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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Research News
11:00 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Flight Of The Wild Pigeon

Pigeons may not be known for their flying prowess, but they are actually pretty good at maneuvering right angles. Andrew Biewener and colleagues at Harvard's Concord Field Station caught pigeons in a parking garage, made a flying course in the lab and filmed the birds with high speed cameras to see how pigeons make tight turns.

NPR Story
11:00 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Deconstructing A Skyscraper

In her new book, The Heights: Anatomy of a Skyscraper, author Kate Ascher sheds light on the infrastructure and services that make life and work possible in a modern skyscraper. She examines everything that goes into designing, building and maintaining these towering buildings.

Author Interviews
11:00 am
Fri December 2, 2011

The Beauty and Brains Behind 'Hedy's Folly'

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 11:46 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next, the hidden life of a Hollywood siren.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "THE HEAVENLY BODY")

WILLIAM POWELL: (as William Whitley) Scientist, mathematician, physicist, bacon-eater, yes, but not astrologer.

HEDY LAMARR: (as Vicky Whitley) Oh, I'm sorry.

POWELL: (as William Whitley) Darling, astronomy and astrology may sound alike, but that's all. Astronomy is a science, astrology, a superstition.

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Health
11:00 am
Fri December 2, 2011

Hitting The 'Off' Switch On Antibiotic Resistance

Doctors are running out of effective antibiotics, as bacteria evolve ways to evade one drug after another. Now DARPA has called for alternatives to conventional antibiotics. Nanotechnologist Chad Mirkin discusses one such weapon--tiny globs of DNA and RNA that can switch off the bugs' antibiotic resistance. Nanotechnologist Chad Mirkin discusses next-generation antibiotics that target a bacterium's DNA.

NPR Story
12:31 pm
Thu December 1, 2011

Richard Branson: Time To Rethink 'Business As Usual'

Entrepreneur Richard Branson has attempted to break several world records for sailing and ballooning.
Clare Brown

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 10:45 am

Richard Branson has built a global business empire around the philosophy "have fun and the money will come."

As the founder of Virgin Group, he grew a mail-order record company into a major record label and a chain of record stores; he started an airline; he created a space tourism company; and he has been actively involved in humanitarian efforts.

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Media
11:00 am
Thu December 1, 2011

NPR CEO Gary Knell's First Day At Work

Originally published on Fri December 2, 2011 6:29 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Wanted: a high-powered executive to run a nonprofit, far-flung public radio organization. Pluses include a trusted name, award-winning news and music programs, a growing audience and a talented staff. Minuses: some funding problems, a few self-inflicted controversies, the transition to digital media and staff who all think they're smarter than you.

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Author Interviews
11:00 am
Thu December 1, 2011

Award-Winner Nikky Finney On Life As A Poet

Nikky Finney's Head Off & Split tells the stories of contemporary African-American life from the Civil Rights movement to Hurricane Katrina.
David Flores

Originally published on Thu December 1, 2011 12:51 pm

Nikky Finney has dreamed of being a poet since she was a teenager. She published her first book in 1985, and has taught writing for years at the university level.

Now, she's reached a pinnacle of success in the literary world: Her book, Head Off & Split received the National Book Award for poetry.

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NPR Story
11:00 am
Thu December 1, 2011

'American Pie' Doesn't Belong To Saratoga Springs

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Forty years and a few days ago, an eight-and-a-half-minute song broke on to the record charts, soon drenched the radio and claimed a permanent place in the lives of millions.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "AMERICAN PIE")

DON MCLEAN: (Singing) I can't remember if I cried when I read about his widowed bride. Something touched me deep inside the day the music died. So bye, bye, Miss American Pie. Drove my Chevy to the levee but the levee was dry.

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NPR Story
11:00 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Rep. Barney Frank Bids Congress Farewell

After three decades serving in Congress, Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank has announced his retirement. The liberal Democrat will leave behind a legislative legacy that includes financial regulation and memorable sparring matches with both colleagues and constituents.

World
11:00 am
Wed November 30, 2011

Tension Grows Between Iran And The West

British authorities have closed their embassy in Iran's capital city, Tehran, and recalled all diplomatic staff, a day after Iranian protesters stormed the embassy. Britain also said it was requiring Iran to close its embassy in London and recall all its staff in the next 48 hours.

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