Dave Davies | WGLT

Dave Davies

Dave Davies is a guest host for NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

In addition to his role at Fresh Air, Davies is a senior reporter for WHYY in Philadelphia. Prior to WHYY, he spent 19 years as a reporter and columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, covering government and politics.

Before joining the Daily News in 1990, Davies was city hall bureau chief for KYW News Radio, Philadelphia's commercial all-news station. From 1982 to 1986, Davies was a reporter for WHYY covering local issues and filing reports for NPR. He also edited a community newspaper in Philadelphia and has worked as a teacher, a cab driver and a welder.

Davies is a graduate of the University of Texas.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross, who's off this week. My guest, Tara Westover, grew up in a family of nine at the base of a mountain in Idaho. Her parents were religious fundamentalists. Her dad spent more time talking to his children about the end of the world or an apocalyptic confrontation with the government than college or careers. She never saw the inside of a classroom before she was 17.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross, who's off this week.

Copyright 2019 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

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Growing up, actor John C. Reilly remembers watching the comedy of slapstick duo Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy and feeling very touched. It wasn't just that the two made him laugh, Reilly says, there was something more.

"The brilliant thing about their work when you watch it, it seems so nonchalant," he says. "It seems like they're doing it for the first time."

Then Reilly got a role playing Oliver Hardy in the new film Stan & Ollie and he realized just how much planning and precision went into those seemingly effortless physical comedy routines.

When Joshua Mezrich was a medical student on the first day of surgical rotation, he was called into the operating room to witness a kidney transplant.

What he saw that day changed him.

After the donor kidney came out of ice and the clamps on it were released, he says, "it turned pink and literally, in front of my eyes, this urine just started squirting out onto the field."

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

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

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Alan Rusbridger knows a thing or two about high-stakes journalism.

During his 20-year tenure running the British newspaper The Guardian, he collaborated with NSA contractor Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on blockbuster stories drawn from secret government documents. Though Rusbridger left The Guardian in 2015, he remembers the stress vividly.

"We were publishing every minute of the day around the world," he says. "It's a matter of deadlines and never enough information and people trying to sue you and generally harass you."

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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

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

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

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

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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 2018 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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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."

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