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.
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.
These days, a trip down the dog food aisle of your local pet store or supermarket can be a little overwhelming. There are hundreds of brands out there, catering to – let's be honest – every dogowner's taste: everything from generic kibble to organic nuggets.
There are even dog food cookbooks and specialty gourmet shops for people who want their pets to eat as well – or better – than they do.
How did we get here? The first step happened thousands of years ago, when meat-eating wolves evolved to tolerate people – and their more starchy, plant-based diet.
In the introduction to his new book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, Lawrence Wright writes, "Scientology plays an outsize role in the cast of new religions that have arisen in the 20th century and survived into the 21st."
The book is a look inside the world of Scientology and the life of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, who died in 1986. A recent ad for Scientology claims to welcome 4.4 million new converts each year.
Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 3:42 pm
Two hackers associated with the group Anonymous will serve time in jail. A British judge handed down the sentence after the two were convicted of perpetrating attacks against the Paypal and Mastercard websites.
The BBC reports Christopher Weatherhead, 22, and Ashley Rhodes, 28, will serve 18 months and seven months respectively. The BBC adds:
"Co-defendant Peter Gibson was given a six-month sentence, suspended for two years, while another defendant, Jake Birchall, 18, will be sentenced later."
I'm Michel Martin and this is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I have some thoughts about that strange story involving Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o and the girlfriend who actually didn't exist. It's my Can I Just Tell You essay and it's in just a few minutes.
Now I want to turn to another conversation about the role women are or should be playing in our national life - or in this case, one woman in particular: The first lady, Michelle Obama. Just as commentators are now talking about the president's second term agenda, we wonder what projects the first lady will take on in these next four years.
Finally, I have a word about Manti Te'o, the star Notre Dame linebacker, Heisman trophy runner up, who says he was the victim of an ugly hoax where someone — probably a male friend of his — created an online identity of a young women, with whom Te'o says he fell in love, although he never met her.
Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 6:45 pm
In a small border town in northern Syria, there are two groups that both oppose President Bashar Assad's regime. But instead of working in tandem, the Syrian rebels and a Kurdish militia have been battling each other in the town of Ras al-Ayn.
Sally Ali, a 26-year-old resident of Ras al-Ayn, told NPR by phone that the streets are completely empty. "It's a ghost town," she says.
She estimates about half of the town's residents fled to nearby villages; the other half are trapped in their homes by the ongoing violence.
When presented with a tempting buffet of French food, not overeating can be a challenge. But a new study by researchers in Lyon suggests there are strategies that will help people resist temptation.
People trying to keep off excess weight are frequently told that it's better to eat small amounts of food frequently during the day, rather than the typical breakfast, lunch and dinner. The idea is that more frequent eating will stave off hunger pangs that may lead to overeating.
Originally published on Thu January 24, 2013 5:50 pm
Early in November, a tortoiseshell cat named Holly jumped out of her human family's RV in Daytona Beach, Florida, and ran off. After a fruitless search, the husband and wife returned home to West Palm Beach without their cat.
Holly showed up back in West Palm Beach, only a mile from her house, on New Year's Eve. Because she had been micro-chipped, the family, two surprised and grateful humans and one bedraggled cat, were readily reunited.