Brian Palmer

Brian Palmer writes about science, medicine, and the environment for Slate and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Email him at explainerbrian@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter.

Explainer
July 9 2013 1:37 PMDo Airlines Retire Flight Numbers After Crashes?Asiana Flight 214 is still flying between Seoul and San Francisco.
Explainer
July 2 2013 2:57 PMWhat’s Life Like in an Airport Transit Zone?Where does Edward Snowden sleep? Can he get a Cinnabon?
Explainer
June 26 2013 2:47 PMIs This What Brown v. Board Felt Like?Comparing public reaction to the gay marriage and school desegregation cases.
Explainer
June 20 2013 4:08 PMWho Gets to Name New Diseases?The tangled origins of a deadly new virus called MERS-CoV.
Explainer
June 18 2013 3:45 PMCan You Inhale Calories?The dietary impacts of smoking alcohol.
Explainer
June 12 2013 4:28 PMInto AfricaHow would a captive chimpanzee fare in the wild?
Explainer
June 7 2013 11:55 AMThe Geneva SuspensionStaff Sgt. Robert Bales killed 16 Afghan civilians. Why wasn’t he charged with war crimes?
Explainer
June 5 2013 3:28 PMWhy Are Roses the Most Famous Flower?We could just as easily have a White House Petunia Garden, right?
Explainer
May 30 2013 2:56 PMDid Hitler Invent the Hitler Mustache?How popular was the style in Nazi Germany?
Explainer
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.
Explainer
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?
Explainer
July 3 2013 3:00 PMFourth of July, Independence Day, Independent Day ...What are we supposed to call this holiday?
Explainer
June 27 2013 1:27 PMWhy Don’t U.S. Senators Hold Old-Fashioned Filibusters Anymore?Plus: If you can’t stand up, can you still filibuster?
Explainer
June 25 2013 4:03 PMHow Does SCOTUS Schedule Its Decisions?Do the justices save the big cases for last to create suspense?
Explainer
June 19 2013 2:29 PMWhich Is Safer: City Streets or Prison?Prison.
Explainer
June 13 2013 3:53 PMWhat Happens When You Defy a Secret Government Order?You have a secret trial and pay a secret fine.
Explainer
June 11 2013 1:22 PMShould Edward Snowden Have Had a Security Clearance?Everyone knew he advocated online privacy.
Explainer
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?
Explainer
May 16 2013 2:54 PMWhat “Social Welfare” Work Do Tea Party Groups Perform?Does Karl Rove hold bake sales?
Explainer
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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TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The Ebola Story

How our minds build narratives out of disaster.

The Budget Disaster That Completely Sabotaged the WHO’s Response to Ebola

PowerPoint Is the Worst, and Now It’s the Latest Way to Hack Into Your Computer

The Shooting Tragedies That Forged Canada’s Gun Politics

A Highly Unscientific Ranking of Crazy-Old German Beers

Education

Welcome to 13th Grade!

Some high schools are offering a fifth year. That’s a great idea.

Culturebox

The Actual World

“Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.

Want Kids to Delay Sex? Let Planned Parenthood Teach Them Sex Ed.

Would You Trust Walmart to Provide Your Health Care? (You Should.)

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 22 2014 9:42 PM Landslide Landrieu Can the Louisiana Democrat use the powers of incumbency to save herself one more time?
  Business
Continuously Operating
Oct. 22 2014 2:38 PM Crack Open an Old One A highly unscientific evaluation of Germany’s oldest breweries.
  Life
Gentleman Scholar
Oct. 22 2014 5:54 PM May I Offer to Sharpen My Friends’ Knives? Or would that be rude?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 22 2014 4:27 PM Three Ways Your Text Messages Change After You Get Married
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Oct. 22 2014 5:27 PM The Slate Walking Dead Podcast A spoiler-filled discussion of Episodes 1 and 2.
  Arts
Culturebox
Oct. 22 2014 11:54 PM The Actual World “Mount Thoreau” and the naming of things in the wilderness.
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 22 2014 5:33 PM One More Reason Not to Use PowerPoint: It’s The Gateway for a Serious Windows Vulnerability
  Health & Science
Wild Things
Oct. 22 2014 2:42 PM Orcas, Via Drone, for the First Time Ever
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.