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Talking Points: Best-before buffet, whale earwax and extreme binge drinkers

IT’S OVER HERE: Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa displays an oil-covered glove while surveying contamination in his country’s Amazon region

Dolores Ochoa/AP


Today's specials include a dish made from produce recently pitched by your local grocer. Broadcaster French24 reports the opening of a restaurant in Copenhagen that specializes in dishes made from food about to be thrown away by supermarkets. The new eatery is called Rub og Stub, which translates into "lock, stock and barrel," and is run by volunteers with proceeds going to charity. Food is donated by Danish supermarket chains on the eve of their expiry date. "If we get it on the last day before it expires, we can either put it in the freezer or use it on the same day," said Rub og Stub co-founder Sophie Sales. So what's on the menu? On Tuesday, the daily special was frikadeller: meat patties served with red cabbage.


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The things they find in a whale's ears these days. As reported in The Guardian, a team of researchers at Baylor University in Texas recently published a paper on a large (3x25 centimetres) earwax plug from a blue whale that washed ashore on a California beach in 2007. Following chemical analysis, the team concluded the whale had had a lifetime of exposure to harmful pollutants, most worryingly DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane), a long-banned insecticide. "It's been 30-plus years since we've stopped using this compound," said Baylor scientist Sascha Usenko. "To see it showing up in such high concentrations, one of the dominant chemicals we see, was surprising."


Kids grow up faster than ever, and some really love to drink. From USA Today comes the sobering report that one in 10 U.S. high-school students is an extreme binge drinker. The University of Michigan Institute for Social Research reviewed data from a national survey sample of more than 16,000 high-school seniors. Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks in one sitting. Although the percentage of high-school seniors who binge drink has gone down, the study indicated that one in 10 students now regularly engages in extreme binge drinking – 10 or more drinks in a row.


"Be gentle with one another's efforts. Always remember that it's just as hard to write a bad book as it is to write a good book."

Malcolm Cowley, Literary critic (1898-1989)

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