Talk of the Nation on AM 870 NewsTalk

Mon - Thurs 2pm - 4pm

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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Middle East
1:00 pm
Tue January 10, 2012

One Year Later, Arab Spring Still Reverberating

The demonstrations that spread across the Middle East in 2011 unseated leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya. Yemen's president has agreed to step down and violence continues in Syria. NPR foreign correspondents discuss developments since the Arab Spring and what they mean for the region and the U.S.

Election 2012
1:00 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Demystifying The Role Of Political Independents

Approximately 40 percent of U.S. voters identify as independents, giving them considerable clout with political candidates. Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page and George W. Bush campaign strategist Daron Shaw discuss who makes up the independent electorate, and if its influence is sometimes overstated.

Animals
1:00 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

FAA Rules May Interrupt Endangered Crane Migration

Operation Migration uses ultralight planes to guide whooping cranes in migration from Wisconsin to their winter home in Florida. But a Federal Aviation Administration investigation has grounded a flock of whooping cranes and an ultralight guiding plane.

National Security
1:00 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Defense Cuts To Reshape U.S. Military Strategy

The Obama administration has laid out billions in cuts to the U.S. military over the next decade. Some say the cuts will weaken the armed forces, while others argue it's time to reconsider the type of military presence the U.S. should maintain. NPR's Tom Bowman describes the proposed cuts and their potential implications for future military operations.

Opinion
1:00 pm
Mon January 9, 2012

Op-Ed: For Candidates, Private-Public Line Blurry

Politicians often reveal personal stories on the campaign trail. But those revelations often draw criticism from opponents. New York Times columnist Ross Douthat says politicians can and should contest the critiques, but that many have lost the right to complain about them.

Environment
1:42 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Winter Wonderland? Wonder No Longer

The winter solstice has come and gone, making it officially winter in the U.S., with cooler temperatures, less sunlight, and, in some places, snow, ice, and frost. A panel of experts discusses the different phenomena that combine to make up the season we call winter, and give tips for how best to appreciate the natural world in wintertime.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Levitating Fruit Flies To Learn About Space Travel

Physicist Richard Hill and colleagues at the University of Nottingham have a powerful magnet that they have used to levitate fruits, beer and most recently, fruit flies. It's a low-cost way to study the effects of zero gravity on biological systems, Hill says.

Research News
1:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Parasitic Fly Threatens Honey Bee Populations

Honey bee colonies around the United States are in decline, threatened by several different diseases and parasites. John Hafernik, a professor of biology at San Francisco State University, describes how a parasitic fly that was thought to prey upon bumblebees may pose a new threat to honey bee populations in the U.S.

Medical Treatments
1:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

One Scholar's Take On The Power of The Placebo

A placebo can take the form of a sugar pill or even a fake surgery. It's often used to test the effectiveness of a trial drug. Ted Kaptchuk, director of Harvard University's Program in Placebo Studies and the Therapeutic Encounter, discusses potential applications for the healing power of placebos.

Health
1:00 pm
Fri January 6, 2012

Debate Persists Over Publishing Bird Flu Studies

A federal advisory board has urged scientific journals not to publish the research from two labs that have developed an airborne flu virus. Microbiologist Vincent Racaniello discusses why the move sets a bad precedent. Biosecurity expert D.A. Henderson talks about the risks of publishing the research.

Your Health
1:00 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Should Patients See Their Doctors' Notes?

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 2:24 pm

Transcript

JENNIFER LUDDEN, HOST:

When you visit a doctor and he starts - he or she - starts jotting down notes in your records, do you want to know what they're writing? Over 90 percent of patients do, according to one recent study. But doctors are not as keen on the idea. Many physicians note insights and comments they may not have shared with patients. They report concern that revealing this information could leave a patient confused or frightened.

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Law
1:00 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

In 2012, New State Laws On Large And Local Issues

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 2:14 pm

Transcript

JENNIFER LUDDEN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden, in Washington. Neal Conan is away. This week ushered in the new year, of course, and with it came a raft of new laws from Florida to California. States passed almost 40,000 laws last year. Many of them took effect this week; a host of others will roll out in the coming months.

