Brian Palmer

Brian Palmer is Slate's chief explainer. He also writes How and Why and Ecologic for the Washington Post. Email him at explainerbrian@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Explainer
June 7 2013 11:55 AMThe Geneva SuspensionStaff Sgt. Robert Bales killed 16 Afghan civilians. Why wasn’t he charged with war crimes?
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June 5 2013 3:28 PMWhy Are Roses the Most Famous Flower?We could just as easily have a White House Petunia Garden, right?
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May 30 2013 2:56 PMDid Hitler Invent the Hitler Mustache?How popular was the style in Nazi Germany?
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May 28 2013 5:51 PMEmergency Exit Doors on Airplanes Are Locked?They don’t say that in the safety video!
Explainer
May 23 2013 1:06 PMHow Do You Fake Your Own Death?First, buy a boat.
Explainer
May 21 2013 12:35 PMCan a City be a Tornado Magnet?Moore, Okla., may be one of the unluckiest cities in the country, but it’s not alone.
Explainer
May 15 2013 3:26 PMWhy Is There So Much Salt in Processed Foods?Because salt is delicious.
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May 10 2013 11:10 AMAre Tiger Mothers (Literally, Tiger Mothers) Good Mothers?Measuring big cats against Amy Chua’s high maternal standards.
Explainer
May 9 2013 12:54 PMInvestigative IntuitionDo psychics ever solve crimes? Why do police consult them?
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May 2 2013 2:49 PMThe Hunger GainsDo hunger strikes usually succeed?
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April 30 2013 6:01 PMKing MeWhy do so many European countries still have monarchs?
Explainer
April 9 2013 6:19 PMWeren’t We Supposed to Have Laser Guns by Now?Explaining the delay in 21st-century warfare.
Explainer
April 3 2013 4:41 PMSeriously, How Do You Get to Sesame Street?How professional puppeteers learn their trade.
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March 29 2013 2:01 PMWhen and Why Did We Stop Crucifying People?The slow death of an ancient torture method.
Explainer
March 27 2013 4:34 PMWon’t Somebody Think of the ChildrenDo opponents of marriage equality always claim that they’re merely worried about the kids?
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June 6 2013 4:01 PMPeople v. NSAWho represents the public at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court?
Explainer
June 4 2013 4:06 PMWill Your Dog Mourn Your Death?Or just hop into the next warm lap?
Explainer
May 29 2013 3:54 PMYou Dropped a Bong on MeCould Amanda Bynes have killed someone by tossing glassware out of a 36th-floor window?
Explainer
May 24 2013 10:36 AMHow Accurate Are AAA’s Travel Forecasts?Fact-checking the prediction that 31.2 million people will drive to Memorial Day destinations.
Explainer
May 22 2013 2:03 PM“A Peculiar Moaning Sound”How did people describe the sound of a tornado before the advent of trains?
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May 16 2013 2:54 PMWhat “Social Welfare” Work Do Tea Party Groups Perform?Does Karl Rove hold bake sales?
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May 14 2013 3:37 PMTaxing One’s EnemiesA brief history of scandals at the IRS.
Explainer
May 10 2013 8:18 AMDon’t School Bus Drivers Undergo Background Checks?Ariel Castro had run-ins with the police. Why was he allowed to drive children?
Explainer
May 8 2013 3:00 PMWhen Did Doctors Become Obsessed With Obesity?Would William Howard Taft’s doctors consider Chris Christie overweight?
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May 1 2013 12:17 PMHow Do You Load a Cargo Plane?After a horrific crash in Afghanistan, a guide to positions, locks, and load masters.
Explainer
April 10 2013 3:15 PMThe World’s Most Indifferent BodyDo Senate debates ever change a senator’s mind?
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April 4 2013 3:12 PMHow a Bill Becomes Not a LawWhat happens to unconstitutional state laws? Can they just stay on the books forever?
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April 2 2013 3:17 PMCapital DecisionJames Holmes’ prosecutors will seek the death penalty. How do they decide that?
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March 28 2013 3:08 PMHow Good Is a $30,000 Bottle of Wine?Some are excellent, others undrinkable.
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March 22 2013 3:18 PMThere Goes the NeighborhoodWhat happens to your home’s value when a registered sex offender moves in next door?

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