HowStuffWorks - Learn How Everything Works!

Today's Mind-blower
10 Overlooked Food Safety Guidelines

Think you can only get food poisoning at a C-rated restaurant? Guess again. Your kitchen can also be a major hotbed of illness-causing bacteria if you ignore some basic food-handling procedures.

    • 10 Really Smart People Who Did Really Dumb Things
      science 10 Really Smart People Who Did Really Dumb Things

      Having a Ph.D., four stars on your general's uniform or a seat in the Oval Office won't necessarily stop you from doing things that make others want to whack you on the head with a "how could you?" Here are 10 people who should've thought twice.

    • Can snakes really come up a toilet pipe?
      animals Can snakes really come up a toilet pipe?

      If snakes can come up a toilet pipe, then you may be left afraid to face the porcelain throne. Don't fret, we'll share the slithery details on these rare occurrences.

    • 10 of the Worst Decisions Ever Made
      history 10 of the Worst Decisions Ever Made

      Everyone makes mistakes, but some lapses in judgment are spectacularly bad. What are some of history's most epic miscalculations?

    • Stuff to Blow Your Mind: Your Brain on Gum - Science on the Web
      shows Stuff to Blow Your Mind: Your Brain on Gum - Science on the Web

      Can chewing gum boost brain performance? Find out in the gum-snapping episode.

    • 10 Surprisingly Believable Bits of Malarkey
      science 10 Surprisingly Believable Bits of Malarkey

      Some malarkey is so believable that it's turned many of us into inadvertent purveyors of hogwash. What are 10 bits of malarkey that tend to slip through the "hey, wait a minute" filter?

    • Is the cloud spiral phenomenon real?
      science Is the cloud spiral phenomenon real?

      Admit it: You'd be just a little freaked out if you looked up at the night sky and saw a weird glowing spiral stretching out before you. In 2009, many claimed to witness such a phenomenon, but were they spinning yarns or telling the truth?

    • 10 Must-have Survival Tools You Probably Already Have
      adventure 10 Must-have Survival Tools You Probably Already Have

      When disaster strikes, you may be stranded at home for a while. How will you manage? The good news is that there's already a wide range of useful survival tools right there in your kitchen or garage.

    • Does the Parthenon really follow the golden ratio?
      history Does the Parthenon really follow the golden ratio?

      The iconic Greek temple known as the Parthenon is thought to have been built following a mathematical concept called the golden ratio. Did it really?

    • 10 Creepy TV Show Fan Theories
      electronics 10 Creepy TV Show Fan Theories

      Yes, it may seem like the reason the characters on "The Simpsons" don't age is because it's a cartoon. But the real reason is because they're stuck in a time loop. Far-fetched? You haven't heard our other wild TV show theories.

    • Was Napoleon really short?
      history Was Napoleon really short?

      If someone of small stature exhibits bullying behavior, that person is sometimes said to have a Napoleon complex. Did Napoleon himself have one, though?

    • How Drought Works
      science How Drought Works

      What happens when the rains cease and water levels dry up precipitously? Everything from abundant grasses to apex predators suffers the consequences. Will you?

    • 10 Fastest Cars in the World
      auto 10 Fastest Cars in the World

      When a "Top 10 Fastest Cars" list begins at 230 mph (370 kph), you know you're in for a real high-speed treat. Did your favorite fast car make the list?

    • Fw:Thinking: How dangerous is artificial intelligence?
      shows Fw:Thinking: How dangerous is artificial intelligence?

      Is the murderous "intelligence experiment gone wrong" just Hollywood storytelling, or should we be worried about a future dictated by robot overlords?

    • Can animals understand human language?
      animals Can animals understand human language?

      Many humans are sure their pets understand a variety of commands -- but what do the experts have to say? Read on to find out exactly how much animals grasp the English language.

    • 10 Absolutely Worst Foods to Eat
      science 10 Absolutely Worst Foods to Eat

      We all eat things we probably shouldn't, and that's OK from time to time. But there are some foods that are such nutrition bombs that even occasional indulgence isn't exactly wise.

