Findings — From the March 2012 issue

Findings

Hundreds of thousands of juvenile red crabs were threatened by the foundered Tycoon at Flying Fish Cove off Christmas Island, mussels sank the Canadian navy’s antiterrorism barrier, ecologists feared that Bulgarian bats would be confused into starvation by Sylvester Stallone, and a weeping mother bear and several hundred magpies were reported to have mourned the death of Kim Jong Il. A family of Ugandan mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) groomed an American in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest; Zebedee, a virgin zebra shark living in a hotel restaurant in Dubai, gave birth for the fourth consecutive year; and thieves stole from the San Francisco Zoo a squirrel monkey named Banana Sam. A Queensland possum was punched as it sat in a patio chair at a casino. Non-native pacu fish in Papua New Guinea were biting off men’s scrota. Engineers created data-storage devices from chum-salmon testes but warned that data so recorded can never be rewritten.

A white (leucistic) blackbird had gone missing from a park in Nottinghamshire, a blond (isabellinistic) chinstrap penguin was observed in Antarctica, and entomologists described Scaptia beyonceae, a new golden-haired “diva of flies.” Scientists hoped that strategic ladybug deployments might save the hemlocks of the Chattahoo­chee. Welsh officials weighed the merits of using security bees to deter vandals from the old mills near St. Win­efride’s holy well. English mistletoe was at risk of extinction, as were such dependent species as the mistletoe marble moth and the “kiss-me-slow” weevil. Conservation group Buglife hailed the appearance of eleven rare rugged oil beetles in Swift’s Hill. Hairy Britons more easily detect bedbugs on their bodies. Ecologists hoped the fairy shrimp (Chirocephalus diaphanus) of Salisbury Plain would recover this winter. The Scottish government announced the presence of a faceless, brainless fish off Ork­ney. The magistrates of Dudley found guilty of animal cruelty a couple who accepted cash in exchange for a crippled marmoset in the parking lot of a fish-and-chip. “I was really upset,” said the buyer, after taking the marmoset to a monkey shop. “I just stood there looking at these monkeys thinking, ‘Well this isn’t like the monkey I have bought.’” Stephen Hawking was found to talk faster when pestered about upgrading his speech-assistance software. Astronomers concluded that from without the Milky Way is the color of “new spring snow… an hour after dawn or an hour before sunset.”

Otolaryngologists treated the chronic nosebleed of a Detroit girl using “cured salted pork crafted as a nasal tampon and packed within the nasal vaults.” Staged fights between virgin and eunuch Nephilengys livida spiders were found usually to result in victory for the virgins, whereas those between Jatai bee soldiers and robber bee scouts always resulted in victory for the robbers. Herpetologists tricked boa constrictors into attacking dead rats implanted with remote-controlled water-filled hearts. Researchers found that the dance of dung beetles orients them to flee the dung pile in a beeline, and that male wolf spiders will emulate and eventually superate the mating dances they learn from watching other males on TV. An unidentified species of fish was found to mimic the fish-mimicking mimic octopus. High cortisol levels were measured in the saliva of male narcissists. Researchers found that small groups make some people stupider. Human subjects who took a creativity test while sitting inside a five- by five-foot box performed worse than those who took the test outside the box. The illusion of brightness will constrict one’s pupils. Happiness was found to be the second-happiest word in English and sadness the thirty-first-saddest. A two-hearted man was reported to have survived a hearts attack.

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