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 Alberto Acerbi, Vasileios Lampos, Philip Garnett, R. Alexander Bentley / PLOS ONE
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.
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.
And now Syria and Iraq on the Opinion Page this week. As we reconsider the 10 years since the invasion of Iraq, Washington Post editor Jackson Diehl says we should learn from that costly experience as we consider the civil war in Syria. About absent U.S. intervention, he argues, Syria could produce a much worse humanitarian disaster than Iraq. The tragedy of the post-Iraq logic embraced by President Obama, writes Diehl, is that it has ruled out not just George W. Bush-style invasions, but also more modest interventions.
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."
In Sunday night's NCAA men's basketball tournament, Louisville guard Kevin Ware suffered a gruesome injury. Coach Rick Pitino rallied the team and led them to a victory over Duke. When accidents like this happen, coaches are tasked with rallying team members and keeping them focused.