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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


Big Earthquakes May Be More Likely During New and Full Moons

Tue, 27 Sep 2016 17:54:00 -0500

When the sun, moon and Earth are aligned, high tidal stress may increase the chances that an earthquake will grow bigger than it otherwise might have been.

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Clever Ants Have Backup Navigation Systems

Thu, 22 Sep 2016 19:04:00 -0500

An ant walking in the desert can gauge distance by footsteps and the sun's position, but an ant being carried can estimate distance by visual information perceived as it passed by.  

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Ancient Biblical Scroll Gets Read While Wrapped

Wed, 21 Sep 2016 23:48:00 -0500

Researchers used high-tech visualization techniques to peer inside an ancient scroll too fragile to unwrap.  

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Birch Trees Droop at Night with No Rays in Sight

Tue, 20 Sep 2016 16:17:00 -0500

The branches of birch trees in Europe sagged by as much as four inches at night compared with daytime.  

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Some Malaria Mosquitoes May Prefer Cows to Us

Mon, 19 Sep 2016 09:00:00 -0500

A chromosomal rearrangement may cause one mosquito species to be lured to cows instead of humans for a blood meal. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Drunk People Feel Soberer around Heavy Drinkers

Thu, 15 Sep 2016 20:38:00 -0500

Drinkers surrounded by even more inebriated people feel less drunk than a breathalyzer test indicates they actually are. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Oldest Known Indigo Dye Found in Peru

Wed, 14 Sep 2016 13:59:00 -0500

Fabric dyed with indigo just found in Peru is some 1,600 years older than indigo-dyed fabrics that have been found in the Middle East.  

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Road Noise Makes Birds' Lives Tougher

Tue, 13 Sep 2016 17:35:00 -0500

By playing road noise where there was no road, researchers were able to gauge the effect of the noise on bird behavior without having to deal with the effect of the road itself.  

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World Wilderness Down 10 Percent in 20 Years

Mon, 12 Sep 2016 19:18:00 -0500

South America and central Africa lost the most wilderness in a decline since the 1990s that saw the planet's wild areas down by a tenth  

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Photonic Chip Could Strengthen Smartphone Encryption

Thu, 8 Sep 2016 21:09:00 -0500

The chip uses pulses of laser light to generate truly random numbers, the basis of encryption. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Protein Test Could Complement Crime Scene DNA Analysis

Wed, 7 Sep 2016 14:01:00 -0500

Researchers determined that the variation of a couple hundred proteins in a person's hair could be enough to single her out from one million individuals. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Shark Fins Contain Toxic "One–Two Punch"

Fri, 2 Sep 2016 13:24:00 -0500

Sharks can accumulate both methylmercury and a toxin called BMAA, which can have synergistic effects on human consumers. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program Actually Promotes It

Wed, 31 Aug 2016 10:59:00 -0500

Teenage girls who cared for infant dolls, an intervention meant to prevent pregnancy, actually had a higher risk of getting pregnant by age 20. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Color-Changing Skin Aids Climate Control and Communication

Mon, 29 Aug 2016 16:05:00 -0500

Bearded dragons modify their colors for camouflage or to maintain body temperature, or to communicate with other dragons. Jason G. Goldman reports.

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Waste Amphetamines Alter Underwater Ecosystems

Thu, 25 Aug 2016 14:01:00 -0500

Using an artificial stream system, researchers found that amphetamine residues altered insect and microbial life in aquatic ecosystems. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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