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

1 hour 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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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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Don't Try To Clean That Messy Desk

Sep 23, 2013
Originally published on September 23, 2013 8:38 pm



You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

When you fall in love with science, ordinary, everyday stuff can suddenly seem extraordinary. That's how NPR blog or an astrophysicist Adam Frank sees it. So look around your house: the mail, the kids' toys, the mess on your desk, the constant daily chaos. Adam Frank says it's all just the universe having its way with your life.

ADAM FRANK, BYLINE: Listen, it's OK. You're not alone. We're all struggling, and we're all doomed to fail. You see, it's not just us. It's a law of physics. The hard truth is that the universe itself is dead-set against our long-term efforts to bring order to the chaos in our lives. That's because the universe loves chaos.

Think about your desk. You tidy it up. It slides into a mess. Tidy it up again, and still, two weeks later, the mess is back. That's because the deepest of deep cosmic principles is playing itself out right there in the midst of your pens, paper clips and paperwork. All those unruly piles of bills you need to pay, all those unfiled insurance forms falling on the floor, all those birthday cards you meant to send like, you know, the one for Aunt Sophie you bought four months ago - they are chaos. They are disorder. And for physicists, that disorder has a name: entropy.

Scientists first uncovered the laws of entropy back in the 1800s. Trying to squeeze the maximum efficiency from their shiny, new steam engines, they discovered a radical and somewhat depressing new cosmic principle. Taken as a whole, they found, the universe always moves from order to disorder, from low entropy to higher entropy. So while you might be able to reduce chaos in one small location like your desk, the very work you do creates more mess for the rest of the universe.

Think about what happens when you finally give up on sending Aunt Sophie her birthday card and toss it out. Even if you recycle it, it goes back into the universe, and the universe's total disorder goes up. Now think about your body's cells. The moment-to-moment effort of doing their work, purging your body of waste and maintaining its functions, that's life creating an astonishing island of order in the midst of chaos. But it can't last. The cosmic demand for increasing entropy is why, in time, those cells have to cash in their chips. This universal law of entropy increases why our bodies and our lives have to, you know, end.

But the news is not all bad. Yes, your efforts to tidy up that desk are doomed to a kind of ultimate failure. But what you can see now is the very act of trying is what defines being alive. Even more, it's that act of trying that makes life - your life, in particular - a cosmic victory. Life, you see, is the triumph of order over chaos. Life is order hammered out if only for a time. And with that effort, something new, something wonderful appears in the universe: creativity.

We and all of life are always changing, always evolving, always experiencing one gloriously unfolding moment to the next. By beating back the cosmic tide of disorder, you can write songs of praise. You can bake loaves of bread for the ones you love. You can make the light of meaning rise from the dark oceans of chaos that surround us.

Sure. Life may not last forever, but while it does, it's surely worth the effort. So what the heck? Go clean that desk. I like to imagine that even the universe itself is grateful.

SIEGEL: Adam Frank teaches physics at the University of Rochester, and he blogs for us at His most recent book is called "About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang."


You're listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.