NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped veggies and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

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After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she disparaged him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb political statements" about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":


Feathers And Rubber Bands: A Golf Ball Story

Aug 11, 2012
Originally published on October 21, 2012 3:09 pm

If you're Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy teeing off in the final rounds of the 2012 PGA Championship this weekend, you're probably not thinking about the fascinating history of the golf ball. But those of us who are just spectating can take a moment to contemplate this little gem of modern engineering. From wood to feathers to tree sap, rubber bands, cork or compressed air — today's little white spheroid has had an interesting evolution.

Back in the mist of history, the game of golf was played with balls carved from hardwood. The "featherie," introduced in the early 1600s, was the real beginning of the golf ball that we recognize. Made of wet leather stuffed with wet feathers, it was a hard, durable ball because the leather contracted as it dried, but the feathers expanded. One drawback: If a featherie got wet, it was ruined, so you had to watch out for water hazards. Handcrafted featheries were expensive, but they were in use for more than 200 years.

The gutta-percha ball, or "guttie," was made from the sap of certain tropical trees and was introduced in 1848. Gutties were mass-produced, making them considerably cheaper than featheries and opening the game to nonwealthy players. The early gutties were smooth-surfaced, but golfers noticed that balls with nicks and scratches tended to fly farther, so soon a variety of dimples and other patterns began to appear. For many years, the bramble design, with inverted dimples that made the ball look like a raspberry, was popular.

Fifty years later, a ball was developed that had a solid rubber core wound with rubber thread and a gutta-percha cover; it was resilient and became the norm. Other experimenters developed balls with a core of mercury, cork or metal.

Then there was the "pneumatic" type, with a center of compressed air. Unfortunately, those had a tendency to explode in hot weather, but that didn't stop one player from winning a 1905 tournament using a pneumatic ball.

Modern golf balls use new materials — polymers, silicone, synthetic rubber — to optimize the aerodynamics and get better distance and spin ratios.

So next time you're on the links, marvel at the science and technology that created the ball you're hitting — even if your drive still slices deep into the trees.

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