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Popular Elsewhere

14:44 UK time, Thursday, 17 November 2011

A look at the stories ranking highly on various news sites.

There's an obesity epidemic challenging our health. That we already know, but Slate's most read article suggests the epidemic among lab rats is the one we should be concerned about. By their nature - not getting out of the lab that much - they have sedentary lifestyles and can eat whenever they want. This means that as a rule lab mice and rats are overweight. This, the article suggests, means that they may not be all that useful in testing out medicines. But it also says the dominance of the rodent in biomedical research is unlikely to wane, as they are cheap, efficient, and highly standardised.

Mention Medicare in the US and you'll soon hear the mention of broccoli. Why? A popular New York Times article explains this vegetable has unwittingly become caught up in the long drawn out debate about whether US citizens should be required to pay for healthcare insurance. The argument from opponents of Medicare goes that Congress might also one day require people to buy broccoli in order to make them healthier. Why this has become the broccoli test and not the cabbage test is less than clear.

Analysing body language of world leaders when they meet is nothing new. But a popular Guardian article has gone one step further by describing relations between the US president and Australian prime minister as "cosy". The paper says Australian media have decided to use another description for the way Barack Obama and Julia Gillard act towards each other: "a little handsy". Cue many pictures of them looking at each other while laughing. Even a picture of them both stroking their own hair is analysed as mirroring behaviour.

Telegraph readers prefer to catch up on the love life of Pippa Middleton. As it seems compulsory when talking about Miss Middleton, Allison Pearson quickly gets to the butt of the issue: her behind. But, Pearson insists, it is relevant. The "bum envy" which has supposedly grasped the nation ever since Pippa was a bridesmaid could say a lot about why she has split up with her former boyfriend Alex Loudon, she says. "This is not a tale of new money versus old," she claims. "Rather it is the new aristocracy of celebrity coming up against the old aristocracy of noblesse oblige and discretion," and everybody talking about your behind doesn't help.

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