December 8th Show

Puzzles

In our second hour, Neal Conan talks with NPR Puzzlemaster Will Shortz and New York Times science editor David Corocoran about the science of puzzles. iStockphoto.com hide caption

itoggle caption iStockphoto.com

The Political Junkie
The last House race officially ends, and so does the election for governor in Minnesota.  But, dogged Joe Miller continues to fight Senator Lisa Murkowski's win in Alaska. It's Wednesday, and political junkie Ken Rudin joins Neal Conan to recap the week in politics, including the president's press conference yesterday defending his compromise with Republicans on tax cuts. And American Prospect co-editor Robert Kuttner will discuss the tax deal, which he views as the president's abandonment of liberals.  He'll also raise the possibility of potential primary opponents to President Obama in the 2012 election.

WikiLeaks Opinion Pages
The evolving story of the massive WikiLeaks dump of 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables continues to play out — especially on op-ed pages.  Yesterday, founder Julian Assange was arrested in Britain on suspicions of committing sexual crimes. Assange asserts that people upset with WikiLeaks should not "shoot the messenger" for revealing what he calls, "uncomfortable truths." In opinion around the world, writers are debating how to refer to the site, while others are writing about Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal's decisions to cut off donations to WikiLeaks.  Some people are taking a closer look at how the site will affect scholarship.  There are a range of threads to follow in the story. Neal Conan rounds-up a selection of opinion pieces, and asks listeners what issues are important to them as they continue to follow WikiLeaks.

Remembering John Lennon
Host Neal Conan remembers musician John Lennon on the 30th anniversary of his assassination.

The Science of Puzzles
The front page of yesterday's Science Times section in The New York Times describes "a phenomenon that threatens to become a craze."  They're writing about puzzles.  Crosswords.  Sudoku.  Ken Ken.  Scrabble.  Riddles.  Many people solve them for fun, and sometimes to win.  Others solve puzzles hoping to stay mentally sharp.  Researchers continue to work to solve the science of puzzles: how we come to those "aha!" moments and the ways the brain works to solve these problems.  Host Neal Conan talks with NPR Puzzlemaster Will Shortz and New York Times Science Editor David Corocoran about the science of puzzles.

50 Years of Amnesty International
Almost 50 years ago in 1961, British lawyer Peter Benenson was incensed after reading about two Portuguese students jailed for raising their glasses in a toast to freedom.  He went on to publish an appeal in The London Observer on behalf of prisoners of conscience — and began a campaign that became Amnesty International.  Today, Amnesty is the largest human rights organization in the world with almost 3 million members in some 150 countries.  Host Neal Conan talks to Amnesty USA Secretary General Larry Cox about 50 years of human rights and how the movement has changed over time.

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