Talk of the Nation

Weekdays 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Neal Conan

Talk of the Nation links the headlines with what's on people's minds, providing a springboard for listeners and experts to exchange ideas and pose critical questions about major events in the news and the world around them. Each day, Talk of the Nation combines the award-winning resources of NPR News with the vital participation of listeners. The result is a spirited and productive exchange of knowledge and insight that delves deeply into the news and ideas of the day.

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Opinion
12:00 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

Op-Ed: Iran Losing Pull In Iraq

Originally published on Mon November 14, 2011 10:51 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, host: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

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Europe
12:00 pm
Mon November 7, 2011

Big Problems For The Big Italian Economy

Originally published on Mon November 7, 2011 1:22 pm

Transcript

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NPR Story
12:00 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

How An Elegant Moth Stays Aloft

Originally published on Fri November 4, 2011 12:37 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, host: Joining us now is Flora Lichtman, one of the, with...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

FLATOW: How are you, Flora?

FLORA LICHTMAN: I'm pretty good. How are you?

FLATOW: I'm getting the mouth to work better. What do we got this week?

LICHTMAN: This week is pretty neat. We have footage, really beautiful, high-speed footage of a moth. And believe me, this is a moth like you have never seen it before. When I think of moths, I think of them bumping into lights and bumping into my screen door - clumsy.

FLATOW: Right, right.

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Health
12:00 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Mosquitoes Engineered To Kill Their Own Kind

Reporting in Nature Biotechnology, researchers write of genetically engineering mosquitoes to pass lethal genes to their offspring, in hopes of crashing populations of one dengue-transmitting species. Science writer Bijal Trivedi talks about recent tests of the bugs, and the concerns of critics.

History
12:00 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

In Scott's Race To The Pole, Science Beat Speed

A hundred years ago, two teams were racing to the South Pole. The Norwegian team led by Roald Amundsen made it first, beating British explorer Robert Scott. But only Scott did pioneering science--and photography--along the way. Ira Flatow and guests discuss the achievements of the first Antarctic expeditions.

Animals
12:00 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

A Researcher Asks: Are Dolphins Self-Aware?

Like chimpanzees, dolphins are large-brained and highly social animals, but can they recognize themselves in a mirror? Psychologist and dolphin researcher Diana Reiss discusses her work with dolphin communication and cognition.

Space
12:00 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Pondering the Possibility of Non-constant 'Constants'

What if the laws of physics aren't the same all over the universe, but vary from place to place? Michael Murphy of the Swinburne University of Technology discusses research published in the journal Physical Review Letters indicating that the value of one basic physical property, the fine structure constant, may vary with location in interstellar space.

NPR Story
12:00 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Peering Into The Brain, But At What?

Originally published on Fri November 4, 2011 12:26 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, host: This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Your thoughts, your memories, as you know, all come from your brain cells, billions of them packed together in your head. My next guest would like to make a map of how all those cells connect to one another, talk to each other, learn new things, make new memories.

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NPR Story
1:21 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

The 'Best Sports Writing' Is Rarely In The Newspaper

The best sports writing forces us to confront wonder, horror, disappointment and joy. These days, those stories are found not on the sports pages, but in magazines and on the Web.

Jane Leavy, editor of The Best Sports Writing 2011, shares her favorites, including Jake Bogoch's piece on hockey, "School of Fight: Learning to Brawl with the Hockey Goons of Tomorrow."

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Around the Nation
12:00 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Occupy Oakland Morphs From Protest To Strike

Originally published on Thu November 3, 2011 1:21 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, host: Demonstrators continue to march and camp out in cities across the country, inspired by Occupy Wall Street. But yesterday, protesters in Oakland tried something different. Thousands marched through the city in what they called a general strike. They paraded through the streets through much of the day then down to its busy port where they blocked entrances and closed it down. Later, police in riot gear fired teargas as some protesters broke windows and lit fires downtown.

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Afghanistan
12:00 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Offering Advice To Top Brass On Afghanistan

As international forces prepare to leave Afghanistan, deep questions remain about the country's security and its government. Former NPR reporter Sarah Chayes lives part of the year there. She has served as special adviser to two commanders of NATO forces in Afghanistan, and Adm. Mike Mullen.

Law
12:00 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Second Chances, Not Jail Time, For Criminals

Originally published on Thu November 3, 2011 1:27 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, host: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. If the threat of prison is supposed to deter crime, it's not working; record numbers are behind bars. And while all those bad actors off the street may contribute to lower crime rates in recent years, many believe there have to be better ways.

