Findings — From the November 2012 issue

Findings

Researchers found that human fetuses will prioritize nurturing the brain over enhancing body fatness, are 69 percent likelier to grow into fat children if they are exposed to magnetic fields, and contain the spongy hearts of reptiles. Recurrent miscarriages may be due to an indiscriminate uterus, and discrimination against pregnant African-American women was correlated with lower birth weights. Chronically stressed mouse fathers have very anxious and socially deficient mouse daughters, orphaned moose suffer between eight and forty-seven times more aggression by strange adult moose than do moose with mothers, and the likelihood that male killer whales over the age of thirty will die within a year increases eightfold on the deaths of their mothers. Boys whose parents divorce are three times more likely to have strokes as adults, and boyhood sexual abuse makes men three times more likely to have a heart attack. Maternal psychological instability in childhood leads to tooth decay in adolescence. Filipino fathers who sleep close to their children have lower testosterone levels. Researchers sought to distinguish Chinese-American parenting from child abuse, doctors sought to distinguish temper tantrums from mental illness, and neuroscientists sought to measure the value of nap time. High IQs discourage British bullies from violent crime later in life. On administering a tickle test, neurologists determined that “Roger,” a man who is missing his insular cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, and medial prefrontal cortex, still possesses selfhood. A cortical implant cured macaques on cocaine of their inability to make decisions.

Simultaneously hermaphroditic Siphopteron quadrispinosum sea slugs mate as females much more often than necessary, leading scientists to propose that traumatic injections of prostate fluid via the male-specific syringelike penile stylet may have unknown benefits. Scientists deafened gerbils and then restored their hearing by injecting their ears with human stem cells, and mice born unable to smell became able to after their noses were injected with therapeutic viruses. Regrown lizard tails are inferior to the originals. Dogs that receive vitamin supplements spend less time chasing their tails. Hamsters exposed to night lights rapidly resign themselves to drowning. Cuckolded rock sparrows sing louder. Japanese primatologists recorded the singing of white-handed gibbons in a room filled with helium. Lepidopterists catalogued the butterflies and moths of Guantánamo Bay. Psychopathic character traits make for better presidents. Paralympians were once again suspected of using performance-enhancing testicular strangulation.

An Emirati man was arrested in New Delhi with a seven-inch slender loris in his pants, a squirrel was accused of freeing a scarlet ibis from the Edinburgh Zoo, and a wild boar and a young fox in Rhein-Hunsrück-Kreis freed three zoo kangaroos. Scientists found both red wine (which dilates blood vessels) and vodka (which causes the development of collateral vessels) to be beneficial to the hearts of pigs. Binge drinking was found to increase happiness among both wealthy white heterosexual fraternity members and unpopular students, and a low-expressing MAOA gene (which makes men angry) was found to make women happy. The poor of the world eat more carbohydrates than do the rich. Wealthy Spanish theatergoers were found to form a class distinct from intellectual Spanish theatergoers. Gold and silver cannot both form in the explosion of a single star. Archaeologists digging under a car park in Leicester may have found Richard III. Canadian scientists observing photons defied Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle by measuring how much uncertainty they were creating. Marine biologists described the mechanisms whereby squid iridesce but could not say how particular colors are chosen. “One possibility,” said the leader of the study, “is the animals do not care.”

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