Ari Shapiro

In 2016, Amitav Ghosh was working on his novel Gun Island, and imagined a scene in which a wildfire was advancing toward a Los Angeles museum. About six months later, that scenario played out in real life, as the Skirball fire burned near The Getty Center in December 2017. Ghosh says he felt "completely shaken."

"My entire life is in ruins."

The first line in Sarah Parcak's new book might come off a bit bleak, but the archaeologist means this literally, not figuratively. In fact, she's found studying thousands of years of human history has actually given her hope, or at least some hope. "Humans are very resilient," she says. "And in spite of all the terrible things that we have done to each other, I think we're 51% good. So I try to hold onto that, especially being the parent of a young child."

Electric cars are all over the roads these days. But what about electric planes?

Air travel currently accounts for only about 2% of global carbon emissions. But it's expected to grow in the next century, and clean air travel is seen as a key part of slowing global warming.

Edith Magnusson, the hard-working heroine in The Lager Queen of Minnesota is actually a composite of some of the women closest to author J. Ryan Stradal — his own mother and grandmothers. Stradal wasn't seeing the strong, Midwestern women who raised him reflected well in contemporary fiction. So he decided to write those characters himself.

"Sometimes when they are represented they can be oversimplified or caricatured ... " he says. "I know these people too well to do that. They contain multitudes just like everyone does — only they don't toot their own horn about it."

Before writing his first book, author Daniel Nieh was an international model and a Chinese interpreter.

Those previous lives shine through in Nieh's debut novel, Beijing Payback.

"As a model and as a translator, you're always behind the scenes," Nieh says in an interview. "You know, you get backstage, you're a fly on the wall, you're there to be seen or be heard but maybe not to speak. And so you get to witness all kinds of different bizarre situations."

When Steven Hoelscher first came across an essay with Langston Hughes' name on it, he says it felt "totally random." Hoelscher, a professor at University of Texas at Austin, was doing research in the archives of an investigative journalist named John L. Spivak.

The FX show Pose is back for a second season. It's about ball culture in New York City in the 1980s and early 90s — balls are spaces where trans women and gay men walk the runway, dance, and yes, pose, competing for trophies and bragging rights.

The show feels authentic because the creator Ryan Murphy filled his cast and crew with people who grew up in this world. One of those people is Twiggy Pucci Garçon, who grew up in Virginia and competed at her first ball in the early 2000s. She started as the show's ball consultant and is now the runway choreographer.

It may come as no surprise that a strong majority of Americans support a wealth tax — a higher tax rate for a small number of millionaires and billionaires.

But what might be a surprise is that some of those millionaires and billionaires are calling for a wealth tax themselves.

Abigail Disney is one of those people.

Her grandfather was Roy Disney, co-founder of the multibillion-dollar entertainment conglomerate that bears her family name — though she currently has no formal role with the company.

Marijuana Pepsi's mother told her that her birth name would take her places.

She wasn't wrong.

After a life spent being mocked for having an unusual name, the 46-year-old seized on her experience to earn a Ph.D. in higher education leadership. Her dissertation focused on unusual names, naturally.

As of last week, Marijuana Pepsi is now Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Raphael Bob-Waksberg is best known as the creator of a talking horse who, following his glory days as a TV sitcom star, struggles with depression, alcohol abuse and the general ego death of being a Hollywood has-been. The horse is the title character of the adult animated comedy series BoJack Horseman.

Nearly two decades ago, Apple announced its new jukebox software. The company called it iTunes. Today, during its annual World Wide Developers Conference, Apple has announced that in its new operating system, iTunes is going away, to be replaced by a Music app, a Podcast app and a TV app instead.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

When Hurricane Michael struck the Panhandle of Florida last October, Keith and Susan Koppelman were huddled in the bathroom of their small, two-bedroom rental trailer just north of Panama City.

"When the winds came we both started praying," says Keith, 49. "I thought, 'Oh my God, this is a big storm.' "

After four hours, they finally emerged to survey the damage. The storm's 160-mile-per-hour winds had torn off the porch and peeled away the trailer's tin siding.

