Findings — From the January 2013 issue

Findings

Neuroscientists found that voluntary forgetting happens through not-remembering as well as through remembering something else; other neuroscientists replaced subjects’ memories of enjoying cocaine with less exciting ones. Shy rainbow trout have longer memories for the odor of predators than do bold trout, and bees shaken awake every five minutes as they try to sleep will not remember a new route home. New Zealand registered two new species of forget-me-not. Superb fairywren mothers teach their eggs a password that the newly hatched chicks must use when demanding food, and sleeping baby rats’ whiskers were found to twitch even before the ratlings learn to whisk. Dolphins may remain continuously awake and alert indefinitely. “These majestic beasts,” said a marine biologist, “are true unwavering sentinels of the sea.” Clinical psychologists found that treating children with ADHD is difficult when care must be administered by parents with ADHD. Among the faculties of alcoholic men, the most impaired may be irony. It’s not her; it’s you.

Male seed beetles are less successful in fertilizing females if they have had their genital spines shortened with lasers. Dung beetles climb atop their dung balls when their front feet overheat, according to neuroethologists who made the beetles wear silicone booties. Clostridium difficile sufferers may, as an alternative to bowel-excision surgery, drink warm water mixed with a healthy family member’s donated stool. Healthy mice who were injected with the feces of crows who had eaten the brains of prion-?infected mice themselves became infected. In Madagascar’s Makira Protected Area, 53.4 percent of the population reported geophagy, and 19 percent reported eating ash, blackboard chalk, charcoal, rice chaff, rock salt, or used coffee grounds. German biologists concluded that vendettas are most viable within coherent groups of three or more people. The contemplation of death does not turn cancerous young Danes to religion. Macaque couples were found to dislike the presence of other monkeys of any rank during sex, and also to prefer “sneaky” copulation for opportunistic rather than tactical reasons. Americans consider orange cats to be friendly, tortoiseshell cats to be intolerant, and white cats to be aloof. Humans’ yawns are not contagious to young puppies. Scientists revealed that a now-dead white whale had learned to imitate human speech. An Asian elephant was found capable of speaking five words of Korean. Sand dunes with varying grain size will sing with greater range.

Bipolar women have complicated pregnancies, child prodigies are sort of autistic, subordinates recognize their bosses in a photo array before they recognize themselves, and people can lip-read more easily if the lips they read are their own. The risk of knee osteoarthritis increases if one is a black woman or a white man who drinks soda or an Australian child who does not exercise much. Mayo Clinic doctors found that knee-?replacement surgery benefits the poor more than it does the rich, and Hospital for Special Surgery doctors found that it causes the poorly educated more pain than it does the obese. A third of male Londoners suffer from penis blindness. A Suffolk police constable pleaded guilty to possession of Schedule 1 bird eggs, including those of marsh harriers, nightjars, and warblers. Coded messages were found in a capsule attached to the skeleton of a World War II carrier pigeon in a Bletchingly chimney. Shropshire badgers were being shot, then dumped by the road to make it look like an accident. Staff at Exmoor Zoo near Barnstaple deployed donated police riot shields against aggressive cranes. Authorities in Gaza captured an escaped crocodile who had been living in the sewers and eating local ducks and goats. “He had a lot of spirit in him,” said police lieutenant colonel Samih al-Sultan. “He wanted to be free.”

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