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Thor Hanson's own cast of Archaeopteryx lithographica presents what he calls the "ancient wing written in stone." (Basic Books)

Fresh Air Weekend: Feathers, Cellphones As Trackers

Sep 8, 2012 (Fresh Air from WHYY)

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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:

Conservation Biologist Explains Why 'Feathers' Matter: Thor Hanson's new book looks at the evolutionary significance of feathers in birds. Hanson tells Fresh Air that he's amazed by birds' magnitude of feathers, how feathers grow and how they're the "most efficient insulation known."

Why Your Cellphone Could Be Called A 'Tracker': ProPublica investigative reporter Peter Maass says cellphone companies monitor where we are, who we call, what we buy — and often provide it to law enforcement when requested. "They are collecting a heck of a lot more information than we expect them to be collecting about us," he tells Fresh Air.

Advocate Fights 'Ambient Despair' In Assisted Living: Martin Bayne entered an assisted living facility at 53 after he was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson's disease. Now he writes about long-term care reform. He tells Fresh Air about recording residents' final days and how death is handled "very poorly" in facilities.

You can listen to the original interviews here:


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