The formation of pre–Silk Road Eurasian empires was driven partly by the spread of northern Chinese broomcorn millet; nanodiamonds and meltglass at Abu Hureyra point to a cosmic impact at the onset of the Younger Dryas; the collapse of Harappan society coincided with the loss of the Ghaggar River’s perenniality and the onset of the Meghalayan Stage; the breakdown of Easter Island society and the cessation of megalithic statue-building postdated European contact; and epigraphic evidence suggested a descent into total war during the Terminal Classic era of Mayan civilization.
Astronomers recorded, in the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster, the largest known post–Big Bang explosion, which lasted several hundred million years and created a void of fifteen galactic widths in the plasma around the cluster’s central black hole. “People were skeptical because of the size of the outburst,” said one of the scientists. “We don’t know why it’s so big.”
Mount Vesuvius turned a Herculaneum man’s brain to glass, according to archaeologists, who also revived the voice of a priest from the reign of Ramesses XI and determined that a mummy in the Ulster Museum had been stabbed in the back.
Veterinarians developed an ultrasound schedule for pregnant dolphins, and marine biologists discovered four new species of walking sharks and found that gray seals clap at each other to communicate underwater.
Automation of the labor force may lead humans to overcome their differences, and researchers seeking to use personal voice-assistance to detect dementia among their users were awarded a $12 million grant.
A review of 250,000 pieces of erotica published between 2000 and 2016 found no significant increase in “transgressive” content, Saudi Arabians do not linger on porn websites, and neuroscientists reported that forceful, prosaic self-squeezing of the penile shaft more closely evokes the neurological signature of erotic touch than does gentle, prosaic self-squeezing of the glans.
Red-haired or freckled women in high-UV latitudes have lower mortality risks, light-skinned sex workers in Mexico command higher rates, Brazilian men who self-identify as black are slightly happier with their penis size than those who self-identify as white, and a survey of forty countries found Colombian women to be more than five times as happy with their breast size as Japanese women.
Patients from the McLean Hospital Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Institute who each had one of their real hands and a rubber hand stroked synchronously by Harvard doctors who then dabbed fake feces on the rubber hand before returning to stroking both hands displayed nearly twice as much facial disgust as patients whose real and rubber hands were stroked asynchronously.