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NPR Story
1:36 pm
Wed November 2, 2011

How 'The West' Beat 'The Rest': Six Killer Apps

Historians have long struggled to explain how the West became the preeminent political and economic force in the modern world, and why so many people aspire to emulate the lifestyles, fashions and popular culture of America and Western Europe.

Now, historian Niall Ferguson says he has the answer. In his new book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, Ferguson credits six "killer apps," or social developments: competition, science, property, medicine, consumption and work.

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NPR Story
12:00 pm
Wed November 2, 2011

Ohio Union Bill Vote As Possible '12 Bellwether

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, host: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Herman Cain's past raises questions about his future. We can't wait auditions as the next yes we can. And Rick Perry takes himself off-base. It's Wednesday and time for a...

GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: Bring it.

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

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NPR Story
12:00 pm
Wed November 2, 2011

Divisions Deepening Within Iranian Government

Under pressure from increasingly effective economic sanctions and a growing banking scandal, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went before parliament to defend his government. His Economics Minister was nearly impeached. NPR foreign correspondent Mike Shuster explains Iran's internal power struggles.

NPR Story
12:00 pm
Wed November 2, 2011

'Captain Dad' Finds The Funny In Parenting

Pat Byrnes lives in Illinois with his daughters, Rebecca and Lucy, and his wife, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
Courtesy of Pat Byrnes

When moms see cartoonist Pat Byrnes on the playground with his daughters, he says they often check the sex offender registries on their cell phones. Byrnes is a stay-at-home dad and creator of a "manly blog of stay-at-home parenting" where he writes not as Mr. Mom, but as Captain Dad.

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Education
12:00 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

What's Actually Taught In Sex Ed Class

The New York City public schools recently sparked controversy with a new sex education curriculum that critics complain is too explicit. New York, and many other school districts, relies on curricula designed by outside experts. Guests talk about who decides what's included, and what's left out.

Asia
12:00 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Signs Of Change In Myanmar

After decades of sometimes brutal military rule, there have been recent signs of change in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. The government of Myanmar has embarked on what appears to be a series of confidence-building measures that have gotten the attention of the west and the domestic opposition.

From Our Listeners
12:00 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Letters: Polygamous Marriages And Student Debt

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, host: It's Tuesday and time to read from your comments. Our discussion with author and filmmaker Guillermo del Toro generated a lot of responses about what it really means to be a monster. Mary in Virginia Beach, Virginia, tweeted: It helps if a monster is physically terrifying. That definitely freaks me out. And Lisa Hermenez(ph) wrote: Monsters inspire our instinctual fears. As a result, we love to hate them.

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Opinion
12:00 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Private Meetings And Back-Room Deals Can Pay Off

In a recent piece in The New York Times, Jordan Tama argues in defense of a back-room deal for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. He points to many examples throughout history when secrecy lead to success, and public forums resulted in more partisanship.

Health
12:00 pm
Tue November 1, 2011

Addiction: When You Fear It's Just A Matter Of Time

Originally published on Tue November 1, 2011 1:29 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, host: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Last week, a coroner's report provided the details of a verdict that everyone already knew. Singer Amy Winehouse drank herself to death. Her blood alcohol content was five times the legal limit when she was found in her London home in July.

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NPR Story
1:14 pm
Mon October 31, 2011

Improving Foster Care For Native American Kids

An average of 700 Native American children in South Dakota are removed from their homes and placed in foster care each year, often in violation of federal law, an NPR investigation found. Native American children make up less than 15 percent of the state's child population, but represent more than half of kids in foster care.

Opinion
12:00 pm
Mon October 31, 2011

Op-Ed: 7 Billion Now, But Population Will Drop

Earth's population crossed the 7 billion mark Monday. The growing population has been the subject of doomsday scenarios, but Colum Lynch worries whether the U.S. and other wealthy countries will soon have too few citizens. He predicts the world population will decline by the end of this century.

Sports
12:00 pm
Mon October 31, 2011

Cardinals' Manager La Russa Goes Out On Top

Days after leading his team to a 7th game win in the World Series, Tony La Russa has announced that he has retired. La Russa changed the game of baseball and is among the top managers in the Major Leagues. Over his 33-year career, he won the world series three times.

Education
12:00 pm
Mon October 31, 2011

How Has Student Loan Debt Shaped Your Life?

Total student loan debt in the U.S. will cross the 1 trillion dollar threshold in 2011, an amount that surpasses the nation's combined credit card debt. It affects how many students and graduates decide whether and where to go to school, what job to take, where to live and how to pay their bills.

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