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The genius of Megan Abbott's previous bestselling novels (You Will Know Me, The Fever, Bury Me Deep) lies in acknowledging that strong women cannot escape the web of patriarchy. And Abbott knows: Just because we currently push our girl children towards STEM classes and careers doesn't mean they are immune to the same cultural pressures to which they've always been subjected. A woman who is a scientist remains a female raised in our male-dominated society.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

Growing up in North London in the 1960s and '70s, Viv Albertine never dreamed that one day she'd be a rock star. For one thing, she says, "There [were] just no role models ... I never heard of anyone, any female playing guitar."

Eventually she did learn of female rockers, including Suzi Quatro and The Runaways. But Albertine says she "was aware of how constructed they were by male managers."

More than three years after a white supremacist opened fire in Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., killing nine worshippers, an architect has revealed a design for a memorial at the church.

The design by Michael Arad features two large and curving stone benches, a gentle fountain and a garden space "dedicated to life and resiliency."

Arad, along with landscape architect Peter Walker, designed the Sept. 11 memorial in New York City after he won an international design competition.

Grossed out by that maggot squirming in your apple?

Your ancestors weren't. In fact, they probably would have popped the offending creature into their mouths and relished its savory flavor.

At least, that's what Julie Lesnik thinks. Lesnik is an assistant professor of anthropology at Wayne State University. She studies how people (and their prehistoric relatives) have gathered, farmed, and cooked insects for food.

A new film about Robin Williams begins with his appearance on Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton. Lipton says: "How do you explain the mental reflexes that you deploy with such awesome speed? Are you thinking faster than the rest of us? What the hell is going on?" Williams first makes a goggle-eyed face, but then he falls over sideways, like an embarrassed kid, curling up and cackling. And then, of course, he does precisely the thing Lipton is asking about: a flurry of movements, voices, bits, fragments of thoughts flying by — fragments riffing on his own thinking.

Sacha Baron Cohen has two basic shticks that he uses in his new Showtime show Who Is America?, which premiered Sunday night. One of them works well, and the other one doesn't. Unfortunately, of the four segments in the premiere, he uses the effective strategy once and the ineffective one three times.

Those unfamiliar with Cohen's past work in films like Borat and Bruno need only to know that what he does, in short, is interview (and interact with) people while inhabiting various absurd alter egos. It's a prank show, for all intents and purposes.

Ecological statistics pertaining to bees carry a sting: More than 75 percent of the world's 115 primary crops require pollination or thrive better through interaction with pollinators.

Bees are the primary pollinators in the animal kingdom, yet sudden and massive die-offs of these insects began in 2006 and continue now, with a 30 percent annual loss reported by North American beekeepers.

Suspense writer Megan Abbott has been busy lately. She's been writing for HBO's The Deuce, and adapting two of her own books for television.

This week, her most recent novel, Give Me Your Hand is out — it's the story of two young, brilliant, female scientists named Kit and Diane. The two women were friends in high school, but when Diane shares a dark secret, the friendship is torn apart.

Pictures Of The Motherland He Never Knew

Jul 15, 2018

For years, artist Mahtab Hussain struggled with how to describe himself. British. British-Pakistani. Kashmiri. British Asian. The 37-year-old was born in Glasgow and grew up mostly in the British city of Birmingham — but from a young age was told he didn't belong.

"Everyone used to say, like, Pakis go home," he says of the racism he faced as a child. "Or 'what did ET do that the Pakis didn't? Go home.'"

"It just made me really hate who I was and made me hate the color of my skin. It made me want to really reject my own culture," he adds.

I may be a writer and performer now, but I graduated from USC with a degree in chemistry — so when Meredith Goldstein's Chemistry Lessons popped up on my radar, I was immediately intrigued. Finally! A super nerdy female main character I can connect with! And a plot with a romantic twist? Fun! Sign me up!

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

For decades, people living in Zimbabwe have been taught that speaking their minds comes at a cost. Under former president Robert Mugabe, an authoritarian ruler who held power for more than 37 years, openly challenging the government meant risking arrest, beating or worse. There's still a law on the books that makes insulting the president a crime.

It's the summer of 2008, and Andrei Kaplan doesn't have a whole lot going for him in New York. Money's tight, his girlfriend dumped him, and, at 33, his academic career has stalled. So, at the urging of his brother, he returns to Russia, where he was born, to take care of his aging grandmother, Baba Seva.

