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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.
491 Episodes
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At first glance, you might think bats and birds are close relatives. After all, they both flap their wings and fly! But are they actually close cousins or just coincidental copycats? We asked bird expert Amanda Bender to help us find the answer.Got a question that’s got you in a flap? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help find an answer–we promise we won’t just wing it! 
We already know that bats are amazing creatures. They are the only mammals that can fly. The bones in their wings resemble our fingers. They account for about one in five of all mammals living on the planet. And some can fly up to 99 miles per hour! But have you ever asked yourself why the heck they sleep upside down? We asked biologist DeeAnn Reeder to help us find the answer.Got a Moment of Um question that’s turning you upside down? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help get it all sorted out.
Cinnamon is used all over the world. It makes cookies, cakes, tea, and coffee taste and smell amazing, and it’s also used in lots of savory foods!But where does cinnamon come from…before it gets to the grocery store? We asked spice expert Pooja Bag to help us find the answer.Got a question that’s flavoring your thoughts? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll bark up every tree until we find the answer!
Bacteria are everywhere. At the top of Mount Everest. At the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. There are millions on your hands and TRILLIONS in your gut! So what happens when a truck rolls over bacteria on the road? Do they get squished? We asked microbiology professor Daniel Bond to help us find the answer.Got a crushing question? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll keep on truckin’ til we find an answer!
We know why candles melt - from being lit, of course! But where do candles go when they melt? Do they just disappear into thin air? We asked scientist Fabien Goulay from West Virginia University to help us understand.Got a flicker of a Moment of Um question for us? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help you light up an answer.
Why do bees buzz?

Why do bees buzz?

2024-04-1007:02

Have you ever watched a bee flitting from flower to flower? It zips through the air like a tiny plane, making a buzz-buzz-buzz sound. But why do bees buzz, anyway? We asked bee scientist Alina Niño to help us find the answer.Got a bee-YOO-tiful question for us? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we promise we won’t just wing it!
Have you ever stared in the bathroom mirror and flicked the light on and off and watched what happens to your pupils? They get bigger, then smaller, then bigger, then smaller, right? One of our listeners was wondering what happens to our pupils when we close our eyes. Since we can’t see through our own eyelids, we called on Sasha Strul, University of Minnesota Pediatric Ophthalmologist, to help us discover the answer.Do you have a Moment of Um question for us? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help open your eyes to the answer.
Say cheese! Cameras can take amazing photos and videos of just about anything. But have you ever wondered how they work? We asked mechanical engineer and science educator Tiffani Teachey to help us find the answer.Got a question that’s picture-perfect? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll snap to it!
Knock knock! Everybody loves a good joke, but how did they start? And why do we think they’re so funny? We asked Brains On producer and resident funny expert Anna Goldfield to give us the lowdown on jokes! Got a question that’s tickling your curiosity? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll get to the punchline.
It’s one thing to watch a storm roll in from the safety of your own home, but what if you’re out in the middle of the ocean and things start to head in a stormy direction? Jonathan Smith, a faculty research assistant at University of Maryland, will help us understand what happens when lightning strikes water.Do you have a strikingly good Moment of Um question for us? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help spark an answer!
Bread is the best. But you know what makes bread even better? Toasting it. That brown crunchy exterior with the springy chewy center can’t be beat. But how does a toaster transform bread into toast? We asked food scientist David Dominguez to help us find the answer.Got a question that’s bready to be answered? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’d loaf to find you an answer!
Do worms sleep?

Do worms sleep?

2024-04-0206:16

Worms! Some of us love them - some of us are terrified of them! But have you ever wondered how they get their rest? Physicist Daniel Gonzales is the expert on all things worms and sleep and he’s here to fill us in. Got a Moment of Um question for us that’s been slithering around your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help you find the answer.
Human beings have told stories and made art about the sun and the moon for as long as we’ve existed!  Both of them were in the sky long before humans evolved.  But just how old are they?  And is the sun or the moon older?  We asked astrophysicist Amanda Farah to help us find the answer.Got a question that’s sunsationally difficult? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll comMOONicate the answer to you
Parrots are one of the few animals in the world that can mimic human speech and other sounds. But how exactly do they do it? We asked bird expert Amanda Bender to help us find the answer.Got a question that’s a real squawk in the park? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help find an answer that’s macaw-some!
One of the best things about looking up at the night sky is gazing at our big, beautiful moon. But why do we get to have all the fun? Can a moon have its own moon? Harvard graduate student Chantanelle Nava helps us understand. Do you have a Moment of Um question for us that’s totally far out? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help you find the answer.
Ants, they’re just like us. They like picnics, hills, and sweet things! But if ants like sweets so much, do you think they ever attack beehives? We asked bee researcher Dr. Alina Nino to help us find the answer.Got a question that’s buzzing around your head? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help ant-swer it. 
If you’ve ever hugged a tree (and we hope you have!) you’ll know that the outside of a tree can be bumpy, prickly, and can even scrape your skin. That’s because trees are covered in tree armor – otherwise known as bark. One of our listeners wanted to know what tree bark is made of, so we asked forest ecologist Diana Macias to explain.Do you have an evergreen question for Moment of Um? Leaf it for us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll try to find the answer.
Vacuums are like magic. You press a button and POOF – they can suck up all kinds of stuff: crumbs, cat fur, even coconut shrimp. But how do these handy dandy machines work? We asked mechanical engineer Tiffani Teachey to help us find the answer.Got a question, but you’re not sure Hoover answer it? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll find an answer that sweeps you off your feet!
What do a cheetah, a rocket ship, and champion sprinter Usain Bolt have in common?  If you guessed they’re all way slower than your average beam of light, you’re correct!  Nothing in our universe moves faster than light. But recently, we got an interesting puzzle from a listener: if you were able to travel at lightspeed, and you turned on a flashlight, would it turn on?  We asked astrophysicist Amanda Farah to help us investigate.Got a question that has you feeling in the dark? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help you see the light.
If you’ve ever jumped right out of your seat when watching a scary movie, you know that sometimes your body has a reaction to being surprised or frightened. One of our listeners wanted to know why that happens, and we asked neurologist Sarah Benish to help us understand.Got a startlingly good Moment of Um question for us? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll try to be brave enough to find the answer.
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Comments (12)

Antonia Galluzzi

this podcast is amazing!♡

Sep 6th
Reply

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)
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