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 November 21, 2011

Fallout Expected Without Debt Agreement

Originally published on Mon November 21, 2011 12:31 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's not yet official, but all signs indicate the so-called supercommittee will raise the white flag on Capitol Hill later today. The bipartisan panel was charged to cut more than a trillion dollars from federal spending over the coming decade. Failure to reach an agreement means automatic cuts in 2013, half to the defense budget. Yesterday, Democrats and Republicans traded blame on the Sunday talk shows. Does the supercommittee's failure matter to you, and if so, why?

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NPR Story
11:00 am
Mon November 21, 2011

Sexual Predators Often Elude Casual Profilers

After allegations of child sexual assault at Penn State, many wonder why more people didn't see warning signs. Former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O'Toole says many predators spend years grooming victims and parents and gaining their trust. O'Toole and forensic psychiatrist Dr. Harold Burszatajn explain.

Health
11:00 am
Fri November 18, 2011

Strangers Can Spot Genetic Disposition For Empathy

Reporting in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers write that complete strangers are capable of spotting individuals with a genetic predisposition to empathy and sociable behavior. Author Sarina Saturn discusses the study, and how sociability has evolved across cultures.

Pop Culture
11:00 am
Fri November 18, 2011

Balloonatics Prepare For Thanksgiving Day Parade

With the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade less than a week away, it's crunch time for the balloon technicians. Science Friday goes behind the scenes at Macy's design studio to find out about the final preparations for the parade.

Technology
11:00 am
Fri November 18, 2011

Building A Better Toilet

Toilets, as most of us know them, haven't changed much since the 1800s--they use a lot of water, and require an infrastructure that many communities can't afford. Ira Flatow and guests look at the problem of access to sanitation, and how engineers are making toilets better.

Medical Treatments
11:00 am
Fri November 18, 2011

Geron To End Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Citing "capital scarcity" the Geron Corporation said it will abandon its research into using human embryonic stem cells to treat spinal cord injuries. Stem cell expert Leonard Zon discusses the announcement and what it means for the future of embryonic stem cell research.

Space
11:00 am
Fri November 18, 2011

Is A Moon Necessary For A Planet To Support Life?

For years, a theory has held that Earth's large moon played a critical role in stabilizing the planet's tilt, damping down differences between the seasons. Now, astronomer Jason Barnes says that life on our planet would endure even without a moon, a finding that might increase the number of potentially habitable planets in our galaxy.

Energy
11:00 am
Fri November 18, 2011

Solar Sector At War Over Cheap Chinese Panels

Seven solar companies have filed a trade complaint with the federal government, accusing China of dumping artificially cheap solar panels on the US market. But solar installers welcome the low prices. Ira Flatow and guests discuss what's best for the domestic solar industry--and US jobs--in the long run.

Children's Health
11:00 am
Thu November 17, 2011

Channeling Dragons To Parent Terminally-Ill Kids

Emily Rapp and her husband eagerly anticipated their baby's birth. But when their son Ronan was nine-months-old, he was diagnosed with a terminal disease. All of their plans suddenly felt inconsequential and they refocused their lives on being fierce, loyal and loving "dragon parents."

Music Interviews
11:00 am
Thu November 17, 2011

Lamenting The Loss Of Local Rock Radio

DJ Christine Pawlak enjoyed playing music by the band Rise Against, which hails from Chicago.
Courtesy Of The Band

Rock music on FM radio faces more competition than ever. With iPods, satellite radio and online streaming, many companies have given up on rock music to boost ratings and revenue.

But former Q101 Chicago DJ Christine Pawlak argues that there will always be an important role for rock on the radio, played by DJs rooted in their communities, not voice-tracked elsewhere and piped in.

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