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Midsummer Night’s Dream, enamel on canvas, by Inka Essenhigh. Courtesy the artist and Miles McEnery Gallery, New York City

Midsummer Night’s Dream, enamel on canvas, by Inka Essenhigh. Courtesy the artist and Miles McEnery Gallery, New York City

Carp were dying of herpes in Babylon. Peste des petits ruminants struck a lamb-fattening unit in Israel. Salmonellosis outbreaks were blamed on Crisp & Delicious chicken nuggets in Canada, on pet hedgehogs in the United States, and on Spanish powdered milk in France. The Namibian government warned of diarrheal shellfish poisoning, and the New Zealand government warned of paralytic shellfish poisoning. Zaire Ebola virus was diagnosed in greater long-fingered bats in Liberia. A Wyoming house cat was diagnosed with plague. Anthrax was suspected in the death of an elephant calf in India and in the deaths of at least forty-five hippos in Malawi. Humans and cattle in the Mayotte archipelago came down with Rift Valley fever, and Brazilian pigs contracted Seneca Valley virus. Japanese officials began slaughtering 6,600 hogs in Toyota City in an attempt to contain classical swine fever, and Denmark planned to fence its border with Germany to guard against boars infected with African swine fever. Karnatakan monkeys were found dead from Kyasanur Forest disease, and rope squirrels were suspected of spreading monkeypox in the Central African Republic. A late potato blight struck Nigeria’s Plateau State, Stewart’s wilt was afflicting Slovenian corn, Xylella wilt was found in French lavender in a Portuguese zoo, and a mystery bacterium was wilting black pepper on South Indian plantations. An ­MRSA outbreak originated at a massage parlor in Kuala Lumpur. Keralan sanitation workers were beset with scrub typhus, and murine typhus had infiltrated Los Angeles City Hall.

British military personnel who served in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province were found to have come down with Q fever. Fake news during the 2016 presidential election was shared by 18.1 percent of Republican Facebook users and 3.5 percent of Democratic Facebook users, and 15 percent of Republicans and 20 percent of Democrats feel it would be best if most members of the other party “just died.” Republicans live longer than Democrats. In religious countries, people buried in piously decorated graves tend to have lived longer. When ancient Romans were wealthier, their health was poorer. The surrogate-born female children of gay male couples are particularly well-adjusted. New research described the parenting behaviors of the male smooth guardian frog. A mate was found for Romeo, who has lived alone in a Bolivian aquarium for ten years and was thought to be the last of the Sehuencas water frogs. A small snake found in the stomach of a larger snake in Chiapas in 1976 was determined to be a new species that has never been found outside the snake that ate it.

Waves everywhere are getting stronger. A Scottish lab created a rogue wave. Antarctica is losing six times more ice annually than it was forty years ago, and Greenland was found to be melting four times as fast as it was in 2003. Tens of thousands of starving guillemots were washing up in the Netherlands. Scientists warned that humans should not create octopus farms. British fish wholesalers are selling the wrong sharks. A fermented beluga whale flipper was blamed for the death of a man in Nome, Alaska. Speakers of Farsi and Lao are unusually precise at describing taste, whereas speakers of Umpila outperformed all other languages’ speakers in their identification of smell. People have better working memory if, in their native language, meanings remain, until the end of the sentence, unclear.

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August 2023

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