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Latest Episode / Wednesday, April 23, 2014 Edit This

Flash Boys by Michael Lewis and French Songs by Carla Bruni

Andy Borowitz fills in for Leonard. He talks to Michael Lewis about the world of flash trading on Wall Street. Singer, songwriter, and former First Lady of France Carla Bruni discusses her latest album, “Little French Songs.” Music critic and reporter Joel Selvin on the little-known story of rhythm and blues songwriter and record producer Bert Berns. A mother talks about raising a deaf son and what she learned about the science of hearing. Julene Bair talks about trying to preserve her family’s Kansas farm to pass on to future generations.

Segments and Articles

A Journey through the Science of Sound and Language

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

When journalist Lydia Denworth's third son, Alex, was nearly two, he was diagnosed with significant hearing loss that was likely getting worse, a discovery that left her reeling. Her book I Can Hear You Whisper: An Intimate Journey through the Science of Sound and Language is an investigation into the science of hearing, child language acquisition, neuroplasticity, brain development, and Deaf culture, as a mother strives to find answers for her deaf son.

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Preserving a Family Farm and the Environment

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Julene Bair talks about inheriting part of a farming empire in Kansas's beautiful Smoky Valley and her hopes to preserve it for the next generation. She also has to come to terms with the ecological harm the Bair Farm has done: each growing season her family—like other irrigators—pumps over two hundred million gallons out of the rapidly depleting Ogallala aquifer. Her new memoir is The Ogallala Road.

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Microseconds Matter: Michael Lewis on High-Frequency Trading on Wall Street

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A small group of Wall Street guys have figured out that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders and that, post-financial crisis, the markets have become less free and more controlled by the big Wall Street banks. Michael Lewis explains flash trading and looks at the high-tech predator stalking equity markets. His new book Flash Boys shines light into the darkest corners of the financial world and tells the story of people who have somehow preserved a moral sense in an environment where you don’t get paid for that; they have revealed an institutionalized injustice and are willing to go to war to fix it.

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Carla Bruni's "Little French Songs"

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Singer, songwriter, and former first lady of France, Carla Bruni discusses her latest album, “Little French Songs,” written and performed in French, English and Italian. Bruni embarks on a rare North American concert tour that stops in New York City at Town Hall on April 24.

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Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Music critic and reporter Joel Selvin gives an account of the golden age of rhythm and blues of the early 1960s and the tragic story of songwriter and record producer Bert Berns, whose heart was damaged by rheumatic fever when he was young, and he wasn’t expected to live to see 21. Selvin's new book Here Comes the Night: The Dark Soul of Bert Berns and the Dirty Business of Rhythm and Blues is about Berns's career working alongside all the greats of the era—Jerry Leiber and Mike Stroller, Burt Bacharach and Phil Spector, Gerry Goffin and Carole King, and anyone who was anyone in New York rhythm and blues.

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Getting To Know Edward Snowden

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sarah Ellison, Vanity Fair contributing editor, discusses the magazine’s exclusive interview with former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden about his motivation for leaking tens of thousands of secret documents. “The Snowden Saga” appears in the May 2014 issue of Vanity Fair.

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Kevin Spacey on Richard III and Francis Underwood

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kevin Spacey discusses collaborating with director Sam Mendes and the Bridge Project Company to document their staging of Richard III across three continents and in over 200 performances, revealing some of the most intimate moments behind the scenes of the play. The documentary “NOW: In the Wings on a World Stage” begins in 2011 at London’s Old Vic Theatre, when 20 American and British actors accepted the challenge of performing in a new venue in a different city every few weeks. The odyssey ends 10 months later in Brooklyn. “NOW: In the Wings on a World Stage” opens May 2 at IFC Center and will be available for download on www.nowthefilm.com.

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Idina Menzel Returns to Broadway

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tony Award-winner Idina Menzel discusses her role in the musical “If/Then,” with director Michael Greif and Brian Yorkey, who wrote the book and lyrics. “If/Then,” is an original new musical set at the intersection of choice and chance, where the road you take meets the road you didn’t. It’s playing at the Richard Rodgers Theatre.

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Guest Picks: Brian Yorkey

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Brian Yorkey, the lyricist and book writer for "If/Then," was on the Leonard Lopate Show recently to talk abouy the new Broadway musical. he also told us what he's listening to and what he's a fan of that you might not expect.

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Guest Picks: Michael Greif

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Michael Greif was on the Leonard Lopate Show to talk about directing the new Broadway musical, "If/Then." He also told us what he's been reading, listening to, and watching recently.

