Findings — From the October 2019 issue

Findings

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“Untitled (Men),” a diptych photograph by Matt Lipps © The artist. Courtesy Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, and Marc Selwyn Fine Arts, Beverly Hills, California

“Untitled (Men),” a diptych photograph by Matt Lipps © The artist. Courtesy Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, and Marc Selwyn Fine Arts, Beverly Hills, California

New studies confirmed that the current warming period is without precedent in the past two thousand years. Permafrost in the Canadian Arctic is thawing seventy years ahead of schedule, nitrous-oxide emissions from Arctic permafrost are twelve times higher than expected, and it was feared that existing models may underestimate underwater glacial melt by two orders of magnitude. Wildfires ravaged the Arctic, a meltwater lake appeared at the North Pole, and a European heat wave caused the loss of 12.5 billion tons of Greenlandic ice in a single day, as well as record-high temperatures for several countries, including Britain, where the warming climate has enabled the arrival of the black bee fly (Anthrax anthrax), the Jersey tiger moth (Euplagia quadripunctaria), and the purple heron (Ardea purpurea). Only 38 percent of remaining tropical forests have a sufficiently wide latitudinal range to allow animals to move to cooler regions as the earth warms. A U.S.–Russian team found that even a mild warming scenario will increase the habitable area of Siberia several times over. The “early warming” period, from 1915 to 1945, was caused by external factors and not, as previously thought, by natural changes in ocean temperatures. Climate change was expected to make staple crops less nutritious and to lower the global availability of protein by a fifth, and may alter the mating calls of male weakfish. The Great Atlantic Sargassum Belt is now a recurring feature of the ocean.

The European Space Agency investigated how lunar colonists might 3-D-print using moon dust, and experiments on rats sent on a simulated Mars mission determined that the red-wine extract resveratrol would help preserve astronauts’ muscle function. Decorations on alcoholic-beverage bottles contain concentrations of lead hundreds of times the legal limit for house paint. A study of 1,500 years of Arctic ice cores suggested that high atmospheric lead levels have corresponded to periods of peace and prosperity, whereas low lead levels have generally corresponded to periods of war, famine, climate disruption, and economic decline. Fossilized clams in Florida were found to contain microtektites from an ancient meteor, and were then buried beneath a housing development. German scientists determined that American gold found hidden inside fool’s gold is more plentiful when the fool’s gold contains higher concentrations of arsenic. Voters who claim more knowledge than they possess tend to vote anti-establishment. New findings contradict the theory that the life-span divergence between educated and uneducated Americans is due to despair. Researchers noted that people often do not care about apathy.

Recorded laughter was found to make dad jokes funnier. Parents who use marijuana are stricter disciplinarians. Male Turkestan cockroaches are one hundred times as excited by the pheromones of female American cockroaches as American males are. Preterm babies, as adults, are 28 percent less likely to form romantic relationships, 22 percent less likely to have children, and 57 percent less likely to ever have sex. A 3.5 percent increase in preterm births occurred among U.S. Latinas following the 2016 election. Married U.S. women aged twenty to forty-five would pay an average of $877 to guarantee they give birth in the spring. An analysis of forty studies published in the past sixty years found a consistent preference for cradling babies to the left, which is more pronounced among women and the right-handed, which may partly be explained by the role of the brain’s right hemisphere in emotional processing. A man’s perceived extraversion and masculinity are improved by a neck lift. Radiologists warned of the risks of wearing magnetic eyelashes in MRI machines. Scientists developed a deep neural network to identify deepfakes and an A.I. to protect people from reading spoilers.

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