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The first Iago sparrows known to have reached Europe arrived by ship in a Dutch port and immediately fought and had gay sex on deck. The genital tubercles of quail and chicken cocks are capable of growing into penises but are prevented from doing so by programmed cell death. Korean researchers glued a dead bumblebee to a toothpick and made buzzing noises, scaring varied tits. The nightjars of Brownsea Island were being distracted by birdcall smartphone apps. Urban German blackbirds rise earlier and fall asleep later than their forest-dwelling peers. Entomologists were confused about why pirate ants have distinctive eye patches even though they mate in the dark. Vanda Pharmaceuticals claimed success with an experimental drug designed to reset the circadian clocks of blind dyssomniacs. Sleep-deprived Arkansan men overestimate women’s interest in casual sex, and marriages that begin in online virtual worlds are happier than all those that begin in real life, with the exception of spouses who grew up together. On No Name Road in Big Pine Key, police removed from the head of a key deer a bag of Doritos Dinamita Chile Limón Rolled Flavored Tortilla Chips. Police dogs in Washington State were receiving marijuana-desensitization training. The faces of Lego people were growing angrier.

A previously undistinguished mathematician made significant progress on the Twin Primes Conjecture. “The Sieve of Eratosthenes does too good a job,” said a number theorist. “His sieve doesn’t do as good a job, because you’re not using everything you can sieve with.” New York heart-failure patients are likeliest to die if admitted to hospital overnight on a Friday in January. Stress strengthens atheists’ faith in science. Young people who describe themselves as “religious and spiritual” or “religious but not spiritual” are less prone than the “spiritual but not religious” to commit property crimes. Hispanic children exhibit a high degree of interest in spiritually meaningful dreams. Beaumont, Texas, produces the saddest tweets. Six percent of Americans find backseat drivers to be most annoying when they sing. Ocher starfish whose central discs are kept at 88°–95°F for days on end will abandon one of their legs. Young male burying beetles who are uncertain of their own paternity make the worst fathers. Chimpanzees and bonobos throw tantrums after making bad decisions. Male dark fishing spiders, after mating, curl up and die. Penile-crush injuries from falling toilet seats continued to rise among toddlers. “You think of the bathroom,” said the study’s lead author, “as a safe place.”

Scientists proposed that perimeters of yellow could keep fields of modified red rape free of pests. Feeding pigs saturated fat does not make their bacon more delicious. Dead jellyfish sink faster than expected. The Pleurobranchaea californica slug can learn not to eat the Spanish shawl, though it will still do so if ravenous. “My supplier from Monterey had just sent me these beautiful Spanish shawls,” explained the marine biologist who made the accidental discovery. Male bottletail squid prefer to mate with large females, who are less likely than small females to use the males’ sperm solely for food. Google, whose sexual-health awareness campaign may have doubled infidelity in rural Uganda, launched the first balloons of Project Loon, which seeks to encircle the planet with rings of Internet-supplying stratospheric balloons. Though American children grow more disobedient than Nepalese children as they age, both agree that one cannot simply choose to float in the air. Whether a blue ball attacks a yellow cube, or a yellow cube a blue ball, human infants prefer the victim.

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January 2024

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