Scientific American Podcast: 60-Second Science

Science news and technology updates from Scientific American

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Fluttering Feathers Could Spawn New Species

Fork-tailed flycatchers make a fluttering sound with their wings—but separate subspecies have different 'dialects' of fluttering. Christopher Intagliata reports.  Charles Darwin is most famous for his finches, from whose beaks he gleaned the idea that a single species might radiate into many.  But he studied other attributes of birds, too—like the...

Science News from around the World

Here are some brief reports about science and technology from all over, including one from Israel about what DNA reveals about the Dead Sea Scrolls' parchment.  Hi, I’m Scott Hershberger, with Scientific American as an American Association for the Advancement of Science Mass Media Science and Engineering Fellow. And here’s a short piece from the Septebmer...

These Small Mammals Snort to a Different Tune

Hyraxes, which live in Africa and the Middle East, punctuate their songs with snorts. And the snorts appear to reflect the animals’ emotional state. Jason G. Goldman reports.  They grow to about twenty inches long and weigh less than ten pounds. So you might not think they’d be the closest living relatives to elephants. Meet the rock hyrax, sometimes...

These Small Mammals Snort To a Different Tune

Hyraxes, which live in Africa and the Middle East, punctuate their songs with snorts. And the snorts appear to reflect the animals’ emotional state. Jason G. Goldman reports.  They grow to about twenty inches long and weigh less than ten pounds. So you might not think they’d be the closest living relatives to elephants. Meet the rock hyrax, sometimes...

Ice Age Temperatures Help Predict Future Warming

Scientists determined that temperatures were 11 degrees cooler during the last ice age — and that has implications for modern-day warming. Julia Rosen reports.  How much colder was it at the peak of the last ice age? That’s a question scientists have been trying to answer for decades. And now, they have a new best guess: 11 degrees Fahrenheit.  That’s...

High-Elevation Hummingbirds Evolved a Temperature Trick

Hummingbirds in the Peruvian Andes enter a state of torpor at night to conserve energy, dipping their body temperatures to as low as 38 degrees Fahrenheit. Christopher Intagliata reports.  If a hummingbird has ever visited your garden, you've no doubt seen it flit from flower to flower, hovering mid-air, as it sips on nectar. That activity requires...

Why Pet Pigs Are More like Wolves Than Dogs

Given an impossible task, a dog will ask a human for help, but a wolf will not seek help—and neither will a pet pig. It's a classic television trope: Timmy has fallen down a well! Lassie can't save him herself, so she runs to find help. Actually, Timmy never did fall down a well in the entire run of the TV show, but the idea that a dog could seek...

Why Pet Pigs Are More Like Wolves Than Like Dogs

Given an impossible task, a dog will ask a human for help, but a wolf will not seek help--and neither will a pet pig. It's a classic television trope: Timmy has fallen down a well! Lassie can't save him herself, so she runs to find help. Actually, Timmy never did fall down a well in the entire run of the TV show, but the idea that a dog could seek...

Bricks Can Be Turned into Batteries

Pumping cheap iron-oxide-rich red bricks with specific vapors that form polymers enables the bricks to become electrical charge storage devices. Bricks are one of the oldest known building materials, dating back thousands of years. But researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have found a new use for bricks: as energy storage units....

Bricks Can Be Turned Into Batteries

Pumping cheap iron-oxide-rich red bricks with specific vapors that form polymers enables the bricks to become electrical charge storage devices. Bricks are one of the oldest known building materials, dating back thousands of years. But researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have found a new use for bricks: as energy storage units....

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