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Weekend alcohol consumption may cause damage to DNA Weekends spent drinking and partying may seem like harmless fun, but new research shows that this level of alcohol consumption may damage DNA.
Control that air rage: Airlines want clearer rules on rowdy passengers Bad passenger behavior is on the increase for various reasons, including nervousness, tiredness and the airplane's cabin layout.
Residual activity 'hot spots' in brain key for vision recovery in stroke patients Scientists know that vision restoration training can help patients who have lost part of their vision due to glaucoma, optic nerve damage, or stroke regain some of their lost visual functions, but they do not understand what factors determine how much visual recovery is achieved.
The Language of Secret Keeping There is no vocabulary for the myriad ways in which a beloved's secret can burden the person to whom it is revealed, though the possibilities are endless and, like many attempts to capture emotional complexity, quite possibly Germanic: Geheimnisaustausch? Stockholm-secret-keeping syndrome?)read more
Want a good night's sleep in the New Year? Quit smoking As if cancer, heart disease and other diseases were not enough motivation to make quitting smoking your New Year's resolution, here's another wake-up call: New research suggests that
Brain training works, but just for the practiced task, say researchers Search for "brain training" on the Web. You'll find online exercises, games, software, even apps, all designed to prepare your brain to do better on any number of tasks. Do they work? Some psychologists say, yes, but "there's a catch."
The Body Map of Emotions: Happiness Activates the Whole Body New study reveals where people feel different emotions in the body.→ Jeremy Dean is a psychologist and author of PsyBlog. His latest book is "Making Habits, Breaking Habits: How to Make Changes That Stick"
Who Do You Want to Be In Ten Years? If you're contemplating major habit changes for the new year, I wish you success. But while you're headed to that Zumba class, don't forget about the tiny, easy, course corrections you can make at any time of any day. Those little choices add up to bigger changes than we think.read more
Reserved Behaviors In The Study of Nonverbal Communications During high stress or a calamity, these unique behaviors shout "I need help."read more
Sherlock Holmes is the archetypal scientist – brilliant but slightly scary | Sarah Day We are comforted by his ability to solve intractable problems, but our love of Sherlock, and science, is tinged with apprehensionMore than 75 different actors have taken him on, making him the most portrayed character on film and television ever. Ian McKellen will be the latest to add his name to the roster, playing an elderly Sherlock Holmes in a film set in 1947. The BBC's Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is back on New Year's Day for a third season, and there are rumours of a third film in the Robert Downey Jr franchise.We can't get enough of Sherlock Holmes. But why? On paper, Holmes is an unlikely hero. He is callous, arrogant, bad tempered, never has love affairs and shuns society. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle described his character as "a calculating machine". Perhaps this is his appeal – Holmes is not just a solver of mysteries, but a mystery himself.Countless reinventions have played with every aspect of Holmes's character and world – costume, setting, time period, gender, sexuality – but one thing never changes: he is a scientist. His character is a mashup of every stereotype we have ever had about scientists – solitary, introverted, daring, reckless, slightly inhuman, cruel, obsessive, imaginative and brilliant.The world he was originally created for was one obsessed with science. The Victorian era saw the birth of Charles Babbage's own "calculating machine", a forerunner of modern computers. Many early fictional detectives – Edgar Allan Poe's Dupin, Jacques Futrelle's "Thinking Machine" – were characters who prided themselves on their systematic, unemotional approach to solving mysteries.Holmes, too, boasts of his lack of emotions – "I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix" – and his ability to separate fact from theory. "I make a point of never having any prejudices," he tells Inspector Forrester in The Adventure of the Reigate Squires, "and of following docilely wherever fact may lead me." Like Babbage's Difference Engine, there is no personality involved, only the application of a method. "He was," says Watson, "the most perfect reasoning and observing machine that the world has seen."But as Conan Doyle well knew, no scientist, let alone a commercial literary character, could survive on cold, mechanical logic alone. The dogged, unimaginative fact collector – a role in which Doyle rather unkindly casts the whole professional police force – is not our only stereotype of scientists. Holmes is also a reclusive, eccentric bohemian, relying on intuition and