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Galactic kidneys

Missy Makinia donated her kidney to whoever might need it. Her transplant surgeon — Josh Mezrich — invited Shannon into his operating room to see firsthand what it takes to remove and transport a human kidney.

The many Alma Mahlers

Alma Mahler inspired symphonies, poems and paintings. She was lover and muse to some of the most celebrated artists of the early 20th century. Novelist Mary Sharratt thinks she would have been a great artist in her own right – if she hadn’t been born a woman. 

The creative mind

Novelist Siri Hustvedt knows how the creative process feels. Neuroscientist Heather Berlin knows what it looks like in the brain. Together with Steve, they explore the emerging science of creativity.

Person at the Institute for American Indian Arts.

A wide range of writers — now celebrated with commercial and critical success — work to celebrate an evolving literary canon without limiting it. 

A powwow in 2015 at the Institute for American Indian Arts.

Tommy Orange's debut novel “There There” was one of the big breakout books of 2018. He told Steve that with his novel, he hoped to better represent modern Native Americans that have grown up living in cities.

flee or stay our social media platforms?

A pioneering computer scientist thinks we should delete our accounts, while an internet ethicist argues we should fix the system rather than abandon it entirely.

internet of nonsense

Viral videos and memes are good for a laugh — but how often do you think about where they came from? Digital culture scholar Whitney Phillips says the internet is both playful and mean. And we’re not good at telling the difference.

Data streams

Yuval Noah Harari is the big-thinking historian who warns that whoever owns the data owns the future. He told Steve Paulson that it’s become the most important resource in the world.

Wheelchair

Writer Haddayr Copley-Woods says she's been trying to figure out how to deal with unsolicited help since she was first diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. For the helpers, it’s a nice thing to do. For her, it’s patronizing.

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