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False Alarm for Female Physiology

Have you ever heard of “pseudocyesis”?

Teachers can have an enormous impact on whether a child likes a subject or not. I, for instance, hated math at middle school, but with a new teacher at high school I began to love math to an extent that I wanted to study it at university. History was another subject, whose teacher killed my early interest in it, because he demanded that we kids byhearted hundreds of historic dates. Had he told us of the pseudo-pregnancies (also known as false or phantom pregnancy and pseudocyesis) of Queen Mary in 1555, Queen Draga of Serbia in 1900 and the Zar’s wife Alexandra in 1903, history classes could have been so much more interesting! —>

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Cainism, Infanticide, Cannibalism

They’re not exactly pleasant behaviours

Has it ever happened to you that when you wanted to fry an egg and you cracked it open you found two egg yolks in it? If you had that experience you would probably have wondered whether two chicks could have developed from such an egg. Fact is that although two embryos may initially grow, one soon overtakes the other and causes its death, so that in the end only a single chick actually hatches. Can embryos really be so murderous?

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Round is Beautiful

And offers protection

Humans, perhaps because of the form of their own heads (or a distant memory of where their very first nourishment came from), have a particular relationship to round shapes. Big round eyes, bulging foreheads and puffy cheeks touch parental instincts and elicit exclaims such as “Gosh, how cute”. Images of angels, but also seal pups, polar bear cubs and, of course, human babies come to mind. Spheres may be beautiful from an aesthetic viewpoint, but they are also fascinating to mathematically interested people, as they represent perfect shapes whose characteristics like circumference and surface area can only be approximated on account of the open-ended decimals of the number π (pi). —>