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60-Second Science

Scientific American

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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 ...Show More

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Tech's Brain Effect: It's Complicated

02:22 | Mar 26th

We don't yet know what the immersion in technology does to our brains, but one neuroscientist says the answer is likely to be that there's good, there's bad, and it's complex.

4/20 Traffic Accidents Claim Curbed

03:23 | Apr 20th

A deeper data dive calls into question a 2018 study that found a spike in fatal traffic accidents apparently related to marijuana consumption on this date.  

Hyena Society Stability Has Last Laugh

02:28 | Apr 20th

Female hyenas keep their clans in line by virtue of their complex social networks. Jason G. Goldman reports. 

Gluten-Free Restaurant Foods Are Often Mislabeled

01:38 | Apr 19th

One in three gluten-free dishes tested at restaurants contained gluten—especially GF pizzas and pastas. Christopher Intagliata reports.

What Chickens Can Teach Hearing Researchers

03:17 | Apr 18th

At an event honoring Nobel and Kavli Prize winners, neuroscientists James Hudspeth and Robert Fettiplace talked about the physiology of hearing and the possibility of restoring hearing loss.  

Nobelist Says System of Science Offers Life Lessons

03:13 | Apr 16th

At an event honoring Nobel and Kavli Prize winners, economist Paul Romer talked about how the social system of science offers hope for humanity and for how we can live with each other.

Squeezed Potassium Atoms Straddle Liquid and Solid

01:28 | Apr 13th

At extreme pressures, potassium atoms can be both liquid and solid at the same time, a phase of matter known as 'chain melt.' Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Urban Coyote Evolution Favors the Bold

03:04 | Apr 12th

Coyotes become fearless around people in just a few generations—which isn’t good for their longterm co-existence with humans in cities. Jason G. Goldman reports.

Computers Turn an Ear on New York City

02:09 | Apr 11th

NYU’s “Sounds of New York City” project listens to the city—and then, with the help of citizen scientists, teaches machines to decode the soundscape. Jim Daley reports. 

Whitening Strips Alter Proteins in Teeth

01:47 | Apr 9th

Hydrogen peroxide in whitening treatments penetrates enamel and dentin, and alters tooth proteins. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Infrared Light Offers A Cooler Way to Defrost

02:25 | Apr 8th

Light tuned to a specific frequency warms ice more than water—which could come in handy for defrosting delicate biological samples. Adam Levy reports.

Spider Monkeys Optimize Jungle Acoustics

01:32 | Apr 5th

The monkeys lower the pitch of their "whinnies" when they're far from the rest of their group, which might help the calls travel further through jungle foliage. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Tennessee Whiskey Relies on Missing Ingredients

02:24 | Apr 3rd

Food chemists precisely measured how charcoal filtration contributes to Tennessee whiskey's smoother flavor. Christopher Intagliata reports.

There's a Word for Today

01:52 | Apr 1st

English lacks some words that other languages pack with meaning.

Bumblebee Queens Prefer Layovers to Nonstop Flights

02:03 | Mar 29th

Scientists tracked bumblebee queens with radar when they emerged from hibernation and found the bees take only brief flights en route to a new nest. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Scenic City Sights Linked to Higher Happiness

02:13 | Mar 27th

Tracking the location and mood of 15,000 people, researchers found that scenic beauty was linked to happiness—including near urban sights like bridges and buildings. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Daylight Brings Toxic Beetles Together For Safety

02:34 | Mar 23rd

During daylight hours, hundreds of bombardier beetles of multiple species will congregate together to more effectively ward off any predators not afraid of a lone beetle's toxic spray.

Solar Jets Cause Standing Waves in Earth's Magnetic Field

02:58 | Mar 19th

When jets of charged particles from the sun hit our magnetosphere, some of the ensuing ripples travel towards the north and southern poles and get reflected back. The resulting interference allows standing waves to form, like on a drumhead.

Sing Solo For Higher Fidelity

02:32 | Mar 19th

By tracking duetting choir singers, researchers found that when an individual singer's pitch drifts off tune their partner’s tend to too. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Edible Insect Breeding Led to Larger but Not Necessarily Better Larvae

02:09 | Mar 15th

Researchers aiming to lower the cost of mealworms were able to double the worms' size, but the larger larvae had fewer eggs and weaker offspring. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Busting Earth-Bound Asteroids Bigger Job Than We Thought

02:21 | Mar 12th

A new model suggests smashing killer space rocks with insufficient force could let gravity pull the pieces back together. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Weekday–Weekend Sleep Imbalance Bad for Blood Sugar Regulation

02:48 | Mar 11th

Weekday sleep deprivation with weekend make-up sleeping seems to be worse for blood sugar control than even chronic sleep deprivation alone.

Warm-Blooded Animals Lost Ability to Heal the Heart

02:45 | Mar 8th

Thyroid hormone, which helps warm-blooded animals regulate body temperature, also appears to put a halt on heart regeneration. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Animal Migrations Track with Wikipedia Searches

02:12 | Mar 6th

By analyzing nearly 2.5 billion Wikipedia page views, researchers found species searches reflect seasonal animal migrations and plant blooming. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Baseball Commish Talks Big Data

02:23 | Mar 5th

At a sports technology conference, baseball commissioner Rob Manfred addressed issues including an automated strike zone and advanced analytics.

Background Music Might Stifle Creativity

02:49 | Mar 4th

Volunteers who listened to music solved fewer word puzzles than others who worked in silence. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Science News Briefs from around the Globe

02:08 | Mar 4th

A few brief reports about international science and technology from Greenland to Palau, including one on the discovery of a trove of mummified cats in Egypt.

Budding Yeast Produce Cannabis Compounds

02:25 | Mar 1st

Biologists have taken the genes that produce cannabinoids in weed and plugged them into yeast, making rare and novel compounds more accessible. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Who Has "the Right Stuff" for Mars?

02:43 | Feb 26th

Humans traveling to Mars will be required to operate with a degree of autonomy human astronauts have never had, due to communication delays. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Grandma's Influence Is Good for Grandkids

02:29 | Feb 25th

Grandmothers can enhance the survival of grandchildren. That is, unless grandma’s too old or lives too far away. Karen Hopkin reports.

Should Robots Have a License to Kill?

02:44 | Feb 23rd

Artificial intelligence experts, ethicists and diplomats debate autonomous weapons. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Warming Climate Implies More Flies—and Disease

02:20 | Feb 21st

The incidence of foodborne illness could jump in a warming world, due to an increase in housefly activity. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Light Skin Variant Arose in Asia Independent of Europe

02:54 | Feb 19th

A new genetic study of Latin Americans provides evidence that gene variants for lighter skin color came about in Asia as well as in Europe. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Teach Science Process over Findings

02:21 | Feb 19th

Seismologist and policy advisor Lucy Jones says science education needs to teach how science works more than just what it finds out.

