Ari Shapiro

Before the Woolsey Fire raged near Malibu, Calif., in November, hundreds of bikers gathered each weekend at the Rock Store for pancakes or a cup of coffee before riding through the Santa Monica Mountains on the twisty road called "The Snake."

After the fire swept through the area, not much was left standing – except, somewhat miraculously, the popular biker bar.

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

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Carmen Gonzalez is 17 years old, and her life took a turn a couple of years ago when a community newspaper called Boyle Heights Beat showed up at her high school in Los Angeles. They were recruiting students to work as reporters.

When Los Angeles Times photographer Wally Skalij photographed a tiny owl sitting on the beach in Malibu as the flames of the Woolsey Fire burned in the background, he had no idea how many people would connect with the image.

In a windowless classroom at the John J. Moran medium-security prison in Cranston, R.I., three men sit around a table to share how and when they began using opioids.

For Josh, now 39, it was when he was just 13 years old. "I got grounded for a week in my house, so I grabbed a bundle of heroin and just sat inside and sniffed it all week."

"I started using heroin at 19," says Ray, now 23. "I was shooting it. It was with a group of friends that I was working with, doing roof work."

Thousands of content moderators work around the clock to ensure that Facebook, YouTube, Google and other online platforms remain free of toxic content. That can include trolling, sexually explicit photos or videos, violent threats and more.

Unemployment is at nearly 50-year lows and the economy has been adding jobs for 97 straight months. But, 10 years after the financial crisis, the recovery hasn't reached everywhere.

Three members of a Michigan family had all worked at a General Motors plant near Detroit before it closed in 2010, as the economy and the auto industry collapsed around them. All three lost their jobs at the factory. And their lives changed in unexpected ways.

Don Skidmore: GM plant closing was 'like losing your life'

You may know Peter Sagal as the host of the NPR news quiz, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me! which just celebrated its 20th anniversary. But he is not here to talk about the show.

He came to talk about his other pursuit — one that pays even less than public radio.

Michael Caine, 85, has been filling our movie screens for a half-century.

His breakout role came in 1966, as the callous heartthrob in Alfie. More than 100 movies later, Caine is better known these days for his supporting roles, such as the fatherly butler in Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy.

John Jay Osborn is a screenwriter and novelist who often mines his own life for material.

In 1970, he based the book The Paper Chase on his time in law school — he is also a law professor. His new novel is based on an experience he and his wife had together over 30 years ago: They went to marriage counseling.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Jason Logan is constantly looking at the ground.

"What I like to do is just walk really slowly," he says, eyes down. He's in a dusty, chain-link fence-lined alley in downtown Washington, D.C., with broken bottles and chunks of concrete scattered about. It's right off one of the city's major streets, and the buzz of traffic and wail of sirens fill the air.

"Part of what I do and part of what I'm excited by is just opening up people's eyes to what's going on at their feet," Logan says, scanning. "Kind of through the lens of: Could I make an ink out of that?"

Unlabeled stimulants in soft drinks. Formaldehyde in meat and milk. Borax — the stuff used to kill ants! — used as a common food preservative. The American food industry was once a wild and dangerous place for the consumer.

Deborah Blum's new book, The Poison Squad, is a true story about how Dr. Harvey Washington Wiley, named chief chemist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1883, conducted a rather grisly experiment on human volunteers to help make food safer for consumers — and his work still echoes on today.

Pages