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Convention worker

Andrea worked at a bakery under a convention hotel in Chicago. The conventioneers used to drive her crazy because people act so different when they're in a crowd of their own kind.

Act Three: When Worlds Collide

John Perry Barlow, a founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and former rancher and Grateful Dead lyricist, on an experience that began at the boundary of two conventions. (20 minutes)

Prologue

Foreign correspondent Jim Biederman reports from a cell phone inside the Louvre, in front of the Mona Lisa, on what people say while they're standing in front of some of the world's greatest works of art. It turns out to be pretty banal.

Prologue

More than England, or Japan or Israel.... When we think of South Africa, it's a more interesting mirror of the United States than nearly any country, because we glimpse a distant echo of the most frightening parts of American society — and the most inspiring.

Act Three: Iron Man

Mark O'Brien is a writer in California, who lives most of each day in an iron lung, thanks to a childhood case of polio. It's an excerpt from Jessica Yu's Oscar-winning documentary.

Passing

The true story of a dinner conversation in which several Americans came to realize how many iconic Americans are, in fact, Canadian. "If William Shatner's Canadian," one insists, "then I could be Canadian." Another opines that there should be a law against Peter Jennings, a Canadian, hosting a network news program.

Act One: White Like Me

David Rakoff on how he tried to pass as a local once he moved from Toronto to New York. He claims that there must be a chip in his head — or something like it — that automatically tells him when someone or something famous is Canadian.

Prologue

Ira talks with a gang kid who turned to Jesus with the same ferocity and dedication with which he served his old street gang.

Act Four: Quitting Quitting

This American Life gets a return visit from Evan Harris, the woman who used to believe that quitting was the one thing at the heart of all human existence.

Act Two: Centralia

An inextinguishable subterranean fire on the edge of a small Pennsylvania town, and why the residents are not afraid of it. Host Ira Glass and This American Life contributor Alix Spiegel.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass goes to the Federal Express hub at Memphis to watch 1.2 million pieces of overnight mail get sorted in one night and to talk to the adrenaline junkies in the FedEx Command Center.