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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Arizona Hispanics Poised To Swing State Blue

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Scientists Put A 'Sixth Sense' For Numbers On Brain Map

Sep 6, 2013
Originally published on September 6, 2013 12:25 pm

One of the most famous scenes in the movie Rain Man unfolds when a waitress drops a box of toothpicks on the floor. Dustin Hoffman's character, Ray, takes a look and says, "82, 82, 82." He quickly sums the numbers, declaring, "Of course, 246 total."

It was almost if Ray had a sense about how many toothpicks were there. That he didn't actually need to count them. Turns out, we all have a bit of this ability — although few of us are as facile as Ray.

Scientists have found a region of the brain that quickly senses quantities. It's a small patch of neurons just above each ear that allows us to say at a glance, "Oh yeah, there are five meatballs on my plate, but there are maybe a hundred strands of spaghetti."

Some scientists think of this ability as a kind of sixth sense, something like a number sense. One reason is that the skill appears to originate in specific parts of the brain much like our sense of touch and sight, a team of scientists said Thursday in the journal Science.

"When we see a small number of items visually, we don't need to count them," says Ben Harvey, of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, who lead the study. "We just know how many there are straight away."

Most people hit their limit at around five items, Harvey says. Then people get less and less accurate about estimating the quantity.

But there's definitely variation among people. "One subject we measured was just beautiful," he says. "His brain responds all the way through the number eight."

The better you are at number sensing, Harvey says, the better you tend to do on standardized mathematical tests. "This part of the brain — and the ones nearby — is active when you do math and solve equations, as well." But it's distinct from the region that recognizes numerical symbols, like a "5" displayed on a computer screen.

Monkeys aren't mathematicians, but previous studies had found neurons in monkeys' brains that light up when the animals see a specific quantity, like three circles on the screen.

So Harvey and his team went hunting for similar neurons in people. The team showed people a series of circles on the screen: one circle, then two circles all the way up to eight circles. They mapped the activity in their brains using a technique called functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Throughout the experiments, a group of about 80,000 neurons — or a clump about the size of a postage stamp — kept lighting up in the fMRI for all eight people they studied. And there was a pattern: Neurons that sensed the smaller numbers were located on one side of the patch while those that responded to larger numbers were on the other side.

It's similar to how the brain organizes other senses, like touch and sight. "There are maps on the brain that represent the surface of the skin — or the surface of the retina," Harvey says. "These all reflect an external organ. We found the first map for a cognitive function."

The brain allocates more computing power for tasks it wants to excel at. "For seeing, there's more neurons that process the center of the field vision, where you have very sharp vision," he says. "For touch, you have huge hands mapped onto the brain, but smaller ones for legs."

The same strategy gets applied to numbers. More neurons are devoted to sensing smaller quantities than larger ones, Harvey and his team found. That's probably why most people can't count 246 toothpicks on the floor in a flash but can quickly do it for five toothpicks.

That brings us back to Ray in Rain Man. Could some people have even more neurons in their number-sense region and wind up with extraordinary capabilities like Ray?

It's too soon to tell, Harvey says.

"The idea is well known because of the movie Rain Man, but few such people exist. And we haven't scanned one," he says. "So we don't really know whether they are doing the same task — that is, determining large numbers quickly and accurately, like we all do for small numbers. We would be very excited to meet one of those savants."

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