Writer and humorist David Rakoff, who died Thursday at the age of 47, wrote with a perfect balance of wit and gravity about the cancer that would ultimately take his life.
Rakoff developed a devoted following as a regular contributor to the public radio program This American Life. His books of essays include Fraud and Don't Get Too Comfortable. Rakoff's most recent book, Half Empty, won the Thurber Prize for American Humor in 2011.
Zoe Chace and Robert Smith are reporting from European borders this week. This story is about the unofficial border within one country — the border that divides northern and southern Italy. This is the fourth story in a four-part series.
A decade ago, the Barilla pasta factory in Foggia, Italy, had a big problem with people skipping work. The absentee rate was around 10 percent.
Up next, our monthly meeting of the SCIENCE FRIDAY book club. Flora Lichtman, our multimedia editor is going to stay here with us. And joining us now also is Annette Heist, our senior producer. Did you get your reading done? (Unintelligible) The book, the book, Annette, you chose, it was "Monkey Mind," right? "Memoir of Anxiety" by Daniel Smith. Tell us a little bit about why you chose that book. What sang to you when you chose it?
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Unless you've been hiding under a rock on Mars, you know that last weekend NASA's Mars Science Laboratory safely made its way down to the surface of the Red Planet and now the Rover Curiosity sits, set up camp in Gale Crater.
So what'll it do now that it's there? Joining me now to talk about it is John Grotzinger. He's project scientist for the mission, professor of geology at Caltech. He joins me from the JPL Campus in Pasadena. Welcome back to the program.