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But Why: A Podcast for Curious Kids

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But Why is a show led by kids. They ask the questions and we find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there. On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world. Know a kid with a question? Record it with a smartphone. Be sure to include your kid's first name, age, and town and send the recording to questions@butwhykids.org!

But Why is a show led by kids. They ask the questions and we find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there. On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world. Know a kid with a question? Record it with a smartphone. Be sure to include your kid's first name, age, and town and send the recording to questions@butwhykids.org!
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Location:

United States

Description:

But Why is a show led by kids. They ask the questions and we find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there. On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world. Know a kid with a question? Record it with a smartphone. Be sure to include your kid's first name, age, and town and send the recording to questions@butwhykids.org!

Language:

English


Episodes

How Are Noodles Made?

9/13/2019
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This week, we answer a question from 4-year-old Hugo in Burlington, Vt. Hugo wants to know how noodles are made. But he's about to get more than he bargained for! For this episode we visit a restaurant called M.Y. China, in San Francisco, CA to watch executive chef Tony Wu hand-pull 16,000 noodles in 2 minutes. The restaurant's owner, chef Martin Yan of the PBS show Yan Can Cook narrates the action. And to give us some historical context, Jen Lin-Liu, author of On the Noodle Road: From...

Duration:00:21:45

How Is Paper Made?

8/30/2019
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How is paper made from trees? Why does paper fall apart when it gets wet? Why does it lose color in the sun? Who invented paper? We make a few sheet of paper and learn all about how it's made with artist Carol Marie Vossler at BluSeed Studios in Saranac Lake, New York.

Duration:00:28:20

What Do Mosquitoes Do In Winter?

8/16/2019
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This episode is all about bugs! We've gotten a lot of questions from you about insects and other critters. So we're tackling them with the help of Jessica Honaker and Kristie Reddick, otherwise known as the Bug Chicks.

Duration:00:21:05

Why Do Earthquakes Happen?

8/2/2019
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Why do earthquakes happen? How do the tectonic plates move underground? How do we stay safe during an earthquake? Why are continents so far apart? Why do buildings sometimes catch fire after earthquakes? Why are there tsunamis after earthquakes? For this week's show we headed to California to visit Jennifer Strauss at the Berkeley Seismology Lab and we hear from Celeste Labedz at the California Institute of Technology.

Duration:00:28:22

How Do Circuits Work?

7/19/2019
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How do circuits work? How do electric plugs work? Why do some things conduct electricity and some things do not? How does a battery make a phone work? How do lights turn on? Where do electrons go when the electricity is off? How fast is electricity? How do light bulbs work? How does solar power work? How do electric cars work? Why is electricity dangerous? Electrical Engineer Paul Hines answers our questions for the second half of our electricity live call-in program. Hines is a professor at...

Duration:00:23:37

What Is Electricity?

7/5/2019
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Where does electricity come from? What is electricity made of? Who invented it? How does electricity work? What are electrons made of? Electrical Engineer Paul Hines answers our questions, in part one of our live call-in program. Hines is a professor at the University of Vermont and co-founder of Packetized Energy.

Duration:00:24:41

Why Do Trains Run On Tracks?

6/21/2019
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How do trains work? What about electric trains? Steam trains? Bullet trains? Why do they have to go on tracks? How can trains go so fast even though they're so heavy? And why don’t trains have seat belts? We’re traveling to Union Station in Washington, DC and answering all of your questions with Amtrak’s Patrick Kidd.

Duration:00:21:25

Why Are Boys Boys And Girls Girls?

6/7/2019
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This week we're answering questions about gender. We've gotten a lot of questions about the differences between boys and girls so we're tackling them with Vanderbilt anthropologist Anna Catesby Yant and Dr. Lori Racha of UVM Medical Center. This is a frank but age-appropriate conversation about male and female bodies and about how biological sex differs from gender. We think the whole family will enjoy this episode, but you're always free to give our episodes a listen to see if it's right...

Duration:00:34:34

How Do Mussels Get Their Shells?

5/24/2019
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We're heading to the coast of Maine to learn a little bit about why the sea is salty and how mussels get their shells with Zach Whitener, a research associate at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland, Maine. We also get an answer to a question to how you get a ship in a bottle from Colorado-based ship-in-bottle builder Daniel Siemens in this encore episode from 2016.

Duration:00:24:48

Why Am I Afraid Of The Dark?

5/10/2019
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Lots of people are afraid of the dark, including many kids who have shared that fear with us. In today's episode we explore the fear of the dark with Daniel Handler, better known as Lemony Snicket, the author of the Series of Unfortunate Events books, and a picture book for young kids called The Dark. Then we go on a night hike with Vermont Fish and Wildlife biologist Steve Perren, to talk about ways to embrace the darkness. We practice our night vision by not using flashlights and we think...

