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“Yellow Towels #2, 1979” and “Amy, Phil, and Brian, 1980,” photographs by Tina Barney, from her book Tina Barney: The Beginning, which was published last year by Radius Books © The artist. Courtesy Radius Books

Microplastics were found in sixty-two of sixty-two human placentas from a biobank in Texas; in half the arterial plaques of Campanian carotid endarterectomy patients; in the gastrointestinal tracts of three bottlenose dolphins and a harbor porpoise in the Black Sea; in shrimp in South Africa’s Crocodile River; in two-thousand-year-old archaeological remains buried seven meters underground; and in the gonads of adult oysters in the Mangrove Coast of the estuarine Brazilian Amazon. Microplastics were determined to increase nitrogen retention in Fujianese mangrove sediments and to either increase or decrease CO2 emissions from Hainanese mangrove sediments, depending on the precise concentration. Abyssal microplastics appear to sink from the surface of the open ocean, and polystyrene particles increase the bioaccumulation of SSRIs in brine shrimp. Blue is the dominant color of microplastic found inside Guiana dolphins on the coast of Espírito Santo, and polypropylene is the dominant synthetic polymer found on Ulva rigida seaweed. Artificial plants with fenestrated leaves retain the most surface microplastics, whereas natural plants with smooth leaves retain the least. Microplastics in the human male reproductive system are associated with urban living, home-cooked meals, and the use of body and facial scrubs. The tail of a crayfish contains less ionic lithium than its gastrointestinal tract, gills, and hepatopancreas.

Humans are losing their ability to digest cellulose. Animal models exhibit an association between a wide range of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders and an altered brain pH. An analysis of 1,156,703 selfies found that Chinese women experience their lowest lifetime acne levels between the ages of forty and forty-four, Chinese scientists reconstructed the face of Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou, teeth from a graveyard near the royal palace at Westminster were found to belong to imported jousting horses, and a researcher attempted to improve the dating of elite tombs of the Goguryeo kingdom on the basis of painted depictions of the Northern and Southern Dippers. A prehistoric fen folk village built above a river was found to contain beads from Persia and a skull worn smooth by touch.

The mating call of the male Albert’s lyrebird was differentiated into loud gronking and rhythmic gronking, and it was posited that the males’ shaking of stick piles or vine tangles may trick females into thinking predators are nearby. Japanese tits use an “after you” wing gesture to defer nest entry to their mates. Namibian spotted hyenas were found to catch and eat red-billed queleas at a rate of one every three minutes. Dwarf rock-wallabies were found to have unusually large teeth. “If I were a vegetable,” said a skull-shape researcher, “I would not mess with a pygmy rock-wallaby.” Mice who received fecal transplants from mice who had received double oophorectomies gained weight. Some heritable eye diseases may be caused by gut bacteria. Bone-marrow transplants can give mice Alzheimer’s. Daytime events are more likely to be consolidated into long-term memories during sleep if they are followed immediately by five to twenty sharp wave-ripples generated in hippocampal neurons. Object words appear to activate mental representations in dogs, and children who touch their faces more often recognize their reflections earlier. Toxicity has remained a consistent feature of online interactions since 1989. Researchers concluded that, when generating a page of text, AI can emit up to thousands of times less CO2 than human writers do.


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May 2024

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