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Danes who have recently drunk Sprite are 10 percent less likely than those who have recently drunk Sprite Zero to support the welfare state, 4 percent of Swiss boys have been molested by email or text message, and male Montrealers burn 45 percent more calories on average than do female Montrealers during nonkinky sex. Evolutionary ecologists speculated that hermaphrodite sea slugs who consistently stab each other in the head with penile stylets while mating may do so in order to control their partners’ brains or to make them averse to mating with other slugs. Most homosexual mating behavior in insects was found to be unintentional. “The cost of hesitation,” explained an entomologist, “appears to be greater than the cost of making some mistakes.” After examining 500,000 insect fossils, a paleontologist at China’s Capital Normal University at last found two froghoppers in the missionary position. Naïve Japanese macaques at a national monkey farm exhibited specialized neural responses to images of snakes. Touchscreen computers engross dominant Sulawesi crested macaques, thereby soothing social tensions. Dogs wag to the right when happy and to the left when upset, and in turn either relax or upset other dogs who observe them. Semipalmated sandpipers on the periphery of mudflat feeding groups restrict themselves to short, shallow pecks.

Archaeologists found the world’s oldest string, Denisovans may have crossed the Wallace Line, and the Cinderella Effect was observed in the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries in Krummhörn, but not in Quebec, where stepchildren presented less competition. The naming of boys after their fathers increased after 9/11 in U.S. states with a pronounced honor culture. Obstetricians and gynecologists may be susceptible to Precious Baby Phenomenon. British physicians found the best predictor of mental illness to be excessive rumination. The wild boars of Israel arrived in the boats of Philistines, and the ghost pig of Alderney may be a French wild boar. A surging population of false widows shut down a school in the Forest of Dean. A remipede living in underwater caves was found to be the world’s only known venomous crustacean. Dick Cheney revealed countermeasures he has taken to prevent the hacking of his heart. Even dragon kings, said chaos researchers, are predictable.

Pond snails exposed to the dual stresses of overcrowding and calcium deprivation take longer to realize that they are being suffocated by scientists. Pharmacologists determined why a herpes medication makes some Swedes believe themselves to be dead, and a new drug promised to treat the mucocutaneous genital ulcers of Behcet’s sufferers. Veterinary oncologists tracked the trafficking of fetal cells in microchimeric puppies dammed by golden-retriever bitches. The slow galloping of dung beetles was found to violate the tripod gait of terrestrial insects. After calculating that mid-size and large mammals take twenty-one seconds on average to empty their bladders, fluid-dynamics researchers proposed a Law of Urination. At City of Hope hospital, male stem-cell-transplant recipients with graft-versus-host disease reported a 21 percent decrease in sexual fantasy. In the rice fields of Yolo Bypass, experimental populations of Chinook salmon were flourishing, and in the Amazon, zoologists discovered a vegetarian piranha and a purring titi monkey. Western Canada was missing its sardines. Scientists pointed out that moonlight is not necessarily beneficial to predatory mammals, because predated mammals, too, can see. A study by researchers at Max-Planck-Institut für Psycholinguistik concluded that the universal word is huh. “Interesting,” said an expert in um and uh.

“Ikerasak,” a photograph by Tiina Itkonen. Courtesy the artist and Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, Zurich

“Ikerasak,” a photograph by Tiina Itkonen. Courtesy the artist and Kashya Hildebrand Gallery, Zurich

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January 2024

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