What supplements do scientists use, and why?

by Simon Bishop, Graeme Close, Justin Roberts, Neil Williams, Haleh Moravej and Tim Spector Added 12.01.2018
Supplements are a multi-billion dollar industry. But, unlike pharmaceutical companies, manufacturers of these products don’t have to prove that their products are effective, only that they are safe – and that’s for new supplements only. We wanted to know which supplements are worth our attention (and money) so we asked six scientists – experts in everything from public health to exercise physiology – to name a supplement they take each day...

The Ukrainian prison massacre: more than a footnote to history

by Michael Johnson Added 09.01.2018
Two American academics who lost relatives in the liquidation of Western Ukrainian political prisoners in World War II have compiled the first exhaustive account of this little-known Soviet killing spree. What happened? As the Germans advanced into the Ukraine, thousands of prisoners were systematically mutilated and executed by the Soviet NKVD to ensure they would be not fraternize with the Wehrmacht. Reading this new book, “The Great West...

How we discovered the link between childhood trauma, a faulty stress response and suicide risk in later life

by Daryl O'Connor Added 09.01.2018
When people experience stress, the adrenal glands that sit on top of the kidneys release a steroid hormone called cortisol. However, our latest study shows that people who have experienced high levels of trauma in childhood, and who have attempted suicide, tend to release less cortisol when put under stress. These findings build on our earlier work that showed that the stress response system may be “faulty” or “damaged” in people who have...

Why society should talk about forced sex in intimate relationships, too

by Shervin Assari Added 08.01.2018
In the wake of the deluge of news about sexual harassment and alleged assaults by several high-profile and powerful men, it is important to look at the causes and consequences of forced sex in the workplace – but also in intimate relationships. Although forced sex by a boss and by an intimate partner considerably differ, they have these two things in common: They both disempower women and make women sick. Sex is a double-edged sword. It...

Stop worrying about not getting enough exercise and being too stressed – you may live longer

by Robin Bailey Added 07.01.2018
It’s January, so it’s likely that you have set yourself goals to be more physically active and less stressed in 2018. Paradoxically, better goals would be to stop worrying about how much exercise you’re getting and to stop worrying about being too stressed. A recent study of over 60,000 US adults examined the link between perceptions of exercise and mortality. The researchers found something curious: people who worried about being less...

Degas’ Doubt

by David Galenson Added 06.01.2018
Paul Valéry met Edgar Degas in 1896, and the two were friends for the two decades that remained in Degas’ life – the poet, almost 30 years younger, was in awe of the older painter, whom he considered a genius, and the painter was clearly flattered by the interest of the brilliant young poet. Valéry early had the idea of writing a book about Degas, but Degas was too cantankerous to agree to the project. In the event it was not until 20 years...

The secret to creativity – according to science

by Valerie van Mulukom Added 04.01.2018
Whether you get mesmerised by Vincent van Gogh’s painting The Starry Night or Albert Einstein’s theories about spacetime, you’ll probably agree that both pieces of work are products of mindblowing creativity. Imagination is what propels us forward as a species – it expands our worlds and brings us new ideas, inventions and discoveries. But why do we seem to differ so dramatically in our ability to imagine? And can you train yourself to...

Defining What It Means to Be Religious

by James J. Zogby Added 03.01.2018
Ever since we learned that eighty percent of self-described "born-again" Christians supported Donald Trump's candidacy for president, there has been a discussion about how these Christians define their faith. This debate recently intensified when an even greater percentage of Alabama's "born-again" Christians voted for Roy Moore in that state's senate contest. At stake in this discussion are critical issues about how believers understand and...

The Japanese concept of ikigai: why purpose might be a better goal than happiness

by Iza Kavedžija Added 17.12.2017
Happiness is the subject of countless quotations, slogans, self-help books and personal choices. It is also being taken seriously by national governments and organisations like the United Nations, as something societies should aim for. This political recognition makes a welcome change from long held obsessions with income and economic growth when it comes to choosing policies or measuring their success – but it is not without its faults. To...

Why Trump's evangelical supporters welcome his move on Jerusalem

by Julie Ingersoll   Added 12.12.2017
President Trump’s announcement on Wednesday, Dec. 6 that the U.S. would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel received widespread criticism. Observers quickly recognized the decision as related not so much to national security concerns as to domestic U.S. politics and promises candidate Trump made to his evangelical supporters, who welcomed the announcement.. Historian Diana Butler Bass posted on Twitter: “Of all the possible...

