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60-Second Science

Leading science journalists cover some of the most interesting developments in the world of science. For a deeper audio dive you can subscribe to Science Talk. To view all of our archived podcasts please go to www.scientificamerican.com/podcast

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Superstrong Fibers Could Be Hairy Situation

Human hair tested stronger than thicker fibers from elephants, boars and giraffes, providing clues to materials scientists hoping to make superstrong synthetic fibers.


25 Dec 2019

Rank #1

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Smart Meters Speed Showers

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


27 Nov 2018

Rank #2

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Artificial Intelligence Learns to Talk Back to Bigots

Algorithms are already used to remove online hate speech. Now scientists have taught an AI to respond—which they hope might spark more discourse. Christopher Intagliata reports.


11 Oct 2019

Rank #3

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Data Reveals Most Influential Movies

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


6 Dec 2018

Rank #4

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Implanting Memories in Birds Reveals How Learning Happens

Researchers activated specific brain cells in zebra finches to teach them songs they’d ordinarily have to hear to learn.


21 Nov 2019

Rank #5

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Dolphins Dumb Down Calls to Compete with Ship Noise

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


30 Oct 2018

Rank #6

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Meteorite Contains Material Older Than Earth

The Murchison meteorite, which screamed to Earth 50 years ago, carried with it stardust that's seven billion years old. Christopher Intagliata reports.


13 Jan 2020

Rank #7

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Nice People Have Emptier Wallets

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


16 Oct 2018

Rank #8

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Science News Briefs from All Over

Here are a few brief reports about international science and technology from around the world, including one from the Democratic Republic of the Congo about a toad that has evolved coloring that makes it look like a deadly snake’s head.


4 Feb 2020

Rank #9

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Ant Colonies Avoid Traffic Jams

Researchers tracked thousands of individual ants to determine how they move in vast numbers without stumbling into gridlock.


8 Nov 2019

Rank #10

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Ranking Rise May Intimidate Opponents

In an analysis of chess and tennis matches, players rising in the rankings did better than expected against higher-ranked opponents and better than similarly ranked players who were not rising.


6 Nov 2019

Rank #11

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Bacteria Helped Plants Evolve to Live on Land

Soil bacteria may have taken residence in early algal species, gifting the algae with the ability to withstand drier conditions on land. Annie Sneed reports.


14 Jan 2020

Rank #12

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Coyotes Eat Everything from Fruits to Cats

The diets of coyotes vary widely, depending on whether they live in rural, suburban or urban environments—but pretty much anything is fair game.


31 Mar 2020

Rank #13