This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm John Donvan in Washington. Neal Conan is away. Of course somebody needed to mark the occasion today by setting off a bomb. It was Afghanistan, where what is hoped will be a turning point was reached today when a ceremony was held in which the Afghan government officially took control of the nation's security, meaning that the U.S., which still has nearly 70,000 troops there, swaps into what is called a support role. Same for some of the 30,000 troops from other NATO nations.
This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan in Washington. For the past several weeks, we've taken the opportunity to reconnect with some of our favorite guests and colleagues in a series of conversations looking ahead. Today, longtime NPR New York correspondent Margot Adler, who's filed stories on hundreds of New Yorkers over the years: AIDS activists, street musicians, cops, environmental visionaries, and a guy who will move your car at exactly the right moment to take full advantage of opposite-side-of-the-street parking laws.
The Supreme Court ruled in June that police can routinely take DNA samples from people who are arrested for comparison against a national database. The decision raises major questions about how law enforcement and criminal justice processes will change.
In her book Cows Save The Planet, journalist Judith Schwartz argues that the key to addressing carbon issues and climate change lies beneath our feet. Schwartz says that proper management of soil could solve a long list of environmental problems.
"The thing to realize is that while we think about this as a sky thing — that it's all about all the fossil fuels that we're burning and all that spewing into the atmosphere — it's actually also a ground thing," she tells NPR's Neal Conan.
In Tehran today, the first news conference of Iran's president-elect ended abruptly when a man in the audience jumped up to protest the absence of the man many believe was elected president four years ago, Mir-Hossein Mousavi has been held under house arrest since 2011. And after the interruption, President-elect Hasan Rouhani left the stage and state television pulled the plug on the live broadcast.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Your brain has nearly 100 billion neurons, and one of my next guests compares that complexity to the Amazon rainforest. In fact, he says there about as many trees in the Amazon as there are neurons in your brain. Think about what the Amazon looks like for a second.
We are broadcasting today from the Pacific Science Center in Seattle. And just steps away from this building, right outside is something that should be familiar to anyone who's ever received a postcard from Seattle or taken home a pen or a glass or anything tchotchke of any kind. And it's the Space Needle, built in connection with the 1962 World's Fair. It is an iconic part of the Seattle skyline.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that human genes cannot be patented. The case involves a dispute over patents held on the BRCA1 and the BRCA2 genes, the so-called breast cancer genes; and tests a company, Myriad Genetics, used to look for mutations to those genes.