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Racists in the United States support free-speech rights for racist speech, but not for speech critical of their co-workers or the police. The number of Americans admitted to emergency departments with injuries from law enforcement officers has remained stable. An online survey found that U.S. airline passengers are willing to pay an extra $15 and wait an extra fifteen minutes to avoid discriminatory airport screenings. M.I.T. researchers created a set of apps that give you something to do while waiting for other apps to complete tasks. Straight men outside bars in the Midwest are more willing, when drunk, to consider sex with another man. Gay men who are bottoms or versatiles for anal sex are more likely to be left-handed, while tops do not differ from straight men in handedness. Hairy mothers are likelier to have autistic children, women abused as children are likelier to select autistic mates, and Americans with autism live half as long. British bullies and their victims are both far likelier than those uninvolved in bullying to wish for cosmetic surgery. Donald Trump telephoned ­NASA astronauts in space. “That’s what we like, great American equipment that works,” he said. 

Physicists created a liquid with negative mass. Astronomers identified the universe’s “purest” known brown dwarf. The Mbuti Pygmies of Virunga National Park were dealing marijuana. Adolescents who were born into captivity to women held as sex slaves by the Lord’s Resistance Army were found to prefer wartime to peacetime. Geophagy by Congolese women and the frequenting of shooting ranges by Americans cause high levels of lead in the blood of Congolese babies and American adults. Mass fainting episodes at Cambodian garment factories are anticipated by prefigurative dreams, workplace accidents, and possession by ghosts. The madness of George III resulted in an epistolary style with fewer clauses. The brain simultaneously creates short- and long-term versions of the same memory. Humans’ ability to make random choices peaks at age twenty-five. The first evidence of robust numerical reasoning in wild animals was established, in a troop of baboons. An anthropologist examined the ethics of allowing lab monkeys to watch so much TV. The lives of children with eczema are made no better by the wearing of silken garments. 

Describing American goat cheese requires thirty-nine flavor attributes, including waxy, sweaty, and goaty, whereas describing the odor of antique books in the library of St. Paul’s Cathedral requires twenty-one olfactory attributes, including woody, medicinal, and bread. Humans’ judgments of others on the basis of natural body odor do not consistently align with judgments deriving from adulterated, “diplomatic” body odor. Cannibalism is not nutritious, fava beans come from Lower Galilee, and the vineyard workers of Chianti may suffer from shrunken thyroids because of exposure to fungicides. A team of biologists and veterinarians successfully treated the fungal infection Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola. “Before this,” said the lead researcher, “nobody had nebulized a snake.” Premature lambs were kept alive and growing in plastic wombs. The brains of naked mole rats can survive without oxygen, by burning fructose. An international team detailed the penile and clitoral anatomy of broad-footed, star-nosed, hairy-tailed, and Japanese shrew moles.

The Human Abstract: The Ship Triptych, a painting by Deborah Poynton, whose work was on view in October at Stevenson Gallery, in Cape Town, South Africa © The artist. Courtesy Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa

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February 2024

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