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Spiders, Quantum Supremacy, Missouri Runoff. Oct 25, 2019, Part 1

SHARE Spiders, Quantum Supremacy, Missouri Runoff. Oct 25, 2019, Part 1

Spiders were one of the first animals to evolve on land. And over the span of 400 million years of speciation and evolution, they’ve learned some amazing tricks. One of their trademarks? The strong, sticky substance that we call silk—every spider produces it, whether for weaving webs, wrapping prey, or even leaving trails on the ground for potential mates. 

But every silk is unique, each with different chemistry and different physical properties. Even a single spider web may use multiple kinds of silk. So how did spiders develop these wondrous fibers? We hear from Cheryl Hayashi at the American Museum of Natural History, Sarah Han at the University of Akron, and Linda Rayor at Cornell University about their work. 

Plus, a "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico has states along the Mississippi working to reduce nutrient runoff. Science and environment reporter Eli Chen from St. Louis Public Radio tells the us the State of Science.

And, Google says its quantum computer has achieved in just 200 seconds what would take a supercomputer thousands of years. But IBM is pushing back. Sophie Bushwick, technology editor at Scientific American, joins Ira to talk about what this means and other stories from this week in science.

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