Human Diet Drugs Kill Mosquitoes' Appetite, Too

02:30 | Feb 16th

When researchers fed mosquitoes a drug used to treat people for obesity, the insects were less interested in hunting for their next human meal ticket. Karen Hopkin reports.

Grazing Deer Alter Forest Acoustics

02:17 | Feb 15th

Deer populations have exploded in North American woodlands, changing forest ecology—and how sounds, like birdsong, travel through the trees. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Elephant Weight Cycles with New Teeth

03:19 | Feb 15th

Elephants have six sets of teeth over their lives, sometimes two sets at once. At those times, they can extract more nutrition from food and put on weight.

Finally Over for Mars Rover

01:51 | Feb 13th

The rover Opportunity has called it quits after working for more than 14 years on Mars.

Our Brains Really Remember Some Pop Music

03:20 | Feb 12th

Although millennials' memory of recent pop tunes drops quickly, their ability to identify top hits from the 1960s through 1990s remains moderately high. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Biologists Track Tweets to Monitor Birds

02:05 | Feb 9th

Conservation biologists can track the whereabouts of endangered species by the sounds they make, avoiding cumbersome trackers and tags. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Desalination Could Cause Ecological Sea Change

02:33 | Feb 7th

An environmental assessment of the nation's largest desalination plant finds mixed results. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Different Humpback Whale Groups Meet to Jam

03:30 | Feb 7th

Humpback populations from the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet up south of Africa and trade song stylings.

Neandertal Spears Were Surprisingly Deadly

02:49 | Jan 31st

Javelin throwers chucking replicas of Neandertal spears were able to hit targets farther away, and with greater force than previously thought to be possible. Christopher Intagliata reports.

"Rectenna" Converts Wi-Fi to Electricity

01:53 | Jan 30th

Researchers built a small, flexible device that harvests wi-fi, bluetooth and cellular signals, and turns them into DC electricity. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Science News Briefs from the World Over

02:13 | Jan 29th

A few brief reports about international science and technology from Papua New Guinea to Kazakhstan, including one on the slow slide of Mount Etna in Italy.

Cod Could Cope with Constrained Climate Change

03:22 | Jan 28th

Cod egg survival stays high with limited warming, but plummets when the temperature rises a few degrees Celsius in their current spawning grounds.

Intimate Hermit Crab Keeps Shell On

02:29 | Jan 26th

A species of hermit crab appears to have evolved a large penis to enable intercourse without leaving, and thus possibly losing, its adopted shell.

Ecologists Eavesdrop with Bioacoustics

02:27 | Jan 24th

By coupling audio recordings with satellite data and camera traps, ecologists can keep their eyes—and ears—on protected tropical forests. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Saturn's Blingy Rings Are a Recent Upgrade

02:12 | Jan 24th

Though Saturn formed about 4.5 billion years ago, its rings were added relatively recently—only 100 million to 10 million years ago. Karen Hopkin reports. 

Do-Gooders Should Survey Communities First

03:29 | Jan 23rd

Detroit residents declined an offer of free street trees—but were more willing to accept them if they had a say in the type of tree. Jason G. Goldman reports.

Viewing This Weekend's Lunar Eclipse

02:50 | Jan 19th

A total lunar eclipse will grace the skies this Sunday, January 20—and it may or may not be red. Christopher Intagliata reports.

"<i>Mona Lisa</i> Effect" Not True for <i>Mona Lisa</i>

02:01 | Jan 18th

The Mona Lisa effect is the illusion that the subject of a painting follows you with her gaze, despite where you stand. But da Vinci's famous painting doesn't have that quality. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Ants Stick to Cliques to Dodge Disease

02:31 | Jan 16th

Ants infected with fungal pathogens steer clear of other cliques within the colony—avoiding wider infection, and allowing for a sort of immunity. Lucy Huang reports. 

Mistimed Migration Means Bird Death Battles

01:57 | Jan 13th

Climate change is shifting population numbers and nest building by resident and migratory birds in Europe—sometimes leading to deadly conflict. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Monogamy May Be Written in Our Genes

03:18 | Jan 12th

In animal studies, a set of 24 genes involved in neural development, learning and memory, and cognition, seem to be associated with monogamy. Karen Hopkin reports.

Seeing Superman Increases Altruism

02:57 | Jan 10th

Subject who saw a Superman poster were more likely to offer help than were people who saw another image.

Inhaled RNA Might Help Heal Cystic Fibrosis

02:03 | Jan 9th

Scientists are working to correct a genetic defect in cystic fibrosis patients by having them inhale RNA. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Turn Xmas Tree Into Food and Medicine

01:43 | Dec 30th, 2018

Pine needles can easily be broken down into sugars, as well as the building blocks of paint, adhesives and medicines. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Simple Sugars Wipe Out Beneficial Gut Bugs

02:01 | Dec 27th, 2018

Fructose and sucrose can make it all the way to the colon, where they spell a sugary death sentence for beneficial bacteria. Karen Hopkin reports.

Smarter Pricing Could Ease Parking Frustration

02:07 | Dec 27th, 2018

A new algorithm raises parking rates in busy neighborhoods and lowers them elsewhere, guaranteeing free parking spots regardless of location. Christopher Intagliata reports.

"Hunger Hormone" Ghrelin Aids Overindulgence

01:59 | Dec 25th, 2018

Ghrelin, the hormone that makes you hungry, also makes food, and food smells, irresistibly appealing. Karen Hopkin reports. 

Colorful Peacocks Impress Females with Good Vibes

02:56 | Dec 24th, 2018

Peafowls' head crests are specifically tuned to the vibrations produced by feather-rattling male peacocks, thus acting as a sort of antenna. Jason G. Goldman reports.

Measuring the Strength of a Person's Gaze

02:05 | Dec 24th, 2018

A new study suggests that, unconsciously, we actually do believe that looking exerts a slight force on the things being looked at. Karen Hopkin reports.

'Relaxation Music' Works--But So Does Chopin

02:22 | Dec 22nd, 2018

So-called 'relaxation music' is only about as effective as a soothing Chopin piece at lulling listeners into a relaxed state. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Bone Building Needs Bit of Breakdown First

02:32 | Dec 21st, 2018

The hormone irisin encourages bone remodeling, in part by first triggering another substance that encourages some bone breakdown.

Frog Picks Maternity Ward Like Goldilocks

02:36 | Dec 20th, 2018

The Bahia's broad-snout casque-headed tree frog needs a pool to raise its young that's just right.

