Talk of the Nation

Talk of the Nation linked the headlines with what's on people's minds, providing a springboard for listeners and experts to exchange ideas and pose critical questions about major events in the news and the world around them. Each day, Talk of the Nation combined the award-winning resources of NPR News with the vital participation of listeners. The result was a spirited and productive exchange of knowledge and insight that delves deeply into the news and ideas of the day.

Talk of the Nation ended its 17-year run on June 27, 2013.

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Pop Culture
1:59 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

From 'Groovy' To 'Slacks,' The Words That Date You

When jeans are too heavy and shorts are too, well, short, do you reach for pants, or for slacks?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Fri May 24, 2013 1:22 pm

When Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich used the word "slacks" in a recent column, a reader commented: "Slacks? How old are you?"

"I was describing a young man, a college guy," Schmich tells NPR's Neal Conan. "I was trying to point out that he wasn't wearing jeans, that he wasn't sloppy, that he wasn't inordinately well-dressed for a guy in college," she says. "And so I used the word 'slacks.' "

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Science
1:20 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

How One Guy Raised $1.3 Million for a Tesla Museum

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:55 pm

Matthew Inman, creator of the humor site "The Oatmeal," led an online drive that raised over $1 million for a new museum to honor the inventor Nikola Tesla. Inman discusses how to build a successful crowdfunding campaign, and why Tesla is the greatest geek who ever lived.

Research News
1:20 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Learning From the Things That Annoy Us

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:55 pm

A professor spends his off-time tracking the little things in life that bother us. Marc Abrahams, editor of the Annals of Improbable Research, tells us what poor parking, long waits in the doctor's office, and the controversial brussel sprout tell us about science.

Space
1:03 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Spacecraft Records 'Chorus' of Space Sounds

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:55 pm

A NASA spacecraft captured the clearest recording yet of what space sounds like inside Earth's radiation belts. Craig Kletzing, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa, explains what causes these eerie chirping noises, and what we can learn from them.

NPR Story
12:12 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Making Sense Of Presidential Polls

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:55 pm

In less than a month, the 2012 presidential election turned from an almost certain victory for President Obama to a neck-and-neck race. New York Times blogger and statistician Nate Silver and Princeton neuroscientist Sam Wang talk about making sense of the polls--and why not all votes are created equal.

NPR Story
12:12 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Scientists In The Dark Over Birth Of The Moon

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 4:55 pm

Transcript

FLORA LICHTMAN, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Flora Lichtman, filling in for Ira Flatow today. The moon, it's our nearest neighbor, but we don't know much about where our companion came from. In the 1800s, Charles Darwin's son, Sir George Darwin, proposed that maybe the moon just popped off from the Earth when the Earth was spinning much faster than it is today.

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Environment
2:32 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Athena To Zeus: Weather Channel Names Winter Storms

Movies
2:25 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Former White House Aide Reviews 'Argo'

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Almost exactly 33 years ago, Iranian activists stormed the American Embassy in Tehran and held 52 U.S. citizens hostage for well over a year. But six American diplomats escaped the embassy at the last minute and took refuge in the home of Canada's ambassador. A new movie called "Argo" tells the story of a CIA agent, played by Ben Affleck, who dreams up a plan to get them out of Iran, disguised as a film crew scouting locations for a science fiction movie. Here, he presents his idea to the secretary of state.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ARGO")

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Law
2:20 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Lawyers Release Boy Scouts' 'Perversion Files'

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 1:46 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. After a two-year battle in court, lawyers in Portland, Oregon, said - last hour - that they'd release hundreds of confidential files kept by the Boy Scouts of America, on men they suspected of sexual abuse. The files went public online, within the last few minutes.

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Sports
2:02 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

Lessons Learned From The Lance Armstrong Scandal

Originally published on Thu October 18, 2012 2:29 pm

Lance Armstrong has resigned from his charity and lost millions of dollars in endorsements, days after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released its report alleging a widespread doping conspiracy inside his cycling team. In the court of public opinion, at least, the verdict seems to be in on Armstrong.

Presidential Race
2:14 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

The Town Hall Debate's Best Moments And Memes

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Binders full of women, Benghazi blame and ancient history now, there was a vice presidential debate last week. It's Wednesday and time for a...

VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Bunch of malarkey...

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

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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Election 2012
2:03 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Ballot Measures Put Hot-Button Issues To A Vote

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 2:22 pm

In many states, the tight presidential race isn't the only thing on people's minds: Ballot measures are putting some controversial social and political issues up for popular vote. Same-sex marriage and the death penalty are just two of the measures voters will weigh in on come election day.

Digital Life
2:03 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Going Online To Outsource Your Chores

Originally published on Wed October 17, 2012 2:25 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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National Security
4:26 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Op-Ed: Maybe We Don't Need Military Academies

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

U.S. military academy like West Point are 19th century relics that infantilize their students, produce officers no better than those that emerge from ROTC and look increasingly outdated in comparison to their counterparts in other western democracies. That's all according to Bruce Fleming who's taught at the U.S. Naval Academy for the past 25 years. In a recent op-ed in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Fleming argues that these academies have lost sight of their goals, and he questions whether they should even exist anymore.

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Presidential Race
2:27 pm
Tue October 16, 2012

Speechwriters Compare The 2012 Stump Speeches

Originally published on Tue October 16, 2012 4:26 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney speak almost every day throughout the campaign season, sometimes two or three times a day. They deliver everything from commencement addresses to foreign policy analyses. But at rallies and union halls, high school auditoriums, at county fairs and a thousand other venues, they offer slight variations on a set of standard remarks known as the stump speech.

(SOUNDBITE OF SPEECH)

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