An Evolution

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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

On today’s show: Jamie Fellner, of Human Rights Watch, talks about a new report on the soaring number of aging prisoners in the United States. Acclaimed Chinese dancer Jin Xing discusses her performance at the Joyce Theater and her first appearance in New York dancing as a woman. A History of the World in 100 Objects continues with a look at the Rhind mathematical papyrus. Adam Johnson talks about his latest novel, The Orphan Master’s Son. Plus, two biographers turn their attention to the evolution of the term “addiction.”

Old Behind Bars

Jamie Fellner, a Senior Advisor, U.S. Program, Human Rights Watch, talks about the soaring number of aging prisoners. The Human Rights Watch report “Old Behind Bars: The Aging Prison Population in the United States” documents the dramatic increases in the number of older U.S. prisoners and the need for the prison system to adapt.


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Jin Xing Dancing at the Joyce

The acclaimed Chinese dancer Jin Xing discusses her performances at the Joyce Theater January 31 – February 5. Xing Jing was born a man in China in 1967 and began dancing at age 6, later joining the national ballet company, traveling the world dancing and training with Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham. Then Xing Jing decided to undergo a sex change. She founded the Jin Xing Dance Theatre Shanghai and is dancing in New York the first time ever as a woman.

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Adam Johnson on His Novel, The Orphan Master’s Son

Adam Johnson describes his latest novel, The Orphan Master’s Son, which follows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and spy chambers of North Korea, the world’s most mysterious dictatorship. Part thriller, part story of innocence lost, part story of romantic love, the novel is a portrait of a world hidden from view: a North Korea rife with hunger, corruption, and casual cruelty but also camaraderie, beauty, and love.

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Howard Markel and Amanda Smith discuss Addiction

Howard Markel and Amanda Smith discuss the evolution of the term “addiction.” Howard Markel's An Anatomy of Addiction: Sigmund Freud, William Halsted, and the Miracle Drug Cocaine traces the story of two Sigmund Freud and William Halsted, a New York surgeon. The book analyzes their powerful addiction to cocaine and how they ultimately changed the world in spite of it—or because of it. One became the father of psychoanalysis; the other of modern surgery. Amanda Smith is the author of Newspaper Titan: The Infamous Life and Monumental Times of Cissy Patterson, which touches upon the drinking life of Patterson's daughter Felicia, who, in 1943, was one of the first women to enter Alcoholics Anonymous.

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