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As the Arabian and African tectonic plates continued their rift, a new ocean was forming in the Ethiopian desert, and the Red Sea was being parted at 0.8 inches per year. Swiss geodesists found that the Alps were shrinking as fast as they were growing, and researchers detected aftershocks from the New Madrid earthquakes of 1811 and 1812. Geologists posited that the 300-mile-wide Shiva Basin, off India’s western coast, is an impact crater from an asteroid sixty times as massive as the one that created the Yucatán’s Chicxulub crater and thus much more likely to blame for killing the dinosaurs. One third of all known species of dinosaur were now thought merely to be younger versions of other dinosaurs. Periods of heavy rain in the Sahara may have enabled humans to emigrate from Africa. It was found that the last European ice age descended on the continent in a matter of months and that the snows of Kilimanjaro were disappearing. Discussion began on the prospect of exploiting the moon’s water.

New species were found among a genus of worms that eat the bones of whales and cows on the seafloor, and it was discovered that squat lobsters eat wrecked ships and dead trees that have washed out to sea. Scientists who set out in a submarine searching for the Loch Ness monster found instead hundreds of thousands of golf balls. Scottish researchers noted that a bat-detector evinced the presence of a rare pipistrelle bat at Loch Leven. Biologists found that short-nosed fruit bats spend more time having vaginal intercourse if during copulation the female bat licks the shaft of the male bat’s penis. “We did not expect fellatio in fruit bats,” said Libiao Zhang of the Guangdong Entomological Institute. American high school girls are less likely to use condoms if they are overweight and white or underweight and black, and white American women are four times likelier than African–American women to have restless legs. Doctors found that some American children are prevented from playing outside because their parents dress them too fancily. Newborns cry in their mother tongue.

Bianca, Dolores, and Lolita, spectacled bears in the Leipzig Zoo, went bald. “I could hardly believe it is a bear,” said Gerard Baars of the International Bear Foundation, “although I have been dealing with bears all my life.” The male brown bears of France were in need of more females, and scientists feared that the white black bears of western Canada may disappear. A goat exhibition in India debuted a young goat with six legs, four testicles, and three penises. Explained the owner: “Discharge of urine is witnessed after frequent intervals from different penises. But still, it is a special goat that attracts attention.” The vegetable-lamb plant, which people once thought grew into an adult sheep, showed promise in the treatment of osteoporosis. A South Dakota researcher concluded that only scant blood spatter results when chain saws are used to dismember pigs. Female U.S. veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom were found less likely than male veterans to report experiencing pain. It was determined that head injuries make torture survivors more depressed, that torture hobbles the memory rather than jogs it, and that the more the tortured suffer, the more guilty they are perceived to be. Citrus-scented Windex encourages ethical behavior.

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October 2023

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