Tai Asks Why


Fifteen-year-old Tai Poole won’t rest until he’s uncovered the mysteries of the universe, one probing question at a time. In Season 4 of his Webby-winning podcast, Tai talks to everyone from NASA scientists to stand-up comedians to his equally curious little brother Kien. If you’ve ever wondered why nothing feels as good as a deep belly laugh or why it’s impossible not to finish a bag of Doritos, Tai has you covered.


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Fifteen-year-old Tai Poole won’t rest until he’s uncovered the mysteries of the universe, one probing question at a time. In Season 4 of his Webby-winning podcast, Tai talks to everyone from NASA scientists to stand-up comedians to his equally curious little brother Kien. If you’ve ever wondered why nothing feels as good as a deep belly laugh or why it’s impossible not to finish a bag of Doritos, Tai has you covered.




Tai Asks Why Introduces: Tumble Science Podcast for Kids

Tumble is a science podcast created to be enjoyed by the whole family. With over 100 episodes over 7 seasons, Lindsay and Marshall have explored science topics ranging from poop, to space, to animals, and literally everything in between. In their 8th season, coming up this September, they’ll be covering even more topics, always in a fun, accessible way for the whole family to enjoy. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, or at sciencepodcastforkids.com


How do we fix recycling?

Tai tries to do his part by recycling whenever he can. But it turns out just tossing stuff into the blue bin doesn't do a whole lot: less than 10 percent of our plastic waste actually gets recycled, with the rest either ending up in landfill, burned or shipped overseas! How did we get here? Tai turns to people looking for creative ways to tackle trash around the world, and learns how we can all be more mindful of what we decide to throw away. In this episode Tai talks to: - Calvin Lakhan,...


Why do we laugh?

Laughing makes us feel real good, whether you’re in on the joke or not. But does it serve a specific purpose? Why do we find some jokes hilarious and others to be total groaners? In this episode, Tai peels the science and sociology of laughter down to its evolutionary roots. In this episode Tai talks to: - Sophie Scott, professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London and stand-up comedian - Andrew Phung, actor, improv comedian and creator of the sitcom Run the Burbs


Are we alone in the universe?

So far, the only intelligent life we know of is right here on Earth — us! But could there be life on other planets just waiting to be discovered? In this episode, Tai goes deep in the cosmos to explore how scientists are searching for signs of life beyond our little blue dot, and what their work can tell us about our place in the universe. In this episode Tai talks to: - Nathalie Cabrol, astrobiologist and director of research at the SETI Institute - Jacob Haqq-Misra, senior research...


How do animals know where they’re going?

We know birds can travel large distances day or night, rain or shine, even if they’ve never migrated before. If you confuse a spiny lobster and drop it far from home, it can still find its way back. How do they do that? In this episode, Tai discovers the mysterious and mind-boggling ways animals navigate. In this episode Tai talks to: - David Barrie, researcher and author of Supernavigators: Exploring the Wonders of How Animals Find Their Way - Ken Lohmann, biology professor at the...


Why is math so hard to love?

To listeners of this podcast, it’s no secret that Tai loves math. But he knows that a lot of people, including his friends, definitely don’t feel the same way. In this episode, Tai uncovers why math gets such a bad rap, and if there’s any truth to the well-worn phrase: “I’m just not a math person!” In this episode Tai talks to: - Sian Beilock, cognitive scientist and president of Barnard College at Columbia University - Daniel Ansari, Canada Research Chair in Developmental Cognitive...


Why do we love junk food so much?

Pizza, chips, gummy worms and wings — these are a few of Tai’s favourite things! He just can’t get enough of their sugary, fatty, salty goodness, even though he knows they’re not exactly good *for* you. But why does he find those foods so irresistible in the first place? In this episode, Tai unravels the science behind our food cravings and how companies use it to formulate products that hook us in. In this episode Tai talks to: - Yanina Pepino, associate professor in the Department of Food...


How reliable are our memories?

Whether they're happy, sad or the embarrassing kind we'd rather forget, memories play a big part in our lives. They shape our identities, help us connect with others and allow us to learn from our past. But can we trust that our memories are accurate? In this episode, Tai digs deep into how memory works in the brain, and enlists the help of experts to interpret a particularly scary childhood memory. In this episode Tai talks to: - Ayanna Thomas, professor of psychology at Tufts University -...


What can I do when I’m anxious?

Tai’s recently been experiencing a new, unsettling feeling that he just can’t always shake. His parents suggest it’s anxiety, and according to his friends, he’s not alone. But why does it have to feel so awful? In this episode, Tai looks for ways to manage his anxiety and where he can turn to for help. In this episode Tai talks to: - Adiaha I.A. Spinks-Franklin, developmental behavioral pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics for Baylor College of Medicine - Phoebe Chin,...


