Life & 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
Arts & Entertainment
Ricky Gervais at a screening of 'Muppets Most Wanted' in London last month
tvAs the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian on why he'll never bow to critics who habitually circle his work
Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
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Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
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David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
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From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey outside Mo Nabbach’s M&M Hair Academy in west London before the haircut
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
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Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Keeper flaps at Nasri's late leveller, but Black Cat striker's two goals in 10 minutes had already done damage
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peopleRyan Gosling says yes, science says no. Take the A-list facial hair challenge
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tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
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Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal