Talk Of The Nation

Neal Conan leads a productive exchange of ideas and opinions on the issues that dominate the news landscape. From politics and public service to education, religion, music and health care, Talk Of  The Nation offers call-in listeners the opportunity to join enlightening discussions with a variety of guests.

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NPR Story
8:17 am
Fri June 21, 2013

E.O. Wilson's Advice for Future Scientists

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. In his long career studying ants, nature and ecology, E.O. Wilson has been no stranger to controversy. In the 1970s he was doused with water at a science meeting for presenting his theory on sociobiology. Another new evolutionary theory he introduced a few years ago on kin selection continues to be hotly debated.

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Digital Life
8:17 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Beaming Internet to the Boondocks, Via Balloon

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. If you have a smartphone, you might take the Internet for granted, right? It's always there. But around the world, some four and a half billion people still are not connected. Google, being in the Internet business, has a plan to expand its reach, bring Internet to all these people, but it's not by spooling out fiber-optic cable or building cell towers. It's using a technology that, well, sort of sounds like it belongs in another century: free-floating balloons. They call it Project Loon.

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Education
8:17 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Goodnight Moon, Goodnight Math

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

OK. Maybe E. O. Wilson's comments in his new book, "Letters to a Young Scientist", essentially says you don't want to have to be great at math to have a career in science, but it can't hurt, right? And to be great at math, it pays to start young, and my next guest is a - has a plan for you. Laura Overdeck is the founder of Bedtime Math. Her mission: to make math friendlier in a way by introducing kids to math problems at an early age.

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Science
8:17 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Physicists Find New Particle, Look for Answers

Originally published on Fri August 23, 2013 7:42 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. This week, researchers reported that they think they've spotted the tell-tale signs of a previously undiscovered, subatomic particle. This one was unusual because it appeared to be made of four quarks bound together, an arrangement they have never seen before. And they're not sure exactly how that arrangement might work.

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NPR Story
8:17 am
Fri June 21, 2013

A Calculating Win for China's New Supercomputer

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Every six months, one of my next guests ranks the 500 fastest computers in the world, the supercomputers, and back in November 2010, China took number one for the first time with a supercomputer called Milky Way 1. President Obama acknowledged China's feat in his State of the Union address a few months later and said we were facing a Sputnik moment.

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NPR Story
8:17 am
Fri June 21, 2013

Vegetables Respond to a Daily Clock, Even After Harvest

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

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Environment
11:35 am
Thu June 20, 2013

The Business And Politics Of Air Quality Regulation

In a speech in Germany Wednesday, President Barack Obama said it's time to take "bold action" on climate change. Many believe that major changes to policies on carbon emissions lie ahead, which would mean a host of new regulations for businesses.

Arts & Life
11:25 am
Thu June 20, 2013

Nikky Finney Ponders Possibilities Of The Poetry Profession

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Over the past several weeks, we checked in with our colleagues and friends in a series of conversations called "Looking Ahead," today, poet Nikky Finney. Two years ago, she riveted the audience as she accepted a National Book Award for her poetry collection "Head Off & Split."

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NPR Story
11:14 am
Thu June 20, 2013

'Blood & Beauty' Breathes New Life Into The Borgias

Sarah Dunant is also author of the novels The Birth of Venus and Sacred Hearts.
Charlie Hopkinson

Originally published on Fri June 21, 2013 9:48 am

In the 1500s, Italy is bursting with some of the most influential and vivid figures in history. Many — like Leonardo da Vinci, who balanced art and the sciences; Galileo Galilei, who turned his telescope to the heavens; and Niccolo Machiavelli, who calculated the ruthless politics of the day — are still remembered even now for their major contributions.

Author Sarah Dunant has drilled down into the Italian Renaissance for over a decade — reconstructing a time of artistic innovation, political corruption and war into captivating, and highly accurate, fiction.

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Iraq
11:10 am
Thu June 20, 2013

After A Surge Of Violence, The Threat Of A New Civil War In Iraq

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

Yesterday, seven people were killed and 24 wounded in bomb attacks in Iraq as a surge of violence there continues, 2,000 dead since April; numbers that haven't been seen since the worst days of 2006 and 2007. Then as now, the fighting is largely between Sunnis and Shiites, but this time, inflamed by the civil war raging next door in Syria.

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NPR Story
11:24 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Deadpan Humor And Childhood Fears Collide In 'The Dark'

In The Dark, a boy name Laszlo is visited one night by his biggest fear.
Courtesy of Little, Brown and Company

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 11:26 am

If there's one thing kids are scared of, it's the dark. In his latest children's book, The Dark, Daniel Handler — who writes under the pen name Lemony Snicket — takes on darkness itself, with the story of a young boy who confronts his biggest fear. Handler is known for his dry wit and matter-of-fact take on the mysterious and macabre.

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From Our Listeners
11:04 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Letters: Researching Rare Diseases, Only Children

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 8:20 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Wednesday, and time to read from your comments. James in Laurel Hill, Fla., emailed during our conversation about research into rare diseases. "I would like to affirm the comment made by your guest about rare disease research leading to help for more common diseases," he wrote. "My nephew has brittle bone disease. Some aspects of his treatment have been used to help mend broken bones in accident victims, so research into rare disorders can definitely lead to treatment for others."

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Business
11:00 am
Wed June 19, 2013

Will Work For Free? The Future Of The Unpaid Internship

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 8:20 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. With school out, many college - and even some high school students - will spend the summer working as interns. It's a chance to beef up their resumes, gain on-the-job experience and make valuable contacts. Last week, a federal district court judge in New York issued a ruling that could change the system.

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Politics
10:56 am
Wed June 19, 2013

The Penultimate Edition Of The Political Junkie

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 8:20 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The speaker clamps the Hastert Rule on immigration reform. Three Republican senators now support gay marriage. And the Bay State Senate race goes into its last week. It's Wednesday and time for a penultimate edition of the political junkie.

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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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Afghanistan
11:07 am
Tue June 18, 2013

A Look Ahead To The Future Of Afghanistan

Transcript

JOHN DONVAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm John Donvan in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Of course somebody needed to mark the occasion today by setting off a bomb. It was Afghanistan, where what is hoped will be a turning point was reached today when a ceremony was held in which the Afghan government officially took control of the nation's security, meaning that the U.S., which still has nearly 70,000 troops there, swaps into what is called a support role. Same for some of the 30,000 troops from other NATO nations.

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