    • 10 UAV Jobs of the Future
      money 10 UAV Jobs of the Future

      Although unmanned aerial vehicles (aka drones) were originally developed for military use, civilians have found hundreds of uses for them -- leading to creation of jobs that never existed before. Fancy being a drone farmer?

    • Can a full coat of body paint kill you?
      people Can a full coat of body paint kill you?

      Body painting, popular with models, artists and cosplayers, is a visually striking medium. But are there hidden dangers? Can head-to-toe body paint actually kill you? Read this to find out if death by paint is real.

    • Can you teach an old dog new tricks?
      animals Can you teach an old dog new tricks?

      When it comes to dogs, age really is just a number. If you've got the patience, you surely can teach an old dog some new tricks.

    • 10 Restroom Etiquette Rules People Are Constantly Breaking
      people 10 Restroom Etiquette Rules People Are Constantly Breaking

      Who's the worst in the restroom? The person who drips on the seat, talks on the phone or hogs the mirror? We put all three – and some others – on our list of annoyances.

    • 5 Ways You Still Can't Get Ebola
      health 5 Ways You Still Can't Get Ebola

      You may not know how to pull on personal protection equipment like a health care pro, but we bet you've learned a lot about Ebola and its transmission since it hit the news. Or have you?

    • 10 Myths About Sugar
      health 10 Myths About Sugar

      We love it, but is sugar a sweet thing or the devil in disguise? Does it really cause obesity, tooth decay and diabetes? Get the facts on the world's favorite carbohydrate.

    • 10 Myths About Gluten
      recipes 10 Myths About Gluten

      Is gluten the new saccharin – the evil product that must be shunned at all costs if we are to avoid cancer, lose weight and feel better? Not so fast, say the experts. A gluten-free diet could be bad for you.

    • 10 Famous Paranormal Hoaxes
      science 10 Famous Paranormal Hoaxes

      Crop circles. Alien autopsies. Time travelers. These are just some of the paranormal phenomena that people have believed in but were later found to be hoaxes. Often, even when someone admitted to making it up, that didn't stop the true believers.

    • 9 Extinct Exotic Sea Creatures
      animals 9 Extinct Exotic Sea Creatures

      A stunning array of strange and ferocious aquatic beasts patrolled Earth's waters long before they became the stuff of legends and "Jurassic Park" movies. One could eat a great white shark in one gulp.

    • 10 Horror Films That Changed the Genre
      entertainment 10 Horror Films That Changed the Genre

      Admit it: You think of "Jaws" when you go to the beach and "The Blair Witch Project" when you wander a little too far into the woods. These horror films didn't just change behavior; they revamped the genre.

    • 10 Myths About Sleep
      health 10 Myths About Sleep

      Everybody sleeps, so you'd think we'd all be experts on dozing. But it turns out, there are some persistent myths that are keeping us from getting the best possible rest.

    • 10 Ways Animals Supposedly Predict the Weather
      science 10 Ways Animals Supposedly Predict the Weather

      Next time the cat starts sneezing, should you look for your umbrella or check her out for allergies? There are many superstitions out there about animals and weather prediction. Which ones hold water, and which ones are for the birds?

    • 10 Amazing Circus Families
      entertainment 10 Amazing Circus Families

      For some, being a circus performer is a job; for others, it is a way of life. Many circus families stretch back seven or eight generations. Who are some of the most storied circus families still under the big top today?

    • Train Etiquette: 10 Rules of Riding the Rails
      people Train Etiquette: 10 Rules of Riding the Rails

      The train seems to bring out the wackadoodle and boorishness in commuters in ways that are still uncommon on planes. Which 10 things must you never do when riding the rails?

    • 10 Fairy Tales That Were Way Darker Than You Realized as a Kid
      people 10 Fairy Tales That Were Way Darker Than You Realized as a Kid

      Cinderella was the only girl who could fit the glass slipper, right? But did you know her two stepsisters cut off parts of their feet to try to fit it? That's just one gory detail Disney left off.

    • 10 Things Wearables Have Taught Us About Ourselves
      electronics 10 Things Wearables Have Taught Us About Ourselves

      We eat too much, sleep too little and need to walk more. We already knew many of the things wearables have taught us, but do they change long-term behavior?

