Why do we get goosebumps?

3 minutes

Why do fear, cold and sublime feelings all provoke the same response in our skin?

The reason humans get goosebumps – or, to be technical, experience horripilation – when scared is simple enough: perceived threats are met with a rush of adrenaline through the bloodstream, causing muscle contractions that make hairs stand on end. This made our much hairier ancestors appear larger to potential predators. But why does our skin react this way when we’re cold or when we’re moved by a song, a landscape or a painting? Or even when we drink lemon juice? This video from NPR’s Skunk Bear probes some of the evolutionary origins of our skin’s most mysterious adaptation.

Producer: Adam Cole, Ryan Kellman

Video/Art

Born of pain, filled with power – a teenage girl’s art that confronts in order to heal

6 minutes

ORIGINAL
Video/History of Ideas

Was there any before, before the Big Bang?

6 minutes

Video/History

Albania built 750,000 bunkers for a war that never came. Now what?

24 minutes

Idea/Ecology & Environmental Sciences

Polar bears need to be fat, and they can’t be without sea ice

Thea Bechshoft

Essay/Epidemiology

Who names diseases?

Swine Flu, Naples Soldier, Ebola. Disease names express fear, create stigma and distract attention. Can they be improved?

Laura Spinney

Video/Mathematics

Getting down with squares – the dance styles of geometry

6 minutes

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Idea/Space Exploration

Space exploration is still the brightest hope-bringer we have

Earle Kyle

Video/Evolution

Watch as the whale becomes itself: slowly, slowly, from land to sea, through deep time

10 minutes

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Essay/History of Science

The cosmology of Poe

Drawing on intuition, Edgar Allan Poe offered some remarkably prescient ideas about the universe in his poem 'Eureka'

Paul Halpern