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Podcast

Tai Asks Why

Fifteen-year-old Tai Poole won’t rest until he’s uncovered the mysteries of the universe, one probing question at a time. In Season 4 of his Webby-winning podcast, Tai talks to everyone from NASA scientists to stand-up comedians to his equally curious little brother Kien. If you’ve ever wondered why nothing feels as good as a deep belly laugh or why it’s impossible not to finish a bag of Doritos, Tai has you covered.

Episodes

  • Are we alone in the universe?

    Jun 22 2022

    So far, the only intelligent life we know of is right here on Earth — us! But could there be life on other planets just waiting to be discovered? In this episode, Tai goes deep in the cosmos to explore how scientists are searching for signs of life beyond our little blue dot, and what their work can tell us about our place in the universe. In this episode Tai talks to: - Nathalie Cabrol, astrobiologist and director of research at the SETI Institute - Jacob Haqq-Misra, senior research investiga...more

  • Why do we laugh?

    Jun 15 2022

    Laughing makes us feel real good, whether you’re in on the joke or not. But does it serve a specific purpose? Why do we find some jokes hilarious and others to be total groaners? In this episode, Tai peels the science and sociology of laughter down to its evolutionary roots. In this episode Tai talks to: - Sophie Scott, professor of cognitive neuroscience at University College London and stand-up comedian - Andrew Phung, actor, improv comedian and creator of the sitcom Run the Burbs

  • How do animals know where they’re going?

    Jun 01 2022

    We know birds can travel large distances day or night, rain or shine, even if they’ve never migrated before. If you confuse a spiny lobster and drop it far from home, it can still find its way back. How do they do that? In this episode, Tai discovers the mysterious and mind-boggling ways animals navigate. In this episode Tai talks to: - David Barrie, researcher and author of Supernavigators: Exploring the Wonders of How Animals Find Their Way - Ken Lohmann, biology professor at the University o...more

  • Why is math so hard to love?

    May 25 2022

    To listeners of this podcast, it’s no secret that Tai loves math. But he knows that a lot of people, including his friends, definitely don’t feel the same way. In this episode, Tai uncovers why math gets such a bad rap, and if there’s any truth to the well-worn phrase: “I’m just not a math person!” In this episode Tai talks to: - Sian Beilock, cognitive scientist and president of Barnard College at Columbia University - Daniel Ansari, Canada Research Chair in Developmental Cognitive Neuroscienc...more

  • Why do we love junk food so much?

    May 18 2022

    Pizza, chips, gummy worms and wings — these are a few of Tai’s favourite things! He just can’t get enough of their sugary, fatty, salty goodness, even though he knows they’re not exactly good *for* you. But why does he find those foods so irresistible in the first place? In this episode, Tai unravels the science behind our food cravings and how companies use it to formulate products that hook us in. In this episode Tai talks to: - Yanina Pepino, associate professor in the Department of Food Sci...more

  • How reliable are our memories?

    May 11 2022

    Whether they're happy, sad or the embarrassing kind we'd rather forget, memories play a big part in our lives. They shape our identities, help us connect with others and allow us to learn from our past. But can we trust that our memories are accurate? In this episode, Tai digs deep into how memory works in the brain, and enlists the help of experts to interpret a particularly scary childhood memory. In this episode Tai talks to: - Ayanna Thomas, professor of psychology at Tufts University - Ste...more

  • What can I do when I’m anxious?

    May 04 2022

    Tai’s recently been experiencing a new, unsettling feeling that he just can’t always shake. His parents suggest it’s anxiety, and according to his friends, he’s not alone. But why does it have to feel so awful? In this episode, Tai looks for ways to manage his anxiety and where he can turn to for help. In this episode Tai talks to: - Adiaha I.A. Spinks-Franklin, developmental behavioral pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics for Baylor College of Medicine - Phoebe Chin, registered p...more

  • What will money look like in the future?

    Apr 27 2022

    Tai loves paying for stuff with his mobile wallet. It's quick, convenient and his pockets have never been lighter! Technology has made it easier than ever to interact with money, which has Tai wondering: will physical cash eventually be a thing of the past? From cows to cryptocurrency, Tai traces the evolution of money to see if its history can offer clues to where it’s headed next. In this episode Tai talks to: - Stephen McKeon, associate professor of finance at the University of Oregon - Gina...more

  • Can we keep eating meat without destroying the planet?

