Findings — From the October 2012 issue
SIGN IN to access Harper’s Magazine
1. Sign in to Customer Care using your account number or postal address.
2. Select Email/Password Information.
3. Enter your new information and click on Save My Changes.
Subscribers can find additional help here. Not a subscriber? Subscribe today!
Teams of neuroscientists at the Max-Planck-Institut für Kognitions- und Neurowissenschaften traced dyslexia to the brain’s medial geniculate body and located metaconsciousness in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, the frontopolar regions, and the precuneus. French researchers used irony to activate the brain’s Theory of Mind network. fMRIs reveal abnormal activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and insula when adults with hoarding disorder are threatened with the loss of their junk mail. Berlin somnologists implanted a tongue pacemaker to regulate the hypoglossal nerve. Doctors writing in Deutsches Ärzteblatt International suggested measures for thwarting the nocebo effect. Industrial psychologists debuted the Workplace Arrogance Scale to help identify problem managers. A multinational survey with the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire found that traditional bullying was still much more popular than cyberbullying. Seventy percent of Chilean children who have fetal alcohol syndrome do not look it. Doctors tend not to diagnose alcoholism unless a patient is drunk when examined. NASCAR fans were increasingly uninterested in crashes. Poor mothers suffering from generalized anxiety disorder were found to be anxious not because of mental illness but because of poverty. Economists found that small amounts of opportunity allow people to accept large amounts of inequality. Pediatric intensive-care doctors in Britain argued that the devout parents of dying children should not expect divine intervention. A Delaware pediatrician who studies the near-death experiences of children was arrested for waterboarding his stepdaughter. The American Psychological Association found that Americans would benefit from more psychotherapy.
Moss was found to depend on springtails for the transport of its sperm, which otherwise must swim through the morning dew. The royal jelly of worker bees, when fortified by scientists, trebles the size of queens. Piglets work hard for Nesquik. Most deaths of fruit flies on methamphetamine are due to anorexia. Innovation but not persistence leads to success among hyenas. Crippled American farmers were being injured by their insufficiently robust prosthetic limbs. A woman born with three fingers on her right hand was reported, following the amputation of that hand, to experience a phantom hand with five fingers. Humans more easily see women as body parts and men as whole people. A Singaporean company unveiled Kissenger, a pair of plastic lips mounted on a large plastic egg, which transmits real-time interactive kisses to a distant lover. “I am not interested in the sexual uses for it,” said the device’s inventor. “We’ve taken several steps to minimize the creepiness.”
British ornithologists hoped that a cyberegg would help them learn about the cygnet-hatching strategies of the mute swans of Abbotsbury Swannery. Scotland worried that its geologists were failing to abide by the Code of Conduct for Rock Coring. Welsh scientists defended their having sewn shut the eyes of kittens. The Manx Basking Shark Watch reported a basking shark with plastic around its nose near Contrary Head. Two dolphin pods had become one. One hundred and fifty tons of spilled Chinese nurdles were threatening finless porpoises. Swiss sheep were testing panic collars that can text-message shepherds during wolf attacks. Mountain gorillas in Rwanda were observed dismantling poachers’ traps. Scientists identified the combination of arenaviruses and filoviruses likely responsible for inclusion body disease, which causes snakes to wither, stargaze, and die. Mars was found to have plate tectonics and also, presumably, Marsquakes. Sturzstroms were reported on Iapetus. Sally Ride died. American flags were still standing on the moon. Physicists and mathematicians continued to debate whether it is better to walk or to run in the rain.
More from Rafil Kroll-Zaidi: