They say every generation gets the science fiction it deserves, built around its biggest and most primal fears. Well, maybe they don't say that β but they should. In the '50s, all those movies about mutant giant monsters going berserk were a way for us to channel our fears about the atomic bomb. In the same way, in that same decade, all those body-snatcher movies were about being unable to tell friend from foe, or trust even your closest loved ones β the perfect paranoid parable for the Communist witch-hunting era.
Jim Lauderdale's new album is called I'm A Song, a title that suggests his deep immersion in songwriting. His compositions have been covered by singers ranging from George Strait to Solomon Burke, from the Dixie Chicks to Elvis Costello. Since his debut album in 1991, he's recorded more than 25 albums for a variety of record companies, and I'm A Song contains a generous 20 songs. Rock critic Ken Tucker says Lauderdale's career is at once admirable and somewhat puzzling.
Every year, more than half of the honeybee hives in the United States are taken to California to pollinate the state's almond crop.
Biologist Laurence Packer says this illustrates both our dependence on honeybees to pollinate many plants people rely on for food and the devastating decline in the domestic honeybee population in recent years.
Americans put a lot of stock in being likable. Pollsters take surveys of the president's likability. Test screenings check whether we like the characters in movies. And when a literary novelist like Claire Messud mocks the notion that fictional characters should be someone we'd like to be friends with, writers of popular fiction attack her for snootiness.
Late last year, hackers breached Target's data security and stole information from millions of credit cards. Brian Krebs, who writes about cybercrime and computer security for his blog, Krebs on Security, broke the story. A few days later, he broke the story of a credit card breach at Neiman Marcus.
Krebs spends time in the dark areas of the Internet, where hackers steal data off credit cards and sell the information in online underground stores.
This is FRESH AIR. The actor Meshach Taylor died on June 28 at the age of 67. We're going to remember him by listening back to our 1990 interview. Taylor was best known for his role on the TV sitcom "Designing Women" playing Anthony Bouvier, an ex-convict who's a deliveryman for a company of women interior designers in Atlanta. He eventually became their partner in the company.
The Westerlies is a quartet of young New York brass players who know each other from school days in Seattle. Their debut album is a set of pieces by Seattle-based composer and improviser Wayne Horvitz. Jazz critic Kevin Whitehead says Horvitz and the Westerlies are a perfect fit.
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Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week: