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    • Researchers Travel to the Amazon to Find out If Musical Taste Is Hardwired

    • By: Jason Daley
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 4 mins
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    It can often feel like there is something deep and universal about a collection of notes making up a chord or arranged into a beautiful melody. For some, music can crawl up the spine and evoke real shivers. Over the centuries, Western music has assumed its highly developed system of harmony and intervals was tapping into some grand truth innately recognized by all humans; after all, even Justin Bieber's music is based on mathematical ratios described by Pythagoras himself.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • Why Mind Wandering Can Be So Miserable, According to Happiness Experts

    • By: Libby Copeland
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 8 mins
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    For you, it could be the drive home on the freeway in stop-and-go traffic, a run without headphones or the time it takes to brush your teeth. It’s the place where you’re completely alone with your thoughts—and it’s terrifying. For me, it’s the shower.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • Growing Hops in Abandoned Lots? Pittsburgh Will Drink to That

    • By: Meg Thompson
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 6 mins
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    Next to the bus stop on Stanton Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Stanton Heights community, a massive retaining wall looms, gray and grim, speckled with rust. Originally built to hold the soil in tight against the slope of the land, the wall now holds something else: green, leafy hop cones, scaling their way up a trellis system made of twine.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • Some Ancient Insects Wore the Exoskeletons of Other Bugs to Disguise Themselves

    • By: Brian Handwerk
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 5 mins
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    The American military has been perfecting the art of disguise for more than a hundred years, employing a variety of materials and mimicking natural patterns to make soldiers invisible to enemy eyes. But don’t be too impressed: insects, it turns out, have been doing the same thing for a hundred million years. Ancient bugs cleverly covered themselves with dirt, wood, leaves and even the remains of their victims to become invisible to prey and predators alike.

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    • Food Tasting Too Healthy? Just Add Scent

    • By: Brian Handwerk
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 5 mins
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    Fat, sugar, salt: a taster's holy trinity. But eat them in excess, and you’ll find yourself facing an unholy triad of high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. Sadly, as anyone who has tried diet ice cream or potato chips knows, the reduced sugar or salt alternatives of your favorite snacks tend to feature reduced taste as well.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • Refugees Are Teaching Germans How to Cook Their Traditional Foods

    • By: Danny Lewis
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 3 mins
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    More than almost anything else, food has the power to bring people of different cultures together. As tensions in Europe toward refugees from war-torn countries like Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan continue to rise, food is becoming a tool to help try to ease some of these issues. Now, one organization is working to bridge the culture gap between Germans and refugees by teaching Berliners how to cook traditional Middle Eastern dishes.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • The Little-Known Legend of Jesus in Japan

    • By: Franz Lidz
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 2 mins
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    On the flat top of a steep hill in a distant corner of northern Japan lies the tomb of an itinerant shepherd who, two millennia ago, settled down there to grow garlic.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • The True Story of Dunkirk, As Told Through the Heroism of the 'Medway Queen'

    • By: Lorraine Boissoneault
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 8 mins
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    The crew of the Medway Queen was taking on an unusually large load of supplies for their next mission. The cook’s assistant remarked, “Enough grub has been put aboard us to feed a ruddy army,” writes Walter Lord in The Miracle of Dunkirk. As it turned out, that was precisely the idea. Little did the crew know, but the Medway Queen was about to be sent across the English Channel on one of the most daring rescue missions of World War II: Operation Dynamo, better known as the evacuation of Dunkirk.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • Grand Canyon Turns down Its Lights to Become a Dark Sky Park

    • By: Erin Blakemore
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 3 mins
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    The only thing better than viewing the Grand Canyon’s outrageous vistas by day is taking them in at night. When the sun goes down, the vast sky above the geologic wonder becomes a marvel of its own. Now, reports Sarah Lewin for Space.com, the night skies that sparkle above Grand Canyon National Park will get a bit of protection of their own - the park has received provisional designation as an International Dark Sky park.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • New DNA Analysis Shows How Cats Spread around the World

    • By: Jason Daley
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 3 mins
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    Felines spread in two waves including moving around Europe on Viking ships, according to researchers.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • For One Day Only, Visit the Farm and Cryogenics Laboratory Trying to Save Endangered Livestock Breeds

