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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 Amphiphilic Liquid Coating That Keeps Your Avocados Fresh

6/21/2018
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Consider the rotten strawberry. Sitting there in your fridge, it suffers a cascading trifecta of maladies: For one, it dehydrates. Two, oxygen seeps in. And three, with the berry thus weakened, mold invades. Eventually, the strawberry turns to goop, a messy reminder of our own mortality. Rotting produce is an inevitability—I for one wouldn’t trust fruit that lasts forever—but that doesn’t mean we have to give in to the forces of decay so quickly.

Duration:00:07:57

China Won’t Solve the World’s Plastics Problem Any More

6/21/2018
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For a long time, China has been a dumping ground for the world’s problematic plastics. In the 1990s, Chinese markets saw that discarded plastic could be profitably recreated into exportable bits and bobs—and it was less expensive for international cities to send their waste to China than to deal with it themselves. China got cheap plastic and the exporting countries go rid of their trash. But in November 2017, China said enough.

Duration:00:05:25

Trump Hasn't Signed a Space Force Into Being—Yet

6/20/2018
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After months of teasing a new military arm devoted to extra-stratospheric security, President Donald Trump publicly ordered the Department of Defense and the Pentagon to immediately begin establishing a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces on Monday. Well, maybe. The president’s statement was not accompanied by any written directive or executive order calling for the creation of a new, space-based branch of the armed forces, as some outlets initially reported.

Duration:00:04:46

The Collapse of a $40 Million Nutrition Science Crusade

6/20/2018
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On Monday night Gary Taubes will board his second transatlantic flight in a week—from Zurich to Aspen—then eventually back to Oakland, where he calls home. The crusading science journalist best known for his beef with Big Sugar is beat after four days of nutrition conference glad-handing. But there’s no rest for the down and out.

Duration:00:13:22

Space Really Does Need Traffic Cops

6/19/2018
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In the early Space Age, the people who sent up satellites could operate under what's known as "big sky" theory. Space is so vast, so spacious, that we could never possibly use it all up. History, however, has repeatedly shown that whenever we think something is too abundant for humans to deplete, we're wrong. And so it is in space, where more and more satellites and space junk threaten to crash into each other and crowd out the future.

Duration:00:06:24

Robots Won't Take Your Job—But They Might Make It Boring

6/19/2018
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Whether they believe robots are going to create or destroy jobs, most experts say that robots are particularly useful for handling “dirty, dangerous and dull” work. They point to jobs likeshutting down a leaky nuclear reactor,cleaning sewers ,orinspecting electronic componentsto really drive the point home. Robots don’t get offended, they are cheap to repair when they get “hurt,” and they don’t get bored.

Duration:00:05:04

Protect My Head? Soccer Pros Shrug and Carry On

6/18/2018
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Today, during a World Cup game between Morocco and Iran, Moroccan winger Nordin Amrabat suffered a wicked head injury when he collided with an opponent. After he went down, a team trainer tried to revive him by slapping his face—a move decried by athletes and followers online. But despite the frequency of those kinds of injuries in soccer, you won’t see many international pros wearing gear that might prevent a concussion—reinforced headbands.

Duration:00:07:03

Puerto Rico's Observatory Is Still Recovering From Hurricane Maria

6/18/2018
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As Hurricane Maria approached Puerto Rico in late September 2017, planetary scientist Ed Rivera-Valentin knew he needed to get out. His apartment was near the coast, in Manatí, and some projections had the storm passing directly over. “I knew I couldn’t stay there because something bad was going to happen,” he says. Some people stayed with inland family, or in shelters.

Duration:00:10:02

'Ninjabot' Reveals the Mantis Shrimp's Wily Snail-Hunting Scheme

6/15/2018
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The mantis shrimp is neither a mantis nor a shrimp, but it does wield perhaps the most stunning strike in the animal kingdom. Sitting below its face are two hammers, which the crustacean cocks back and launches at its prey with such speed that it shatters snail shells and tears crabs’ limbs right of their bodies. These things are ornery, and will even fight a human given the chance. For the mantis shrimp, the only tool they have is a hammer, and all the world looks like a nail.

Duration:00:06:04

Can PJs and Sound Sleep Lead to a World Cup Victory?

6/15/2018
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Granit Xhaka is a true marathon man, often running more than almost anyone else in soccer’s English Premier League for his London-based club, Arsenal. The 25-year-old midfielder covered 7.6 miles during one game last year. All that running up and down the field (not to mention headers, tackles, and kicks) means Xhaka’s body requires not only fitness, but rest and recovery.

