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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


Drumming Beats Speech for Distant Communication

Wed, 25 Apr 2018 14:20:00 -0500

The Bora people in the northwestern Amazon use drums to send languagelike messages across long distances. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Bees Have a Goldilocks Lawn Mow Schedule

Mon, 23 Apr 2018 22:12:00 -0500

Lawns mowed every two weeks hosted more bees than lawns mowed every three weeks. Jason G. Goldman reports. 

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If Singing's Tough, Try Whistling

Sat, 21 Apr 2018 12:00:00 -0500

A new study claims it's easier to accurately whistle a melody than to sing it. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

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Traffic Deaths Increase after 4:20 P.M. on 4/20

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 17:09:00 -0500

A look at a database of fatal traffic accidents found a 12 percent increase on the informal marijuana holiday 4/20 after 4:20 P.M. compared with nearby dates.  

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NYC Mice Are Packed with Pathogens

Wed, 18 Apr 2018 22:20:00 -0500

Mice trapped in New York City apartment buildings harbored disease-causing bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Mine Social Media Posts to Predict Flu

Tue, 17 Apr 2018 19:02:00 -0500

Researchers used Twitter searches for nonflu words associated with behavior to predict flu outbreaks two weeks in advance.

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Planting Milkweed for Monarchs? Make Sure It's Native

Mon, 16 Apr 2018 21:15:00 -0500

Non-native milkweed species planted in the southern U.S. could harm monarch butterflies as temperatures rise. Jason G. Goldman reports.

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The Internet Needs a Tune-Up

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 18:38:00 -0500

Princeton University's Jennifer Rexford talks about optimizing the internet for the uses it got drafted into performing.  

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Glacier Suddenly Goes Galloping

Thu, 12 Apr 2018 18:55:00 -0500

Researchers try to figure out why every 20 years a Pakistan glacier moves roughly 1,500 times faster.  

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Some Habitable Zone Exoplanets May Get X-Rayed Out

Wed, 11 Apr 2018 19:21:00 -0500

Red dwarfs are a popular place to hunt for small exoplanets in the habitable zone—but the stars' radiation bursts might fry chances for life as we know it. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Right Whales Seem to Think before They Speak

Mon, 9 Apr 2018 20:00:00 -0500

Rather than always making the same call in response to the same stimuli, North Atlantic right whales are capable of changing their vocalizations.  

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Old New England Underground May Be Spry after All

Sat, 7 Apr 2018 20:53:00 -0500

The U.S. Northeast may be more geologically active than was previously thought, according to a seismic sensor network.

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Brain Scan Might Reveal Appetite for Risk

Fri, 6 Apr 2018 23:40:00 -0500

Volunteers willing to place riskier bets tended to sport larger amygdalas—a region associated with processing fear. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Neandertal Face Shape Was All Over the Air

Wed, 4 Apr 2018 11:21:00 -0500

The jutting midface of Neandertals seems to have evolved to help get large volumes of air into an active body that needed lots of oxygen.  

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Rev Up Photosynthesis to Boost Crop Yields

Mon, 2 Apr 2018 20:11:00 -0500

Photosynthesis actually is an inefficient process, but a biological chemist is trying to crank it up. 

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