Findings — From the August 2011 issue
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An earless rabbit was born in Fukushima, Japan, Hong Kong scientists created a fish that glows in the presence of estrogen, and female croakers in the Gulf of Mexico’s dead zone were developing testes. Porpocide by young male dolphins was blamed on sexual frustration. It was found that Asian clams usually reproduce by cloning themselves, but will occasionally have sex with other species. The water boatman Micronecta scholtzi was observed to create chirps as loud as 105 decibels, apparently by rubbing its 0.002-inch-long penis against its abdomen. “To observe the micro-mechanics of such a small system remains a significant challenge,” noted the French naturalist who measured the chirps. Spiders have more legs than they need. Tarantulas leave behind footprints of silk. A new species of “devil” worms was found living 2.2 miles under the earth’s surface. “This discovery may not surprise passionate nematologists,” said geomicrobiologist Tullis Onstott, “but it’s certainly shocking to me.” Pope Benedict XVI spoke to International Space Station astronauts, who filled the spacecraft Johannes Kepler with garbage and urine and sent it falling earthward.
A pox struck Chinese goats and human echovirus 30 struck Chinese children. Classical swine fever struck Lithuanian pigs. Kyasanur forest disease was reported in India, Jamestown Canyon virus in Montana, African horse sickness in South Africa, Newcastle disease in Thailand, and New Delhi metallo-ß-lactamase-1 in Canada. The “Toms River mutation” was discovered in New Jersey. Archaeologists at Herculaneum continued to sift through the Romans’ largest remaining pile of excrement. Divers recovered Blackbeard’s anchor and Captain Morgan’s cannons. Great whites are calmed by AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long.” A lost emperor penguin swam ashore in New Zealand, a pod of pilot whales escaped a Hebridean loch, and a shark warning was issued by the harbormaster of St Ives. Wives’ unemployment does not increase chances of divorce, but husbands’ unemployment does. German police were training three vultures, Columbo, Miss Marple, and Sherlock, to find corpses. A six-year-old Croatian boy previously thought to be magnetic was now thought simply to be very sticky.
High concentrations of information-technology workers correlate with high concentrations of autistic children, women who sleep on their left sides on the final night of pregnancy have half the risk of stillbirth as women who do not, and babies learn language not through gradual habituation but in epiphanies. White Americans believe there is more racism against whites than against African Americans. Bisexuals feel less comfortable than gays and lesbians about being out. Neutrinos can flip to any flavor. The bipolar tend to have balance problems. Compulsions lead to obsessions. Health-related prayer by Americans was found to have risen 36 percent between 1999 and 2007; researchers found no connection between prayer and lack of health insurance. Young Americans feel empowered by financial debt, and fast-talking voiceover disclaimers increase consumer wariness. A clinical ethicist urged all medical ethicists to have standards. Patients judge psychotherapists by their offices. Sufferers of Sjögren’s syndrome were found to feel distressed by their inability to cry, and British scientists reported progress toward making hearts heal themselves.
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