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
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?
Explainer
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?
Explainer
April 2 2013 3:17 PMCapital DecisionJames Holmes’ prosecutors will seek the death penalty. How do they decide that?
Explainer
March 28 2013 3:08 PMHow Good Is a $30,000 Bottle of Wine?Some are excellent, others undrinkable.
Explainer
March 22 2013 3:18 PMThere Goes the NeighborhoodWhat happens to your home’s value when a registered sex offender moves in next door?
Explainer
March 20 2013 3:44 PMOne Catholic, Two Catholics, Three Catholics ...Why can’t demographers agree about how many Catholics are in the United States?
Explainer
March 14 2013 3:45 PMUnus Pulmo What’s life like for a one-lunged pope?
Explainer
March 8 2013 12:53 PMIs Criminality Genetic?The family that preys together ...
Explainer
March 6 2013 9:41 AMWhy Did Hugo Chávez Hate the United States So Much?He once wielded a ceremonial gavel at the New York Stock Exchange.
Explainer
Feb. 27 2013 1:04 PMBig Breweries, Small BrewsWhy are American beers so weak?
Explainer
Feb. 21 2013 5:47 AMIs It True What They Say About Men With Big Feet?The difficulties of taking the true measure of a man.
Explainer
Feb. 15 2013 1:17 PMTax HolidayShould you stash your money in the Cayman Islands?
Explainer
Feb. 13 2013 1:39 PMHow Do You Win a Gunfight?With a fast hand.
Explainer
Feb. 7 2013 2:29 PMWhy Doesn’t the Postal Service Make Money?What do UPS and FedEx know that the USPS doesn’t?
Explainer
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.
Explainer
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?
Explainer
March 21 2013 3:32 PMNothing a Coat of Paint Can’t FixIs it legal to wear nothing but body paint in public?
Explainer
March 15 2013 5:51 PMWhy Do We Suspend Misbehaving Students?Don’t they want to go home?
Explainer
March 13 2013 1:20 PMToo High to LieCan truth serum prove that James Holmes is sane?
Explainer
March 7 2013 12:11 PMWhy Do Russians Love Ballet So Much?The country has conquered the ballet world.
Explainer
Feb. 28 2013 11:34 AMAmicus CuriousWill a Republican friend-of-the-court brief tip the Supreme Court in favor of gay marriage?
Explainer
Feb. 25 2013 3:47 PMWhy Don’t Americans (Knowingly) Eat Horse Meat?Horse meat has been found in Ikea’s Swedish meatballs.
Explainer
Feb. 20 2013 11:38 AMNot Guilty By Reason of GrogginessWe are confused when we wake up. Could Oscar Pistorius use that as a defense?
Explainer
Feb. 14 2013 1:54 PMBaseball Bats and Hammers Do Not Kill More People Than GunsWhy do people keep saying they do?
Explainer
Feb. 8 2013 2:56 PMGo Ask Your FatherWhy can’t an 18-year-old athlete sign a letter of intent?
Explainer
Feb. 6 2013 12:45 PMWhen Did God Get Into the Wedding Business?Civil unions probably pre-date religious marriage.

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Oct. 1 2014 4:46 PM Ebola Is No Measles. That’s a Good Thing. Comparing this virus to scourges of the past gives us hope that we can slow it down.
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Oct. 1 2014 4:03 PM Does the Earth Really Have a “Hum”? Yes, but probably not the one you’re thinking.
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Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?