Findings — From the December 2008 issue

Findings

High testosterone levels were correlated with financial risk-taking in men, were found to make men prefer feminine women and make women prefer masculine men, and were induced in both men and women by the revving engines of high-performance cars. An Austrian study found that people prefer cars that look angry, dominant, hostile, and masculine (and can easily agree on whether a car appears so but have difficulty reaching consensus on whether a car is conscientious, disgusted, extroverted, or neurotic). Canadian scientists found that hockey players with wider faces are more aggressive and accrue more penalty time, and sexologists determined that a Belgian woman’s capacity to experience orgasm from vaginal intercourse is predicted by the way she walks. Women’s voices rise by an average of 15.6Hz two days before ovulation, but the increase in pitch occurs only when a woman speaks in coherent sentences, not gibberish. Sexist American men earn an average of $11,930 more than non-sexist men, and two fifths of straight men possess a gene variant that makes them more emotionally distant from and less likely to marry their female partners. Women have more nightmares than men, though the scent of roses can improve their dreams. A prominent geneticist concluded that human evolution has ended.

Researchers found that immature fat cells form before birth and hide in blood vessels, and are triggered into becoming mature fat by bouts of overeating. The brains of obese women expect more gratification from a chocolate milkshake than is actually experienced; the brains of non-obese women are more realistic in their milkshake expectations. Duke University researchers who made obese girls read a book about an obese girl who learns to be healthier found that the girls lost weight. Calories are delicious even when we cannot taste them. The Mediterranean diet was disappearing from the Mediterranean, giant pieces of meat were washing up on the shore of New Jersey, and goonches in the Great Kali River have been eating people. Space, said NASA, smells like hot metal and fried steak. A probe on Mars observed snow falling.

During the past summer, the number of zombie computers worldwide tripled, and the number of attacks by stupid grizzly bears in Anchorage, Alaska, increased sharply. Polar-bear cannibalism continued to rise. The earth’s magnetic field may weaken sufficiently by 3500 a.d. to allow the poles to reverse. Half of all mammals were in decline, and global warming was chasing many plant and animal species uphill. A quarter of elephants in south Indian temples were found to suffer from tuberculosis, a moose in Wyoming was found to have contracted chronic wasting disease, yellow stunt rice disease struck the Mekong Delta, and scientists determined that HIV first infected humans as early as 1884. Epidemiologists observed that pregnant women whose urine contains high levels of phthalates—chemicals commonly found in plastics and cosmetics—tend to have baby boys whose anuses and scrota are abnormally close together. Negative political advertisements were found to be more informative than non-negative ads. Scientists injected mice with a virus that inhibits the inability to fear new things. A ten-year-old boy in Iowa discovered a plesiosaur that was killed 74 million years ago by the Manson Impact in Pocahontas County. “Thing came up for air and got a lungful of hot glass shards,” said the investigating paleontologist. “Pretty much the most catastrophic day you could have.”

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