Every Little Thing
Why do we cry? Did cavemen really carry clubs? Can swearing make you stronger? On ELT, you call with a question, we find you an answer. Our helpline is open 24-7. Call 833-RING-ELT or send an audio message to [email protected]
June 14, 2021
Hummingbirds: Magical Fairies or Vicious Little Drones?
Caller Makaila needs to know about the hummingbirds that frequent her father’s feeders. Hummingbird expert Alejandro Rico-Guevara fills us in on their feeding, flying, and fighting feats. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 31, 2021
Is My Cat Trying to Murder Me?
While Flora’s out, we’re revisiting an old favorite — caller Megan’s cat has zero empathy and tries to trip her on the stairs. Could he be a psychopath? Jon Ronson, author of The Psychopath Test, and cat psychologist Eva Waiblinger help Megan assess if she's got a killer just a whisker's length away. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
May 24, 2021
Ever Felt Someone’s Pain… In Your Butt?
While Flora's out on parental leave, we're unswaddling some of her favorite babies. Favorite podcast babies. Like this one: Caller Lisa wants to know why her butt hurts whenever she sees someone else get injured. Neuroscientist Stuart Derbyshire shares the cold hard truth about whether some people really can feel your pain. Thanks to queen of Chapped Cheeks Lisa, and to researchers Natalie Bowling, Melita Giummarra, Helena Hartmann, Marina López-Solà, Bridget Rubenking, Jamie Ward, Scott Vrana, and Jamil Zaki. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 10, 2021
Memory Game: Did This Meal Really Happen?
Caller Liz has a cherished childhood memory about a special meal with her great-grandmother. But she isn’t sure it really happened. How can she tell? Memory researcher Charan Ranganath, director of the Dynamic Memory Lab, fills in the blanks about the memory in question. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
May 3, 2021
When a Million Ants Come Marching In
Listener Gĩtaũ has a serious problem: every so often his home in rural Kenya is invaded by an army of ants. They coat the floors, climb the walls, and rain down on Gĩtaũ and his family while they sleep. Gĩtaũ wants to know: Why are these ants torturing us? Entomologists Dino Martins and Piotr Naskrecki have ant-swers. Special thanks to Caswell Munyai, Caspar Schöning, and Daniel Kronauer. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 19, 2021
Dog Show Drama: Is There an Anti-Dachshund Conspiracy?
Terriers have won Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show 48 times. Dachshunds? Never. Listener Yona wants to know why terriers triumph but dachshunds don’t get their due. Dog show judge Laurie Williams and dachshund-diehard Kim McCalmont take us behind the scenes of the dog show world. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
April 5, 2021
Skewed Smells: A Weird COVID Mystery
Caller Leña had COVID-19 last October and temporarily lost her sense of smell. As it started to come back, she noticed something strange — fruity things smelled like burnt hair and condoms. Where are Leña’s mystery smells coming from? Rhinologist Simon Gane fills us in on COVID-related smell loss.
March 8, 2021
Space Trash: Is It Coming For Us?
The Earth is surrounded by a halo of trash — defunct satellites, discarded fuel tanks, one of Elon Musk’s Teslas. Listener Ryan wants to know: Does any of it ever fall down to Earth? ELT talks trash with Lottie Williams, the only person known to have been hit by falling space debris, and Ted Muelhaupt, director of the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Study.
March 1, 2021
Vodka, Spit, and Coke: How to Spring-Clean Like an Adult
It’s spring-cleaning time! To help get you in the mood, we’re dusting off an episode from our archive. Cleaning expert Jolie Kerr tells us when it’s OK to use your own saliva as a cleaning agent, and addresses some listener “cleanspiracies” like: Will vodka clean my clothes? For more cleaning tips, check out Jolie’s podcast Ask a Clean Person.
January 18, 2021
Hollywood Punches: How to Make a Knockout Sound
Listener Charlotte has been rewatching “The Sopranos” and the punches keep hitting her ear. Why do Hollywood wallops sound so punched up? Foley artist and Emmy Award-winning sound editor Joanna Fang shares her punch recipe. Plus, do real-life investigators actually connect the dots with red string and thumbtacks? Retired FBI agent Jerri Williams solves the evidence-board mystery.
December 28, 2020
How Old is Winnie-the-Pooh?
We’re revisiting one of our favorite episodes this week. A few years ago, listener Annie asked ELT to settle a longstanding family debate: exactly how old is Winnie-the-Pooh? To hunt down an answer, we consult with professional age-guesser Ben Ramey, bear biologist Rae Wynn-Grant, and Sarah Shea, a professor who has studied this question.
December 21, 2020
How Potatoes Took Over the World
Listener Taylor was making a medieval stew when she noticed a prominent ingredient was missing from the recipe: potatoes. Potato biologist Maria Scurrah and journalist Charles Mann explain the potato’s twisting route to stewpot domination. Special thanks to Graham Thiele, Bruce Owen, Alan Covey, and Gary Urton.
December 14, 2020
Why Does the Wind Make Me Angry?
Listener Christina gets ruffled by a stiff breeze and wants to know if she’s alone in her wind rage. Atmospheric science historian Vladimir Jankovic introduces Christina to her people, and iconic couples therapist Esther Perel, host of “How’s Work” and “Where Should We Begin,” helps Christina rethink her relationship with the wind.
December 7, 2020
Essential Workers 8 Months Later
How are essential workers doing now? We check in with some of the essential workers we talked to back in April and hear what it’s been like to teach, fly on planes, ship packages, and drive a truck during a pandemic. Thanks to Rob, Justin, Tamasha, Lucy, Jacob, Kaleb, Ian, and Dawn.