Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit Montgomery-ed.org

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

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.

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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."

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

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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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Pages

Fun With Physics: How To Make Tiny Medicine Nanoballs

Oct 10, 2012
Originally published on October 11, 2012 9:20 am

For the past decade, scientists have been toying with the notion of encapsulating medicine in microscopic balls.

These so-called nanospheres could travel inside the body to hard-to-reach places, like the brain or the inside of a tumor. One problem researchers face is how to build these nanospheres, because you'd have to make them out of even smaller nanoparticles.

"With micro- or nanoparticles, you cannot just touch them with a finger and put them together and stick them together. You need a method to do that," says Alvaro Marin.

So Marin and his colleagues at the University of Twente in the Netherlands came up with a hands-free method to assemble nanoparticles.

They took a million or so of nanoparticles (the ones they used happened to be made of plastic) and mixed them up in a drop of water. Then they put the drop of water containing the nanoparticles on a silicon chip covered with tiny bristles.

When they did that, something curious happened: The bristles helped keep the droplet intact and retain its spherical shape. It did not collapse and wet the surface of the silicon chip.

As Marin reports in the journal PNAS, the next step was pretty easy. He waited. After a while, the water evaporated.

As the water evaporates, "the particles inside the droplet have time to rearrange and stack up in a nice, neat orderly fashion, much like oranges in a grocer's stand," says David Pine of New York University. Pine was not involved in the research.

In other words, just by waiting until the water evaporated, the nanoparticles organized themselves into a slightly lumpy ball that looks a bit like a soccer ball.

By choosing the right nanoparticles, Pine says you could make nanospheres that would release their contents in response to some external signal. They could become a new kind of drug delivery system.

At least that's the idea. Someday. Maybe.

Marin is now at the Institute of Fluid Mechanics and Aerodynamics at Bundeswehr Universitat in Munich. He is fascinated by fluids and how they move. He produced a video of the evaporating water droplet, as well as one about what happens when a water droplet freezes that won an award from the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics as part of its Gallery of Fluid Motion.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We come now to one of our regular sports moments, Wednesday mornings. And in a minute, we'll hear from Frank Deford about why you need to root, root, root for the home team. But first, a sporty discovery in the world of science.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

What would you do if you came across a scientific paper entitled "Building Microscopic Soccer Balls with Evaporating Colloidal Fakir Drops?"

INSKEEP: A question many of us have faced. And if you are NPR science correspondent Joe Palca, you'd want to know what the heck fakir drops are and why somebody would want to make microscopic soccer balls out of them. The answer, it turns out, has implications for human health.

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: For the past decade, scientists have been toying with the notion of encapsulating medicine in microscopic balls. These so-called nanospheres could travel inside the body to hard to reach places, like the brain or the inside of a tumor. One problem researchers face is how to build these nanospheres, because you'd have to make them out of even smaller nanoparticles.

ALVARO MARIN: With micro or nanoparticles, you cannot just touch them with a finger and put them together and stick them together. You need a method to do that, no?

PALCA: Alvaro Marin and his colleagues, at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, came up with a method to assemble nanoparticles. He took a million or so of nanoparticles - the ones he used happened to made of plastic - and mixed them up in a drop of water. Then he put the drop of water containing the nanoparticles on a silicon chip covered with tiny pillars. When he did that, something curious happened.

MARIN: The droplet stays on top of these pillars.

PALCA: And kept its nearly spherical shape. The tiny pillars kept the droplet from collapsing. It's somewhat like those guys called fakirs, sometimes called fakirs, who can lie on top of a bed of nails without sinking down to the bed. As Marin reports in the journal, PNAS, the next step was pretty easy. He waited. After a while the water evaporated.

Physicist David Pine of New York University explains what was happening as the water evaporated.

DAVID PINE: The particles inside the droplets have time to rearrange and stack up in a nice, neat orderly fashion, much like oranges in a grocer's stand.

PALCA: In other words, just by waiting until the water evaporated, the nanoparticles organized themselves into a slightly lumpy ball that looks a bit like a soccer ball. By choosing the right nanoparticles, Pine says you could make nanospheres that would release their contents in response to some external signal And your fakir droplet-produced micro soccer balls become a drug delivery system. At least that's the idea - well, someday, maybe.

Joe Palca, NPR News, Washington.

MONTAGNE: And you can watch real pictures of the water droplet shrinking into a nano soccer ball and other cool experiments from Alvaro Marin's lab at npr.org. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.