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We Met Thru, a mixed-media artwork by Tomokazu Matsuyama, whose work was on view in March at Kavi Gupta, in Chicago © The artist. Courtesy Kavi Gupta, Chicago

We Met Thru, a mixed-media artwork by Tomokazu Matsuyama, whose work was on view in March at Kavi Gupta, in Chicago © The artist. Courtesy Kavi Gupta, Chicago

Writing appeared more often in Mesoamerican societies that were autocratic and unequal; the Inca of the Chincha Valley responded to the desecration of graves by early European colonists by threading the vertebrae of their ancestors onto reed posts; and for seven millennia, with the exception of the Late Horizon, Andean dietary preferences were driven by climate change. Sinkholes in the Yucatán mark the sacred cacao groves of the Maya, and exploding fruits were found under the basalt flows of the Deccan Traps. The bones of paddlefish and sturgeons who died in the Chicxulub Impact indicated that the asteroid struck in the spring, and a hadrosaur in Blagoveshchensk was presumed to have broken its ulna while eating leaves or mating. Psyche is not pure iron. The merging of two supermassive black holes nine billion light-years away was suggested by a “nearly perfect” sinusoidal light curve. Astronomers measured the microwave background temperature of the universe as far back as 880 million years after the Big Bang using the shadows of a cosmic water cloud, theorized that the kilonova afterglow from the merger of two neutron stars was made possible when their rapid spin momentarily counteracted the gravitational force of their collapse into a black hole, and observed a new kind of hot subdwarf covered in helium ash. Kinky rural Tasmanians report more suicide attempts.

The mortality of leatherbacks entangled in fishing gear can be lowered by quicker reporting. Los Alamos National Laboratory announced that, per the No Free Lunch Theorem, quantum entanglement can massively scale down the training of quantum neural networks. Time crystals were successfully introduced into their ambient environments. Chinese chemists invented a method for encrypting data in time and temperature sensitive hydrogels. Semenogelins can be activated to use semen’s innate gel-like property as a sperm-trapping contraceptive. Japanese scientists discovered that carbon from sea-pineapple shells can be combined with blood waste from livestock to create electrocatalysts that perform as well as rare metals. Contagious blood cancer was found to have spread to warty venus clams. Pipistrelle bats in a Shropshire attic were being captured by a noble false widow. The genome of Steller’s sea cow was decoded, and plans were unveiled to create a seagrass nursery for the Indian River Lagoon’s starving manatees. Microplastics are found in the abyssal ocean, cryptic COVID-19 variants are found in New York sewers, and alligators can transmit West Nile virus. Mosquitoes are attracted to the redness of human skin.

The reseeding of an Indonesian coral reef resulted in increased whooping, croaking, and growling. Herpetologists described the tapir frog after following its beep-beep-beep call through the jungles of the Putumayo Basin at night. “I am obsessed with recording frog calls,” said the team’s lead author. Wild chimpanzees use insects to soothe their wounds and those of other chimpanzees, captive chimpanzees spit at handlers who withhold treats out of malice or indifference but not those who do so unwittingly, and captive capuchins choke under pressure. The brains of the elderly exhibit lesions resulting from a lifetime of wear and tear and may also be cluttered with accumulated knowledge. American presidents are becoming less rhetorically complex. Men prefer meat jerky to vegetarian jerky if their masculinity is threatened.

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August 2023

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