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Updated: 20 min 26 sec ago

Why Sugar Makes Us Feel So Good

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 8:59am

Why does sugar leave our brains crying, "More! More! More!"? A neuroscientist and research psychologist who studies sugar addiction breaks it down for us in a clever new TED-Ed video.

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Old Trees Grow Faster With Every Year

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 2:28am

Trees eventually stop getting taller as they mature but continue to get wider, a global study shows. And that girth is good for the planet, scientists say — old, fast-growing trees suck more carbon dioxide out of the air.

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Florida Bill Would Allow Marijuana Extract For Child Seizures

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 2:26am

Though the Florida Legislature has opposed allowing medical marijuana to cross the state line, it is considering making an exception for a variety that seems to ease a rare seizure disorder in children. One Florida father says his wife and daughter will have to move to Colorado if it's not legalized.

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Pregnant Women Warned Against Drinking Water In W.Va. Area

Wed, 01/15/2014 - 7:58pm

The CDC says pregnant women should stick to bottled water until all traces of a coal-treatment chemical are gone from the local water supply.

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The Science Behind Flying In V Formation

Wed, 01/15/2014 - 3:00pm

The motivation for flying with other birds in V formation is probably to save energy, say researchers who used transmitters to track the pattern of wing flaps in an ibis flock. Each bird in the V catches a bit of lift from the bird ahead.

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Innovation: A Charger That Keeps Your Phone Germ-Free

Wed, 01/15/2014 - 2:33pm

One in six of our cellphones have fecal bacteria on them. That gross-out stat inspired some bacteria-zapping innovation.

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Peter Stone Can't Get Enough Of Robots Playing Soccer

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 11:00pm

Computer scientist Peter Stone has taken his passion for soccer into the lab. He's developing robots that can play soccer. The work requires expertise in computer vision, robotics and understanding about how autonomous agents work together.

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First Land-Walking Fish Looks Like It Had 'All-Wheel Drive'

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 11:16am

Fossils of Tiktaalik, which lived some 375 million years ago and is believed to be the first fish that walked on land, had more robust hindquarters than previously known.

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Spinach Dinosaurs To Sugar Diamonds: 3-D Printers Hit The Kitchen

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 11:06am

Pizza printed up for dinner? Or how about an edible photograph for your next birthday cake? The first restaurant-grade approved 3-D printer was unveiled last week, and the gadget can churn out candies in any shape imaginable. Other printers in the works make custom-shaped pastas and assemble ravioli and gnocchi.

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Who's Got A Pregnant Brain?

Tue, 01/14/2014 - 6:45am

Something happened to dolphins. Then it happened to humans. Both creatures had good-sized brains when, for reasons no one truly understands, dolphin brains suddenly got larger and larger, until — 15 million years ago — they stopped growing. Two million years ago it was our turn. Our brains went from the size of an orange to the size of a cantaloupe. Why the start? Why the stop? Who's next?

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Mysteries Persist Surrounding West Virginia Chemical Spill

Mon, 01/13/2014 - 3:00pm

West Virginia officials have told residents to flush out their home water systems so that they can get water again. Tests at the affected water treatment plant show almost no contamination. However, the spill indicates how little is known about many chemicals in common use. Many of these chemicals are poorly known because people outside controlled workplaces are usually not exposed. And few people know where these chemicals are stored.

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California's Pot Farms Could Leave Salmon Runs Truly Smoked

Mon, 01/13/2014 - 10:10am

Marijuana cultivation is booming along the state's North Coast. But these plantations, critics say, guzzle enormous amounts of water while also spilling pesticides and fertilizers into waterways that are important sources of the West Coast's salmon species.

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California's Pot Farms Could Leave Salmon Runs Truly Smoked

Mon, 01/13/2014 - 10:10am

Marijuana cultivation is booming along the state's North Coast. But these plantations, critics say, guzzle enormous amounts of water while also spilling pesticides and fertilizers into waterways that are important sources of the West Coast's salmon species.

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We Have A Science Tumblr, And Its Name Is 'Skunk Bear'

Mon, 01/13/2014 - 7:59am

Follow Skunk Bear for quirky animations, intriguing videos, illustrations, gifs, behind-the-scenes radio moments, dispatches from the intersection of science and culture, homemade lava recipes, underwater operas, and fascinating graphs hastily scrawled on napkins. It's all about science.

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Go Where Raisins Swell Into Grapes And Lemons Light The Sky

Sat, 01/11/2014 - 7:02am

Come to a place where peppers are so hot, fire trucks come to douse them. Pomegranates explode like grenades there, spaghetti threatens innocent sailors, and the moon is made of cinnamon. Two French food photographers imagine all this, and then let a polar bear water-ski through a plate of marshmallows.

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Rare Scottish Bird Reveals Its Long-Secret Winter Home

Sat, 01/11/2014 - 7:00am

Think you have a long commute? Well it's probably nothing compared to the red-necked phalarope's. NPR's Scott Simon talks to Malcie Smith of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds about their record-breaking migration and how scientists tracked the tiny birds.

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Wearable Sensor Turns Color-Blind Man Into 'Cyborg'

Sat, 01/11/2014 - 7:00am

Wearable devices were all the rage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, from smart watches to Google Glass. NPR's Scott Simon talks to someone who has gone beyond wearable technology. Artist Neil Harbisson calls himself a cyborg. The co-founder of the Cyborg Foundation considers the device that he wears to correct color blindness to be an integral part of his body.

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A Green-Movement Website Shakes Up The Debate Over GMOs

Fri, 01/10/2014 - 11:19am

If you're confused by the fight over genetically modified food — and even more if your mind is already made up — you might want to turn to an investigation of the topic carried out by the environmental website Grist. Instead of preaching to the deep-green choir, Grist's in-depth series questioned its faith.

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When Big Carnivores Go Down, Even Vegetarians Take The Hit

Fri, 01/10/2014 - 2:01am

A drop in the numbers of fierce beasts worldwide might seem good news for deer and antelope — at first. But expanding herds of grass-eaters leave streambanks naked and vulnerable to erosion, and can even change the stream's course, according to scientists calling for more protection of large predators.

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It's Not Magic On The Mountain, It's A Rain-Making Machine

Thu, 01/09/2014 - 3:00pm

The snowpack in the Mountain West is at just a small fraction of its normal level, and it was the driest year ever recorded in many parts of California. Cloud seeders are trying to squeeze raindrops out of Mother Nature by spraying tiny silver iodide particles into incoming clouds.

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