Moment of Um-logo

Moment of Um

American Public Media

Moment of Um is your daily answer to those questions that pop up out of nowhere and make you go… ummmmmmm. Brought to you by your friends at Brains On at APM Studios.

Location:

United States

Description:

Moment of Um is your daily answer to those questions that pop up out of nowhere and make you go… ummmmmmm. Brought to you by your friends at Brains On at APM Studios.

Language:

English


Episodes

Why is air invisible?

2/22/2024
Air – we can’t breathe without it, we can’t live without it, we know it’s made up of molecules, so why is it invisible? Chemist Vicky van der Geer-Bock will help us answer this question. If there’s a question whose answer feels invisible to you, we can help with that! Submit your Moment of Um question at BrainsOn.org/contact and we’ll help find the answer.

Duration:00:04:58

Do cockroaches have hearts?

2/21/2024
Our hearts are strong muscles that pump blood all through our bodies. But do hearts look the same in different animals? What about a tiger, or a lizard, or…a cockroach? Do cockroaches even have hearts? ? We asked urban bug expert Dr. Jody Green to help us find the answer. Got a question that’s been bugging you? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll fly the answer your way.

Duration:00:04:36

How do shoelaces come untied?

2/20/2024
Have you ever been walking around when you notice that your shoelaces have come untied, even though you just tied them? What’s up with that? We asked engineer Christine Gregg to help us understand. Send us your questions for Moment of Um at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll do all the footwork to find the answer.

Duration:00:05:11

Why are some people lactose intolerant?

2/19/2024
Say cheese! But if you’re lactose intolerant maybe don’t eat it? Cuz any kind of milk based food will probably give you a tummy-ache! But why? We asked pediatrician Dr. Anjuli Gans why some people are lactose intolerant… and she helped us understand what it is and why it happens. Got an udderly awesome question? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll milk it for some answers!

Duration:00:05:33

How many germs could we see without a microscope?

2/16/2024
There are so many bacteria in the world that we still haven’t discovered them all! But because bacteria are so tiny, they’re really only visible with the help of a microscope. But what if lots and lots of those teeny tiny bacteria got together in a clump? How many would have to pile together before we could see that pile with just our eyes? We asked microbiologist Daniel Bond to help us find the answer. Got a question GERM-inating in your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help micro-SCOPE out an answer!

Duration:00:04:45

Why do crickets chirp?

2/15/2024
The sound of crickets on a warm summer evening is just so soothing, isn’t it? All those little insects in the grass, talking to each other about… well, we don’t really know! In fact, we don’t know why they chirp at all. We asked neurobiologist Jon Lambert to tell us what’s actually going on out there at night. If you’ve got a question that just won’t let you rest, send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll do our best to find the answer!

Duration:00:04:04

What would happen if you took a party balloon to space?

2/14/2024
Have you ever accidentally let go of a helium balloon and watched it float up … up … and away? It drifts way up in the sky until it’s just a tiny speck! But what would happen if a balloon made it all the way to outer space? We asked astrophysicist Amanda Farah to help us find the answer. Got a question that popped into your head? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll float you an answer!

Duration:00:04:37

Why does the moon change colors?

2/13/2024
Have you ever noticed that the moon looks different at different times of the month? Not just the shape, whether it’s full and round or a tiny sliver – but the color also looks different sometimes. Maybe it’s dark orange, or silvery white, or even a bluish tinge. We asked astronomer and planetarium educator Sarah Komperud to help us understand. Is there a Moment of Um question you’re mooning over? Launch it our way at BrainsOn.org/contact and we’ll look for the answer.

Duration:00:03:34

What happens if you put too much yeast in bread?

2/12/2024
Most bread dough needs yeast to make it rise, so the bread can be light and fluffy when it bakes. But can you put TOO much yeast in bread? What happens if you do? Do you get a bread balloon? We asked food scientist Dave Domingues to help us find the answer. Got a question that’s rising to the top of your brain? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’d LOAF to help you find the answer!

Duration:00:05:52

Why do we use toothpaste?

2/9/2024
Toothpaste is something that lots of people use to keep their teeth clean. It makes our mouths smell nice and fresh, but that’s not the only thing it does! So, why do we use toothpaste? We asked dentist Dr. Jean Star to help us find the answer. Got a question that’s stuck in your head, like spinach between molars? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll help floss out an answer.

