Talk of the Nation from NPR

Mon-Thurs 2PM-3PM
  • Hosted by Neal Conan

Talk of the Nation offers call-in listeners the opportunity to join enlightening discussions with decision-makers, authors, academicians, and artists from around the world.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Wednesday, and time to read from your comments. Last week, we talked LZ Granderson, who opposes a proposal to lower the blood alcohol content limit from .08 to .05.

Josiah Rousch(ph) in Clifton Park, New York, had a different idea. He wrote: Let's increase access to public transportation in areas where people are heavily reliant on driving to bars and other social areas where drinking's involved. Instead of arresting people - especially repeat offenders - let's change behavior in a more pragmatic way.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

A new Pew study finds that in a record 40 percent of all households with kids under 18, mothers are either the sole or primary source of income. In 1960, that share was just over 10 percent. These breadwinner moms number in the millions, but about three-quarters of all adults say that the prominence of women's economic role makes it harder to raise children. Half say it's made marriage harder to succeed. If you're one of these breadwinner moms, call, tell us what we don't know about the tradeoffs.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. The president throws footballs with Chris Christie on the Jersey Shore. Michele Bachmann throws in the towel in Minnesota. And Scott Gomez throws shade at Ed Markey in Massachusetts. It's Wednesday and time for a...

GABRIEL GOMEZ: Pond scum...

CONAN: Edition of the Political Junkie.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDINGS)

PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN: There you go again.

Part of a competition in Northeast India, Pu Zozam ate five chili peppers, then collapsed. Food scientists call the Bhut Jolokia he ate one of the world's hottest peppers. Writer Mary Roach talks about her experience traveling to the state of Nagaland to try the pepper for herself.

Tact, Tone And Timing: The Power Of Apology

May 28, 2013

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JOHN DONVAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm John Donvan in Washington. Neal Conan is away. I was heading out to do an errand a while back and I decided to drive, and as I approached my car, which was parked in the street, I walked up from behind and, drat, I spot the rear taillight has been smashed, somebody obviously trying to park behind me had bumped into it and cracked it open.

As children, we are allowed to be confused, lost, and full of wonder. As adults in the age of Google, we are expected to project confidence, knowledge and understanding. Ta-Nehisi Coates, senior editor for The Atlantic, talks about how learning a foreign language reignited his imagination.

The Business And Science Of Storm Shelters

May 28, 2013

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JOHN DONVAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm John Donvan in Washington. Neal Conan is away. A small hole in the ground, that's all it looked like the other day in the photo of the Christian Science Monitor, published in its coverage of a tornado that ripped through Moore, Oklahoma, a small hole in the ground surrounded on all sides by the wreckage of totally flattened homes, right up to the very edge of that hole in the ground, which oddly is rectangular in shape in the photo and has a door attached to it, flung open.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. From saying goodbye to the kids in the morning to leaving a job after 25 years to the end of life, exits are universal. Long or short, big or small, we've all left home or ended friendships or marriages.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION from NPR News. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Cathy, a fifth-grade teacher in Stryker, Ohio, wrote to tell us that she elicited giggles when she complemented a student's footwear and called them thongs. A self-described ex-hippie named Paul emailed that he catches himself using the phrase, that's heavy. Sooner or later, once common words or phrases take on new meanings or just seem way, way out of date. Call and tell us about the term you've used that dates you.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

A Grim Task: Military-Death Notification

May 27, 2013

Among the many thousands of men and women who chose to serve in the military, few volunteer for the duty of death notification. As the nation honors those killed in the line of duty, those who work intimately with the families of the fallen share their stories. (Originally broadcast May 29, 2006.)

In parts of the southeastern US, aggressive fire ants have been driven out by an even more recent arrival, the tawny crazy ant. Edward LeBrun, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, describes the newcomers and how one invasive species can out-invade another.

Having a Dog May Mean Having Extra Microbes

May 24, 2013

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FLORA LICHTMAN, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman, filling in for Ira Flatow today. If you could count up all the bacteria in your house, how many different species do you think you'd find - 50, a couple hundred? How about thousands, with an S at the end? My next guest had volunteers swab surfaces in their home - pillowcase, the TV screen, the toilet seat - to see what might be living there. And in each of the 40 households, the same spots were swabbed.