    Apr 20 2022

    To Tai, nothing beats cutting into a perfectly cooked steak or wolfing down a big, juicy cheeseburger. But lately he’s been paying more attention to the buzz around going meatless in the fight against climate change. “Plant-based” foods like beefless burgers and chickenless nuggets have made their way into grocery aisles and fast food chains. But are those actually better for the environment? What exactly is our appetite for meat doing to the planet? Tai investigates. In this episode Tai talks ...more

  • Tai’s back

    Apr 07 2022

    Ever wondered why nothing feels better than a deep belly laugh? Or why it’s impossible to not inhale a bag of chips in one sitting? You’re not alone — and you bet Tai’s got you covered. Season 4 of Tai Asks Why starts April 20, but you can hear episodes two weeks early on CBC Listen with a free account (web browser only). See ya soon!

  • Special episode: How powerful is NASA's new space telescope?

    Dec 17 2021

    So, there's a MAJOR event happening in space science. NASA is set to launch the enormous James Webb Space Telescope. Why is this such a big deal? Tai's here to tell you why. Here's a hint: the JWST is SO powerful, it should be able to capture the faint light of the universe in its infancy. Guiding Tai on this starlit path of discovery is Dr. Naomi Rowe-Gurney, a James Webb Space Telescope postdoctoral researcher with the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and Howard University.

  • Introducing: Unlocking the Fountain

    Oct 01 2021

    What if there were a pill that could add decades to your life? Would you take it? For thousands of years, people have searched for elixirs that could delay death and extend human life. Could new advances in medicine finally make this a reality? From madcap medicine to cutting-edge science, the quest to unlock the fountain of youth is teeming with dreamers, skeptics and charlatans alike. More episodes are available at: hyperurl.co/unlocking

  • Is it possible to predict the future?

    Mar 17 2021

    These are anxious times, and Tai just wants to know… what’s going to happen? He can’t look into a crystal ball, but there are actually people who spend their lives predicting the future. With their help, he looks towards the great unknown. In this episode Tai speaks to: - Rose Eveleth, the creator of Flash Forward Presents, a podcast network that demystifies the future, with shows like Flash Forward and Advice For And From The Future - Tim Chartier, Professor of Mathematics at Davidson College....more

  • How is the universe going to end?

    Mar 10 2021

    Not to be a downer, but the universe could end any minute. Or it could take a hundred million years. Give or take. So we don't know *when* it will happen, but we can be a bit more certain about *how* the universe will end. In this episode, Tai unpacks the science of the end times. In this episode Tai talks to: - Katie Mack, theoretical astrophysicist and the author of The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking), - Christopher Kochanek, professor of astronomy at the Ohio State University. H...more

  • Where is the internet?

    Mar 03 2021

    For Tai, the internet has always been there, and it's hard to imagine life without it. It seems almost like it's everywhere, all at once, like magical little clouds filled with information above us. But he learns there's a very real, physical system that allows him to send memes to friends or submit his homework. And more importantly, not everyone has equal access to it. In this episode Tai talks to: - Nicole Starosielski, Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York Uni...more

  • How else can we power the planet?

    Feb 24 2021

    Nothing on our planet could function without pooower! Even though energy is all around us, harnessing that energy and turning it into power is a massive challenge. Powering our day-to-day lives makes up almost half of fossil fuel emissions, which is causing climate change! Tai tries to find out if there's a better way to power the planet. In this episode Tai talks to: - Richard Randell, engineer and PhD candidate at Stanford's Mechanical Engineering program - Daniel Ddiba, research associate at...more

  • How much screen time is too much?

    Feb 17 2021

    Tai and all of his friends are in a constant war with their parents over one big thing — screen time. For years, their parents have been telling them that screen time is bad and needs to be limited. But is it really? Tai finds out. In this episode Tai talks to: - Kara Bagot, child and adolescent psychiatrist at the Icahn School of Medicine - Madeleine George, psychologist and analyst at RTI International - Jenny Odell, writer and artist, author of How to Do Nothing.

  • What is at the bottom of the ocean?

