Scientists confirmed that toddlers have temper tantrums when they do not use their words and that the practice of limiting oyster consumption to months ending in r has been observed for thousands of years, though climate change will further reduce safe oyster season. Many U.S. coastal homeowners accept the reality of climate change but have taken no action to prepare for it. Climatologists corrected earlier estimates of coastal flooding that used treetops and buildings, rather than landmass, for elevation data, and concluded that several major cities will suffer severe inundation by 2050, including Jakarta, which the Indonesian government plans to abandon at a projected cost of $33 billion, and the replacement for which, to be built in Borneo, risks releasing nearly 50 million tons of carbon through habitat destruction. Scientists who identified major climate tipping points a decade ago have now ruled half of them to be “active.” The Arctic may now emit more carbon than it stores, and its lower reflectivity was found to be due to ice loss, rather than the addition of soot. As the atmosphere warms, bacteria are producing more CO2, and drought-stricken plants squeal in distress. Astronomers continued to search for neutral hydrogen signals from the universe’s pre-galactic dark age.
A study of the Y chromosomes of present-day inhabitants of Belgium and the Netherlands found that the nineteenth-century urban poor were six times as likely as well-off farmers to have unexpected paternity. Maxillofacial surgeons scored the jaw deformations of inbred Hapsburgs, and a test of 6,300 participants in eighty-five countries found that women are likelier than men to accurately read feline facial expressions. Engineers attempted to make internet memes comprehensible to the visually impaired. Researchers concluded that the growing cross-sectioned despair among Americans currently approaching midlife may be a realistic reflection of rising mortality rates. In the past three years, Vermont has experienced a 640 percent rise in the number of kindergartners claiming religious exemptions from vaccines. Japanese scientists studying live mice and dead humans associated high levels of hydrogen sulfide with schizophrenia. Biomedical engineers reported success in breeding E. coli to produce psilocybin. Hospital-acquired infections can be reduced by copper beds, and early deaths can be reduced by the presence of irregularly shaped parks.
Tokyo scientists identified, apart from DNA, at least one million forms of stable nucleic acid–like polymers that would be capable of storing genetic information, and four chromosomes of the Eurasian skylark were found to have fused together, giving the bird the largest recorded avian sex chromosome. Female fish will mate outside their species if a male is attractive enough or if the female can’t see clearly. A nineteen-year-old Margarita Island capuchin monkey in a Chinese zoo with a humanlike face has remained unable to find a mate, which zookeepers attribute not to his appearance but to his bad personality. The heart of a blue whale beats as infrequently as twice a minute. The carbon-isotope ratio in tuna has shifted significantly since 2000. Pumas in the Santa Cruz Mountains were being poisoned by mercury in coastal fog. Deer remains from the Lower Paleolithic indicate that hunters saved marrow bones for later snacking. The mitochondrial DNA of mummified sacrificial ibises indicated that the ancient demand for Egyptian ibis was met not through centralized farms but through short-term husbandry projects run by priests, who wrote of feeding the birds bread and clover. Genetic testing could not determine whether an 18,000-year-old puppy that emerged from Siberian permafrost was a dog or a wolf. School in a village in the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug was canceled when thinning sea ice caused an invasion of fifty-six polar bears. A Tennessee electric eel was switching the lights of a Christmas tree on and off.