Military Drones And The Changing Battlefield
The Obama Administration has dramatically ramped up its use of drones — for attack and surveillance — and is reportedly building secret drone bases in the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Drones have already changed the dynamic on the battlefield, and the U.S. relies on them as a powerful military and foreign policy tool. But many other countries want drones of their own, and advances in technology will soon allow for smaller, more powerful and cheaper models. Host Neal Conan speaks with New York Times chief Washington Correspondent David Sanger about the proliferation of drones and their role in foreign policy. He'll also speak with electrical engineering professor John Villasenor about how small and sophisticated future drones may be.
Remembering Wangari Maathai
Wangari Maathai, the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, died Sunday in a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya. She was 71 and had long struggled with cancer. Maathai inspired a generation of women and founded Kenya's Green Belt Movement, which targets deforestation, poverty and the status of women. Host Neal Conan remembers Maathai's life and accomplishments and replays highlights of a 2009 Talk of the Nation conversation about her book, The Challenge for Africa.
The Opinion Page
Most Americans heard about the execution of Troy Anthony Davis through the news media. Rhonda Cook watched him die in person. A longtime crime reporter for the Atlanta Journal Constitution, this was just one of dozens of executions she has witnessed. "We are the eyes of the public," she wrote in a recent piece for the paper. "We are the ones who will report if something goes wrong. We are the ones who will report the final moments of a condemned murderer's life." Host Neal Conan talks with Cook about her piece, "A surreal day awaiting the death of Troy Davis," the effects of viewing so many executions and why she feels it's important to watch.
'The New Kids'
Starting at a new high school can be tough for any kid. Imagine you're also a recent immigrant and speak little, if any, English. Journalist Brooke Hauser spent months following students at International High School at Prospect Heights, a Brooklyn school for recent immigrants. Young men and women from dozens of countries enter every fall and eventually leave as assimilated American teenagers. Host Neal Conan speaks with Hauser about her time chronicling the lives of a Tibetan student who escaped in a suitcase, a Sierra Leonean who escaped murder, a Yemeni girl who is raising her younger siblings, and many others. Hauser's book is titled, The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens.
Bill James worked as the night watchman at a pork and beans cannery in Lawrence, Kansas in the late '70s when he came up with an idea that would transform the game of baseball. Sabermetrics uses statistics and empirical evidence to analyze player potential and determine how to win games. The story of that idea and how one team — the Oakland Athletics — put the concept into practice in 2002 — and succeeded — is told in the new movie Moneyball, which opened in theaters this weekend. Host Neal Conan talks to James about the new film and how his idea changed the game of baseball.