You Gotta Scratch That Itch

02:16 | Dec 19th, 2018

A particular set of brain neurons may be behind registering itch and inducing us to scratch.

Join <i>Blue Planet II</i> Live-Tweet

01:27 | Dec 14th, 2018

Starting December 16, ocean scientists will live-tweet the BBC documentary series Blue Planet II, available via Netflix.

Big-Boned Chickens May Be Humans' Geologic Legacy

02:21 | Dec 13th, 2018

Millions of years from now, the geologic record of the "Anthropocene" will be littered with plastics, yes, but also chicken bones. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Ancient Marine Reptiles Had Familiar Gear

02:07 | Dec 12th, 2018

Ichthyosaurs had traits in common with turtles and modern marine mammals, like blubber and countershading camouflage. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Little Aphids Ride Big Ones To Safety

02:49 | Dec 12th, 2018

When trouble lurks, juvenile aphids drop off of the plants they're eating and hitch a ride on bigger aphid escapees.

Utah's Deserts Are Bee Hotspots 

02:08 | Dec 9th, 2018

The Trump administration is shrinking Utah's desert monuments, stripping some federal protections for wild pollinators. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Who's a Smart Dog?!

03:03 | Dec 7th, 2018

An estimate of dog intelligence requires looking at non-dogs as well to understand what's special to canines and what is just typical of the taxonomic groups they're in.

Data Reveals Most Influential Movies

01:53 | Dec 6th, 2018

By analyzing the network connections between 47,000 films on IMDb, researchers found the most influential films ever made. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Blue Whales Have Changed Their Tune

02:32 | Dec 1st, 2018

In the last few decades blue whale calls have been getting lower in pitch—and a rebound in their numbers may be the reason. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Smart Meters Speed Showers

02:14 | Nov 27th, 2018

Smart meters on showerheads encouraged hotel guests to conserve—even though they personally saved no money. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Mars Mission Makes Clean Landing

03:09 | Nov 26th, 2018

The sounds of the Mars InSight Mission control room during the tense minutes leading to the landing on the surface.

Do Wine over Those Brussels Sprouts

01:39 | Nov 22nd, 2018

Taking a swig of red wine before eating Brussels sprouts appears to moderate Brussels sprouts' polarizing flavor. Christopher Intagliata reports

Rains Bring a Microbial Massacre to Chilean Desert

01:56 | Nov 20th, 2018

Freak heavy rainstorms in 2015 and 2017 wiped out many dry-adapted microbes in the Atacama Desert, useful info in the search for life off Earth. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Consensual Hugs Seem to Reduce Stress

02:13 | Nov 18th, 2018

People who had a conflict in a given day but also got hugged were not as affected by the negative interaction as were their unhugged counterparts.  

World's Largest Organism Faces Bleak Future

03:19 | Nov 17th, 2018

The single organism that is the Utah aspen grove known as Pando is on the decline due to herbivores wiping out its youngest tree outgrowths

U.S. Immigrants Leave Country&mdash;and Microbes&mdash;Behind

02:15 | Nov 15th, 2018

Immigrants to the U.S. lose their native mix of gut microbes almost immediately after arriving in the U.S.—which researchers can't quite explain. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Science News Briefs from All over

02:08 | Nov 14th, 2018

A few very brief reports about international science and technology from Alaska to Indonesia, including one on offshore dairy farming from the Netherlands.

Babies and Chimps Share a Laugh

02:09 | Nov 11th, 2018

Adult humans laugh primarily on the exhale, but human babies laugh on the inhale and the exhale—as do chimps. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Singing Fish Reveal Underwater Battles in the Amazon

02:03 | Nov 9th, 2018

Researchers recorded piranha "honks" and catfish "screeches" in the Peruvian Amazon, which might illuminate fish activity in murky jungle waters. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Social Construct of Race Imposes Biology

02:34 | Nov 8th, 2018

Anthropologist Jennifer Raff argues that race is culturally created, but has biological consequences.

Pandas Swoon To Particular Croons

01:28 | Nov 7th, 2018

Listening to the sounds panda pairs make when they're introduced could lead to better breeding success. Christopher Intagliata reports.

First Benefit of Knowing Your Genome

01:31 | Nov 2nd, 2018

The "low hanging fruit" of genome-related health care will be knowing which drugs are likely to treat you best, says science journalist Carl Zimmer.

For Halloween, Consider the Chocolate Midge

02:10 | Oct 31st, 2018

A tiny fly, related to biting no-see-ums, pollinates cacao trees and enables our chocolate cravings. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Dolphins Dumb Down Calls to Compete with Ship Noise

02:02 | Oct 30th, 2018

Bottlenose dolphins simplify and raise the pitch of their whistles to be heard above underwater shipping noise. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Asocial Octopuses Become Cuddly on MDMA

03:31 | Oct 22nd, 2018

Octopuses react to MDMA much like humans do. And not surprisingly, given their anatomy, the animals are excellent huggers. Annie Sneed reports.

Science News Briefs from around the Globe

02:11 | Oct 21st, 2018

A few very brief reports about science and technology from around the globe, including one from Mongolia on horse dentistry.

Wild Songbirds Can Pick Up New Tunes

03:23 | Oct 19th, 2018

Researchers taught two dozen wild sparrows new songs, by playing them the recordings of sparrows that live thousands of miles away. Jason G. Goldman reports.

Health Care Let Neandertals "Punch above Their Weight"

01:29 | Oct 18th, 2018

By caring for their sick and injured, Neandertals were able to expand into more dangerous environments and pursue more deadly prey. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Nice People Have Emptier Wallets

02:15 | Oct 16th, 2018

A study correlating personality traits with financial data found that agreeable people had lower savings, higher debt and higher bankruptcy rates. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Solar Eclipse Was a Buzzkill for Bees

01:58 | Oct 13th, 2018

Bees suddenly fell silent when the sun disappeared during last year's solar eclipse—perhaps because they were tricked into night mode. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Confident Tone Overcomes Accent Distrust

02:25 | Oct 12th, 2018

English as-a-first-language Canadian study subjects were less trusting of statements in English spoken with a foreign accent, unless the speaker sounded confident about their assertion.

Mom's Genes Make Some Giraffes Hard to Spot

01:57 | Oct 10th, 2018

Baby giraffes inherit aspects of their mothers' patterning—which could give them a survival advantage if good camouflage runs in the family. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Economics Nobel Highlights Climate Action Necessity

01:58 | Oct 9th, 2018

William Nordhaus shared the 2018 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, "for integrating climate change into long-run macroeconomic analysis,” with Paul Romer, "for integrating technological innovations into long-run macroeconomic analysis."