    • 10 Businesses Supposedly Controlled by the Mafia
      people 10 Businesses Supposedly Controlled by the Mafia

      Just like workers in any field, Mafia members are changing with the times and running some old schemes in new ways. What businesses does the Mob have its hooks in, and how does it maintain control?

    • 10 Unsolved Mysteries That Have Been Solved
      science 10 Unsolved Mysteries That Have Been Solved

      Was Anna Anderson really Anastasia Romanov? Does the Bermuda Triangle really exist? Wonder no more: We have the answers to these and other formerly unsolved mysteries.

    • 10 Cretaceous Animals That Weren’t Dinosaurs
      animals 10 Cretaceous Animals That Weren’t Dinosaurs

      The dinos hog all the Cretaceous headlines. Do you have any idea what else scurried, hopped and otherwise cruised around Earth before the K-T mass extinction?

    • 10 Myths About Surviving a Tornado
      science 10 Myths About Surviving a Tornado

      To stay safe during a tornado, it's important to separate fact from fiction. Should you open windows during a storm? Is one corner of the basement safer than another? We answer those questions and more.

    • 10 Plausible Sports Conspiracy Theories
      people 10 Plausible Sports Conspiracy Theories

      It's tempting to think that the only way your favorite team (or athlete) could lose is because of some funny business from the other side. And sometimes you'd be right. Here are 10 sports conspiracy theories that could totally have happened.

    • 10 Most Terrifying Vehicle Manufacturing Defects
      auto 10 Most Terrifying Vehicle Manufacturing Defects

      Each year, auto manufacturers issue about 500 recalls. Most of them are small, inexpensive, easy to repair and not terrifying at all. These are not those recalls.

    • 10 Fascinating Facts About Flatus
      health 10 Fascinating Facts About Flatus

      Flatulence is funny, but there's actually some pretty interesting stuff going on in your body to cause it. After reading these 10 facts, you may never look at airplane travel the same way.

    • Could a planet exist without a host star?
      science Could a planet exist without a host star?

      It's not uncommon for planets to wander alone through the universe like big, sullen teenagers. But how do they end up flying solo, and could they still harbor life?

    • Are cheetahs clones of each other?
      animals Are cheetahs clones of each other?

      Cheetahs share so much DNA that they're practically clones of one another. But what does this mean for the future of the species?

    • How do you get a job as a travel writer?
      money How do you get a job as a travel writer?

      Want to see the world but feel like you can't afford it? As a travel writer, you'll get paid to take readers along as you journey across the globe. Read on to learn how to make your way in this highly coveted field.

    • Are manatees really responsible for mermaid myths?
      animals Are manatees really responsible for mermaid myths?

      Beautiful, graceful, majestic: Such highfalutin words might seem befitting of a mermaid, but a manatee? Perhaps our humble friends deserve a bit more credit. After all, they are known to stoke the imagination of a lonely seafarer or two.

    • Did Paul Revere really yell 'The British Are Coming'?
      history Did Paul Revere really yell 'The British Are Coming'?

      Since Longfellow's famous poem, Paul Revere has gotten the credit for warning colonists about the British attack in 1775, but is he worthy?

    • What's a double pulsar?
      science What's a double pulsar?

      A single pulsar is fascinating enough, but as a set, these rapidly rotating neutron stars help scientists figure out mysteries of the universe.

    • How do you get a job testing toys?
      money How do you get a job testing toys?

      Want to tinker with toys all day and get paid for the privilege? Read on to learn how to make it as a toy tester!

    • Will digital photography ever be as good as film for movies?
      electronics Will digital photography ever be as good as film for movies?

      The digital revolution is in full swing. Digital technology has enhanced what we watch on TV and the music we listen to. But will movies shot digitally ever look as good as movies shot on film?

    • Should I really punch animals in the nose when attacked?
      animals Should I really punch animals in the nose when attacked?

      You're not likely to ever get in a straight-up boxing match with another animal (kangaroos with boxing gloves aside). That said, it's probably a good idea to know whether a few efficient jabs to the schnoz can help you escape an irate animal.

