When anthropologists tallied the use of emotional words through a century of literature, they included many books without clear emotional content — technical manuals, for example, and automotive repair guides.
Credit Steve Debenport / iStockphotography
Researchers were able to chart historical periods of positive and negative moods through literature. Values above zero indicate generally "happy" periods, and values below the zero indicate generally "sad" periods.
Credit Alberto Acerbi, Vasileios Lampos, Philip Garnett, R. Alexander Bentley / PLOS ONE
Were people happier in the 1950s than they are today? Or were they more frustrated, repressed and sad?
To find out, you'd have to compare the emotions of one generation to another. British anthropologists think they may have found the answer — embedded in literature.
Several years ago, more or less on a lark, a group of researchers from England used a computer program to analyze the emotional content of books from every year of the 20th century — close to a billion words in millions of books.
The home of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland is surrounded by police tape in Forney, Texas, on Monday. Authorities launched a massive investigation into the weekend killings of McLelland and his wife.
Two county prosecutors fatally shot in Texas. Colorado's top prison official gunned down. And a dozen more members of the U.S. justice community — ranging from police to judges — victims of targeted killings since the beginning of the decade.
There's a reason President Obama chose Colorado to hold a rally this Wednesday in favor of gun control.
Among the states this year, Democratic-controlled Colorado has passed the toughest new restrictions on gun rights, requiring universal background checks and banning magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition.
But if certain liberal wishes have come true in Colorado — recall that it was one of two states last fall that voted to legalize marijuana — things look very different next door in Kansas.
The problem with chili has always been this: When you try to eat it with your hands, you get terrible burns and weird looks from the snooty side of your family at the 2007 Chillag Family Reunion. Speaking of which — why don't you guys just go back to your solid gold houses and your Harvard "utensils" and leave me alone? I am who I am.
Anyway, the great Wiener and Still Champion in Evanston, Ill., has solved this problem with the Chili Bomb. It's chili, mixed with melted cheese, wrapped in cornbread and fried.
With eight accomplished musicians from Argentina and Uruguay, and a sound rooted in tango traditions, Bajofondo lays out a visual and aural feast. Led by Oscar and Grammy winner Gustavo Santaolalla, the group mashes up traditional candombe sounds and other forms with electronica to produce a mix that's hypnotic and danceable.
This is FRESH AIR. We're going to remember the record producer and engineer Phil Ramone who died Saturday at the age of 79. He won 14 Grammys. He started his career as an engineer, recording singers like Lesley Gore, Dusty Springfield and Dionne Warwick. He went on to produce recordings by Paul Simon, Billy Joel, Barbara Streisand, Ray Charles and Tony Bennett as well as the original cast recording of Stephen Sondheim's "Passion."
For all our talk about food, we don't like to think much about it after we put it in our mouths. But Mary Roach — whose latest book is Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal — did just that. Gulp takes a close look at the human digestive system, from the mouth on down, and Roach writes that she wants readers to say not, "This is gross," but instead, "I thought this would be gross, but it's really interesting. OK, and maybe a little gross."
Originally published on Tue April 2, 2013 12:00 pm
Say your one-month-old baby is spitting up and crying a lot. Your usual bag of infant-soothing tricks hasn't worked, and you're worried that there's something wrong with her.
So you head to the pediatrician, who tells you that your otherwise healthy child has gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD. Would receiving this medical diagnosis make you more interested in giving her drugs than if you never heard the word "disease"?