60-Second Science

60-Second Science

United States

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 our archived podcasts please go to www.scientificamerican.com/podcast


Pesticide Additive Could Be One Culprit in Bee Deaths  

A common pesticide additive, known as an 'inert' ingredient, could be one of the causes of the die-offs beekeepers have observed in their hives. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Knot Not Easy to Knot  

Chemists have synthesized the most complex molecular knot ever, using a strand just 192 atoms long. The advance could lead to new tougher materials. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Bat Chatter Is More Than a Cry in the Dark  

Using algorithms developed for human speech recognition, researchers decoded which bats in an experimental colony were arguing with each other, and what they were arguing about. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Bird Feeders Attract Bird Eaters, Too  

Some predators are attracted to the food in bird feeders, and end up targeting nestlings, too. Jason G. Goldman reports. 

Adult Daughter Orcas May Trigger Moms' Menopause  

Competition between older female orcas and their adult daughters when they can breed simultaneously may cause the matriarch to enter menopause.  

Climate Cycles Could Have Carved Canyons on Mars  

Researchers think Mars may have experienced a series of climate cycles, which etched the planet’s surface with river valleys and lake basins. Julia Rosen reports. 

Hair Cells Could Heal Skin Sans Scars  

Hair follicles appear to be key in reprogramming other cells in the wound, restoring the original skin architecture, instead of simply scarring. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Concrete Defects Could Become Strengths  

By optimizing the imperfections in concrete, manufacturers could make the material tougher and stronger—allowing builders to use less of it. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Zika Linked to a Variety of Birth Defects  

Zika virus infection during pregnancy appears to cause a range of birth defects, such as joint, eye and ear abnormalities, in addition to microcephaly. 

When Dining For Trillions, Eat Wisely  

What you ate in the past can shape the diversity of your gut flora, and affect how well your gut microbes respond to new foods. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Weakest Piglets May Sneak Help From Strongest Siblings  

If a weak piglet positions itself next to a strong sibling while feeding, it may get some extra nutrition from inadvertently stimulated mammary glands.     

Isolated Low Temps May Reassure Climate Skeptics  

Areas of the country that have experienced record low temperatures since 2005 happen to be home to many global warming deniers. And researchers theorize there may be a connection. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Bats Learn To Take White-Nose Punch  

In areas where the white-nose syndrome fungus has been around for a while, little brown bats seem to have found a way to limit the disease damage. 

'Necrobiome' Reveals a Corpse's Time of Death  

The microbial ecosystems inhabiting corpses could help forensic scientists determine a person’s time of death, even after almost two months. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Pregnancy Primes the Brain for Motherhood  

Areas of the brain related to social cognition shrink in first-time mothers—a structural change that could boost maternal attachment. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

Small Fraction of Pilots Suffer Suicidal Thoughts  

In an anonymous online survey, about four percent of surveyed pilots admitted to having suicidal thoughts within the last few weeks. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Migrating Birds Prefer Lakefront Property  

Night-flying migratory birds over water turn back to lakeshores at daybreak—meaning crowded shores along the water. Christopher Intagliata reports.

Breast-Feeding Benefits Babies with Genetic Asthma Risk  

Infants carrying genes that put them at increased risk for asthma had a 27 percent decrease in developing respiratory symptoms while being breast-fed. Erika Beras reports.

Self-Driving Cars Probably Won't Boost Commuter Productivity  

Sixty-two percent of survey respondents said self-driving cars would not make them more productive. Another 36 percent said they’d be too concerned to do anything but watch the road. Erika Beras reports. 

New Insecticide Makes Mosquitoes Pop  

The substance prevents mosquitoes taking a blood meal from producing waste—causing them to swell up, and sometimes even explode. Christopher Intagliata reports. 

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