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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

The Water in Your Toilet Could Fight Climate Change One Day

1/24/2019
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Day after day, you pump carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, whether you’re driving or turning on lights or eating meat. You can’t help it, because really, no human can. But I bet you haven’t stopped to think about how the simple act of pooping is also part of the problem: Worldwide, wastewater treatment facilities account for 3 percent of electricity consumption and contribute 1.6 percent of emissions. A drop in the horrifying bucket that is climate change, you might say.

Duration:00:06:16

We Can Still Avoid a Repeat of Last Year's Deadly Flu Season

1/23/2019
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As flu season nears its annual peak, between eight and nine and a half million people in the US have already been sickened by various strains of the respiratory virus, according to new estimates released Friday by federal health officials. That report, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also estimates that approximately 100,000 people have been hospitalized for complications resulting from the flu. It’s still too soon to know how bad the 2018-2019 season will be.

Duration:00:06:26

Exploding Stars May Have Killed Off Prehistoric Predators

1/23/2019
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Even though Earth is floating in the void, it does not exist in a vacuum. The planet is constantly bombarded by stuff from space, including a daily deluge of micrometeorites and a shower of radiation from the sun and more-distant stars. Sometimes, things from space can maim or kill us, like the gargantuan asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs.

Duration:00:05:02

For Women Job Seekers, Networking Like a Man Isn't Enough

1/22/2019
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To get a great job, you’ve got to network—make contacts, know the right people. You know the drill. But a study out today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that the kind of networking that works best for men isn’t enough for women. Women need access to key kinds of information that men don’t. And how can they get it? From other women.

Duration:00:08:24

3 Smart Things: The Hidden Lives of Liquids

1/21/2019
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1. Most substances make a clean break between their liquid and solid states. But liquid crystals straddle the boundary: They flow smoothly, like water, while maintaining a crystalline structure. A tiny jolt of electricity aligns the molecules in the same direction and allows them to rotate light—an effect you see when the pixels in your LCD television or smartphone flip on and off to form pretty images. 2.

Duration:00:01:30

Space Billboards Are Just the Latest Orbital Stunt

1/21/2019
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In January 2018, Rocket Lab sent a surprise to orbit. Along with its normal payloads, the launch company deployed a shiny object it dubbed the Humanity Star—basically a 3-foot-wide disco ball. Its reflective surface would shine down on Earth’s inhabitants, visible to the naked eye for a few months. “No matter where you are in the world, or what is happening in your life, everyone will be able to see the Humanity Star in the night sky,” founder Peter Beck said in a statement.

Duration:00:11:31

If Edible Insects Are the Future, We Should Talk About Poop

1/18/2019
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Two billion people can’t be wrong—at least, not about the nearly 2,000 species of insects that make for good eatin’ around the world. But nobody has to pitch you on the benefits of insectivory, right? Easier on the environment, full of weird nutrients, and whoa, check out that feed conversion ratio: It takes half as much food as you’d give to pigs and chickens and a twelfth as much as cattle to get the same amount of cricket protein on the far side of the abattoir.

Duration:00:07:57

A Crocodile-Like Robot Helps Solve a 300-Million-Year Mystery

1/18/2019
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Nearly 300 million years ago, a curious creature called Orobates pabsti walked the land. Animals had just begun pulling themselves out of the water and exploring the big, dry world, and here was the plant-eating tetrapod Orobates, making its way on four legs. Paleontologists know it did so because one particularly well-preserved fossil has, well, four legs. And luckily enough, scientists also discovered fossilized footprints, or trackways, to match.

Duration:00:08:57

To Prevent Wildfires, Treat Utilities Like Railroad Barons

1/17/2019
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Actions have consequences, as our parents likely told us as kids. But inaction has consequences, too. Life or death consequences, in the case of California’s new normal of massive, climate-change-driven wildfires. After a series of devastating fires over the last few years, critics have turned their ire toward PG&E, a utility that brings electricity to 5.4 million households and businesses in Northern California. Its equipment has been blamed for 17 of 21 major fires in 2017 alone.

Duration:00:06:09

Is ’Oumuamua an Alien Spaceship? Sure! Except, No

1/16/2019
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When you wish upon a star (or an asteroid or a comet) you are wishing on plasma, ice, dust, rock, on an object that exists, for real, so far away and moving so fast that no living human will likely ever have direct contact with it. (Well, generally.) But you’re also wishing on a metaphor.

