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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Around the Nation
11:10 am
Tue August 14, 2012

The Anatomy Of A Hate Group

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 12:47 pm

The murders of six people at the Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wis., by a gunman with ties to white supremacists has raised questions about the prevalence and influence of hate groups in America — who they are, what they do, and how they recruit new members.

Around the Nation
11:04 am
Tue August 14, 2012

Tammy Smith: First Openly Gay U.S. General

Army Brigadier General Tammy Smith, right, with her wife, Tracey Hepner.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 12:47 pm

Army Reserve officer Tammy Smith was promoted to the position of Brigadier General on August 10, 2012. In doing so, she became the first gay general to serve openly in the U.S. military.

"I'm just so thrilled that I'm able at this point to present Tracy as my family," she tells NPR's Lynn Neary. "We're indeed a military family."

Gen. Smith talks about her career in the military and the significance of her recent promotion.

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NPR Story
11:04 am
Tue August 14, 2012

What Life Holds For Athletes After The Olympics

American swimmer Carrie Steinseifer, left, hugs Nancy Hogshead after they tied for the gold medal in the 100 meter freestyle competition during the 1984 Olympics.
Courtesy of Nancy Hogshead-Makar

Originally published on Wed August 15, 2012 1:14 pm

As a kid, Nancy Hogshead-Makar wanted to be the best swimmer in the world. At 14, she got her wish when she was ranked number one in the world for 200-meter butterfly at age 14. Four years later, she was part of U.S. team that boycotted the Moscow Olympics, and at 22, she swam in five Olympic finals at the 1984 Los Angeles games, winning three gold medals and one silver medal.

"I knew that the 1984 Olympics were really going to be my swan song," she tells NPR's Lynn Neary. She retired after those games and went to finish out a year and a half at Duke University.

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Election 2012
12:55 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

Will Paul Ryan Help Or Hurt The GOP Ticket?

Transcript

LYNN NEARY, HOST:

And now, the Opinion Page. And Republicans and Democrats can agree on one thing about Mitt Romney's pick of Paul Ryan as his running mate. His selection reshapes the race for president. That may be all they agree on. We'll read from our range of opinions in a few minutes, and we want to hear from Republicans today. Does Paul Ryan help or hurt the GOP ticket? Give us a call: 800-989-8255. The email address is talk@npr.org. And we start with NPR's senior Washington editor Ron Elving. He's here with us in Studio 3A.

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NPR Story
10:51 am
Mon August 13, 2012

'Dreamland' Uncovers Science Of Odd Sleeping Habits

In Dreamland, David Randall discusses the pros and cons of sharing a bed with a partner, and why naps sometimes leave us feeling more exhausted.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 11:38 am

We spend roughly a third of our lives asleep, but know very little about what happens once we shut our eyes and drift off.

David Randall has had trouble sleeping for most of his life. One particularly bad night inspired him to learn everything he could about the process.

"I woke up in the middle of the night with the scary and strange realization that I was on my back in the middle of the hallway with a searing pain in my knee," he tells NPR's Lynn Neary. "I ... quickly put together that I had been sleepwalking, and I ran myself into the wall."

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NPR Story
10:51 am
Mon August 13, 2012

College Freshmen Learn From 'Enrique's Journey'

Many colleges and universities require incoming freshmen to read Sonia Nazario's book Enrique's Journey.
Random House

Originally published on Tue August 14, 2012 10:24 am

Before incoming freshmen actually step onto campus, many get their first assignment: a "common read." Colleges and universities assign the same book for freshmen to read over the summer to facilitate discussions once they get to school.

Sonia Nazario's book Enrique's Journey is on dozens of required reading lists this year. It tells the story of a Honduran boy who embarks on a perilous search to find his mother in the United States. Enrique's mother left to find work in the United States when he was 5, and he sets out to track her down as a teenager.

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Law
10:51 am
Mon August 13, 2012

The Line Between Confidentiality And Public Safety

Originally published on Mon August 13, 2012 12:57 pm

Mental health professionals are faced with difficult decisions about when to warn about potential threats to public safety. State laws vary: Some require mental health workers to report a perceived threat, others ease confidentiality requirements, and some states have no established duty to warn.

Book Reviews
10:43 am
Fri August 10, 2012

SciFri Book Club Talks 'Monkey Mind'

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next, our monthly meeting of the SCIENCE FRIDAY book club. Flora Lichtman, our multimedia editor is going to stay here with us. And joining us now also is Annette Heist, our senior producer. Did you get your reading done? (Unintelligible) The book, the book, Annette, you chose, it was "Monkey Mind," right? "Memoir of Anxiety" by Daniel Smith. Tell us a little bit about why you chose that book. What sang to you when you chose it?

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Space
10:41 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Martian Lab Made In Manhattan

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Speaking of Mars, Flora Lichtman is here with our Video Pick of the Week.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Speaking of Mars.

