December 6th Show : Blog Of The Nation In the first hour of Talk of the Nation:  the national marriage project, and the benefits of envy on the opinion page.  In the second hour, the hosts of MythBusters, and Dame Helen Mirren.
NPR logo December 6th Show

December 6th Show

Blair Bunting/Getty Images/Discovery Channel
Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage of "Mythbusters".
Blair Bunting/Getty Images/Discovery Channel

The New Face Of Marriage
This week, the National Marriage Project is releasing a study that finds a widening marriage gap in America. The data chart a steep decline of the two-parent family among the 58 percent of Americans with high school diplomas and often some college education, but no four-year degree. They're delaying marriage, but not parenthood, hoping to wait until they're in better financial shape. Divorce rates are also up slightly among those with a high school degree, while those rates have dropped for those who graduated college. More educated couples are now more likely to say they are "very happy" in their marriage. Host Neal Conan talks with NPR's Jennifer Ludden about how the economy is changing marriage.

Opinion Page
Gordon Gekko had it all wrong, writes Los Angeles Times columnist Gregory Rodriguez. It's not greed that's good, it's envy. On this week's Opinion Page, Rodriguez argues that while envy has a dark side, "in our society, envy is at least in part a driver of economic aspiration and activity." Rodriguez talks with Neal Conan about his column, In Praise Of Envy.

Can you really beat a lie detector test? How much destruction would a bull cause in a china shop? How long can you survive after being buried alive? If anyone can answer these questions, it's the MythBusters. Hosts Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman, and their team aim to debunk — and occasionally prove — rumors and legends through a mix of scientific method, pure curiosity, and sheer cleverness. And in an upcoming episode, President Obama has a personal request for the show: to once again test the myth of Archimedes' solar death ray. Neal Conan talks with Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of MythBusters about the Presidential challenge, and how they work to bust popular beliefs, one experiment at a time.

Dame Helen Mirren: The Tempest
With an acting career spanning more than three decades, Dame Helen Mirren has played queens — most notably Queen Elizabeth II, for which she won an Academy Award — and the tough detective Jane Tennison in the long running British TV crime series, "Prime Suspect," among countless other roles for film, television and the stage. And at an age when most female actors find their roles increasingly limited, Mirren's recent films have had her toting automatic weapons, running a brothel, and engaged in a fiery marital power play as Leo Tolstoy's wife, Sofya. In her latest film, "The Tempest," Mirren takes a gender twist on Shakespeare's main character, Prospero — this time playing the wizened wizard and protective parent as a woman, Prospera. Host Neal Conan talks with Helen Mirren about her latest film, and her long career.