mysterious flashes of insight."See the value of imagination," he tells Watson in Silver Blaze, having conjured a scene in his head and found evidence to justify it. "We imagined what might have happened, acted on the supposition, and find ourselves justified."In The Red Headed League, he pauses mid-investigation to visit "violin land", where he "sat in the stalls wrapped in the most perfect happiness, gently waving his long, thin fingers in time to the music." He solves the puzzle of The Man with the Twisted Lip by spending a whole night sitting on a pile of pillows built up in "a sort of Eastern divan", smoking, "his eyes fixed vacantly upon the corner of the ceiling".At other times, he abandons his cerebral methods altogether and opts for good old fashioned fisticuffs. "The next few minutes were delicious," he tells Watson in The Adventure of the Solitary Cyclist. "It was a straight left against a slogging ruffian." At other times, he claims to be "the most incurably lazy devil that ever stood in shoe leather".In bringing together these seemingly contradictory characteristics, Holmes is a more realistic scientist, and human being, than any of his fictional rivals. He also lends himself well to adaptation – each new Holmes has a whole suite of personality traits to choose from. Some highlight the narcotics abuse, others the violin playing, some the cutting wit. Downey Jr focuses on his physicality, Jeremy Brett was quietly mysterious, Basil Rathbone outgoing. Cumberbatch's Holmes is brilliantly clever, to the point of madness. But they are all scientists, because what never changes is the method, and the goal.As Holmes says in A Study in Scarlet, "There's the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it."That, perhaps, is at the heart of our fascination with Holmes, and with science. We are comforted by the thought that, however baffling the mystery, there is a solution to be found, and someone capable of finding it. It is reassuring that Holmes uses nothing more than logic, imagination and the occasional street urchin to solve problems, rather than implausible gadgets and superpowers. But our love of Holmes, like science, is tinged with apprehension. We're never quite sure how far he might go in the pursuit of truth.People in sciencePsychologySherlockTelevisionCrime dramaSarah Daytheguardian.com © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds
Study: Happiness makes us feel warm all over Research shows our emotions are directly linked to sensations in our bodies.
Thicker brain sections tied to spirituality For people at high risk of depression because of a family history, spirituality may offer some protection for the brain, a new study hints.
More rational resolutions To reach goals, be more logical and take a scientific view of your emotions.
Ski helmet use isn't reducing brain injuries Growing evidence indicates that helmets do not prevent traumatic brain injuries or even death.
Sleep to protect your brain A new study shows that one night of sleep deprivation increases morning blood concentrations of NSE and S-100B in healthy young men. These molecules are typically found in the brain. Thus, their rise
Mastering the Delicate Art of Responding to Compliments It's great to get a compliment, but often we find it difficult to know how to respond. If you're like most of us, you flounder a bit while you think of what to say in return. With a little practice, you can become a master of this important social grace.read more
How emotions are mapped in the body Researchers found that the most common emotions trigger strong bodily sensations, and the bodily maps of these sensations were topographically different for different emotions. The sensation patterns were, however, consistent across different West European and East Asian cultures, highlighting that emotions and their corresponding bodily sensation patterns have a biological basis.
Why We Form New Year's Resolutions The running joke about New Year's resolutions is that they don't outlast the hangover. But if you're going to make a resolution to improve yourself, New Year's Eve is a good time to do it. Recent research helps explains why we pick this date for personal renovation, and how we can restart the clock if we slip up.read more
High good, low bad cholesterol levels are healthy for brain, too High levels of "good" cholesterol and low levels of "bad" cholesterol are correlated with lower levels of the amyloid plaque deposition in the brain that is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease, in a pattern that mirrors the relationship between good and bad cholesterol in cardiovascular disease, researchers have found.
5 Big Discoveries About Personal Effectiveness in 2013 In 2013, we continued to push the boundaries of what we know about ourselves; going boldly into questions no researcher has gone before. Like, what should we do when we need a little lift – take a run, have a coffee, or grab a beer? Here are some of the year's bigger findings about how we can be more effective at any kind of work.read more