Who needs friends when you’ve got Terry Gross? An illustration by Eleanor Davis: http://nyr.kr/1nYvPYw
No you hang up. No, you!
"I did this interesting study in which we did eye-tracking as people looked at … different types of cartoons. Sometimes the cartoons were just verbal cartoons and sometimes they had a visual element and we watched their eyes and the moment that they get the cartoon their pupil expands almost like it would for a flashbulb. So we can track the actual "get it moment." That’s the type of research I’m interested in.
… It means that humor is a cognitive process. It’s a creative process not only on the part of the cartoonist, but on the part of the viewer. And I think that’s very interesting because that will be analogous to the “a-ha moment” in scientific invention or when you get a crossword puzzle.”
Cartoon by Bob Mankoff via Henry Holt and Co.
Today on Fresh Air James Carroll discusses Pope Francis' “radical” first year. Carroll wrote an article in The New Yorker about Pope Francis’ departure from traditional Church positions. For example, he explains the Pope’s attitude toward communion:
"He talked about the Catholic sacrament of the Eucharist, communion, in a very different way from the way in which his predecessors … have been talking about it. Communion has been treated as food for those who are not hungry. Food for the well-fed, food for the well-behaved. Popes and bishops have used the sacrament of the Eucharist, the mass, as a kind of boundary marker. You’re in if you obey all the rules and you’re out if you don’t. If you’re not a Catholic, if you’re a Protestant not in communion with the papacy, if you’re a divorced and remarried Catholic, if you’re using birth control, if you’ve committed any of the long list of sins that have been emphasized over the years, don’t go to communion.
… The word excommunication refers to being outside of communion. Pope Francis speaks in a very different way. He said, quite explicitly, the Church is not a toll house; we’re not interested in having a barrier here that has to be raised for those who are worthy. No, communion is for people who are hungry. … It’s for those who are not whole so that they can become whole.”
Tomorrow: James Carroll joins us to talk about Pope Francis' “radical” first year. His article “Who Am I to Judge?" ‘is in the current issue of The New Yorker.
image via The New Yorker/ cred. L’Osservatore Romano/AP
People are just wired to believe that if you confess to a crime then you must’ve committed it. All sorts of alibis and evidence will bend or disappear once you’ve confessed, it’s that convincing. Part of what we have to do in this discussion is move that off the table. People confess, and it may or may not be true. In terms of the efficacy of Reid technique, it gets people to confess, but there’s a certain amount of collateral damage. Probably the vast majority of people who confess to this technique confess correctly, but there is collateral damage, and that is a frightening thing.
— Science journalist Douglas Starr speaks to Fresh Air about interrogation techniques and why false confessions are a problem in our justice system
Today science journalist Douglas Starr speaks to Fresh Air about how certain interrogation techniques elicit false confessions. He explains why people might confess falsely:
First of all, there’s a group of people who confess falsely to something because there’s something wrong with them. More than 200 people confessed to the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby. … But there are external reasons as well. … If you’re held in a room and you think there’s no way out but you’re sure that the justice system with eventually exonerate you, you might actually confess just to get out of the situation. When you’re in a situation where [your] denial is batted away no matter what you say and they start lowering the barrier of confession … it becomes the easy way out. Interestingly, naive people, with faith in the justice system, tend to confess more because they’re sure something will work out on the other side. The trouble is confession trumps everything. Even physical evidence will bend once somebody’s confessed because confessions are so compelling.
Hear Starr’s interview or read more about these techniques here
Or read his article in this week’s issue of The New Yorker
photo via living fine art assoc.
Patti Smith writes a moving piece for The New Yorker about Lou Reed's death, “When Lou said goodbye, his dark eyes seemed to contain an infinite and benevolent sadness.”
illustration by Tom Batchtell
Photo break: The Charles River casts an autumn reflection (The Red Line between Boston and Cambridge)
Calgary is a city built on this resource. Calgary is like a classic boom town; all of the skyscrapers in Calgary are named after the energy companies that are extracting the oil from the oil sands, or the banks that are funding them. There are construction cranes all over. And Canada … is defining itself as an energy superpower. I think it surprises a lot of people to hear they have the third-largest oil reserve in the world, behind Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.
— Reporter for the New Yorker Ryan Lizza speaks on Fresh Air about the Canadian oil industry and the Keystone Pipeline XL controversy
New Yorker reporter Ryan Lizza joins Fresh Air to discuss “unconventional” oil resources and the Keystone Pipeline project in Northern Alberta Canada and its environmental and political ramifications:
As we sit here in October of 2013, immigration reform seems dead, gun control legislation is dead, and the government is shut down with no grand bargain in sight. So a lot of environmentalists say, “Why not concentrate on the things you can do unilaterally?” And one of those things you can do unilaterally is address climate change…
photo of oil spill via the New York Times
Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Dexter Filkins explains on today’s Fresh Air how the Iranian Quds Force has been propping up the Assad regime in Syria:
If you stand back a little bit, if you remember say, December/January of this year, Assad was on the ropes, he was teetering, it looked like he was going to collapse. His government was steadily losing ground to the rebels and I think what happened — it’s pretty clear by the evidence that the Iranian regime, which values their friendship with Assad very greatly, for many reasons, woke up and hit the alarm bell.
You can sort of watch the number of [Iranian] supply flights that were going in with troops, with ammunition, with money, with everything, just started increasing greatly. So instead of a couple days a week it became every day, all the time, and that has been the decisive factor in solidifying and probably preventing the collapse of the Assad regime. So the Iranians and the Quds Force are doing a whole array of things. They’re down on the ground, so they have military advisers that are getting killed in the fight.
image via NYT
This is the Middle East, you think you know something and it just spins off into infinity, or it just dissolves into the shadows. So what you think you knew is suddenly something else a few seconds later.
Dexter Filkins, reporter for The New Yorker is on the show today
Filkins is an expert of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and he explains to Terry Gross that even he gets confused by the “always-turning” stories behind the wars and political operations.
Today he talks about Iran's involvement in Syria, especially the Quds Force led by Qassem Suleimani.
Tomorrow: Dexter Filkins, reporter for The New Yorker talks about Iran’s involvement in Syria and Iran’s possible motives and objectives. He speaks about Iran’s Quds Force and what they’re doing on the ground in Syria.
His 2008 book “The Forever War" was a National Bestseller. It explores the wars following 9/11 and the human cost of America’s conflict with Islamic fundamentalism.
photo of Syria via the Washington Post
Journalist Michael Specter tells Terry Gross about about checking himself for ticks:
I check myself like 71 times a day. One of the problems — I’ve never gotten over this — I’ve been writing about medicine for a long time and I’m always convinced that every illness I write about I have. There’s been lot of those. So far I’m 0 for about 1,000, but it does seem to diminish my fear. Up in Hudson County where I have a place, it’s hard to have a dinner with people where the word ‘tick’ doesn’t come up. … I have a big backyard, people come over, we have a cook-out, and their kids are running off barefoot into the woods and I’m like, ‘No! Don’t do that! It’s ugly out there!’
Map of Lyme disease risk in the United States 2009 via the CDC