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.
More than 100 years ago, Golgi staining on nerve cells opened the gates to modern neuroscience. Scientists recently developed the Technicolor version of Golgi staining, Brainbow, allowing more detailed reconstructions of brain circuits.
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With a combination of genetic tricks and fancy proteins, researchers have colorfully labelled hundreds of individual neurons with distinctive hues to create a "Brainbow."
During the State of the Union, President Obama said the nation is about to embark on an ambitious project: to examine the human brain and create a road map to the trillions of connections that make it work.
"Every dollar we invested to map the human genome returned $140 to our economy — every dollar," the president said. "Today, our scientists are mapping the human brain to unlock the answers to Alzheimer's."
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.
Fifty years ago, the notorious Alcatraz prison shut its gate behind guard Jim Albright as he escorted the last inmate off the island on March 21, 1963.
"As we're going out, I know, when I come back from this trip, I don't have a job, I don't have a home anymore," Albright remembers. "I didn't want the island to close, I didn't want to leave. I liked it there."
Director Cristian Mungiu on the set of his new film, Beyond the Hills. As in his earlier 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, 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 Beyond the Hills. 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.