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Plenty of us have been there: waking up after a night out with a thumping headache, feeling sick and swearing never to touch alcohol again. If only there were a way to prevent these terrible hangovers.

It isn’t uncommon for us to mix our drinks, maybe a beer in the pub before moving on to wine. Folk wisdom has something to say about this: “Beer before wine and you’ll feel fine; wine before beer and you’ll feel queer.” This idea is very prevalent and versions of it occur in many languages. In my native country, Germany, for example, we say: “Wein auf Bier, das rat’ ich Dir—Bier auf Wein, das lass’ sein.” This translates as: “Wine on beer, I’ll advise you to drink beer on wine.”

We recently conducted one of the largest-ever studies on perfectionism. We learned that perfectionism has increased substantially over the past 25 years and that it affects men and women equally.

We also learned that perfectionists become more neurotic and less conscientious as time passes.

Perfectionism involves striving for flawlessness and requiring perfection of oneself and others. Extremely negative reactions to mistakes, harsh self-criticism, nagging doubt about performance abilities and a strong sense that others are critical and demanding also define the trait.

From a great distance, our Milky Way would look like a thin disc of stars that rotates once every few hundred million years around its central region. Hundreds of billions of stars provide the gravitational glue to hold it all together.

But the pull of gravity is much weaker in the galaxy’s far outer disc. Out there, the hydrogen clouds that make up most of the Milky Way’s gas disc are no longer confined to a thin plane. Instead, they give the disc an S-like, warped appearance.

Mind reading and the ability to predict the future are not skills people generally associate with the human race. Yet, research shows many people genuinely believe in the existence of psychic powers.

Brrr … it’s cold out there! Children are flocking to the television in hopes of hearing there will be a snow day; the bread and milk aisles at grocery stores are empty because of an impending snow storm; and utility trucks are out spraying salt or salt water on the roads.

We all know why the first two happen – kids are excited for a day off of school filled with hot chocolate and snowmen. Adults are stocking up on necessities. But what’s up with those trucks?

Do you prefer to rise early with the lark or stay up late with the owl? Your preference turns out to be partly decided by your genes. Our genetic study of nearly 700,000 people has revealed new insights about the genetics of chronotype – our preference to rise early or sleep late – and how it influences our mental and physical health.