Highway Crossings Protect Migrating Pronghorns&mdash;and Motorists

03:13 | Oct 6th, 2018

Twice a year, thousands of pronghorn antelope and mule deer migrate through Wyoming, and newly built highway crossings are sparing the lives of animals—and motorists. Jason G. Goldman reports.

Beer Fermentation Hops Along

02:50 | Oct 5th, 2018

The bittering agents called hops have enzymes that chew up starch and unleash more fermentable sugar—which can boost alcohol and CO2 in the finished brew. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Nobel in Chemistry for New and Useful Chemical Entities via Evolutionary Principles

03:11 | Oct 3rd, 2018

Frances H. Arnold, George P. Smith and Gregory P. Winter share the 2018 chemistry Nobel for developing evolutionary-based techniques that lead to the creation of new chemical entities with useful properties.

Nobel in Physics for Controlling Laser Light

02:50 | Oct 2nd, 2018

Arthur Ashkin, Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland share the 2018 physics Nobel for their work with lasers that have led to numerous practical applications, such as eye surgery.

Nobel for Helping the Immune System Fight Cancer

01:59 | Oct 1st, 2018

James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo share the Nobel Prize for their work on harnessing the cancer patient's own immune system to destroy tumors.

Blasey Ford Spells Out Trauma Memory Formation

01:25 | Oct 1st, 2018

Christine Blasey Ford's professional expertise came into play during her testimony regarding the Supreme Court nomination.

When Neutron Stars Collide

02:29 | Sep 7th, 2018

Astrophysicists have gotten a better glimpse at what happens to crashing neutron stars by listening in on the electromagnetic echoes of the collision. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Bonnethead Sharks Are Underwater Lawn Mowers

01:57 | Sep 6th, 2018

The hammerhead relatives consume copious amounts of sea grass, and have the digestive machinery to process it—making them true omnivores. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Hurricane Is a Natural Selection Experiment

03:17 | Sep 6th, 2018

When Hurricane Irma blew through the Turks and Caicos, lizards with shorter hindlimbs lucked out. Jason G. Goldman reports. 

Pasta Problem Cracked!

03:07 | Sep 5th, 2018

An intrepid undergrad led the way to understanding the physics of snapping strands of spaghetti.

Science News You Might Have Missed

02:25 | Aug 31st, 2018

A few very brief reports about science and technology from around the globe.

Pineapple Waste Won't Be Wasted

03:14 | Aug 27th, 2018

Costa Rican scientists are extracting valuable materials from the peel and stubble of pineapples.

Sometimes Mosquitoes Are Just Thirsty

02:20 | Aug 24th, 2018

Mosquitoes want your blood for its proteins...or simply to hydrate on a hot, dry day.    

Robot Bartender Will Take Your Order

02:50 | Aug 23rd, 2018

Digital assistants have to respond quickly, but correctly—so researchers are studying how real humans navigate that trade-off, to design better machines. Christopher Intagliata reports.

As Spring Arrives Earlier, Arctic Geese Speed Up Their Migration

03:02 | Aug 22nd, 2018

The birds are arriving in the Arctic up to 13 days earlier than they used to. But at a cost: hunger. Annie Sneed reports. 

Freeloading Ants Help the Workflow

02:33 | Aug 21st, 2018

Fire ants tunnels got excavated efficiently by only a small percentage of the group doing most of the work, thus avoiding pileups in tight spaces.

Ancient Americans Bred Symbolically Important Scarlet Macaws

02:09 | Aug 20th, 2018

Genetic information from the bones of macaws found in abandoned pueblos suggests they were bred and distributed as a commodity. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Rising CO2 Means Monarch Butterfly Bellyaches

02:12 | Aug 17th, 2018

Milkweed grown with more carbon dioxide in the air supplies fewer toxins to monarch butterflies that need the toxins to fight off gut parasites.

For Some Crows, Migration Is Optional

02:33 | Aug 16th, 2018

Crows are what's known as "partial migrants"—as cold weather approaches, some crows fly south whereas others stay put. And that behavior appears to be ingrained. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Plants Dominate the Planet's Biomass

01:52 | Aug 15th, 2018

About 80 percent of Earth's biomass is plant life, with humans about equal to krill way down the heft chart.    

Solar Eclipse of 2017 Boosted Science Interest

02:56 | Aug 14th, 2018

The Michigan Scientific Literacy Survey of 2017 found that last year's total solar eclipse got Americans more interested in celestial science.   

Crickets Carve Tools to Amplify Their Chirps

02:51 | Aug 14th, 2018

The insects fashion and use "baffles"—sound controllers—made of leaves to produce sound more efficiently. Jason G. Goldman reports.

Computerized Chemical Toxicity Prediction Beats Animal Testing

02:38 | Aug 11th, 2018

Researchers programmed a computer to compare structures and toxic effects of different chemicals, making it possible to then predict the toxicity of new chemicals based on their structural similarity to known ones.  

Better Data Could Mean Better Dating

02:15 | Aug 10th, 2018

Both men and women tended to pursue mates just 25 percent more desirable than themselves--suggesting they are "optimistic realists." Christopher Intagliata reports.

To Evolve Baleen, Lose Your Teeth First

02:26 | Aug 9th, 2018

Whale ancestors probably never had teeth and baleen at the same time, and only developed baleen after trying toothlessness and sucking in prey.

Corn Variety Grabs Fertilizer from the Air

02:05 | Aug 7th, 2018

A variety of corn from Oaxaca, Mexico, has aerial roots that harbor nitrogen-fixing bacteria, allowing the corn to suck nitrogen straight from the air. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Birds Learn Safety from Other Kinds of Birds

01:45 | Aug 3rd, 2018

Birds become good at avoiding danger by eavesdropping on the alarm calls of other birds—and the learning occurs without even seeing their peers or predators. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Microbes Share Your Morning Metro Commute


01:42 | Aug 2nd, 2018

An analysis of the Hong Kong metro found microbes, including some with antibiotic resistance genes, freshly disperse throughout the system each day. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Oh Say Can You See Subtle Details?

02:24 | Aug 1st, 2018

Different people have differing aptitudes for observing small changes and particular features.

Some Crows Hit On Dead Companions

02:51 | Jul 31st, 2018

About five percent of crows will attempt to copulate with other crows that have joined the choir invisible .

