Arts & Culture

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To understand how heroin took hold in rural America, you need to go back two decades and look at the surge of prescription drug use in Portsmouth, Ohio, according to journalist Sam Quinones.

A Rust Belt town that had fallen on hard times by the 1990s, Portsmouth became a place where doctors dispensed prescription drugs more freely than anywhere else in the country, Quinones writes in his new book, Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic.

The nation's seventh president was a man of legendary toughness who made his name in America's second war against the British — and he's someone NPR's Steve Inskeep has come to know well: Andrew Jackson.

About 80 percent of Americans now live in urban areas, and more and more of us are growing food in cities as well.

But where's an urban farmer to turn for a soil test or when pests infiltrate the fruit orchard?

Shirin Neshat, the most famous contemporary artist to come from Iran, is playing with her rambunctious Labrador puppy in her airy Manhattan apartment. "Ashi, Ashi, come here!" she calls.

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Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Performance artist and sculptor Chris Burden died last week of cancer. He was 69. Today, his final completed work opens to the public at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, or LACMA. NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports.

General Physics Labratory / Flickr

Not long ago, the idea that you could design a car that could drive itself and its passengers from place to place safely was something out of science fiction films. But the idea has gone from drawing boards to a prototype to the road.

At least two companies have set early versions of the self-driving car out for a spin – Audi, the German maker of some high-end cars and SUVs, and Google.

In a complicated legal battle that touches on questions of free speech, copyright law and personal safety, a federal appeals court has overturned an order that had forced the Google-owned YouTube to remove an anti-Muslim video from its website last year.

From the self-checkout aisle of the grocery store to the sports section of the newspaper, robots and computer software are increasingly taking the place of humans in the workforce. Silicon Valley executive Martin Ford says that robots, once thought of as a threat to only manufacturing jobs, are poised to replace humans as teachers, journalists, lawyers and others in the service sector.

whitehorsemusic.ca

The Canadian band Whitehorse is known for its innovative use of looping technology when it plays live – but their performance for us was stripped down and acoustic:

Keep an eye out for the full interview with Whitehorse to air in the coming weeks.

Poem: Magician

May 18, 2015
aquarian_insight / Flickr

I can divine these brambles.
Or these gnarled flowers at my feet.
They obscure my heels as I
float on yellow horizons.
Tip the diagonal of my arms into
the numbers of years set down like dust.
I can, you see, lead you somewhere,
over rock and highland green.
I can conjure stone from earth
to make a window to another world.
Come with me. Take the tips of my fingers.
Interlace the leaves and set down
your sword, your wand.
You have no need for all the people
who make up your mind.

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