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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

5 hours ago
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Pages

How To See Forever On Your Dirty Car

Oct 28, 2013
Originally published on October 29, 2013 12:15 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

When you're in love with science, ordinary everyday stuff can suddenly seem extraordinary. At least that's how NPR blogger and astrophysicist Adam Frank sees it, even down to the dust on his car.

ADAM FRANK, BYLINE: Carl Sagan, an astronomer with the soul of a poet, liked to remind us that we are all star stuff. It was without a doubt one of his most beautiful images. But what really was Carl Sagan talking about? Well, there are two answers to this question.

The first is remarkable and the second is crazy-remarkable. And if we pay attention, both can open a hidden doorway for us to depths of time that we swim through every day without ever noticing. Let's unpack the remarkable answer first. Every atom in your body was produced in space eons ago. The simplest kinds of atoms like hydrogen date back to the universe's Big Bang beginnings 13.7 billion years ago.

Everything else - carbon, oxygen, iron, et cetera - they were all born in the furnace of a star once stars began to form about a billion years after the Big Bang. So what Carl Sagan was telling us is that stars aren't just out there in space. The stuff of stars is right here on Earth, right now. But now comes the even crazier point, and this is the one that links the Earth directly to the heavens. How did all of that star stuff get here? And by here, I mean right here, the very earth you stand on. The answer, my friends, is dirt, space dirt.

Five billion years ago, the solar system was nothing more than a vast disc of gas and dust swirling around the newly-formed sun. The gas was free-floating atoms, but the dust - ah, the dust - that was already something more. The tiny flecks of solid matter, the lowly grains of minerals of space dirt, they were the keys to assembling planets. It started with tiny coalitions, two grains of dust sticking together and making a bigger grain.

Eventually, the bigger grains collided and stuck together to make pebbles. Then the pebbles made rocks, and the rocks made boulders and the boulders made mountain-sized asteroids floating through space, all the way up to the beautiful blue-green world you're sitting on right now. So go ahead, pick up a clod of earth and you are without doubt cupping a handful of space dirt that once floated free in the inky darkness four to five billion years ago. Unless of course it just arrived. See, that's one of the freaky parts of the story. The space dirt is still coming. And if this seems too crazy and you don't believe me, just go out and look at that dirty car you're driving around.

Every year, almost 100,000 tons of space dirt falls on our planet. That's the equivalent of one U.S. Nimitz-class aircraft carrier dropping from the skies every year. Of course, it doesn't all come at once. Each day, about a hundred tons of material hits the Earth. Most of it is in the form of interplanetary dust caught in the Earth's gravitational pull. But on any given night, you might also catch the bigger stuff: sand-grain-sized or even pebble-sized bits of the solar system flaring across our sky as meteors. After their fiery journey through the atmosphere, most of that material ends up as dust on the ground too.

So if you do the math - and I just did - those hundred tons of inbound space stuff translates into about 10,000 grains of dust added to your car every day. And if, like me, you only make it to the car wash once a year, then odds are pretty good that if you write, clean me, on your car's rear window, it will leave at least a few tiny bits of dusty space dirt on your fingers. And it's right there, on your fingertips, that you can meet eternity up close.

CORNISH: Adam Frank teaches physics at the University of Rochester and blogs for us at npr.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.