Talk of the Nation

Monday - Thursday 11:00 a.m. till 1:00 p.m.
  • Hosted by Neil Conan

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.

Denis Hayes on Being Green

Jun 14, 2013

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Anyone who has taken some time on Earth Day to contemplate the planet has my next guest to thank. Danis Hayes was the first national coordinator for Earth Day back in 1970, and if I might insert a personal note, Earth Day back in 1970 was also the anniversary of my first science story I ever did. So this is very interesting, and I'm very happy to have as my guest today Denis Hayes, who is, and as I say, he's head of the Solar Energy Research Institute under President Jimmy Carter.

With Climate Change, No Happy Clams

Jun 14, 2013

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Think for a minute about the victims of climate change. You might envision the polar bear, right? You see a lot of that in the news, atop a block of melting ice or - where there's no ice to grab onto, or the great ice sheet covering Greenland drip, drip, dripping away, or the tiny island of Tuvalu whose people and beaches might soon be swallowed by rising seas.

Rolling Out Bamboo Bicycles

Jun 14, 2013

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next, Flora Lichtman is here with us for our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.

You went with something Seattlely(ph). How would I describe it - Seattle-like this week for this week's video.

That's right. When in Mayor McSchwinn's city, you have to go with the bikes. Lightening it up for pick of the week, but - as usual.

(LAUGHTER)

LICHTMAN: Oh, yes. This week's video is about, not just any bicycle builders, these are folks who are building bicycles out of bamboo.

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. He's been called Mayor McSchwinn for riding his bicycle to work. He's pledged to turn his town of Seattle into a model for what one city can do to lower its carbon footprint, and for good reason. As the climate changes, coastal cities like Seattle are challenged by rising sea levels.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. In an extraordinary step, President Obama and China's new leader, Xi Jinping, met at a California ranch last weekend to reset relations between the two largest economies in the world and between an established superpower and an emerging rival.

When singer-songwriter India.Arie broke through in 2001, her debut album Acoustic Soul went double platinum, and her music and influence continued to gain momentum in the years that followed. Since her debut, she's been nominated for 21 Grammys — and won four — while selling 10 million albums worldwide.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

We've all seen a flock of birds shift direction instantaneously mid-flight, or a school of fish swirl in what looked like tightly choreographed maneuvers. That's called collective behavior and it fascinated and baffled scientists. Why do they do it? How? Telepathy? Now technology is revolutionizing the way researchers can track, visualize and even create swarms, and what they're finding will make you go wow.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And today, film farewells. We consider the great goodbye scenes in movie - boy loses girl for good; hero sets off to certain doom; or a Mother's Day remembrance from Jimmy Cagney.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "WHITE HEAT")

JAMES CAGNEY: (as Cody Jarrett) Made it, Ma! Top of the world!

(EXPLOSION)

Forty years after the Senate committee hearings on the Watergate scandal, Political Junkie Ken Rudin talks with Lowell Weicker, who served on the Senate Watergate committee. Former White House speechwriters Paul Glastris and Peter Robinson talk about writing speeches amid scandal.

Fighting To Breathe: Living With COPD

Jun 12, 2013

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a progressive lung disease that slowly robs sufferers of the ability to breathe. COPD is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., surpassed only by cancer and heart disease. There are treatments, but no cure for the disease.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

You may know Suleika Jaouad from Life, Interrupted, the pieces she writes on her cancer on The New York Times Well blog. She's also made time to speak with us over the past year starting last May, about a month after she received a bone marrow transplant. During that conversation, she told us: I feel very hopeful for the future, but I have definitely been humbled by everything I've been through. I don't think of myself as invincible or immortal anymore.

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LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Lynn Neary.

Fans of "Game of Thrones" are well-aware by now that George R. R. Martin, author of the popular book series, is not afraid to kill off his characters. Those who read the books are way ahead of those who discovered the series through HBO. TV viewers were stunned when the first season ended with the graphic beheading of the man everyone thought was the hero of the saga. Season three, which just ended, offered more violent and unexpected deaths.

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LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Lynn Neary in Washington; Neal Conan is away. For the second day in a row, lawyers questioned potential jurors in the George Zimmerman trial. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, last year.

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LYNN NEARY, HOST:

In 1907, the first president of the American Psychological Association called only children "sickly, selfish, strange, and stupid." He concluded that "being an only child is a disease in itself."

In her book One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One, journalist Lauren Sandler takes on these stereotypes and sifts through a huge body of research that debunks many of the worst myths about only children.

Sandler, an only child and mother of one, talks to NPR's Lynn Neary about the joys of raising just one.

As a child, Jeannie Peeper was diagnosed with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, an extremely rare disease that causes a second skeleton to grow inside the body. Peeper and science writer Carl Zimmer discuss the efforts of a small group to fund research to battle the disease.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. And we focus today on what we now know about U.S. government information sweeps of telephone and Internet data and on the man who now admits he disclosed the top secret documents to The Guardian and the Washington Post.

After years in movies and TV shows, some child actors end up making headlines later in life for stints in rehab, or ongoing legal battles. But not all former child stars become tabloid fodder. Some leave Hollywood behind and pursue other careers.

Mara Wilson, who starred in Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire and Miracle on 34th Street, was able to avoid the drama. Wilson, 25, graduated from New York University in 2009 and is now a writer and playwright based in New York.

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

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

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.

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