• We're so used to thinking of dogs as companions that we often forget the most basic reason people buddy up to animals: Food. A new study suggests wolves were first domesticated in southeastern China for their meat. •


• Researchers have found that the children born to mothers that have undergone weight loss surgery are healthier than older siblings born before the procedure. The younger siblings were found to have improved heart health and a lower risk of obesity. • A Sudanese judge has ruled that journalist Lubna Hussein, who was arrested in July for wearing pants, will not be flogged (flogging is a legal punishment for indecency). Hussein is still facing a $200 fine, which she is not planning on paying. "I will not pay a penny. I won't pay, as a matter of principle," she said. • Health workers at a clinic in rural Peru were frustrated at the low rate of births taking place inside the clinic (only 6%), and so they decided to ask local women what they were doing wrong. The mothers were happy to help. The clinic will now respect traditional practices, ensure that they have a doctor on hand who speaks the local language, and allow relatives to stay and help with the birthing process. • Celebrity polar bear Knut is getting a new pal: Giovanna, a female polar bear from Munich. However, since both bears are not yet sexually mature, there is little chance they will consummate their relationship. • Scientists are attempting to pin down gender differences in brain function, yet even the study of the brain does not provide an easy way out of the "old nature/nurture dilemma." What they found is something many have long suspected: "Individuals' gender traits-their preference for masculine or feminine clothes, careers, hobbies and interpersonal styles-are inevitably shaped more by rearing and experience than is their biological sex." • Al Franken has a cool party trick, which he recently displayed at the Minnesota State Fair. Click here for a video of Franken drawing the entire US map from memory. • Women in Australia are in luck: the Bluetongue Brewery plans to hire 10 to 15 professional beer tasters in the next year. And since women apparently make better tasters, they are looking for boozy broads to fill the open positions. • This weekend, Linda Rice became the first woman to win a training title at Saratoga. Rice has been training since 1987, but this is the first time she has taken home a title. • An op-ed from this Sunday's New York Times argues that the cyberbullying laws under which Lori Drew was tried are "too vague to be constitutional." • The mayor of German border town Vierlinden has announced plans to deter prostitutes from gathering on the B1 motorway through the use of butyric acid, which apparently smells like vomit and body odor. • In October 2007, Afghan journalist Sayed Perwiz Kambakhsh was jailed for blasphemy after she was caught downloading an internet article about women's rights. A few weeks ago, President Hamid Karzai finally pardoned Kambakhsh, and she has since been freed. • The Justice Department is urging a Santa Ana court to toss out a lawsuit that challenges President Obama's Constitutional qualifications to be president. The birthers' suit claims that Obama was not born in Hawaii and is a citizen of Indonesia, and "possibly still citizen of Kenya." • A Jewish community leader has condemned the AIDS awareness ad that features a man intended to represent Hitler in the throes of passion, saying that it both unsuccessful and offensive. We agree. • Feministing features an interesting video about gender and language. The Hariri Foundation introduced a program that replaced words that are generally read as masculine with accents that mark them as feminine. More here. • As of today, Girl Scouts will now be able to earn a new patch for "preparedness." "This new preparedness patch will increase citizen preparedness and enhance our country's readiness for disasters," said Homeland Security Department Secretary Janet Napolitano. • Farmers in India are facing increasing hardships as crops fail and debts pile up, which has caused many impovrished farmers to take the drastic measure of selling their wives. According to some reports, as many as several thousand men have sold their wives to money lenders, who then transfer the marriage contract to a third party. •