Findings — From the May 2014 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!
Professional musicians and the general population can identify the best orchestras from silent video footage but not from sound recordings; lesbians are better at guessing the sexual orientation of other women from video footage, while straight women are better at guessing other women’s thoughts and emotions (the videos of lesbians were incidentally found to be less emotionally transparent); and African elephants can distinguish the gender, age, and ethnicity of a human speaker from voice alone. Asian elephants will attempt to calm distressed peers by placing their trunks in the upset elephants’ mouths. Slim, conventionally attractive men harbor fewer species of pathogenic nasal bacteria than do fatter men, whereas among women the fat and the slim exhibit equal levels of nasal colonization. The women of São Paulo tilt their heads 16.9° in selfies, whereas the women of New York City tilt 7.6°. All the fruit flies of Bombay and Cape Town, half the fruit flies of Oahu, and none of the fruit flies of Athens have a life-lengthening gene. Classical Greek drama was found to evince the former existence of midwinter’s halcyon days. Under the ruins of Sardis a perforated egg was found in a pot alongside nails and a coin bearing a portrait of Nero. A dormant virus discovered in Siberian permafrost thawed and returned to life. Hindu pilgrims were linked to the seasonal development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the upper Ganges. Liverpudlian scientists created a Wi-Fi virus. Geneticists confirmed Ceauşescu’s gift of brown bears to Bulgaria.
Among U.S. children, 11 percent of filicides are of stepchildren, 30 percent of one-year-olds are spanked, and whites as young as seven perceive blacks to experience less pain than fellow whites. Black domestic-violence victims whose partners are arrested rather than simply warned are eventually 98 percent likelier to die prematurely; a white victim’s increased risk of early death when the partner has been arrested rather than warned is only 9 percent. British children who suffer from frequent nightmares were found 3.5 times as likely, and those who suffer from night terrors twice as likely, to experience psychosis in adolescence. Children with autism and ADHD are, respectively, 7.6 and 6.6 times likelier than other children to express the desire to be another gender. Solitary milk calves may develop learning difficulties. Premature babies benefit from grown-up talk. Russian bioinformaticians proposed using DNA to solve student timetable scheduling.
Jumping spiders who depend on territorial weaver ants to keep from being eaten by spitting spiders must antproof their nests to keep from being eaten by territorial weaver ants. A study of the five-second rule found that British women are likelier than British men to eat food that has fallen on the floor and that moist foods in sustained contact with laminate surfaces are at a high risk of E. coli and Staph transfer. The Institute of Food Technologies noted rising consumer demand for transparency in marinades and found high sensory acceptability for jelly prepared with black, red, and yellow raspberries. Education was found to mitigate the fattening effects of wealth among women in the developing world. “The weight of scientific evidence,” said the study’s lead author, “leaves no doubt.” Geriatrics researchers found some support for the hedonic-treadmill model of life. The increasing tendency of Americans over the past five decades to marry their socioeconomic equals has contributed to unequal overall income distribution. American horseshoe crabs may be disoriented by humans’ annual mass harvesting of their blood. Horizontal hostility and verbal violence between perinatal nurses may spill over into the abuse of the mother-newborn unit. Fair play may be an evolved response to spite.
More from Rafil Kroll-Zaidi: