22:59 02/02/2022
Finding asteroids before they find us
Scientists are constantly searching for asteroids that could crash into Earth. But if they find one, will they be able to do anything about it? NASA has launched a spaceship that will slam into an asteroid to find out. 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
31:32 01/26/2022