Science Nation - Fascinating Flight

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Using wind tunnels, lasers and high-speed cameras, University of Montana researcher Ken Dial studies ground birds for clues about the origins and mechanics of flight.

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Science Nation - Sounds of Survival

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They are quiet as church mice ... or are they? See how eavesdropping on mice provides clues about how humans process sound.

Science Nation - Solar Decathlon

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Teams design and build homes powered by the sun This past October, taking a walk on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., might have been more like taking a walk into the future. Twenty solar-powered homes were sprawled across the mall's west end, transforming it from a park into something that resembled an innovative new housing development. Park purists take note: the transformation was only temporary. The homes were part of a competition. "The Solar Decathlon is a competition for...

Science Nation - Removing Dams

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There's been a lot of research on what happens to a river when dams go up, but what happens when the dam comes down? With support from the National Science Foundation, Dartmouth College geographer Frank Magilligan is researching the impact of dam removal. His lab has been the relatively small Homestead Dam, built more than 200 years ago along the Ashuelot River in New Hampshire. He and his team have collected data on the ecology and geology of the Ashuelot River both before and after the Dam...

Science Nation - Follow the Water

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Already parts of the world suffer from lack of water, and with increasing demand it's expected to get worse. To better understand and predict drought, 30 universities are collaborating in a multi-disciplinary effort called the Shale Hills Project. Among the studies, is field research following the life cycle of water along the Susquehanna River Basin, the main tributary to the Chesapeake Bay. With support from the National Science Foundation, civil engineer Chris Duffy and his team at Penn...

Science Nation - Antarctica Rocks

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Geologist John Goodge looks for clues about Antarctica's past in the two percent of the continent that is not covered in ice! The University of Minnesota, Duluth professor studies rocks that help provide evidence about how this desolate continent has formed and changed over time. He also hopes to get a better idea of what the Earth looked like long before the seven continents we have now. Goodge and his colleagues are supported by the U.S. Antarctic Program, which is managed by the National...

Science Nation - Brain Machine Interface

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Imagine living a life in which you are completely aware of the world around you but you're prevented from engaging in it because you are completely paralyzed. Even speaking is impossible. For an estimated 50,000 Americans this is a harsh reality. It's called locked-in syndrome, a condition in which people with normal cognitive brain activity suffer severe paralysis, often from injuries or an illness such as Lou Gehrig's disease. Boston University neuroscientist Frank Guenther works with the...

Science Nation - Dragonflies in Motion

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Next time you see a dragonfly, try to watch it catch its next meal on the go. Good luck! "Unless we film it in high speed, we can't see whether it caught the prey, but when it gets back to its perch, if we see it chewing, we know that it was successful," says Stacey Combes a biomechanist at Harvard University. With support from the National Science Foundation, she and her team are using high speed cameras to help them study how dragonflies pull off complicated aerial feats that include...

Science Nation - Purple Marsh Crabs

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If you take a quick glance at the marsh next to Saquatucket Harbor in Harwich Port, Massachusetts, you will notice right away that some of the grass is missing. The cordgrass there, and all around Cape Cod, has been slowly disappearing for decades. "The cordgrass that's being destroyed here is the foundation species that builds salt marshes," explains marine ecologist Mark Bertness of Brown University. With support from the National Science Foundation, Bertness studies this critical...

Science Nation - Invasion of the Earth Worms

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Invasive species of earth worms have made their way north in the United States and are doing their job too well! They've moved into formerly worm-free forests, which rely on undecayed leaf matter. When worms decompose that leaf layer, the ecology may shift, making it uninhabitable for certain species of trees, ferns and wildflowers. It's of particular concern in the Great Lakes region when anglers simply dump their bait worms back into the soil, creating a difficult environment for old...