    • Do dire wolves exist?
      animals Do dire wolves exist?

      As fans of George R.R. Martin's "Song of Ice and Fire" series know all too well, a person encountering a dire wolf will likely end up in dire straits. But while these fearsome beasts make for great fiction, do they have any grounding in reality?

    • Did George Washington really have wooden teeth?
      history Did George Washington really have wooden teeth?

      George Washington is the subject of numerous myths, including a persistent one about the material used to make his dentures.

    • Can you die if you don’t sleep?
      health Can you die if you don’t sleep?

      Feel like sleep deprivation will be the death of you? It just might be, but perhaps you can curtail this devastating situation.

    • Do daddy longlegs really have powerful venom?
      animals Do daddy longlegs really have powerful venom?

      With its long legs and goofy way of motoring about, the daddy longlegs generally doesn't top lists of the scariest spiders. But should it? After all, if legends are to be believed, it's one of the most poisonous spiders of all.

    • Can we detect water on exoplanets?
      science Can we detect water on exoplanets?

      Looking for water on faraway planets doesn't involve spotting rivers or oceans. Instead, scientists keep an eye out for what types of light a planet emits to figure out whether a planet might be life-friendly.

    • Can alcohol cause anxiety?
      health Can alcohol cause anxiety?

      Insomnia, upset stomach, sweating, fast heartbeat -- this is the day-to-day of someone with an anxiety disorder. A cocktail (or a beer or glass of wine) can affect anxiety in many ways, but some people think one is almost a side effect of the other.

    • Did people in the past really only live to be 30?
      history Did people in the past really only live to be 30?

      Since people generally didn't live past the age of 30, our ancestors didn't have to contend as much with issues of aging, right? Not exactly.

    • Can watching too much TV at night make you depressed?
      health Can watching too much TV at night make you depressed?

      Watching television has been blamed for all sorts of ills, including childhood obesity and the escalating violence in society. Is it time to add another to the list: depression?

    • How can I spot genealogy scams?
      people How can I spot genealogy scams?

      Who would run a genealogy scam? More people than you might think. So get savvy! Here's what to look for (and what to tell budding genealogists in your family to avoid). We'll start with the most common cons out there.

    • How do you pick the shortest checkout line?
      money How do you pick the shortest checkout line?

      In a hurry? Not so fast, that short checkout line may not actually be the better option.

    • Do female praying mantises decapitate their mates?
      animals Do female praying mantises decapitate their mates?

      Mating shouldn't be something you lose your head over, but tell that to the male praying mantis. This poor creature has long been the butt of countless procreation jokes, but does he even deserve this unfortunate reputation?

    • Ocean Current Pictures
      science Ocean Current Pictures

      Ocean currents can have an incredible impact on Earth's weather. This gallery of images shows how powerful ocean currents can be in the environment.

    • Bodily Feats
      entertainment Bodily Feats

      Can you breathe fire, swallow a sword or walk on glass? These people can. Take a look at this gallery of bodily feats that might make you cringe.

    • Tatted Up: Celebrity Ink
      people Tatted Up: Celebrity Ink

      There are some celebrity tattoos we love and some that we hate. Pull up a chair and take a look at these celebrity tattoo pictures and see some of the good, the bad and the ugly.

    • Lightning Pictures
      science Lightning Pictures

      Some of the most dramatic displays of nature can be found in the form of lightning bolts. This stunning image gallery showcases this fascinating phenomena.

    • Everything I Need to Know About Parenting I Learned From TV
      lifestyle Everything I Need to Know About Parenting I Learned From TV

      Anyone who grew up watching the tube learned a thing or two about what it takes to be a parent from these fictional moms and dads. Check out this gallery of things we learned about parenting from TV.

    • Famous Historical Couples
      history Famous Historical Couples

      When these men and women weren't composing poetry, combating the Great Depression or committing mass genocide, they were sharing their lives with their equally famous other halves. They may be revered (or reviled) for the deeds that secured their presence in history books and pop culture, but they were also loved.

