Spotlight

What is Dopamine and How Does It Affect the Brain?

What is Dopamine? Dopamine is one of many chemicals in the body, but as a Slate article notes, it's implicated in some real biggies: sex, lust, love, addiction, gambling, heart health, breastfeeding, body movement and mental health. Dopamine's widespread effects have to do with how it affects the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter and neurohormone – one of a number of different chemicals in the brain that communicate information by relaying signals through nerve cells. Quick Navigation What is Dopamine? About Neurotransmitters Like Dopamine How Dopamine Works Dopamine and Pleasure/Reward Dopamine and Adverse Events Dopamine Receptors and Transporters How Does Dopamine Affect Our Brains? Dopamine and Movement Dopamine and Reward-Seeking Behavior Dopamine and Addiction Dopamine and Memory...

Life and death from a thousand floors up

In a genre filled with stories set in dystopian futures, debut young adult (YA) fiction author Katharine McGee wanted to write about a future that was more realistic and not filled with doom and gloom. “I wanted to write a novel that was futuristic without being dystopian; so, you know, it takes place in the future, but it’s definitely not a dystopian future – it’s not dark, it’s not bleak, there isn’t an evil dictator taking over the world, and there are no children fighting to the death. “The story is, therefore, not an action adventure story; it’s not about saving the world, it’s about relationships between people,” she tells us over Skype from her home in New York. Set in 2118, The Thousandth Floor takes place within a super-tall, super-large skyscraper located in what was once New Yor...

Criticism isn’t going to change this writer’s mind

Until September this year, Lionel Shriver was best known as the author of the 2003 Orange Prize-winning book We Need To Talk About Kevin, and to a lesser but no less acclaimed degree, works such as So Much For That and The New Republic. Her latest novel, The Mandibles, was published earlier this year and examines a United States set in the year 2029 following a total economic collapse. Much of the attention she’s been getting recently, however, has not been about her new novel but rather a speech. In September, Shriver spoke at the Brisbane Writers Festival, Australia, where she shared her disdain for identity politics when it came to writing fiction; her speech focused specifically on cultural appropriation – which refers to the adoption of customs or experiences from one culture by anoth...

She’s a radio deejay by day, a singer-songwriter by night

Whether spoken, written or sung, Cheryl Lee’s life is always surrounded by words. Lee (also known as Xin Yi on air) begins her day as a deejay on Chinese radio station, 988. For eight years now, she listens to problems big and small and shares her thoughts on them. She even prepares a three-minute speech during her slot Stand By You (weekdays, from 10am to 1pm) to inspire listeners with lessons she has learned along life’s journey. Lee sharesin an interview that she feels honoured to be able to speak to people at such a personal level. “Every time I go to roadshows, although these are people I have never met, when they come up to me, it’s like meeting an old friend because they’ve been listening to me for so long.” Lee – who started out originally as a TV host on reality singing series Pro...

Diana Danielle works hard to prove she is more than just a beautiful face

When director U-Wei Saari was looking for an actress to play the part of Nina in Hanyut in 2009, his requirements for the role (according to a Bahasa Malaysia daily report) were “pan-Asian and beautiful”. Diana Dianelle got the role. In a recent interview, Diana – who turned 25 on Nov 22 – confessed she’s aware that some people perceive she scored the part because of her looks. “Perhaps that’s the only reason why (I got the role),” said Diana, who was born in Texas in the United States, and grew up in Kuala Lumpur. Far from being self-deprecating about it, Diana shared that she did feel somewhat apprehensive about being a part of the prolific director’s period piece, which is based on the novel Almayer’s Folly by Joseph Conrad. The actress was only 19 when Hanyut was shot in 2010, and she ...

5 X-Files episodes inspired by weird real-life events

The X-Files division of the FBI may not be real, but some of the cases on the hit TV show The X-Files were actually inspired by real-life events. The truth is out there – and here are five times it was stranger, and more chilling, than fiction. 1. The Erlenmeyer Flask (S1, Ep24) A man with green blood and poisonous gas emitting from his body – sounds unlikely that this one was based on real events, right? Believe it or not, this S1 episode was inspired by a real woman nicknamed “the toxic lady”. In February 1994, Gloria Ramirez, suffering from confusion, high heart rate, and quickened breathing, was brought into a Riverside, California emergency room. The hospital staff worked fast, injecting her with medications and attempting to defibrillate her heart. Suddenly, they noticed an oily shee...

