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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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. We all know the phrase a dog is a man's best friend. But how did they become such loyal companions? Scientists agree that dogs descended from wolves, eventually evolving into the first domesticated animals, but that's where the consensus ends.

Researchers have been using archaeological records and genetic studies to tease out clues about how dogs and humans came to live together, but they seem to tell different stories of how it happened.

Cold Snap Shakes Up Winter Weather Outlook

Jan 25, 2013

Unusual activity in the atmosphere over the Arctic Circle is triggering snow and frigid temperatures across Canada, the U.S. and parts of Europe. Climatologist Jeff Weber, of the University Corporation of Atmospheric Research, explains why this winter could pack a punch.

A Closer Look at Women In Combat

Jan 24, 2013

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Today, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced he will lift rules that barred women from service in units likely to find themselves in combat on the ground.

The Changing Nature of American Diplomacy

Jan 24, 2013

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Later this hour, we'll talk about women in combat. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced today that the Pentagon will lift the military ban on women serving in combat roles. So we want to hear from women in the Armed Forces. What changes now?

The Self That's Left When Memories Fade

Jan 24, 2013

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. In a piece in The Atlantic, neuroscientist Daniel Levitin describes the day a teacher, a famous neuropsychologist, told the class that his colleague, a close friend, had just called him to say he had a brain tumor, would gradually lose his memory and, the teacher said, would soon no longer understand who he was.

Roe v. Wade at 40: A Look at Its Legacy

Jan 24, 2013

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

We didn't have a chance on Monday to get to our opinion page, so now a special Thursday edition of the opinion page. This week marks the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision. In a recent piece for The New York Times, that newspaper's former Supreme Court correspondent, Linda Greenhouse, wrote that the ruling that legalized abortion across the entire country was much more about the rights of doctors than the rights of women.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Now to the civil war in Syria. Rebels report new rocket strikes by government forces today - attacks, they say, that killed six members of one family. Nearly two years after the government sent army tanks to crush anti-government protests, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday he does not see much prospect for a negotiated resolution, and he warned that the humanitarian situation in the country is dire.

A decade after news of the sex abuse scandal in the Boston archdiocese of the Catholic Church broke, reports of abuse continue to emerge. The number of priests in the U.S. is in rapid decline, raising questions about who still chooses the job and how the work has changed after high-profile abuse scandals.

NPR's Neal Conan reads from listener comments on previous show topics, including reaction to the movie Django Unchained, Florida's python problem and rereading high school classics.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

In his second inaugural address yesterday, President Obama emphasized equality and the struggles for civil rights.

(SOUNDBITE OF INAUGURAL ADDRESS)

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Back in 1999, I went along with Robert Ballard on a radio expedition to the Black Sea, where he hoped to find evidence that what's now a vast inland ocean was once a small freshwater lake. A controversial theory holds that thousands of years ago, the waters of the Mediterranean Sea suddenly burst through in a flood that may have inspired the story of Noah.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Over the weekend, Algerian troops stormed a gas facility in a remote area near the country's eastern border and ended a four-day standoff with Islamic militants who seized the production complex and dozens of hostages.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is special coverage from NPR News of the presidential inauguration. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The crowds along the National Mall have dwindled, and President Obama is making his way to the inaugural parade, which then will head down Pennsylvania Avenue to the White House. The theme of this year's inauguration, faith in America's future, an idea that echoed through much of what the president said in an inaugural address that illuminated many of the principles behind the policies he intends to address during his final term.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is special coverage from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. Just over two hours ago, President Barack Obama took the oath of office on the west steps of the Capitol before a throng gathered on the National Mall and millions listening on radio and TV. As he begins his second term in the White House, he leads a nation deeply divided on the size and purpose of government, on gay marriage, on guns.

Edward Tufte Wants You to See Better

Jan 18, 2013

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FLORA LICHTMAN, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman. Up next: the man who wrote the book - well, the books, rather - on data visualization. He was doing infographics before everybody was doing infographics. Back in the '80s, data scientist Edward Tufte remortgaged his house so he could start a company and self-publish his first book, "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information." Sound like a snoozer? Well, that book, along with his others on the same topic, have sold more than a million-and-a-half copies.

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