Mouth Sets Healing Standard

01:48 | Jul 30th, 2018

Certain proteins that coordinate the healing response are present at higher levels in oral tissue—meaning wounds in the mouth fix faster. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Border Wall Could Disrupt Hundreds of Species

01:42 | Jul 26th, 2018

More than 2,500 scientists signed a letter saying that an expanded U.S.–Mexico border wall would threaten both biodiversity and scientific research. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Turn a Wall into a Touch Screen Cheap

02:26 | Jul 26th, 2018

Researchers used a couple of hundred dollars worth of materials to turn a wall into a giant touch screen

Ancient Tooth Tartar Traps Clues to Iron Age Diet

01:32 | Jul 24th, 2018

By analyzing the proteins in ancient dental plaque, archaeologists determined that British menus almost three millennia ago featured milk, oats and peas. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Honey Bee Alarm Signal Could Protect Elephants

02:28 | Jul 23rd, 2018

Chemicals designed to simulate honeybee alarm pheromones could deter elephants from farmers’ crops, easing conflicts with humans. Annie Sneed reports.

Sea Level Rise Could Inundate the Internet

01:59 | Jul 20th, 2018

Extreme sea level rise could swamp internet cabling and hubs by 2033—and coastal cities like New York, Seattle and Miami are at greatest risk. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Astronomy Tool Helps ID Sharks

03:07 | Jul 20th, 2018

Shark researchers used a system for recognizing patterns in star field photographs to identify whale sharks, which have individual spot patterns.

Mammals Moonlight around Human Settlements

02:31 | Jul 19th, 2018

A study of human–mammal interaction across the globe found animals are more prone to take to the night around humans. Jason G. Goldman reports. 

Jupiter's Moon Total Hits 79

01:59 | Jul 17th, 2018

The International Astronomical Union reports that there are now 79 known Jovian moons, with a dozen found last year.

Moths Evade Bats With Slight of Wing

02:16 | Jul 17th, 2018

Some moth species have evolved long wing tails that flutter and twist as the moth flies, which distract hungry bats. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Science News You Might Have Missed

02:11 | Jul 14th, 2018

Very brief reports about science and technology from around the globe.

Smart Mouth Guard Senses Muscle Fatigue

02:03 | Jul 13th, 2018

A prototype flexible electronic mouth guard can measure lactate levels in an athlete’s saliva, tracking muscle fatigue during training and performance.

Favorite Wine Grapes May Need Genetic Help

02:22 | Jul 11th, 2018

Wine book author Kevin Begos explains that just a few varieties of wine grapes dominate the industry, which leaves them vulnerable to potentially catastrophic disease outbreaks.

Iridescence Could Help Critters Hide in Plain Sight

03:31 | Jul 7th, 2018

Iridescence appears to break up the recognizable shape of objects—making them harder to spot. Karen Hopkin reports.

Primate Conflicts Play Out in the Operating Room

01:55 | Jul 5th, 2018

By analyzing 200 surgeries, anthropologists found that mixed-gender operating room teams exhibited the highest levels of cooperation. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Sharks Make a Splash in Brooklyn

01:48 | Jul 5th, 2018

Visitors can see and learn about sharks and their environment in the new "Ocean Wonders: Sharks!" facility at the Wildlife Conservation Society's New York Aquarium.

City Life Favors Downsized Invertebrates

03:08 | Jul 4th, 2018

Most invertebrates get smaller on average in cities, although a few very mobile species respond to urbanization by growing.

People Ration Where They Roam

01:48 | Jul 3rd, 2018

An analysis of the movement of some 40,000 people suggests most of us frequent only 25 places—and as we sub in new favorites, we drop old ones. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Humans Can Size One Another Up with a Roar

02:15 | Jun 29th, 2018

Listeners to a person letting loose with a roar can accurately estimate the size and formidability or the human noise maker. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Piano Lessons Tune Up Language Skills

01:59 | Jun 26th, 2018

Six months of piano lessons can heighten kindergartners' brain responses to different pitches, and improve their ability to tell apart two similar-sounding words. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Cardinal Rule: Female Birds Sing, Too

03:05 | Jun 26th, 2018

Many people assume only male birds do the singing. But females also sing in at least 660 species and perhaps many more.

Bird's Song Staying Power Implies Culture

01:32 | Jun 22nd, 2018

Certain motifs in swamp sparrow songs can last hundreds, even thousands of years—evidence of a cultural tradition in the birds. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Alaskan Beluga Whales Ace Hearing Exam

01:35 | Jun 22nd, 2018

Researchers tested the hearing of beluga whales in an Alaskan bay and found that they seem to have suffered little hearing loss due to ocean noise. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Fat-Carb Combo Is a Potent One-Two Punch

03:04 | Jun 20th, 2018

Foods high in both carbs and fats tickle the brain’s reward circuits more so than snacks that showcase just one or the other. Karen Hopkin reports. 

Jupiter Crackles with Polar Lightning

01:38 | Jun 18th, 2018

Juno spacecraft data suggest lightning on Jupiter is much more common than we thought—but it congregates near the poles, not the equator as on Earth. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Coral Reefs Keep Costly Waves at Bay

01:43 | Jun 15th, 2018

A new analysis found the flood protection benefits of coral reefs save the global economy $4 billion dollars a year. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Hippo Dung Fouls Up Freshwater Fisheries

02:50 | Jun 15th, 2018

Hippo poop is piling up in Tanzania’s freshwater fisheries—which is bad news for biodiversity, and deleterious for the dinner plate. Jason G. Goldman reports. 

A Litmus Test for Bad Breath

02:32 | Jun 14th, 2018

Researchers engineered a portable device that detects even the tiniest trace of hydrogen sulfide—one of the primary offenders in bad breath. Karen Hopkin reports. 

Prez (of AMA) Issues Call to Arms-Science

03:08 | Jun 12th, 2018

At the AMA annual meeting the organization's president petitioned for an evidence-based, science-driven analysis of gun violence and solutions.

Powder Pulls Drinking Water from Desert Air

01:46 | Jun 8th, 2018

A structure known as a metal organic framework traps water vapor by night, then releases it when heated the next day. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Ancient Clan War Explains Genetic Diversity Drop

02:05 | Jun 6th, 2018

Some 5,000 to 7,000 years ago, the diversity of Y chromosomes plummeted. A new analysis suggests clan warfare may have been the cause. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Saying "This May Hurt" May Make It Worse

02:40 | Jun 6th, 2018

Warning a child that something, like a vaccine shot, will hurt can actually increase their perception of the pain.

Mongooses Gift Grooming for Guard Duty

02:12 | Jun 2nd, 2018

Humans and other primates often reciprocate good deeds. A new study suggests a nonprimate, the dwarf mongoose, does so, too, even after a delay. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Some Trees Beat Heat with Sweat

03:06 | May 31st, 2018

During extreme heat waves, a species of eucalyptus copes by releasing water and taking advantage of evaporative cooling. Other trees may do the same.

