Life and Style Members of Falun Gong spiritual movement meditate at the Lafayette Park. A new study has suggested that spiritual activity such as meditation may hep prevent depression by thickening the brain cortex

Those who place a high level of importance on spirituality and religion were found to have thicker cortices in the areas normally associated with thinning in people at risk, than those who did not

From fragrant to popcorn: US scientists identify 10 categories for smells

Forget the unique aroma of fresh coffee, wild lavender or cut grass, according to US scientists there are just 10 basic smells.

David Byrne took to the stage at Columbia University School of the Arts as a band played his song 'Road to Nowhere'. He then played a slideshow of graphs to illustrate how hopeless arts graduates are

David Byrne gives Columbia students a once-in-a-lifetime downer of a commencement speech

Commencement address season has begun in the United States, when the great and good deliver university graduates into real life with uplifting aphorisms and positive-thinking platitudes.

Study shows dangers of BPA chemical used in plastic packaging

Bisphenol A is used to line drinks cans and in tests affected the way genes work in the brains of laboratory rats

Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca

On show after 80 years, the poetry of Federico García Lorca that General Franco couldn't kill

Murdered Spanish poet’s key work to debut at New York exhibition

Review: The Scientists, By Marco Roth

Union Books, £14.99

Rebecca Tyrrel: 'Uma Thurman got off lightly. Her brothers are called Ganden, Dechen and Mipam'

Who knew that Uma Thurman's father was the first Westerner ever to become a Buddhist monk? He popularised the faith in the US long before Richard Gere leapt aboard the saffron bandwagon.

Questions raised over ‘truth serum’ interview for suspected Aurora shooter James Holmes

A Colorado judge has given permission for James Holmes, the suspected Aurora shooter, to be interviewed using intravenous injections of so-called "truth serum" if the defendant pleads not guilty by reason of insanity.

Sundance Film Festival review:
Kill Your Darlings - Daniel Radcliffe provides a defining performance as Beat poet Allen Ginsberg

The man we know as Harry Potter bumbles with his sexuality as well as his famous spectacles

Donald Trump won't be able to make it to the convention

'The Donald' is trumped by Tropical Storm Isaac's force

He was in Sarasota, just south of Tampa, on Sunday night to pick up a "Statesman of the Year" award from local Republican bigwigs. But now Donald Trump won't be coming to the Republican convention – though it took one of nature's mightiest phenomena, to keep him away.

Professor Andrew Sarris: Film critic who played a leading role in promoting the ‘auteur’ theory

Pauline Kael opposed him – the two camps were known as the Sarristes and the Paulettes

Helaine Blumenfeld: 'Art is a commitment to risk, a reflection of life – nothing stays the same'

"Fearless" seems an odd description for Helaine Blumenfeld, an artist who makes unabashedly beautiful sculptures, but in a moment when beauty and spirituality are considered pejorative descriptions for artworks, it takes a courageous artist, particularly a woman, to persevere.

The Flying Man, By Roopa Farooki

Roopa Farooki cites her late father, Nasir Farooki, and his gambler's life, as the inspiration for her fifth novel. Her words are warm and were we to read the acknowledgement before the novel, we might imagine a story that pays homage to a roguishly loveable father. However roguish the central character of The Flying Man might be - a charlatan by trade, despite his family wealth - he is not loveable but a shallow, selfish charmer. Farooki creates a difficult, despicable anti-hero and attempts to shed light on what keeps him in his psychologically stunted state.

Dan Stevens and Michelle Dockery in Downton Abbey

Schama, Fellowes, and the 'cultural necrophilia' row that would make Lady Grantham grimace

As Downton Abbey takes US TV by storm, its creator is under attack from America's favourite British historian

James Franco is said to have only attended two out of 14 lectures

Professor 'fired for giving James Franco a D grade'

A university professor is claiming that he lost his job after he gave James Franco an embarrassing 'D' grade in a course he was teaching on account of the knock-'em-dead actor and perennial student showing up for only two out of the 14 lectures he was expected at.

Revealed: climate quirk that doubles risk of war

New study shows stark correlation between the fluctuations of El Niño and the incidence of civil conflicts
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War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?