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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


Salmonella Could Have Caused 16th Century Epidemic

Wed, 17 Jan 2018 21:50:00 -0500

Using a new algorithm, geneticists uncovered the pathogen that could have caused a massive epidemic in the Aztec empire: Salmonella bacteria. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Which Came First, the Proboscis or the Flower?

Fri, 12 Jan 2018 22:35:00 -0500

A new fossil find reveals that the sucking tongue of butterflies—or proboscis—appears to have evolved before the emergence of flowers. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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You Live in a Strange Solar System

Wed, 10 Jan 2018 20:30:00 -0500

Astronomers found that other star systems tend to host similarly sized exoplanets—far different from ours. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Glow Sticks Help Ecologists Study Amphibians

Tue, 9 Jan 2018 19:27:00 -0500

Ecologists needed a way to more easily keep track of populations of amphibians, and green glow sticks lit the way.  

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Air Force Tracks Final Frontier

Wed, 3 Jan 2018 19:48:00 -0500

General Jay Raymond, Commander of Air Force Space Command, talks about keeping watch over space and cyber.  

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You Traveled Far Last Year

Tue, 2 Jan 2018 20:33:00 -0500

Getting around the sun in 2017 was a memorable trip.

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Finches Can Learn to Sing Differently Than Their Genetics Dictate

Fri, 29 Dec 2017 22:50:00 -0500

The song training that Bengalese finches received appeared to overcome tempo tendencies baked into their genes. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Baby Bats Can Learn Different Dialects

Thu, 28 Dec 2017 22:10:00 -0500

Fruit bats raised hearing different pitches of sounds vocalized in keeping with their aural environment as they matured.

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Mongoose Societies Are Skeptical of Strangers

Sun, 24 Dec 2017 18:10:00 -0500

It takes months for members of a mongoose breeding society to trust newcomers with important tasks like watching for predators. Jason G. Goldman reports.

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Pain and Weather Fail to Connect

Sat, 23 Dec 2017 22:46:00 -0500

A big data analysis involving more than 1.5 million patients could find no relationship between weather and complaints to doctors about joint or back pain.  

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Finding Further Places for Solar Panels

Fri, 22 Dec 2017 22:10:00 -0500

Siting solar panels over rooftops, parking lots, reservoirs and contaminated land could generate heaps of energy—with minimal effects on agriculture or the environment. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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This Fish Emits Damaging Decibels

Wed, 20 Dec 2017 19:45:00 -0500

The Gulf corvina produces a chattering chorus that’s one of the loudest underwater animal sounds on the planet. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Repetitive Sounds Are Music to the Brain

Mon, 18 Dec 2017 20:52:00 -0500

Repeating something can render that thing melodious—even the sound of a shovel being dragged across the pavement. Karen Hopkin reports.

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Radiation Might Help Heart Regain Its Rhythm

Sun, 17 Dec 2017 18:45:00 -0500

A flash of radiation drastically reduced arrhythmia in a small group of patients, for at least a year after treatment. Christopher Intagliata reports.

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Dark Fiber Networks Can Sense Seismicity

Fri, 15 Dec 2017 19:40:00 -0500

Scientists are exploring the use of fiber-optic cables—like the ones that form the backbone of the internet—to monitor earthquakes. Julia Rosen reports.

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