Computers Go Head-to-Head with Humans on Face Recognition

01:43 | May 30th, 2018

The best facial-recognition algorithms are now as good as the best forensic examiners are. But the best results come by combining human and computer skills. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Pinnipeds Don't Appreciate Biped Disturbance

02:58 | May 30th, 2018

Sea lions and fur seals in Uruguay have become a tourist attraction—but the animals have become less, not more, accepting of humans. Jason G. Goldman reports. 

Computers Predict Pop Chart Success

02:22 | May 25th, 2018

An evolutionary analysis of pop tunes revealed that over the past 30 years songs have grown sadder—but the big hits buck that trend. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Doc's YA Novel Treats Life-and-Death Issues

01:40 | May 23rd, 2018

Pediatric cardiologist Ismée Williams discusses her young adult novel, Water in May, about a teenage girl whose newborn has a life-threatening heart condition.

Google's AI Assistant Does Your Talk Tasks

02:37 | May 17th, 2018

The new Google AI voice assistant, called Duplex, highlights the intricacies of carrying out a mundane human-style conversation, as it keeps you off the phone.

Great Ape Makes Good Doc

02:45 | May 16th, 2018

Orangutans were observed to use plant extracts to treat their own pain.

Stool-Pigeon Poop Reveals Bird-Racing Fouls

01:59 | May 16th, 2018

Racing pigeons is big business—and doping is common. Now scientists have devised a way to detect doping in the avian athletes. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Radar Scans Detail North Korean Nukes

01:55 | May 15th, 2018

Scientists have added radar info to seismic data, isotope measurements and optical imagery to study covert nuclear tests. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Hunting Rules Have Changed Mama Bear Care

03:01 | May 12th, 2018

Hunting regulations in Sweden prohibit killing brown bear mothers in company of cubs—causing mama bears to care for their young longer. Jason G. Goldman reports.

Jupiter and Venus Squeeze Earth's Orbit

02:35 | May 10th, 2018

Sediment records have confirmed that Jupiter and Venus change Earth's orbit from virtually circular to noticeably elliptical and back every 405,000 years. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Mars Lander Will Peer Inside the Red Planet

03:24 | May 8th, 2018

The InSight Mission will look at Mars's seismic activity and latent heat to find out more about how planets get made--and how humans might live there.

Plants Can Sense Animal Attack Coming

02:45 | May 7th, 2018

Tomato plants detected snail slime in soil near them and mounted preemptive defenses, even though they were not directly touched.

Archaeologist Makes a Case for Seafaring Neandertals

02:39 | May 5th, 2018

Ancient tools on Mediterranean islands could predate the appearance of modern humans—suggesting Neandertals took to the seas. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Africa: Future Worldwide Science Hub

01:56 | May 3rd, 2018

Thierry Zomahoun, president of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, talks about the potential and needs of science on the continent.

Healthful Eating Requires Supermarket Smarts

02:55 | May 1st, 2018

Advice from an N.Y.U. food policy symposium: eating healthfully means you can't ever let down your guard when shopping.

Culture Shapes Kids' Views of Nature

02:40 | Apr 29th, 2018

In a study of children interacting with toy animals Native American kids and non-Native kids imagined the animals very differently.

Bad Audio Can Hurt a Scientist's Credibility

02:28 | Apr 28th, 2018

Listeners gave more credence to a scientist’s radio interview when the audio was good quality than they did to the same material when the audio was poor. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Bill Gates Announces a Universal Flu Vaccine Effort

02:43 | Apr 27th, 2018

Today in Boston, Gates announced a $12-million initiative to foster the development of a vaccine effective against all flu strains.

Drumming Beats Speech for Distant Communication

02:38 | Apr 25th, 2018

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

Bees Have a Goldilocks Lawn Mow Schedule

02:33 | Apr 24th, 2018

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

If Singing's Tough, Try Whistling

02:19 | Apr 21st, 2018

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

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

01:55 | Apr 19th, 2018

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.  

NYC Mice Are Packed with Pathogens

02:01 | Apr 19th, 2018

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

Mine Social Media Posts to Predict Flu

02:50 | Apr 18th, 2018

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

Planting Milkweed for Monarchs? Make Sure It's Native

02:39 | Apr 17th, 2018

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

The Internet Needs a Tune-Up

01:41 | Apr 13th, 2018

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

Glacier Suddenly Goes Galloping

02:30 | Apr 12th, 2018

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

Some Habitable Zone Exoplanets May Get X-Rayed Out

02:12 | Apr 12th, 2018

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.

Right Whales Seem to Think before They Speak

02:50 | Apr 10th, 2018

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

Old New England Underground May Be Spry after All

02:52 | Apr 8th, 2018

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

Brain Scan Might Reveal Appetite for Risk

02:33 | Apr 7th, 2018

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

Neandertal Face Shape Was All Over the Air

02:22 | Apr 4th, 2018

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.  

Rev Up Photosynthesis to Boost Crop Yields

01:57 | Apr 3rd, 2018

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

13,000-Year-Old Footprints under West Coast Beach

01:40 | Apr 1st, 2018

Several feet below a beach in British Columbia, archaeologists discovered soil trampled by human feet—the oldest footprints found so far in North America. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Math Cracks a Knuckle-Cracking Mystery

02:04 | Mar 29th, 2018

The source of knuckle cracking sounds is much debated—but new mathematical models may reconcile two opposing views. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Some Lichen Fungi Let Genes Go Bye

02:37 | Mar 2nd, 2018

A study of 22 different types of lichens revealed 10 included fungi that had lost a gene for energy production, making them completely dependent on their algal partner.  

To See Gun Injury Drop, Hold an NRA Meeting

02:08 | Feb 28th, 2018

When the National Rifle Association holds its national convention, gun injuries drop 20 percent—perhaps because fewer gun owners are around their guns. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Big Cities Have Fewer Tweeters Per Capita

01:45 | Feb 27th, 2018

But those who do tweet in big cities are more prolific—tweeting more often, on average, than their small-town counterparts. Christopher Intagliata reports.

How Baby Birds Learn to Duet

02:54 | Feb 23rd, 2018

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

Mosquitoes Learn the Smell of Danger

02:28 | Feb 22nd, 2018

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

Needed: Info on Biodiversity Change over Time

01:45 | Feb 21st, 2018

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

Undersea Recordings Reveal a Whale's Tale

02:22 | Feb 19th, 2018

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.

Seabird Feathers Reveal Less-Resilient Ocean

02:30 | Feb 16th, 2018

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.

Beetle Liberation Due to Regurgitation

02:40 | Feb 14th, 2018

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

Old Trees Are Ecosystem Gold

01:37 | Feb 13th, 2018

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

Boat Noise Means Fish Can't Learn Their Lessons

02:34 | Feb 11th, 2018

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

Woodpeckers Drum to Their Own Tunes

01:23 | Feb 7th, 2018

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

Homebodies Economize on Energy Use

02:45 | Feb 6th, 2018

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

Killer Whale Culture Revealed by Mimicking Us

01:47 | Feb 3rd, 2018

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

Holiday Cheer Leads to Birth-Rate Spike

03:40 | Feb 2nd, 2018

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.

