Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

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

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.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped vegetables 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.


Here's The Scoop On Cat Poop Coffee

Oct 16, 2012

I can't remember when I first heard about what I affectionately refer to as "cat poop coffee." But I do remember not believing it was real. I'm still having a hard time, to be honest.

But cat poop coffee — that is, civet coffee (or "kopi luwak," as pronounced in Indonesian) — is real, and really expensive. Like $60 for 4 ounces of beans — or in some boutique cafes, at least $10 a cup. That's a bargain compared to what it costs for elephant poop coffee; but I digress.

The beans are literally gathered from animal feces. And for the purposes of empirical research, I got my hands on some for a taste test. I bought two little samples (costing more than $100) from two companies. Not wanting to screw up this pricey cup of joe, I brought the beans to a nearby cafe, Chinatown Coffee, to have the baristas do their magic.

At first sip, I wasn't wild about it — though maybe I would have thought differently if I hadn't known its provenance. Tim Carman, food writer at The Washington Post, did his own taste test earlier this year: "Petrified dinosaur droppings steeped in bathtub water" is how he put it.

Andrew Shields, the Chinatown Coffee barista, on the other hand, seems pleasantly surprised. "I've never had anything like it," he says, using words like "vegetabley, tea-like and earthy" to describe the taste. "Is it worth it?" he pondered the price out loud, "for me, not regularly."

So why are people willing to pay so much for this stuff? Let's start with coffee production 101:

Coffee beans are actually seeds found in the pit of cherry-sized fruits on the coffee plant. To arrive into our cups at Starbucks, the seeds are separated from the fruit's flesh, fermented, roasted and ground in various and increasingly complex incarnations. We crafty humans have devised several ways to synthesize that process of fermentation.

But fermentation also happens naturally in the wild — in an animal's digestive tract, for example. And the Asian palm civet, a native mammal (not really a cat) to Southeast Asia, eats the ripest berries of a coffee plant; through the process of digestion, the seed is separated from the fruit and is fermented. Traditionally, wild civets would go about their business and humans would collect the fermented droppings.

"When you see it in the wild, it looks kind of like an Oh Henry! bar," says coffee historian Mark Pendergrast, author of Uncommon Grounds.

Some coffee connoisseurs say that the natural process of fermentation leaves the final cup of coffee tasting much smoother and less acidic than any other coffee. That doesn't necessarily explain the price tag, though.

"It's incredibly expensive because it's so rare," Pendergrast explains, "not because it's such a wonderful coffee."

And it's not even as rare as it used to be.

"The problem," says Oliver Strand, another coffee connoisseur, "is that it became so desired as a luxury good that they started caging the animals and feeding them coffee that isn't ripe."

Strand, who often writes about coffee for The New York Times and is working on a book, says that not only is the fruit unripe, but also that some civet farmers are feeding the animals varieties like Robusta, decried by many coffee lovers as an inferior bean — the one often used in instant coffee.

"There's a fetishized market for the coffee," says Strand, "which has incentivized less-than-ethical practices."

To that end, Pendergrast actually argues that we should be paying more for coffee in general. One of the main reasons he wrote a book about the coffee market, he explains, is that "it's a very good way of looking at the relationship between the developed and underdeveloped world," he says. "The people making our coffee are sometimes making less than $1 a day, and yet we pay $3 for a cup of coffee."

So that's the world we're living in — a world in which cat poop coffee has been fetishized. Then again, I've seen stranger things. Bottom line (pun intended): If you decide you want to try the coffee yourself, be careful where you get it.

And although few of the aforementioned tasters would pay for it — I know I won't buy it again — that doesn't make us any less insane: At the end of the day, we all readily drank coffee from an animal's feces. Did I mention bird poop coffee?

While writing about cat poop, Claire was neglecting her normal duties at The Picture Show, NPR's photo blog.

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