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.

Composer ID: 
5182a734e1c8bbce02e2bf17|5182a70fe1c89ec2617cc30a

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Technology
10:03 am
Fri December 14, 2012

'Instant' Looks At Polaroid's Land

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

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NPR Story
8:59 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Using Science to Care for Your Christmas Tree

Nothing beats the smell of a live Christmas tree in your home, but how can you keep the needles on your tree and off your carpet? Rick Bates, professor of horticulture at Penn State University, offers tips for how to properly care for your Christmas tree this holiday season.

NPR Story
8:59 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Ask A Quantum Mechanic

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 10:03 am

Did you know plants use quantum mechanics every day? That quantum computers can hack the encryption used in online commerce? Or that a 'quantum internet' could someday teleport your emails? MIT's Seth Lloyd discusses those and other quantum mysteries in this episode of "Ask a quantum mechanic."

NPR Story
8:59 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Is It Possible To Create A Mind?

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 10:03 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Up next, what is intelligence? What is thought? What does it really mean to have a mind? And if we can answer those questions, is it possible for people to reverse-engineer the process and build an artificial mind? Sure, there are things like Siri, which can understand enough of your question to pull up directions to the restaurant, and there's IBM's Watson, which took on human contestants in a game of "Jeopardy!" and won. But how to jump the gap from those to something everyone would agree is truly intelligent?

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NPR Story
8:59 am
Fri December 14, 2012

Alan Alda's Challenge to Scientists: What is Time?

Originally published on Fri December 14, 2012 10:03 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Of course we'll be keeping you up to date this hour on the shooting spree that's been going on in Newtown, Connecticut. But first something different. When Alan Alda was 11, he asked one of his teachers: What is a flame? The answer he got back was oxidation. Accurate, yeah, but not very helpful.

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Environment
11:17 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Drought Continues: Farmers, Shippers Feel Pressure

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. We're in the worst drought since the 1950s, according to NOAA, and while we associated extended dry spells with summer, conditions out west have remained unchanged since the warm weather ended.

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Sports
11:15 am
Thu December 13, 2012

NCAA Shake-Up: The Future Of College Athletics

In 2013 and 2014, there will be a number of substantial realignments in the NCAA conferences. Some believe that the realignment process will ultimately result in the creation of four "super conferences." NPR's Mike Pesca talks about how conference shifts could effect the future of college athletics.

Africa
11:13 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Options For Intervention In Mali's Growing Crisis

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Many of us may not be able to point to Mali on a map, but this landlocked nation in West Africa has emerged as a crisis. Here's a quick synopsis: A government once hailed as a model of democracy collapses in a coup last March. Three northern provinces, an area the size of Texas, break away and declare themselves independent.

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NPR Story
10:58 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Sitar Player Remembers The Legendary Ravi Shankar

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 1:04 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

As you probably heard by now, the great sitar player Ravi Shankar died yesterday at the age of 92. His music arrived in most American ears thanks to George Harrison and the Beatles, whose interest triggered something of a sitar craze back in the late '60s. Harrison played the exotic instrument on a couple of tracks. The Rolling Stones followed suit on "Paint It Black." The electric sitar soon followed. But Ravi Shankar remained the unchallenged master. But what do I know? He's the only Indian-born sitar player I ever heard.

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Politics
10:58 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Obama's Cabinet Reshuffle, What's Next For Hillary?

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 1:01 pm

President Barack Obama is expected to make some key changes to his second-term cabinet. As Hillary Clinton prepares to step down as Secretary of State, many wonder whether she will run for president in 2016.

Health Care
10:58 am
Wed December 12, 2012

Flu Season 2012: What You Should Know this Year

Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 11:56 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. This year's flu season started early. Eight states already report widespread flu activity, and doctors say it's a nasty strain this year, too. The good news is this year's vaccine is a good match. But even so, the flu will kill thousands more, probably tens of thousands of Americans, before it runs its course. Why? And what more can we do to reduce that number?

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Law
11:16 am
Tue December 11, 2012

What Changes In Right-To-Work States?

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 1:26 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

CONAN: That was the scene this morning outside the Michigan statehouse in Lansing as activists protested the legislature's work on two bills to rewrite the state's labor laws and make Michigan the 24th state in the country to become a right to work state. Rick Pluta, the managing editor and statehouse bureau chief for Michigan Public Radio Network, joins us now by phone from the statehouse. Nice to have you on the program today.

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Books
11:15 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Tracing Military Failures, Holding 'The Generals' Accountable

Thomas Ricks argues that the failures of today's military can be traced back to the Vietnam War.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 1:26 pm

In The Generals, Thomas Ricks argues that the failures in America's recent wars can be directly traced to failures of those in command.

Ricks examines U.S. military leadership from World War Two to the present day, and concludes that the mistakes in Iraq and Afghanistan can be traced to the Army's inability to come to terms with all the lessons of Vietnam.

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Law
11:02 am
Tue December 11, 2012

Is It Too Soon For A Gay Marriage Court Battle?

Originally published on Tue December 11, 2012 1:26 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Last week, the Supreme Court decided to take up two cases that focus on same-sex marriage, but some gay rights advocates worry that now may not be the best time. Rulings to uphold California's Proposition 8 and the federal Defense of Marriage Act would be a major setback. Even if they're struck down, the rulings could well leave same-sex marriage bans in effect in 30 states. Supporters of gay marriage, given these cases and given this court: is now the right time?

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Opinion
11:11 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Op-Ed: We Need Some Taboo Words

Originally published on Thu December 13, 2012 11:31 am

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And now, The Opinion Page. Many reporters and editors turn to the "AP Stylebook" to answer questions on grammar, punctuation and usage, so it's news when words are purged. Last month, The Associated Press announced the elimination of Islamophobia, homophobia and ethnic cleansing from next year's stylebook, a decision Chicago Tribune syndicated columnist Clarence Page calls a linguistic blow for blandness. Now, there are a few words so offensive that they're beyond the pale: the N word, the F word.

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