Chemistry

How SuperBalls Work

You can thank Wham-O's SuperBall for inspiring the name of the NFL's Big Game (buh) and you can thank the fear and the Soviet launch of Sputnik aroused in America for the invention of SuperBall! Learn the history and physics of this bouncy legend.

How Play-Doh Works

Do you love Play-Doh? Chuck and Josh certainly love to talk about it, from its interesting history as a wall cleaner, to its more scientific chemical properties. It's everything you ever wanted to know about the pliable children's toy.

There's nothing better than waking up to the unmistakable aroma of frying bacon. Even some vegetarians I know admit that the smell is pretty darn tempting -- the same ones that are revolted by a whiff of a steak on the grill. In the United States you can choose from all kinds of bacon -- center cut, low-sodium, extra thick, maple flavored, etc. You can go for turkey bacon if that's your bag (which doesn't really count) or even buy it pre-cooked. We also have Canadian bacon, a.k.a. ham. I've mentioned this on the Stuff You Should Know podcast and gotten feedback from our friends from the Great White North explaining that they call "American" bacon "back bacon," "peameal bacon" or just plain old bacon. It's great for breakfast or for lunchtime on a BLT (bacon, lettuce, tomato) sandwich. In California you'll want to add avocado if you want to fit in.

If you have a hairy belly, then you're familiar with the fun of belly button fluff. Most people probably think that this lint is just tiny bits of cotton collected in the navel from the clothes they wear. Well, that's partially true. But an article last week in the London Telegraph reveals that belly button fluff is a little more complicated than that. A chemist spent three years studying his own navel fluff as well as talking to other people about their own. He found that while it's largely cotton lint, it also contains fat, sweat, dust and dead skin. The small hairs around the navel curve inward and act like tiny hooks, pulling in the funky concoction to lay at rest in the belly of your belly. How's that for some Monday water cooler talk?