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.

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In 1961, when President John F. Kennedy announced a goal of "landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth" before the end of the decade, the mission seemed all but impossible.

"[The U.S.] didn't have a spaceship that could fly to the moon," journalist Charles Fishman notes. "We didn't have a rocket that could launch to the moon. We didn't have a computer small enough or powerful enough to do the navigation necessary to get people to the moon. We didn't have space food."

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

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. In the early morning darkness of June 17, 2017, the Navy destroyer USS Fitzgerald collided with a cargo ship in the South China Sea. The much larger cargo vessel ripped a huge hole in the Fitzgerald, killing seven sailors. Two months later, another destroyer, the USS John S. McCain, collided with another cargo ship leaving 10 more sailors dead.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross, who's off this week. The Pulitzer Prize for History was awarded this week to historian David Blight for his book about 19th century abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Frederick Douglass is probably best known for his compelling autobiographies in which he described his experiences as a slave and his escape to freedom.

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This is FRESH AIR. On the last hole of the Masters Golf Tournament Sunday, Tiger Woods made sports history when he stood over a two-foot putt on the 18th green.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JIM NANTZ: Many doubted we'd ever see it, but here it is.

(CHEERING)

NANTZ: The return to glory.

(CHEERING)

Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Robert Caro has spent decades researching and chronicling the lives of notable men.

Venezuelans have been suffering one calamity after the next, but in recent weeks, much of Venezuela has had to go long stretches without electricity.

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As head of New York City's correctional health services, Dr. Homer Venters spent nine years overseeing the care of thousands of inmates in the jails on Rikers Island. Though he left Rikers in 2017, what he witnessed on the job has stayed with him.

"What's important to consider about jail settings is that they are incredibly dehumanizing, and they dehumanize the individuals who pass through them," Venters says. "There is not really a true respect for the rights of the detained."

Dr. Thomas Boyce, an emeritus professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco, has treated children who seem to be completely unflappable and unfazed by their surroundings — as well as those who are extremely sensitive to their environments. Over the years, he began to liken these two types of children to two very different flowers: dandelions and orchids.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. American presidents like to describe the United States as a force for freedom and independence in the world. Our guest, historian Daniel Immerwahr, says there are also plenty of times in our history when we've subjugated and ruled foreign lands - sometimes with bloody conquests. Today, roughly 4 million people live in the American territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the Northern Marianas.

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This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Our guest James Balog is an award-winning photographer, whose work explores the relationship between humans and nature. It's a subject that's taken on increased urgency, he believes, with growing evidence of the impact of climate change. He was last on our show to talk about climate change and the melting of Arctic glacial ice, which he documented through time-lapse photography. That led to his project the Extreme Ice Survey and his film "Chasing Ice."

Most New Yorkers walk by sewer grates or subway entrances and think nothing of it, but not journalist Will Hunt. Hunt is fascinated with the world below us.

"There's just so much beneath the streets of New York City that people walking around on the surface don't ever think about," Hunt says. "Every manhole, every doorway, every stairway going down into the dark [feels] like a potential portal into this like separate world."

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

DAVE DAVIES, HOST:

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."

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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."

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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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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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.

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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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.

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