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Get in-depth science coverage at WIRED including news, the latest research and discoveries and how technology is shaping the world of science. A SpokenEdition transforms written content into human-read audio you can listen to anywhere. It's perfect for times when you can't read - while driving, at the gym, doing chores, etc. Find more at www.spokenedition.com

Get in-depth science coverage at WIRED including news, the latest research and discoveries and how technology is shaping the world of science. A SpokenEdition transforms written content into human-read audio you can listen to anywhere. It's perfect for times when you can't read - while driving, at the gym, doing chores, etc. Find more at www.spokenedition.com
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Get in-depth science coverage at WIRED including news, the latest research and discoveries and how technology is shaping the world of science. A SpokenEdition transforms written content into human-read audio you can listen to anywhere. It's perfect for times when you can't read - while driving, at the gym, doing chores, etc. Find more at www.spokenedition.com

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English


Episodes

Measles Had Been Eliminated. Now It’s Nearly a Daily Threat

5/24/2019
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The year 2019 isn’t even halfway over yet, and it’s already the worst year for measles since NBC stopped airing episodes of Saved By The Bell. Since January 1, the rash- and fever-causing virus has sickened 880 people across 24 states. That’s more than all the cases of the past three years combined.

Duration:00:08:33

Scientists Go Back in Time to Find More Troubling News About Earth's Oceans

5/24/2019
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Plankton don't get nearly the respect they deserve. These tiny organisms (phytoplankton being plant-like cells that produce much of the world’s oxygen, zooplankton being little animals) float around at the mercy of currents and form the very foundation of the ocean food web. You like whales? They eat krill, which eat, wait for it, plankton. You like your climate? Phytoplankton soak up CO2 and spit out oxygen, helping keep the planet a pleasant human habitat.

Duration:00:06:51

A Rocket Built by Students Reached Space for the First Time

5/23/2019
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In the early morning of April 21, 10 students from the University of Southern California’s Rocket Propulsion Lab piled into the back of a pickup truck with a 13-foot rocket wedged between them and drove down a dusty dirt road to a launchpad near Spaceport America, in southern New Mexico. When they arrived, their teammates helped them lift the 300-pound rocket onto a launch rail. Dennis Smalling, the rocket lab’s chief engineer, began the countdown at 7:30 am.

Duration:00:06:33

Abortion Bans Create a Public Health Nightmare

5/23/2019
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On Friday, the legislature of Missouri passed a ban on abortions, among the most extreme of any state. It prohibits any abortions after eight weeks of gestation, putting it among the category of misleadingly named “heartbeat bills” that use fetal cardiac activity as a marker for … well, illegality, really. Like a law signed earlier last week in Alabama, the Missouri bill contains no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.

Duration:00:11:53

The Mystifying Case of the Missing Planets

5/21/2019
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After the sun formed, the dust and gas left over from its natal cloud slowly swirled into the eight planets we have today. Small, rocky things clung close to the sun. Gigantic gas worlds floated in the system’s distant reaches. And around countless stars in the galaxy, a version of this process repeated itself, forging plentiful planets in a spectrum of sizes — except, apparently, worlds just a tad bigger than Earth.

Duration:00:07:30

Inside Facebook's New Robotics Lab, Where AI and Machines Friend One Another

5/21/2019
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At first glance, Facebook’s nascent robotic platform looks a bit … chaotic. In a new lab in its palatial Silicon Valley HQ, a red-and-black Sawyer robot arm (from the recently defunct company Rethink Robotics) is waving all over the place with a mechanical whine. It’s supposed to casually move its hand to a spot in space to its right, but it goes up, up, up and way off course, then resets to its starting position. Then the arm goes right, and gets pretty close to its destination.

Duration:00:09:24

Inside Swamp Works, the NASA Lab Learning to Mine the Moon

5/21/2019
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This is a story about dust. Dust that can mold into the shape of an astronaut’s boot and remain unchanged for millennia. Dust that cuts like glass. Dust so fine that it brings billion-dollar machines to their pneumatic knees. Moondust. For Jason Schuler, a robotics engineer at NASA’s Swamp Works, in Florida, it’s an obsession. He works on machines that can extract, pulverize, mold, analyze, and protect against extraterrestrial dirt.

Duration:00:08:19

Now Ocean Plastics Could Be Killing Oxygen-Making Bacteria

5/20/2019
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This planet has a problem with plastic. Not just the big masses of it accumulating in the Pacific, but with the tiny bits that are blowing into pristine mountaintop habitats. The flecks showing up in a range of sea creatures. The specks materializing even in human feces.

Duration:00:06:32

5G Networks Could Throw Weather Forecasting Into Chaos

5/20/2019
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If you had a choice between a better, faster cell phone signal and an accurate weather forecast, which would you pick? That’s the question facing federal officials as they decide whether to auction off more of the wireless spectrum or heed meteorologists who say that such a move could throw US weather forecasting into chaos. On Capitol Hill Thursday, NOAA’s acting chief, Neil Jacobs, said that interference from 5G wireless phones could reduce the accuracy of forecasts by 30 percent.