A prison called Gaza: new book offers a startling insight into everyday life in the territory

by James Rodgers Added 05.12.2017
A place of spacious dimensions, and large population, with fine bazaars. It contains numerous mosques, and there is no wall around it. To the modern reader, this is perhaps one of the more striking descriptions the medieval Moroccan traveller, Ibn Battutah, offered of the places he visited. Not because it contains anything shocking, but because of the town it portrays: Gaza. For the city, and the war-torn strip of coastal land with which it...

British Royal Family was already Multicultural, Descended from Muhammad

by Juan Cole Added 29.11.2017
The announcement that Prince Harry is set to marry American actress Meghan Markle provoked a flurry of articles about the British royal family becoming multicultural. The Washington Post actually has a headline about Britain’s “black queen.” (The peculiar American ‘one drop rule’ makes anyone with any recent African heritage African, to the surprise of societies like Brazil which have a spectrum of categories on race. Ms. Markle herself...

When it comes to mental health, a problem shared can be a problem doubled

by Robin Bailey Added 29.11.2017
People discuss their problems with friends in the hope that they’ll gain some insight into how to solve them. And even if they don’t find a way to solve their problems, it feels good to let off some steam. Indeed, having close friends to confide in is a good buffer against poor mental health. How problems are discussed, though, can be the difference between halving a problem or doubling it. The term psychologists use for negative problem...

What if consciousness is not what drives the human mind?

by David A Oakley and Peter Halligan Added 23.11.2017
Everyone knows what it feels like to have consciousness: it’s that self-evident sense of personal awareness, which gives us a feeling of ownership and control over the thoughts, emotions and experiences that we have every day. Most experts think that consciousness can be divided into two parts: the experience of consciousness (or personal awareness), and the contents of consciousness, which include things such as thoughts, beliefs,...

Cézanne’s Triumph

by David Galenson Added 21.11.2017
Paul Cézanne painted his uncle Dominique Aubert at least 9 times in 1866, when the artist was 27 years old. These portraits, four of which are in the current exhibition of Cézanne portraits at London’s National Portrait Gallery, are not recognizable as works by Cézanne –which is to say that they look nothing like the mature paintings we think of as Cézannes. These early portraits were painted predominantly in black and white, with heavily...

Trials of the Flesh: Caravaggio in Milan

by Sam Ben-Meir Added 20.11.2017
MILAN, Italy – The ambitiously conceived exhibition 'Dentro Caravaggio' (Inside Caravaggio) wants us to see this extraordinary painter with new eyes. Currently on display at the Palazzo Reale in Milan, eighteen masterpieces are accompanied by never-before-seen reflectographs and x-radiographs. These artistic diagnoses offer viewers a glimpse into Caravaggio's creative process – to see how he worked, to observe his method. To be sure, the...

Like Lenin, Luther launched a bloody revolution – and yet he was let off the hook

by Philip Cunliffe Added 16.11.2017
2017 marks the anniversaries of two revolutions that tore Europe apart. They both shredded existing structures of authority and unleashed mass fervour, ideological zeal, passion and popular agitation for greater self-rule. These revolts resulted in civil war, sectarian bloodshed, revolutionary violence and counter-revolutionary oppression. Troublemakers both. Wikimedia Commons The first was the Protestant Reformation of Martin Luther, who...

Myanmar and Buddhist extremism

by Paul Fuller Added 16.11.2017
There is a desperate humanitarian crisis underway in Myanmar, centring around the Rohingya Muslims. There is what has been described as a “textbook case of ethnic cleansing” against the approximately one million Rohingya who live in the western Myanmar state of Rakhine. As well as retaliations from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army – a militant group of Rohingyas – which has been held by the Burmese military to have attacked a number of...

Compound found in berries and red wine can rejuvenate cells, suggests new study

by Richard Faragher, Lizzy Ostler and Lorna Harries Added 15.11.2017
By the middle of this century the over 60s will outnumber the under 18s for the first time in human history. This should be good news, but growing old today also means becoming frail, sick and dependent. A healthy old age is good for you and a remarkably good deal for society. Improving the overall health of older Americans could save the US alone enough money to pay for clean drinking water for everyone on Earth for the next 30 years....

Balfour Declaration: A Convergence of Zionist Ambition and the British Imperial Enterprise

by James J. Zogby Added 11.11.2017
  This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration in which Great Britain's Foreign Secretary, Lord Balfour, stated in a note to his colleague, Lord Rothchild, that "His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object..."   Zionists have long viewed this document as a "promissory note"...
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