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Act Three: The War This Time

The Lancet's new study of deaths in Iraq, by the same research team that did the earlier study, yielded an astounding number—650,000 civilian deaths. Producer Alex Blumberg talks to Ira about the debate over this new study.

Act One: In the Event of An Emergency

In the middle of the news coverage of Hurricane Rita, newscasts broke into their coverage to show JetBlue flight 292, with its landing gear stuck in the wrong direction. For hours, the plane circled over the exurbs of Los Angeles to burn off fuel before it attempted an emergency landing.

Act Four: Life Sentence

The President of the Maryland State Senate, Mike Miller, a veteran political operator, talks about the off-the-cuff remark in 1989 that many people say changed his life forever.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass plays parts of a speech by George Ryan, former Governor of Illinois. When he was a state senator in 1977, Ryan was part of a successful coalition that voted to reinstate the death penalty in Illinois.

Prologue

Host Ira Glass surveys various productions of Hamlet being staged around the country: At community colleges in Brooklyn and Honolulu, on a professional stage in Boston, and at a Shakespeare camp for kids in San Francisco—where all the scenes are death scenes.

Act Two: Watching From The River's Edge

David Rakoff tells the story of the day that used to hold the record as the worst disaster in New York history: June 15th, 1904, when the steamship The General Slocum, caught fire and sank in the Hudson river, killing 1,031 passengers. Almost everyone aboard was from one neighborhood in New York, and by all accounts, that neighborhood was never the same again.

Act Three: Notes From The Underground

In our search for events that might illuminate what we've seen in New York this week, we hear interviews with survivors of a terrorist attack that happened in a crowded city, during rush hour, just six years ago. On March 20, 1995, the Aum cult dropped plastic bags of poison gas on the Tokyo subway.

Prologue

Reporter Mark Arax spent three years investigating the murder of his father and yet he's still not at peace when he thinks of his dad's death. (His book is called In My Father's Name.) This is how it goes sometimes: We create a story that tries to explain our lives, and it still leaves so much unanswered.

Act One: The Disappearance

Genevieve Jurgensen and her husband Laurent lost their two daughters—Elise and Mathilde—at the ages of 4 and 7. Actress Felicity Jones reads from her book The Disappearance: A Memoir of Loss, in which Jurgensen tries to explain their lives and their deaths to a friend, in a series of letters.

Act Two: Look For The Union Label

A father and daughter (Adrian LeBlanc and his daughter Adrian Le Blanc) decide to write his obituary—together—not really thinking very seriously at first about the real meaning of what they were doing.

Act Two: Kodak Moments Of The Dead

The story of Tyler Cassity and how he's trying to remake one of our oldest rituals of commemoration.Tyler is one of the owners of a cemetery called Hollywood Forever, and he's been introducing 20th-Century technology to American funerals, which haven't changed much since the Civil War. At Hollywood Forever, the cost of a burial includes a video of your life: to be shown at your funeral, to be viewable at kiosks on the cemetery grounds, and to be posted—for eternity—on the Internet.

Act One: Kiss

So what if you held onto a high-school crush? Under what conditions would it never go away? Tobias Wolff reads a short story called "Kiss." (38 minutes)