Talk of the Nation on HD-2

Monday - Thursday 1:00pm-2:30pm
  • Hosted by Neal Conan, Ira Flatow

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.

Monday through Thursday, host Neal Conan invites callers to discuss areas of topical interest, including politics and public service, education, religion, music, and healthcare. Talk of the Nation goes behind the headlines with decision-makers, authors, thinkers, artists, and listeners around the world, who become part of the conversation by calling 1-800-989-TALK

Each Friday, journalist Ira Flatow is joined by listeners and studio guests to explore science-related topics -- from subatomic particles and the human genome to the Internet and earthquakes. Flatow offers in-depth discussion with scientists and others from all walks of life, giving listeners the chance to hear from the people whose work influences their daily lives.

The posts below are some of the highlights from Talk of the NationVisit the program page on NPR to see a full list of stories.

  

Strengthening Buildings In Tornado Alley

Jun 7, 2013

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Powerful storms this spring: tornadoes like the ones in Oklahoma have caused damage estimated in the billions of dollars and dozens of deaths. But does the destruction have to be so devastating? What are the engineering challenges to designing and building stronger, more tornado-resistant structures and providing better protection for the people who live there?

Whole Genome Scans Could Reveal Too Much

Jun 7, 2013

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. If you're thinking about getting married or having children or just contemplating your health care options, you or your doctor may decide to have your DNA analyzed, looking for genes that may indicate possible trouble ahead. Maybe there's a telltale mutation hiding there or a recognizable pattern of genes.

Tracing The Origins Of French Winemaking

Jun 7, 2013

Many people associate France today with the production of great wines. But winemaking isn't native to the French. Patrick McGovern, an archaeologist of fermented beverages, has dated the beginning of viniculture in France to around 500 B.C. and contact with the Etruscans.

How To Survive A Mass Extinction

Jun 7, 2013

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Up next, surviving the big one, and I mean a really big one. As any fan of dinosaurs knows, extinction happens. The Earth isn't immune to assaults. You've got your asteroids, your volcanic eruptions, events that cause so much disruption to the environment that eventually life or most of life is wiped out.

Comet Shines Light on Sun Dynamics

Jun 7, 2013

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Flora Lichtman is here with our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora. What have you got for us today?

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Ira, today we have the story of a comet that has a tale to tell.

FLATOW: Comets...

(LAUGHTER)

LICHTMAN: Get it?

FLATOW: I get it. Straight pun.

LICHTMAN: It's even better, Ira, because actually the part of - what the comet is telling us comes from its tail. OK, so let me...

FLATOW: Go for it.

(LAUGHTER)

The highly anticipated animated films Monsters University, Despicable Me 2 and Turbo hit theaters this summer. From cel technology to full-length, computer-animated, celebrity-studded movies, animation has come a long way.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Two writers can take credit or blame for the legions of metal men that marched through the movies - Karel Capek, who coined the word robot in his play "R.U.R." in 1920, and Isaac Asimov, who codified the Three Laws of Robotics and a series of stories collected in "I, Robot," and mostly ignored in the Will Smith movie of the same name.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "I, ROBOT")

WILL SMITH: (as Detective Del Spooner) You know what they say, laws are made to be broken.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan. The war in and around Syria grows more horrific and more dangerous day by day: tens of thousands dead, many more injured, over a million refugees in neighboring countries and who knows how many millions displaced inside Syria itself.

It's almost hard to remember the early days of what's now grown into a civil war. More than two years ago, NPR's Deborah Amos reported on activists hopeful that Syria would be changed by the Arab spring.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RADIO BROADCAST)

A Look Ahead To The Future Of The GOP

Jun 5, 2013

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Chris Christie calls a very special election in Jersey. Missouri 8th voters call for Jason Smith, and a House committee chair calls out the White House spokesman. It's Wednesday and time for a...

REPRESENTATIVE DARRELL ISSA: Paid liar...

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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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Irish-American author Colum McCann has spent the better part of his life inhabiting others in his novels.

To write Dancer, McCann learned how to pirouette with Russia's Kirov Ballet. He spent time in Slovakia to bring the story a young Gypsy poet to life in Zoli.

In his latest book TransAtlantic, he tells the story of his native country — covering 150 years of Irish history, through the voyages of four historic visitors.

McCann talks with NPR's Neal Conan about the emigrant experience and the decision to revisit home.