    Feb 10 2021

    The ocean covers over 70% of our planet, and yet, we’ve only mapped about a tenth of it. We know more about the far side of the moon than we know about our own ocean! In this episode, Tai explores the deep ocean to learn about its mysteries and what survives in its darkest corners. This week Tai spoke with: - Verena Tunnicliffe, a marine biologist who has spent 30 years studying all the weird and wacky animals that thrive on the bottom of the ocean - Melissa Omand, Assistant Professor of Oceano...more

  • How do I know what’s true on the internet?

    Feb 03 2021

    It’s easier than ever to be bamboozled by bad information. Tai and his friends are no exception—even smarty pants like them fall for things online. In this episode, Tai tries to figure out how to spot misinformation and how to stop it from spreading. This week Tai spoke with: - Andrea Bellemare, a CBC journalist who specializes in covering disinformation - Seema Yasmin, disease expert - Jemmika Anderson, media literacy expert and creator of I Am Not the Media

  • Why do humans dance?

    Jan 27 2021

    Don’t tell anyone: Tai thinks he has two left feet and he still loves to dance when no one’s watching. But why do humans like to dance at all? What’s going on in the brain when people boogie? In this episode, Tai tangos into the activity that has helped humans and communities survive for thousands of years, with the help of his whole family. This week Tai spoke with: - Peter Lovatt, psychologist, author of The Dance Cure - Ashley ‘Colours’ Perez, dancer and teacher @classwithcolours

  • Why are viruses so good at what they do?

    Jan 20 2021

    If you ever feel alone, you shouldn’t, because you are actually surrounded by viruses. They’re in you, they’re on you and, in fact, there are more viruses in the world than there are stars in the sky. So why aren’t we sick all the time? In this episode Tai looks at how viruses work, how they travel, and the ways in which they shape our lives—both bad and good. This week Tai spoke with: - Seema Yasmin, physician, writer and science communicator based at Stanford University - Lena Ciric, enviro...more

  • What's happening in my teen brain?

    Jan 13 2021

    Tai’s 14 now. As he goes through adolescence, there are all sorts of weird things happening in his brain that are literally reshaping it, getting him ready for adulthood! But what’s happening in there? Why do humans even have an adolescent phase? And how can Tai harness his mental superpowers while he has them? This week Tai spoke to: - Frances Jensen, Chair of Neurology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania - Juliet Davidow, psychology professor who developed the...more

  • New year, new Tai

    Jan 06 2021

    Notice anything different about Tai? It’s 2021 and he’s in high school now. A lot has changed, but not his insatiable quest for ANSWERS! Season 3 of Tai Asks Why will be out Wednesday, January 13. Catch you then.

  • Introducing Circle Round from WBUR

    Nov 26 2019

    Created and produced by parents of young children, Circle Round adapts carefully-selected folktales from around the world into sound- and music-rich radio plays for kids ages 4 to 10. Listen on your favourite podcast app.

  • Introducing: CBC Podcasts in Class

    Sep 26 2019

    Free teaching resources have been developed for select episodes of Tai Asks Why! If you — or someone you know — teaches middle-school science, health, language or social studies, visit cbc.ca/teachingguides to learn more.

  • How does a song get stuck in your head?

    Sep 25 2019

    Whether it’s a doot doot doot of an opening riff or a random mix of words from the chorus, 99 per cent of people admit to getting songs stuck in their heads. So what is it about certain songs that make them so catchy? How does a song get stuck in your head?

  • Ask Tai Why: Silence, no more humans, and the glow of the earth’s core

    Sep 23 2019

    In this week's bonus segment Ask Tai Why, Tai takes questions from: Penelope Cook, Toronto: Is there such a thing as complete silence? Griff, Yukon: What comes after humans? Finley, Wakefield, Quebec: Does the core of the earth glow?

  • Why is space so dark if it’s full of stars?

    Sep 18 2019

    Tai is fascinated by what’s in the dark spaces between the stars. Considering there are trillions of stars in the universe (and counting!), it seems a bit odd that the universe isn’t just a blinding ball of light. So then, why is space so dark?

  • Ask Tai Why: Fear, time and the colour of colours

    Sep 16 2019

    In this week's bonus segment Ask Tai Why, Tai takes questions from: Charlotte, Toronto: What is fear, and why were we born with it? Desmond: What is Time? George, Toronto: What makes colour a colour?

  • When the dinosaurs died, how did other animals survive?

