We've all been to concerts and performances that bring us to our feet in wild applause.
WERTHEIMER: But what makes us clap more for some performances than others? You'd think it's obvious: the better the show, the more applause. Think again. New research at Uppsala University in Sweden has revealed that applause spreads through a crowd more like a contagion than a reaction to a performer. Researchers watched audience members respond to academic talks - talks even as dull as this one.
Filmmaker and artist Miranda July is blasting emails copied from the outboxes of some well-known names on intimate topics to anyone who signs up.
The project is called We Think Alone, and includes messages sent from a range of notable people (who agreed to participate in advance, of course). Those names include the NBA's all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul Jabar, fashion-designing siblings Kate and Laura Mulleavy of Rodarte, and a Canadian-American theoretical physicist.
You could say George Benson's latest album, Inspiration: A Tribute to Nat King Cole, was conceived decades ago. Benson was just a kid when he first mimicked Cole off the radio, singing his own version of "Mona Lisa" while accompanying himself on the ukulele. He even made a recording.
"At least 29 pupils and a teacher have been killed in a pre-dawn attack by suspected Islamists on a school in northeastern Nigeria, reports say." (BBC News)
The BBC's Will Ross, reporting from Lagos, adds that "it sounds like a horrific attack." Survivors say the gunmen set fire to buildings. Some of the students were burned alive, he reports, while "others were shot as they tried to run away."
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
Update at 9:22 p.m. ET. Snowden Reveals Documents On Brazil:
Amid requests and offers of asylum in Latin America, Edward Snowden has apparently released documents showing that the U.S. spied on millions of emails and phone calls of Brazilians. NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro tells our Newscast Desk the report, published in the Rio de Janeiro paper O Globo, was co-written by Glenn Greenwald, who has been covering the National Security Agency's programs.
At the Hillwood Estate gardens in Washington, D.C., the new norm is: "Expect the unexpected." So says volunteer coordinator Bill Johnson, who has worked on property belonging to the heiress of the Post cereal fortune for 30 years.
Like home gardeners, the horticulturalists and professional gardeners at Hillwood are confronting an unpredictable climate.
The ouster of Mohammed Morsi puts the U.S. in an awkward position: By law, the administration is supposed to cut off aid to a country after a military coup, but Egypt's military has been a key to regional stability. As the administration considers its next steps, it's come under criticism from all sides in Egypt over how it's handling the situation.
Sybrina Fulton, the mother of slain teenager Trayvon Martin, testified this morning in the ongoing trial of George Zimmerman. Zimmerman is charged with second degree murder in Martin’s death. Martin’s parents have been in the court every day of the trial.
(We most recently updated the top of this post at 2:05 p.m. ET.)
The death toll from clashes Friday and into early Saturday in Egypt now stands at 36, authorities say. That estimate, released just before 11 a.m. ET, was up from the 30 deaths that had been reported when the day began.
Gun stores around the country have had difficulty keeping up with demand for ammunition in recent months. Fears of government tightening of gun and ammunition controls have meant that retailers, from Wal-Mart to mom-and-pop gun shops, haven't been able to keep bullets on the shelves.
Cliff Poser's gun shop, Cliff's Guns, Safes and Reloading in Boise, Idaho, is one of them. Business has been so crazy lately that he has to keep a special stash of ammunition, just so customers who buy guns from him can also buy bullets.
It’s down to the wire at Wimbledon, the men’s finals are on Sunday, the women’s on Saturday. And some of the biggest names will not be participating, because there have been a lot of upsets—Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova all lost in the early rounds. These upsets had linguist Ben Zimmer thinking about the use of the word “upset.”
And that got him thinking about a horse race in 1919.
Cairo's emblematic Tahrir Square and nearby approaches to the River Nile are largely empty and debris-strewn today and Egypt remains on edge after deadly clashes between supporters and opponents of ousted Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.
The two sides fought overnight street battles that left at least 30 dead across the increasingly divided country.
Ismalists are enraged at Morsi's overthrow by millions of protesters backed by the country's powerful military.
Long before the Civil Rights marches of 1963 thrust Birmingham, Ala. into the national spotlight, black families along one residential street were steadily chipping away at Jim Crow segregation laws — and paying a price for it. As part of our series looking back at the seminal events that changed the nation 50 years ago, NPR's Debbie Elliott paid a visit to Birmingham's Dynamite Hill.
Asked to make a 30-second case for On Constitutional Disobedience — his 2013 book that advocates abolishing the U.S. Constitution — Louis Michael Seidman, a constitutional law professor at Georgetown University Law Center, says:
This week marked the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, and in the spirit of the Fourth of July, a friend and I set out to experience our first Civil War re-enactment. Armed with my camera, I attended the re-enactment of the battle with a specific question in mind: What inspired women to participate?
I originally wondered why women would want to put on heavy clothing in the July heat and re-enact a time when they had a lot less freedom, and both participants and enthusiastic spectators were more than willing to explain.
The Arab uprisings of 2011 produced a clear set of winners — the Islamist parties that were well-organized and prepared to swiftly fill the political vacuum left by toppled autocrats.
But the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood now points to the possibility of a countertrend: the failure of Islamist groups to govern effectively and growing public discontent with their rule.
There was an awful lot of dancing going on the first time I stumbled upon the music of Cheick Hamala Diabate. On the dance floor at U Street's Tropicalia that night was a rich cross-section of D.C. life, all entranced by the music of Mali.