What will money look like in the future?

Tai loves paying for stuff with his mobile wallet. It's quick, convenient and his pockets have never been lighter! Technology has made it easier than ever to interact with money, which has Tai wondering: will physical cash eventually be a thing of the past? From cows to cryptocurrency, Tai traces the evolution of money to see if its history can offer clues to where it’s headed next. In this episode Tai talks to: - Stephen McKeon, associate professor of finance at the University of Oregon -...


Can we keep eating meat without destroying the planet?

To Tai, nothing beats cutting into a perfectly cooked steak or wolfing down a big, juicy cheeseburger. But lately he’s been paying more attention to the buzz around going meatless in the fight against climate change. “Plant-based” foods like beefless burgers and chickenless nuggets have made their way into grocery aisles and fast food chains. But are those actually better for the environment? What exactly is our appetite for meat doing to the planet? Tai investigates. In this episode Tai...


Tai’s back

Ever wondered why nothing feels better than a deep belly laugh? Or why it’s impossible to not inhale a bag of chips in one sitting? You’re not alone — and you bet Tai’s got you covered. Season 4 of Tai Asks Why starts April 20, but you can hear episodes two weeks early on CBC Listen with a free account (web browser only). See ya soon!


Special episode: How powerful is NASA's new space telescope?

So, there's a MAJOR event happening in space science. NASA is set to launch the enormous James Webb Space Telescope. Why is this such a big deal? Tai's here to tell you why. Here's a hint: the JWST is SO powerful, it should be able to capture the faint light of the universe in its infancy. Guiding Tai on this starlit path of discovery is Dr. Naomi Rowe-Gurney, a James Webb Space Telescope postdoctoral researcher with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Howard University.


Introducing: Unlocking the Fountain

What if there were a pill that could add decades to your life? Would you take it? For thousands of years, people have searched for elixirs that could delay death and extend human life. Could new advances in medicine finally make this a reality? From madcap medicine to cutting-edge science, the quest to unlock the fountain of youth is teeming with dreamers, skeptics and charlatans alike. More episodes are available at: hyperurl.co/unlocking


Is it possible to predict the future?

These are anxious times, and Tai just wants to know… what’s going to happen? He can’t look into a crystal ball, but there are actually people who spend their lives predicting the future. With their help, he looks towards the great unknown. In this episode Tai speaks to: - Rose Eveleth, the creator of Flash Forward Presents, a podcast network that demystifies the future, with shows like Flash Forward and Advice For And From The Future - Tim Chartier, Professor of Mathematics at Davidson...


How is the universe going to end?

Not to be a downer, but the universe could end any minute. Or it could take a hundred million years. Give or take. So we don't know *when* it will happen, but we can be a bit more certain about *how* the universe will end. In this episode, Tai unpacks the science of the end times. In this episode Tai talks to: - Katie Mack, theoretical astrophysicist and the author of The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking), - Christopher Kochanek, professor of astronomy at the Ohio State...


Where is the internet?

For Tai, the internet has always been there, and it's hard to imagine life without it. It seems almost like it's everywhere, all at once, like magical little clouds filled with information above us. But he learns there's a very real, physical system that allows him to send memes to friends or submit his homework. And more importantly, not everyone has equal access to it. In this episode Tai talks to: - Nicole Starosielski, Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York...


How else can we power the planet?

Nothing on our planet could function without pooower! Even though energy is all around us, harnessing that energy and turning it into power is a massive challenge. Powering our day-to-day lives makes up almost half of fossil fuel emissions, which is causing climate change! Tai tries to find out if there's a better way to power the planet. In this episode Tai talks to: - Richard Randell, engineer and PhD candidate at Stanford's Mechanical Engineering program - Daniel Ddiba, research associate...


How much screen time is too much?

Tai and all of his friends are in a constant war with their parents over one big thing — screen time. For years, their parents have been telling them that screen time is bad and needs to be limited. But is it really? Tai finds out. In this episode Tai talks to: - Kara Bagot, child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Icahn School of Medicine - Madeleine George, psychologist and analyst at RTI International - Jenny Odell, writer and artist, author of How to Do Nothing.


What is at the bottom of the ocean?

The ocean covers over 70% of our planet, and yet, we’ve only mapped about a tenth of it. We know more about the far side of the moon than we know about our own ocean! In this episode, Tai explores the deep ocean to learn about its mysteries and what survives in its darkest corners. This week Tai spoke with: - Verena Tunnicliffe, a marine biologist who has spent 30 years studying all the weird and wacky animals that thrive on the bottom of the ocean - Melissa Omand, Assistant Professor of...