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Got Milk? How?
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Pothole Repair, Insect-style
Staying Away from Sick Lobsters
Dolphin Sponge Moms
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Memory by Hypnosis
Pondering the puzzling platypus
Face values
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Woodpecker
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Silk’s superpowers
Supergoo to the rescue
A Spider's Silky Strength
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It's a Small E-mail World After All
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New eyes to scan the skies
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Ancient Critter Caught Shedding Its Skin
Dino Takeout for Mammals
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Earth
Hot Summers, Wild Fires
Bugs with Gas
Earth from the inside out
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Pollution Detective
Will Climate Change Depose Monarchs?
Antarctica warms, which threatens penguins
Finding the Past
A Long Trek to Asia
Ancient Cave Behavior
Preserving Ancient Warrior Paint
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Electric Catfish
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Carp
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How Super Are Superfruits?
Eat Out, Eat Smart
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GSAT English Rules
Who vs. That vs. Which
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GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
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GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
GSAT Mathematics
GSAT Practice Papers | GSAT Mathematics | Maths
It's a Math World for Animals
Setting a Prime Number Record
Human Body
Spitting Up Blobs to Get Around
Football Scrapes and Nasty Infections
Dreaming makes perfect
Invertebrates
Termites
Dust Mites
Earthworms
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Dachshunds
Siamese Cats
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How children learn
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Physics
Electric Backpack
One ring around them all
Powering Ball Lightning
Plants
Fast-flying fungal spores
Springing forward
Farms sprout in cities
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Copperhead Snakes
Space and Astronomy
Wrong-way planets do gymnastics
Burst Busters
A Puffy Planetary Puzzle
Technology and Engineering
Slip Sliming Away
Algae Motors
Roll-Up Computer Monitors to Go
The Parts of Speech
Pronouns
What is a Verb?
Adjectives and Adverbs
Transportation
Tinkering With the Basic Bike
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Troubles with Hubble
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Where rivers run uphill
Warmest Year on Record
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
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Music in the Brain

Music inspires many people, including scientists. For instance, two researchers recently looked at the brains of jazz musicians. They were interested in what happened when musical performers spontaneously invent musical passages. Making up music is known as improvisation. It's quite different from performing the notes written on a page, which is what most non-jazz performers do. Six professional jazz pianists agreed to have their heads scanned by a team of researchers from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders in Bethesda, Md. The musicians laid inside a large, tube-shaped machine called a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) device. The machine records blood flow. So when someone inside of it does or thinks about something, scientists can see which parts of the brain are working hardest. Inside the fMRI device, the musicians propped a plastic piano keyboard on their laps. In one exercise, they played the notes of a scale in order. Then, they used the same notes to improvise a song. In another exercise, the musicians memorized a jazz composition and then played it while lying in the fMRI device. As they played, they listened to a recording of other instruments playing the accompanying parts. Then, the musicians improvised while listening to the same background music. Results from both exercises showed that the brain behaved in a particular way during improvisation. There was extra activity in a part of the brain that has been linked with the ability to tell a story about yourself. At the same time, there was less activity in the part of the brain that has been linked to planning and controlling behavior. Both parts are located near the front of the brain. "What we think is happening is that when you're telling your own musical story, you're shutting down [brain cell] impulses that might impede the flow of novel ideas," says Charles J. Limb, one of the researchers. He is a trained jazz saxophonist himself. Improvisation is an important skill in creative pursuits. So next, the researchers plan to look for similar activity in the brains of poets, painters, and other artists.—Emily Sohn

Music in the Brain
Music in the Brain








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