Ticks on Uptick Where Big Game Declines

02:22 | Feb 1st, 2018

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

Wildfires Spike Wine with Smoky Notes

02:19 | Jan 30th, 2018

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

Lion Conservation Challenges Giraffe Protection

02:49 | Jan 26th, 2018

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

Nobelist Crafts Light-Switchable Antibiotics

01:38 | Jan 26th, 2018

Drugs modified by chemistry Nobel laureate Ben Feringa can be turned on and off by light, which could help keep bacteria from developing antibiotic resistance.  

Catching Flu Also Boosts Heart Risk

01:44 | Jan 25th, 2018

Researchers found a sixfold increase in heart attacks in patients in the week following a flu. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Worldwide Effort Says Together Science Can

01:19 | Jan 23rd, 2018

Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust, talked about worldwide scientific collaboration today at the World Economic Forum.  

Canada Geese Taking a Winter Staycation

02:35 | Jan 22nd, 2018

The geese are wintering further and further north, in urban areas like Chicago—which may help them avoid hunters. Emily Schwing reports.

Moon's Tug Doesn't Cause Big Quakes

01:52 | Jan 20th, 2018

An analysis of more than 200 earthquakes over the past four centuries concludes there's no connection between moon phases and big earthquakes. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Social Media Helps ID Belch Source

02:19 | Jan 19th, 2018

Surveillance of Yelp restaurant reviews for terms like vomit led researchers to the sources of foodborne illness outbreaks. Karen Hopkin reports. 

Salmonella Could Have Caused 16th-Century Epidemic

01:59 | Jan 18th, 2018

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

Which Came First: The Proboscis or the Flower?

02:34 | Jan 13th, 2018

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.

You Live in a Strange Solar System

01:53 | Jan 11th, 2018

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

Glow Sticks Help Ecologists Study Amphibians

02:44 | Jan 10th, 2018

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

Air Force Tracks Final Frontier

02:12 | Jan 4th, 2018

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

You Traveled Far Last Year

01:28 | Jan 3rd, 2018

Getting around the sun in 2017 was a memorable trip.

Finches Can Learn to Sing Differently Than Their Genetics Dictate

02:46 | Dec 30th, 2017

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

Baby Bats Can Learn Different Dialects

03:13 | Dec 29th, 2017

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

Mongoose Societies Are Skeptical of Strangers

03:14 | Dec 24th, 2017

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

Pain and Weather Fail to Connect

02:35 | Dec 24th, 2017

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.  

Finding Further Places for Solar Panels

02:04 | Dec 23rd, 2017

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.

This Fish Emits Damaging Decibels

02:26 | Dec 21st, 2017

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

Repetitive Sounds Are Music to the Brain

02:52 | Dec 19th, 2017

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

Radiation Might Help Heart Regain Its Rhythm

03:16 | Dec 17th, 2017

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

Dark Fiber Networks Can Sense Seismicity

03:14 | Dec 16th, 2017

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.

Supermarket Snacking Boosts Sales

01:38 | Dec 15th, 2017

Noshing while shopping convinces consumers to buy the featured product more often than does simply seeing end-of-aisle displays. Karen Hopkin reports.

Invading Beavers Turn Tundra to Ponds

02:12 | Dec 11th, 2017

New beaver ponds in the Arctic may contribute to the destruction of the permafrost that holds that landscape together.  

Sharks Rule the Reef's Underwater Food Chain

02:58 | Dec 10th, 2017

When sharks prowl shallow waters, fish quit foraging and hide—sparing seaweed from being grazed in those areas. Jason G. Goldman reports.

Ancient Women Had Awesome Arms

03:09 | Dec 10th, 2017

For thousands of years, women in agricultural societies seem to have had arms stronger than members of modern rowing teams.  

Invasive Frogs Don't Bug Hawaiian Birds

02:47 | Dec 8th, 2017

Coquí frogs are invasive species in Hawaii. But they don’t seem to bug the islands’ native and non-native birds. Jason G. Goldman reports.

How Hospitals Can Dampen the Decibels

02:17 | Dec 8th, 2017

Hospitals consistently score low on quietness surveys. An acoustician suggests a few ways hospitals could keep the peace and quiet. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Smarter Management Means More Inventions Get to Market

02:07 | Dec 6th, 2017

Rosemarie Truman, CEO of the Center for Advancing Innovation, says a better system of governance for federally funded inventions could lead to many more good ones becoming commercialized.  

Computers Learn to Use Sound to Find Ships

02:20 | Dec 6th, 2017

Researchers trained machine-learning algorithms to pinpoint the location of a cargo ship simply by eavesdropping on the sound of its passing. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Yeti Claims Don't Bear Up

02:16 | Dec 4th, 2017

Analysis of alleged yeti samples found them to be from less fantastic beasts, such as bears, but also shed light on the evolution of those local bear populations.

Republican Voters Not in Denial about Climate

01:31 | Dec 2nd, 2017

An analysis of voter opinions finds that half of Republican voters think climate change is happening, and would support regulating CO2 as a pollutant. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Tech Honcho Wants Innovation for the Bottom Billion

02:28 | Dec 1st, 2017

At the World Conference of Science Journalists in October, Nathan Myhrvold, co-founder of Intellectual Ventures, charged innovation outfits with changing the lives of the world's most disadvantaged.  

Bumper Stickers Make Highways More Social

02:41 | Nov 30th, 2017

A social scientist studies how car stickers turn the roads into actual information highways.  

Chimps Able to Apprehend Another Chimp's Mind-Set

02:24 | Nov 28th, 2017

By listening to the calls of their brethren, chimps seem to be able to understand the mind-sets and perspectives of other chimps. Jason Goldman reports.

Even without Hands Honeybees Show Handedness

02:35 | Nov 27th, 2017

About half the honeybees in a test exhibited no sidedness, but the other half was split 50–50 between righties and lefties—perhaps to navigate obstacles more efficiently.  

Humpback Whale Flippers Do More Than Maneuver

02:17 | Nov 26th, 2017

Researchers attached cameras to humpback whales and found that they flap their flippers to help power forward swimming.  

A New Recipe for Counting Cranberries

01:54 | Nov 23rd, 2017

Estimating cranberry harvests involves tedious hand-counting. But microwave analysis could change all that. Christopher Intagliata reports.

How Fit Is Bitcoin?

