Talk of the Nation

  • Hosted by Neil Conan

Each day, Talk of the Nation combines the award-winning resources of NPR News with the vital participation of listeners. The result is a spirited and productive exchange of knowledge and insight that delves deeply into the news and ideas of the day.

Resetting the Theory of Time

May 17, 2013

Generations of physicists have claimed that time is an illusion. But not all agree. In his book Time Reborn: From the Crisis in Physics to the Future of the Universe, theoretical physicist Lee Smolin argues that time exists--and he says time is key to understanding the evolution of the universe.

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. This week, scientists at the Oregon Health and Science University, OHSU, announced a breakthrough in cloning of a human embryo. They took adult cells, put the cells into specially prepared human eggs and created genetically identical embryos. It's something lots of stem cell researchers have been trying to do for years without success.

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

What's on your plate? What do you like to eat? What are you eating for lunch, dinner at this point? As with many things, the answer to that might have a lot to do with what you're accustomed to do and, you know, what part of the world you live in. In some parts of the world, insects can be a delicious part of the diet. Well here not so much.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

As the death toll in Syria climbed over the past two years, many critics charge that President Obama has not done enough to aid the opposition. In an op-ed in today's New York Times, former Ambassador Christopher Hill argues that the administration has made a serious mistake, but, quote, "The real shortcoming of the administration's policy on Syria has not been an unwillingness to engage militarily, but the ill-advised decision in August 2011 to preclude the possibility of a diplomatic resolution involving all sides."

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Thirty million dollars is a lot of money, but how do you divide it among the families of the three people killed, the dozens maimed, the hundreds who spent time in the hospital, the thousands who witnessed the blasts at the finish line of the Boston Marathon last month?

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

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

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Today as part of our Looking Ahead series, we'll talk with writer Chris Hedges, former New York Times foreign correspondent and old friend and colleague who's joined us many times over the years, going back to what's probably still his best known book, "War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning."

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Every 14 minutes, someone in this country commits suicide, and research on ways to reduce that grim statistic appears to be on a plateau. In other words, psychologists don't have much in the way of new ideas - at least, right now - except maybe for what's described as groundbreaking work on the notes that those who kill themselves sometimes leave behind. A team of researchers at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital use computers to break down the language in these messages of despair, in the hope that they can better identify those at risk.

The Promise And Limitations Of Telemedicine

May 14, 2013

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. The doctor will see you now, words we've all heard many times, but more and more now doctors see their patients over a video link. For years, telemedicine has allowed doctors to treat patients anywhere, but as technology improves, new applications arise.

The ongoing conflict between North Korea and South Korea is the legacy of the Korean War, which can help explain relations between the two countries. In a new book, historian Victor Davis Hanson discusses how the strategies of U.S. Gen. Matthew Ridgway helped to turn around what appeared to be "a lost war."

Hanson, author of The Savior Generals, tells NPR's Neal Conan that although the three-year war "ended right where it began," it did allow for South Korea to flourish as a democracy.

Letters: New Orleans, Buzz Aldrin

May 14, 2013

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

It's Tuesday and time to read from your comments. Last week we spoke with two doctors on how they discussed imminent death with their patients and patients' families.

Leila, a doctor, emailed us: Sometimes patients or families project their denial onto us as doctors. Some maybe more focused on honesty and others on optimism, misinterpreting honesty as pessimism, and they may blame us, the physician, for their selective listening. Sometimes all one can do is feel one's way through the conversation.

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:

The disclosure White House emails is the latest twist in the controversy of how the Obama administration handled the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi last September. Much of the debate here in Washington is over what happened afterwards and the roles of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama.

The trial of Jodi Arias, convicted of murdering her boyfriend, has become a national media sensation. Former Law and Order producer Robert Nathan and authors Laura Lippman and Walter Mosley explore why Americans are so drawn to real-life courtroom dramas.

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