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

49 minutes ago

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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Communications Gear Hitches Ride With Lunar Probe

Sep 6, 2013
Originally published on September 6, 2013 12:40 pm



It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.


And I'm Renee Montagne. Tonight, a rocket will blast off from a launch pad in Virginia carrying a spacecraft headed for the Moon. NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer will, yes, study the lunar atmosphere and dust environment. But what really intrigued NPR's Joe Palca is a package of communication gear that's hitching a ride with the lunar probe. If it works, it would be or could be the start of a revolution in laser-based communication in space and on Earth.

And here's Joe Palca with the report.

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: Today, if you want to talk to someone on the Moon, assuming there was someone there to talk to, you're pretty much stuck with radio waves. But that could be changing.

DON CORNWELL: I'm Don Cornwell. I'm the mission manager for the Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration. It's something we've been working on for the last five years.

PALCA: Cornwell says using light waves instead of radio waves to communicate has several advantages. One is you don't need a big antenna on your spacecraft.

CORNWELL: Instead, we have this four inch telescope here, that's mounted on a gimbal, and this is our antenna now.

PALCA: Another is laser light doesn't spread out as much over long distances.

CORNWELL: A radio beam from the Moon, it spreads out and it would cover the Western United States. And our beam is about six kilometers in diameter, or about four miles - so it's much, much smaller.

PALCA: A smaller beam means you lose less energy as the beam travels to Earth, so you need less power to send your laser signal.

CORNWELL: We're going to do it with half weight and with 25 percent less power than a comparable radio frequency communications system.

PALCA: Another advantage of lasers is you can pack a lot of digital data in your signal. Cornwell says the package NASA is sending to the Moon will transmit data at 622 megabits per second, way faster than any other deep space communication system.

Don Boroson is part of the team at MIT Lincoln Laboratory that built the test package. He says one of the toughest things about laser communications is finding the exact spot where the laser is coming from, because for the system to work the sender and receiver must be pointed directly at each other.

DON BOROSON: Much of the technology is how do you find where that spot was in the first place, and then when I see it how do I hold it still and not have it jiggle around too much.

PALCA: The good news is that even from the Moon, and even during the day, a telescope on Earth can spot the lunar orbiter's laser.

BOROSON: We're so bright from that little dot in the sky that the background hardly makes any difference.

PALCA: Using lasers to communicate is not a new idea. It's been around for some three decades down here on Earth.

MIKE PERISCO: It started off like many projects as a Department of Defense initiative.

PALCA: Mike Persico is CEO and founder of Anova Technologies, a company that operates laser communications systems. He says the military's interest in this technology is because it can transmit huge amounts of data, and it's almost impossible to intercept. And as long as the sender can see the receiver, it's much faster to send laser signals directly than to send them over fiber optic cables, the way it is done now.

That high speed, point-to-point communications is something brokerage firms have taken advantage of. Trading stock a split second faster than your competitor can translate into huge profits.

PERISCO: Five milliseconds in the world of computerized trading is like three weeks to you and I. That's an advantage you could drive a Mack truck through.

PALCA: Persico predicts many other industries will adopt laser communication systems. He says just about any industry that needs large amounts of data moved quickly from one point to another could benefit from a direct laser system. And with laser communications, your friends on the Moon will have the bandwidth to send you live HD video from the famous lunar landmarks they visit.

Joe Palca, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.