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Dave Davies

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

In California's Yosemite National Park, the summit of the iconic El Capitan rock formation looms 3,000 feet above its base. Though El Capitan's vertical granite has always presented a challenge for climbers, its southeastern face, known as the Dawn Wall, is thought to be the most punishing.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies, in for Terry Gross. Last year, the NCAA college basketball tournament known as March Madness was seen by 97 million TV viewers.

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UNIDENTIFIED SPORTSCASTER: Six. Newton. Long two. And he sticks it.

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TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. The New York Times just reported that in 2016 Rick Gates, then-deputy campaign manager for Donald Trump, requested proposals from an Israeli company to create fake online identities and use social media manipulation to help defeat Trump's rivals for the Republican nomination in the primary and Hillary Clinton in the general election. The proposals were apparently never acted on, but we know that Russian operatives made effective use of Facebook and Twitter in seeking to influence the 2016 presidential campaign.

Last week, Facebook announced the most serious security breach in its history, in which unknown hackers were able to log onto the accounts of nearly 50 million Facebook users.

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

There's no shortage of statistics about the depth of America's opioid epidemic — there were 72,000 overdose deaths just last year — but numbers don't tell the whole story. Beth Macy takes a ground-level look at the crisis in Dopesick, a new book focusing on central Appalachia. Macy has spent three decades reporting on the region, focusing on social and economic trends and how they affect ordinary people — she says this area is the birthplace of the modern opioid epidemic.

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

We think of whales as creatures of the sea, but scientists now believe that 40 million to 50 million years ago, whales had four legs and lived at least part of their lives on land.

"We can tell that they're whales based on key features of their anatomy — specifically parts of their skull," paleobiologist Nick Pyenson says. "But they were certainly not like the whales that you would see today."

Copyright 2020 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Kidnapped by Somali pirates, journalist Michael Scott Moore spent two and half years in captivity. At times he was held on land, other times at sea. Once, when he was on a 160-foot tuna boat, he tried to escape by jumping over the side at night.

"It was, like, a 20 foot leap off the deck of the ship, and I was just exultant at first," Moore says.

Moore had hoped the pirates would leave him behind in the water. "The engine wasn't in terrific shape, so I didn't think there was a way to turn around the ship," he says.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross, who is giving the keynote address at the Podcast Movement conference, which is being held this week in Philadelphia.

By some accounts, nearly half of America's incarcerated population is mentally ill — and journalist Alisa Roth argues that most aren't getting the treatment they need.

Roth has visited jails in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Atlanta and a rural women's prison in Oklahoma to assess the condition of mentally ill prisoners. She says correctional officers are on the "front lines" of mental health treatment — despite the fact that they lack clinical training.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Nick Offerman has made a career out of playing colorful cranks — most notably, Ron Swanson, the hyper-masculine boss on the NBC comedy series Parks and Recreation.

But now, in the new film, Hearts Beat Loud, Offerman has a chance to play a more nuanced character — one he calls a "fully fleshed-out human being." Offerman plays a middle-age single dad who owns a struggling record store and wants to start a band with his teenage daughter, played by Kiersey Clemons.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

Ben Rhodes was 24 years old and working on a city council campaign in Brooklyn on Sept. 11, 2001, when a hijacked plane hit the World Trade Center. He stood on the street, watching with a group of other New Yorkers as a second plane struck and, then, as the first tower collapsed.

"I just remember walking home and thinking, 'My life is going to be different because of this; I feel a need to be a part of whatever happens because of this,'" Rhodes says. "I didn't know exactly what that meant, but I knew that I was in a fork in the road that was going to lead me in a new direction."

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

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