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The widespread presence of Aspergillus flavus and parasiticus fungi in tropical wheat stores was increasing the viral loads of the HIV-positive; Geomyces destructans, the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome and has killed 6 million North American bats since 2006, was found on a British bat; Legionnaires’ disease struck the elderly in Ohio, porcine epidemic diarrhea virus continued to spread across America, an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis caused health officials to discourage children with diarrhea in Iowa from swimming, and novel human astroviruses were seen in diarrheal children in Nanjing. The English Asian elephant Nian Hi Way died of herpes, and four wild Formosan ferret-badgers were found to be rabid. Cholera was killing inmates in Granma jail, Heartland virus was detected in Missourian ticks, bacterial ring rot blighted Finnish potatoes, and potato blackleg blighted potatoes in Guangdong. A pox was declared among Serbian plums. A calf near Baghdad was suspected of having lumpy skin disease. Newcastle disease was killing Pakistani peacocks, and invasive mussels were purifying the Great Lakes, thereby killing loons. An Afghan official feared “a genocide of birds.” The Iraq babbler lives.

Behavioral ecologists puffed social spiders with an ear bulb to test their boldness, poked them with a stick to test their aggression, and held a pink Minivibe Bubbles vibrator against their nests to test their interest in prey. Dogs and farmers were threatening to wipe out the tradition of stone-tool use among the Burmese macaques of Thailand. “They have a fascinating lithic culture,” said a psychologist specializing in lithic culture. Japanese quail were found to possess a gland that allows them to whip their copulatory fluid into “meringue-like foam,” and Chilean authorities were attempting to determine why Andean condors were turning up dizzy and foaming at the beak. An elderly brother and sister in Yorkshire were trapped in their home for four days by aggressive vomiting seagulls. Two young brothers sleeping above New Brunswick’s Reptile Ocean were strangled by an African rock python. A man sitting on a toilet in Galilee was bitten on the penis by a snake. The head of a decapitated copperhead bit its former body.

The Australian mining company OM Manganese was fined for desecrating Two Women Sitting Down at Bootu Creek. “This site . . . relates to a dreaming story about a marsupial rat and a bandicoot who had a fight over bush tucker,” explained a government official. A zoo in the People’s Park of Luohe was accused of fraud after its African lion began barking and was revealed to be a Tibetan mastiff. Ashamed Chinese use skin-?rejuvenation cream and large dark sunglasses to save face. Conspicuous consumption by American women may be a strategy to fool other women into thinking they’ve received gifts from devoted partners who would be difficult to seduce. Researchers who chased bumblebees around alpine flower meadows found that the removal of a single bumblebee species from a meadow caused a significant rise in floral infidelity. The Endowment Effect was observed in people who sell their own cars. The Loser Effect was observed in male zebra finches. A robotic Indian leaf fish will not scare drunk zebrafish. The likelihood that African-American children will bully declines the more they overestimate their own popularity. A deaf Houston baby was verbally abused by a British or European man who hacked into her baby monitor. Librarians no longer think of themselves as better than search engines. Teleporting a human into space at 30 GHz would take 4.85 quadrillion years.

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February 2014

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