National Geographic : 2012 Jun
= ART: WALMOR CORRÊA. SOURCE: SHANGHAI SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY PUBLISHERS. GRAPHIC: LAWSON PARKER, NGM STAFF SOURCES: AIRPORTS COUNCIL INTERNATIONAL; METROPOLITAN TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY NEXT Marine ecologists discovered a deep-sea-cold-vent YETI CRAB that grows its own food supply: bacteria cultivated on its hairy appendages. • Archaeologists confirmed CANNIBALISM among Mexico's ancient Xiximes people, who ingested enemies to guarantee good corn crops. • EMPEROR PENGUINS usually flap 237 times underwater, then start to surface, say University of Tokyo researchers. • A UN committee delayed the possible demise of the LEAP SECOND, a moment that adjusts for Earth's rotation speed. ET CETERA Flight passengers in North America totaled more than 1.5 billion in 2010---the same number of people who rode on the New York City subway that year. Pins and Needles Rats like the shadows. This penchant for dark places gave physiologist Ladan Eshkevari an idea: She trained some to nestle into the toe of a sock so they felt safe. The rats' back legs dangled out, giving her access to an acupuncture point just below the knee called zusanli, Mandarin for "leg three mile," a potent point used to treat a variety of ailments. It also treats stress---in this case an hour in a cage carpeted with crushed ice. The rodents receiving the needles produced lower levels of neuropep- tide Y, a molecule that's elevated in stressed-out rats. It's among the first molecular proofs that acupuncture decreases stress. The sock, which all the rodents shared because community scent is also a comfort, didn't fare so well. "It was the nastiest thing you've ever seen by the time the experiment was done," says Eshkevari. ---Juli Berwald Rats have 35 acupunc- ture points. Zusanli, used to treat stress, pain, and abdominal ailments, is number 16.