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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


How Baby Birds Learn to Duet

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 14:15:00 -0500

Recordings of songbird duets reveal that baby birds learn conversational turn-taking like we do: gradually, and from adults. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Mosquitoes Learn the Smell of Danger

Thu, 22 Feb 2018 08:00:00 -0500

The bloodsuckers lose their appetite for attractive scents when they associate those aromas with a likelihood of being swatted. Karen Hopkin reports.

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Needed: Info on Biodiversity Change over Time

Tue, 20 Feb 2018 19:26:00 -0500

Understanding an ecosystem means following changes in the abundances and identities of the species present as the clock ticks. The BioTIME database should help.

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Undersea Recordings Reveal a Whale's Tale

Mon, 19 Feb 2018 11:40:00 -0500

By eavesdropping on the calls of blue whales, researchers hope to get a more accurate picture of the massive mammals' distribution and abundance. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Seabird Feathers Reveal Less-Resilient Ocean

Thu, 15 Feb 2018 20:50:00 -0500

By analyzing 130 years of seabird feathers, researchers determined that food webs are losing complexity in the Pacific—meaning less-resilient ecosystems. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Beetle Liberation Due to Regurgitation

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 22:26:00 -0500

The bombardier beetle can spray its hot brew of toxic chemicals even after bring swallowed, to force a predator into vomiting it back out.

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Old Trees Are Ecosystem Gold

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 19:08:00 -0500

David Lindenmayer of the Australian National University College of Science in Canberra says that older trees play outsize roles in maintaining landscapes and ecosystems.

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Boat Noise Means Fish Can't Learn Their Lessons

Sun, 11 Feb 2018 12:33:00 -0500

Damselfish had trouble learning to avoid predators, when that lesson was accompanied by a soundtrack of buzzing boat engines. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Woodpeckers Drum to Their Own Tunes

Wed, 7 Feb 2018 14:01:00 -0500

The length and spacing of woodpecker drum rolls varies enough to tell woodpeckers apart—which could be useful to conservation biologists. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Homebodies Economize on Energy Use

Tue, 6 Feb 2018 18:45:00 -0500

Today’s work-from-home, on-demand culture means more days at home—and translates into greater energy savings, too. Karen Hopkin reports.

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Killer Whale Culture Revealed by Mimicking Us

Fri, 2 Feb 2018 22:00:00 -0500

Orcas can imitate calls from other whales and even human speech—suggesting they can transmit cultural practices, such as unique dialects. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Holiday Cheer Leads to Birth-Rate Spike

Thu, 1 Feb 2018 23:46:00 -0500

During feel-good holiday periods like Christmas and Eid-al-Fitr, romance strikes—leading to a boom in births nine months later. Karen Hopkin reports.

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Ticks on Uptick Where Big Game Declines

Wed, 31 Jan 2018 23:55:00 -0500

Areas of Kenya without large wildlife saw tick populations rise as much as 370 percent—meaning more danger to humans. Jason G. Goldman reports.

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Wildfires Spike Wine with Smoky Notes

Tue, 30 Jan 2018 18:53:00 -0500

Chemists are working on ways for wildfire-affected winemakers to avoid creating smoky wines. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Lion Conservation Challenges Giraffe Protection

Fri, 26 Jan 2018 17:49:00 -0500

Having lions and giraffes together in protected areas means far lower survival rates for juvenile giraffes. Jason Goldman reports.

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