    • Competitive Eating
      entertainment Competitive Eating

      A hot dog eating contest that takes place on Coney Island each summer routinely makes headlines in papers across the country. See pictures of this and other competitive eating contests.

    • The Ultimate Cake Off
      recipes The Ultimate Cake Off

      In TLC's "Ultimate Cake Off," you'll see the greatest cake artists in the world. Check out our collection of pictures and see what we mean.

    • U.S. Wedding Destinations
      lifestyle U.S. Wedding Destinations

      Forget destination weddings and seek inspiration from a map of the United States. Whether you're into beaches, mountain ranges, quaint towns or natural wonders, you can plan a gorgeous getaway that doesn't require a passport!

    • Diamonds Are Forever
      science Diamonds Are Forever

      Diamonds are some of the most brilliant and expensive natural features Earth has to offer. This collection of images displays diamonds in all their uncut and polished shapes and sizes. Obligatory pictures of very large diamonds are included of course.

    • American Landmarks
      adventure American Landmarks

      These American landmark pictures range from the natural wonders of the United States to famous works of architecture. How many of these landmarks have you visited?

    • Bridges
      science Bridges

      Bridges are amazing displays of scientific engineering. This collection of pictures highlights some of the most spectacular structures ever created.

    • Foods for Beautiful Skin
      health Foods for Beautiful Skin

      What you eat can make a big difference in your health and appearance. See these pictures to learn about foods that are great for your skin.

    • Space Conspiracy Theories
      science Space Conspiracy Theories

      The moon landing is just one of many sources of debate among space conspiracy theorists. This image gallery wades into the discussion on this theory and a few others.

    • Pregnancy and Human Development
      health Pregnancy and Human Development

      Explore the stages of pregnancy with these pictures and get a first-hand look at developing fetuses and ultrasound technology. Do you know what fundal height is or when the limbs are developed? Take a look and find out.

    • Glaciers
      science Glaciers

      One of the most impressive features of the natural world are glaciers. These massive sheets of ice can travel hundreds of miles. This gallery shows some of the main features of glaciers.

    • Greatest Moments in Flight
      science Greatest Moments in Flight

      Flight has been a human dream for centuries. It wasn't until the dawn of the 20th century that man was finally able to leave the ground. This gallery highlights some of the milestones in aviation.

    • Royalty
      history Royalty

      Our royalty image gallery will show you pictures of famous kings and queens, both ancient and modern.

    • Harriet Tubman Pictures
      history Harriet Tubman Pictures

      These Harriet Tubman pictures will show photographs and illustrations of the leader of the Underground Railroad. Get to know this influential woman in this gallery.

    • What's in that recipe?
      recipes What's in that recipe?

      Much like fingerprints, no two recipes are alike. Sometimes, it's just one special ingredient that sets a dish apart from imitators. Take our quiz to discover if you can spot the common and incredibly exotic ingredients found in complex recipes from around the world.

    • World Records: Bodily Feats
      entertainment World Records: Bodily Feats

      The human body can do some pretty amazing things, from sword swallowing to walking on fire. Some people have even earned Guinness World Records for their bodily feats. Take this test and try to set the record for most questions answered correctly.

    • Real Tech or 'Star Trek'?
      electronics Real Tech or 'Star Trek'?

      Which of the imagined 23rd-century gadgets from the original "Star Trek" and its movie and TV sequels remain futuristic, and which technologies have already been invented? Try our quiz.

    • Dead or Alive: Escaping from The Thing
      entertainment Dead or Alive: Escaping from The Thing

      Who are we kidding? There's no escaping from The Thing. Your only hope is to confront this strange creature face to face and save yourself and humanity. But do you know enough to stop it? Find out in this quiz.

    • Who Said It: Bush or Obama?
      money Who Said It: Bush or Obama?

      George W. Bush and Barack Obama obviously have strong differences of opinions about many, many things. But check out these quotes about economic matters -- could it be that these two aren't as far apart as we think?

    • Quiz: Pregnancy Myths
      health Quiz: Pregnancy Myths

      For whatever reason, pregnancy has fueled a huge number of myths over the years. So much so that it's easy to imagine pregnancy is all these so-called "old wives" had time to talk about!

