The U.S. government is $14.3 trillion in debt. When we first neared the trillion-dollar mark in 1981, President Ronald Reagan said that the height of our debt amounted to a stack of $1,000 bills about 67 miles high. That's somewhere in the thermosphere.
Today, that pile of $1,000 bills would be floating in space, more than 900 miles above the Earth. There aren't any $1,000 bills in circulation anymore, so here's an astronomical analogy about today's debt: If you stack up 14.3 trillion dollar bills, the pile would stretch to the moon and back twice.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was blunt this week, saying the ongoing conflict in Yemen won't be over until President Ali Abdullah Saleh accepts the transition plans drawn up by Gulf states.
"President Saleh was given a very good offer that we strongly backed. And, you know, we cannot expect this conflict to end unless President Saleh and his government move out of the way to permit the opposition and civil society to begin a transition to political and economic reform," Clinton said.
FRANKFORT, KY - Over the objections of a bevy of birdwatchers, a sandhill crane hunting season may soon become a reality in Kentucky. Sandhill cranes are large, migratory birds that were almost completely wiped out in the early 1900's, but rebounded with federal protection. The population east of the Mississippi River now numbers around 60,000 and many of the birds winter in Kentucky.
Metropolitan Opera chief Peter Gelb on Anna Netrebko and Joseph Calleja pulling out of the summer tour to Japan: "Anything can happen in the volcanic world of opera, and with this tour it seems that our volcano has momentarily erupted."
"Public prayer will be allowed at a Texas high school graduation after a federal appeals court on Friday reversed a ban won by an agnostic family that claimed ceremony traditions such as invocations are unconstitutional," the AP writes.
Nathan Schram instructs students in the classroom.
Credit Nan Melville / Getty Images
Last October, Nathan Schram was giddy with anticipation. He was only a year out of Indiana University and he'd just joined a prestigious program, designed to help classical musicians like himself take on the challenges of building a 21st-century career.
He did it through The Academy, a program of Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School, and the Weill Music Institute in partnership with the New York City Department of Education
The nature-versus-nurture debate is an old one. It stands to reason that extremism on either side is likely to be misguided. The mind is not a blank slate. But nor are we born with fully intact cognitive, linguistic and social capacities. What we do, as individuals, and as members of society, depends on our make up. But it also depends on the landscapes where we find ourselves and the resources available. What is striking is the remarkable degree to which we — all living beings — make it so.