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Trash and Treasure

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Thursday, April 26, 2012

On today’s show: Edward Humes traces what happens to the 102 tons of trash that the average American produces after it’s picked up from the curb. Andre Gregory talks about Louis Malle’s last film, which captured a performance of “Uncle Vanya” staged at a crumbling 42nd Street theater in the 1990s. A History of the World in 100 Objects looks at a two-headed serpent mosaic from Aztec Mexico. On Backstory, we look at the controversy surrounding the Texas State Board of Education’s negotiations about what goes into the state’s textbooks, and why it affects the rest of the 49 states. And we'll find out why privacy advocates are worried about a new internet surveillance bill known as CISPA.

Trail of Trash

The average American produces 102 tons of garbage in a lifetime. Pulitzer Prize–winning author Edward Humes looks at what’s in that trash; how much we pay for it; how we manage to create so much of it; and how some families, communities, and even nations are finding a way transform waste into energy and prosperity. He investigates the trail of trash in Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Garbage.

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Andre Gregory on “Vanya on 42nd Street”

Theater director Andre Gregory talks about putting on a series of spare, private performances of Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya” in a crumbling Manhattan playhouse in the 1990s, with actors Wallace Shawn, Julianne Moore, Brooke Smith, and George Gaynes. The project became the film “Vanya on 42nd Street,” directed by Louis Malle, which was recently released on Blu-ray and DVD for Criterion.

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Backstory: The Fight over Texas Textbooks

In 2009, religious conservatives launched a campaign in Texas to change how evolution was described in the state’s science textbooks. Director Scott Thurman talks about his documentary, “The Revisionaries,” which chronicles the fight over what would go into the state’s textbooks and its impact beyond the state’s borders. We’re also joined by Kathy Miller, the president of the Texas Freedom Network, which has worked to defeat initiatives backed by religious conservatives. “The Revisionaries” is being screened at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival.

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Backstory: The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, is a controversial surveillance bill currently making it ways way through the House of Representatives. Declan McCullagh, chief political correspondent and senior writer at CNET, explains the bill, and why privacy advocates are so alarmed by it.

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Guest Picks: Andre Gregory

Director Andre Gregory was on the Lopate Show recently to discuss Louis Malle's last film, "Uncle Vanya on 42nd Street," which captured a 1990s production of Chekhov's play that was directed by Mr. Gregory. He also told us what's on his reading list these days!

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Guest Picks: Rodney King

Rodney King was on the Lopate Show (along with his fiancée Cynthia Kelley) recently to talk about what happened to him in 1991, when 4 Los Angeles police officers assaulted him, and what's happened to him since. He also told us what he's been watching and listening to recently.

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