Sunday, May 04, 2008


“Findings” is a feature on the last page of Harper’s Magazine. It’s a long list of facts and figures gleaned from the multitudinous worlds of science. I selected but a few. One disturbing thing about the format is that, after reading so many closely spaced facts, piled atop one another, I felt that the substance, brought in from such a wide range of topics, takes on a comical air. Do ya s’pose they meant to do that? By the way, I made a few observations of my own.

A team of scientists at Newcastle University created human embryos by combining the genetic material of one man and two women [called a genage a trois], another team of scientists at Newcastle University discovered how to create sperm from the bone-marrow cells of women, and Brazilian scientists created egg cells from the embryonic stem cells of male mice. American scientists artificially reproduced the DNA of a venereal-disease bacterium and expected to use the technique to create artificial life within ten years. [Look out gods!]

Female yellow baboons with supportive fathers were observed to reach menarche earlier, to begin having children earlier, and to have more children than female baboons whose fathers were not involved in their lives. [They also were found be most sympatico with Blackwater employees].

It was determined that lonely people are more likely to anthropomorphize animals [and suck their thumbs]. Italian doctors found high testosterone levels in lovestruck women and low testosterone levels in lovestruck men… [and that they tended to make pets of each other].

Two studies concluded that biofuels are worse for global warming than conventional petroleum fuels; one of the studies calculated that harvesting grain for fuel creates 93 times more carbon emissions than are saved by the production of cleaner fuel.

Researchers found that physical scientists are less likely to believe in God than social scientists, that traditional religious beliefs make people more likely to forgive [everyone but atheists], and that temporary, self-absorbed sadness makes people spend money extravagantly [and masturbate in front of mirrors].

People who volunteer to take part in psychology experiments were found to be more mentally stable than those who do not volunteer. Young mice separated from their mothers and fed junk food experience less stress than orphan mice who are fed healthy food. [They also gain weight faster then thumb suckers.]
Also engineers were said to be at greater risk of becoming terrorists [than field mice]. A survey determined that children universally dislike clown wallpaper and find it "frightening" and "unknowable." [Bush is their most frightening clown.] Scientists hoped to vibrate viruses to death [and get a little thrill of their own, rubbing against the vibrating machines].

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