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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In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible