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.

How To Survive A Mass Extinction

Jun 7, 2013

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Up next, surviving the big one, and I mean a really big one. As any fan of dinosaurs knows, extinction happens. The Earth isn't immune to assaults. You've got your asteroids, your volcanic eruptions, events that cause so much disruption to the environment that eventually life or most of life is wiped out.

Strengthening Buildings In Tornado Alley

Jun 7, 2013

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Powerful storms this spring: tornadoes like the ones in Oklahoma have caused damage estimated in the billions of dollars and dozens of deaths. But does the destruction have to be so devastating? What are the engineering challenges to designing and building stronger, more tornado-resistant structures and providing better protection for the people who live there?

Whole Genome Scans Could Reveal Too Much

Jun 7, 2013

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. If you're thinking about getting married or having children or just contemplating your health care options, you or your doctor may decide to have your DNA analyzed, looking for genes that may indicate possible trouble ahead. Maybe there's a telltale mutation hiding there or a recognizable pattern of genes.

Tracing The Origins Of French Winemaking

Jun 7, 2013

Many people associate France today with the production of great wines. But winemaking isn't native to the French. Patrick McGovern, an archaeologist of fermented beverages, has dated the beginning of viniculture in France to around 500 B.C. and contact with the Etruscans.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Two writers can take credit or blame for the legions of metal men that marched through the movies - Karel Capek, who coined the word robot in his play "R.U.R." in 1920, and Isaac Asimov, who codified the Three Laws of Robotics and a series of stories collected in "I, Robot," and mostly ignored in the Will Smith movie of the same name.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "I, ROBOT")

WILL SMITH: (as Detective Del Spooner) You know what they say, laws are made to be broken.

The highly anticipated animated films Monsters University, Despicable Me 2 and Turbo hit theaters this summer. From cel technology to full-length, computer-animated, celebrity-studded movies, animation has come a long way.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan. The war in and around Syria grows more horrific and more dangerous day by day: tens of thousands dead, many more injured, over a million refugees in neighboring countries and who knows how many millions displaced inside Syria itself.

It's almost hard to remember the early days of what's now grown into a civil war. More than two years ago, NPR's Deborah Amos reported on activists hopeful that Syria would be changed by the Arab spring.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RADIO BROADCAST)

A Look Ahead To The Future Of The GOP

Jun 5, 2013

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Chris Christie calls a very special election in Jersey. Missouri 8th voters call for Jason Smith, and a House committee chair calls out the White House spokesman. It's Wednesday and time for a...

REPRESENTATIVE DARRELL ISSA: Paid liar...

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?

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Irish-American author Colum McCann has spent the better part of his life inhabiting others in his novels.

To write Dancer, McCann learned how to pirouette with Russia's Kirov Ballet. He spent time in Slovakia to bring the story a young Gypsy poet to life in Zoli.

In his latest book TransAtlantic, he tells the story of his native country — covering 150 years of Irish history, through the voyages of four historic visitors.

McCann talks with NPR's Neal Conan about the emigrant experience and the decision to revisit home.

Every year, thousands of immigrants come to the U.S. seeking protection from persecution or violence in their countries. Many groups have a hard time qualifying, based on the legal limits of asylum. New immigration legislation could change the process.

Obama Meets Xi: A Chance To Make History

Jun 4, 2013

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

In Southern California, a massive wildfire, called the Powerhouse fire, has consumed 50 miles of land northwest of Los Angeles. California residents face wildfire season every year. Grist staff writer Susie Cagle talks about what it's like to live in wildfire country.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

It's Tuesday, and time to read from your comments. Last week, we spoke with Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor for The Atlantic, about moments of wonder: those times when you don't have all the answers, and you can't use a smartphone or Google to get them.

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