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FROM THIS EPISODE

Last night's presidential debate turned into a prime-time political confrontation, this time including a president fully engaged with a challenger ready for action. We hear excerpts and contrasting assessments. On Reporter's Notebook, a new planet has been discovered — orbiting the closest star to the Sun. What are the prospects of life in the system of Alpha Centuri B?  

Banner image: Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (L) and President Barack Obama gesture towards each other during the second US presidential debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012. Photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

Producers:
Caitlin Shamberg
Christian Bordal
Katie Cooper

Reporter's Notebook Earth-Sized Planet Found in Alpha Centauri System 7 MIN, 20 SEC

The blockbuster film Avatar featured a planet imagined to be circling Alpha Centauri B, the star closest to our sun. Now astronomers have discovered there really might be a system of planets there. The new planet orbiting Alpha Centuri B is so close to the star that it would not be habitable to life as we know it. But there could be other planets. Greg Laughlin is Chair of the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of California Santa Cruz and a blogger at oklo.org.

Guests:
Greg Laughlin, University of California, Santa Cruz

Main Topic The Thrilla in Nassau County 43 MIN, 40 SEC

In last night's town hall, they circled like prizefighters, pointed their fingers and interrupted each other -- while ignoring the moderator — and trading accusations of lying. It was presidential campaigning as prime-time political drama: as intensely personal as any such confrontation in memory. The President and the Governor touched on what seemed like dozens of issues, from contraception to immigration to the deadly attack on the Libyan consulate. President Obama won the early opinion polls because of the contrast to last week's performance, but Governor Romney held his own. We hear some examples and sample a variety of opinions on the possible impact of last night's battle of the candidates.

 

Guests:
Molly Ball, The Atlantic (@mollyesque)
Paul Glastris, Washington Monthly (@glastris)
Jonathan Tobin, Commentary magazine (@TobinCommentary)
Ana Marie Cox, Guardian US (@anamariecox)

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