Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was in Springfield, Ill., Wednesday where she sought to use the symbolism of a historic landmark to draw parallels to a present-day America that is in need of repairing deepening racial and cultural divides.

The Old State Capitol — where Abraham Lincoln delivered his famous "A house divided" speech in 1858 warning against the ills of slavery and where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid in 2007 — served as the backdrop for Clinton as she spoke of how "America's long struggle with race is far from finished."

Episode 711: Hooked on Heroin

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When we meet the heroin dealer called Bone, he has just shot up. He has a lot to say anyway. He tells us about his career--it pretty much tracks the evolution of drug use in America these past ten years or so. He tells us about his rough past. And he tells us about how he died a week ago. He overdosed on his own supply and his friend took his body to the emergency room, then left.

New British Prime Minister Theresa May announced six members of her Cabinet Wednesday.

Amid a sweeping crackdown on dissent in Egypt, security forces have forcibly disappeared hundreds of people since the beginning of 2015, according to a new report from Amnesty International.

It's an "unprecedented spike," the group says, with an average of three or four people disappeared every day.

The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

The wiry man paces angrily as he speaks. It wasn't always this way, he says, showing how loose his pants are now.

Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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This Board Game Aims To Teach Preschoolers How To Code

Sep 18, 2013
Originally published on September 18, 2013 1:01 pm

In our "Weekly Innovation" blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form.

These days, the effort to get more of us writing computer programs has become part of an "everybody should learn to code" ethos that folks like President Obama and Will.I.Am have gotten behind.

"We all depend on technology — to communicate, to bank, [for] information — and none of us know how to read and write code," Will.I.Am points out in an online ad for, a nonprofit aimed at making coding more mainstream. Obama said in February that he wants young people to "know how to produce stuff using computers and not just consume stuff."

There is no shortage of books and online programs teaching you how to code once you can use a computer. But how would you learn to code if you can't even read? How could 3-year-olds begin to learn the basics of computer programming?

That was the question swirling around the head of startup entrepreneur Dan Shapiro while playing with his twin kids one afternoon. [Disclosure: We didn't know it when we started reporting this story, but Dan is the brother of NPR White House Correspondent Ari Shapiro.] Dan Shapiro tried to come up with a way to play a game with his children without getting bored himself. Then he came up with his own: Robot Turtles, a tabletop board game that teaches youngsters the fundamentals of programming, without words.

"What would it be like if there was a way to write programs that had nothing to do with the English language? Ever since we got away from flipping switches [to interact with computers], we have been expressing programming languages in English. That's not a foregone conclusion," Shapiro said.

So he made up what is now Robot Turtles by cutting out clip art cards and moving the cards based on what his kids were doing. As the Kickstarter page for Robot Turtles explains:

"Pretty soon your kids will figure out the secret of Robot Turtles: it lets the kids control the grownups! The little programmers put instruction cards down, driving the turtles through the maze, but the grownup is the computer, executing commands on the board. At its heart, Robot Turtles is a game about bossing around adults. Just like programming is about bossing around computers."

"What they didn't realize is this is how programming starts," Shapiro said. "You go into the command line, and something happens. You type in another command, and something else happens. When they run into walls, my son said, 'Daddy, I want to play more cards at once,' which lit up my face. That is exactly how you start programming! You go from one command to a chain of commands."

Shapiro took a leave from his job at Google to get Robot Turtles to production, but it's a limited run. Those who donate to the product's Kickstarter by Sept. 27 can order Robot Turtles for $29. A single print run is planned, and that's it. But hopefully with this game's help, Shapiro says, today's tiny programmers will be writing the inspiring technology of tomorrow.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit