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.

Feb. 5 2013 3:20 PMMy Name Is Jehovah, and I’ll Be Taking Care of You TonightWhy do we pay waiters more than God?
Feb. 1 2013 2:44 PMFido Seeking FidoIf your dog has gay sex, does that make him a gay dog?
Jan. 30 2013 11:52 AMDocumenting the UndocumentedHow do you count unauthorized immigrants?
Jan. 25 2013 1:12 PMIs It Safe to Eat Damaged Fruit?How to deal with a bruised banana.
Jan. 23 2013 3:38 PMIs There Anything Left To Sanction in North Korea?A guide to doing business legally with the hermit kingdom.
Jan. 18 2013 3:06 PMNeither Snow Nor Rain Nor Steep Hills ...Why did the U.S. Postal Service sponsor a cycling team?
Jan. 16 2013 1:29 PMGuard DogDoes the Secret Service protect Bo Obama?
Jan. 3 2013 3:59 PMBeer Barrel PoliticsWhen did alcohol become so heavily taxed?
Dec. 27 2012 11:40 AMHow Many Times Can You Recycle a Piece of Paper?And why does China buy your crumpled Christmas-present wrappings?
Dec. 21 2012 1:06 PMWhat Would Jesus Burn?Whatever happened to frankincense and myrrh?
Dec. 19 2012 4:08 PMDoes Anyone Still Practice the Mayan Religion?If the world ends Friday, someone should get to take the credit.
Dec. 18 2012 3:33 PMWhy Is the NRA So Powerful?How the gun lobby leverages modest resources into outsized influence.
Dec. 14 2012 3:43 PMWhat Did Kids Read Before Hans Christian Andersen?Homer, among other things.
Dec. 12 2012 4:51 PMWhy Are Anti-Union Laws Called “Right To Work”?A mini-Explainer on the history of management’s favorite political catchphrase.
Dec. 11 2012 1:49 PMIs It Better To See a Younger Doctor or an Older Doctor?A mini-Explainer on youth versus experience in medical practice.
Feb. 5 2013 12:32 PMPancakes: It’s What’s Not for DinnerWhy do we eat pancakes only for breakfast?
Jan. 31 2013 12:29 PMDo Corporate Name Changes Ever Work?BlackBerry joins Sony, Exxon, Datsun, and Unisys in an expensive gamble.
Jan. 28 2013 1:28 PMUncle Sam Might Want YouWill women have to register for the next military draft?
Jan. 24 2013 6:26 PMCan States Exile People?“I hereby sentence you to life in Virginia, without parole.”
Jan. 22 2013 2:13 PMCongratulations, Mr. President. And Thanks for the Cheez-Its.A mini-Explainer on how much the inauguration cost, and who paid for it.
Jan. 17 2013 12:03 PMBureau of Bad HabitsWhy does the same agency regulate alcohol, tobacco, and firearms?
Jan. 4 2013 4:26 PMCan Colin Powell Really Be Speaker of the House?Plus, why John Boehner might not be in line for the presidency.
Jan. 2 2013 2:05 PMDemocracy or GerontocracyIs Congress getting older?
Dec. 26 2012 11:35 AMCapitol Christmas GiftsDo ethics rules ruin Christmas for our legislators?
Dec. 20 2012 3:45 PMIs the Second Amendment the Second Most Important?The order of the Bill of Rights is an argument for gun control.
Dec. 18 2012 5:49 PMWhere Can I Fire My Gun?A mini-Explainer on how states regulate the discharge of firearms.
Dec. 17 2012 3:26 PMIs John Boehner Allowed To Lower the Flag to Half-Staff?A mini-Explainer on who controls the height of Old Glory.
Dec. 13 2012 4:14 PMWhose Smile Is It, Anyway?Can researchers reconstruct the smile of the real Mona Lisa from skeletal remains?
Dec. 12 2012 3:16 PMAll the Pontiff’s MenHow do you get a job on a Vatican council?
Dec. 7 2012 3:12 PMThe Season of Renewal and SuicideWhy are people more likely to kill themselves in springtime than during the holidays?



Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore

And schools are getting worried.

Global Marches Demand Action on Climate Change


Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

Why a Sketch of Chelsea Manning Is Stirring Up Controversy

How Worried Should Poland, the Baltic States, and Georgia Be About a Russian Invasion?

Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Americans' Inexplicable Aversion to the 1990s
  News & Politics
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
Sept. 20 2014 7:27 AM How Do Plants Grow Aboard the International Space Station?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 11:33 AM Planned Parenthood Is About to Make It a Lot Easier to Get Birth Control
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 21 2014 1:15 PM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 5  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Time Heist."
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 5:03 PM White House Chief Information Officer Will Run U.S. Ebola Response
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 21 2014 8:00 AM An Astronaut’s Guided Video Tour of Earth
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.