Findings — From the June 2012 issue

Findings

Eyeless shrimp, clawless crabs, and fish with uncovered gills were discovered near the site of the 2010 Deep­water Horizon oil spill. James Cameron descended to the Hadal Zone of the Mariana Trench but sprang a leak, Jeff Bezos located Apollo 11’s F-1 booster engines on the Atlantic seabed, and Newt Gingrich was bitten by a Magellanic penguin. A swan drowned an Illinois man. “It’s presumably a male swan,” said Her Majesty’s Swan Warden. Nestlé designed ice cream using data supplied by the Swiss Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research and summarized in the journal Soft Matter. Impotent men are likelier to suffer migraines, estrogen slows the healing of women’s wounds, and women with dense breasts have twice the risk of cancer recurrence. False killer whales squint their echolocation beams by squeezing their melons.

Twelve bat species had colonized Israeli ghost bunkers between the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee, invasive “killer” shrimp were found to have colonized Barton Broad farther downstream the River Ant, officials considered bombing a herd of frozen cows found in a ranger cabin near Conundrum Hot Springs, and Lady, the oldest ovulating osprey in the United Kingdom, was suspected of having laid a phantom egg in the Loch of the Lowes. The Oddity Effect appeared responsible for German ­goshawks’ preference for white pigeons. Biologists described the exception to the Island Rule. The Black Queen Hypothesis was proposed to explain why microorganisms evolve to do less work in the presence of other microorganisms who will do that work for them. South Carolina doctors used the Da Vinci robot to perform a hysterectomy on a woman after removing her twenty-six-week-old fetus. “I was like, Oh my God, I’m about to get cut on again!” recalled the woman. “He said, You don’t have to get cut. He said, Let’s do the robot.” Heart Rhythm published a study that found hypertensive African Americans likelier than hypertensive white Americans to suffer sudden cardiac death. Poor people are less likely to sue their doctors.

English anthropologists who showed men photos of variously colored vulvas refuted the theory that women who wear red attract men by reminding them of engorged labia; the study “found in fact that men showed a strong aversion to redder female genitals.” Paleontologists refuted the theory that ichthyosaur carcasses routinely exploded. Microbiologists feared that Caribbean corals were suffering from herpes, and an MIT scientist modeled the chatter between neighboring grains of flowing sand. Ethiopian hyenas, faced with a scarcity of human garbage during Lent, were forced instead to eat donkeys. Dairy cows on anxiolytic drugs will spend more time with an unfamiliar jerrycan. ­Antipsychotics discourage anorexia in mice. Baboons can differentiate between real and fake four-letter words. In Bangladesh, fishing families that previously maintained fifteen to twenty otters now keep only three or four, and in Britain murmurations of starlings were dwindling. Old Spaniards avoid cunnilingus and fellatio. Longer TV commercials quicken the hearts of Basques. Catalan scientists weighed an electron to the nearest yoctogram. Canarian and Granadan scientists linked depression to the consumption of fairy cakes. Psychologists recommended that, before they learn to read, young Paduans be tested for dyslexia. Dark forces were under investigation by physicists at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility. Murderers who plead with imaginary kidnappers to return the family members they themselves have killed betray subtle smiles.

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