NPR News

It sounds like a politician's dream: a machine that can tell you exactly what to say to change a voter's mind.

Well, that's what a political scientist has come up with — at least, a first tentative step in that direction.

Using text from a pro-Obamacare website and testing different combinations of sentences on volunteers, an algorithm created by Northeastern University assistant professor Nick Beauchamp was able to identify optimally persuasive terms that make people more inclined to support the landmark health care law.

America's retirement statistics are grim: About 40 percent of baby boomers have nothing saved for retirement, about a third of Americans who are currently retired rely on Social Security for almost all of their income, and the outlook for current workers isn't much better. About half of private sector employees have no retirement plan on the job.

Among the institutions devastated by the flooding in South Carolina is the home of a ballet company.

Dancers from around the world have come to Columbia to dance in the Columbia Classical Ballet Company, founded more than 20 years ago by Radenko Pavlovich.

Now the company's 32 members have nowhere to rehearse or take classes. Their building, renovated just this summer, has been completely destroyed.

During the flooding, water reached up to the ceiling of the studio. Costumes and music scores were ruined.

The signs read: "Take 'em down! Renoir sucks!" and "We're not iconoclasts[;] Renoir just sucks at painting!"

Led by Max Geller, a handful of people protested Monday outside Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

Their grievance?

The fact that paintings by renowned French Impressionist painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir are hanging in the museum.

We want to cut through the spin with a new feature we're calling "Break It Down."

Break It Down is going to be a regular part of our campaign coverage. We're going to try some new things. It might read a little differently from time to time. But our goal is to zoom in on what the candidates are saying, and give you the factual breakdown you need to make a sound judgment.