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Media
1:00 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Cynthia Tucker Reflects On Opinion Journalism

After more than 20 years as a columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Pulitzer Prize-winner Cynthia Tucker left to become a visiting professor at the University of Georgia. She edited the editorial page for the paper for eight years until she was reassigned as a political columnist.

Children's Health
1:00 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Reality Sets In Between Toddler And Teen Years

Middle childhood was often thought of as a developmental placeholder between toddler and teen years. But a special issue of Human Nature explains that's when children learn to reason, control impulses, understand and accept mortality and plan for the future, among other developmental milestones.

Politics
1:00 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

What The Close Race In Iowa Means For N.H.

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 2:17 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Concord, New Hampshire. But in Iowa, Romney ekes out an eyelash gold. Ron Paul settles for bronze, and a sweet silver for Santorum. It's Wednesday and time for a...

RICK SANTORUM: Game on.

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?

SENATOR BARRY GOLDWATER: Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

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Politics
1:00 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

The Back Of The Republican Pack Weighs Options

Rep. Michele Bachmann suspended her campaign. Texas Gov. Rick Perry headed home to reassess his bid after Iowa. And while Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Rep. Ron Paul carry the momentum into New Hampshire and South Carolina, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman promise to continue their campaigns.

Iraq
1:00 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

Uncertainty For Iraqi Translator After Withdrawal

Originally published on Wed January 4, 2012 2:24 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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NPR Story
2:14 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Writing About 'The Moment' When Your Life Changed

The six-word memoir conceit grew into a popular series of books, but the editors know it's tough to share a meaningful story in so few words. So Smith Magazine released The Moment: Wild, Poignant, Life-Changing Stories from 125 Writers and Artists Famous and Obscure, a collection of longer tales.

Larry Smith,editor of the collection, joins NPR's Neal Conan to talk about the moments included in the book, and to hear listeners' stories of the moments that changed their lives.

Tell us: When was the moment your life changed?

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Law
1:00 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Falling Crime Rates Challenge Long-Held Beliefs

Crime rates dropped sharply in the past twenty years, according to FBI data, a trend that continues despite the recession and a recent decrease in prison populations. Criminologists see a clear trend, but can't fully explain what's driving the decline in violent and property crime rates.

Your Health
1:00 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

In 'The Fat Trap,' Our Bodies Work Against Us

Two-thirds of Americans are overweight. And when many of them try to take off the extra pounds, their bodies fight to stay fat. Tara Parker-Pope, who described "The Fat Trap" in The New York Times Magazine, and Dr. Arthur Frank talk about why some people appear more biologically prone to obesity.

Digital Life
1:00 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Facebook's Bejar Takes On Compassion Challenge

When Facebook engineer Arturo Bejar observed users were reporting pictures of themselves, not those with illegal content, he recognized the need for a better way for users to resolve internal conflicts. Bejar talks about how Facebook is trying to encourage compassion in online social interaction.

From Our Listeners
1:00 pm
Tue January 3, 2012

Letters: Lives Lost In 2011 And Farm Work

NPR's Neal Conan reads from Talk of the Nation listener comments on previous show topics, including our annual show remembering remarkable lives lost, and a recent proposal to change the laws governing what work children may do on farms.

Brain Candy
1:00 pm
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
1:00 pm
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 3:42 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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Presidential Race
1:00 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Poll Predicts Three-Way Nail-Biter In Iowa Caucuses

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Last Wednesday, Ann Selzer could not be cajoled into even a hint of the final Iowa poll as she joined the Political Junkie. Selzer and the company - and her company polls for the Des Moines Register and for Bloomberg. It's considered the gold standard in Iowa. And the Register published the results on Saturday night. It showed Mitt Romney in front, followed closely by Ron Paul and Rick Santorum surging into third. Ann Selzer joins us again from Iowa Public Radio. Nice to have you back on the program.

ANN SELZER: Great to be here, Neal.

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Presidential Race
1:00 pm
Mon January 2, 2012

Religion Front And Center On 2012 Campaign Trail

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. In Iowa, all the GOP presidential candidates continue to profess their faith in speeches and in broadcast ads, perhaps none more than Texas Governor Rick Perry.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT)

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Science
1:00 pm
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.

NPR Story
1:00 pm
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
1:00 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

Year in Review: Science Stories of 2011

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 2:00 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
1:00 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

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

Originally published on Thu March 8, 2012 2:00 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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