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Talking points: Tasty babies, etiquette check and black holes on Earth

Lainey Kieffer, 29, of Miami hangs on tight to a dorsal fin as she and 27 other breast-cancer survivors swim with dolphins at Miami Seaquarium.

Wilfredo Lee/AP


When a woman says an adorable baby looks "good enough to eat," she's just tapping into her internal reward system. The CBC reports on a study from the University of Montreal that involved researchers mapping the brains of two groups, one consisting of childless females, the other of brand-new moms. Both groups had brain scans while they smelled the pyjamas of two-day old infants. Scientists observed that the sniffing activated "reward circuits" in the brains of both groups, but more so in the new mothers. "This circuit makes us desire certain foods and causes addiction to tobacco and other drugs," said researcher Johannes Frasnelli.


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If you've ever been tempted to tip a flight attendant, think again. As reported by ABC News, a noted etiquette expert says travellers should disregard a recent column on in which Caroline Costello suggests satisfied customers hand flight attendants "a gratuity on the way off the plane." Such things are simply not done, my dear. "Flight attendants are not in the group of people that we tip," insists Lizzie Post, the great-great-granddaughter of etiquette legend Emily Post. "Even when you're in the process of a transaction, buying beer or wine or alcohol, snacks or headsets, there is no reason to tip." So how does a happy traveller acknowledge a job well done? "Remember your flight number, take down the name of the flight attendant and write to the airline to let them know they have a great employee."


Who knew there were black holes in the ocean? The website informs us that researchers have found some ocean eddies on Earth are very similar to black holes in space. A team from the University of Miami and ETH Zurich traced eddies in water islands located in such turbulent bodies of water as the Southern Ocean. They found the motions of the waters were chaotic both inside and outside the water eddy. The researchers employed satellite technology to spot such coherent eddies, which they concluded were mathematically equivalent to black holes.


The teacher who is attempting to teach without inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.

Horace Mann, education reformist (1796-1859)

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