Findings — From the July 2011 issue

Findings

American black bears were killing more people. Four hives of valuable research bees were stolen in Scotland, and scientists in Limerick found dark Irish honeybees relatively resilient to colony collapse disorder. Cell phones cause bees to behave erratically, and lost honeybees can find their way home by looking to the sky. Patterns of aggressive sexual behavior by male beetles may physically destroy female beetles and drive a species to extinction. Royalactin, the protein that creates queen bees, also can be used to create queen-bee-like fruit flies. Tropical carpenter ants who are zombified by brain fungus are thereafter compelled, at solar noon, to latch on to the main vein on the underside of a leaf, readying them for death in a spot ideally suited to the fungus’s well-being. Mummy berry fungus can be successfully fought off by several blueberry cultivars. Herpetologists described the process whereby snakes’ otherwise viscous poison falls freely, like a teardrop, down the grooves of their fangs and into the flesh of their victims.

Rice was found to have been first domesticated in China, where the countryside was plagued by exploding watermelons and the world’s oldest panda died at the age of thirty-four. Norway proposed measures to reduce the deaths by crushing of piglets by their mothers. A Yorkshireman was fined £445 for shooting a swan he thought was a goose. “There is,” said a wildlife officer, “a significant difference.” Giant hummingbirds could be much larger, and city birds have bigger brains than country birds. Residents of happier U.S. states are more likely to kill themselves. “Discontented people in a happy place may feel particularly harshly treated by life,” explained one of the study’s authors. “Those dark contrasts may in turn increase the risk of suicide.” Obese American men who visit a male physician are much likelier than obese women who visit female physicians to receive counseling about weight loss. Immigrants become as fat as native-born Americans within fifteen years of their arrival. A majority of African Americans call their friends rather than 911 when experiencing a stroke and support a ban on menthol cigarettes. Plants may be black on planets with more than one sun.

Marine biologists concluded that Xyloplax does not constitute a new animal class but is merely a genus of starfish that cannot grow beyond its adolescent body. A lack of adolescent rebellion was correlated with poor commitment, feelings of hopelessness, and the infliction of “remorseless injury” upon one’s partner in long-term adult relationships. Among autistics, the risk of elopement peaks at age four. Women with anxious attachments are more likely to sext. The sense of justice resides in the amygdala. People who are cognitively overburdened lose their inhibitions about romantic infidelity. Women, if they become powerful, are as likely as men to cheat; women prefer tall men because they usually win in a fight against short men. New Zealand hospitals reported heartbreak among victims of a recent earthquake. Morning heart attacks kill more of the heart. An Israeli doctor developed a simple diagnostic test to evaluate young adults’ risk of sudden death syndrome, which causes their hearts suddenly to cease to beat.

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