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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Animals
10:00 am
Fri November 4, 2011

How An Elegant Moth Stays Aloft

Originally published on Fri November 4, 2011 10:37 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, host: Joining us now is Flora Lichtman, one of the, with...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

FLATOW: How are you, Flora?

FLORA LICHTMAN: I'm pretty good. How are you?

FLATOW: I'm getting the mouth to work better. What do we got this week?

LICHTMAN: This week is pretty neat. We have footage, really beautiful, high-speed footage of a moth. And believe me, this is a moth like you have never seen it before. When I think of moths, I think of them bumping into lights and bumping into my screen door - clumsy.

FLATOW: Right, right.

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Animals
10:00 am
Fri November 4, 2011

A Researcher Asks: Are Dolphins Self-Aware?

Like chimpanzees, dolphins are large-brained and highly social animals, but can they recognize themselves in a mirror? Psychologist and dolphin researcher Diana Reiss discusses her work with dolphin communication and cognition.

Space
10:00 am
Fri November 4, 2011

Pondering the Possibility of Non-constant 'Constants'

What if the laws of physics aren't the same all over the universe, but vary from place to place? Michael Murphy of the Swinburne University of Technology discusses research published in the journal Physical Review Letters indicating that the value of one basic physical property, the fine structure constant, may vary with location in interstellar space.

NPR Story
11:21 am
Thu November 3, 2011

The 'Best Sports Writing' Is Rarely In The Newspaper

The best sports writing forces us to confront wonder, horror, disappointment and joy. These days, those stories are found not on the sports pages, but in magazines and on the Web.

Jane Leavy, editor of The Best Sports Writing 2011, shares her favorites, including Jake Bogoch's piece on hockey, "School of Fight: Learning to Brawl with the Hockey Goons of Tomorrow."

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Law
10:00 am
Thu November 3, 2011

Second Chances, Not Jail Time, For Criminals

Originally published on Thu November 3, 2011 11:27 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, host: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. If the threat of prison is supposed to deter crime, it's not working; record numbers are behind bars. And while all those bad actors off the street may contribute to lower crime rates in recent years, many believe there have to be better ways.

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Around the Nation
10:00 am
Thu November 3, 2011

Occupy Oakland Morphs From Protest To Strike

Originally published on Thu November 3, 2011 11:21 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, host: Demonstrators continue to march and camp out in cities across the country, inspired by Occupy Wall Street. But yesterday, protesters in Oakland tried something different. Thousands marched through the city in what they called a general strike. They paraded through the streets through much of the day then down to its busy port where they blocked entrances and closed it down. Later, police in riot gear fired teargas as some protesters broke windows and lit fires downtown.

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Afghanistan
10:00 am
Thu November 3, 2011

Offering Advice To Top Brass On Afghanistan

As international forces prepare to leave Afghanistan, deep questions remain about the country's security and its government. Former NPR reporter Sarah Chayes lives part of the year there. She has served as special adviser to two commanders of NATO forces in Afghanistan, and Adm. Mike Mullen.

NPR Story
11:36 am
Wed November 2, 2011

How 'The West' Beat 'The Rest': Six Killer Apps

Historians have long struggled to explain how the West became the preeminent political and economic force in the modern world, and why so many people aspire to emulate the lifestyles, fashions and popular culture of America and Western Europe.

Now, historian Niall Ferguson says he has the answer. In his new book, Civilization: The West and the Rest, Ferguson credits six "killer apps," or social developments: competition, science, property, medicine, consumption and work.

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Politics
10:00 am
Wed November 2, 2011

Ohio Union Bill Vote As Possible '12 Bellwether

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, host: This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Herman Cain's past raises questions about his future. We can't wait auditions as the next yes we can. And Rick Perry takes himself off-base. It's Wednesday and time for a...

GOVERNOR RICK PERRY: Bring it.

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

VICE PRESIDENT WALTER MONDALE: When I hear your new ideas, I'm reminded of that ad: Where's the beef?

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World
10:00 am
Wed November 2, 2011

Divisions Deepening Within Iranian Government

Under pressure from increasingly effective economic sanctions and a growing banking scandal, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad went before parliament to defend his government. His Economics Minister was nearly impeached. NPR foreign correspondent Mike Shuster explains Iran's internal power struggles.

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