Arts & Culture

Arts & culture

For the past several years, a scientist in Brookings, S.D., has been engaged in an escalating struggle with his employer, the USDA's Agricultural Research Service. The scientist, Jonathan Lundgren, says that he has been persecuted because his research points out problems — including harm to bees — with a popular class of pesticides called neonicotinoids.

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

Transcript

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

A moment of silence, please, for the many fictional lives lost and nonfictional careers sullied in London Has Fallen. It's the sequel to Olympus Has Fallen, the gnarlier and less funny of 2013's two (!) Die Hard rip-offs set inside the White House. Olympus was the 36th-highest-grossing film in America that year, but its visible penny-pinching and its modest success abroad have been factored in to make a follow-up as inevitable as Zoolander 2 or Fuller House.

It's always a good week when Audie Cornish or Barrie Hardymon sit in, but this week, with Stephen off finishing the Austin 100 (which is now available for your ears!), they both stepped into the studio with me and Glen Weldon to talk about the end of Downton Abbey, which ends its run on PBS Sunday night — and which, of course, ended its UK run at Christmas.

The wild and furry landscape of Zootopia, Disney's new self-contained world of talking animals, is a remarkable place. In this land, mammals have evolved beyond their traditional predator/prey relationship to form a fully functioning society. Their capital city, Zootropolis, is an intricate network of a dozen ecosystems, from a rainforest to a frozen tundra, and residents of all sizes and species are integrated into daily life. This, as our intrepid bunny hero Officer Judy Hopps constantly asserts, is a place "where anyone can be anything."

Based on The Taliban Shuffle, a 2011 memoir by Chicago Tribune reporter Kim Barker, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot opens many fronts on the war in Afghanistan: It's a fish-out-of-water comedy, with 30 Rock's Tina Fey fumbling through a different brand of chaos; a satirical riff on the absurdities of America's military presence in the Middle East; a feminist statement on the marginalization of women in journalism and fundamentalist pockets of Afghanistan; a love story in the heightened arena of Kabul (called "the Kabubble"); and a scathing critique of American comm

In Cemetery of Splendor, a new film by Apichatpong Weerasethakul, an older Thai woman, Jen, is led around the grounds of a ramshackle building in provincial Thailand by an ecstatic young psychic named Keng. As they move about, we see only piles of dead leaves and old or broken statues, the detritus of a hospital that was once a school attended by the older woman, which she remembers fondly. The psychic, however, sees a former palace that, it seems, is buried beneath the building. She describes it in such opulent detail that even her somewhat skeptical companion is won over.

What Makes An Idea Go Viral?

Mar 4, 2016

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode How Things Spread

About Seth Godin's TED Talk

Entrepreneur and blogger Seth Godin describes how the marketing of ideas has changed since the invention of sliced bread, as well as the type of ideas that stick in consumer's minds.

About Seth Godin

Part 5 of the TED Radio Hour episode How Things Spread

About Yuval Harari's TED Talk

Historian Yuval Harari explains how human imagination powered the growth and spread of homo sapiens around the world.

About Yuval Harari

Loretta Lynn's career in country music has spanned decades. She's recorded more than 200 songs, and more than 50 albums. Her latest, out today, is Full Circle — and it's a fitting title, considering that the self-dubbed "coal miner's daughter" has lived more in her 83 years than many might live in two lifetimes.

First, it's not really black. It's not even a color or a pigment. "Vantablack" is a "material," according to Surrey NanoSystems, the British company that created it.

In 1933, an effervescent comedy called Design for Living gave us two men and a woman living cozily together as roommates, no sex. But when that boundary starts to break down, the woman, played by Miriam Hopkins, points out an inequity:

"A man can meet two, three or even four women and fall in love with all of them; and then by a process of interesting elimination, he's able to decide which one he prefers. But a woman must decide purely on instinct — guess work – if she wants to be considered nice."

I can't say I ever expected to be writing about Donald Trump, Republican frontrunner, back when I was writing about Donald Trump, reality-show guy.

