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60-Second Science

Leading science journalists provide a daily minute commentary on some of the most interesting developments in the world of science. For a full-length, weekly podcast you can subscribe to Science Talk: The Podcast of Scientific American . To view all of ou


For River Otters, Social Life Is Shaped by the Latrine

Thu, 27 Oct 2016 09:00:00 -0500

Alaskan river otters can gain valuable information about one another by sniffing around their latrines. Jason G. Goldman reports.

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Falcons Patrol Fruit Fields for Pesky Invasive Birds

Wed, 26 Oct 2016 10:45:00 -0500

Birds of prey work where other traditional methods of bird abatement—like scarecrows, pyrotechnics and netting—fail. Emily Schwing reports.

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Clark Kent's Glasses Aided His Anonymity

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 09:00:00 -0500

Slightly altering one’s appearance—even with glasses—can indeed hinder facial recognition by others. Erika Beras reports.

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Poor Sleepers Worse at Recognizing Unfamiliar Faces

Wed, 19 Oct 2016 12:10:00 -0500

Subjects suffering insomnia got more wrong answers in a face-matching task—but they were paradoxically more confident of their responses. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Yawns Help the Brain Keep Its Cool

Tue, 18 Oct 2016 21:15:00 -0500

Theory has it yawning helps cool the brain—and it turns out animals with bigger brains do indeed tend to yawn longer. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Polar Bears Can't Just Switch to Terrestrial Food

Fri, 14 Oct 2016 20:03:00 -0500

With a shorter season of sea ice, polar bears have less access to marine mammals. But switching to a terrestrial diet deprives them of the fatty seal meals they need to thrive.  

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Flowers Deceive Flies with Chemical Cocktail

Thu, 13 Oct 2016 22:49:00 -0500

The parachute flower smells like alarm pheromones of a honeybee, to attract tiny flies that feed on bees under attack.

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Feed Microbes Oxygen to Help Clear Spilled Oil

Wed, 12 Oct 2016 11:56:00 -0500

A technique called “biosparging” relies on pumping oxygen underground to help naturally occurring microorganisms multiply and consume oil spills.    

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Elephant Footprints Become Tiny Critter Havens

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 21:38:00 -0500

When rain fills the massive footprints left by elephants, communities of aquatic invertebrates quickly move in

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Future Wet Suits Otter Be Warmer

Mon, 10 Oct 2016 19:32:00 -0500

Future wet suits with surface textures like the thick fur of otters that trap insulating air layers could keep tomorrow's divers warmer in icy waters.  

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Gender Influences Recommendations for Science Jobs

Thu, 6 Oct 2016 10:18:00 -0500

Female applicants to postdoctoral positions in geosciences were nearly half as likely to receive excellent letters of recommendation, compared with their male counterparts. Christopher Intagliata reports

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Nobel in Chemistry for Molecular Machines

Wed, 5 Oct 2016 07:50:00 -0500

Jean-Pierre Sauvage, James Fraser Stoddart and Bernard L. Feringa share the 2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the design and synthesis of molecular machines.  

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Nobel in Physics for Secrets of Exotic Matter

Tue, 4 Oct 2016 07:40:00 -0500

David J. Thouless, F. Duncan Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz split the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics for theoretical discoveries of topological phase transitions and topological phases of matter.  

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Nobel in Physiology or Medicine to Yoshinori Ohsumi for Autophagy Discoveries

Mon, 3 Oct 2016 06:51:00 -0500

Japan's Yoshinori Ohsumi wins the 2016 prize for discoveries related to autophagy, the process in cells whereby they degrade some of their internal structures and send the parts out for recycling.  

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Great Migration Left Genetic Legacy

Sun, 2 Oct 2016 15:22:00 -0500

Reseachers have started to examine the genetic traces of the movement of some six million African-Americans from the south to the north and west between 1910 and 1970.  

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