Hurricane season begins June 1, but the Florida panhandle is still reeling from Hurricane Michael, which made landfall last October and caused an ongoing housing crisis.

Mary Miller grudgingly admits that she sees a bit of herself in the main character of her new novel Biloxi. Louis McDonald Jr. is 63, recently retired and, the author says, "really unlikable." He's unhappy with where he's landed in life, has driven away the people he used to be close to, and now his closest confidante is a dog he brought home on a whim.

Feast Your Eyes is the name of a new book that tells the story of a young woman — Lillian Preston — who ventures to New York City in the 1950s, absolutely determined to be a photographer. The book is set up as if it's a catalogue accompanying her posthumous show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The supposed catalogue describes 118 photos — but we don't see a single one, because Lillian Preston is fictional, and entirely believable. She's the creation of author Myla Goldberg, who says that while Lillian is fictional, a lot of her photos are real.

It's the stuff of a Hollywood blockbuster: Five hundred years ago, a son of Christopher Columbus assembled one of the greatest libraries the world has ever known. The volumes inside were mostly lost to history. Now, a precious book summarizing the contents of the library has turned up in a manuscript collection in Denmark.

Our Planet is the kind of nature show where every image could be a screen saver: sweeping, dramatic landscapes are full of colorful animals.

Daviz Simango, mayor of Beira, Mozambique, thought that his coastal city was prepared for cyclones.

In 2012, the city built a new drainage system and wave barriers with $120 million from the World Bank. The idea was to help Beira withstand the rising seas and increased storms that experts predict will accompany global climate change.

Then Cyclone Idai hit.

In his State of the Union address this year, President Trump announced an initiative "to eliminate the HIV epidemic in the United States within 10 years."

The man who pitched the president on this idea is Alex Azar, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

One young woman is walking to find work so she can send money back to Venezuela for a nephew who has leukemia.

Another is traveling with four of her five kids, in search of food for her family.

As another family hikes along, the husband walks ahead to hide his tears from his children.

Author Nathan Englander was raised in an observant Jewish family and now considers himself secular. His stories and novels are full of the kinds of details about Judaism that you can only capture if you've known a community from the inside. His latest book is called kaddish.com, and it's a satire about what separates the doubters from the devout.

In The Undefeated, artist Kadir Nelson illustrates generations of black American heroes "emerging from the shadows."

"It begins with Jesse Owens literally jumping out of the darkness into the light ..." Nelson says. "By the time we get to toward the middle and end of the book those shadows have disappeared and the brilliance and excellence of the subjects have completely emerged into the bright light."

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KORVA COLEMAN, HOST:

We're going to turn now to a different border - the one shared by Colombia and Venezuela. ALL THINGS CONSIDERED host Ari Shapiro has been reporting from there all week. And he joins us on the line from Colombia's capital, Bogota. Hi, Ari.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And our co-host Ari Shapiro is reporting this week from Bogota, Colombia, where he joins us now. Hey there, Ari.

ARI SHAPIRO, BYLINE: Hi, Audie. Hey, Audie, would you do me a favor? I want you to pull out your phone.

CORNISH: OK.

Williams Cancino fled his post as a Venezuelan special forces official to neighboring Colombia last month. Now he is restless to get back to his home country to help overthrow the government of Nicolás Maduro.

"I think it's time to act," says Cancino, 27, at a park in the Colombian border town of Villa del Rosario. "It's time to organize ourselves, the soldiers that know how to fight."

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Ending HIV transmission in America within the next decade — a stated goal of the Trump Administration — isn't a question of coming up with new medication. The medicines to prevent and treat HIV infections already exist.

Lindy West did not set out to make an after school special. The new Hulu show Shrill, based on her 2016 memoir about being feminist and body positive, is not "all about the message," she says.

"The reality of being a fat person isn't that every moment of your life is about being fat," she says. "It's that you're trying to live the same kind of complicated, exciting, fun, beautiful, difficult life as everyone else."

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