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What was the first life on Earth?

Paleontologist Neil Shubin holds part of a fossil from Tiktaalik roseae. (Dan Dry | University of Chicago)
Paleontologist Neil Shubin holds part of a fossil from Tiktaalik roseae. (Dan Dry | University of Chicago)

What was the very first lifeform like? What was the first fish or mammal? Is it even possible to know?

How do pianos work?

(TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
(TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

In this episode, we take a field trip to a piano shop, peek behind the walls at a world-famous piano factory and have an EPIC FIGHTING BATTLE to discover how sound travels.

How do elevators work?

A woman uses an elevator in Mexico City on March 26, 2015.  (RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman uses an elevator in Mexico City on March 26, 2015. (RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

Elevators are like magic. You walk in, the door shuts and when it opens again, you are suddenly someplace new! Ta da! But it’s not magic that does this trick, it’s science and engineering.

Why is the ocean salty?

North Yellow Banks Beach at Olympic National Park. (Courtesy of National Park Service)
North Yellow Banks Beach at Olympic National Park. (Courtesy of National Park Service)

If you’ve ever been the ocean, you’ve tasted that salt. But where does it come from? And why aren’t lakes and rivers salty too? A sea shanty is probably the best way to explain, right?

Ants: Who’s in charge here?

Ants use their antennae sense scents and find their way. (ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)
Ants use their antennae sense scents and find their way. (ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

We have a lot to learn from ants. This episode digs into the hierarchy of ant colonies (spoiler alert: there is none) and why they walk in a straight line (spoiler alert: they don’t).

Do we all see the same colors?

(KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)
(KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images)

What if the color that you call blue and the color I call blue don’t look the same at all? When our brains see color, we’re really just seeing waves of light. Sure, we may be seeing the same waves when we look at the color blue, but do we know if our brains are interpreting those waves in the same way?

Dinosaur bones: How do we know their age?

The section of a dinosaur tail with feathers running through the amber piece. (Royal Saskatchewan Museum | R.C. McKellar)
The section of a dinosaur tail with feathers running through the amber piece. (Royal Saskatchewan Museum | R.C. McKellar)

Fossil dating is a lot like eating a delicious ice cream cake. Well, sort of. We find out how scientists look at the rock and elements AROUND a fossil to figure out its age. Plus: We talk to a scientist who studied one of the coolest fossils discovered recently: a dinosaur tail trapped in amber, complete with feathers!

Lighting the way for sea turtles at Gulf Islands National Seashore

Baby Kemp's ridley sea turtle at Gulf Islands National Seashore. (Courtesy of NPS)
Baby Kemp's ridley sea turtle at Gulf Islands National Seashore. (Courtesy of NPS)

We don’t know much about the long life of a sea turtle, since it’s mostly spent in the ocean. When they do come ashore to lay their eggs, we know the babies use the moon and stars to guide them back to sea. But what happens when hotels and houses and streetlights compete for their attention?