Duration:00:04:18

'Heartbeat' Bills Get the Science of Fetal Heartbeats All Wrong

5/17/2019
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Last week, Georgia governor Brian Kemp—the narrow winner over Stacey Abrams in a contentious, sketchy election last year—signed into law a ban on abortions after more than six weeks of pregnancy. That made Georgia the sixth state to institute such a ban, and the fourth this year (Ohio’s elected officials put theirs in place in April), with seven more states kicking around the idea.

Duration:00:08:13

This Casino's Microgrid Might Be the Future of Energy

5/17/2019
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As the Fukushima disaster unfolded in Japan, the Blue Lake Rancheria, in Northern California, was dealing with its own crisis. Several miles inland and uphill from the Pacific Ocean, the 100 acres of tribal land had turned into a haven for roughly 3,000 coastal dwellers who were fleeing a feared tsunami from that same earthquake. A huge line of cars assembled at the Rancheria’s gas station; one young woman ran in circles, holding her baby and weeping.

Duration:00:10:08

NASA Needs $1.6 Billion More to Send a Human to the Moon

5/16/2019
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NASA revealed Monday that it needs an additional $1.6 billion in funding for fiscal year 2020 to stay on track for a human return to the moon by 2024. The space agency's budget amendment comes in addition to the $21 billion the Trump administration asked Congress for in March. Ars Technica This story originally appeared on Ars Technica, a trusted source for technology news, tech policy analysis, reviews, and more. Ars is owned by WIRED's parent company, Condé Nast.

Duration:00:05:44

What's So Special About Human Screams? Ask a Screamologist

5/16/2019
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I scream, you scream, we all scream. For ice cream, sure, but also for fear, excitement, sexual pleasure, pain, anger, and—if online commenters are to be believed—memes 😱. Screaming is exhibited by many animals, but no species uses this extreme vocalization in as many different contexts as humans. Though we're pretty good at recognizing a scream when we hear one, the wide variety of screams makes it difficult to pin down what defines them.

Duration:00:06:27

The Chernobyl Disaster Might Have Also Built a Paradise

5/15/2019
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Until the 19th century, the Pripyat River basin on the border between Ukraine and Belarus was wetland and forest. As usual, humans kind of ruined it. They burned down forest for pasture land, or cut down trees to sell as timber—or for fuel to make glass and vodka. By the middle of the 20th century, most of that industry was gone, and human-driven reforestation efforts had remade the Pripyat region anew.

Duration:00:10:12

Only Two Democratic Presidential Hopefuls Have a Climate Plan

5/14/2019
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This story originally appeared in The Guardian and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. Of the nearly two dozen Democrats running for president, only two campaigns have so far laid out deadlines for transforming American life to slash the pollution that is warming the planet’s climate.

Duration:00:05:16

Jeff Bezos Unveils Blue Origin's Prototype of a Lunar Lander

5/14/2019
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When Robert Heinlein wrote his masterpiece of space age realism, The Man Who Sold the Moon, he had no way of knowing how prescient it would be. Published in 1950, it tells the tale of Delos D. Harriman, the “last of the robber barons,” who is hellbent on being the first man on the moon. Harriman drives himself to the brink of bankruptcy and madness chasing his lunar ambitions, which he feels can’t be left to the bumbling government bureaucracy to handle.

Duration:00:08:51

Bad Air Linked To Dementia, Bezos' Lunar Lander, and More News

5/13/2019
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Air pollution is worse for us than we thought, the world's richest man unveiled his moon craft, and Mother's Day is around the corner. Here's what you should know, in two minutes or less. Today's Headlines Evidence suggests air pollution might cause dementia The health conscious among us can eat well, exercise plenty, and abstain vices, like smoking. But the worsening air quality in American cities is increasingly difficult to avoid.

Duration:00:02:13

Seafloor Maps Reveal Underwater Caves, Slopes—and Fault Lines

5/10/2019
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Larry Mayer is headed out this week on a ship to explore the Channel Islands off the Southern California coast. Well, he’s actually exploring seafloor formations near the islands, looking for evidence that ancient peoples might have camped out in the caves as they migrated south some 15,000 years ago, a time when the sea level was 600 feet lower than today.

Duration:00:06:16

Scientists Save a Sick Teen, Hackers Steal $40 Million, and More News

5/10/2019
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Viruses from a freezer saved a dying teen, hackers stole millions, and Adam Savage has some organization tips for you. Here's what you should know, in two minutes or less. Today's Headlines Genetically tweaked viruses just saved a sick teen A teenage girl in London found herself in life-threatening peril from cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition where the lungs can’t clear mucus or disease-causing bacteria. She had already had double lung transplants and was running out of options.

Duration:00:02:44

Genetically Tweaked Viruses Just Saved a Very Sick Teen

5/9/2019
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In October 2017, Graham Hatfull received an urgent email from across the pond. A microbiologist colleague of his named James Soothill was desperately looking for a way to help two patients at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. The pair of teenagers, a girl and a boy, had cystic fibrosis, a genetic condition where the lungs can’t clear mucus or disease-causing bacteria. And they had both recently received double lung transplants as a result.The surgeries had gone well.

Duration:00:07:31