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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.

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Law
11:00 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Falling Crime Rates Challenge Long-Held Beliefs

Crime rates dropped sharply in the past twenty years, according to FBI data, a trend that continues despite the recession and a recent decrease in prison populations. Criminologists see a clear trend, but can't fully explain what's driving the decline in violent and property crime rates.

Presidential Race
11:00 am
Mon January 2, 2012

Religion Front And Center On 2012 Campaign Trail

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan, in Washington. In Iowa, all the GOP presidential candidates continue to profess their faith in speeches and in broadcast ads, perhaps none more than Texas Governor Rick Perry.

(SOUNDBITE OF POLITICAL ADVERTISEMENT)

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Brain Candy
11:00 am
Mon January 2, 2012

Op-Ed: 364-Day Calendar Intriguing But Unnecessary

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

And now, the Opinion Page. It's the start of a new year. Already, millions of us have posted new calendars on the wall or installed new ones on our computers. But Steven Hanke and Richard Henry, two Johns Hopkins University professors, propose a more radical step: the Hanke-Henry permanent calendar, which they say will solve the yearly hassle of reworking our schedules and even help businesses put fiscal calendars in sync. But that raises a question: Is the current calendar a problem for you?

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Science
11:00 am
Mon January 2, 2012

Twins Data Reshaping Nature Versus Nurture Debate

An image from January's National Geographic Magazine cover story on twins. The story's author explains how scientists are expanding the field of epigenetics with research on twins.
Martin Schoeller National Geographic

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 1:42 pm

Almost 150 years ago, English scientist Francis Galton coined the phrase "nature versus nurture" — and proposed that research on twins could resolve the debate.

Genetics have long seemed to weigh heavily in favor of the role of nature in shaping the people we become. But even identical twins are different to varying degrees, and some researchers believe those differences suggest a third influence at work, called epigenetics.

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Presidential Race
11:00 am
Mon January 2, 2012

Poll Predicts Three-Way Nail-Biter In Iowa Caucuses

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Last Wednesday, Ann Selzer could not be cajoled into even a hint of the final Iowa poll as she joined the Political Junkie. Selzer and the company - and her company polls for the Des Moines Register and for Bloomberg. It's considered the gold standard in Iowa. And the Register published the results on Saturday night. It showed Mitt Romney in front, followed closely by Ron Paul and Rick Santorum surging into third. Ann Selzer joins us again from Iowa Public Radio. Nice to have you back on the program.

ANN SELZER: Great to be here, Neal.

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