In her first novel, Swallowing Geography, the English novelist and playwright Deborah Levy described a character becoming "many selves in order to survive. Through observation, study, and meditation she taught herself to change from one self to another, from one state to another." It's an early, tossed-off line, but it predicts Levy's whole body of work. Over and over, this is the story she tells: First a woman learns to change selves, and then she chooses, defiantly, to be the one self she likes best.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVID BIANCULLI, HOST:

Darlene Love: From Background to Limelight

Jul 13, 2018

When the creators of the 2013 documentary 20 Feet From Stardom began envisioning a film focused on backup singers, one name kept coming up: Darlene Love. Among fans and musicians alike, Love had a sterling reputation as one of music's legendary, if still somewhat under-celebrated voices performing behind the biggest acts. So after speaking to Love, director Morgan Neville said he was finally convinced that he could make an entire movie on the topic, one that heavily showcased Love's long-winding career and countless behind-the-scenes stories.

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Why We Hate.

About Anand Giridharadas' TED Talk

Anand Giridharadas spent two years researching a man who committed a string of hate crimes after 9/11. Along the way, he uncovered a striking story of mercy from an unlikely source: the man's victim.

About Anand Giridharadas

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Why We Hate.

About Dylan Marron's TED Talk

Before starting his podcast, Dylan Marron thought the only way to fight hate was to shut down opposing viewpoints. But after calling several of his trolls, he realized conversation was much more effective.

About Dylan Marron

Sally Kohn: What Is The Opposite Of Hate?

Jul 13, 2018

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Why We Hate.

About Sally Kohn's TED Talk

Political commentator Sally Kohn wanted to understand why people hate. She traveled the world tracking down stories of hatred - but along the way, discovered an uncomfortable truth about her own past.

About Sally Kohn

Christian Picciolini: How Do You Unlearn Hatred?

Jul 13, 2018

Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Why We Hate.

About Christian Picciolini's TED Talk

As a teenager, Christian Picciolini joined a violent neo-Nazi group. But he began to question his hateful beliefs when strangers offered him something unexpected: compassion.

About Christian Picciolini

Muppets Head To London

Jul 13, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Good morning. I'm David Greene with a guest.

MATT VOGEL: (As Kermit) Hey-ho. Kermit the Frog here.

GREENE: Hey, Kermit. OK, so the Muppets' first full-length European show this weekend in London. Are you excited? Wait. Where are you going?

When director Iram Haq was a teenager in Norway, she was, in her own words, kidnapped by her parents and forced to spend more than a year of her life with relatives in Pakistan. That harrowing experience is now the foundation for Haq's second feature film What Will People Say, a blistering drama about the kind of culture clash that can traumatize a young woman for life.

Which is worse, corruption you can see or corruption you can't? In Dark Money, a documentary about invisible corporate shenanigans in her home state of Montana, director Kimberly Reed makes the incisive case that the latter threatens to sink our democracy outright.

After seeing Eighth Grade, Bo Burnham's enormously affecting new movie, you might assume that a lot of the dialogue was improvised. Most of it was, in fact, carefully scripted, which makes it all the more remarkable: It's been a while since I've heard a screenplay so fully master the awkward, hesitant rhythms of everyday teen speak. Burnham's young characters talk in long, rambling but more-or-less coherent sentences, each thought punctuated with a perfectly timed "um" or "like" or "you know."

Watch Your Mouth

Jul 12, 2018

If you're bilingual or multilingual, you may have noticed that the different languages you speak will make you stretch in different ways.

Languages like Spanish or French require you to remember the gender assigned to every noun, even inanimate objects. Uttering a sentence as simple as "I read the book" in Russian requires you to indicate whether you finished the book or merely read a few pages. If you're toggling between English and a language like Arabic, you have to swap which side of the page you look at first.

Updated 2:14 p.m. ET

To see the best stories inside the Emmy nominations, you often have to look past the ones that often make headlines. The big nomination numbers were raked in by familiar nominees: Game of Thrones was the leader with 22 nominations, Saturday Night Live and Westworld had 21, The Handmaid's Tale 20. In comedy, Atlanta led with 16, but the next two spots went to first-year series: Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel with 14 and Barry right behind at 13.

Somewhere toward the end of the last century, American cultural tastemakers decided that the 1950s were emblematic of the best this country had to offer. Young people dressed in bowling shirts and poodle skirts to go to neo-swing concerts and started unironically smoking unfiltered cigarettes and using retro slang. For a lot of reasons — not least of which being that the good old days were just the old days if you didn't happen to be a straight white man — it was awful.

What do you get for the man who has everything? Stuart Weitzman's wife was fed up with buying gifts for her shoe designer husband. "After two or three ties and shirts that I ended up never wearing, my wife bought a pair of antique shoes that she thought I would like — and I did," Weitzman explains.

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