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Photographs by Thirza Schaap from the monograph Plastic Ocean, which was published in April by 1605 Publishers © The artist. Courtesy Bildhalle, Zurich and Amsterdam

Photographs by Thirza Schaap from the monograph Plastic Ocean, which was published in April by 1605 Publishers © The artist. Courtesy Bildhalle, Zurich and Amsterdam

Climate change will benefit rattlesnakes. A 1972 MIT model predicting societal collapse in the twenty-first century continued to prove prescient, coastal flooding in the 2030s will be exacerbated by the wobbling of the moon, the stratosphere shrank by 400 meters between 1980 and 2018, and the cryosphere shrank by 3.2 million square kilometers between 1979 and 2016. The lead author of a study in The Cryosphere called saving the Greenland ice sheet by injecting sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere “a plan B that is not!” The carbon released annually by feral pigs’ rooting in the ground is equivalent to the emissions of 1.1 million cars. In a fifteen-hour period, pyrocumulonimbus clouds in western Canada produced 710,117 flashes of lightning, including 112,803 ground strikes. The permafrost of Svalbard is becoming less seismically active as the Arctic warms. Scientists warned that we may be approaching an irreversible or poorly reversible plastic-pollution threshold. Easter Island never experienced a demographic implosion. RhGB01, a novel coronavirus, was discovered among British bats, and 15,000-year-old viruses were extracted from Tibetan glacier ice.

Frozen feces in Alaska revealed evidence of sled dog cannibalism. New-world rabbits were never domesticated, though rabbits found in the stomachs of Aztec sacrificial eagles and pumas appear to have been raised by humans and fed a diet rich in corn or cactus. Researchers who gave ayahuasca to a group of Israelis and Palestinians were optimistic about its potential for peace-building. Lisdexamfetamine can treat daydreaming. Multiple rounds of ketamine anesthesia or light flickering at 60 Hz can induce childlike brain plasticity in mice, and a single dose of psilocybin makes them less depressed and creates strong neural connections. An Indian woman presented with multiday visual hallucinations after being bitten by a Russell’s viper. Ambient environmental levels of methamphetamine are sufficient to cause addiction among brown trout. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service renamed Asian carp “invasive carp,” and Australian experts pushed to rename shark attacks “negative encounters.” A 450-million-year-old trilobite showed signs of having survived a stab in the eye by a giant sea scorpion.

Danes’ ability to smell fried meat, but not vanilla, declines with age. Wisdom tooth extraction results in a 3 to 10 percent improvement in taste precision two decades later. Researchers concluded that preschool girls’ and boys’ engagement with “princess culture” correlated with “lower adherence to norms of hegemonic masculinity and higher body esteem” in early adolescence. A study of NYPD precincts found that the opening of an adult-entertainment business led to a 13 percent drop in reported sex crimes the following week. Male jackdaws fail to console female life partners who have been subjected to forcible mating attempts. Vampire bats have a highly fluid social order, and place little value on sustained dominance. Being a trash parrot is a learned behavior. Dog puppies can intuit human meanings, whereas wolf puppies cannot. Researchers worried that regionally specific cattle adaptations were being lost amid a nationalized market for bull semen. The Warlis’ belief in the leopard-tiger god Waghoba was found to defuse human-leopard conflict. Wolbachia bacteria make mosquitoes more heat-sensitive. Rat snakes were used to gauge post-Fukushima radionuclide levels in the Abukuma Highlands, and hedgehogs with transmitter backpacks were found hibernating at unexpectedly high altitudes. Storks are attracted to the smell of freshly mown meadows. Mammals about to be born dream of the world to come.

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August 2023

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