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Ratatouille Prompts Study: Rats Nicer Than People?

Tuesday, 3 Jul 2007 | 12:27 PM ET
Ratatouille's Remy
AP
Ratatouille's Remy

In a scientific tie-in to the new Pixar film "Ratatouille"(do scientists do this on purpose?) lab humans observing lab rats have determined that rats who've been helped in the past "pay it forward." This is, they claim, the first proof of "indirect reciprocity" in non-humans. In other words, rats that were helped in the past are more likely to help a stranger in the future. The report was published in PLoS Biology, an online open access journal (the same place I found the stuff about fruitflies having free will--what a gold mine that site is).

"In this study, Norway rats received help gaining food from a partner who pulled a stick to produce the food. Rats could therefore be grouped into two classes: those that had previously received help and those that had not. The rats who had previously been helped were then more likely to help another unknown partner receive food. This simple mechanism may promote the evolution of cooperation among unfamiliar non-relatives in many other animals."

Or, it could just prove that Norweigian rats are good people.

And on the animal theme...

HE'S A BEAST, AND YOU LOVE HIM


The people trying to make you buy more Softlips Lip Balm have done a study on how often we kiss things. Here's what I found interesting: 37% of us are willing to greet an immediate family member with a kiss (only 37%? geez), but 45% of women are willing to kiss the dog! On the other hand, only 27% of men will kiss the pet. Unless, of course, it's a Norwegian rat.

STRATOSPHERIC HOUSING SLUMP

Hala Ranch
christiesgreatestates.com
Hala Ranch

You think you have problems selling your home? Saudi Prince Bandar has had his Aspen estate up for sale for a year, and it's not moving. The asking price is $135 million, which, at the time, made it the most expensive home for sale in the U.S. (it has since been overtaken by the $155 million Pinnacle Ranch in Montana...which actually sold...probably to some hedge fund guy.) The Prince's estate, the Hala Ranch, has a main house that's reportedly 56,000 square feet and includes a hair salon, indoor swimming pool, heated stables, its own water treatment plant, gas station and car wash. Look, just make the guy an offer. Low-ball him 20% and offer $108 million. You never know.

CHEAPER THAN PLASTIC SURGERY, BUT BAD NEWS FOR HANES
A doctor trying to sell a book called "The Cellulite Cure"(and he says 99% of women are afflicted--that is depressing), says one way to prevent cellulite: don't wear underwear. Dr. Lionel Bissoon (a man) tells Wireless Flash News that "going commando" is good for blood flow. "Regular panties, like full-butt or bikinis, act like a tourniquet that compresses the butt and groin, which can lead to flabby inner thighs and cellulite along the panty line area." Thanks for that.

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  • Based in Los Angeles, Jane Wells is a CNBC business news reporter and also writes the Funny Business blog for CNBC.com.

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