01:48 | Nov 22nd, 2017

A new analysis treats bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies as species in an evolutionary model—and finds bitcoin has no selective advantage. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Salmon Sex Changes Entire Landscape

02:35 | Nov 20th, 2017

Salmon excavate streambed holes in which to lay eggs, setting off a chain of events that has surprisingly large geographical effects.  

Ancient 1 Percenters Were Beast-Based

02:07 | Nov 17th, 2017

New World societies long ago likely had less income inequality than those in the Old World, and the difference might have been an oxen gap. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Feathers Help This Bird Sound the Alarm

02:34 | Nov 16th, 2017

The crested pigeon, found in Australia, has a modified wing feather that helps produce an alarm signal sound to warn other birds when there's trouble.  

Put Space Cat on a Pedestal

02:19 | Nov 15th, 2017

A campaign calls for the creation of a statue to recognize Félicette, the first cat to be sent into space.  

Polluted Water Whale Invents New Feeding Strategy

02:24 | Nov 13th, 2017

The Bryde's whale has come up with a passive but more efficient feeding strategy in the hypoxic waters of the Gulf of Thailand.  

Insect Brain System Knows What You Want

01:59 | Nov 10th, 2017

Computer scientists borrowed insights from the fruit fly brain to create a more accurate search algorithm. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Grazing Cattle Trim the Menu for Birds

02:42 | Aug 30th, 2017

When cattle graze the desert's natural landscape, birds face changes in food availability—and some species are unable to adapt. Jason Goldman reports.

Climate Change Might Shrink Fish

01:35 | Aug 30th, 2017

Warmer water boosts fishes' demand for oxygen—and their bodies may shrink in response. Christopher Intagliata reports.

A Fruitful Experiment in Land Conservation

02:40 | Aug 25th, 2017

In 1998 an orange juice maker dumped 12,000 tons of orange peels on degraded pastureland in Costa Rica—transforming it into vine-rich jungle. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Recycle Your Eclipse Glasses

01:47 | Aug 24th, 2017

Astronomers Without Borders wants to share your used eclipse glasses with kids in other parts of the world for the 2019 total solar eclipse.  

Seeing 1 Solar Eclipse May Not Be Enough

02:23 | Aug 19th, 2017

David Baron, author of the new book American Eclipse, talks about how seeing his first total solar eclipse turned him into an eclipse chaser.    

Solar Eclipse in 1097 May Be Rock-Carving Subject

02:28 | Aug 18th, 2017

A petroglyph spotted in Chaco Canyon may depict a total solar eclipse witnessed by the Pueblo people.  

Social Media Sites Can Profile Your Contacts

02:00 | Aug 18th, 2017

Why you should think twice before you give an app access to your phone’s address book.    

"Textalyzer" Aims at Deadly Distracted Driving

01:56 | Aug 15th, 2017

A new device promises to tell police when a driver has been sending messages while behind the wheel, but is it legal? Larry Greenemeier reports.

Climate Change Fires Up Polar Bear Treadmill

02:07 | Aug 11th, 2017

Sea ice is drifting faster in the Arctic—which means polar bears need to walk farther to stay in their native range. Emily Schwing reports.

No Bull: Lizards Flee When They See Red

02:30 | Aug 9th, 2017

Western fence lizards are more spooked by red and gray shirts than they are by blue ones—perhaps because the males have blue bellies themselves. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Celebrities Tweet Like Bots

02:01 | Aug 6th, 2017

Celebrity Twitter accounts look a lot like Twitter bots: They tweet regularly, follow relatively few people, and upload a lot of content. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Cold Snap Shapes Lizard Survivors

03:19 | Aug 3rd, 2017

An epic bout of cold weather quickly altered a population of lizards—an example of natural selection in action. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Mediterranean Diet Works--for Upper Crust

01:56 | Aug 2nd, 2017

Italians who stuck closely to the heart-healthy diet had fewer heart attacks and strokes—but only if they were well-off and/or college educated. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Screams Heard Round the Animal World

03:04 | Aug 1st, 2017

Humans appear well equipped to recognize the alarm calls of other animals—perhaps because sounds of distress tend to have higher frequencies. Karen Hopkin reports.

This Caterpillar Whistles While It Irks

02:06 | Jul 28th, 2017

The North American walnut sphinx caterpillar produces a whistle that sounds just like a songbird's alarm call--and the whistle seems to startle birds. Christopher Intagliata reports.

To Buy Happiness, Spend Money on Saving Time

02:31 | Jul 27th, 2017

Volunteers who used money to save themselves time were more content than volunteers who purchased themselves physical stuff. Karen Hopkin reports.

Bacteria Can Be Resistant to Brand-New Antibiotics

01:54 | Jul 25th, 2017

Exposure to existing antibiotics can imbue infectious bacteria with resistance that also kicks in against new drugs related to the originals. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Teaching Computers to Enjoy the View

02:02 | Jul 20th, 2017

Researchers in the U.K. trained computers to rate photos of parks and cities for what humans consider to be their scenic beauty. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Flying through a Corpse's Clues

02:07 | Jul 18th, 2017

Forensic entomologists can chemically analyze fly eggs from a corpse, which might speed up detective work. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Old Records Help Resurrect Historic Quake

02:54 | Jul 14th, 2017

Century-old records found in Puerto Rico helped reconstruct the damage caused there by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake—and could help disaster experts plan for the next big one. Julia Rosen reports. 

This Cell Phone Needs No Battery

02:05 | Jul 12th, 2017

An experimental cell phone works by absorbing and reflecting radio waves—meaning it's incredibly energy efficient and needs no battery. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Bacteria Might Share the Blame for Eczema

02:09 | Jul 7th, 2017

In patients with severe eczema, Staphylococcus aureus strains dominated the skin microbe population—suggesting that certain types of bacteria could worsen eczema flares. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Franklin's Lightning Rod Served Political Ends

01:45 | Jul 4th, 2017

Whether lightning rods should have rounded or pointy ends became a point of contention between rebellious Americans and King George III.  

Heat Will Hit America's Poorest Worst

02:00 | Jun 30th, 2017

Economists calculate that each degree Celsius of warming will dock the U.S. economy by 1.2 percent--and increase the divide between rich and poor. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Rainbow Photons Pack More Computing Power

02:12 | Jun 29th, 2017

Quantum bits, aka qubits, can simultaneously encode 0 and 1. But multicolored photons could enable even more states to exist at the same time, ramping up computing power. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Moths Inspire Better Smartphone Screens

01:42 | Jun 27th, 2017

Researchers designed an antireflective coating for smartphone screens, with inspiration from the bumpy eyes of moths. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Better Memory Begets Boredom

02:27 | Jun 23rd, 2017

The better study participants scored in the memory test, the faster they got bored. Karen Hopkin reports.