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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Health
1:05 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Silk Stretches Drugs' Shelf Life To New Lengths

Researchers have found a fridge-free way to store vaccines and antibiotics. Biomedical engineer David Kaplan, senior author of the study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, discusses how heat-sensitive drugs wrapped in silk stay effective for months at high temperatures.

NPR Story
12:58 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

Look, Listen, Taste

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 1:35 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

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Around the Nation
2:15 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

What The Penn State University Report Reveals

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 4:46 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Shocking and callous disregard for victims, repeatedly concealed critical facts, failure to protect the children created a dangerous situation for unsuspecting boys lured and victimized repeatedly.

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Environment
2:11 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Finding Common Ground In Environmental Debates

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 4:51 pm

Conversations about the environment can often be polarizing. Jonathan Foley, director of the University of Minnesota's Institute on the Environment, says that rather than rehash the same old debates, environmental issues need to be reframed.

NPR Story
2:06 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Writer Puts Expendable 'Redshirts' In The Spotlight

Originally published on Fri July 13, 2012 12:08 pm

Fans of Star Trek long ago noted that anonymous security officers who accompanied the show's stars rarely survived the experience. Shortly after being beamed down, they would be vaporized, stomped or eaten for dramatic effect. It's a plot device so common that these expendable crewmen became known collectively as redshirts.

In his novel Redshirts, science fiction writer John Scalzi follows Andrew Dahl, a similarly expendable ensign as he sorts out this life-expectancy issue.

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Around the Nation
2:04 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

Arson: The Motivation And Fire Investigation

Originally published on Thu July 12, 2012 4:48 pm

Investigators have yet to rule out arson as they continue to look for the cause of Colorado's Waldo Canyon fire, the most destructive wildfire in state history. Former FBI agent Brad Garrett and forensic psychologist N.G. Berrell talk about the process of investigating fires and the profile of an arsonist.

Africa
3:23 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Despite Grim Headlines, Africa Is Booming

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The news stories are not wrong: There is all too much drought, poverty, famine and war in Africa. But you will also find six of the world's 10 fastest-growing economies there. Malls, high-rises and Internet cafes are popping up in cities across the continent, and a new generation with more income, more global interests and more ambitions.

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Around the Nation
2:11 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

What Happens When A City Declares Bankruptcy

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 2:36 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

San Bernardino is expected to become the third California city in the past month to file for bankruptcy. That follows Stockton and Mammoth Lakes. Even after layoffs and cuts to public employees' pay and pensions, officials in San Bernardino said the government could not cover upcoming bills. So what happens now to city services like police and fire protection, garbage collection, road repairs? Who gets paid, and who doesn't? If you have questions about municipal bankruptcy, give us a call, 800-989-8255.

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Television
2:11 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Finally, TV's 'Dolt' Dads Get To Evolve

In Modern Family, writes Hanna Rosin, dad Phil Dunphy, played by Ty Burrell, is "the center of joy and fun in his household."
Peter "Hopper" Stone ABC

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 3:02 pm

"Starting from the birth of sitcoms, fathers are pretty much universally morons," writes Hanna Rosin in a piece for Slate.com. The latest crop of sitcoms, though, showcases dads who are a stark contrast to the bumbling Stu Erwin, on The Trouble With Father, or Fred Flintstone, or even Homer Simpson, she adds.

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Politics
2:11 pm
Wed July 11, 2012

Political Junkie Roundup: Money And The NAACP

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 2:34 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. The president pivots to taxes, Romney says he's just ducking the jobs number, and Palin pleads for partisan passion. It's Wednesday and time for a...

SARAH PALIN: Hair on fire...

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?

SENATOR BARRY GOLDWATER: Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.

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NPR Story
2:31 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Bad Book Review Sparks Fictional Friendship

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Patrick Somerville set up a real email address for his character, Ben, who he describes as "kind of a wayfaring pothead version of Will Shortz."
Liv Friis-larsen iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Wed July 11, 2012 10:38 am

On July 2, The New York Times ran a review of author Patrick Somerville's book This Bright River. It was not a flattering assessment. Film and literary critic Janet Maslin described the starting point as "generic" and the destination as "soggy."

When Somerville read the review, he realized the whole thing hinged on a factual error: Maslin mixed up two characters from the very beginning, confusing which one got hit in the head.

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Middle East
2:07 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Fighting In Syria Takes Harsh Human Toll

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:57 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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From Our Listeners
2:07 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Letters: Health Care Law And Extreme Anxiety

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:59 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Tuesday, and time to read from your comments.

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Around the Nation
2:07 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Intense Heat Has Lasting Impact Across U.S.

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 3:10 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Heat in the summertime is usually not news, but this year is more than a little out of the ordinary. The first six months of 2012 is already on the books as the warmest half-year on record according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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Economy
2:07 pm
Tue July 10, 2012

Downward Mobility A Modern Economic Reality

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 2:54 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Last week's disappointing jobs numbers offer little hope of change anytime soon for the millions of long-term unemployed and underemployed Americans. For too many, this crisis has extended so long that cherished plans have been set aside and sights lowered: owning a home maybe, a college fund for the kids, family vacations.

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