    • The Master of Muppets: Jim Henson Quiz
      entertainment The Master of Muppets: Jim Henson Quiz

      Even if you’re a die-hard fan of “Sesame Street” and “The Muppet Show,” you can’t possibly know all there is to know about Jim Henson and his work … or can you? Take the challenge and find out!

    • The Not-so-cheesy Pizza Quiz
      recipes The Not-so-cheesy Pizza Quiz

      What do you know about Italy's national dish? If you said everything, you're already wrong because nobody calls it Italy's national dish. Grab a slice and give a salut while you test your pie wisdom.

    • Ultimate Classic Toys Quiz
      entertainment Ultimate Classic Toys Quiz

      Does the thought of an Etch-A-Sketch bring a smile to your face? Know your facts about Silly Putty, the Hula Hoop, Barbie and G.I. Joe? Rev up your Hot Wheels and test how much you really know about these childhood classics.

    • Amazing Animals: Dog Breeds Quiz
      animals Amazing Animals: Dog Breeds Quiz

      In 2008, the Westminster Kennel Club awarded the Best in Show honor to a beagle -- a first for the breed. But what exactly is a dog breed and how did the different breeds, from the tiny Chihuahua to the massive Great Dane, originate?

    • Wild World: Déjà Vu
      science Wild World: Déjà Vu

      If you've ever walked into a new friend's home and felt that you've been there before, then you've experienced déjà vu. If you've ever walked into a new friend's home and felt that you'd been there before, then you've experienced déjà vu. If you've ever ... OK, that's enough. Is it reincarnation? Is something wrong with the brain? What's behind this eerie feeling?

    • History Buff: First Olympics Quiz
      entertainment History Buff: First Olympics Quiz

      The first Olympics in ancient Greece were an arena to display athletic prowess for honor's sake. Think you're an expert in the ways of the Greek games? Grease up and try our quiz to find out if you're a gold medalist in ancient Olympic trivia.

    • Amazing Animals: Walrus Quiz
      animals Amazing Animals: Walrus Quiz

      The walrus has many clever adaptations to help it survive and thrive in some of the harshest climates on Earth. You may not be the walrus, but test your knowledge of these toothy creatures in the walrus quiz anyway.

    • Quiz: Could you fit in as a Musketeer?
      history Quiz: Could you fit in as a Musketeer?

      To be counted among the Musketeers of the Guard, a group of soldiers first selected hundreds of years ago to protect the king of France, a candidate had to be skilled in war, politics and love. See if you could make the grade.

    • Food Fun: Coffee Quiz
      recipes Food Fun: Coffee Quiz

      It's a cold winter morning, and you could use a couple more hours of sleep, but your commute awaits. The only thing that rouses you from the warm confines of your down comforter is the prospect of a hot cup of coffee washing down your cold throat.

    • Celebrity Challenge: Famous Artists
      entertainment Celebrity Challenge: Famous Artists

      Artists are the visual historians of society, transforming ideas and events into paintings, drawings and sculptures. Certain artists have wielded their craft so successfully that their work, in turn, has influenced history. Test your knowledge of some of these groundbreaking visionaries by taking the famous artists quiz.

    • Everyday Science: Diamond Quiz
      science Everyday Science: Diamond Quiz

      A famous slogan claims that a diamond is forever. While these precious stones symbolize love and glamour for millions of couples, there's a lot about nature's most famous jewel you might not know.

    • Fact or Fiction: The Moonwalk
      people Fact or Fiction: The Moonwalk

      Does the mere mention of Michael Jackson’s signature dance move have you itching to get out on the dance floor (or your kitchen floor)? Before you try to master the moonwalk, find out how much you know about its history with this out-of-this-world quiz.

Stuff You Should Watch
check out our shows
test your knowledge
Baby Naming Trends Quiz
TAKE THE CHALLENGE
Baby Naming Trends Quiz
Average: 9 points | 20 Questions

You may have heard of Mary, Anna and Sarah -- but what about Isabella, Madison and Ava? What the most popular names for kids these days?

Stuff ... Illustrated
poll: what do you think?

Do you work in a cubicle?

All About Mysteries