Duration:00:09:40

Dark Matter Hunters Are Looking Inside Rocks for New Clues

1/16/2019
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In nearly two dozen underground laboratories scattered all over the earth, using vats of liquid or blocks of metal and semiconductors, scientists are looking for evidence of dark matter. Their experiments are getting more complicated, and the search is getting more precise, yet aside from a much-contested signal coming from a lab in Italy, nobody has found direct evidence of the mysterious material that is thought to make up 84 percent of the matter in the universe.

Duration:00:10:25

Bio-Printers Are Churning out Living Fixes to Broken Spines

1/15/2019
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For doctors and medical researchers repairing the human body, a 3D printer has become almost as valuable as an x-ray machine, microscope, or a sharp scalpel. Bioengineers are using 3D printers to make more durable hip and knee joints, prosthetic limbs and, recently, to produce living tissue attached to a scaffold of printed material.

Duration:00:05:38

Trump's Immigration Speech Won't Change Minds, Science Says

1/14/2019
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When President Trump first announced he would deliver a primetime address about the border wall, people objected. They argued that the networks shouldn’t run it, given Trump’s record of lying about immigration issues and the precedent of not airing presidential speeches deemed purely political. Misinformation experts warned that if news organizations do air the speech, they should fact-check it live.

Duration:00:07:18

A Strange Kind of Data Tracks the Weather—and Pirate Ships

1/11/2019
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A group of apes is called a shrewdness; a group of ferrets is called a business; a group of small satellites is called a constellation. And Spire is the name of one shrewd business with a constellation of small satellites. More than 60 of its sats are up in orbit, collecting information about the weather, as well as the movements of ships and air traffic. Inside Spire’s Boulder office, a conference-room computer beams those satellites’ knowledge from space to a screen.

Duration:00:11:26

To Prevent Fires, One California Town Says 'Goat Fund Me'

1/10/2019
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Nestled in the foothills of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains is the quaint Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Surrounded by unkempt brush, the old, highly flammable city is in danger: with California’s wildfires raging with unprecedented ferocity in recent years, one spark could doom Nevada City to the same fate that neighboring Paradise met in November. But not if the goats get there first.

Duration:00:05:38

Los Angeles Gets America's First Earthquake Warning App

1/10/2019
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This story originally appeared on CityLab and is part of the Climate Desk collaboration. On January 3, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the release of ShakeAlertLA, a new earthquake-warning app for residents of Los Angeles County. The app—the first of its kind in the United States—promises to “save lives by giving precious seconds to you and to your family to take action and to protect yourselves,” Garcetti told reporters at a launch event at City Hall.

Duration:00:05:21

Ocean Cleanup's Plastic Catcher Is Busted. So What Now?

1/9/2019
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Bad news from the high seas: the Ocean Cleanup’s 600-meter-long floating tube, which was supposed to catch plastic whilst somehow surviving the relentless forces of the ocean, has done neither. In November, the organization—which has raised $40 million from donors and companies—announced that the thing wasn’t really catching plastic, and last week it said the giant tube had snapped in two. It's now being towed to Hawaii for repairs and upgrades.

Duration:00:06:23

The Clever Clumsiness of a Robot Teaching Itself to Walk

1/9/2019
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It’s easy to watch a baby finally learn to walk after hours upon hours of trial and error and think, OK, good work, but do you want a medal or something? Well, maybe only a childless person like me would think that, so credit where credit is due: It’s supremely difficult for animals like ourselves to manage something as everyday as putting one foot in front of the other. It’s even more difficult to get robots to do the same.

Duration:00:05:44

The Shutdown Shows Just How Vital Government Scientists Are

1/8/2019
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Instead of figuring out how many Pacific hake fishermen can catch sustainably, as his job demands, scientist Ian Taylor is at home with his four-month old daughter, biding his time through the partial government shutdown. Taylor’s task is to assess the size and age of hake and other commercially harvested fish species in the productive grounds from Baja California to the Gulf of Alaska. These stock assessments are then used by federal managers to approve permits to West Coast fishing boats.

Duration:00:05:27

We Need to Not Freak Out About the Robot Revolution

1/4/2019
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You, like me, may sometimes (or all the time!) feel that the world is spiraling out of control—trade wars and political strife. And, oh right, climate change, arguably the greatest threat our species has ever faced. Or maybe artificial intelligence and robots will put us all out of work before the world actually ends. “A dirty little secret about autonomous vehicles,” says Edelman, “is there won't be enough people to service them because these are trade skill programs.

Duration:00:07:55