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Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Wired For Altruism.

About Larissa MacFarquhar's TED Talk

Larissa MacFarquhar writes about extreme altruists, people who make great sacrifices to help others. She says most of us aren't prepared or willing to do that — which is why we don't give more.

About Larissa MacFarquhar

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Wired For Altruism.

About Peter Singer's TED Talk

Philosopher Peter Singer's work focuses on "effective altruism" — how to do the most good to make the world a better place. He argues effective giving involves balancing empathy with reason.

About Peter Singer

Cheryl Steed: Can Altruism Be Learned?

May 26, 2017

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Wired For Altruism.

About Cheryl Steed's TED Talk

At the prison where Cheryl Steed works, certain inmates are chosen to be caregivers for elderly inmates. The program has made her wonder — can altruism be learned?

About Cheryl Steed

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Wired For Altruism.

About Abigail Marsh's TED Talk

When Abigail Marsh was 19, a complete stranger risked his life to save her from a car accident. Today, she studies what motivates us to help others — and why some of us are "extraordinary" altruists.

About Abigail Marsh

Because of a scheduling snafu this week, it's just me and Stephen Thompson sitting down with our sci-fi buddy Chris Klimek to talk about Alien: Covenant, the film that dares to ask: "Is it okay if I put this little thing in your ear? I promise it won't grow into something that will burst out of your chest."

Then, we move on to a visit with Selina Meyer and friends as another season of Veep finds the group out of office and loving it. Or ... not really loving it, more like tooth-grittingly enduring it until something else can be arranged.

The time was right to revisit the Buena Vista Social Club. The blockbuster 1997 album and 1999 documentary, chronicling the recording sessions of an ad-hoc group of remarkable Cuban musicians, set off a global wave of appreciation for Son cubano music in the late '90s. The principal players, many of whom had begun their musical careers before the Communist revolution and had been retired for years before making the album, became overnight celebrities.

Thirty-nine real-life years passed between Rocky and Creed, a film about the scion of Rocky Balboa's rival-turned-friend. The span dividing the original Pirates of the Caribbean from its latest sequel, Dead Men Tell No Tales, is about a third of that. But life moves faster at sea, apparently, because the ersatz, angular hero of this fifth Pirates cruise — 27-year-old Brenton Thwaites — is playing the adult offspring of lovers Keira Knightley (current age 32) and Orlando Bloom (40) from the initial trio of Pirates pictures.

When you think about the 16 years America has been fighting in Afghanistan, "funny" probably isn't a word that comes to mind. So, at first blush, the new dark comedy War Machine feels a bit risky. It stars Brad Pitt as a revered but semi-clueless four-star general who's appointed to oversee the entire war effort in Afghanistan.

When Ahmed Badr was 8 years old, his family's home in Baghdad was bombed in the midst of the Iraq War. The family was uninjured. They moved to Syria, which was peaceful then, and in 2008, they came to the U.S. as refugees.

Writing helps Badr deal with what he's been through, and he wants to give other young people the same outlet. Now a student at Wesleyan University, Badr founded the website Narratio to empower others to tell their stories.

By night, they play gigs. By day, they sample ramen in cities across America.

The title of Cate Shortland's new film, Berlin Syndrome, is a sly riff on "Stockholm syndrome," that condition in which a hostage begins to feel sympathy for her captor. It's never clear what sets the Berlin version apart, and in some ways Shortland and the screenwriter, Shaun Grant, seem to be figuring it out as they go along.

Four decades ago Friday, The Dallas Morning News committed an error so grave, so egregious, that it long remained shrouded in silence — out of a deep sense of shame and self-recrimination that one can only imagine.

The paper called Chewbacca a "Wookie."

Reading The Game: Witcher 3

May 25, 2017

For years now, some of the best, wildest, most moving or revealing stories we've been telling ourselves have come not from books, movies or TV, but from video games. So we're running an occasional series, Reading The Game, in which we take a look at some of these games from a literary perspective.

In her autobiography, My Life, the legendary American dancer Isadora Duncan wrote, "The finest inheritance you can give to a child is to allow it to make its own way, completely on its own feet." She would never have the chance to give any kind of inheritance to her three children; they all died before she was killed in a freak accident in 1927. She was either 49 or 50.

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Now we're going to have the time of our lives.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "DIRTY DANCING")

COLT PRATTES: (As Johnny Castle) What's your name?

ABIGAIL BRESLIN: (As Baby Houseman) Baby.

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Oh, yes. Get out.

Let's look at some of the buzziest shows on television in the past year or so, shall we? What do House of Cards, Girls, I Love Dick, Orphan Black, Transparent and The Magicians have in common?

Every one of them has featured unconventional romantic or sexual relationships involving more than two people.

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Two thieves. Thirteen pieces of art. Twenty-seven years of mystery.

And now, a $10 million reward — for anyone who can bring those missing masterpieces back to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.

Two men disguised as police officers made off with the paintings and sketches in 1990. It is still the largest property crime ever carried out in America, and the biggest heist from an art museum anywhere in the world.

It was in May 1986 that Top Gun brought the need for speed — and beach volleyball — to American movie theaters.

Here at NPR headquarters in DC, MARVELous IMAGEs and FANTAstic GRAPHICS are dancing in our heads as we contemplate this year's edition of our famous Summer Reader Poll — who will make the cut? Will it be packed with old favorites or BOOM! Will a DARK HORSE muscle in?

The recent success of John Darnielle — author of the acclaimed Wolf in White Van and Universal Harvester as well as the leader of the indie-rock band the Mountain Goats — has given fresh legitimacy to the crossover between music star and literary figure. (We won't bring up Bob Dylan.)

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As a TV critic who keeps an eye on social issues, I've long been critical of ABC's The Bachelor and The Bachelorette franchises. They urge viewers to believe completely contrived events are somehow spontaneous. They also support an unhealthy princess fantasy in which romance is conflated with an upper-middle class wonderland filled with reality TV fame and luxury resort getaways.

In the early 1920s, before he became an icon of the American songbook, composer Cole Porter wrote the score for a protest ballet. The production, called Within the Quota, criticized restrictive immigration laws that had been passed by Congress. According to Princeton music professor Simon Morrison, who rediscovered the score two years ago in Yale's Porter archives, the show opened in New York at a time of fearful backlash against Polish, Greek and Australian immigrants arriving in the U.S.

Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Copyright 2017 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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The actor Sir Roger Moore has died at 89 after "a short but brave battle with cancer," according to his family and his agent.

Moore played the role of James Bond from 1973 to 1985 and was knighted in his home country of England in 2003.

He was the third of six actors who have played James Bond in the official silver screen franchise, beginning with 1973's Live and Let Die. He starred in a total of seven Bond films over 12 years, ending with A View to a Kill in 1985.

The stories Katherine Heiny collected in her appealing 2015 debut, Single, Carefree, Mellow, were mainly about that many-splendored thing called love and the often baffling, complicated forms it can take — including blithely indulged-in adultery. Her warmhearted and even funnier first adult novel (she's published dozens of young adult novels under assorted pen names) also explores the complexities and ambivalences that color even our most central relationships.

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