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Behind the scenes: See how we make the show

A listener asked how making  Brains On is different during the pandemic. So with this episode we're giving you a peek into how we're making the show while staying safe. Spoiler alert: we're doing it all from our homes!

What's the best way to record crystal clear sound at home? (Hint: Lots of soft surfaces!) How do we make sound effects? How do we get all the animals, humans and machines in our homes to keep it down while we tape? Plus: We asked our co-hosts to share what it was like for them to record and episode from home. All that, plus a brand new mystery sound and a Moment of Um that answers the question: how do rocks form?

This episode is sponsored by:

Purple.com (https://purple.com/brainson10 Promo code: brainson10)

Daily Harvest (https://dailyharvest.com Promo code: brainson)

PayPal – you can download the PayPal app at https://paypal.com

The buzz on bees, pt. 2

In this second episode on bees (a bee-quel, you might say!) we’re taking a look at pollination: the many pollination talents of different bees, why pollination is so important, and what you can do to help wild bees! 

The tables are turned in the Mystery Sound department: our beekeeping cohosts have a sound for Menaka and Sanden to guess! And the Moment of Um answers an age-old stumper: how are alligators and crocodiles different?

Want to hear more about bees? Listen to The buzz about bees, pt. 1 (https://www.brainson.org/episode/2020/09/08/the-buzz-on-bees-pt-1)

This episode is sponsored by: Ancestory.com (http://ancestry.com/brainson), General Mills Pillsbury (https://www.pillsbury.com/products/cinnamon-rolls) and Varsity Tutors (http://varsitytutors.com/brainson)

The buzz on bees, pt. 1

We’re making a big buzz about bees! Our pollen-collecting friends get so much done, and we’re taking a look at how they live. We’ll bust some bee myths and meet some honeybees for a look at life inside the hive. 
Our mystery sound is from a listener (here’s a hint: they recorded the sound in Alaska!), and our Moment of Um answers a buzzworthy question: Why do beehives look like hexagons? 
And! One episode on bees just isn’t enough. We’ll be back next week with more buzz on pollination.

Today’s episode is sponsored by Native (https://native.com/brainson | Promo code: brainson), Laurel Springs (http://laurelsprings.com/brainson) and Daily Harvest (http://dailyharvest.com Promo code: brainson)

Stars: Twinkling, glowing, giant balls of gas

Those tiny pinpoints of light glittering in the night sky are actually incredibly distant, giant, churning balls of gas. They produce huge quantities of light and heat. In this episode, Mars interviews the biggest star in his eyes: the sun! We also ask astronomer Moiya McTier to help us count all the stars in the universe. And we'll hear a couple of the stories that people here on earth tell about the stars. Plus, a brand new mystery sound and a Moment of Um that answers the question: how do whales drink?

This episode is sponsored by Ancestry.com (http://ancestry.com/brains) and School Mask Pack (http://schoolmaskpack.com/brainson). You can support the show at brainson.org/fans. Find out more about our book at bit.ly/brainsonbook and our book events at brainson.org/events

Poop Party: Answers to your poo questions

Warning! This episode is all about the fascinating and gross world of doo doo.

We know you have a lot of poo questions because you’ve sent many, many of them to us. So we’re finally bringing you the poo answers! It’s a poop party!

We’ve invited scientists to tell us about weird animal feces. (It’s true! Wombats have cube-shaped poop!)

We tune into a news channel all about dookie (see the Bristol Stool Chart here: https://www.bladderandbowel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/BBC002_Bristol-Stool-Chart-Jan-2016.pdf).

We hear from our favorite “poo-tuber” Taylor the Turd about how some poops are helping fight serious illnesses. (Remember Taylor? Here’s her first appearance: https://www.brainson.org/shows/2019/03/19/flush-where-does-our-poo-and-pee-go)

Plus, a sorta stinky Mystery Sound and a Moment of Um answering a question: why is pee yellow?

This episode is sponsored by KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson) and Laurel Springs (laurelsprings.com/brainson). Fill out a quick survey to tell us more about yourself: podsurvey.com/brains

Introducing: Million Bazillion

We’re thrilled to share a brand new show with you. It’s called Million Bazillion and it’s all about money — how we earn it, how we save it and how we spend it.

