Anthropology

Heralded on the cover of Time magazine in 2000 as a genetically modified (GMO) crop with the potential to save millions of lives in the Third World, Golden Rice is still years - and millions of dollars in anti-science activism - away from field introduction.  Vitamin A deficiencies leave millions at high risk for infection, diseases and other maladies, such as blindness, and Golden Rice produces  the micronutrient beta carotene, so it is basically fortified, but using a natural process that increases Vitamin A rather than an additive.

Infant formula was the great liberator for working moms who wanted to have careers but in the last decade there has been a backlash against it, often adopting the veil of scientific legitimacy.

Warning: this article contains spoilers for those not up to date with Game of Thrones season six.

Events in HBO’s Game of Thrones TV series have got people talking about what it means to return from the dead. But while resurrection appears to be a very real possibility for some of the religions of mythical Westeros – not least Jon Snow’s resurrector, the “red priestess”, Melisandre – what can the Bible add to the discussion?

Recent years have seen claims that a “national sex revolution” is well underway in China and that it has “has reached a point of no return”. But according to my new research looking at the views of people across China on sex, this is going too far.

In 1989, only 15% of people in China had sex before marriage.

Every "Game of Thrones" season premiere needs its shock reveal – and season six is no different. As the name of the episode – The Red Woman – hints, this one pertains to red priestess Melisandre, to whom, it turns out, there’s much more than meets the eye (don’t worry, no spoilers ensue). Even in a series known for its complex characters and even more complicated morality, Melisandre and her motives remain surprisingly opaque. And it looks as if her story’s only just getting started.

In the Middle Ages, women became important for the development of piano composition and play. But why? 

There have long been rules and conventions regarding what women can and can’t do in the world of music at all times. Straddling the legs around a cello was considered immoral, for example, and so sitting by the piano became what ladies did. By the 19th century, almost every piano composition was written for women and girls.

“Women’s piano playing has had enormous significance for the development of piano composition,” argues Lise Karin Meling, associate professor at the Department of Music and Dance at the University of Stavanger. 
Laughter plays a crucial role in every culture across the world. But it’s not clear why laughter exists. While it is evidently an inherently social phenomenon – people are up to 30 times more likely to laugh in a group than when alone – laughter’s function as a form of communication remains mysterious.

Cigarette smoking is a noxious mess of 200 toxic chemicals that are risk factors for all kinds of diseases, and so it is sure to be a burden on a health care system that in the United States is increasingly being funded by the government, and therefore the 80 percent of people who do not smoke.

Yet it is also an addiction, and so a small one-year longitudinal study based on surveys which suggests that smokers remain unemployed longer than nonsmokers might seem to be a self-correcting problem. Or it might be that health issues are being used for discrimination, with implicit government approval, the exact opposite of what the federal government says they wanted to accomplish with their health initiatives. 

Scientists have pieced together an early human habitat for the first time, and life was no organic picnic 1.8 million years ago. Nature was out to kill us and the struggle our ancestors face, as all creatures do, is survival. Rather than the myth of ecological balance, if you were going to survive, you got there earlier and were more fit to last. 

Analysis of artifacts found on the shores of Rapa Nui, Chile (Easter Island) declares that the spear points were likely general purpose tools and not weapons of war, disputing one popular belief as to why people left or died off.