Flint, Mich., isn't the only American city with a lead problem. Though the health crisis in Flint has highlighted the use of lead in water pipes, author David Rosner tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross that lead, which is a neurotoxin, can be found throughout the U.S. on walls, in soil and in the air.

"The problem with lead is that it's now really everywhere, and we've created a terribly toxic environment in all sorts of ways," he says.

Steve Sansweet: The Force Is Right

Mar 3, 2016

Our Meet the Expert has been called the ultimate Star Wars fanboy! Steve Sansweet was a Wall Street Journal reporter when he began his collection of Star Wars relics by fishing out the film's marketing booklet from his colleague's trash. From that fateful dumpster diving display, Sansweet has since worked as Head of Relations at LucasFilms, authored 17 books on Star Wars, and now hosts the largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia.

We Built This City

Mar 3, 2016

While in S.F., we enjoyed the local culture...like a little band called Starship and its hit song, "We Built This City." But we rewrote the lyrics to be about different cities from around the world.

Heard on Sketchfest 2016: Phil Johnston, Steve Sansweet and Mo Willems

You Can't Please Everyone

Mar 3, 2016

This game is about that old timey antique known as a book. You must identify the classic book we are talking about, from an actual one-star review found on Amazon.com.

Heard on Sketchfest 2016: Phil Johnston, Steve Sansweet and Mo Willems

Nearly one-third of households on SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, still have to visit a food pantry to keep themselves fed, according to data highlighted this week by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

It's Like Uber

Mar 3, 2016

We're going to pitch some app ideas! Each of them is a word or phrase combined with the word "Uber." So something that's like Uber, but for the plant that pandas love to eat, would be a "Bamboo-ber."


Heard on Sketchfest 2016: Phil Johnston, Steve Sansweet and Mo Willems

Disruptive Spelling

Mar 3, 2016

Hulu — can you use that in a sentence please? Our spelling-bee-style final round is an actual spelling bee! We ask our contestants to spell the names of notable app and tech companies.

Heard on Sketchfest 2016: Phil Johnston, Steve Sansweet and Mo Willems

After working as a regional weatherman at a northern Midwest station for nine years, Phil Johnston concluded that he didn't know a single thing about the weather. Rather, his forecast read "film school." Johnston took a chance and pursued his passions by enrolling at University of Columbia's MFA film program. Today, you've seen his work in Cedar Rapids, Disney's Wreck-it Ralph and Zootopia, and in Sacha Baron Cohen's The Brothers Grimsby.

The Rainbow Connection

Mar 3, 2016

Inspired by the rainbow flag, this game features answers that are a mashup of two things, connected by a color, such as the fictional Oprah Winfrey/Prince film, "The Color Purple Rain."

Heard on Sketchfest 2016: Phil Johnston, Steve Sansweet and Mo Willems

At the Lee Valley consignment sale near Tekamah, Neb., dozens of used tractors, planters and other equipment were on the auction block for farmers trying to save a few extra dollars. It was a muddy day, with trucks and four-wheelers leaving deep black ruts — fitting conditions for an industry wallowing in bad news.

Paul Goldberg's audacious first novel begins at 2:37 a.m. on Feb. 24, 1953, when a Black Maria, a car used to transport prisoners through the night, leaves the "improbably tall, castle-like gates" of Lubyanka, Moscow's KGB headquarters and prison. Three men — a state security officer and two young soldiers — are inside, on their way to arrest a Red Army veteran and onetime Moscow State Jewish Theater actor named Solomon Shimonovich Levinson.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

There's lots of evidence that getting too little sleep is associated with overeating and an increased body weight.

The question is, why? Part of the answer seems to be that skimping on sleep can disrupt our circadian rhythms. Lack of sleep can also alter hunger and satiety hormones.

Slice The Price Of Fruits And Veggies, Save 200,000 Lives?

Mar 2, 2016

Lowering the price of fruits and vegetables by 30 percent can save nearly 200,000 lives over 15 years — roughly the population of Des Moines, Iowa. That's the message being touted by researchers this week at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology meeting in Phoenix.

Comic Louie Anderson has had a hugely successful stand-up career for the past 30 years, but he admits he wasn't a very good actor early on. "I didn't know who I was or how to do it," he tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

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