Brian Palmer

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

Faith-based
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?
Explainer
Feb. 1 2013 2:44 PMFido Seeking FidoIf your dog has gay sex, does that make him a gay dog?
Explainer
Jan. 30 2013 11:52 AMDocumenting the UndocumentedHow do you count unauthorized immigrants?
Explainer
Jan. 25 2013 1:12 PMIs It Safe to Eat Damaged Fruit?How to deal with a bruised banana.
Explainer
Jan. 23 2013 3:38 PMIs There Anything Left To Sanction in North Korea?A guide to doing business legally with the hermit kingdom.
Explainer
Jan. 18 2013 3:06 PMNeither Snow Nor Rain Nor Steep Hills ...Why did the U.S. Postal Service sponsor a cycling team?
Explainer
Jan. 16 2013 1:29 PMGuard DogDoes the Secret Service protect Bo Obama?
Explainer
Jan. 3 2013 3:59 PMBeer Barrel PoliticsWhen did alcohol become so heavily taxed?
Explainer
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?
Explainer
Dec. 21 2012 1:06 PMWhat Would Jesus Burn?Whatever happened to frankincense and myrrh?
Explainer
Dec. 19 2012 4:08 PMDoes Anyone Still Practice the Mayan Religion?If the world ends Friday, someone should get to take the credit.
Explainer
Dec. 18 2012 3:33 PMWhy Is the NRA So Powerful?How the gun lobby leverages modest resources into outsized influence.
Explainer
Dec. 14 2012 3:43 PMWhat Did Kids Read Before Hans Christian Andersen?Homer, among other things.
Explainer
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.
Explainer
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.
Explainer
Feb. 5 2013 12:32 PMPancakes: It’s What’s Not for DinnerWhy do we eat pancakes only for breakfast?
Explainer
Jan. 31 2013 12:29 PMDo Corporate Name Changes Ever Work?BlackBerry joins Sony, Exxon, Datsun, and Unisys in an expensive gamble.
Explainer
Jan. 28 2013 1:28 PMUncle Sam Might Want YouWill women have to register for the next military draft?
Explainer
Jan. 24 2013 6:26 PMCan States Exile People?“I hereby sentence you to life in Virginia, without parole.”
Explainer
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.
Explainer
Jan. 17 2013 12:03 PMBureau of Bad HabitsWhy does the same agency regulate alcohol, tobacco, and firearms?
Explainer
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.
Explainer
Jan. 2 2013 2:05 PMDemocracy or GerontocracyIs Congress getting older?
Explainer
Dec. 26 2012 11:35 AMCapitol Christmas GiftsDo ethics rules ruin Christmas for our legislators?
Explainer
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.
Explainer
Dec. 18 2012 5:49 PMWhere Can I Fire My Gun?A mini-Explainer on how states regulate the discharge of firearms.
Explainer
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.
Explainer
Dec. 13 2012 4:14 PMWhose Smile Is It, Anyway?Can researchers reconstruct the smile of the real Mona Lisa from skeletal remains?
Explainer
Dec. 12 2012 3:16 PMAll the Pontiff’s MenHow do you get a job on a Vatican council?
Explainer
Dec. 7 2012 3:12 PMThe Season of Renewal and SuicideWhy are people more likely to kill themselves in springtime than during the holidays?

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TODAY IN SLATE

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

Politics

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?

Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM Americans' Inexplicable Aversion to the 1990s
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 20 2014 11:13 AM -30-
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
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."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 21 2014 2:00 PM Colin Farrell Will Star in True Detective’s Second Season
  Technology
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
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.