Today in research: weather linked to wars, counting female TV characters, more species than we'll ever count, and a very early presidential power ranking.

  • Which network has the most female characters on air? It's the CW, says San Diego State University research. The channel was represented by 52 percent female characters. It was followed by ABC (43 percent), CBS (40 percent), Fox (39 percent) and NBC (36 percent). The study also notes that non-fictional female presence in Hollywood is on a downward trend: "Women comprised 15% of writers on the prime-time dramas, comedies and reality shows on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and the CW, down from 29% in the 2009-10 season." [The Los Angeles Times]
  • Research predicts what pundits will say about the president in the future. Which seems very meta. But according to regression analysis of presidential rankings, Baylor University researchers say that Obama "is likely to be viewed as an 'average' president by expert evaluators if he serves only one term."  Which would put him at number 22 on their presidential power rankings list. Data-crunching probably isn't necessary to arrive at that conclusion. If he's reelected, researchers forecast that "expert evaluators" will view him as the fourth-best president. [Eurekalert]
  • Blaming wars on the weather--there's a link.  At least when we're talking about El Niño (sustained warmer, drier conditions) and civil wars in the past 50 years, says a new study published in Nature. "Since 1950, one out of five civil conflicts have been influenced by El Niño," said the lead researcher to Scientific American. "This represents the first major evidence that global climate is a major factor in organized patterns of violence." The hot weather as war agitator dynamic was appraised by Slate as being "none too subtle—heat and drought reduce the food supply, leaving hungry, rebellious populations in their wake." [Scientific American, Slate, Nature]
  • There are now even more species out there that we don't know about.  A new study, published in the journal PLoS Biology, suggests that the Earth houses around 9 million different plant/animal species--and 90 percent of them are unclassified. "Knowing how many species inhabit Earth is among the most fundamental questions in science. Yet the answer to this question remains enigmatic," the authors theorize. [Reuters]
  • And: people do drool over things that they want to buy. Ideas Market relays a forthcoming study, to be published in the Journal of Consumer Research, that showed "under the right conditions, consumers salivate when they see money or attractive goods." It appears that images of sports cars and cash combined to create the right conditions for researchers. [Wall Street Journal Ideas Market]