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Can a computer write a sonnet that's indistinguishable from what a human can produce? Computer scientists at Dartmouth College tried to answer that question with a competition that NPR's Joe Palca reported on as part of his series, Joe's Big Idea.

Do we even need July through December? For a year just reaching its midpoint, 2016 has already been the most. Heartbreaking, surprising, idiotic, ecstatic, life-giving, exhausting. With apologies to whatever happened in the first week of January, the wild mood swings of the last six months started for music lovers the weekend when David Bowie released his final masterpiece, Blackstar, and then disappeared into eternity two days later, leaving us all gasping.

(Be warned, intrepid reader: This story contains loads of spoilers regarding every episode from this season's run of Game of Thrones, including Sunday's season finale.)

This was the season that Game of Thrones seriously changed its game.

Nowhere was that more evident than in Sunday's season finale, the last of 10 episodes that pulled together far-flung storylines and characters spread across the show's mythical seven kingdoms — and beyond.

The Toast — funny and literary feminist website, gleeful kneecapper of high culture, omphalos of cheerful misandry and habitat of the rare courteous and informative comments section — is closing.

It was April 15, 2009, in the depths of the financial crisis. Elizabeth Warren was backstage at The Daily Show, about to make her national TV debut, but her head was not in the clouds.

It was in the toilet. She was throwing up.

"I had stage fright — gut-wrenching, stomach-turning, bile-filled stage fright," she would later write.

The music on the video sounds familiar, but the words definitely aren't.

It's the megahit "Call Me Maybe," by Carly Rae Jepsen, but with different lyrics:

"Once you come into my house you will have no life. Cause you'll be a wife. You'll have no, no life."

For the last couple of months, we've brought you our series, Hanging On, about the increasing pressure on the middle class in 2016.

Now, we bring you Hanging On: 2029.

Imaginary animals dance across the panels of artist Hieronymus Bosch's paintings: There are snails with human legs, fish with human arms and at least one spider-legged peacock. Since his death in 1516, Bosch has been called "the devil's painter," and he has been hailed as a psychedelic seer born too soon. On this 500th anniversary year, two museums have dedicated major international exhibitions to the artist, and there's a massive scholarly revamp of all that is known and thought about him.

On-air challenge: Every answer this week consists of two familiar phrases in the form "___ of ___." In each case, the first word of the two phrases is the same. I'll give you the ending words. You tell me the full phrases.

For example: Heart / Pace --> Change of heart, change of pace.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

In Songwriting, Carla Hassett Looks Home

Jun 26, 2016

Born in Sao Paolo and now living in Los Angeles, singer Carla Hassett finds musical inspiration in each place she's called home. Hassett, who toured with Sergio Mendes and Billy Idol and lent her voice to the soundtracks of the Rio movies, has a new solo album called +Blue (pronounced "more blue"). It's American and Brazilian with a modern twist, Hassett says: For instance, she sets Carmen Miranda's "South American Way" in a minor key and swaps the original's pep for a sultry summer swing.

In true Victorian style, you need only a few tantalizing details about Fergus Hume's The Mystery of a Hansom Cab to intrigue you. The 1886 murder mystery, part of an emerging genre of "shilling shockers," became a runaway hit in Australia. After Hume sold the copyright for a pittance, it was published in England to smash sales — even pirated in other languages. Over half a million copies of the novel were sold worldwide ... and Hume never saw a dime of it.

What's your night sky look like?

For most of the world, it's not a pretty sight. A new study has found that 80 percent of the world can't see the stars at night because of light pollution.

Legendary New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham, beloved for his street-style images, has died at the age of 87. Cunningham's death was reported by The Times and confirmed by Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the newspaper.

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

RAY SUAREZ, HOST:

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

RAY SUAREZ, HOST:

Physicists say they've discovered how to zap the fat out of chocolate.

The researchers, led by Rongjia Tao of Temple University, were able to remove up to 20 percent of fat by running liquid milk chocolate through an electrified sieve. And they say the chocolate tastes good, too.

Back in the 1990s, the Portland Trail Blazers were one of the most dominant teams in the NBA. They went to the finals twice (and might have won it all if hadn't been for that pesky Michael Jordan fellow.) Since we're in Portland this week, we've invited Terry Porter, one of the stars of the Trailblazers, to answer three questions about other people who've blazed their own trails.

Click the link above to listen.

Sid Mashburn On Men's Fashion And Southern Style

Jun 25, 2016
Jenny Ament / GPB

Just the other weekend, my family was out to dinner celebrating Father’s Day. While typically my family’s gatherings are a time to catch up on everyone’s lives, this dinner conversation was different as it was surprisingly centered around men’s clothing.

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:

The band Winger is perhaps best remembered for its late 1980s rock anthems, like "Seventeen." Its musicians could play. They wrote catchy songs, and of course, they had the hair. MTV viewers ate it up.

"Me being the Peter Pan of rock that I was, doing double pirouettes with my bass and you know, a real ham in the camera, it took off," says Kip Winger, the group's lead singer and bassist, who formed the band after touring with Alice Cooper in the late '80s.

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

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FRENCH FRIES AND CHAMPAGNE")

THE HOT SARDINES: (Singing) Pinkies raised, we'll toast the days coming to an end. My friend, it's time for french fries and champagne.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

I like the cold drop. The hard plunge. The fast and reckless descent into alienness that can only be pulled off by a world-builder who inhabits their make-believe universe so completely that a first page entry, mise en scene, reads as natural and as jarring as waking up in someone else's body, upon a shore so distant and strange that no map for it yet exists.

Imagine being able to text your favorite music artists at their personal phone number. You might be able to tell them how much you loved their latest single. You might be able to tell them about yourself and later receive a happy birthday wish from them.

This is exactly what Grammy-nominated rapper and singer Ryan Leslie is doing with his company, SuperPhone. The app lets him manage conversations with 54,000 of his friends, family, fans and colleagues from his personal phone.

An Emotional Ending

Jun 24, 2016

We're closing this show like any good TV show or movie — with "An Emotional Ending." Every answer in this round contains a word that is also a feeling or emotion. If we said, "It's an app where avians are flung across the screen at piggies," you'd answer, "Angry Birds."

Heard On Jeff Goldblum, Maika Monroe, 'Weird Al' Yankovic: 10 Out Of 10 Goldblums

This Is Our Administrative Assistant Day!

Jun 24, 2016

Actor Jeff Goldblum is a busy guy. From hunting down dinosaurs in Jurassic Park to fighting aliens in Independence Day, he has done it all. But, as he tells host Ophira Eisenberg, these days he is learning the ropes of a completely new role-- father to his one-year-old son, Charlie Ocean, who was born, believe it or not, on July 4th.

OMG VIP

Jun 24, 2016

We've mashed up the names of famous people with common text messaging abbreviations. If we said, "You'll be 'Laughing Out Loud' when you hang out with this rapper and 'N-C-I-S Los Angeles' actor," you'd answer, "L-O-L-L Cool J."

Heard On Jeff Goldblum, Maika Monroe, 'Weird Al' Yankovic: 10 Out Of 10 Goldblums

Starmen

Jun 24, 2016

When legendary song parody artist "Weird Al" Yankovic joined the IFC show "Comedy Bang! Bang!," he hadn't had a regular day job in 20 years. "[Getting a W-2] is gonna be so much fun! I can't wait!" he told host Ophira Eisenberg. Following Reggie Watts and Kid Cudi as band leader on the comedy talk show hosted by comedian Scott Aukerman is a tall order. Said Yankovic, "I try to emulate, as much as I can, what they did and bring my own thing to it."

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