Duration:00:06:25

What's the sourest thing in the world?

2/8/2024
Most of us are familiar with the taste of something sour – that tart feeling that makes your eyes close and your facial features squint. Lemons, lime juice, kimchi are all sour - but what is the sourest thing in the world? We asked Janelle Clepper who has a Masters of Public Health in Nutrition from the University of Minnesota to help us figure it out. And if YOU have a question, we can help with that! Submit your Moment of Um question at BrainsOn.org/contact and we’ll help find the answer.

Duration:00:04:00

What's inside teeth?

2/7/2024
Our teeth are incredible chomping machines. Their strong outer layer helps us crunch carrots, nibble potato chips and chew bubblegum! But what’s inside of them? We asked dentist Dr. Jean Star to help us find the answer. Got a question that’s eating you up inside? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll chew it over!

Duration:00:05:30

Why don't pine trees lose their needles in the winter?

2/6/2024
In the winter, most of us are used to seeing bare tree branches – but some trees, like firs, pines, and spruces, don’t usually lose their needles when it gets cold. We asked forest ecologist Diana Macias to help us understand why. Got a Moment of Um question for us? Go to BrainsOn.org/contact to send it to us, and we’ll root around for the answer.

Duration:00:04:50

Why do different countries have different flags?

2/5/2024
There are 195 different countries in the world, and they all have different flags. Why is that? And where did flags come from? We asked flag expert Michael Green to unfurl the answers. Do you have a vexing question of your own? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact and we’ll help you flag down the answer.

Duration:00:06:54

Why do we need punctuation marks?

2/2/2024
If you open a book, you’ll see lots of letters that come together to make different words. Sandwiched in between the words are little dots, lines and squiggles called punctuation marks. But why do we need those, when they don’t make any sounds at all? We asked writing teacher Kristin Bauck to help us find the answer. Got a question that’s right on the mark? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact – we can’t punc-tu-WAIT to help you answer it!

Duration:00:05:18

Why do words sound funny when repeated?

2/1/2024
Have you ever noticed that when you say the same word over and over, it starts to sound funny? It’s like the word loses its meaning and just becomes weird, disconnected sounds. One of our listeners wanted to know why, and we went to linguist Shohini Battasali for the answer. Got a Moment of Um question for us? Go to BrainsOn.org/contact to send it to us, and we’ll go in search of a solution, solution, solution, solution…

Duration:00:04:12

How does concrete harden?

1/31/2024
Concrete is all around us. It makes up the buildings we live in, the sidewalks we walk on, the ramps we do our sick skateboard tricks on … but how is it made? How does it go from a thick, sludgy paste into a hard, smooth surface? We asked engineering professor Matthew Adams to help us find the answer. Got a question that seems to keep getting harder? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll use all our ce-MENTAL ability to find the answer!

Duration:00:05:45

Do spiders poop?

1/30/2024
When you have a pet, part of taking care of that pet is cleaning up after them. Whether it’s scooping dog doo-doo from the yard, cleaning caca from your cat’s litter box, or picking out the pellet sized poops from a hamster’s cage, dealing with dookie is part of living with animals. But one of our listeners is wondering…do spiders poop? Paul Shamble of Harvard University helps us understand. If you’ve got a Moment of Um question that’s itching to get out, send it our way at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll scoop up the answer.

Duration:00:03:56

When were coupons invented?

1/29/2024
Have you ever looked through newspaper or magazine advertisements and seen coupons? They’re those little paper rectangles that let you pay less for certain foods, items, or services. But when was the first coupon printed? Who had the idea to advertise with sweet sweet deals? We asked historian Bart Elmore to help us find the answer. Got a question that’s limited time only? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll bargain for an answer for you!

Duration:00:05:00

How does a touch screen work?

1/26/2024
Cell phones and tablets are like portals into other worlds. You can play games, take photos, read books – all with just the tap of a finger! But how do touch screens work? We asked mechanical engineer and science educator Tiffani Teachey to help us find the answer. Got a question that you’ve been monitoring? Send it to us at BrainsOn.org/contact, and we’ll tap out an answer!

Duration:00:05:23