Duration:00:05:20

How Scientists Tracked Antarctica's Stunning Ice Loss

6/14/2018
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When the Antarctic wants to rid itself of ice, it has to get creative. The cold is too stubborn to allow surface ice to gently melt into oblivion. Instead, crushed by the immense build-up, ice gets shoved slowly along valleys and gorges until it finally reaches the edge of the continent, walking the plank into its watery grave. Back in the 1980s, scientists would plant stakes on these so-called “ice streams” to see how fast (or how slowly) they moved.

Duration:00:07:04

Crispr Fans Fight for Egalitarian Access to Gene Editing

6/14/2018
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A journalist, a soup exec, and an imam walk into a room. There’s no joke here. It’s just another day at CrisprCon. On Monday and Tuesday, hundreds of scientists, industry folk, and public health officials from all over the world filled the amphitheater at the Boston World Trade Center to reckon with the power of biology’s favorite new DNA-tinkering tool: Crispr.

Duration:00:06:08

Forget X-Ray Vision. You Can See Through Walls With Radio

6/13/2018
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Who wouldn’t enjoy a little X-ray vision, really? You could cheat at cards, for one. And that game where someone puts something under one of three cups and you have to guess where it is. Easy. Of course, X-ray vision would come with a downside, in that you’d be spraying all your surveillance targets with radiation.

Duration:00:04:20

The Physics of a Puzzling Perpetual Motion Machine

6/13/2018
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Perpetual motion—it's fun to say that. For some people, perpetual motion machines hold the secret to everlasting free energy that will save the world. To them, it's a machine that is just beyond our grasp. If only we could tweak our design just a little bit, it would work. To others (like me), perpetual motion machines are impossible—they don't fit with our well-tested ideas of the conservation of energy. However, they can still make a fun puzzle, as you see above.

Duration:00:04:42

Inside a Chemist’s Quest to Hack Evolution and Cure Genetic Disease

6/12/2018
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David Liu’s office on the eighth floor of the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts is designed to quiet the mind. A museum-grade gemstone collection lines the walls, interspersed with blue-tinged photos Liu has taken of inspiring science-on-location scenes—the concrete corners of the Salk Institute, a sunset through the Scripps pier, the lights of Durango, Colorado where Darpa often meets.

Duration:00:11:40

How a Uranium Hunter Sniffs Out Nuclear Weapons

6/12/2018
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When geologist and nuclear security researcher Rodney Ewing left the University of Michigan for Stanford in 2014, he left some of his belongings back in the Midwest. Hundreds of his belongings, actually. All of them radioactive. He wasn't trying to poison anybody: It was a collection of minerals from around the world—some unearthed himself, some donated—each with uranium enmeshed inside.

Duration:00:06:13

Wanna Pull Water Out of Air? Grab Some Ions or a Weird Sponge

6/11/2018
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Find yourself adrift at sea, surrounded by undrinkable water, and you will parch to death. Find yourself lost in a desert and you will meet the same fate, also surrounded by water, also undrinkable. That’s because, even in the driest of lands, the air is loaded with water molecules—they just won’t do you any good. Devices exist that can pull that water out of the air and convert it into liquid, but they are bulky and use a lot of energy.

Duration:00:06:37

The Many Shades of Bad Physics

6/11/2018
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What happens when you see bad physics in the world? Does it make you angry? Does it make you laugh? Do you have to hold back a tidal wave of "well, actuallys" because of the overwhelming wrongness? Some might feel that way, but I think about it a little differently. In my mind, there are different categories of incorrect physics—and I deal with each one with its own particular strategy.

Duration:00:04:22

How Science Helps the Warriors Sleep Their Way to Success

6/8/2018
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For 10 years, Andre Igoudala slept terribly. Back in college, the Golden State Warriors forward would play videogames late into the night. Eventually he'd crash, sometimes as late as 4 am, only to wake up a few hours later for practice. Then came class. When he was lucky, he'd squeeze in an afternoon nap. Later that night, it'd be back to videogames—either that or Fresh Prince reruns. Igoudala's brutal sleep habits followed him to the NBA.

Duration:00:07:25

Elections Don’t Work at All. You Can Blame the Math

6/8/2018
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San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee died in December of 2017; the election to replace him was Tuesday. No one knows who won. Partially that’s because the votes are still trickling in. Mail-in ballots merely had to be postmarked by election day, and as I write the city is reporting 87,000 votes yet to be processed. But that’s not the only roadblock. The other problem is math. See, the San Francisco mayoral election isn’t just another whoever-gets-the-most-votes-wins sort of deal.

Duration:00:09:15