In the first episode you’ll travel back thousands of years to learn the ways people got what they needed before money was invented. Back then some people traded goods, others made pacts to share what they had. We’ll also meet the king who came up with the idea for coins. Plus, Kristen Bell designs her own money!

This show is a collaboration between Brains On and Marketplace. It’s hosted by Jed Kim with Bridget Bodnar. You can listen to more episodes here, or subscribe at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Masks and mouth mist: What we know about the coronavirus now

Since the world first learned about this new coronavirus at the end of 2019, we’ve been watching science happen in real time. Scientists all over the world are studying this virus and learning how to protect us from it. As they learn new things, we learn new things too.

One thing they’ve learned is how this virus spreads. The primary culprit is droplets from our noses and mouths. That’s why masking up is so important to protect our communities.

We’ve also been hearing from a lot of listeners wanting to know about the future: when will the vaccine be ready? what will it be like at school? when will things go back to normal? We're going to do our best to answer some of these questions in our next coronavirus episode. But they don’t have concrete answers right now.

Right now, trying to look a month, or a year into the future is hard. We call this feeling of not knowing what will happen — uncertainty. And it’s hard to deal with.

Our brains likes being able to predict what’s going to happen because it makes us feel safe. When we feel unsafe, that’s when anxiety kicks in. 

One way to deal with this anxiety is to focus on the present — what’s happening right now. 

It’s also important to let yourself feel your feelings and know you’re not alone in them. It’s normal right now to feel frustrated, or angry, or sad, or all of them at the same time. But also try to think about the moments you have that are fun, and the times you feel contentment and happiness.

If you’re having trouble staying focused on the present there are some tricks you can try:

  • Look around you and make a list in your head of everything you see that is green.

  • Try to think of all the character’s names in your favorite book or tv show

  • Take deep breaths — inhale for four counts, hold that breath for four, and then exhale for four

  • Distract yourself by going outside, or watching a movie or reading a book. 

If you’re still having trouble keeping your mind off the “what ifs” it’s great to talk to your parents or another adult you trust.

There are always people who want to help you. If you need help and aren’t sure who to talk to, you can call 800 273-8255. It's a free phone call, and people are there all the time, ready to listen and help.

MORE: The Child Mind Institute has a lot of resources for families about how to deal with this uncertain time. (https://childmind.org/coping-during-covid-19-resources-for-parents/)

This episode is sponsored by KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson) and Native (nativedeo.com/brainson) – use promo code: BRAINSON at checkout.

The world of tiny robots

We’re talking all about teeny, tiny robots in today’s episode. You know, the ones that are as light as a postage stamp and as look like insects? They may be small, but these robots can still take in information and make decisions on their own. Find out how bees and cockroaches are teaching us about the future of small robots and what big tasks they might take on. There’s also a new Mystery Sound to rattle your ears. Plus a moment of Um that answers the question: Why does the sun stay in one place?

This episode was sponsored by KiwiCo (www.kiwico.com/brainson)

Why do kids have more energy than adults?

We’re taking on an age-old question today: Do kids have more energy than adults? Breakfast tacos, caffeine, an energized DJ and an epic battle between a girl and her parents. This episode has all that and then some. Discover how we turn food into energy at an awesome taco party. Then pump up the jams with DJ Thyroid. Speaking of music, get ready for a song from Lake Street Dive’s Mike Olson. And just when you think the show might be out of energy, we engage in an out-of breath competition between a kid and her parents. Plus, there’s a brand new Mystery Sound and a Moment of Um about why we lose our voices sometimes.

This episode is sponsored by Laurel Springs Online School (laurelsprings.com/brainson) and KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson)

Why does green mean go? And other color conundrums

The world is full of color, but how do our eyes see it? In this episode we’ll explain how color vision works, complete with a journey to a jazz club in the back of your eye. We’ll also look at the cultural meanings of the color red, we’ll find out about a new type of blue, and we’ll find out why stoplights use green to mean go. Our Moment of Um tackles the question, “why are bees black and yellow?”

This episode is sponsored by KiwiCo (kiwico.com/brainson) and Nurture Life (use code: BRAINS at checkout).