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

AFP/Getty Images
September 29, 2016 | NPR · Most Americans say they should always have the option to drive themselves. That’s despite the fact the average driver is excited by driverless technology.
 

September 29, 2016 | NPR · Steve Inskeep talks with NPR’s David Schaper about what might have caused a commuter train to overshoot the terminal Thursday morning. At least 100 people were injured, and one death was reported.
 

Alexey Krasaven/Flickr
September 29, 2016 | NPR · Most potential Alzheimer’s drugs are tested on mice. But rats may be a better choice because they seem to have a type of memory that’s more like ours, and also are highly vulnerable to Alzheimer’s.
 

Arts & Life

HBO
September 29, 2016 | FA · HBO’s latest series is a high-tech theme park, whose visitors get to live out their wildest dreams of being in the Old West. Critic John Powers calls Westworld an “unexpectedly resonant show.”
 

September 29, 2016 | NPR · Steven Price’s hefty new novel stars William Pinkerton, whose father founded the famous detective agency that bears his name, plus a colorful cast of Victorian ne’er-do-wells. And a severed head.
 

Netflix
September 29, 2016 | NPR · Cheo Coker was a well-respected journalist chronicling hip hop and pop before he moved to film and TV. His latest gig is as showrunner on Marvel’s highly anticipated black superhero series, Luke Cage.
 

Music

Courtesy of the artist.
September 29, 2016 | NPR · The latest album by musician Roberto Lange mixes his unmistakable keyboard sounds with stripped-down dance beats and lyrics waiting to be assigned a narrative from your own life.
 

Courtesy of the artist
September 29, 2016 | NPR · A three-disc set, due out Dec. 2, features highlights from her 2014 concert series at London’s Hammersmith Apollo theater. It was her first set of live performances in 35 years.
 

KCRW
September 29, 2016 | KCRW · The song is from the jazz and pop singer-songwriter’s new album, Day Breaks. Here, Jones and her band play it live at KCRW.
 

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