Tag: history

Ambergris: Why Perfume Makers Love Constipated Whales

Ambergris: Why Perfume Makers Love Constipated Whales

Hi, this is Emily from MinuteEarth. For centuries, perfume-makers have been obsessed with ambergris, a rare, gross-looking substance that gives fragrances a long-lasting, animalistic odor. Yet, for a long time, no one knew what ambergris was – hunks of it just appeared on the ocean’s surface or along seashores, leading

Why Do We Eat Spoiled Food?

Some of our very favorite foods are closer to this than this. That’s because coffee, bread, cheese, beer – even chocolate! – are home to millions of microbes. In fact, these foods only acquire the tastes, smells, and textures we love because of tiny bacteria and fungi. The vast majority

Why Pets Have Surprisingly Small Brains

This video was sponsored by 23andMe. Hi, this is Emily from MinuteEarth. Domestication has puppified dogs, fluffified sheep, and spotified horses – but there’s a less obvious physical change that virtually all domesticated animals share: shrunken brains. Duck brains have shrunk by about 15%, cat brains by 30%, and pig

Napoleon’s Invasion of Russia 1812

Napoleon’s Invasion of Russia 1812

Russia, 1812. Napoleon invades his former ally with the largest army Europe has ever seen. But for the French Emperor, the decisive blow remains frustratingly beyond reach. Russia’s resilience is unlike anything he’s ever encountered. And as winter closes in, his army begins the most infamous retreat in history. In

The Secret Global Sewer System

The Secret Global Sewer System

Hi, this is Alex from MinuteEarth. Farmers are obsessed with water. It makes sense – their livelihoods depend on crops that will die without enough water. So lots of farmers buy expensive equipment to pump tons of water to their fields. In fact, of all the water humans use, 70%

Adam Ruins Everything – The Shocking Way Private Prisons Make Money

Adam Ruins Everything – The Shocking Way Private Prisons Make Money

Adam, you got me into this, now you get me out! I promise, I have someone working on it. But in the meantime, this is a great opportunity to explain why our nation’s prison system is a failure on every level. Ha! So you know a lot about prison? I

Alex Owens – Appendix

One particular convoy. We were escorting this Merchant ship. It was SS Penelope Barker, it was called. And we used to go along- beside- each day, and shout instructions to it, to get a move on. Because it was always lagging behind. And they said they had somebody onboard, who

Poop Transplants!

Poop Transplants!

This ecology experiment is one of many that have demonstrated how ecosystems with many species tend to be more resilient than those with few species. We’re biased towards this particular grassland experiment because it’s run by one of our writers, but strength in numbers – species numbers! – is also