In 1940, four teenage boys stumbled, almost literally, from German-occupied France into the Paleolithic age. As the story goes – and there are many versions of it – they had been taking a walk in the woods near the town of Montignac when the dog accompanying them suddenly disappeared. A quick search revealed that their animal companion had fallen into a hole in the ground, so – in the spirit of Tintin, with whom they were probably familiar – the boys made the perilous 15-metre descent to find it. They found the dog and much more, especially on return visits illuminated with paraffin lamps. The hole led to a cave, the walls and ceilings of which were covered with brightly coloured paintings of animals unknown to the 20th-century Dordogne – bison, aurochs and lions. One of the boys later reported that, stunned and elated, they began to dart around the cave like “a band of savages doing a war dance”. Another recalled that the painted animals in … [Read more...] about ‘Humans were not centre stage’: how ancient cave art puts us in our place
Arts health institute
Two weeks of lounging around at Christmas could permanently damage your health, scientists have warned. Researchers found that just a fortnight of inactivity is enough for the muscles and bones to get weaker and the heart and lungs to become less efficient. They tracked the health of 46 adults – in their 20s and 30s or aged over 60 – who were told to do fewer than 1,500 steps per day for 14 days. And they found the risk was particularly bad for older people, who were likely weaker or in worse health to begin with, and could suffer from 'significant' deterioration. The lazy period also made fat build up around the waist which could make someone more likely to remain fatter for the long term and increase their risk of diabetes, for example. Researchers found that only two weeks of sitting around and doing nothing was enough for people's health to start to decline in ways which could have long-term impacts (stock image) The research team, from the University of … [Read more...] about Lounging around for two weeks over Christmas could permanently damage your health ‘because you lose muscle and your heart and lungs get less efficient’
Scottish Fire Minister Nicola Sturgeon has hailed a "very sad morning" as she fears the Glasgow School of Art building may need to be demolished after a devastating fire. Firefighters are still working to demolish the blaze, which broke out at 11.20pm on Friday and spread to the nearby 02 ABC venue. Ms Sturgeon says she cannot find the words to describe what happened - but is seeking solace in the fact that there were no injuries. It is just four years since the Charles Rennie Mackintosh building was badly damaged in another fire, the Daily Record reports. Work was then started to refurbish the building but the latest blaze has caused even more damage. It is hoped the building can be saved but experts will need to examine whether it is structurally safe before a decision is made about its future. Speaking as she visited the scene, the SNP leader said: "This is a very sad morning in the city of Glasgow. "Glasgow School of Art is an institution that is loved not just by its … [Read more...] about Glasgow School of Art building may need to be demolished after devastating fire, Nicola Sturgeon reveals
When Stefan Koning, who has a history of psychosis, was found guilty of threatening a stranger with a knife, a long custodial sentence might have felt like the only answer. In fact, after a short spell in jail, he is back at his home in Amsterdam. “Bob is a character from Twin Peaks, a murderer who creeps into the skin of innocent people and makes them do terrible things like murder,” says Koning. “There’s a Bob in me who says ‘kill this person’, that sort of thing. If I take my medicines, Bob is quiet.” Koning is a beneficiary of a growing tendency in the Netherlands to avoid jailing people unless it is necessary. One key aspect of this is a prodigious programme of care in the community for people with psychiatric problems. “We work on two aims: number one, preventing another crime, and then on psychiatric suffering and the social problems that come with it,” says Hommo Folkerts, a forensic psychologist and outreach worker who … [Read more...] about Why are there so few prisoners in the Netherlands?
An Italian health official has blamed an alarming rise in measles cases on the populist Five Star Movement (M5S), which has campaigned on an anti-vaccination platform and has repeated discredited links between vaccinations and autism. According to the health ministry, more than 700 cases of the highly contagious disease have been registered so far in 2017, compared with 220 for the same period last year and 844 in the whole of 2016. The surge in the number of cases follows a drop in the proportion of two-year-olds given vaccinations from 88% in 2013 to 86% in 2014 and 85.3% in 2015 – well below the 95% threshold advised by the World Health Organisation. In 2015, the M5S proposed a law against vaccinations because of “the link between vaccinations and specific illnesses such as leukaemia, poisoning, inflammation, immunodepression, inheritable genetic mutations, cancer, autism and allergies”. Writing on his blog the same year, the party’s leader, Beppe Grillo, … [Read more...] about Italy’s Five Star Movement blamed for surge in measles cases