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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Space
1:38 pm
Mon August 6, 2012

Curious About Curiosity: What We'll Learn From Mars

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 2:11 pm

The Mars Science Laboratory rover, named Curiosity, made a successful landing on the surface of the red planet, drawing shouts and cheers from the mission control staff at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. University of Redlands professor Tyler Nordgren explains what Curiosity may discover.

Science
2:29 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Making Movies That Zoom Into Foreign Worlds

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

You're listening to SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. A little later in the program, we'll be talking about NASA's landing of its new probe, Curiosity, to the Martian surface. But with us now is Flora Lichtman with our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi, Ira.

FLATOW: This is a soothing...

(LAUGHTER)

FLATOW: I mean, I saw the video pick. It's so soothing, although it's on a topic that you wouldn't think is soothing at all.

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Environment
2:29 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Spending The Holidays At A Toxic Waste Site

To avoid the crowds at Niagara Falls, why not sail the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or ogle oil refineries in Port Arthur, Texas? In Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures In The World's Most Polluted Places, Andrew Blackwell describes traveling to the world's most contaminated destinations.

Health Care
1:55 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

One Doc's Prescription For Hassle-Free Healthcare

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 2:29 pm

Dr. Jay Parkinson envisions a future of more efficient, hassle-free healthcare--and it starts online. He says he and his colleagues at the New York City-based healthcare start-up Sherpaa can solve 70 percent of patients' problems via email, eliminating a trip to the doctor's office.

Technology
1:44 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Tech Giants Gear Up For Patent Battle

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 2:29 pm

A court battle between Apple and Samsung is underway in California, with each side arguing over intricate patent and trademark claims covering how the companies' phones and tablets work, look, and feel. Robin Feldman, professor at the UC Hastings College of the Law, explains some of the key issues in the court case and how it might affect the technology industry.

Space
1:34 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Planning For 'Curiosity' On Mars

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 2:29 pm

If all goes according to plan, the Mars Science Laboratory rover, nicknamed 'Curiosity,' will touch down on the red planet this weekend following what NASA has called 'seven minutes of terror' during the descent. NPR science correspondent Joe Palca and John Grunsfeld, head of NASA's Science Directorate, give a preview of the mission and talk about what scientists hope to learn from the latest ambassador to Mars.

Environment
1:30 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Changing Views About A Changing Climate

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 2:29 pm

What is the role of humans in climate change? "Call me a converted skeptic," physicist Richard Muller wrote in an Op-Ed in the New York Times this week, describing his analysis of data from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project. Though Muller was once a notable skeptic regarding studies connecting human activity to climate change, he has now concluded that "humans are almost entirely the cause" of global warming.

Movies
5:15 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Summer Movies: Olympic Medal-Winning Favorites

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Is a film in development where the aged Russian gymnast is allowed to give Michael Phelps the medal that broke her record? How about "Bad News Badminton" or "Dream Team V"? Well, there's no way to know whether we're going to see the butterfly, shuttlecocks or slam dunks in 3D anytime soon, but in the grip of Olympic fever, we kick off our annual summer film festival with a celebration of Hollywood's past focus on the drama of the games. Our favorite film buff Murray Horwitz joins us in just a moment.

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NPR Story
2:33 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Drive For Profit Wreaks 'Days Of Destruction'

Originally published on Fri August 3, 2012 2:19 pm

In his latest book, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Chris Hedges takes a look at the tensions that arise between profit, progress, technology and the pursuit of the American dream. Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, written with co-author Joe Sacco, critiques an economic system that they say abandons too many Americans.

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Mental Health
2:15 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

Mindfulness: Using Your Brain To Beat Stress

Ellen Langer is also the author of On Becoming an Artist: Reinventing Yourself Through Mindful Creativity.
Nancy Hemenway

Originally published on Mon August 6, 2012 9:58 am

When psychologist Ellen Langer asked participants at a seminar to talk about someone or something that just drove them nuts, one woman spoke about her husband always being late for breakfast — a minor, everyday annoyance that Langer suggested might be reframed: Focus on the gift of a few moments alone.

A small thing maybe, but over more than 30 years, Langer has conducted a series of ingenious experiments that show how small and seemingly simple changes in our lives can reduce stress and help us lead healthier, happier lives.

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Pop Culture
2:11 pm
Thu August 2, 2012

After Aurora, Rethinking Violence In Pop Culture

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 5:15 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. After the most recent mass shooting took place in a movie theater, producer Harvey Weinstein proposed that Hollywood directors sit down and discuss the role of violence in their films. That's not to say that images of blood and bullets trigger violence in general or motivated the Aurora murders in particular; the fact is we don't know.

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Economy
2:35 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

One Job Seeker's Ruse To Check Out His Competition

Have you ever wondered who else is out there applying for the jobs you want?
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 10:49 am

Eric Auld wants a full-time job. He completed a master's program in 2009 and has a part-time job as an adjunct lecturer, but that provides barely enough to cover the bills.

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Sports
2:35 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Throwing Games: Is It Strategy Or Cheating?

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Not using one's best efforts to win a match. Few Americans know much about the sport of badminton, but that rule will likely be the subject of a lot of discussion over the next few days. Today, badminton officials at the London Olympics disqualified eight players for tanking. Women's doubles teams from South Korea, Indonesia and China drew boos yesterday when it looked like they deliberately lost preliminary matches to engineer more congenial match-ups later in the tournament.

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Politics
2:35 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

The Best And Worst VP Candidates Of All Time

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. The Texas Tea Party cruises to victory. Congress actually acts to avoid a shutdown, and former Veep Dick Cheney pans the Palin pick. It's Wednesday and time for a...

VICE PRESIDENT DICK CHENEY: A mistake.

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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NPR Story
2:34 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

'Ways Of Forgetting' Color Japan's Present Day

American bomber pilot Paul W. Tibbets Jr. (center) stands with the ground crew of the bomber Enola Gay, which Tibbets flew in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Tinian island, Northern Marianas, August 1945.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 2, 2012 11:02 am

In 2003, in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, President George W. Bush argued that an occupation could work because history provided an example in a non-Christian, non-white, non-Western country: the United States' occupation of Japan during World War II.

He cited the work of historian John Dower, the pre-eminent scholar of postwar Japan, who promptly published an op-ed to protest a misuse of history. His work, he said, should have led President Bush to the opposite conclusion.

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