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 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.
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."
Now it's time for a Wisdom Watch conversation. That's a part of the program where we talk to those who've made a difference with their work. Today we're talking with Clinton Galloway. He's the author of the book "Anatomy of a Hustle: Cable Comes to South Central L.A."
I was out of the house, as it happens, for most of the first half of yesterday's Louisville-Duke game, and when I got home and looked at Twitter, before I turned on the TV, there was a huge stack of stuff to read, and the first thing that caught my attention about the game was this.
The mostly forgotten explorer Paul du Chaillu introduced the world to gorillas. His methods were attacked and his work discredited during his lifetime, but he also experienced fame and redemption.
Author Monte Reel illuminates the little-known tale of the 19th century explorer in his new book Between Man and Beast: An Unlikely Explorer, the Evolution Debates, and the African Adventure That Took the Victorian World by Storm.
Director Cristian Mungiu on the set of his new film, <em>Beyond the Hills</em>. As in his earlier <em>4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days</em>, the filmmaker focuses on two young women adrift in the post-Soviet wilderness of Romania.
Credit Sundance Selects
A group of nuns shares a meal in <em>Beyond the Hills</em>. Though the director is hesitant to underline metaphors in his film, contemporary observers won't find it hard to discover what seems like suggestive references to the Romania of dictator Nicolai Ceaucescu.
Cristian Mungiu became the poster boy for the Romanian New Wave when his film 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days took the top prize at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2007. Like that film, Mungiu's latest turns an unblinking camera on two troubled young women in a dysfunctional society. Beyond the Hills is now opening in theaters across the U.S.
Like its predecessor, Beyond the Hills was a prizewinner at Cannes: Its two young stars shared the best actress prize last year, and Mungiu won best screenplay.
In Italy, there are no Easter egg hunts, no marshmallow Peeps and definitely no jelly beans.
Instead, there are chocolate eggs — massive, elaborately decorated, beautifully wrapped chocolate Easter eggs that now fill shop windows across the country. The sweet treats are considered Italians' food gift of choice at this time of year. And each one comes with a surprise tucked inside.
"You want something that really gives a big effect," says Rome-based food writer Elizabeth Minchilli.
On-air challenge: You will be given some words. For each one, you provide a four-letter word that can follow the first to complete a familiar two-word phrase. The four letters of the second word can always be found inside the first word. For example, given "personal," the answer would be "loan."
Maya Angelou and her mother, Vivian Baxter. Although it took years, Angelou and her mother eventually developed a close and loving relationship.
Credit Random House
Maya Angelou is most famous for her poetry, autobiographies and essays, although her career has also included journalism, acting, dancing, screenplay writing and more. Her latest book is called <em>Mom & Me & Mom.</em>
Maya Angelou has lived a life so expansive and extraordinary that, even after seven autobiographies, she still has more stories to tell. Her latest book, Mom & Me & Mom, explores her relationship with her mother, Vivian Baxter. When Angelou was young, Baxter sent Angelou and her brother away to be raised by their grandmother; years later, she called them back to live with her again, the start of a sometimes fractious but eventually loving relationship.
The uneasy confluence of sports and politics is featured in a new book by The Nation's Dave Zirin, called Game Over: How Politics Has Turned the Sports World Upside Down.
During the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War, athletes routinely made their political views known. In some cases, that isolated them from sports fans. In other cases, their influence led to real change. But in recent decades, those voices fell silent. Some say the siren's call of endorsement deals made them gun-shy about speaking their minds.
Host Scott Simon speaks with Ian Crouch, web producer for The New Yorker, about tropes in movie trailers throughout the years. Crouch's blog post, "Trailer Trash," was published Friday on The New Yorker's Culture Desk blog.
For nearly 70 years, the Living Theater championed some of the most challenging work in New York Theater. It was the original off-Broadway company. But last month, Jon Kalish reports, co-founder Judith Malina shuttered the space she poured all of her money into and moved into an assisted-living home.
One night in 1910, a little girl is born during a snowstorm in the English countryside. The umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby's neck; she turns blue and gasps for life. The doctor can't make it through the snow, and the little girl dies.
That same little girl is born on another version of that night in 1910, but this time the doctor makes it through the storm, delivers the baby and stays for breakfast.
David Sheff wrote a book in 2008 that became a kind of landmark. Beautiful Boy was a painful, personal story of the battle he tried to fight with and alongside his son, Nic, who was addicted to methamphetamines. The book became an international best-seller and made David Sheff one of the country's most prominent voices on addiction — not as a doctor, an addict or an academic expert, but as a father.
Debbie Reynolds has been in show business for more than 60 years — beginning as an ingenue chirping a novelty tune called "Aba Daba Honeymoon" in one of her first films, a Jane Powell/Ricardo Montalban vehicle called Two Weeks With Love. That was 1950. Today, she's indisputably a grand dame of show business, working with names like Matt Damon and Michael Douglas.
How do you play a character who's been depicted more than nearly any other character in all of Western civilization?
That's the challenge currently facing Irish actress Fiona Shaw, who in the past has played such well-known fictional characters as Harry Potter's Petunia Dursley and Marnie Stonebrook on HBO's True Blood -- not to mention titanic classical roles from Euripides' Medea to Shakespeare's Richard II.
The year is 1915. A beautiful young woman bicycling through sun-dappled woods passes under an effigy of a German soldier and seems entirely unfazed. World War I is raging elsewhere in Europe, but here on the French Riviera life is serene.
The cyclist, Andree, is on her way to pose for an elderly Impressionist painter, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (Michel Bouquet), whom she somewhat startles by claiming to be an artist herself.
Over the past three decades, Arthur and Cynthia Wood turned their four-story home into a work of art. They purchased the brick tenement at the intersection of Downing and Quincy streets in 1979 for $2,100 in cash.
Credit Courtesy of Chris Wood
The building, which was featured in the film <em>Dave Chappelle's Block Party,</em> once towered nine stories over the street. Arthur took out most of the floors, creating a soaring open space with stained glass windows.<em> </em>
Credit Courtesy of Chris Wood
Old bottles and salvaged glass make up the "stained glass" windows in Broken Angel.
Credit Courtesy of Chris Wood
In October 2006, Broken Angel's tower caught fire. The New York City Department of Buildings declared the structure was dangerous and sought to demolish the home.
Credit Courtesy of Chris Wood
Cynthia Wood died of cancer in 2010. Her husband, Arthur Wood, is once again facing eviction from his home.
A New York landmark of sorts is in danger of being wiped off the map. The building now known as Broken Angel was an ordinary 19th-century brick structure until self-taught artist and sculptor Arthur Wood started building on top of it in the late 1970s. Now Wood faces eviction from his own masterpiece — a towering structure that looks like a cathedral built out of salvaged junk.