Three Stoic lessons from a galaxy far, far away

It is no secret, to those who are familiar with the saga, that Star Wars is filled with wisdom. Those not familiar with Star Wars are at least familiar with its iconography, such as the helmet of Darth Vader — that great symbol of the dark side of the force. Some are also likely familiar with the little green Jedi master, Yoda (not to be confused with the cute little creature of the same species from the Mandalorian). Yoda is first introduced in The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke seeks him out on Dagobah to learn the ways of the Jedi. He appears again only briefly in The Return of the Jedi (but not without failing to impart some more wisdom), and is present throughout the prequel trilogy. The great thing about being a reader of the Classics is that...

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Men think they are better liars says new research

Men are twice as likely as women to consider themselves to be good at lying and at getting away with it, new research has found. People who excel at lying are good talkers and tell more lies than others, usually to family, friends, romantic partners and colleagues, according to the research led by Dr Brianna Verigin, at the University of Portsmouth. Expert liars also prefer to lie face-to-face, rather than via text messages, and social media was the least likely place where they'd tell a lie. Dr Verigin, who splits her time between the Universities of Portsmouth and Maastricht, in the Netherlands, said: "We found a significant link between expertise at lying and gender. Men were more than twice as likely to consider themselves expert liars who got away with it. "Previous research has shown that most people tell one-two...

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‘Gay gene’ ruled out as biggest ever study on genetics and sexuality shows environment is major factor in homosexuality

Genes play just a small role in whether a person is gay, scientists have found, after discovering that environment has a far bigger impact on homosexuality. In the biggest ever study into the genetic basis of sexuality, researchers from more than 30 institutions including Cambridge University and Harvard, looked at the DNA of nearly 500,000 people in Britain and the US. They found that genes are responsible for between eight to 25 per cent of the probability of a person being gay, meaning at least three quarters is down to environment. ...

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How to gracefully, but firmly, say No!

Sometimes we just don't want to say no. A friend asks you to go out on a Friday night. You want to... badly! But, you also know you have an early morning, and told yourself you needed to keep it mellow, give yourself some much deserved me-time, and simply reconnect to that beautiful feeling of nothingness. Do you give in and go because you want to? Or because your friend wants you to? Sometimes it's that you really want to say no, but you're too afraid. A co-worker asks you for help with a project; a friend asks you for help moving furniture; you get asked to grab dinner with a friend. You say yes to all of them, because the fear of how the other person will respond to your denial is too much to bear. Wanting to be...

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The language of emotion: Cultural variation and universal structure across different populations

Words for emotions like "anger" and "fear" vary in meaning across language families. Researchers have now compared colexifications of emotion words — cases where one word signifies multiple semantically related concepts. By analyzing such words in 2,474 spoken languages, they found variation in emotion conceptualization and evidence of a universal structure in colexification networks. Among the rich vocabularies many languages have for communicating emotions, many words appear to name similar emotional states. The English word "love," for example, is often translated into Turkish as "sevgi" and into Hungarian as "szerelem." But whether the concept of "love" has the same meaning for speakers of all three languages remains unclear. In the current study published in Science, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, and Australian National University have...

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