Weekend Links: Opium-Addicted Parrots, Reasons for Excessive Robocalls, Climate Change-themed Leggings and More

Welcome to Weekend Links, a collection of fascinating science stories from across the web, curated by your science-loving friends at the Mass General Research Institute.

Opium-Addicted Parrots Are Terrorizing Poppy Farms in India

Brandon Specktor writing for LiveScience

Poppy farmers in the state of Madhya Pradesh in India have reportedly run into some trouble while cultivating this season’s crops. In addition to inconsistent rainfall putting a damper on things, flocks of persistent parrots — presumed to be addicted to opium — are rampaging through the poppy farms, sometimes making 40 visits a day to get their fix.

Animal Discovered with ‘Transient Anus’ That Only Appears When It Is Needed

Josh Gabbatiss writing for The Independent

A scientist has stumbled upon a creature with a “transient anus” that appears only when it is needed, before vanishing completely. The warty comb jelly, or sea walnut, looks a lot like a jellyfish, but the new finding reveals it may represent a critical stage in evolutionary history.

If Male Serial Killers “Hunt” Their Victims, What Do Female Serial Killers Do?

Hanna Kozlowska writing for Quartz

Male serial killers, according to the researchers’ theory, are “hunters,” who follow their prey as they did in nomadic communities. Female serial killers, meanwhile, are “gatherers,” fitting in with their role in these societies, according to the article published in the journal Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences.

Robocalls Are Unstoppable – 3 Questions Answered About Why Your Phone Won’t Quit Ringing

Raymond Huahong Tu writing for The Conversation

When your phone rings, there’s about a 50 percent chance it’s a spam robocall. That’s not probability – it’s what the U.S. government agency regulating telecommunications says. U.S. mobile phone users received 48 billion robocalls in 2018 alone – more than 100 calls per line.

Why This Climate Change Data Is On Flip-flops, Leggings, and Cars

Umair Irfan writing for Vox

The stirring cerulean-to-crimson bars tell a story about how the planet has changed over the past century and the what’s in store for this one. It’s a vivid visual of the warming humanity is causing. The color of each stripe represents the relative annual average global temperature from 1850 to 2017.

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