Findings — From the March 2010 issue

Findings

Researchers suggested that children with more friends should be less fat, that earlier bedtimes may discourage adolescents from killing themselves, and that depression does not affect the odds of success for women trying to lose weight. Anger is more prevalent among beautiful women, and erectile dysfunction is more prevalent among old men with restless-leg syndrome. Psychologists theorized that women’s appreciation of true-crime literature may arise from a fear of crime and a wish to learn how to avoid it; it was further theorized that what women learn from true-crime books just makes them grow more afraid and buy more true-crime books. When primed for mating, men are more conspicuous in their spending and women more conspicuous in their charity. Women’s smaller fingers give them a better sense of touch. Hand amputees have an altered perception of images at arm’s length. Italian bioceramicists turned wood into bone.

Theoretical biologists using a primate-grooming computer model called GrooFiWorld concluded that monkeys are less calculating than previously thought when choosing whether to groom others, as the decision to do so likely results solely from fear. Florida researchers unveiled a unified model of human insurgency. Russia announced plans to launch a preemptive strike on the asteroid Apophis, which, if it passes through a gravitational keyhole during its near-miss of Earth in 2029, could hit our planet in 2036. In Sweden, 10,000 hunters set out to cull twenty-seven wolves. Scientists hoped to discover why Swedish spruces have so much DNA. Prions—infectious proteins that possess neither DNA nor RNA—may be capable of Darwinian evolution. California researchers developed a method to determine the ethnicity of stem cells. U.S. Department of Energy physicists hoped to harness the Casimir force. An anthropologist observed a male chimpanzee performing a special fire-dance next to a huge blaze on the Senegalese savannah. Seismologists noted that the movements of the sun and moon cause tremors in the San Andreas fault, indicating that the fault is highly lubricated. Champagne is good for the heart. Acetaminophen may alleviate psychological pain. Goldfish and Atlantic salmon are much slower than humans at metabolizing morphine.

Zoologists found that the occasional disappearance of embryos from the brood pouches of male pipefish was likely due to filial cannibalism, with the father feeding on the unborn. A cricket was seen pollinating an orchid on the island of Réunion; neither the pollination of flowering plants by crickets nor that species of raspy cricket had previously been observed. Female giant pandas chirp to announce their fertility. Fig trees kill the larvae of wasps who fail to pollinate them. Castration without anesthetic was found to be the norm for male European pigs, who undergo the procedure to improve their marbling and prevent the smell known as “boar taint.” The fertility of large female fruit flies, who are able to produce the most eggs, is severely diminished as a result of their extreme attractiveness, which causes males to harass them to the point of starvation and to overload them with toxic semen. Female cane toads inflate themselves to avoid fertilization by unsuitable males. Mosquitoes choose mates who can sing with them in perfect harmony.

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