Findings — From the April 2011 issue

Findings

Scientists found a strong correlation between a neighborhood’s liquor-store density and risky drinking among its African-American women; that among U.S. Internet daters, black men are much likelier to seek white women than white men are to seek black women; and that ovulation makes white American women more afraid of black men. Young Hispanic women are 9.7 times as likely as young white women to be screened for chlamydia at U.S. health-care facilities. Gonorrhea has been stealing human DNA. It was determined that in greater Cincinnati and northern Kentucky, street-drug use among stroke patients rose ninefold between 1993 and 2005. Infants shown videos of snakes spend more time watching when the video is accompanied by a fearful voice than by a happy one. Autistics are more likely than non–autistics to blame a woman named Janet for the death of Janet’s friend who dies of jellyfish stings after Janet tells her the jellyfish are harmless. Mood swings and hesitant speech betray feigned remorse.

A study published in the journal Gut found that a black Labrador from Japan’s St. Sugar Cancer Sniffing Dog Training Center was able, by sniffing the feces of patients, to detect the presence of colorectal cancer with greater effectiveness than the standard clinical screening, the fecal occult blood test. A study published in European Urology reported that a Belgian Malinois shepherd had been trained, with 91 percent accuracy, to smell prostate cancer in the urine of patients. Sniffer dogs are likelier to signal false positives if their handlers believe drugs or explosives to be present. It was discovered that the East African Evarcha culicivora jumping spider, which engages in spree killings of mosquitoes, is attracted to smelly socks; scientists suggested that humans should seek to “recruit” the spider as a defense against malaria. Girls are more likely to transmit flu to girls, and boys to boys. Fathers pass smoking habits to sons, and mothers to daughters. Children who think their fathers spend too much time working are more likely to be bullies, whereas the perceived absence of mothers does not seem to inspire bullying. Best Actress Academy Award winners have a higher risk of divorce than do losing nominees; Best Actor winners do not have a higher risk. The most aggressive eighth- through tenth-grade students are those near, but not atop, their social hierarchies.

Between one fifth and one half of England’s leisure horses are obese. The regional accents of crested gibbons can be detected in their song, and the beards of male bustards boast the birds’ robustness. Male splendid fairy wrens and superb fairy wrens imitate the calls of butcherbirds, who prey on both splendids and superbs, to get the attention of females. A species of carnivorous pitcher plant that previously was observed to catch far fewer insects than its peers was found to obtain significant nutrients from the feces of Hardwicke’s woolly bats; the plant allows the bats to roost inside itself and refrains from eating them. Most Australian parrots are left-footed and -eyed. Scientists found that pigeons have trouble finding their way home if their right nostrils are plugged. In France, whose government faced fines from the European Court of Justice for failing to protect the great hamsters of Alsace, biologists prevented despair among mice undergoing morphine withdrawal. Czech red foxes, when attacking prey, almost always pounce to the northeast. Mice raised without gut bacteria grow up to be less anxious and more adventuresome. Prairie dogs kiss more often if humans are watching. Scotland eradicated the American mink.

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