(LAUGHTER)

LICHTMAN: Speaking of Martians.

(LAUGHTER)

FLATOW: Well, I said it because you have a great Mars-related video.

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Space
10:38 am
Fri August 10, 2012

After 'Terror,' Mars Scientists Plan Exploration

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Unless you've been hiding under a rock on Mars, you know that last weekend NASA's Mars Science Laboratory safely made its way down to the surface of the Red Planet and now the Rover Curiosity sits, set up camp in Gale Crater.

So what'll it do now that it's there? Joining me now to talk about it is John Grotzinger. He's project scientist for the mission, professor of geology at Caltech. He joins me from the JPL Campus in Pasadena. Welcome back to the program.

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Books
10:33 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Catching Up With Tom Swift a Century Later

Science fiction hero Tom Swift has amazed children with his incredible inventions since combustion and electricity drove the nation into a new era. These stories captured a cultural love of science and inspired such famous figures as Steve Wozniak and Isaac Asimov — all while predicting new technologies decades in advance.

Science
10:32 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Amidst Rocky Peaks, Physicists Ponder The Universe

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY from NPR. I'm Ira Flatow. How many pictures have you seen of Einstein in front of a blackboard, you know, scribbling equations, working through the math? That's how theoretical physicists spend their time, right? Either that or cooped up alone in their university offices with pencil and paper.

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NPR Story
10:25 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Attacking Alzheimer's With Antibodies, Hormones

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Earlier this week, yet another potential cure for Alzheimer's failed. Pfizer called off additional studies of its intravenous drug bapineuzumab, an antibody designed to seek and destroy plaques that build up in the brains of people with Alzheimer's.

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Latin America
11:08 am
Thu August 9, 2012

What The Future Holds For Cuba's Economy

In Cuba, President Raul Castro has plans to reform the economy, but many challenges lie ahead before the country can move forward. Many of the changes are being implemented slowly because of resistance from within the Communist Party.

NPR Story
10:46 am
Thu August 9, 2012

Weighing The Benefits Of Studying Abroad

Though many colleges and universities urge their students to study abroad, there is little research on the actual benefits.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 10:33 am

In our increasingly interconnected world and global economy, the opportunity to study abroad seems like a particularly valuable experience. College students are urged to take advantage of study abroad programs to expand horizons and gain enriching cross-cultural experiences.

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NPR Story
10:46 am
Thu August 9, 2012

The Media, National Security And Leaks

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 11:19 am

Bipartisan legislation approved in late July by the Senate Intelligence Committee includes anti-leak provisions designed to curb disclosure of national security information. This legislation, and an ongoing FBI inquiry into U.S. intelligence leaks, have raised questions about the relationship between reporters and sources.

NPR Story
10:46 am
Thu August 9, 2012

Paleontologists Unearth Possible Pre-Human Fossils

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 11:30 am

Fossils discovered in East Africa suggest that Homo erectus, the species believed to be humans' direct ancestor, may have shared Earth with two genetically distinct but similar species. Some paleontologists believe that these species may be distant relatives to modern humans, while others need more evidence.

NPR Story
11:34 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Facebook Refugee Unplugs From Social Media

piece for Salon.com, former Facebook employee Katherine Losse wrote about why it's so hard to take breaks from social media." href="/post/facebook-refugee-unplugs-social-media" class="noexit lightbox">
In a piece for Salon.com, former Facebook employee Katherine Losse wrote about why it's so hard to take breaks from social media.
Courtesty of Katherine Losse

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 11:42 am

Katherine Losse was Facebook's 51st employee. After earning a master's degree from Johns Hopkins University in 2005, she got a job as a Facebook customer service representative — tasked with answering questions like "What is a poke?" In the course of five years, she became the personal ghostwriter for founder Mark Zuckerberg.

"I witnessed over those five years this huge transformation in how we lead our lives," she tells NPR's Tom Gjelten.

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NPR Story
10:43 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Online Harassment Gets Real For Female Gamers

According to the Entertainment Software Association, 47 percent of gamers are women. Women over 18 are considered one of the industry's fastest growing demographics.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 9, 2012 10:57 am

Taunting and trash-talking are a regular part of the culture for online video gamers. Opponents tease and threaten each other to complement the violent clashes between the game avatars.

In a piece for The New York Times, reporter Amy O'Leary describes a series of incidents with female gamers over the past six months that have sparked a debate about sexual harassment in the online gaming community.

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NPR Story
10:43 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Guns 101: What We Know And What We Don't

Originally published on Wed August 8, 2012 12:30 pm

The recent shootings in Oak Creek, Wis., and Aurora, Colo., have reignited the debate about guns and gun control in America. But beyond the talking points and heated exchanges lie real questions about guns ownership, regulation and use.

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