Study suggests that facial expressions of emotions are cultural and not universal
A study conducted by Maria Gendron, a post doc in the lab of psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett at Northeastern University, suggests that the expression of major emotions such as happiness, anger, and sadness are culturally driven and are not universal. 
Researchers visited the Himba in Namibia, a tribe with little exposure to the western world. The participants were asked to sort the images of six people making differing facial expressions of emotions. 

Tribal members created a multitude of piles, with some images appearing in more than one. The same thing happened when she played vocal sounds of emotions – the same sound appeared joyful to some and more negative to others. When she and Barrett repeated the experiment in Boston, there was more unanimity in the sorting.
That sunk the idea that emotional expressions were universal; the Himba, for example, saw what Westerners would view as happy expressions as reflecting anything from happy to laughing to wonder.
How we read and express how we feel, it seems, is strongly influenced by how the people around us express how they feel. We feel what we see

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Scientific discovery provides evidence for the Big Bang and for cosmic inflation
For the first time researchers have found direct evidence for the Big Bang and for cosmic inflation with the discovery gravitational waves. Gravitational waves are basically ripples in space-time, which are thought of as the ‘first tremors of the Big Bang.’ They were discovered using a telescope at the South Pole called BICEP2. 

Our universe burst into existence 13.8 billion years ago. Fractions of a second later, space and time were created, expanding exponentially in an episode known as ‘inflation’.

It was theorized that inflation should also produce gravitational waves – ripples in space-time which spread throughout the universe.
“Think of the ripples you see when you throw a stone into a pond,” said Professor Martin Hendry of the department of Physics and Astronomy at the Univesity of Glasgow.
“But these aren’t ripples on the surface of the water, they are gravitational waves emitted billions of years ago, rippling through the fabric of space and time itself, in the universe’s earliest moments.
“We always suspected they were still washing about but we haven’t been able to detect them.
[…]The signal was found using a specialised telescope called Bicep (Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization) at the South Pole.
It scans the sky at microwave frequencies, where it picks up light energy from slightly after the Big Bang – around 380,000 years later. Scientists have been searching for tiny ripples in this light which would show it is being slightly stretched by gravitational waves.

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One idea which generally passes as characteristic of all that is religious, is that of the supernatural. By this is understood all sorts of things which surpass the limits of our knowledge; the supernatural is the world of the mysterious, of the unknowable, of the understandable. Thus religion would be a sort of speculation upon all that which evades science or distinct thought in general."Religions diametrically opposed in their overt dogmas," said Spencer, "are perfectly at one in the tacit conviction that the existence of the world, with all it contains and all which surrounds it, is a mystery calling for an explanation"; he thus makes them consist essentially in "the belief in the omnipresence of something which is inscrutable." In the same manner, Max Müller sees in religion "a struggle to conceive the inconceivable, to utter the unutterable, a longing after the Infinite."
Elementry Forms of the Religious Life (excerpt), Emile Durhiem 
Blue is the Warmest Color
But I have infinite tenderness for you. I always will. All my life long.
Snapshot review: Unanimous winner of Palme d’Or, the highest prize awarded at the Cannes Film Festival, Blue is the Warmest Color has, since its release, received overwhelming positive critical acclaim and has sparked controversy due to its sexually explicit nature. The film is an epic romance, it spans a decade in the complex romantic relationship between Adèle and Emma. 
Even with its three hour length Blue is the Warmest Color does not drag or feel overlong. The lead characters are expertly realized and realistically complex. It is not difficult to become attached to the characters and their relationship. Much of the controversial sex, which in retrospect constitutes a small percentage of time in the three hour long film, is justified as it inevitably becomes fundamental to the plot. Blue is the Warmest color for is must see for cinephiles and casual movie goers alike.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
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Support for same-sex marriage and gay rights at an all time high
Statistics from the Washington Post - ABC News Poll clearly indicate increasing national acceptance of gay rights. 50% of Americans now believe that gays have a constitutional right to marry and a record of 59% of Americans state that they support same-sex marriage. Even in the 33 states that prohibit same-sex marriage 53% of respondents support same-sex marriage while 40 oppose it. Additionally, the majority of respondents stated that they are in favor of letting homosexual couples adopt and a majority are against discrimination based on religious beliefs.  
Public opinion surrounding same-sex marriage and gay rights has changed at increasingly fast pace in last decade. Just 10 years ago in a 2004 ABC poll 38 percent of respondents stated that same-sex marriage should be legal while 59% said it should not. 
Despite the nationwide this change several groups still have a majority opposition against same-sex marriage and gay rights. Within evangelical Protestants and Catholics 6 in 10 oppose same-sex marriage, less than half of seniors support support same-sex marriage, and 40% of Republicans support same-sex marriage while 54% oppose it.
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Erving Goffman coined the term Dramaturgy to describe how individuals’ interact with one another in diverse social contexts. The concept dramaturgy of uses the analogy of the dramatic stage, this analogy assumes that life is akin to a stage in which we are always preforming as actors.
From a very young age we are all forced upon a stage and we are taught how to act, how to preform our specifically assigned roles and we begin to create s character that others see. “When the individual is in the immediate presence of others, his activity will have a promissory character.” (The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life) We as actors are continually concerning ourselves with the presentation of our characters to our audience. Additionally, actors may have several characters and personas that they employ at specific times during social interactions. 
To fully explain his analogy of dramaturgy Goffman uses several concepts. Goffman talks of the characters front, which is the image that presented to an audience. To employ this image actors must manipulate manner appearance and setting. Characters may choose to distance themselves or embrace the demands and comply with their ascribed roles within role performance. Role performance determines how effectively or non-effectively a character preforms the roles that they were assigned. Additionally, when a gap exists between what your role should be and what it actually is there is stigma. The stigma a character receives may be either discredited or discretable, meaning that a character may be stigmatized based on traits that are immediately visible or the character may be stigmatized based on traits that are not immediately apparent.
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Boko Haram kill 59 children in a Nigerian boarding school
An Islamist group from Damaturu, Nigeria named Boko Haram (which translates to: western education is sinful) stormed a boarding school in north-east Nigeria killing 59 students. An earlier estimate indicated that 29 had been killed after the school’s 24 buildings and staff quarters had been burned to the ground.  Those estimates were premature as Bala Ajiya, an official at the Specialist Hospital Damaturu, stated that the death toll had risen to 59. “Fresh bodies have been brought in. More bodies were discovered in the bush after the students who had escaped with bullet wounds died from their injuries,” he said.

