Talk of the Nation

Monday - Thursday 11:00 a.m. till 1:00 p.m.
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.

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NPR Story
11:01 am
Mon August 27, 2012

Top Doctors Discuss The Art And Practice Of Surgery

Originally published on Mon August 27, 2012 12:19 pm

Things that most people take for granted in surgery — the use of anesthesia, for example, or the way surgical tools are cleaned — were once cutting-edge discoveries in the profession. Dr. Atul Gawande and Dr. Sherwin Nuland discuss the changes they've seen over their long careers as surgeons.

Environment
10:48 am
Fri August 24, 2012

'Carbon Nation' Tackles Climate Change, By Ignoring It

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. How much do you personally worry about global warming? The people at the Gallup Poll have been asking that question every year since 1989, and according to their latest polling figures, there's been a bit of an uptick in the numbers: 55 percent said they worry about climate change - that's up about four points from last year.

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History
10:45 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Mapping The Birthplace Of Modern Languages

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

When you hear somebody speaking Polish, another person speaking Persian, they sound like totally different languages, don't they? But listen more closely and you'll hear similarities, like how one of the Persian words for mother is mada, and in Polish, it's matka. That's because both languages belong to a large family known as the Indo-European languages. A group that contains over 400 languages and dialects: Polish, Persian, English, French, German, Russian, Icelandic. The list goes on.

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Science
10:41 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Tree Rings Tell Tales Of Ancient Fires And Climate

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. Last week, I was in southern Idaho, and it was snowing in August, or at least it looked like it. Actually, it was raining ash, closing down airports, forcing people to remain inside, many miles away from the forest fire flames.

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Humans
10:39 am
Fri August 24, 2012

David Eagleman Gets Inside Our Heads

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Up next, discovering the universe inside your skull, and it is a universe. According to my next guest, a single cubic centimeter of brain tissue contains as many nerve connections as there are stars in the Milky Way - billions and billions just in a tiny bit of your brain. Never mind the other three pounds of brain matter. It's a vast world inside our skulls, and much of it operates without us really knowing or thinking much about it or even understanding it.

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Space
10:36 am
Fri August 24, 2012

Curiosity Rover Zaps A Rock, Starts To Roll

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow.

(APPLAUSE)

FLATOW: Yup, they were cheering again this week at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The Mars Rover Curiosity made its first moves on the Red Planet. It wiggled its wheels, and it's rolling away from the landing site, toward a spot called Glenelg, actually you can spell it backwards and forwards the same way because it's going to return there.

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NPR Story
10:41 am
Thu August 23, 2012

'Green-On-Blue' Attacks Challenge Afghan Security

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 11:06 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. As the U.S. and NATO start to withdraw combat forces from Afghanistan, many in Kabul are considering the lessons of history this summer, and two years in particular: 1989 and the withdrawal of Soviet troops after 10 years; 1992 and the Afghan civil war.

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NPR Story
10:41 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Preventing The Spread Of West Nile Virus

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 11:10 am

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says 2012's outbreak of West Nile virus is on track to be the worst in U.S. history. The mayor of Dallas recently authorized an aerial spraying program to kill the mosquitoes that carry the virus, which provoked protest from area residents.

NPR Story
10:41 am
Thu August 23, 2012

A Sneak Preview Of The 2012 Paralympics

Originally published on Thu August 23, 2012 11:17 am

The Paralympic Games are the second largest sporting event in the world, after the Olympics, and begin August 29th. 4,000 elite disabled athletes will compete in 20 sports. Many of the sports are familiar, but others — like boccia and goalball — are unique to the Paralympics.

Movies
10:41 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Summer Movies: Older Movies With Modern Themes

Excited about The Expendables 2? Try renting The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen, or The Wild Bunch.
Frank Masi

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 6:43 am

The Avengers and Expendables 2 are two of the summer's biggest movies, and they share a common theme: a band of heroes trying to save the day.

Film buff Murray Horwitz — with some help from Talk of the Nation listeners — suggests alternative movies to watch at home if you like that theme, but don't want to stand in long lines at the box office.


The Magnificent Seven

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NPR Story
11:16 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Political Junkie: Todd Akin And Negative Campaigning

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 11:29 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. A congressman skinny dips in holy water and still can't buy a headline because another congressman redefines rape and biology, defies his own party and stands up Piers Morgan. It's Wednesday and time for a...

PIERS MORGAN: Gutless little twerp...

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL JUNKIE INTRO)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

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NPR Story
11:16 am
Wed August 22, 2012

What Pussy Riot Ruling Means For Russian Regime

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 11:21 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This weekend, a court in Moscow sentenced three women from a previously obscure punk band guilty of hooliganism. They got two years in prison and made Pussy Riot an international sensation. In the Washington Post today, columnist Anne Applebaum writes that for all the attention paid to the case, Madonna's was by far the most damaging, not because she's a serious political figure, but because she isn't.

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NPR Story
11:16 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Drought Forces Ranchers Into Difficult Decisions

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 11:29 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Parts of the country have suffered from record heat and drought for several years in a row now, and this summer, it's been just brutal. In past programs, we talked with farmers about their crops. Today, we focus on difficult choices facing ranchers and dairy farmers.

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NPR Story
11:16 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Social Workers Help Navigate Path To Transplant

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 11:28 am

Each year, some 2,000 heart transplants are performed in the U.S., and the number of people on the waiting list is even larger. Between finding the perfect donor to worrying about insurance, the wait can be grueling, but heart transplant social workers are here to help.

Education
11:57 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Economy Exacerbates College Students' Stress

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. In the coming weeks, millions of college students will move into dorm rooms, make new friends and hit the books. And if that sounds pretty much like the experience of their predecessors over the years, some things have changed.

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Sports
11:40 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Olympians Are Faster And Stronger, But How?

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 11:54 am

The Olympic motto says it all. It translates to: "Faster, Higher, Stronger." But as athletes come up against the limits of human potential, writer Emily Sohn wondered, how do they continue to improve? The answer, she found, has to do with technology, psychology and access to a range of sports.

Presidential Race
11:05 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Romney's VP Pick Puts Focus On Medicare

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 11:34 am

Paul Ryan's controversial plan to reshape Medicare has provoked conversation, some of it confusing, about entitlement reform. Traditionally a campaign rallying cry for Democrats, Republicans seem to be putting President Obama on the defensive about Medicare and the new health law.

Politics
11:05 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Akin's Remarks Highlight Political Cynicism

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 11:55 am

After Rep. Todd Akin's remarks about rape, the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus posed a question: "Is it any wonder Americans hate politics?" Republicans, she says, reacted just strongly enough to serve their own interests. And Democrats, Marcus argues, do their own part by driving voter cynicism.

From Our Listeners
11:05 am
Tue August 21, 2012

Letters: Duty To Warn And Hate Groups

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 11:24 am

NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments about mental health professionals and their "duty to warn," and about what we know about hate groups. And we remember comedian Phyllis Diller who died Monday at her home in Los Angeles.

Fitness & Nutrition
11:30 am
Mon August 20, 2012

Getting Fit: Why More People Are Walking The Walk

More people are getting their exercise by walking, according to a new study by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The health benefits are clear: Walkers generally have a lower risk of heart disease and diabetes. If walking is your form of exercise, why does it work for you?

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