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A Supersilly Super Bowl 'What If ... ?'

Saturday, January 18, 2014

It's getting close to Super Bowl time, so here's a little fantasy. What would happen if a British sports announcer who has no idea how American football works (not a clue) were sudden...
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Thomas Jefferson Needs A Dead Moose Right Now To Defend America

Thursday, January 16, 2014

There are no moose in America, said the French count to Thomas Jefferson. They don't exist there. Americans see a reindeer and just call it a new name, saying it's bigger. But the onl...
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Who's Got A Pregnant Brain?

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Something happened to dolphins. Then it happened to humans. Both creatures had good-sized brains when, for reasons no one truly understands, dolphin brains suddenly got larger and lar...
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Go Where Raisins Swell Into Grapes, And Lemons Light The Sky

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Come to a place where peppers are so hot, fire trucks come to douse them. Pomegranates explode like grenades there, spaghetti threatens innocent sailors, and the moon is made of cinna...
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A Rain Forest Begins With Rain, Right? Is This A Trick Question?

Thursday, January 09, 2014

This is a "Which came first?" riddle. Not chicken vs. egg. This one is about rain forests. When rain forests begin, do they start with rain ("Yes!" say I) or trees ("No! That's ridicu...
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Oh Say, Can You See? A Musical Salute

Thursday, January 09, 2014

You've heard it a thousand times, maybe 10,000. Is there any way to make "The Star-Spangled Banner" fresh? Even fascinating? There is (Jimi Hendrix aside). Here is a new one that did ...
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Am I Going To Die This Year? A Mathematical Puzzle

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

What are the odds that you will die this year? Whatever they are, the mortality tables suggest those odds will double eight years from now. Death, apparently, moves closer at a curiou...
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Billboards That Drop Angels On Your Head

Saturday, January 04, 2014

There you are in a train station, and if you stand in the right space, suddenly an angel — a lady with enormous wings, looking like the real deal — appears at your side. She's not rea...
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'You're Invisible, But I'll Eat You Anyway.' Secrets Of Snow-Diving Foxes

Friday, January 03, 2014

They leap into the air, adjust their tails, land headfirst in the snow, burrow down and hit a teeny moving target — buried three feet below. It's their lunch. How does a fox catch a m...
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Animal Loses Head But Remembers Everything

Thursday, January 02, 2014

They're little flatworms that glide along riverbeds and perform miracles. Chop off their tails, they grow them back. Split them in half, they grow whole again. But chop off their head...
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This Is Bo, Who's Putting New Beats In New Places. You Should Meet Him

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

This isn't science. Not today. It's art — in this case, the sly performance of a young comedian who is accosted backstage by not-so-nice "fans." But he gets free (wait for this, it co...
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What Chickadees Have That I Want. Badly

Monday, December 23, 2013

First I look in my right coat pocket. Nothing. Then my left. Nothing. Then my pants, right side — no. Then my pants, left side — yes! This is me at my front door, looking for my keys....
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Weekend Special: Name That Sound!

Monday, December 23, 2013

I'm going to play you a sound that you hear all the time. But this time, instead of hearing it in context (in a familiar setting — the movies, an Xbox, on TV, in a phone), it's all al...
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One Man. One Cat. Multiplied

Friday, December 20, 2013

I'm thinking of a man and his cat. A real man. His real cat. Then I'm imagining a bunch of world-famous cartoonists, Calvin & Hobbes' Bill Watterson, Wile E. Coyote's Chuck Jones, Gar...
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Finding Grandpa On My Dinner Plate (Part 2)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

You order a lobster and the waiter shows you an animal that is, he says, older than you are. It's had more birthdays than you. For some people, this is a meal-stopper. Especially, if ...
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John McCluskey’s Brain

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

In our Blame episode, we asked whether the condition of a criminal’s brain should lessen the punishment for his crime. Now there’s a headline-making story about this very question.
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Why We Need Grandpas And Grandmas (Part 1)

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The idea seemed sensible: Send young elephants from a crowded national park in South Africa to an emptier one, where they could form a new herd and thrive. The problem? Elephants need...
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What's That Clinging To The Towering Wall And Why Doesn't It Fall Off?

Monday, December 16, 2013

They look, at first, like dangerously protruding rocks on this towering, almost vertical wall in the Italian Alps. But then, uncannily, they move. What are they? And why don't they fa...
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What Happened On Easter Island — A New (Even Scarier) Scenario

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Whatever happened on Easter Island, it wasn't good. Polynesians landed there, farmed, thrived, built their famous statues, and then things went very bad, very fast. Sixteen million tr...
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How Important Is A Bee?

Friday, December 06, 2013

When bees disappeared from central China years ago, Chinese apple farmers had to pollinate by hand. Embarrassing — people doing bees' work, but then came the big discovery –- a surp...
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