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A two-year meta-analysis by the Rand Corporation found that the quality of gun-violence research in the United States is very low. Germans who played Grand Theft Auto V for two months exhibited normal levels of empathy when watching a woman accidentally cut herself while slicing cucumbers. Dutch researchers found that guns, but not knives, allow robbers to achieve dominance through “aggrandizing posturing and forward movements.” Between 1972 and 2016, Americans became more tolerant of free speech by people whose values oppose theirs or who possess fringe views, with extreme liberals being the most tolerant. Racial, religious, and ideological identity are stronger components of Republican partisanship than of Democratic partisanship. Family support and sensitivity to neural reward responses insulated Americans from the depressing effect of Trump’s election. Liberals have more emotionally expressive faces. Major facial recognition software makes mistakes at least forty-three times as often with dark-skinned women as with light-skinned men. Good-looking people are likelier to believe in a just world. Plastic surgeons warned that people misled by wide-angle distortion in selfies were seeking nose jobs.

Physicists attempted to predict the point at which tipping will be abandoned. Male macaques acquire a preference for Acura and Adidas logos if those are shown paired, respectively, with the face of a dominant male or the genitals of a female; they will not form a preference for Pizza Hut paired with a submissive male. Adult male pedophiles, unlike non-pedophiles, exhibit higher levels of nurturing activity in the brain for baby animals than for adult animals. A yellow cardinal was spotted in the town of Alabaster, a white cardinal was spotted in Knoxville, and an invasive spotted lantern fly was observed in Wilmington. Most Anna’s hummingbirds have mites living in their tail feathers. As many as seven yellow-billed oxpeckers will sleep upside down in a giraffe’s armpit. Brazilian zoologists described eleven kinds of bats’ penises. The Australian fire beetle uses its heat sensors to avoid burning its feet. Skeletonizing leaf beetles hide by creating bite marks that look like skeletonizing leaf beetles. Purple sea urchins eat granite more slowly than mudstone or sandstone. Lost memories were discovered in sea slugs. Woodpeckers may be giving themselves brain damage after all.

Caribbean hurricanes appear to suppress the snapping of snapping shrimp but encourage the choral singing of fish. The right whales of the North Atlantic, in their most recent breeding season, failed to produce a single calf. A supercolony of 1.5 million Adélie penguins was discovered on the Danger Islands. Scientists laser-inscribed a graph­ene Athenian owl on numerous foods and declared a new age of edible electronics. A lack of genetic diversity threatens a chickpea collapse. A lost city of the Purépecha that contained 40,000 buildings was discovered in central Mexico. Astronomers argued that it would be less expensive for aliens to destroy our civilization by broadcasting malicious code—which could include an artificial intelligence who would seduce humankind with its knowledge and promises—than by sending battleships. The researchers suggested that signals received by the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence might therefore be quarantined instead of being distributed, as they are currently, to volunteer computers, many of which have recently had their spare processing capacity reassigned from SETI tasks to mining cryptocurrency. Scientists at the Russian Federal Nuclear Center were arrested after they reportedly connected the facility’s supercomputer to the internet in an attempt to mine bitcoin. A physicist determined that some black holes can free an observer from strong cosmic censorship by erasing her past, thereby allowing her an infinitude of possible futures. French gynecologists examining a ten-year-old girl found a wineglass from a dollhouse hiding near her cervix.

And Here Lies the Paradise of Foreign Voyagers, a painting by Melissa Loop. Courtesy the artist and grayDUCK Gallery, Austin, Texas


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May 2018