Duration:00:33:37

Why Is Sugar Bad For You?

4/26/2019
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Why do we need to eat and how does food give us energy? Why do you have to eat vegetables? Why does junk food taste so good? So many questions about food and nutrition. We get answers from Wesley Delbridge, of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Other questions in this episode include: Why does eating salty food make you thirsty? Why is sugar bad for you? Why are vitamins in food? Why is breakfast so important? Why do children get hungry at night? Why is fast food so popular?

Duration:00:29:59

"Do Skunks Like Their Own Smell?" And Other Stumpers!

4/12/2019
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Today, 10 questions with one answer in common: "That's a good question!" We've picked 10 stumpers, like: Why don't we suffocate in cars when we're driving? How do we know where our mouths are? Why are there more boys than girls in books? Do monkeys every touch the ground? Why don't fish get electrocuted when lightning strikes? Where does the sidewalk end? Our experts include naturalists Mary Holland, author Grace Lin, primatologist Sofia Carrara, pediatrician Laurie Racha, Dan Goodman of AAA...

Duration:00:20:48

Who Makes The Laws?

3/29/2019
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Who makes the laws? That's what 5-year-old Paxton from Kelowna, British Columbia wants to know! We learn about laws with Mike Doyle of the Canadian organization Civix, and Syl Sobel, author of How the U.S. Government Works. We also answer a question from Charlotte in North Carolina: how do elections work? And Hattie in England asks why her country has a government and a queen.

Duration:00:25:01

Still Funny: Why Do We Laugh?

3/15/2019
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Why do we laugh? Why do you feel ticklish when someone tickles you? Why can't you tickle yourself? In this episode, originally from 2018, we learn about how humor develops with Gina Mireault of the Infant Laughter Project at Northern Vermont University. Plus: April Fools traditions and we listen to jokes sent in by kids with Vermont comedian Josie Leavitt.

Duration:00:26:51

How Is But Why Made? What Is Sound?

3/1/2019
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In this episode of But Why, we're answering your questions about...us! Why do you make But Why? How are podcasts made? And we're answering questions about the physics of sound and radio. What is sound and how is it made? Why are sound waves invisible? How do echoes work? How do microphones work? How do radio signals work? Answers to your sound and radio questions from our VPR colleagues: sound engineer Chris Albertine and Chief Technology Officer Joe Tymecki.

Duration:00:30:12

Why Is There A Big Patch Of Garbage In The Pacific Ocean?

2/15/2019
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Why is there a big patch of garbage in the Pacific Ocean? Four-year-old Leon has heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and he wants to know what the deal is. So we speak with someone who's actually been there! Teen Vogue News and Politics Editor Alli Maloney visited the garbage patch last year for a series called Plastic Planet. But in this episode we'll also explore how young people are becoming activists, trying to reduce the amount of plastic waste produced, waste that sometimes goes...

Duration:00:24:04

Why Do Elephants Have Trunks? Why Do Giraffes Have Purple Tongues?

2/1/2019
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We're exploring two different animals in today's episode. One has a long neck and the other has a long trunk! We'll answer: Why are elephants so big? How do their trunks work? Why do they have tusks? Why is elephant skin so rough? Do elephants stomp? Are they actually afraid of mice? And Why are elephants being poached? Peter Wrege of the Elephant Listening Project, which studies elephants in Central African Republic, answers elephant questions. And Steph Fennessy, from the Giraffe...

Duration:00:20:58

Why Do Days Start At 12 O'Clock?

1/18/2019
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How was time created? How did one minute become 60 seconds and one hour became 60 minutes? Why is time segmented into 12-hour periods? How do clocks work? Why is a year 365 days? Why is there an extra day in February every four years? Does time have a beginning or an end? Is time travel possible? Answers to all of your time questions with Andrew Novick of NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Duration:00:31:30

Why Do We Sometimes See The Moon During The Day?

1/4/2019
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Why does the moon change shape? How much does the moon weigh? What color is the moon? Why does the Earth only have one moon? Why does the moon have holes? Where does the moon go when we can't see it? Why do we sometimes see the moon in the daytime? Why does the moon look like it's following you when you're in the car? Answers to your moon questions with John O'Meara, chief scientist at the W.M. Keck Observatory.

Duration:00:21:36

What Is It Like To Be An Adult?

12/21/2018
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What is it like to be an adult? It's a big question from a young mind! We invited adults who listen to share their perspectives and Nora McInerny, host of the podcast Terrible, Thanks for Asking, helps guide us through that and a few other questions about the strange world of adults: Why can adults do things that kids can't do? Why don't adults play pretend like they used to when they were kids? What happens when you don't listen to your boss? And why do people cry when they're happy?

Duration:00:29:38