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The saddest day of the year: Blue Monday

Photo: Sydney Sims @Unsplash
The story goes that ‘Blue Monday’ is the ‘most depressing day of the year’ based on a calculation of factors such as weather, debt levels, time since Christmas and time since failing our new year’s resolutions. In truth, Blue Monday was created in 2006 by PR people to sell summer holidays – to hook us into […]

January 17, 1920: The Law that Dried the Nation

Photo: Chuttersnap @Unsplash
Through the nineteenth century, national resentment of the abuses of alcohol and its consumption in saloons grew slowly but incessantly. Alcohol consumption was considered a demoralizing and dangerous habit, a deplorable institution, and a form of social slavery. The proposals for prohibiting the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol started at a local level, initiated by prohibition […]

5 curiosities behind the story of the Three Wise Men

They’ve been called magi, kings, and wise men. But who were they, really? We know that the Bible is inerrant, but do we know that throughout time traditions have been added to the true Biblical story? You may be shocked to hear this, but there are multiple myths surrounding this brief story written in Matthew 2. They were most […]

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    Kissing at midnight on New Year’s Eve: a long held tradition

Kissing at midnight on New Year’s Eve: a long held tradition

Have you seen all those English-speaking movies where characters kiss each other after the famous countdown? Well, it is a long-held tradition that dates back to ancient Rome as some historians say. The Romans knew how to party, and would throw a big celebration every year called the Festival of Saturnalia. Presumably, a lot of debauchery and kissing would […]

Worldwide Christmas traditions

Christmas traditions around the world are diverse, but share key traits that often involve themes of light, evergreens and hope. Probably the most celebrated holiday in the world, our modern Christmas is a product of hundreds of years of both secular and religious traditions from around the globe, many of them centered on the winter solstice. Discover the origins […]

Art of feeling: why we should celebrate anger

There is an art to anger. From a furious Christ pummelling merchants in a 14th-Century fresco by Giotto to a window-smashing spree in Beyoncé’s 2016 music video Hold Up, cultural history is punctuated with punchy images that are more than a little hot under the collar. Such works see wrath and rage not as the shameful antitheses of composure […]

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    The things that do – and don’t – motivate kids to succeed

The things that do – and don’t – motivate kids to succeed

From the time they are toddlers, children are naturally interested in exploring their environment. From examining a blade of grass to playing with the family pet, toddlers want to know how everything works, feels and tastes. According to experts, it’s not until later that they learn to do something – like sit quietly at a snack table – in […]

Black Friday: Do you know when you’re being manipulated?

Have you bought anything during this Black Friday or Cyber Monday? If so, this news is of interest to you. And if you haven’t bought anything, too. It is Black Friday week and in shop windows, across websites, on the radio and in your email inbox will be discounts to tempt you. Shoppers are expected to splurge almost £8bn […]

The origins and tradition of Thanksgiving Day

It is an annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modelled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people. The American holiday is particularly rich in legend and symbolism, and the traditional fare of the Thanksgiving meal typically includes turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. With respect to vehicular […]

How dating app algorithms predict romantic desire

Lots of apps and websites claim to be able to use data to sort through profiles for better matches. By completing their personality tests, they say they can save your thumb the effort of swiping. The issue for scientists who might want to investigate their data, and journalists who want to fact-check their claims, is that the algorithms are […]