In the attack, which began at 2 a.m., young boys were shot or burned to death as the school was being burned to the ground. Young girls were spared as the group went to the girl’s dormitories and told them to go home, get married, and abandon Western education.  The Boko Haram had already killed more than 300 people, most of which have been civilians, this month including two attacks last week that killed 100 each, one in which the group terrorized an entire village and shot scared residents as they tried to flee. 
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Childhood obesity rates drop 43% in past decade
A major federal health survey, one that experts say is the gold standard for measuring Americans weight, offered clear evidence that the obesity rate among children 2-5 years of age has dropped 43% over the past decade. In the study about 8% 3-5 year olds were obese in 2012 in comparison to 14% in 2004. 
This news may seem encouraging yet the fact remains that overall obesity for other age groups has remained relatively stable. A third of adults and 17% of youth are obese in the U.S. Additionally, rates for obesity in minorities in the same age brackets remains higher for blacks (one in nine) and Hispanics (one in six).

“This is great news, but I’m cautious,” said Ruth Loos, a professor ofpreventive medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai hospital in New York. “The picture will be clearer when we have a few more years of data.”
Still, she added that the 2- to 5-year-olds “might be riding a new wave,” in which changes in habits and environment over many years are finally sinking in. She noted that people who are now 60 years old caught the beginning of what she called the obesity wave that carried the next generation with it.

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The age our earliest memories fade
Through a phenomenon known as ‘childhood amnesia’ adults lose episodic memories from early childhood. Only a small number of adult say that they remember events prior to the age of 3 and of those who do it is believed that their memories are false memories. A study from the journal Memory interviewed differing subsets of children, from 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9 years of age, and asked them to recall events in their lives starting at age 3. 
 “Our study is the first empirical demonstration of the onset of childhood amnesia,” says Emory psychologist Patricia Bauer, who led the study. “We actually recorded the memories of children, and then we followed them into the future to track when they forgot these memories… Knowing how autobiographical memory develops is critically important to understanding ourselves as psychic beings,” Bauer says. “Remembering yourself in the past is how you know who you are today.”

Growing evidence indicates that, while infants use memory to learn language and make sense of the world around them, they do not yet have the sophisticated neural architecture needed to form and hold onto more complex forms of memory.
Instead of relying on interviews with adults, as previous studies of childhood amnesia have done, the Emory researchers wanted to document early autobiographical memory formation, as well as the age of forgetting these memories.
The experiment began by recording 83 children at the age of three, while their mothers or fathers asked them about six events that the children had experienced in recent months, such as a trip to the zoo or a birthday party.
While the children between the ages of five and seven could recall 63 to 72 percent of the events, the children who were eight and nine years old remembered only about 35 percent of the events.

