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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NPR Story
11:00 am
Mon January 2, 2012

Op-Ed: 364-Day Calendar Intriguing But Unnecessary

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And now, the Opinion Page. It's the start of a new year. Already, millions of us have posted new calendars on the wall or installed new ones on our computers. But Steven Hanke and Richard Henry, two Johns Hopkins University professors, propose a more radical step: the Hanke-Henry permanent calendar, which they say will solve the yearly hassle of reworking our schedules and even help businesses put fiscal calendars in sync. But that raises a question: Is the current calendar a problem for you?

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NPR Story
11:00 am
Mon January 2, 2012

Twins Data Reshaping Nature Versus Nurture Debate

An image from January's National Geographic Magazine cover story on twins. The story's author explains how scientists are expanding the field of epigenetics with research on twins.
Martin Schoeller National Geographic

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 1:42 pm

Almost 150 years ago, English scientist Francis Galton coined the phrase "nature versus nurture" — and proposed that research on twins could resolve the debate.

Genetics have long seemed to weigh heavily in favor of the role of nature in shaping the people we become. But even identical twins are different to varying degrees, and some researchers believe those differences suggest a third influence at work, called epigenetics.

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NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Making Resolutions That Stick In 2012

Many have fallen of the new year's resolution bandwagon soon after adopting a new diet or quiting smoking. So how can you achieve year-end goals and start the year on a positive note? Roy Baumeister, co-author of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength , has some tips.

Science
11:00 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Year in Review: Science Stories of 2011

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 12:00 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. When you look back on 2011, what will you remember, the Fukushima nuclear disaster following the tsunami? What about the death of Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and the pioneer of personal computing? How about the world's population reaching seven billion?

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Space
11:00 am
Fri December 30, 2011

NASA Probes Set To Orbit The Moon Over New Year's

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 12:00 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. The New Year's countdown has begun, not at the clock in Times Square but this one for two NASA probes set to orbit the moon this weekend. The twin spacecraft, GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B are expected to enter lunar orbit 24 hours apart, one on New Year's Eve, the other on New Year's Day.

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Science
11:00 am
Fri December 30, 2011

Exploring Science At The End Of The Earth

Every year thousands of scientists visit Antarctica. Some study the gas plume from the active volcano, Mount Erebus. Others map the ever-changing ice caves. But they all face the same challenges of working on extreme terrain. Two researchers and a photojournalist discuss how research is done on the frozen continent.

Health Care
11:00 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Rules Would Boost Pay For In-Home Health Aides

Nearly two million home health care aides help seniors and people with disabilities to live independently. These caregivers often work long hours doing difficult work without overtime pay. The Labor Department has proposed rules to bring home care aides under federal minimum wage and overtime protections.

NPR Story
11:00 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Learning 'Sri Lankan Home Cooking' A Family Affair

Susan Now

A child of Sri Lankan immigrants, music journalist S.H. "Skiz" Fernando, Jr. grew up eating Sri Lankan food regularly. But he didn't master the art of the cuisine until he moved to his family's homeland and enlisted the expertise of his four aunts.

For one year, Fernando spent his mornings scouring local markets for the best spices and ingredients. He then cooked for hours, using old cookbooks and family recipes. His aunts critiqued the dishes until Fernando perfected them — meaning Fernando ended up making each recipe at least 20 times.

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NPR Story
11:00 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Resisting Hitler's Rise 'In the Garden of Beasts'

Originally published on Fri December 30, 2011 9:45 am

When University of Chicago professor William Dodd assumed the post of U.S. ambassador to Germany in 1933, he hoped for an undemanding position that would allow him spare time to write a book.

At the time, few in the United States or Europe considered then-Chancellor Adolf Hitler a serious threat, and few expected him to remain in power long. Dodd was no exception, says Erik Larson, author of In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin.

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Pop Culture
11:00 am
Thu December 29, 2011

The Logic - Or Lack Thereof - Behind Top 10 Lists

Year's end always means a slew of top ten lists, the ubiquitous arbiter of the year's best films, books, albums and political stories. But Dallas Morning News film critic Chris Vognar has a confession: Those lists are not just subjective — they're often completely arbitrary.

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