The culpably faulty study that claimed to find a link between MMR vaccination and autism scared many parents, who stopped vaccinating their children. Photograph: Thinkstock

Imagine the following Irish Times headline: “UCC professor sentenced to six months in prison for fabricating data behind recent Nature paper on can(...)

Ikaria: the island’s inhabitants live 10 years longer than Americans before contracting cancer or cardiovascular disease, and suffer much less from depression. Photograph: Thinkstock

Certain communities in discrete pockets around the world live considerably longer than the norm elsewhere. Researchers eagerly study such communiti(...)

Most people have heard of savant syndrome, first described in 1887, whereby a person is naturally endowed from early life with remarkable skills in mu(...)

Pinocchio learned all about the damage lies can cause

George Washington is widely quoted as saying, “I cannot tell a lie”. Although he never actually uttered these words, if he had, the statement would(...)

A leg up? Not all self-help books are worthy of the name

A massive self-help industry has grown up worldwide in recent times – books, DVDs, films, courses, seminars, retreats – all designed to help people(...)

How much of reality can be explained by the physical sciences?

Take a deep breath and ponder the following: scientific orthodoxy claims that, in one very important sense, you do not exist because your inner sel(...)

Selling cigarettes to under-18s is already illegal, but this does not prevent young people from obtaining them

The British Medical Association voted last month to recommend a ban on the sale of cigarettes to anyone born after 2000. They are now lobbying governm(...)

It is possible to achieve checkmate in a well-known five-step manoeuvre, but also using a much less familiar three-move sequence. Photograph: Thinkstock

Try the following problem. You have three containers that can hold 21, 127 and three units of water respectively. How would you measure out 100 uni(...)

How can God affect our lives? Kosslyn uses the analogy of a flock of geese navigating a long migration. Photograph: Thinkstock

I recently came across an interesting book called What Is Your Dangerous Idea? (2006), edited by John Brockman. The book is a collection of “dangerous(...)

Imagine you have a brain injury that leaves you able to see and hear what is happening around you, but unable to communicate with the outside world. H(...)