Brian Palmer

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

July 3 2013 3:00 PMFourth of July, Independence Day, Independent Day ...What are we supposed to call this holiday?
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?
June 25 2013 4:03 PMHow Does SCOTUS Schedule Its Decisions?Do the justices save the big cases for last to create suspense?
June 19 2013 2:29 PMWhich Is Safer: City Streets or Prison?Prison.
June 13 2013 3:53 PMWhat Happens When You Defy a Secret Government Order?You have a secret trial and pay a secret fine.
June 11 2013 1:22 PMShould Edward Snowden Have Had a Security Clearance?Everyone knew he advocated online privacy.
June 6 2013 4:01 PMPeople v. NSAWho represents the public at the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court?
June 4 2013 4:06 PMWill Your Dog Mourn Your Death?Or just hop into the next warm lap?
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?
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.
May 22 2013 2:03 PM“A Peculiar Moaning Sound”How did people describe the sound of a tornado before the advent of trains?
May 16 2013 2:54 PMWhat “Social Welfare” Work Do Tea Party Groups Perform?Does Karl Rove hold bake sales?
May 14 2013 3:37 PMTaxing One’s EnemiesA brief history of scandals at the IRS.
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?
May 8 2013 3:00 PMWhen Did Doctors Become Obsessed With Obesity?Would William Howard Taft’s doctors consider Chris Christie overweight?
July 2 2013 2:57 PMWhat’s Life Like in an Airport Transit Zone?Where does Edward Snowden sleep? Can he get a Cinnabon?
June 26 2013 2:47 PMIs This What Brown v. Board Felt Like?Comparing public reaction to the gay marriage and school desegregation cases.
June 20 2013 4:08 PMWho Gets to Name New Diseases?The tangled origins of a deadly new virus called MERS-CoV.
June 18 2013 3:45 PMCan You Inhale Calories?The dietary impacts of smoking alcohol.
June 12 2013 4:28 PMInto AfricaHow would a captive chimpanzee fare in the wild?
June 7 2013 11:55 AMThe Geneva SuspensionStaff Sgt. Robert Bales killed 16 Afghan civilians. Why wasn’t he charged with war crimes?
June 5 2013 3:28 PMWhy Are Roses the Most Famous Flower?We could just as easily have a White House Petunia Garden, right?
May 30 2013 2:56 PMDid Hitler Invent the Hitler Mustache?How popular was the style in Nazi Germany?
May 28 2013 5:51 PMEmergency Exit Doors on Airplanes Are Locked?They don’t say that in the safety video!
May 23 2013 1:06 PMHow Do You Fake Your Own Death?First, buy a boat.
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.
May 15 2013 3:26 PMWhy Is There So Much Salt in Processed Foods?Because salt is delicious.
May 10 2013 11:10 AMAre Tiger Mothers (Literally, Tiger Mothers) Good Mothers?Measuring big cats against Amy Chua’s high maternal standards.
May 9 2013 12:54 PMInvestigative IntuitionDo psychics ever solve crimes? Why do police consult them?
May 2 2013 2:49 PMThe Hunger GainsDo hunger strikes usually succeed?




More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

What Charles Barkley Gets Wrong About Corporal Punishment and Black Culture

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

Three Talented Actresses in Three Terrible New Shows

Why Do Some People See the Virgin Mary in Grilled Cheese?

The science that explains the human need to find meaning in coincidences.


Happy Constitution Day!

Too bad it’s almost certainly unconstitutional.

Is It Worth Paying Full Price for the iPhone 6 to Keep Your Unlimited Data Plan? We Crunch the Numbers.

What to Do if You Literally Get a Bug in Your Ear

  News & Politics
Sept. 16 2014 7:03 PM Kansas Secretary of State Loses Battle to Protect Senator From Tough Race
Sept. 16 2014 4:16 PM The iPhone 6 Marks a Fresh Chance for Wireless Carriers to Kill Your Unlimited Data
The Eye
Sept. 16 2014 12:20 PM These Outdoor Cat Shelters Have More Style Than the Average Home
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus Video
Sept. 16 2014 2:06 PM A Farewell From Emily Bazelon The former senior editor talks about her very first Slate pitch and says goodbye to the magazine.
Brow Beat
Sept. 16 2014 8:43 PM This 17-Minute Tribute to David Fincher Is the Perfect Preparation for Gone Girl
Future Tense
Sept. 16 2014 6:40 PM This iPhone 6 Feature Will Change Weather Forecasting
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 16 2014 11:46 PM The Scariest Campfire Story More horrifying than bears, snakes, or hook-handed killers.
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.