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What makes cute things cute?

(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
(Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Think of the cutest puppy, kitten or baby you’ve ever seen. Now what sound did you just make? Was it an “Awwwww?” Or did you want to pinch, bite or squeeze it? In this episode, we’ll find out why this is a natural reaction to cute and why we’re so easily distracted by cute things.

Fire vs. Lasers!

Which is cooler: fire or lasers? (Images courtesy US Forest Service and SLAC)
Which is cooler: fire or lasers? (Images courtesy US Forest Service and SLAC)

Fire and lasers are both super cool — but which is COOLER? Producer Marc Sanchez has tricks up his sleeve for team fire and Sanden Totten gives his all for team laser.

How do whales communicate?

Humpback whales. (Courtesy of NOAA Fisheries)
Humpback whales. (Courtesy of NOAA Fisheries)

The sounds whales make underwater are super cool, and also very important for them to locate prey, navigate and communicate with each other. We find out how they make those sounds and what scientists think they mean.

Body Bonanza: Yawns, hiccups, goosebumps and more!

Does this photo make you want to yawn? (Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Does this photo make you want to yawn? (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The terrific topics tackled in this episode: Hiccups, yawns, getting dizzy, goosebumps, fingerprints, limbs falling asleep, brain freeze, chattering teeth and why your voice sounds different when it’s recorded.

Could it rain lemonade?

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If you filled a lake with lemonade, would it rain lemonade? This delicious head-scratcher does not have a straightforward answer. It’s one-part water cycle, one-part delicious drink and if we’re lucky, one-part lemonade rain.

How do invisible x-rays help us see?

A 20-sided structure from a bacterial cell, called a carboxysome, is struck by an X-ray pulse. (Courtesy of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)
A 20-sided structure from a bacterial cell, called a carboxysome, is struck by an X-ray pulse. (Courtesy of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory)

X-rays, part of the electromagnetic spectrum, help doctors see our bones — but they also help scientists understand the very smallest particles and the most massive black holes.

Carnivorous plants: How they lure, trap and digest

Venus fly traps at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. (Molly Bloom | MPR News)
Venus fly traps at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. (Molly Bloom | MPR News)

Most plants get the energy and nutrients they need from water, sunlight, air and soil. But carnivorous plants get key nutrients from a different source: bugs. We’ll find out how they do it and talk about the mystery of how venus fly traps snap shut.

Help us pick a match-up!

What should producers Marc Sanchez and Sanden Totten debate this time? Lasers vs. Fire? Left brain vs. Right brain? Chocolate vs. Vanilla? Vote!

What’s behind the waves and tides?

Alex Leon of New South Wales rides a wave during the 2016  Shark Island Challenge off South Cronulla Point on June 8, 2016 in Sydney, Australia.  (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Alex Leon of New South Wales rides a wave during the 2016 Shark Island Challenge off South Cronulla Point on June 8, 2016 in Sydney, Australia. (Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

How does the moon control the tides? Where do waves come from? And what’s it like to live in a tide pool?

How is glass made?

Glass bottles being made at Anchor Glass in Shakopee, Minn. (Molly Bloom | MPR News)
Glass bottles being made at Anchor Glass in Shakopee, Minn. (Molly Bloom | MPR News)

The process that turns sand into glass is very cool – or rather, we should say very hot. Very, very, very hot as it turns out. Humans have been turning minerals from the earth’s crust into glass for 3,500 years. Find out how it’s done and how it’s evolved – from blowing glass by hand to a factory that makes hundreds of glass bottles every minute. Plus: The mystery sound!