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

AP
September 16, 2014 | NPR · By 2017, the two American companies are expected to take over a job that NASA has relied upon Russia to perform: shuttling astronauts to the International Space Station.
 

Courtesy of Samaritan's Purse
September 16, 2014 | NPR · The doctor spoke of “the horror that this disease visits upon its victims” and told a joint Senate committee hearing that he favors U.S. military intervention to fight it.
 

September 16, 2014 | NPR · The number of deaths of children under 5 has dropped by 49 percent since 1990. There are many reasons why, from better vaccines and health workers to “kangaroo mother care.”
 

Arts & Life

September 16, 2014 | NPR · Robert Siegel speaks with The New Republic editor Franklin Foer about the new book Insurrections of the Mind, a collection of seminal essays from the magazine’s first 100 years.
 

AFP/Getty Images
September 16, 2014 | NPR · Lawrence Wright’s new book examines the 1978 peace deal President Carter brokered between Egypt and Israel. During the tense summit, Carter had “never been angrier,” Wright says.
 

Fox
September 16, 2014 | NPR · Fox brings two comedies back Tuesday night that are traversing the tricky matter of central romantic plots in different ways.
 

Music

September 16, 2014 | NPR · One of the important thinkers in present-day jazz is taking his cue from the 1920′s on his latest project. Pianist Jason Moran has released All Rise: A Joyful Elegy for Fats Waller.
 

Courtesy of the artists
September 16, 2014 | NPR · On this week’s episode, we share new music from the producer Daniel Lanois, a previously unreleased track from a Bedhead box set, solo material from Phil Selway, and recent discovery Niagara.
 

Courtesy of the artist
September 16, 2014 | WXPN · The singer-songwriter returns to the show to play songs from his new two-disc retrospective.
 

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