June 28th Show

If we could live for 500 years, would we want to?

hide captionIn our second hour, Jonathan Weiner,  author of Long For This World talks about the strange science of immortality.

Questioning General Petraeus
Tomorrow, members of the Senate Armed Forces Committee have the opportunity to challenge the president's pick to lead the war in Afghanistan. With growing doubts over the way ahead in that country, confirmation hearings are set to begin for Gen. David Petraeus. The counter-insurgency strategy in Afghanistan calls for a surge of U.S. troops, many of whom are already on their way or about to leave. But very little progress has been seen on the ground and the order to begin an offensive on Kandahar has been repeatedly postponed. Today, Neal Conan talks about the important questions Gen. Petraeus will likely face.

The Opinion Page
Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan today promised to consider every case impartially and modestly if she's confirmed by the senate, according to excerpts released by the White House. However, some feel that these are two qualities that Supreme Court Justices simply do not have anymore. In this week's Opinion Page, constitutional scholar William Watkins argues that Supreme Court Justices are policy makers and not neutral observers of law.  "If the court insists on making policy," he writes, "then the people out to have a greater voice in the selection of justices." Writing in the Washington Examiner he concludes: Forget presidential appointment, Americans should get to vote for their justices.

The Science of Immortality
Scientists are currently working on adding centuries to our life spans.  Already, human life expectancy increases at a rate of about two years per decade, or roughly five hours a day. But some scientists think it's possible to push the limit and live for 500 or even 1000 years. If we could live that long, though, would we want to? In his new book, Long For This World: The Strange Science of Immortality, Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer Jonathan Weiner explains the science behind the latest research on aging and the consequences of a lifespan measured in centuries rather than years.

Decision Day for the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court saved a number of controversial issues for last when it wrapped up its term today — with rulings on gun rights, the question of whether or not religious clubs in public schools can discriminate based on sexual orientation or religion, anti-fraud legislation and other issues. Today's rulings come as the senate begins confirmation hearings for Elena Kagan, President Obama's pick to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens. Legal experts talk about the arguments and the effects of the Court's decisions.

 

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