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NPR

Dog-Gone Genetics: A Few Genes Control Fido's Looks

Humans have complicated genetic structures — not so dogs. Almost every physical trait in canines is controlled by just a few genes, which means custom-breeding a dog is only a matter of flipping a few genetic switches.
NPR

Brad Pitt: On Life, Movies And 'Moneyball'

The veteran actor has played a Nazi-hunter, a vampire, a cowboy hitchhiker and the outlaw Jesse James. In his latest film, Brad Pitt plays the manager of baseball's Oakland A's. He tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross why the part interested him and what it's like to live life in the public eye.
NPR

Remembering Bandleader And Producer Johnny Otis

Bandleader and producer Johnny Otis, who launched and then nurtured the careers of many of R&B's greatest singers, died Tuesday at his home near Los Angeles. He was 90. Fresh Air remembers Otis with excerpts from a 1989 interview.
NPR

Using A New Voice To Enjoy Life After Cancer

In 1999, Rene Foreman was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Surgery saved her life; it also took her voice box. To speak, she now uses an electrolarynx, a small device that produces an electronic voice. And as Foreman tells her daughter, life's been different — and better — ever since.
NPR

A New Book Examines 'The Real Romney'

Longtime Boston Globe reporters Michael Kranish and Scott Helman start their biography of Mitt Romney by examining his ancestors, many of whom played crucial roles in the development of the Mormon faith. The Real Romney also examines the candidate's political beliefs and his career in private equity.
NPR

The Man Who Studies The Fungus Among Us

Botanist Nicholas Money's book Mushroom takes readers inside the world of the fungal organisms that appear overnight on lawns, are occasionally poisonous and appear in everything from Alice in Wonderland to some lifesaving medications.
NPR

Michael Fassbender: Portraying An Addict's 'Shame'

In the past year, actor Michael Fassbender has played a mutant villain in X-Men: First Class, psychoanalyst Carl Jung in A Dangerous Method, Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre and a sex addict in Shame. He discusses several of these roles, as well as his part in Inglourious Basterds.
NPR

Writing About The Midwestern Muslim Experience

Ayad Akhtar's debut novel, American Dervish, tells the story of a Pakistani-American boy in Milwaukee coming to terms with his religion and identity. Akhtar drew on his own experiences exploring the Muslim faith as a teenager growing up in Wisconsin.
NPR

Legal Scholar: Jim Crow Still Exists In America

Michelle Alexander says that many of the gains of the civil rights movement have been undermined by the mass incarceration of blacks in the war on drugs.

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