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February 4 2015

Love and intimacy in later life: Active sex lives common in the over 70s


Older people are continuing to enjoy active sex lives well into their seventies and eighties, according to new research. More than half (54%) of men and almost a third (31%) of women over the age of 70 reported they were still sexually active, with a third of these men and women having frequent sex.


Related: It turns out male sexuality is just as fluid as female sexuality

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February 4 2015

Why Judges Tilt to the Right


LAWYERS on average are much more liberal than the general population, a new study has found. But judges are more conservative than the average lawyer, to say nothing of the graduates of top law schools.

What accounts for the gap? The answer, the study says, is that judicial selection processes are affected by politics.

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February 4 2015

Some Faces Just Get Away With Stuff


Some people are the unfortunate owners of faces that just look guilty, while others have faces that help them get away with stuff, according to the results of a study led by Brian C. Holtz of Temple University, published recently in the journal Personnel Psychology. In a series of three experiments, Holtz found that people were less likely to blame others who have more "trustworthy" faces.

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February 4 2015

Magna Cartas united at British Library to celebrate 800th anniversary


The four surviving original copies of the 1215 Magna Carta have been brought together for the first time in London.

Magna Carta is one of the most important, well-known documents in history and this year marks its 800th anniversary.

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February 4 2015

A new guard for Asgard: Iceland building first temple to Norse gods in 1,000 years


Icelanders will soon be able to publicly worship at a shrine to Thor, Odin and Frigg with construction starting this month on the island’s first major temple to the Norse gods since the Viking age.

Worship of the gods in Scandinavia gave way to Christianity around 1,000 years ago but a modern version of Norse paganism has been gaining popularity in Iceland.

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February 4 2015

Taj Mahal Gardens Found to Align with the Solstice Sun


If you arrived at the Taj Mahal in India before the sun rises on the day of the summer solstice (which usually occurs June 21), and walked up to the north-central portion of the garden where two pathways intersect with the waterway, and if you could step into that waterway and turn your gaze toward a pavilion to the northeast — you would see the sun rise directly over it.

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February 4 2015

Bronze statues may be last remaining by Michelangelo


Two sculptures that languished in obscurity for more than a century may be the only surviving bronze works by Michelangelo, researchers announced in Britain on Monday.

The international research team led by Britain's University of Cambridge and the Fitzwilliam Museum uncovered new evidence linking the two nude works to Michelangelo, whose famed works include the painted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

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February 4 2015

200-year-old Mongolian mummy may still be ‘alive’ according to Buddhist tradition


A 200-year-old Mongolian monk whose mummified remains were found in the lotus posture is, according to Buddhist tradition, not entirely dead.

It is believed that the monk had engaged in the now illegal practice of self-mummification in an attempt to gain enlightenment.


Related: 10th century sculpture of Buddha found in Thanjavur

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February 4 2015

The Trip Treatment: Research into psychedelics, shut down for decades, now yielding exciting results


On an April Monday in 2010, Patrick Mettes, a fifty-four-year-old television news director being treated for a cancer of the bile ducts, read an article on the front page of the Times that would change his death. His diagnosis had come three years earlier, shortly after his wife, Lisa, noticed that the whites of his eyes had turned yellow. By 2010, the cancer had spread to Patrick’s lungs and he was buckling under the weight of a debilitating chemotherapy regimen and the growing fear that he might not survive.


Related: The Science Of Decriminalizing Drugs

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February 3 2015

Prehistoric High Times: Early Humans Used Magic Mushrooms, Opium


Opium, "magic" mushrooms and other psychoactive substances have been used since prehistoric times all over the world, according to a new review of archaeological findings.

The evidence shows that people have been consuming psychoactive substances for centuries, or even millennia, in many regions of the world, said Elisa Guerra-Doce, an associate professor of prehistory at the University of Valladolid in Spain, who wrote the review.

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February 3 2015

Bowhunting may have fostered social cohesion during the Neolithic


Bowhunting during the Neolithic period may have been one of the pillars of unity as a group of primitive human societies.

This is one of the main conclusions reached by a team of Spanish archaeologists with the participation of the SpanishNational Research Council (CSIC), which has analyzed the Neolithic bows found in the site of La Draga (Girona, Spain). The study has been published in the ‘Journal of Archaeological Science‘.

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February 3 2015

Did Neanderthals die out because of their weak jaws? Couldn't chew and digest tough, starchy foods


Neanderthals probably cooked their food before eating but would have struggled to eat root vegetables, according to a new study.

Geneticists have analysed ancient DNA from the remains of Neanderthals and another ancient human relative, the Denisovans.

They found that these prehistoric human ancestors lacked key genes needed to chew hard foods - just like modern humans alive today.

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February 3 2015

Did DNA links to disease actually help our ancestors?


Genetic variations associated with some modern ailments—psoriasis and Crohn’s disease, for example—are so old that they predate the evolution of Neanderthals, Denisovans, and contemporary humans.

Scientists are now asking why genetic susceptibilities for these ailments would persist for hundreds of thousands of years, afflicting our ancient ancestors—and us.

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February 3 2015

More evidence that musical training protects the brain


Scientists have found some of the strongest evidence yet that musical training in younger years can prevent the decay in speech listening skills in later life. "Musical activities are an engaging form of cognitive brain training and we are now seeing robust evidence of brain plasticity from musical training not just in younger brains, but in older brains too," said the study's leader.

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February 3 2015

What makes us altruistic – and what's it good for?


Two new books (1, 2) use the latest brain science to figure out what makes us behave selflessly – and also suggest practical steps for encouraging it

IN 1851, Auguste Comte, the French philosopher and father of sociology, coined the word altruisme (from the Latin for "others") as part of a drive to create a non-religious religion, based on scientific principles.

He defined it as "intentional action, ultimately for the welfare of others that entails at least the possibility of either no benefit or a loss to the actor", recognising it as one of the two most important findings of modern science, with the discovery of the motion of Earth.

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February 3 2015

A bit of altruism makes V-shaped flocks of birds possible


It seems like a job no bird would want. The leader of a V-shaped flock works the hardest, fighting strong air currents while others save energy by traveling in his wake. So why would any bird volunteer to be in front? From an evolutionary standpoint, helping others makes sense if all the migrants are related. But that’s not always the case with migrating flocks.


Alt: One good turn: Birds swap energy-sapping lead role

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February 3 2015

Groundhog Day: How Often Does Punxsutawney Phil Get It Right?


Every February, a small, furry mammal with buck teeth gets trotted out in front of a crowd in Pennsylvania to take part in a time-honored Groundhog Day tradition: If the beloved groundhog Punxsutawney Phil "sees" his shadow, the country is in for six more weeks of winter; if he doesn't, we're in for an early spring.

The prognosticating woodchuck saw his shadow today (Feb. 2), according to news reports. He also saw it last year, foretelling a brutal winter throughout the Northeast. But how often are Phil's shadowy forecasts accurate?

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