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While the taco long ago conquered America, some aficionados believe this ancient, handheld food reaches its pinnacle in the Texas-Mexico borderlands.

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President-elect Joe Biden has compared the challenges he faces coming into office to those faced by Franklin Delano Roosevelt when he became president in 1932. And like FDR, Biden wants to meet the moment with bold action and an ambitious legislative agenda that includes most urgently passage of his proposed $1.9 trillion pandemic economic relief package.

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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:

We've invited singer songwriter Phoebe Bridgers to play a game about feeble bridges: three questions about bridges that have fallen over, collapsed or otherwise done a bad job of spanning things.

Click the audio link above to find out how she does.

Katherine Seligman's new novel makes alive and visible the lives of people we often walk past, sometimes as quickly as we can. Maddy Donaldo is 20 years old and sleeps in hidden spots inside San Francisco's Golden Gate Park with her small dog Root, sometimes eating and showering in a shelter before returning to forage for food and loose change on the street.

The way that ballet dancer Ashton Edwards leaps through the air is pure art. The fact that he does it in pointe shoes is a rare feat.

Ballet traditionally has very divided roles for men and women. Men need power to lift their female partners. Women are prized for their delicate precision and the ability to seemingly defy gravity.

But ideas about ballet are changing.

Why Sea Shanties Have Taken Over TikTok

Jan 16, 2021

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Argh, the latest trend in pandemic distraction may be - shiver me timbers - sea shanties.

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: (Singing) There once was a ship that put to sea, and the name of that ship was the Billy of Tea.

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I am writing this on January 7, 2021, and I have no idea how to review a book that depicts a notorious historical event where white supremacists rioted and destroyed a Black community, when yesterday, almost exactly 100 years later, white supremacists rioted their way into the U.S. Capitol Building. But Angel of Greenwood deserves to fly into the world on the biggest wings she can spread, so I'm going to try.

Next week marks one year since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed the first coronavirus case in the United States.

Dr. Robert Redfield, the outgoing CDC director, has been heading the federal public health agency's response to the pandemic from the start.

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Saturday Night Live and The Second City comedy enterprises have announced the recipients of a new training scholarship for diverse, emerging talent. From a pool of some 1,300 applicants, four up and coming comedians were selected: Alexi Bolden, Gabriella "Gabi" Castillo, Kaili Turner and Morgan Van Dyne. The scholarships will cover all of their performance and writing training at Second City and give them access to SNL talent executives.

Health care workers across the country have been under tremendous strain as they grapple with surging coronavirus caseloads — with no end to the pandemic in sight.

This month, the U.S. hit a staggering new record of more than 302,500 new cases daily, according to Johns Hopkins University. Just this week, the country reached an all-time single-day high of 4,462 deaths.

Lydia Mobley, an intensive care unit nurse, has witnessed the abysmal human toll firsthand.

President-elect Joe Biden tapped Dr. David Kessler, a former head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, to lead the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts for the incoming administration.

The coronavirus pandemic appears to have shortened the average life expectancy in the United States, according to new research, and the impact is most dire for racial and ethnic minorities.

The deaths caused by COVID-19 have reduced overall life expectancy by 1.13 years, according to the analysis by researchers at the University of Southern California and Princeton University.

That would be the largest single-year decline in life expectancy in the past 40 years and cut U.S. life expectancy to 77.48 years — the lowest it's been since 2003, the researchers say.

West Virginia continues to lead the country in the number of people per capita who have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

As of early this week, more than 105,500 doses have been distributed statewide.

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Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Breathe

Journalist Beth Gardiner and activist Yvette Arellano explain the long-term health effects of air pollution. Yvette lives in a Houston neighborhood near the largest petrochemical complex in the U.S.

About Beth Gardiner

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Breathe

Dinosaurs ruled Earth for 180 million years, but to dominate they had to outcompete a slew of other animals. Paleontologist Emma Schachner thinks their lungs could have been the competitive advantage.

About Emma Schachner

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Breathe

Each day, we breathe about 22,000 times--and all that time we smell. Scent historian Caro Verbeek recreates scents of the past. She says, just like music and art, smell is a part of our heritage.

About Caro Verbeek

If you grew up scared of what illicit drugs could do to you — hearing about all the horrors that could befall you from everyone from Nancy Reagan to your parents — the threat may have felt very real: If you actually took a puff off that joint that the kid who slept through math class offered you, it could lead to failed relationships, chronic unemployment, self-destruction.

The shame would outlive you.

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