Doctors and scientists have told us that stress causes heart disease, stomach cancer, and other assorted ailments. But according to scientists at Northwestern University, a little stress can actually be good for you.
When cells are exposed to a stressor such as heat, they initiate a biochemical cascade that aims to limit the damage. A key element of this “heat shock” response is the repair of proteins that have been misfolded or injured — a process that extends the life span of the cells and thus the organism. And so, certain forms of stress (calorically restricted diets, a few long days at the office) may be healthy: They’re too mild to cause serious harm but significant enough to trigger the repair mechanism. The secret, then, isn’t avoiding stress entirely — it’s finding ways to make sure the stress isn’t chronic.
VERY SHORT LIST
What a long, strange game it was
Yes, the title gives the score away. But Kevin Rafferty’s engrossing documentary Harvard Beats Yale 29–29 (currently playing in select theaters) is still the best sports film we’ve seen in years.
In November 1968, the Harvard and Yale football teams — both undefeated for the first time since 1909 — met to play the final game of their seasons. The rosters included future Oscar winner Tommy Lee Jones and future NFL star Calvin Hill. Yale’s captain, Brian Dowling, had already become famous as B.D. in his classmate Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury comic strip. Many of the players appear as talking heads — 40 years down the line, they remember every snap, pass, and fumble. Rafferty has dug up terrific footage of the game itself, and the historical context gives his film more weight than it might have had. We hear from and about veterans (one of the Harvard players had fought at Khe Sahn), war protesters (several on each team), movie stars (Meryl Streep dated one of the Yale players), and future presidents (Yale cheerleader George W. Bush, who was arrested in 1967 for tearing down the goal posts after a victory over Princeton). It all adds up to something remarkable.
Feng shui goes out the window
The apartments you’ll see in Michael Wolf’s “100 x 100” are small enough to make your college dorm room look like a suite at the Waldorf.
Three years ago, Wolf persuaded 100 residents of Hong Kong’s oldest housing project to let him photograph their 100-square-foot apartments. Some lived like monks, with a bed here, a mini-fridge there, and minimal clutter. Others look as if they’re sitting in the back of a totally packed U-Haul. Clicking through the entire series may trigger claustrophobia — and a newfound appreciation of your own, sweet home.