Findings — From the January 2015 issue

Findings

The Swedish authors of the Human Protein Atlas designated the testes, in which 999 proteins are more active than they are anywhere else in the body, as having the most distinctive tissue. Many German babies whose undescended testes do not spontaneously normalize receive orchidopexy too late to prevent late sequelae. An inverse relationship was established between the aluminum content of human semen and sperm count. Heavy-metal frost may form at high altitudes on Venus. New batteries are safe to eat. Humans absorb large amounts of bisphenol A by handling cash-register receipts after using hand sanitizer, and larger amounts if they then eat french fries. Texas researchers declared the success of a nasal spray for Ebola vaccination in Chinese crab-eating macaques who were provided toys and treats. A paralyzed man’s spinal cord was healed with cells from his nose. The difficulty ALS patients experience in using and understanding action verbs is a result not of paralysis, as previously assumed, but of verbs’ being inherently more confusing than nouns. The embryonic limb cells of snakes can be turned into hemipenes. “If you ectopically transplant this cloaca into either limb- or tail-bud cells,” explained the study’s lead author, “these cells respond in a way that reflects their development being redirected to a genital fate.” A person’s belief in free will is negatively correlated with how urgently he or she needs to urinate. Scratching makes it worse.

Following a motion-capture study, Canadian spine-biomechanics researchers released guidelines on the best sexual positions for women with low-back pain. Invasive cannibalistic harlequin ladybugs were threatening Britain’s native ladybugs with sexually transmitted fungus. Genital copulation originated in the bony fish Microbrachius dicki. The genitals of male Bahamian mosquito fish who are cut off from predators by human roads have evolved to be shorter and less bony. Dead jellyfish do not accumulate in unpalatable “jelly lakes” on the seafloor but are quickly eaten by scavengers. Duke scientists argued that under the Law of the Sea, permission need not be sought when tagging migratory marine animals in sovereign waters. The hearts of penguins beat faster in the presence of a human than in the presence of a plush penguin toy on wheels. An Australian man apologized for surfing on a dead humpback whale and attracting sharks. Experts concluded that a porpoise found in a pool of blood in an alleyway northeast of Goring-by-Sea had mated itself to death. “Harbor porpoises,” said the medical examiner, “live on a knife edge.” Millennials possess poor sewing and laundry skills, Roman Britons had less gum disease than today’s Britons, and the gladiators of Ephesus ate ashes. Each extra euro in public benefits received by an elderly East German after reunification correlated with three hours’ more life. Swiss researchers induced in test subjects the sensation of being surrounded by ghosts.

Hungarian neuropsychopharmacologists found higher levels of excessive positivity in adults who were spring and summer babies, increased mood swings in summer babies, lower rates of depression in fall babies, and fewer irritable tendencies in winter babies. Substance-abuse researchers who set up fake recycling bins found that alcohol consumption among poor, old San Diegans peaks after the receipt of Social Security checks. Israeli children who do not exhibit a preexisting fear of clowns may have their anxiety lessened by medical clowns. A plague of clown attacks was reported in southern France. Among Belgian high school students, sadness lasts 240 times as long as shame and disgust, and twice as long as hatred. In war, the Yanomamö do not behave like chimpanzees. A strong preference for masculine male faces and feminine female faces was found to exist exclusively in urbanized industrialized societies. Infants who prefer faces to objects are less callous as toddlers. Australian cardiac surgeons gave living patients dead hearts.

Photographs by Thomas Prior, from the National Pyrotechnic Festival, a nine-day celebration that takes place every March in Tultepec, Mexico. Courtesy the artist

Photographs by Thomas Prior, from the National Pyrotechnic Festival, a nine-day celebration that takes place every March in Tultepec, Mexico. Courtesy the artist

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