In Southern California, a massive wildfire, called the Powerhouse fire, has consumed 50 miles of land northwest of Los Angeles. California residents face wildfire season every year. Grist staff writer Susie Cagle talks about what it's like to live in wildfire country.

Every year, thousands of immigrants come to the U.S. seeking protection from persecution or violence in their countries. Many groups have a hard time qualifying, based on the legal limits of asylum. New immigration legislation could change the process.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Robert Mueller has run the FBI for 12 years, through one of the most transformative times in the bureau's history. Now he's on his way out. Any day now, the White House is expected to announce that James Comey will take his place.

Obama Meets Xi: A Chance To Make History

Jun 4, 2013

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

It's Tuesday, and time to read from your comments. Last week, we spoke with Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor for The Atlantic, about moments of wonder: those times when you don't have all the answers, and you can't use a smartphone or Google to get them.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

At Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan, midnight dinner service will end this month. It's part of the drawdown of the Afghan war. That may not sound like a big deal, but former U.S. Army paratrooper David Brown says the Marines at Leatherneck will be losing more than food. He says they'll be losing a venue for camaraderie and support. Across the military, leaders are looking for places they can save money by cutting programs and services.

When writer Stacy Horn was 26 years old, she was divorced and miserable. So she decided to audition for the Choral Society of Grace Church in New York. Horn made the cut and joined the community choir as a soprano.

She chronicles her 30 years with the group in a new memoir, Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness in Singing With Others. She talks with NPR's Ari Shapiro about how singing made her life more bearable.

The U.S. economy started showing signs of recovery in June 2009, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. Four years later, the economy is slow to recover in some areas. The stock market and housing are showing signs of growth, while unemployment still lags behind.

The Students That Keep Teachers Inspired

Jun 3, 2013

Teachers endure bored, misbehaving, or totally tuned out students, often with little recognition. In a commentary in The Chronicle of Higher Education, professor Charles Rinehimer pays tribute to the completely engaged students who gave him the strength to deal with tough cases.

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. In 2011, a group of researchers in Japan made a surprising discovery: With the right process, they could turn cement, in fact a component of the Portland cement you can find in the hardware store, they can turn that into a metal, and in its metallic state they could coax the cement to act as a semiconductor.

Bad Diagnosis For New Psychiatry 'Bible'

May 31, 2013

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

There's ADHD, OCD, DMDD, PTSD, along with hoarding disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and dissociative identity disorder. You will find all of them in the DSM, that's the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the so-called Bible of psychiatry. The fifth edition of the manual just came out after 14 years in the making, but instead of a round of applause, psychiatrists, psychologists, ethicists, even columnist are panning the book, saying it has outlived its usefulness.

Teacher Feature: Ethnobotanist Tom Carlson

May 31, 2013
Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Joining us now is Flora Lichtman with our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.

FLATOW: We got something really special this week.

Researchers Revive A Plant Frozen In Time

May 31, 2013

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. It sounds like something from the movies, but it's true: Researchers unearth an organism frozen inside a glacier, take it back to the lab and discover it's still alive. In this case it's a plant called a bryophyte, a moss that survives being frozen in a glacier in the dark for some 400 years. Wow.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Over more than two years, the conflict in Syria progressed from protest to civil war, opposition aims from reform to revolution, and the nature of the fighting became increasingly sectarian. Now another important turn as foreign troops openly join one side.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This season, dance legend Bill T. Jones celebrates the 30th anniversary of the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance company, a collaboration that became an innovative force in modern dance.

Over the years, Jones has created more than 140 works for the company and in 2010, the dance troupe merged with Dance Theater Workshop to create New York Live Arts.

As part of Talk of the Nation's "Looking Ahead" series, Jones talks with NPR's Neal Conan about his hopes for the future of modern dance.

Technological developments in prenatal testing and screening methods have given women more information about the genetic status of their fetuses. Increased access to information can leave mothers and their partners with difficult choices about whether to continue or terminate a pregnancy.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

A new Pew study finds that in a record 40 percent of all households with kids under 18, mothers are either the sole or primary source of income. In 1960, that share was just over 10 percent. These breadwinner moms number in the millions, but about three-quarters of all adults say that the prominence of women's economic role makes it harder to raise children. Half say it's made marriage harder to succeed. If you're one of these breadwinner moms, call, tell us what we don't know about the tradeoffs.

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