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Shakespeare in America

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Shakespeare scholar James Shapiro reveals the ways Shakespeare has influenced the United States’ literary heritage. His anthology Shakespeare in America reveals how, for over two centuries, the plays have been a prism through which crucial American issues—revolution, slavery, war, social justice—were debated and understood. American statesmen and presidents from John Adams to Bill Clinton offer their own testimonies to Shakespeare’s profound and enduring influence.

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Powerful People: Edward Snowden, Idina Menzel, Shakespeare and Kevin Spacey

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Anna Sale fills in for Leonard Lopate. On today’s show: Vanity Fair’s Sarah Ellison talks about interviewing former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and why he says he leaked thousands of secret documents. Idina Menzel, director Michael Greif, and lyricist Brian Yorkey talk about the new Broadway musical “If/Then.” James Shapiro explains how William Shakespeare has influenced American literature. And Kevin Spacey, artistic director of London’s Old Vic, talks about the Bridge Project and traveling across three continents to perform “Richard III.”

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Tributes: Rubin (Hurricane) Carter

Monday, April 21, 2014

Rubin Carter, otherwise known as Hurricane, had a powerful left hook and a ferocious, mesmerizing presence in and out of the ring. But his promise as a star prizefighter was cut short after he was wrongly convicted of murder, twice. He was imprisoned for 19 years before the charges were finally dismissed. His life became the subject of the 1999 movie “The Hurricane,” starring Denzel Washington. Carter told The New York Times shortly after his second conviction in 1977, “They can incarcerate my body but never my mind.” Carter died Sunday, April 20, of prostate cancer. He and his biographer James Hirsch spoke with Leonard on January 11, 2000.

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My Father the Marijuana Smuggler

Monday, April 21, 2014

Tony Dokoupil recounts his father’s rise from hippie pot dealer to multi-ton smuggler, and along the way tells the larger history of marijuana and untangles the controversies still stirring furious debate today. His memoir The Last Pirate: A Father, His Son, and the Golden Age of Marijuana is a chronicle of pot-smoking, drug-taking America from the perspective of the generation that grew up in the aftermath of the Great Stoned Age.

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The Poverty Beat

Monday, April 21, 2014

For this week’s installment of our series Strapped: A Look at Poverty in America, Dale Maharidge, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Columbia Journalism School professor, and Greg Kaufmann, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress and former poverty correspondent for The Nation, discuss reporting on poverty and how poverty is portrayed—and why it’s under-covered—in the media. Kaufman is launching TalkPoverty.org on May 19.

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Can 23andMe "Solve Health"?

Monday, April 21, 2014

The company 23andMe has attracted the ire of the FDA for offering at home-genetic testing for dozens of complex diseases. The company has already extracted and analyzed the DNA of 650,000 people, making it one of the biggest genetic banks in the world. New York magazine contributing editor Lisa Miller talks about speaking with the company’s founder, Anne Wojcicki, about her quest to “solve health” through big data analysis of her customers genetic information.

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Strong Convictions: Unshakable Faith and Covering Poverty

Monday, April 21, 2014

Anna Sale fills in for Leonard Lopate. On today’s show: Journalist Will Storr discusses tracking down climate change skeptics, devout creationists, and Holocaust deniers for his book, The Unpersuadables. Our Strapped series continues with a look at how the media reports on poverty and why the issue remains largely under-covered. Tony Dokoupil tells how his father went from small-time pot dealer to smuggling multiple tons of marijuana in the 1980s, exploding his life in the process.

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Deniers, Believers, and the Enemies of Science

Monday, April 21, 2014

While excavating fossils in Australia with a celebrity creationist, journalist Will Storr asked himself a simple question: Why don’t facts work? He set off on a search for people who cling to far-fetched stories, in spite of overwhelming evidence against them. In his new book, The Unpersuadables: Adventures with the Enemies of Science, Storr talks to creationists, tours Holocaust sites with famed denier David Irving and a band of neo-Nazis, experiences “past life regression” hypnosis, and investigates the tragic life and death of a woman who believed her parents were high priests in a baby-eating cult.

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I Feel Your Pain: All About Empathy

Friday, April 18, 2014

Paul Bloom, professor of psychology and cognitive science at Yale University, and Leslie Jamison, author of The Empathy Exams, and tell us what empathy is, how we develop it, what happens when people don’t develop it, and empathy’s role in human psychology, behavior, and relationships.

If you have questions about empathy, leave it as a comment, below!

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Feeling Overwhelmed?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Brigid Schulte, a staff writer for The Washington Post, wonders: Are our brains, our partners, our culture, and our bosses making it impossible for us to experience anything but “contaminated time”? In Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time she looks at the stresses that have eroded our leisure time and tries to find ways to put the pieces of our over-scheduled lives back together. Schulte speaks to neuroscientists, sociologists, and hundreds of working parents to tease out the factors contributing to our collective sense of being overwhelmed, seeking insights, answers, and inspiration.

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