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Act Two: Wonder Woman

Kelly McEvers with the story of Zora, a self-made superhero. From the time she was five, Zora had recurring dreams in which she was a 6'5" warrior queen who could fly and shoot lightning from her hands.

Act Two

Several producers talked about the first stories they ever heard on the show, before they worked here. Former producer Jonathan Goldstein, now host of WireTap, remembers the prologue to episode 27: The Cruelty of Children: Then producer Brian Reed talks about the first time he heard the show, when Ira spoke at his college and played a story by Jack Hitt from episode 188: Kid Logic: Alex Blumberg talks about an early story by Adam Davidson, Alex's current colleague at Planet Money, from episode 94: How To.

Prologue

David Kestenbaum tells Ira about the time, when he was doing graduate work in physics, he and his other single friends decided to figure out the mathematical probability that they’d find girlfriends. They wanted to know what the chances were that there was more than one person in the world for them.

Act One

News kept coming all week about the National Security Agency collecting data on the phone numbers we dial. Government officials are saying there’s nothing to be alarmed about.

Prologue

Until almost 10,000 years ago, everyone literally lived in a tribe of a few hundred or a small band of a few dozen people. U.C.L.A. scientist Jared Diamond talks about how back then, you could go your whole life without ever encountering a stranger.

Act Two: 2013

The dramatic conclusion to Laura and Alex's search for information about Intellectual Ventures, and the inventor they claimed they were helping, Chris Crawford. The story turns out to be different than the one Intellectual Ventures originally told.

Act One: 2011

NPR reporter Laura Sydell and This American Life producer/Planet Money co-host Alex Blumberg tell the story of Intellectual Ventures, which is accused of being the largest of the patent trolls. Executives at Intellectual Ventures insist they are not trolls, but rather, promoters of innovation.

Act One

Chana Joffe-Walt spent six months reporting on the rise in people on disability. She spends time in Hale County, Alabama, talking to the only general practitioner in town, the main person who okays so many of the county's residents for disability.

Act Two

Chana Joffe-Walt continues her story about the phenomenal rise in disability payments over the last 30 years, since President Bill Clinton signed legislation pledging to "end welfare as we know it." Turns out, two private sector groups have really contributed to the growing disability roles. One is a group of people you'd probably expect, the other is a shock.