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Stories by David Wagner

An Afterlife For California's Offshore Oil Rigs?

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They look ugly and lifeless from the shore. But beneath the water's surface, offshore oil rigs in California harbor rich ecosystems that some people want to want to preserve.

Meet San Diego's 'Johnny Hempseed'

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San Diego hemp booster Chris Boucher wants to sow hemp across the United States. But his seeds keep getting seized.

How To Fix Google Flu Trends

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A San Diego researcher says if Google wants to predict the spread of influenza, they'll have to work out some major kinks in Google Flu Trends.

Which Countries Drive Climate Change? Don't Ask The United Nations

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A San Diego scientist says the United Nations is letting politics get in the way of progress on climate change.

Algae Blooms In San Diego's Biotech Industry

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According to a new SANDAG study, the local algae biotech economy has doubled since 2011.

San Diego's Algae Industry Struggles To Float On Fuel Alone

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Six years ago, sustainable biofuels were the next big thing in biotech, and algae was supposed to drive the way forward. But today's energy landscape has changed dramatically, and algae companies have had to take a left turn.

San Diego Scientists Probe The Machinery Of Memory

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What actually happens inside the human brain when it forms a memory? Today, San Diego researchers report seeing that process up close, cell by cell, inside a living human brain.

Google Glass Explorer Ticketed In San Diego Featured On 'The Daily Show'

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Cecilia Abadie probably wasn't thrilled when she was issued the first-ever ticket for driving while wearing Google Glass. But she should've been. That ticket got her onto "The Daily Show."

San Diego Startups Giving Marijuana A Makeover — But They Can't Say That

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Marijuana is fully legal in two states and partially legal in many others. But businesses striving for legitimacy in the pot industry still need to stay hush-hush to avoid running afoul of the feds.

Researchers Hope To Unlock Personal Health-Tracking Data

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California researchers are hoping to unlock all the personal data stored away in health-tracking devices.

San Diego Scientists Can Turn Memories Off And On Like A Light Switch

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San Diego neuroscientists have figured out how to instill a memory in a mouse, then erase that memory, and then reactivate it.

Video Artist Cy Kuckenbaker Cuts Up Everyday Scenes Of San Diego

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Cy Kuckenbaker's videos have racked up millions of views online, but they don't scream "viral." They're built on everyday images of San Diego, reshuffled meticulously to collapse time.

Body Found In Aftermath of Carlsbad's Poinsettia Fire; Blaze 85 Percent Contained

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Firefighters discovered the body near a homeless encampment as they mopped up hot spots in the Poinsettia fire. Eight homes and two 18-unit apartment complexes were destroyed or damaged in the fire.

Saved From Auction Block, San Diego Museum Fossils Headed To Kansas

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Following protests over its initial plan to auction them off, the San Diego Natural History Museum has donated a collection of prehistoric fossils to a museum in Kansas.

Could A Smartphone App Train You To Speed Read? Not So Fast

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New tech startups promise to help readers get through entire books in a single hour. But will any of these speed reading apps actually work?

San Diego Scientists Add Two Letters To DNA Alphabet

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Scripps researchers have taken DNA's four familiar building blocks — A, T, C and G — and added two new ones: X and Y.

San Diego Researcher Discovers The Best Way To Ask For Help

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If you ever need help with something, choose your words wisely. A new study out of UC San Diego shows actions are strongly influenced by language.

SeaWorld Orcas Learn A New Dialect

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New research out of SeaWorld San Diego suggests killer whales can learn new sound patterns from orcas outside their social group.

When Computers Can Read You Like A Book

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Some computers spot the facial tics signaling emotions like joy, surprise, and disgust. Researchers can use them to spot behavior problems in kids or to know what kind of cereal you really want to buy.

E-Cigarette Overdose: How Much Liquid Nicotine Would It Take To Kill You?

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A San Diego toxicologist says some bottles of e-cigarette juice contain enough nicotine to do you in.

San Diego Research Suggests Autism Develops During Pregnancy

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By pinpointing irregularly developed patches in young autistic brains, UC San Diego researchers have found new evidence that autism begins in the womb.

Facebook Is Betting Big On Virtual Reality

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Mark Zuckerberg just paid $2 billion for Oculus VR, the makers of a virtual reality headset. But will any of us actually use virtual reality in our daily lives?

UC San Diego Computer Is Better Than You At Spotting Fakers

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Researchers at UC San Diego have programmed a computer that can recognize feigned expressions of pain better than humans.

San Diego Research Feels Federal Budget Squeeze

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San Diego scientists depend on federal dollars to carry out much of their research, but keeping their projects funded is an uphill political battle.

Extinct California Porpoise Discovered In San Diego Had A Major Underbite

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Twenty-four years ago, a San Diego man saved a fossil from being run over by a bulldozer. This week, it was finally identified as the skull of an unusual — and now extinct — porpoise.

