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?




The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
Sept. 30 2014 7:35 PM Who Owns Scrabble’s Word List? Hasbro says the list of playable words belongs to the company. Players beg to differ.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 11:51 PM Should You Freeze Your Eggs? An egg freezing party is not a great place to find answers to this or other questions.
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.