There are trillions of germs that live on us. What are they? What do they do? Inquiring minds want to know, and so they set to find out. And after five years of research, a group of several hundred scientists has released a census of the bacteria, viruses, fungi, other microorganisms that call our bodies home.
Reporting in Nature, an international team of scientists say they've visualized the structure of a protective protein coat that surrounds many bacteria, down to the scale of a single atom. Structural microbiologist Han Remaut, co-author of the study, discusses potential applications of the research.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. After 32 years, the mystery has been solved. A coroner in the fourth inquest into the death of an Australian couple's baby declared the dingo did in fact take the baby. You know a bit about the case if you saw the Meryl Streep movie "Cry in the Dark."
In a recent column, Ben Zimmer wrote, "Is there any word currently more contested in our culture than marriage?" As the debate about same-sex marriage continues, he examines the definition of marriage and the ways advocates and opponents of same-sex unions use language to advance their positions.
Egypt's Supreme Court declared recent elections illegal and ordered the Islamist-led parliament dissolved. The decision, by judges who were appointed by former dictator Hosni Mubarak, escalates the power struggle between the military government and the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists.
NPR's Pentagon correspondent, Tom Bowman, recently spent several weeks in Afghanistan following the last major combat offensive in the region. He and Andrew Exum of the Center for a New American Security talk about the situation on the ground just two years shy of the withdrawal deadline.
Last Saturday night, Manny Pacquiao moved quicker across the ring in Las Vegas, landed more punches than Timothy Bradley and many more heavy blows. Fans, experts, the TV commentators all agreed the man widely considered the best boxer in the world dominated the fight. And then the judges shocked everyone, and Pacquiao's amazing seven-year win streak was over. Controversial decisions are hardly new to boxing or to sports in general.
NPR's Deborah Amos followed a team of U.N. observers in Syria in June before returning to Damascus, and has been reporting on the latest developments in the region. NPR's Neal Conan speaks with Amos about her experiences reporting from Damascus and what she's seen on the ground.