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To Make Intersections Smarter, We Need Cars To Be Smarter, Too

Anyone who has waited endlessly at a red light at an empty four-way intersection knows traffic signals are not the most efficient way to keep traffic flowing. Computer scientists have figured out a way to utilize the space in intersections far more efficiently. The problem is the solution will have to wait for a day when cars can drive themselves.
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After Major Comeback, Is The Gray Wolf Still Endangered?

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to take the gray wolf off the endangered species list. The wolf had been extirpated from the West and had dwindled most other places in the U.S. The great canine has rebounded since it was reintroduced to the northern Rockies in the 1990s and is continuing to spread into the Pacific Northwest. But biologists warn that if these wolves loses federal protection, they will not be able to return to some places, such as Colorado, where the ecosystem sorely needs them.
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PHOTO: Saturn's Holiday Closeup

NASA's Cassini spacecraft focused on one of the planet's poles, and produced an image that resembles a hand-painted Christmas ornament. There's also a new photo of Saturn's largest moons that makes it appear they're stacked on top of each other.
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2013 Was The Year Bills To Criminalize Animal Cruelty Videos Failed

This year, 15 bills in 11 states attempted to make undercover videos on farms illegal. Not a single one passed. Activists say a broad-based coalition that tapped the grass-roots concern for animal welfare helped defeat the measures.
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VIDEO: Rescuers Are Drawing Near To Ship Stuck In Antarctic

A Russian ship carrying an Australian scientific expedition has been trapped since Monday. But a Chinese icebreaker is expected to soon free it from the ice. Other ships are also on the way. The 74 people aboard the MV Akademik Shokalskiy plan to then continue their expedition.
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Can A Fruit Fly Help Explain Autism?

Scientists hope to solve mysteries of the human brain by studying much simpler neural networks — like the brain circuits of fruit flies and mice. Already such research is turning up clues to why many people with autism are easily overwhelmed by bright lights and loud sound.
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West Coast's Early Warning System For Quakes Still Spotty

Japan already relies on a system that helps prevent industrial accidents and train derailments by sending warnings as much as a minute before the ground starts shaking. That much time could save lives after a major earthquake in California, but seismologists say a prototype system there lacks funding and has big gaps.
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Experimental Tool Uses Light To Tweak The Living Brain

An experimental technique called optogenetics is starting to change the way researchers look at the brain. The tool allows them to switch entire brain circuits on and off using light, and may help figure out what's going wrong in brain ailments from epilepsy to depression.
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With National Treasures At Risk, D.C. Fights Against Flooding

Since Superstorm Sandy, officials in Washington, D.C., have gotten a clear idea of what would happen in a worst-case storm scenario. Key government buildings and tourist sites like the Smithsonian museums are particularly vulnerable to flooding. So federal and local officials are taking steps to protect them.
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Are We Genetically Inclined To Be Materialistic?

People tend to hate to lose stuff they already own. This trait, known as the endowment effect, is likely handed down to us by evolution, since it is visible cross-culturally as well as in non-human primates. However, new research suggests certain cultures place a brake on this evolutionary trait, whereas capitalistic societies put it on steroids.

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