How Poor East Coast Weather Can Bum Out Californians Too

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According to UC San Diego scientists, when you bring your rainy day blues to Facebook, you could be bumming out people all across the country.

New San Diego Biotech Company Targets Aging With Lots (And Lots) Of Genome Sequencing

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J. Craig Venter was one of the first scientists to sequence a human genome. A decade later, his company wants to push genomics forward by sequencing thousands more.

Why Don't Crowd-Controlled Videogames Devolve Into Total Chaos?

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Hundreds of Zelda players were able to cooperate enough to beat The Legend of Zelda three times over in less than a week. Here's how.

Why Bitcoin Schemers Have Been Hijacking Personal Computers

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With one of Bitcoin's largest exchanges losing a half-billion dollars and filing for bankruptcy Friday, the virtual currency's future remains uncertain. And malware operators are moving on.

Gluten: The Marketing Versus The Science

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Gluten-free foods have been claiming more and more space on grocery store shelves lately. But the commercial take on gluten doesn't always square with science.

US Customs Consider Using Facial Recognition, Other Biometrics At US-Mexico Border

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It's still too early to say exactly how this technology would be used at border crossings like San Ysidro or Otay Mesa but officials say biometrics would not be focused on U.S. citizens.

San Diego Scientists Discover A Bacteria's Weird Napoleon Complex

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Why does one of the smallest organisms known to science have such an outsized ability to conquer our immune systems? Scripps scientists reveal its secret weapon.

Building A Digital Worm Is Harder (And More Important) Than You Might Think

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From San Diego to Siberia, volunteer researchers are joining forces to digitally recreate a very simple, very tiny worm.

'Pineapple Express' Is Bringing Rain To Northern California

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San Diego scientists say we shouldn't expect this weekend's "atmospheric river" to even come close to ending California's historic drought.

Rents Spike In Tech Hubs Like San Diego

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According to a new report, rents in cities with booming tech industries are climbing faster than in the rest of the country. San Diego has seen some of the steepest increases.

San Diego Will Play A Role In California's New Stem Cell Genomics Center

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Since the passage of Proposition 71 in 2004, California taxpayers have been pumping billions into stem cell research. Now, a new statewide effort will attempt to marry the latest in gene research with advancements on stem cells.

Tijuana's Need For Internet Speed

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By some measures, Mexico might have some of the fastest Internet in Latin America. But for Tijuana's ambitious tech entrepreneurs and aspiring professional gamers, it's still painfully slow.

San Diego Attorney Loses Twitter Libel Case Against Courtney Love

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Can tweets be libelous? Of course they can, say legal experts. But defamation on social media can be hard to prove, as demonstrated in a trial involving rock singer Courtney Love and her former attorney.

San Diego Researcher Explains Why We Trash-Talk Opponents

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A UC San Diego researcher has done a study to show why some video game players talk trash to their opponents — aside from it being really, really fun.

San Diego Company Claims Major Milestone In Gene Sequencing

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Sequencing an entire genome for $1,000 or less has long been seen as a tipping point in the field of genetics. One San Diego company says they've now succeeded in bringing prices down that low.

Qualcomm Moves Beyond Phones At CES

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Qualcomm may be known as the company that makes the stuff inside smartphones. But the company didn't roll out any new phone chips at this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

UC San Diego Professor Slams TED Talks — During His TED Talk

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One San Diego academic recently took the anti-TED gospel to those least likely to want to hear it: TED devotees.

Snapchat Security Breach Affects Millions Of Users

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The private messaging app Snapchat just got much less private for millions of users after the app got hacked through a known security flaw.

San Diego Fails To Secure Drone Test Site

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The Federal Aviation Administration announced Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Virginia will host test sites for drones.

Proposed CA Law Would Turn Stolen Smartphones Into Bricks

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Proposed legislation in California would require smartphone manufacturers to include a so-called "kill switch" in their devices.

San Diego Artist Turns Rush Hour Into A Rainbow

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By rearranging cars according to color, San Diego filmmaker Cy Kuckenbaker invented a whole new way to see the Cabrillo Freeway.

San Clemente Doesn't Want San Onofre's Nuclear Waste Sticking Around

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Elected officials in San Clemente are expressing concern about how long waste will be stored in their backyard.

How To Prosecute A Revenge Porn Profiteer?

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Making money by exposing the private, nude images of strangers may be sleazy, but is it illegal?

San Diego Man Arrested In Connection With Revenge Porn Website

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A San Diego man was arrested Tuesday on charges related to operating a revenge porn website. It's the first bust of its kind since California criminalized revenge porn earlier this year.

California Girls Aren't The Only Ones Saying Everything Like It's A Question?

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Uptalk — the rising speech pattern that like totally makes everything sound like a question — isn't just a Valley girl vocal tic. San Diego researchers say the dialect is widespread throughout Southern California and guys do it too.

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