This home might be smarter than you

From the outside, the newly renovated apartment looks just like all the other charming older dwellings found in the German harbour city of Hamburg’s Rotherbaum district. But step inside and you’ll get a glimpse of the future: The owner, Lars Hinrichs, has completely digitalised the building. The one-time Xing owner, who became a multimillionaire with the sale of the social media network, has brought together several leading appliance and engineering companies to build a smart house, garnering praise from the German IT world who call it a “pioneering work”. Whether the building lives up to its ground-breaking reputation will be seen later this year when the first renters are set to move in. Do potential residents have to be tech know-it-alls in order to live there? “If you know how to use a...

Feeling the love for Malaysian folk songs

Three-year-old Hugo Huang has never lived in Malaysia but he can sing Malay folk songs like Burung Kakak Tua and Rasa Sayang. His mother, Lok Lee Jiun, sang these songs growing up in Penang and she wanted to share that heritage with Hugo who lives in Taipei. Unlike most mothers who would have just sung those songs to their children and hoped they’d be hooked to the catchy tunes, Lok curated a song book of her favourite Malay children’s tunes for him because she wants to pass on the tradition to him. With Lok’s Rasa Sayang: Sing-and-Record Fun Book, other children will also get to know and learn these beloved songs. The seven songs in her book are Rasa Sayang, Chan Mali Chan, Burung Kakak Tua, Lenggang Kangkung and Gelang Sipaku Gelang, Anak Itik Tok Wi and Bengawan Solo. Lok included the l...

Meet the coolest demons ever, in Chinese Paladin 5

Kids in the Western world may have their comic book superheroes, but kids in Asia also have our own mystical fantasy martial arts heroes. And now, thanks to Chinese Paladin 5, we have a whole new fantasy world to explore. Based on the hit role-playing game of the same name, the series, currently available on dimsum.my, is arguably the most epic Chinese fantasy drama of 2016. In the show, the two main characters come from vastly different worlds. There is Jiang Yunfan (played by Elvis Han), a boisterous half-blood orphan from the human world; and there is Long You (Joe Cheng), a cool-headed demon prince from the nether world. Han plays a half-blood demon prince called Jiang Yunfan. As the more human character in the drama, Han, 24, says Jiang starts off as a small-time bandit before discove...

Michelle Yeoh to star in new Star Trek series

Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh will be boldly going where no Malaysian actors have gone before. The acclaimed actress is reported to headline the new Star Trek TV series titled Star Trek: Discovery. “I know Michelle Yeoh is in it,” consulting producer Nicholas Meyer told entertainment website Coming Soon. However, Meyer didn’t eloborate on the role Yeoh will be playing in the new series, which will be set 10 years before the events seen in the 1960s TV series. The site speculates that the former Bond girl is likely to play a Lieutenant Commander. Star Trek: Discovery will be aired on All Access, an over-the-top subscription streaming video-on-demand service owned and operated by CBS in the United States; Netflix will stream the show outside the US. Initially, Star Trek: Discovery was planned as All...

KLEX offers a broad taste of contemporary arts

Seven years on and the KL Experimental Film, Video & Music Festival, better known as KLEX, is showing no signs of slowing down. The multi-disciplinary arts festival returns with a broader programme from Nov 24 to 27 and it will take place at artist-run independent art spaces such as Lostgens’ Contemporary Artspace, Findars Art Space and Da Huang Pictures. This year’s KLEX will showcase three open programmes from the festival’s open call and five international guest programmes from Germany, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States. A definite highlight will be two short film programmes from the 66th Berlin International Film Festival 2016. The music programming at KLEX, which was introduced last year, is also an eye-catching one. There will be three nights of experimental and improvisa...

Yuna explains suspicious bite mark on neck

When local singer-songwriter Yuna was sported what looked like a bite mark on her neck in a photo posted on Rockaway Festival’s official Facebook page last week, tongues started wagging. “It’s actually spider bites,” she says with a laugh when asked during an interview with the local media if the marks were love bites. The Crush hitmaker explains she was on tour in Alabama in the United States five weeks ago and was bitten while she was asleep. The marks were also on her hands and face. Yuna, who was performing at the first anniversary party of music streaming service Yonder in Kuala Lumpur, also shares about her new single Pulang with SonaOne. “We always get caught so up with work, we forget to go home to our family and friends,” she says of the song. This photo of Yuna at Rockaway 2016 w...