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Talk of the Nation is NPR's daily talk show, hosted by Neal Conan and featuring knowledgeable guests and calls from listeners

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

You may know Suleika Jaouad from Life, Interrupted, the pieces she writes on her cancer on The New York Times Well blog. She's also made time to speak with us over the past year starting last May, about a month after she received a bone marrow transplant. During that conversation, she told us: I feel very hopeful for the future, but I have definitely been humbled by everything I've been through. I don't think of myself as invincible or immortal anymore.

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LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Lynn Neary.

Fans of "Game of Thrones" are well-aware by now that George R. R. Martin, author of the popular book series, is not afraid to kill off his characters. Those who read the books are way ahead of those who discovered the series through HBO. TV viewers were stunned when the first season ended with the graphic beheading of the man everyone thought was the hero of the saga. Season three, which just ended, offered more violent and unexpected deaths.

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LYNN NEARY, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Lynn Neary in Washington; Neal Conan is away. For the second day in a row, lawyers questioned potential jurors in the George Zimmerman trial. Zimmerman is charged with second-degree murder for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida, last year.

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LYNN NEARY, HOST:

In 1907, the first president of the American Psychological Association called only children "sickly, selfish, strange, and stupid." He concluded that "being an only child is a disease in itself."

In her book One and Only: The Freedom of Having an Only Child, and the Joy of Being One, journalist Lauren Sandler takes on these stereotypes and sifts through a huge body of research that debunks many of the worst myths about only children.

Sandler, an only child and mother of one, talks to NPR's Lynn Neary about the joys of raising just one.

After years in movies and TV shows, some child actors end up making headlines later in life for stints in rehab, or ongoing legal battles. But not all former child stars become tabloid fodder. Some leave Hollywood behind and pursue other careers.

Mara Wilson, who starred in Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire and Miracle on 34th Street, was able to avoid the drama. Wilson, 25, graduated from New York University in 2009 and is now a writer and playwright based in New York.

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.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. And we focus today on what we now know about U.S. government information sweeps of telephone and Internet data and on the man who now admits he disclosed the top secret documents to The Guardian and the Washington Post.

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

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

How To Survive A Mass Extinction

Jun 7, 2013

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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.

Comet Shines Light on Sun Dynamics

Jun 7, 2013

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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)

Strengthening Buildings In Tornado Alley

Jun 7, 2013

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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?

Whole Genome Scans Could Reveal Too Much

Jun 7, 2013

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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.

Tracing The Origins Of French Winemaking

Jun 7, 2013

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.

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.

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan. The war in and around Syria grows more horrific and more dangerous day by day: tens of thousands dead, many more injured, over a million refugees in neighboring countries and who knows how many millions displaced inside Syria itself.

It's almost hard to remember the early days of what's now grown into a civil war. More than two years ago, NPR's Deborah Amos reported on activists hopeful that Syria would be changed by the Arab spring.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RADIO BROADCAST)

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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.

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

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

A Look Ahead To The Future Of The GOP

Jun 5, 2013

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. Chris Christie calls a very special election in Jersey. Missouri 8th voters call for Jason Smith, and a House committee chair calls out the White House spokesman. It's Wednesday and time for a...

REPRESENTATIVE DARRELL ISSA: Paid liar...

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?

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NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Irish-American author Colum McCann has spent the better part of his life inhabiting others in his novels.

To write Dancer, McCann learned how to pirouette with Russia's Kirov Ballet. He spent time in Slovakia to bring the story a young Gypsy poet to life in Zoli.

In his latest book TransAtlantic, he tells the story of his native country — covering 150 years of Irish history, through the voyages of four historic visitors.

McCann talks with NPR's Neal Conan about the emigrant experience and the decision to revisit home.

In Southern California, a massive wildfire, called the Powerhouse fire, has consumed 50 miles of land northwest of Los Angeles. California residents face wildfire season every year. Grist staff writer Susie Cagle talks about what it's like to live in wildfire country.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Ari Shapiro in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Robert Mueller has run the FBI for 12 years, through one of the most transformative times in the bureau's history. Now he's on his way out. Any day now, the White House is expected to announce that James Comey will take his place.

Every year, thousands of immigrants come to the U.S. seeking protection from persecution or violence in their countries. Many groups have a hard time qualifying, based on the legal limits of asylum. New immigration legislation could change the process.

Obama Meets Xi: A Chance To Make History

Jun 4, 2013

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

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