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EU agrees to impose sanctions on Ukrainian officials
As protests and riots in Ukraine become increasingly violent and chaotic EU foreign ministers have agreed to impose sanctions. Until recently EU had avoided sanctions preferring dialogue and compromise. EU foreign ministers said they have agreed to sanctions that would freeze assets and impose travel bans to those responsible for the escalation of violence in Ukraine. 
US Vice President Joe Biden has stated that Washington was ready to impose sanctions against Ukrainian officials guilty of ordering troops to fire on protesters. The US state department has already announced visa bans on 20 members of the Ukrainian government. Canada has also announced that they have produced economic and travel sanctions on senior officials in Ukraine. The names of those sanctioned have not been released for US or Canada.
Currently, it is believed that 75 people have been killed since Tuesday, though Maidan medics suggest a death toll as high as 100, and that 571 were injured during the three days of violence. 
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Frances Ha 
Sometimes it’s good to do what you’re supposed to do when you’re supposed to do it.
Snapshot review: Frances Ha is a small budget quirky black and white film that follows its title character Frances through her everyday struggles. Frances is an awkward 27 year old dancing apprentice who struggles with romantic and platonic relationships and who seems to be perpetually down on on her luck. Frances is an incredibly well-realized three dimensional character. It is because of this character that the film was as enjoyable as it was. The film does tread on some familiar territory and at times boarders on chliché, yet it is never anything less than entertaining and heartfelt. 
Rating: 3 out of 5 
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Religiosity by state in 2013
By collecting information from 174,000 interviews across the U.S., with more than 500 interviews conducted in each state, Gallup completed their annual chart, started in 2008, of religiosity across the U.S. The results demonstrate that religiousness was slightly higher in 2013 than in 2012, 2011 and 2008 and non religiousness was slightly lower than all previous years (2012 to 2008). 
With the exception of Utah, states in the South remain the most religious. Ten of the 11 most religious states fell in the South. The least religious states tend to be in New England and the West. Mississippi was the most religious state while Vermont was the least religious. In general 61% of U,S, residents identify as very religious.

The differences in religiousness across states can have several causes. For example, the Southern states have a higher percentage of Protestants than the national average, and Protestants have above-average religiousness. The New England states have a higher percentage of those with no religious identity at all, and these residents are of course much lower than average on the religiousness scale. Still, previous research shows that even among those in the different regions who have the same religious identity, state-level cultural differences still affect average religiousness. Protestants in Mississippi are more religious than Protestants in Vermont, and those with no religious identity in Mississippi are more religious than those with no religious identity in Vermont.

Additionally, although states vary significantly in their racial and ethnic composition, differences in religiosity between states persist even among residents of the same races. Whites in Mississippi are more religious than whites in Vermont, and blacks in New England are less religious than blacks in the South.

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Less sleep and more time online raise risk for teen depression 
According to the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement, 11 percent of adolescents develop a depressive disorder by age 18. And according to the World Health Organization, depressive disorder is the predominant cause of disability among Americans 15 to 18 years of age. 
Depression is a major problem among American youth. Not getting enough sleep and spending excessive amounts of time on media is strongly related with an increased risk for a depressive disorder. Teens who do not get enough sleep are four times more likely than their peers to develop a major depressive disorder, a trend that continued after adjusting data for demographic differences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends nine to ten hours, but 70 percent of high schoolers don’t meet the sleep requirement.
In addition, a study that collected data from over 12,000 European adolescents found that teens who engaged in risky behaviors were not the only ones to demonstrate depressive symptoms. Depressive disorders and suicidal thoughts were just as common among teens who didn’t sleep or exercise enough and who spent too much time on the internet. These groups are three times more likely to be depressed than their peers. 

Wasserman says she and her colleagues decided to call the latter the “invisible risk” group, because most parents and teachers didn’t realize that the kids in that group were hurting. The study was published Monday in the Journal Word Psychiatry.
Wasserman says more research needs to be done before we can know how Internet use affects depression, and how depressed kids are likely to use the Internet. It could be a way to avoid social interaction, but it could also be a place where kids seek out help, she says.
There’s plenty of evidence on the link between sleep problems and depression in teenagers and adults. But teens are especially susceptible to losing sleep. During puberty, circadian rhythms change, and teens want to sleep and wake up later, Roberts says.
At the same time, in high school homework gets harder, kids start to take on part time jobs, and their social lives amp up.
"When you throw in all the video games and iPods and all the phones," Roberts says, sleep starts to become less of a priority.

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By David Eubank