    • By: Jennifer Nalewicki
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 5 mins
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    From the outside looking in, the Swiss Village Farm (SVF) Foundation seems like your typical working farm. But what’s going on behind the property’s stonework wall in Newport, Rhode Island, may come as a surprise. For the past 14 years, employees have diligently collected semen samples and embryos from more than two dozen heritage breeds of livestock as part of a 20-year project - an undertaking that could one day save the country’s farming industry from collapse.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • Google's Self-Driving Cars Are Learning to Recognize Cyclists' Hand Signals

    • By: Danny Lewis
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 3 mins
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    The saga of cyclists sharing the road with cars is long and fraught with tension and accusations of unsafe behavior from both sides of the argument. While many drivers don't give cyclists enough space, some cyclists will dangerously weave in and out of traffic. But if self-driving cars ever dominate the roads, this could be a problem of the past. According to Google’ latest report on the state of its self-driving car, the vehicle can recognize and predict cyclists’ behavior, as well as understand their hand signals.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • This Year Marks the 50th Kwanzaa

    • By: Kat Eschner
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 4 mins
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    In the twenty-first century, wrote Elizabeth Pleck in the Journal of American Ethnic History in 2001, it remains "one of the most lasting innovations of United States black nationalism of the 1960s. Maulana Karenga, a prominent member of the black nationalist community, designed the holiday “as a celebration of African American family, community and culture,” according to History.com.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • First Humans Entered the Americas Along the Coast, Not Through the Ice

    • By: Jason Daley
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 4 mins
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    The traditional story of human migration in the Americas goes like this: A group of stone-age people moved from the area of modern-day Siberia to Alaska when receding ocean waters created a land bridge between the two continents across the Bering Strait. Once across, the giant Laurentide and Cordilleran ice sheets, which blocked southern Alaska and the Yukon Territory in western Canada, halted the migrants' progress.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • Why the Military Is Investing in Paper Airplanes

    • By: Erin Blakemore
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 2 mins
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    In the midst of disaster, small items like batteries or medical supplies can be a matter of life or death. But what is the safest and most cost-effective way to deliver those items?

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    • Help Crowdsource the History of Wine

    • By: Jason Daley
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 3 mins
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    When Prohibition ended in 1933, California’s wine region was ready for a rebound. That’s why the University of California, Davis, tasked plant physiologist Maynard Amerine with improving wine production in the region. The native Californian took the task to heart, studying the world’s great wines and grape varieties to do what he could do to up his state’s vino-culture. “He traveled around the state, he traveled to Europe, drinking wine, learning about wine," Amy Azzarito says.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • Using Virtual Reality to Walk in the Shoes of Someone with Alzheimer's

    • By: Emily Matchar
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 4 mins
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    British nonprofit Alzheimer’s Research UK hopes to help the public understand Alzheimer’s better by putting people in the shoes of someone living with the disease through virtual reality. The organization has just launched an app called A Walk Through Dementia, which talks users through three first-person scenarios depicting life with Alzheimer’s. The app is designed to work on an Android phone, and a user can slip the phone into a specially designed cardboard headset for an immersive experience.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • New Dictionary Explains 45,000 English and Irish Surnames

    • By: Jason Daley
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 3 mins
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    The origins of some last names are pretty self-explanatory, whether it's Baker, Shepherd or even Rotten.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • How One Black Family Drove an Auto Racing Association to the Winner's Circle

    • By: Jesse A. Sparks
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 5 mins
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    Leonard W. Miller, the founder of Black American Racers Inc. (BAR), says he feels like the other half of Hidden Figures, the Oscar-nominated film about the unsung African-American heroes of the space race.

    Regular price: $1.95

    • Half of Our Atoms May Come From Other Galaxies

    • By: Jason Daley
    • Narrated by: Mark Schectman
    • Length: 3 mins
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    In the beginning, the universe was full of elements, such as hydrogen and helium. Heavier organic elements like carbon, nitrogen and oxygen were created by fusion of those lighter elements inside the cores of stars some 4.5 billion years ago. 

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