    Sep 11 2019

    Tai spends a lot of time imagining how the apocalypse might go down. So, he turns to animals that have survived past apocalypses—like the one that killed the dinosaurs—to see what traits the true survivors have in common.

  • Ask Tai Why: Freckles, video games, and climate-changing farts

    Sep 09 2019

    In bonus segment Ask Tai Why, Tai answers some questions for a change. This week, he takes questions from: Grace, Hamilton: Why do I have freckles Henry: Why are Video Games so violent? Alex, Halifax: Are farts changing the climate?

  • What’s the science behind bullying?

    Sep 04 2019

    Tai and his friends all have experiences of being bullied. And, as he learns, it’s a pretty universal thing - even trees are known to bully other trees! Why is such an unpleasant thing so widespread? What is the science behind bullying?

  • Ask Tai Why: Cuteness, hotness and the origins of English

    Sep 02 2019

    In a new bonus segment called Ask Tai Why, Tai answers some questions for a change. This week, he takes questions from: Von Lewis, Halifax: Why do cute animals make us smile? Hamzah, Ontario: Why is the sun hot? Rhea, Ontario: Who invented the English Language?

  • What are animals saying to each other?

    Aug 28 2019

    Tai’s brother Kien thinks he can talk to ducks. We’ve taught our animals to sit and stay, but that’s not the same as us learning their language, you know? Do animals have language? And if they do, could we learn it? Can we ever really know what animals are saying to each other?

  • What is Deja Vu?

    Aug 28 2019

    You know that feeling when you feel like you have lived a moment already? Well that’s deja vu (French for already seen) and apparently, it happens to over 60 per cent of people! But why? Is it a good thing or a bad thing? What is Deja Vu?

  • Tai is back!

    Aug 21 2019

    Tai Poole is back - and he has no time for small talk. He’d rather discuss why space is so dark, the real reason for deja vu, and the science behind bullying. Join Tai as he boldly goes where no 7th grader has gone before to find you answers you never knew you needed. His conversations with everyone from NASA experts, to award-winning musicians, to his little brother Kien will expand your mind and touch your heart.

  • Introducing The Two Princes from Gimlet

    Jun 20 2019

    When Prince Rupert sets out to break the mysterious curse that’s destroying his kingdom, he’s ready to face whatever dastardly villain or vile monster stands in his way. What he isn’t prepared for are the bewildering new emotions he feels when he meets the handsome Amir, a rival prince on a quest to save his own realm. Forced to team up, the two princes soon discover that the only thing more difficult than saving their kingdoms is following their hearts. Listen to The Two Princes at gimlet.media...more

  • Tai is coming back for season 2...and he needs your help!

    Apr 09 2019

    Tai is coming back for a second season this September. Do you have a question you'd like Tai to answer? Send them our way! Plus, Tai Asks Why has been nominated for a Webby Award! But to win, we need your vote! Head to cbc.ca/taiaskswhy to learn how to vote or to ask Tai a question.

  • How will we fix climate change?

    Nov 21 2018

    Tai is freaking out about climate change. He's worried we're doomed. Tides are rising, species are dying from all of the heat. He's finding it hard to have hope...until he meets a man from NASA.

  • Which is cooler, zero or infinity?

    Nov 14 2018

    Before he fully spoke English, Tai's first language was math. He loves numbers! Now he's talking to mathematicians about the ultimate coolness of two very special numbers: zero and infinity.

  • Why do we dream?

    Nov 07 2018

    After thinking through a recent terrifying nightmare, Tai starts to question the importance of dreams. Why can't our minds just do nothing when we sleep?

  • What happens after you die?

    Oct 30 2018

    The death of his grandfather has Tai thinking about the afterlife. The idea that our bodies and consciousness become nothing is really weird and confusing. So Tai turns to different religions for answers.

  • Should we trust our gut?

    Oct 23 2018

    We've all heard the saying trust your gut, but is that scientifically accurate? Tai grapples with what that really means. If our guts are making decisions does that mean there's a brain in our gut?

  • What is love?

    Oct 23 2018

    Love is weird. How can this thing take over your body and bend it to its will? Tai looks to science, philosophy and his mom for answers.

  • Tai Says Hi

    Aug 28 2018

    Meet Tai Poole - a little guy with big questions. Join him as he heads from universities to playgrounds seeking answers. He may not solve all the mysteries of life, but give him a break ... he's only 11 years old. Coming October 24.