Why does our culture place value in that which is deemed authentic or original? What happens when we find out that the thing we have enshrined as authentic is determined to be nothing more than a copy? How does our relationship to the ideas of authenticity and originality impact the decisions we make from what […]

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There are times in our lives when we have no choice but to perform. The stakes are high, the pressure is on, the price of failure immense. It seems natural that most of us would try to minimize the amount of time that we spend in such anxiety-inducing situations. But what of those people who […]

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In a certain sense, childhood is most acutely experienced in retrospect. As a child, it’s simply life as you know it. But, as an adult, childhood (both one’s own and the developmental category in general) takes on a kind of mythic significance and, perhaps, nostalgic appeal. In this episode of Off Topic we look at […]

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This week on Off Topic, we take a close and critical look at the institution of marriage. Why do we do it? What do we hope it will be? What is it really? How has it changed?

In this episode:

Professor Stillman battles a pesky woodpecker, and in so doing, comes face to […]

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The figure of the Genius looms large in our contemporary thinking about art and creativity. Art is a gift given to the masses by those fortunate few who are capable of creating something from nothing, of inventing forms and sounds that the rest of us simply couldn’t imagine. Well, maybe that’s overstating it […]

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Stream or download this episode in its entirety below.

In this episode of Off Topic:

Professor Stillman confronts the ambiguities inherent in the snake’s side of the story.
Canadian novelist Peter Behrens discusses how the Irish established the template for what it means to be an immigrant in North America.
Duke […]

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In case you missed the premiere episode of Off Topic on Friday night at 7pm, we’ve posted it here for you to enjoy at your leisure.

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News

CERN
April 29, 2016 | NPR · The Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland is offline, following a run-in with a small mammal that munched on a power cord.
 

April 29, 2016 | KHN · To reduce recidivism and promote health, the Department of Health and Human Services is taking steps to make it easier for ex-prisoners to sign up for or restart Medicaid coverage.
 

April 29, 2016 | NPR · The steelmaker is asking a U.S. agency to investigate its claims that the Chinese government not only dumps steel at unfair prices, but also uses computer hackers to steal intellectual property.
 

Arts & Life

FOX
April 29, 2016 | NPR · This week, the roundtable discusses the HBO comedy Silicon Valley and Stephen Thompson sits down with Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard.
 

April 29, 2016 | NPR · Jonathan Coulton plays the bad guy! In this game, we’ve rewritten The Romantics song “What I Like About You” from the perspective of famous fictional villains, complaining about their arch-enemies.
 

April 29, 2016 | NPR · In this game, we mash-up famous directors and celebrities. For example, “The captain from the TV series Enterprise finds out he’s a replicant” is a description of “Ridley Scott Bakula.”
 

Music

Getty Images
April 29, 2016 | NPR · The singer and pianist performs her legendary version of “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” in a 1988 session.
 

Getty Images
April 29, 2016 | NPR · Apple’s agreement with Dubset could ease legal posting of DJ sets that contain copyrighted material. SoundCloud is unveiling a paid service. It’s hard to say for sure who is going to benefit.
 

Courtesy of the artist
April 29, 2016 | NPR · The Baltimore group makes body music influenced by Saharan desert blues, krautrock, jazz and the band Television. Watch a rhythmic cascade of glitchy shapes and letters in the video for “Truthers.”
 

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