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Neil Conan

When Americans want to be a part of the national conversation, they turn to Talk of the Nation, NPR's live, midday news-talk program. Host Neil Conan leads a productive exchange of ideas and opinions on the issues that dominate the news landscape.

From breaking news, science, and education to religion and the arts, Talk of the Nation offers listeners the opportunity to join enlightening discussions with decision-makers, authors, academics, and artists from around the world.

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Medical Treatments
12:38 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

The Promise In Unraveling The Mysteries Of Rare Diseases

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 2:13 pm

As a child, Jeannie Peeper was diagnosed with fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva, an extremely rare disease that causes a second skeleton to grow inside the body. Peeper and science writer Carl Zimmer discuss the efforts of a small group to fund research to battle the disease.

Medical Treatments
12:33 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Promising Results In Early Trial of Novel MS Treatment

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. In the disease multiple sclerosis, the body's own immune cells stage a mutiny. Those cells, white cells, normally go after foreigners in the body like bacteria or other invaders that make us sick. But in MS, the immune cells go after the body itself, attacking the myelin covering that wraps around nerve cells. As that myelin gets degraded, nerve signals don't get transferred properly, and that's what leads to the symptoms of MS.

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Space
12:00 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Comet Shines Light on Sun Dynamics

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 12:33 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Flora Lichtman is here with our Video Pick of the Week. Hi, Flora. What have you got for us today?

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Ira, today we have the story of a comet that has a tale to tell.

FLATOW: Comets...

(LAUGHTER)

LICHTMAN: Get it?

FLATOW: I get it. Straight pun.

LICHTMAN: It's even better, Ira, because actually the part of - what the comet is telling us comes from its tail. OK, so let me...

FLATOW: Go for it.

(LAUGHTER)

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NPR Story
10:44 am
Fri June 7, 2013

How To Survive A Mass Extinction

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 12:33 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Up next, surviving the big one, and I mean a really big one. As any fan of dinosaurs knows, extinction happens. The Earth isn't immune to assaults. You've got your asteroids, your volcanic eruptions, events that cause so much disruption to the environment that eventually life or most of life is wiped out.

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NPR Story
10:44 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Strengthening Buildings In Tornado Alley

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 12:33 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Powerful storms this spring: tornadoes like the ones in Oklahoma have caused damage estimated in the billions of dollars and dozens of deaths. But does the destruction have to be so devastating? What are the engineering challenges to designing and building stronger, more tornado-resistant structures and providing better protection for the people who live there?

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NPR Story
10:44 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Whole Genome Scans Could Reveal Too Much

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 12:33 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY; I'm Ira Flatow. If you're thinking about getting married or having children or just contemplating your health care options, you or your doctor may decide to have your DNA analyzed, looking for genes that may indicate possible trouble ahead. Maybe there's a telltale mutation hiding there or a recognizable pattern of genes.

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NPR Story
10:44 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Tracing The Origins Of French Winemaking

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 12:33 pm

Many people associate France today with the production of great wines. But winemaking isn't native to the French. Patrick McGovern, an archaeologist of fermented beverages, has dated the beginning of viniculture in France to around 500 B.C. and contact with the Etruscans.

Art & Design
12:35 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Inside The Cel: Behind The Scenes With Animators

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 1:51 pm

The highly anticipated animated films Monsters University, Despicable Me 2 and Turbo hit theaters this summer. From cel technology to full-length, computer-animated, celebrity-studded movies, animation has come a long way.

National Security
12:30 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

The NSA, Verizon And The Future of Domestic Spying

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 1:40 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Later in the program, we'll continue our series of conversations and look ahead with NPR's Deborah Amos, who's been covering the war in Syria. But we begin today with a court order obtained by The Guardian's U.S. team, which authorizes the National Security Agency to collect information on billions of phone calls made by U.S. Verizon customers since late April.

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Movies
12:30 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

From 'RoboCop To 'Robot & Frank': Best RoboMovies Of All Time

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 1:50 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Two writers can take credit or blame for the legions of metal men that marched through the movies - Karel Capek, who coined the word robot in his play "R.U.R." in 1920, and Isaac Asimov, who codified the Three Laws of Robotics and a series of stories collected in "I, Robot," and mostly ignored in the Will Smith movie of the same name.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "I, ROBOT")

WILL SMITH: (as Detective Del Spooner) You know what they say, laws are made to be broken.

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