Findings, by Rafil Kroll-Zaidi

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“Final Shot,” a photograph by Evan Robidoux, whose work was on view in September at Pace Gallery, in New York City © The artist. Courtesy Pace Gallery, New York City

“Final Shot,” a photograph by Evan Robidoux, whose work was on view in September at Pace Gallery, in New York City © The artist. Courtesy Pace Gallery, New York City

Australia’s Rabbit Plague was determined to have begun on Christmas Day in 1859, and its Black Summer of 2020 was found to have introduced roughly 1.1 million tons of soot particles into the stratosphere, altering the climate of the Southern Hemisphere for a year and a half. California’s cannabis farms were deemed particularly vulnerable to wildfires, and scientists expected a total collapse of the water supply in Afghanistan and Central Asia and a near-total collapse in Kashmir, northern India, and Pakistan by the middle of the century. Falling river levels caused by European droughts were revealing centuries-old hunger stones. Rainwater is now unsafe to drink anywhere on earth. Despite enjoying superior sanitation, the Augustinian friars of medieval Cambridge had nearly twice the incidence of intestinal parasites as the general population, possibly because they fertilized friary gardens with their own feces. The toes of British Columbian grizzly bears were being lost as fur-trapping bycatch, a Thai elephant forced to work in extreme heat tore his handler in half, and long-tailed macaques were using stone tools to masturbate. Female Costa Rican capuchins with female friends were found to live longer. Incels do not exhibit marked political differences from sexually active men.

Japanese children walk differently, and among a newly discovered species of walking shark, both slender juveniles and neonates with bulging bellies move identically whether they are walking slowly, walking quickly, or swimming. Pescatarianism and vegetarianism are highly heritable. Human differentiation of infants’ cries of pain must be learned, Asian elephants nasalize their rumbles, and mouse pups born to older fathers exhibit a severely limited repertoire of vocalizations. Ketamine relieves the depression of mice when it is administered by men but not by women, although the lack of efficacy in women’s administration can be corrected if the mice are injected with corticotropin-releasing hormone. Supplementary testosterone makes male Mongolian gerbils more cuddly with their pregnant mates. Dogs shed tears when joyously reunited with their owners or when oxytocin drops are added to their eyes. Neither dogs nor wolves can form opinions about the generosity or selfishness of individual humans. Killings of pets in murder-suicides often fall under the “family annihilator” type.

Functional MRI scans as well as a consistent 10 percent drop in charitable giving after the onset of daylight saving time suggested that sleep loss makes people less generous. Americans who hold conspiratorial beliefs about scientific matters will reduce their cognitive dissonance when presented with conflicting evidence by becoming more conspiratorial. The increased prevalence of multiple sclerosis in countries farther from the equator may not be due to lower vitamin D intake, as was assumed, but due to the fact that those countries are richer and spend more on health care. Religiousness improves the cardiovascular health of African Americans. Among Americans, LSD use has quadrupled, and among young Americans, marijuana and hallucinogen use has reached historic highs. PTSD may be effectively treated by hepatitis C drugs. Finnish researchers explored the origins of children’s gamer rage. The ashes of dead rulers may have been incorporated into the rubber balls of the Mayan ball game once their remains had spent 260 days in the Cave of Death. A half-billion-year-old creature with a mouth but no anus was not, after all, the earliest human ancestor. NASA scientists admitted that the name of Uranus has become a distraction.


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