The podcast where we answer the questions you never knew you had. Produced by Andrew Norton with music by Breakmaster Cylinder.
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Why Do Frozen Lakes and Rivers Sound So Creepy?
Brigitta Green from the perennial winter wonderland of Minnesota has a fitting question for us about ice. After a mysterious, late night howling sound caused “mass slight curiosity” on the streets of St. Paul last winter, she wants to know how it is that a frozen body of water can produce such an eery noise. Chris Polashenski, Arctic researcher and expert on all things cold, has our answer.
What's The Coolest Species Name?
What's the coolest or weirdest official name for a species of plant or animal? And how do they get those funny sounding Latin names anyway?
Why Distinguish Between Fruits and Vegetables?
Is a watermelon a vegetable? Biologically it’s logical, but does the answer depend where you live?
Why Do Animals See Color Differently?
Zookeeper Rick asks why why animals see color differently? Dr. Jay Neitz of the University of Washington Department of Ophthalmology says there is more than one factor that accounts for how animals perceive color. Some plants and animals present vibrant colors we can’t even see and for reasons they don't want us to know.
Do Animals Have Rituals Around Death?
Listener Ross Wintle, driving past a cemetery near his home, wonders if animals other than humans have rituals around death? Barbara J King, professor emerita of anthropology at the College of William and Mary and the author of How Animals Grieve reports that when it comes to animals and death, you’ve gotta look at elephants. However there are also some interesting reports about magpies, red foxes and dolphins showing some interacting with the dead in their groups. Appropriately in a Day of the Dead episode, The Completely Optional Knowledge podcast helps us understanding that death is a bit more universal experience in the animal kingdom than just to humans.
Super interesting and intertwining. This podcast definitely makes learning fun!
I like it
You learn stuff with this podcast. Stuff you can use with friends and you sound smart.
Very enjoyable podcast
Short, fun podcast with enjoyable questions and answers. Its great to explore things in science that I never thought to ask.