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Iowa researchers found that viva voce voting gives loud voices roughly forty times the weight of normal voices. Some Chinese parents are confused and upset by the trend of their children saying “I love you.” Coldly dismissive grandmothers tend to have fatter grandchildren, and pre-autistic babies avert their gaze from speaking faces at ages as young as six months. Scottish scientists posited, by compressing fear and surprise as well as anger and disgust, that there are four, not six, basic emotions. Oxford researchers noted that making women feel shorter induced in them insecurity and the fear of harm from virtual fellow riders on a simulated subway. Swiss doctors recommended that cocaine addicts receive social-skills training. A stroke patient whose anterior insula was damaged demonstrated slow decision-making in love. Researchers debuted an envy-free algorithm for divorce and inheritance. Neuroscientists observed activation in the medial orbitofrontal cortex of mathematicians looking at beautiful formulae. The faces of ugly people are easier to remember.

Pilot whales were assumed to have eaten European eels launched from France and Ireland after the eels’ data loggers registered sudden temperature increases from 50°F to 97°F partway to the Sargasso Sea and then washed up on the coasts of Scotland and Norway. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill may have damaged the hearts of young tuna. Coral bleaching encourages recklessness in pallid damselfish. The high HIV infection rate on the Kenyan shores of Lake Victoria was blamed on the prevalence of sex-for-fish. A survey of three continents recorded crocodiles roosting in treetops. Some Toronto bees were building brood chambers out of masticated polyurethane caulk. A bee whose feet taste sweetness before saltiness is likelier to extend her tongue than is a bee who tastes saltiness before sweetness. Southern England was plagued by ferret thefts. The strongest wind gusts of British winter storms were reported at Great Dun Fell, Mumbles Head, and Needles. The oldest human footprints outside Africa, from 800,000 years ago, were discovered at Happisburgh, in Norfolk. A sexually transmitted dog cancer was found to be 11,000 years old. Humans were found responsible for the spread of the “gait keeper” gene that allows horses to provide a smooth ride, the Crusaders were found responsible for the spread of barley stripe mosaic virus, and globalized labor, women entering workforces, and higher education levels were found responsible for the worldwide increase in Young Adult Failure to Thrive Syndrome. Having a single mother was found to be the most important predictor of an American child’s social immobility.

Biologists theorized that the dangerous journeys three-toed sloths make to defecate at the bases of their trees encourage the pyralid moths that live in the sloths’ wet fur to lay more eggs on the fecal matter, allowing more moths to live on the sloths and in dying to fertilize the nutritious algae the sloths cultivate on themselves. Obese people are more vulnerable to airborne pollutants because they breathe more air. Death-row inmates who have admitted guilt request last meals with 34 percent more calories than those who maintain innocence. Stroke hospitalizations rise with unusually high dew points. Sun-induced frowning may cause anger. The stethoscope was becoming obsolete. Middle-aged women are the most common victims of cat bites to the hand. Forensic scientists in North Carolina unveiled a comprehensive guide to determining whether a child was starved to death. Children’s belief in immortality is universal. The onset of childhood amnesia was found to occur at age seven. “Memories,” said the study’s co-author, “are like orzo.”

“Octopus,” “Skate,” and “Sea Horse,” color photograms by Christine Caldwell. Courtesy the artist; G2 Gallery, Los Angeles; and Heal the Bay, Santa Monica, California

“Octopus,” “Skate,” and “Sea Horse,” color photograms by Christine Caldwell.
Courtesy the artist; G2 Gallery, Los Angeles; and Heal the Bay, Santa Monica, California

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January 2024

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