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.

According to the EPA, more than 2.5 million tons of electronic waste, or e-waste, is produced each year in the U.S. Derek Markham, a contributing writer for Treehugger.com, discusses the global impacts, and why you should think twice before discarding your old cell phone.

What's it like to live--and cook--on Mars? To find out, researchers are simulating Mars missions in Russia, and on the slopes of a Hawaiian volcano. Kim Binsted talks about her study to whip up tastier space food. Porcini mushroom risotto, anyone? And sleep expert Charles Czeisler talks about how humans adapt to the 24.65-hour Martian day.

Living with an overweight parent, child or spouse can be difficult. Loved ones who want to help a family member struggling with obesity may be hesitant to broach the subject for fear of causing shame or making matters worse.

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CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

President Obama nominated Jack Lew, his current chief of staff, for Treasury Secretary today. Former cabinet members explain what it takes to put together a good cabinet, and how to get the members to work together.

How Nixon Re-Shaped The Presidency

Jan 9, 2013

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CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Celeste Headlee.

But it is a special day. On this day, 100 years ago, Richard Milhous Nixon was born in Yorba Linda, California. He later became a U.S. representative, a senator, a vice president, and finally, 37th president of the United States. From civil rights to Watergate, Nixon's term shaped perceptions of the modern office of the presidency and creating quite a few memorable soundbites in the process.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED AUDIO)

PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON: Sock it to me

NPR's Political Junkie Ken Rudin recaps the week in politics — from Chuck Hagel's nomination for Secretary of Defense, to the swearing-in of the 113th Congress. Exiting Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH) shares his thoughts on the current state and future of the Republican Party.

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CELESTE HEADLEE, HOST:

When Janell Burley Hofmann's son turned 13, she faced a question: Was it finally time to give him a smartphone?

She decided he was responsible enough to handle it, but not without signing an 18-point contract regarding appropriate use of the iPhone.

What We've Learned About Fat And Fitness

Jan 8, 2013

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro, in Washington. Just one week into January, you may be noticing the effects of people's New Year's resolutions. For example, there may be no spots on the treadmill at your gym; no kale on the supermarket shelves. Losing weight is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions and this hour, we'll explore what we've learned in the last year about how some people keep fit, and why others have a hard time dropping pounds.

The Art And Strategy Of The Hashtag

Jan 8, 2013

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Now, this week, the American Dialect Society announced its word of 2012, and the winner comes from Twitter. The word is hashtag. The symbol for a hashtag looks like the pound sign on your phone. Five years ago, Twitter introduced it as a way to organize tweets and sort through trends. Now, hashtags are everywhere. Movie trailers use them to promote the latest blockbuster, shirts and hats sport the hashtag #YOLO for you only live once. Hashtags even pop up in conversations with friends like hashtag #eyeroll.

Each time the president steps to a microphone or podium, dozens of camera shutters snap like tap dancers in a show. Most of those cameras belong to reporters, but not all of them.

Some are in the hands of White House photographers. Almost no one has as much access to the president every day, in public and behind the scenes.

Eric Draper worked as the White House photographer for President George W. Bush. "You're part of the staff," he tells NPR's Ari Shapiro. "You serve the president. And what that means is I had an all-access pass.

While most causes of accidental death are on the decline, drug-related deaths are increasing. This is due in part to the increase of deaths caused by prescription pain medication, like Vicodin or OxyContin. A Los Angeles Times investigative series looks at how doctors are contributing to the trend.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Well, Congress averted the milk cliff. A five-year farm bill was set to expire, and it could have doubled the price of milk if that had happened. But instead of passing a new five-year plan, Congress extended parts of the old farm bill. That renews subsidies for grain, cotton and soybeans; it cuts budgets for some organic and environmental initiatives.

Scientists have cooled potassium gas to one billionth of a degree below absolute zero. But in the quantum world, that's actually hotter than the Sun. It's hotter, even, than infinity degrees Kelvin. Vladan Vuletić, a quantum physicist at MIT, talks about this 'Bizarro World' temperature.

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