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

52 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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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

4 hours ago
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The Mysteries Of Sleep Were Just Too Mysterious

Sep 8, 2013
Originally published on September 8, 2013 1:40 pm



We've been exploring the mystery of sleep this morning - how we're not getting enough of it and why we need it in the first place.


MARTIN: We asked our listeners to share their sleep troubles.

EMILY MCMAMEE: So, I have always sleptwalked and slept-talked and it's always been amusing for everybody else around me. I learn about it the next morning when people tell me, you know, did you know that you just did this?

MARTIN: Emily McMamee is from Starksboro, Vermont.

MCMAMEE: We were on vacation and so my brother and I were sleeping on bunk beds, which I don't think I had ever slept in before and I was in the top bunk. And I had a very vivid dream of a diving competition at the local pool.


MCMAMEE: And the next thing I know is I dove out of the bunk bed and hit the wall. Which was incredibly painful and embarrassing and meant that I had to wear a hat for the rest of our beach vacation to cover up my scar.

MARTIN: And here's another vexing sleep issue - this one from Jared Oliver of Akron, Ohio.

JARED OLIVER: One of the most frustrating feelings is to have undiagnosed narcolepsy. Been through a lot of occupations over the past couple of years. And I hope everything works out because it's hard enough climbing the corporate ladder without falling asleep on the way up.


MARTIN: The riddle of Emily's sleepwalking and Jared's narcolepsy appeals to sleep scientists like Jeff Ellenbogen of Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Baltimore.

DR. JEFF ELLENBOGEN: I'm desperate to find all that out. And, you know, if I do even a fraction of that in a lifetime, I think I will have achieved something because sleep is still fundamentally a mystery.

MARTIN: Same thing for Matthew Walker of UC Berkeley.

MATTHEW WALKER: There have been so many great discoveries within science based on the revolution of sort of genetics and molecular biology. And sleep remains resistant to all of that in terms of an answer. So, it's a fantastically complex puzzle. And as a researcher that's what you want. You don't want something where there's an easy answer.

MARTIN: That is not the case for NPR science correspondent Joe Palca. Before Joe was a journalist, he studied psychology - even got his Ph.D. in it. He focused on sleep research and he found it frustrating. We'll let Joe explain.

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: I got out of sleep research 31 years ago, so my knowledge is a bit dusty. I left scientific research because science journalism seemed like a much more interesting career. But I also have to say that by the time I completed my doctorate, I was feeling rather frustrated with sleep research. Although there was a wealth of knowledge about sleep, it all seemed very descriptive. We knew what brain waves looked like during sleep. We knew what hormones were released, how blood flow changed, how body temperature fluctuated. But there didn't seem to be much progress answering the really big questions: Why do we sleep? Why do our eyes dart around and our muscles become flaccid during rapid eye movement sleep? Why do we dream? As far as I can tell, those are all still open questions.

One thing we do know: sleep is necessary. We quite literally can't live without it. And not getting enough sleep can make it harder to function during the day. So, sleep is a need just like the need to eat or the need to breathe. But we know why we eat and breathe. So, why don't we know why we sleep? Sometimes when it is hard to answer a question, it means you're not asking the right one. Maybe asking why we sleep is like asking why we wake. There is no why. It just is.


PALCA: I'm glad scientists continue to pound away, searching for answers to the big questions about of sleep. But I also have to say I'm glad I'm not one of them. I like questions that I can find an answer to.


MARTIN: NPR Science Correspondent Joe Palca. For more on our sleep series, go to our website, Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.