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Marshall's Mailbag Episode Returns!

Marshall is taking the reins again, which means it's another Marshall's mailbag episode! We're taking a bunch of great questions we've gotten, and answering each one in today's episode.

Photo of a mole

1) Where do rainbows get their color?

If you're interested in reading the great blog post that Greg Gbur sent me to in answer to the question about rainbows, you can find it here!

For those of you interested in a little more kid-friendly version, here are some great videos about it:

From SciShow:

From Physics Girl:

2) Why are naked mole rats naked?

We didn't know this before this week, but it turns out that naked mole rats are our favorite weird, weird animal. There are a ton of crazy cool facts we learned about naked mole rats that we couldn't put in the show, and we thought we'd list them (with links!) here!

Did you know that naked mole rats...

-Are immune to cancer?

-Live in colonies like bees and ants, with a single breeding queen who is the mother of all the other animals in the colony, who are either workers or soldiers?

-May not actually age?

-Don't feel certain kinds of pain?

-Aren't actually hairless, but are covered with whiskers that help them navigate underground?

-Are cold blooded, like reptiles, despite the fact that they're mammals?

-Have sections of their burrows that are used as communal bathrooms?

-That, if you look at them long enough, are actually kinda cute?

Before this week, we had no idea that they were so crazy interesting and weird. It's amazing how much you can learn about an animal you thought you knew!

3) Why can't you sneeze with your eyes open?

It turns out that you can! You can see the video of Marshall sneezing with his eyes open here, and it also turns out that MythBusters beat us to this one:

4) Why do we dream?

The whole time we recorded this question, Lindsay kept singing this song to herself:

For an interesting article on the neuroscience of memory consolidation, you can look here--though be warned, it's definitely not for kids! Unless, of course, you're the type of kid who likes to read articles in Science. In which case, have at it!

5) Why can't you tickle yourself?

The study we referred to in the episode can be found here, if you want to try to read it for yourself. For a version that tells the story in a little plainer language, you can read a summary in Scientific American. Marshall's favorite image from the study, though, is right here, in which scientists try very, very hard to determine a model for "tickliness:"

A complicated chart to study tickling


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