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Talking points: Bugs’ sex life, messy lessons and Web medics

TEST DRIVE: A man steers a driving simulator at an event promoting the Sony PlayStation game Gran Turismo 6 in Ronda, Spain.

JON NAZCA/REUTERS

A BUG'S (SEX) LIFE

Male fruit flies with unsatisfying sex lives aren't just frustrated, they also lead shorter lives. CTV News reports on a new study showing that male fruit flies that were expecting sex but didn't get it tended to have negative health consequences and aged at a much faster rate. The University of Michigan study utilized sensory manipulation to give male fruit flies the perception they were in a sexually-rich environment even though no female flies were in the vicinity. Unable to mate, the flies demonstrated signs of stress and showed a rapid decrease in both fat stores and resistance to starvation. The good news: The negative health effects began to reverse once the male fruit flies were allowed to mate.

MESSY LESSONS

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The more your child plays with food, the more he or she is learning, says a report in esciencenews.com. A research team at the University of Iowa focused on a group of 16-month-old children to ascertain how they learned words for non-solid objects (learning words for solid items is easier because they rarely change size or shape). Researchers gave the tots items such as apple sauce and pudding, plus some made-up words. One minute later, the kids were asked to identify the same food item in different sizes and shapes. The results: Those infants who interacted the most with the food were more likely to correctly identify them by texture. "It may look like your child is playing in the high chair," said study author Larissa Samuelson, "but they are getting information out of those actions."

WEB MEDICS

Nearly half the American public are currently living with one or more chronic medical conditions, according to a Pew Research Centre study reported by CBS News. The study, which involved a survey of 3,000 people, found that 45 per cent of respondents were stricken with chronic conditions including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. Many of them said they diagnosed themselves after doing research online. Among those with chronic conditions, 72 per cent said they routinely used the Internet as a medical information tool.

THOUGHT DU JOUR

The first step toward humility is to realize that one is proud.

C.S. Lewis, author (1898-1963)

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