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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


Ants Use Celestial Cues to Travel in Reverse

Tue, 24 Jan 2017 12:00:00 -0500

The six-legged savants appear to use celestial cues and three forms of memory, as they blaze a trail back to the nest. Karen Hopkin reports.

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High-Sugar Diet Makes Flies Drop Like...Flies

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 22:45:00 -0500

A study examines the effects of a high-sugar diet on the life spans of fruit flies. Another studies how the flies’ appetite-suppressing pathways may be similar to ours. Karen Hopkin reports. 

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Pesticide Additive Could Be One Culprit in Bee Deaths

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 11:02:00 -0500

A common pesticide additive, known as an "inert" ingredient, could be one of the causes of the die-offs beekeepers have observed in their hives. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Knot Not Easy to Knot

Wed, 18 Jan 2017 22:01:00 -0500

Chemists have synthesized the most complex molecular knot ever, using a strand just 192 atoms long. The advance could lead to new tougher materials. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Bat Chatter Is More Than a Cry in the Dark

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 12:00:00 -0500

Using algorithms developed for human speech recognition, researchers decoded which bats in an experimental colony were arguing with each other, and what they were arguing about. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Bird Feeders Attract Bird Eaters, Too

Fri, 13 Jan 2017 09:00:00 -0500

Some predators are attracted to the food in bird feeders, and end up targeting nestlings, too. Jason G. Goldman reports. 

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Adult Daughter Orcas May Trigger Moms' Menopause

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 12:18:00 -0500

Competition between older female orcas and their adult daughters when they can breed simultaneously may cause the matriarch to enter menopause.  

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Climate Cycles Could Have Carved Canyons on Mars

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 23:35:00 -0500

Researchers think Mars may have experienced a series of climate cycles, which etched the planet’s surface with river valleys and lake basins. Julia Rosen reports. 

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Hair Cells Could Heal Skin Sans Scars

Fri, 6 Jan 2017 19:43:00 -0500

Hair follicles appear to be key in reprogramming other cells in the wound, restoring the original skin architecture, instead of simply scarring. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

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Concrete Defects Could Become Strengths

Thu, 5 Jan 2017 10:45:00 -0500

By optimizing the imperfections in concrete, manufacturers could make the material tougher and stronger—allowing builders to use less of it. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

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Zika Linked to a Variety of Birth Defects

Tue, 3 Jan 2017 20:27:00 -0500

Zika virus infection during pregnancy appears to cause a range of birth defects, such as joint, eye and ear abnormalities, in addition to microcephaly. 

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When Dining for Trillions, Eat Wisely

Thu, 29 Dec 2016 20:20:00 -0500

What you ate in the past can shape the diversity of your gut flora, and affect how well your gut microbes respond to new foods. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Weakest Piglets May Sneak Help from Strongest Siblings

Wed, 28 Dec 2016 19:35:00 -0500

If a weak piglet positions itself next to a strong sibling while feeding, it may get some extra nutrition from inadvertently stimulated mammary glands.     

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Isolated Low Temps May Reassure Climate Skeptics

Mon, 26 Dec 2016 09:00:00 -0500

Areas of the country that have experienced record low temperatures since 2005 happen to be home to many global warming deniers. And researchers theorize there may be a connection. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Bats Learn to Take White-Nose Punch

Fri, 23 Dec 2016 18:55:00 -0500

In areas where the white-nose syndrome fungus has been around for awhile, little brown bats seem to have found a way to limit the disease damage.

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