International News Desk – At Home: The French Connection – Around the World: Sex, Booze, and Fruit Flies

International News Desk – At Home: The French Connection – Around the World: Sex, Booze, and Fruit Flies

At Home: The French Connection

The benefits of a second language are well-documented, with studies showing positive effects ranging from a better understanding of one’s first language to the delaying of Alzheimer’s-related symptoms. For thousands of Chinese citizens, there’s another benefit: Canadian residence.

As the CBC reports, ?Chinese desperate to emigrate have discovered a backdoor into Canada that involves applying for entry into the country’s francophone province of Quebec.?

While Canada has tightened restrictions on immigration, Quebec is an exception. The province has special rules and ?doesn’t have any cap or backlog of applicants like Canada’s national program does.? The catch: immigrants need to ?demonstrate their knowledge of French? and intend to remain in Quebec.

In China, special French classes are filling up quickly, and language isn’t the only thing taught. Some also give crash courses ?on Quebec’s history and its geography, including the names of suburbs around its biggest city, Montreal.?

As for Quebec, the province welcomes the heightened interest. As Kathleen Weil, Quebec’s immigration minister, told reporters, ?we’re happy about it and we want to keep them here.?

Around the World: Sex, Booze, and Fruit Flies

What do sex and alcohol mean for fruit flies? If the former is missing, the latter may be a frequent substitute?and the same may apply for human beings.

As The Globe and Mail reports, a recent study showed that when fruit flies were deprived of sex, they were much more likely to drink from nectar that had been spiked with alcohol. Moreover, they were more likely to drink to excess. But when the same males were ?mingled with receptive females . . . [and] had sex, their yen for alcohol declined.?

According to the study, It’s all in the brain, where a substance called NPF is found. Researchers discovered that ?pleasurable activities like having sex boost the activity of brain circuits that use NPF.? However, without sex, ?the system goes into deficit, driving the fly to seek other rewarding activities such as drinking alcohol.?

Researchers feel that this may provide ?a biological explanation? for the alcohol consumption patterns of human beings and may someday help in developing a better understanding and treatment of alcoholism.

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