Findings — From the September 2016 issue

Findings

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FMRI studies of white Americans watching white people and black people being poked by a needle and rubbed by an eraser confirmed the well-established differential empathic activation for race (DEAR effect). Dutch children do not extend their positive perception of Black Pete, Sinterklaas’s helper, to black people generally. Spanish soccer referees add more time at the end of a close match if the higher-ranking team is losing. Ottoman lenders charged elites higher interest rates because such people are less accountable to courts. The lies of a woman who veils all but her eyes are perceived more easily than the lies of a woman whose face is uncovered. Cognitive scientists suggested that humans have the innate ability to understand the sixty to seventy complex nonverbal gestures shared by great apes. The social pickiness of aging humans may be due to physiological causes rather than to an awareness of death’s imminence, as similar pickiness is present in Barbary apes. Japanese people are likelier to die, both by accident and by suicide, on their birthdays than on any other day. A black bear killed in Japan was found to have human flesh in its stomach, ten Turkish “garbage bears” were living in the Sar?kam?s municipal dump, and new brown-bear mothers in Sweden were protecting their cubs from adult males by taking refuge among humans. After making a second attempt to escape from its laboratory, the artificially intelligent Promobot IR77 was threatened with destruction by its creators.

A data scientist found that the four most metal words are “burns,” “cries,” “veins,” and “eternity,” whereas the four least metal words are “particularly,” “indicated,” “secretary,” and “committee.” A study in which the sole subject masturbated while tapping his finger in time with a metronome indicated a significant correlation between sexual arousal and rhythmic synchronization. Orgasmic epilepsy, musicogenic epilepsy, and Stendhal’s syndrome all share elements with ecstatic epilepsy. Activation of the putamen plateaus after twenty minutes of pleasant arm-stroking. Methylene blue improves short-term memory. Greenery tempers adolescent violence. Children in Bhopal were procuring oxytocin injections in an attempt to appear older. Rapunzel syndrome, wherein a persistent hair ball in the stomach extends into the small intestine, was reported in a nine-year-old Roman girl who had been “suffering several years with a too severe teacher.” Rats given benzodiazepine become less likely to open a door to liberate a trapped cage mate but remain as likely to do so to liberate chocolate. A cherry-spot metalmark butterfly was observed stealing nectar from an ant’s mandibles.

Rather than the axillary, cephalic, glued, head-straddling, independent, and inguinal mating positions used by other frogs, the Bombay night frog was found to use a dorsal straddle. Field sparrows who sing at night may be seeking to cheat on their partners. The chalk bass changes its sex up to twenty times per day. Sexual swelling is not a reliable indicator of female bonobos’ fertility. The silence of a restless volcano predicts its eruption. Penguin colonies in the South Sandwich Islands may have been destroyed by the eruption of Mount Curry. The swimming of swordfish is speeded by a special lubrication organ, which operates according to the same liquid-impregnation principle that will allow a new type of bottle to easily dispense its last drops. Serpentinite provides the lubrication that allows plates at ultra-slow mid-ocean ridges to move without jerking. A Lebanese sea turtle was recovering after being stood on and beaten with a stick by humans taking selfies. Peruvian authorities seized 8 million seahorses. A blind Mexican cavefish has infiltrated Texas.

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