Talk of the Nation

Weekdays 12:00 pm

When Americans want to be a part of the national conversation, they turn to Talk of the Nation, NPR's live, midday news-talk program. Host Neal Conan leads a productive exchange of ideas and opinions on the issues that dominate the news landscape.

From breaking news, science, and education to religion and the arts, Talk of the Nation offers listeners the opportunity to join enlightening discussions with decision-makers, authors, academicians, and artists from around the world.

For two hours each Monday through Thursday, Talk of the Nation listeners weigh-in, share their thoughts and ask questions by calling, emailing, messaging through social media.

On Fridays the conversation turns to the topics of science, with Talk of the Nation: Science Friday with Ira Flatow, focusing on news and issues about the world of science and technology.

A long-time NPR journalist, Conan has been a reporter, editor, and anchor for NPR live events coverage. Conan played a major role in anchoring continuous live coverage of developments during the terrorist attacks and aftermath of September 11, 2001. His broadcasts are marked by their clarity, accuracy and eloquence.

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Health
11:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

A Workout Can Change Your DNA

Reporting in Cell Metabolism, researchers write that when people who lead relatively sedentary lives worked out the DNA in their muscle fibers changed almost immediately. Scientists also found caffeine had the same effect on isolated rodent muscles. Study co-author Juleen Zierath discusses the DNA modifications.

Animals
11:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Studying Locomotion With Rat Treadmills, Wind Tunnels

Between the resident emu and the newborn goats, Harvard's Concord Field Station, located in Bedford, Mass., has a menagerie feel. The lab researches how different animals move--which requires lots of animals, and gadgets to facilitate and document their motion.

Space
11:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Dark Matter Just Got More Mysterious

Reporting in the Astrophysical Journal, scientists write of a massive collision between two galaxy clusters. By studying the cosmic remnants of that smashup, they say leftover dark matter isn't behaving as current theory predicts. Astrophysicist Andisheh Mahdavi discusses this dark matter mystery.

Environment
11:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Can An Early Spring Confuse Nature's Clock?

It's been an unusually warm winter in some parts of the country, with springtime temperatures and very little snow. How is nature responding? Purdue entomologist Tom Turpin and horticulturalist Kristin Schleiter of the New York Botanical Garden discuss how an early spring affects flower buds, beetles and bees.

NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri March 9, 2012

Planet Or Not, Pluto's Getting A Visitor

The New Horizons Mission blasted off toward Pluto in 2006; it's on course to arrive in Pluto's neighborhood in 2015. Mission leader Alan Stern discusses the journey of the spacecraft, and why he thinks Pluto is still a planet. Plus, the mission to get Pluto on a commemorative stamp.

Africa
11:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Fact Checking The 'Kony 2012' Viral Video

Kony 2012 is not your usual viral video. A thirty-minute film by the nonprofit group Invisible Children, it hopes to raise support for the arrest of Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord's Resistance Army. Freelance reporter Michael Wilkerson fact checks the film and explains the controversy.

On Aging
11:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

'Gray Divorce': Over 50, And Splitting Up

The divorce rate among people 50 and older has doubled in the past 20 years, according to research by Bowling Green State University sociologists Susan Brown and I-Fen Lin. Their paper, "The Gray Divorce Revolution," examines the factors driving the trend.

NPR Story
11:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

'Da Vinci's Ghost,' Manifest In The Vitruvian Man

A reproduction of Leonardo Da Vinci's drawing of The Vitruvian Man.
iStockphoto.com

Most people are familiar with Leonardo Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man: A nude man, with his arms and legs stretched, inside a square within a circle.

Toby Lester tells the story behind the drawing and Da Vinci's zeal to create an image of the perfectly proportioned human in Da Vinci's Ghost: Genius, Obsession, and How Leonardo Created the World in His Own Image.

Around the Nation
11:00 am
Thu March 8, 2012

Ethnic Mapping: Prophylactic Or Offensive?

After the terrorist attacks on 9/11, some law enforcement agencies adapted crime mapping tactics into what is known as ethnic mapping. Some Muslims welcome ethnic mapping as a useful approach to preventing terrorism. Others say the surveillance amounts to domestic spying and racial profiling.

From Our Listeners
11:00 am
Wed March 7, 2012

Letters: Genetic Testing And Practicing Patience

Talk of the Nation listeners wrote to the show to share their insights on previous show topics, including genetic testing, affirmative action, the source and practice of patience, and interracial marriage.

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