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FROM THIS EPISODE

President Obama will be the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima, but the White House has made it clear that he will not apologize for the atomic bombing of the city more than 70 years ago. How do the Hiroshima survivors and their descendants feel about that?

Also, the long-term effects of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings have been studied by Japanese and American scientists for decades. Their research has formed the basis for radiation exposure guidelines all over the world.

Then, billionaire Peter Thiel secretly funded Hulk Hogan’s $140 million invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against Gawker; but he’s not the only person secretly backing a lawsuit. The practice of litigation finance is becoming more common.

Next, Jill Lepore set out to find out if Joe Gould’s oral history – a nine-million word magnum opus that would be the longest book ever written - really existed. The result is her new book, Joe Gould’s Teeth.

And finally, LA’s public transit woes are nothing to what some Northeast commuters are facing.

Banner Image: Atomic cloud over Hiroshima, taken from "Enola Gay" flying over Matsuyama, Shikoku; Credit: 509th Operations Group

Producers:
Matt Holzman
Anna Scott
Jolie Myers
Christian Bordal
Laura Swisher
Sarah Sweeney

Do Hiroshima Survivors and their Descendants Want Obama to Apologize? 10 MIN, 5 SEC

President Obama will be the first U.S. President to visit Hiroshima, Japan on Friday. He’s expected to push for a nuclear-free world while touring the city’s Peace Memorial, but the White House has made it clear that the President will not apologize for the atomic bombing of the city on Aug. 6, 1945. The bomb killed 140,000 people, and scores more suffered from the aftereffects of it. The Japanese government seems to be okay with Obama’s decision not to apologize for the actions of the United States more than 70 years ago, but how do the Japanese people and the Hiroshima survivors and their descendants feel?

Guests:
Roland Kelts, author and journalist (@rolandkelts)

What Scientists Have Learned From the Bombing of Hiroshima 8 MIN, 50 SEC

Whether the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were justified has been debated for decades. And the long-term effects of the bombings have been studied for years by scientists. For decades, teams of American and Japanese scientists have collaborated to gather information about radiation and its health impacts. Their research has formed the basis for radiation exposure guidelines for medical technicians and nuclear power plant workers all over the world.

Guests:
Jonathan Samet, USC Institute for Global Health (@USCGlobalHealth)

Peter Thiel, Revenge and Litigation Finance 7 MIN, 33 SEC

Peter Thiel is a man of many interests. He made billions of dollars as a co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook. Lately he’s been spreading the wealth in interesting ways. Thiel gives fellowships to teenagers who drop out of school to start companies; he co-founded the Seasteading Institute, an organization that wants to create cities at sea, out of the reach of any government; he’s a pledged delegate for Donald Trump. And news surfaced this week that he’s bankrolling a legal campaign to destroy Gawker Media. As it turns out, Thiel secretly funded Hulk Hogan’s invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against Gawker after the site posted a sex tape of Hogan. A jury awarded Hogan $140 million dollars. According to the New York Times, Thiel is also supporting other cases, though he won’t disclose what they are. He’s not the only person to secretly back a lawsuit like this, though. The practice of litigation finance is becoming more common.

Guests:
Roy Simon, Hofstra University School of Law

How Joe Gould Lost His Teeth – and His Oral History 15 MIN, 54 SEC

In 1942, New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell profiled an eccentric named Joe Gould. In it, Mitchell revealed that Gould, a Harvard-educated Greenwich Village bohemian, was writing a magnum opus – something that had never been done – a nine-million word Oral History of Our Time that would be the longest book ever written. Twenty-two years later, the New Yorker published another profile Mitchell wrote about Gould, this one titled “Joe Gould’s Secret.” It explained how after that first profile of Joe Gould was published, Mitchell had come to believe that Gould’s oral history never existed. Jill Lepore is a staff writer for the New Yorker and a Harvard professor of History. She set out to find out if that oral history did really exist, and the result is her new book, Joe Gould’s Teeth.

Guests:
Jill Lepore, Harvard University / New Yorker magazine (@NewYorker)

Joe Gould's Teeth

Jill Lepore

Northeast Public Transit Problems 9 MIN, 5 SEC

Los Angeles Metro riders faced longer commutes Monday after a car crashed through a fence onto the tracks of the Expo Line. Service was disrupted until the car could be towed away. As far as transportation woes go, that was nothing. In Washington D.C. this past March, the city’s Metro service had to shut down for the entire day, leaving hundreds of thousands of commuters stranded. The shutdown was so traumatic, #Metropocalypse trended on social media. As it turns out, subway systems throughout the Northeast are crumbling. Service interruptions are routine for riders in New York and Boston where, unlike Los Angeles, their subway systems are old and in major need of repairs – to the tune of billions of dollars.

Guests:
Emma Fitzsimmons, New York Times (@emmagf)

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