Tackling New Tech In The Golden Years

May 24, 2013

Smartphones, tablets and computers could help seniors stay connected to their communities and families. But a hefty price tag, steep learning curves, and designs meant for younger eyes and hands could keep some older adults from logging on. Guests discuss the best ways for seniors to tackle new technology, and how devices can be adapted to accommodate older users.

Tracking Killer Tornadoes

May 24, 2013

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FLORA LICHTMAN, HOST:

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FLORA LICHTMAN, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman, filling in for Ira Flatow today. Last year, researchers reported a breakthrough in treating Alzheimer's disease. They'd found a drug that appeared to reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer's in mice. The drug was already on the market, approved by the FDA to treat a type of skin cancer, meaning Alzheimer's patients could ask their doctors for a prescription, and some did.

Reinventing Farming For A Changing Climate

May 24, 2013

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FLORA LICHTMAN, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Flora Lichtman. You've likely heard of the legendary explorers Lewis and Clark, but maybe not of the U.S. Army explorer Stephen Harriman Long, an engineer who led a scientific expedition through the Great Plains 15 years after Lewis and Clark.

His expedition traveled through Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. And what did his crew make of "America's Breadbasket"? A place wholly unfit for cultivation or agriculture, they said. On a map, the explorers labeled the Great Plains as the Great American Desert.

Writings from childhood — cards, stories and other notes — can hide for decades, like time capsules tucked away in boxes, old bedrooms, attics and journals. Writer Jim Sollisch talks about how old thank you notes from his youth foreshadowed his adult life.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Close to half of the world's maritime traffic passes through the South China Sea. Vast deposits of oil and natural gas are believed to lie beneath the ocean floor there. These waters are also the scene of bitter international rivalry as at least five smaller countries find themselves in lopsided disputes with China.

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.

How That 'Nigerian Email Scam' Got Started

May 22, 2013

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

If you have an email account, you've almost certainly received a message that sounds something like this.

(SOUNDBITE OF RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: I am Mr. Edward Impoya(ph), a member of the Movement for Democratic Change in Zimbabwe.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: We are members of the special committee.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: I am Mr. Ahmed Guraba(ph), the bills and exchange director at the Foreign Remittance Department.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: I am David Mapalay(ph), the first son of Dr. Jonathan Mapalay(ph).

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

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

When Tornadoes Are A Way Of Life

May 21, 2013

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JENNIFER LUDDEN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden, in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Residents of Moore, Oklahoma, are coming to grips with one of the most devastating tornadoes in history. Dozens are dead, and that toll is expected to rise. We'll speak with a meteorologist about forecasting such a disaster when lives are at stake. Also, growing up in Tornado Alley.

Apple CEO Timothy Cook made a rare appearance on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, testifying after congressional investigators revealed that Apple avoided billions in taxes. Reporter Charles Duhigg of The New York Times and guest host Jennifer Ludden talk about how, as Duhigg writes, "technology giants have taken advantage of tax codes written for an industrial age."

The Art And Science Of Motivation

May 21, 2013

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JENNIFER LUDDEN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden in Washington. Neal Conan is away. It's graduation season, and that means 20-somethings and parents sitting through long commencement ceremonies while the older and wiser give advice. Here's comedian Stephen Colbert speaking at the University of Virginia.

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JENNIFER LUDDEN, HOST:

Last week, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended lowering the blood alcohol content threshold for drunken driving from .08 to .05. The NTSB argues this could save millions of lives each year, but critics beg to differ. Some say lack of enforcement is the problem. Others point to our casual attitude about drinking and driving. Meanwhile, lowering the threshold could have implications for law enforcement, bartenders, maybe your dinner party.

Tiny Living: The Rise Of Small Spaces

May 20, 2013

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JENNIFER LUDDEN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden, in Washington. Population in America's big cities is surging, and more people are choosing to live alone. But where? As the demand for housing rises, some renters are opting to downsize their belongings and move to smaller spaces - much smaller. Imagine a single room no larger than many American closets and a community kitchen shared with multiple residents.

The Future Of The Workers' Movement

May 20, 2013

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JENNIFER LUDDEN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Jennifer Ludden in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Non-unionized fast food workers walked off the job in Milwaukee last week, demanding, among other things, a raise to $15 an hour. Their actions follow those of workers in four other cities this spring, part of what some are calling the new face of the labor movement, that is collective action outside of traditional union membership.

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