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Mon - Fri, Noon - 2pm
Neil Conan and Ira Flatow

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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 Neal 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, academicians, and artists from around the world.

For two hours each Monday through Thursday, Talk of the Nation listeners weigh-in, share their thoughts and ask questions by calling, emailing, messaging through social media.

On Fridays the conversation turns to the topics of science, with Talk of the Nation: Science Friday with Ira Flatow, focusing on news and issues about the world of science and technology.

A long-time NPR journalist, Conan has been a reporter, editor, and anchor for NPR live events coverage. Conan played a major role in anchoring continuous live coverage of developments during the terrorist attacks and aftermath of September 11, 2001. His broadcasts are marked by their clarity, accuracy and eloquence.

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Architecture
10:00 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Building Bridges From Plastic Shampoo Bottles

Discarded plastic shampoo and juice bottles are finding new life in unlikely places--as bridges, railroad ties and pilings. Jim Kerstein, CTO and founder of Axion International, talks about how his company transforms plastic waste into structures strong enough to support trucks, trains and tanks.

Television
10:00 am
Fri December 23, 2011

The Science Behind 'Breaking Bad'

Cooking crystal meth is just "basic chemistry" for Walter White, the fictional chemistry teacher and anti-hero of the TV drama "Breaking Bad." Organic chemist Donna Nelson serves as science adviser to the show; she explains how the series' writers work to get the science right.

Environment
10:00 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Searching For A Ghost Bird

Originally published on Fri December 23, 2011 10:42 am

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Birding. Birding doesn't seem like a risky pastime, does it? What's the worst that could happen? Sunburn, a little rain, a little cold, lost binoculars. Well, not always. In 2010, Tim Gallagher, editor of Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Living Bird magazine, went in search of a rare woodpecker and was lucky to make it back alive.

Our multimedia editor Flora Lichtman talked to Gallagher about it and has this story.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: The imperial woodpecker is two feet tall. That's huge.

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Animals
10:00 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Birders Fan Out to Count Feathered Friends

The 112th Audubon Christmas Bird Count is underway. Citizen scientists armed with binoculars are recording data vital to monitoring bird health and conservation. But before you can count a Snowy Owl or a Rufous Hummingbird, you need to identify it. Birder Richard Crossley has some tips.

NPR Story
11:09 am
Thu December 22, 2011

At Year's End, Reflecting On Cycles In Modern Life

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Today, we mark the winter solstice, in three days, one of the major holidays of the religious calendar, followed by an entirely arbitrary start of the New Year. All of us observe cycles, patterns that regulate our lives from season to season, or Olympiad to Olympiad, or the return of the 17-year cicadas. Some, like the solstice, are dictated by celestial mechanics. Others - well, we've simply invented: spring cleaning, for example, or spring training. What's the cycle you live your life by?

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