"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!":

Donald Trump wrapped up his public tryout of potential vice presidential candidates in Indiana Tuesday night with Gov. Mike Pence giving the final audition.

The Indiana governor's stock as Trump's possible running mate is believed to be on the rise, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also atop the list. Sources tell NPR the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is close to making a decision, which he's widely expected to announce by Friday.

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The unassuming hero of Jonas Karlsson's clever, Kafkaesque parable is the opposite of a malcontent. Despite scant education, a limited social life, and no prospects for success as it is usually defined, he's that rarity, a most happy fella with an amazing ability to content himself with very little. But one day, returning to his barebones flat from his dead-end, part-time job at a video store, he finds an astronomical bill from an entity called W.R.D. He assumes it's a scam. Actually, it is more sinister-- and it forces him to take a good hard look at his life and values.

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How The Transit Of Venus Helped Unlock The Universe

Jun 5, 2012
Originally published on July 31, 2012 9:46 am

In an age when the size of the observable universe is known to a few decimal places, today's Transit of Venus offers a good opportunity to reflect on just how far we've come.

(For viewing information, click here.)

Less than 250 years ago, the brightest minds of the Enlightenment were stumped over how far the Earth is from the sun. The transits of the 1760s helped answer that question, providing a virtual yardstick for the universe.

Without an accurate distance between the sun and Earth — known as the Astronomical Unit — astronomers couldn't deduce the exact size of the solar system and had no way of knowing for sure how far away the stars were.

The Astronomical Unit has been "fundamental to figuring out the distances of everything in astronomy," says Michael Strauss, a professor of astrophysics at Princeton University.

Enter Edmond Halley of comet fame. In 1716, he alerted the scientific community to be ready for the 1761 and 1769 transits of Venus. He noted that if Venus was observed from multiple spots as it crossed the disc of the sun, you could use something called the parallax method and some trigonometry to get the much sought sun-Earth distance.

Although Halley, who died in 1742, was long gone by the transits of the 1760s, his historical timing was nonetheless impeccable. "This was the Age of Discovery, and people were finally able to start mounting big expeditions around the world for all kinds of reasons," Strauss says.

So an international effort was organized, with nations dispatching expeditions to far-flung places. Legendary English navigator and explorer Capt. James Cook was among them. He and his team sailed aboard the HMS Endeavour to newly discovered Tahiti in the South Pacific, where observations were set up ahead of the 1769 transit. (Observations in 1761 were largely failures.)

So how did the parallax method work?

"You observe the moment at which Venus touches the disc of the sun, what's called first contact," Strauss says. "What you're measuring is when Venus, the sun and the observer all appear to be in a straight line."

From different locations on Earth, that lining up occurs at slightly different times. It takes about seven hours for the total transit, so the difference between observations might be as much as a few minutes — easily measured by clocks of the day.

"You want to know exactly how long it takes, because that duration gives you a [base]line and that line you can then fit onto the sun," says Owen Gingerich, a professor emeritus of astronomy and the history of science at Harvard University.

The line forms the base of a triangle, and triangles make good yardsticks, says Gingerich, who spoke to NPR from California, where he is preparing to observe today's transit.

By knowing the exact distance between the two earthbound observers and comparing the differences in their observations, you can draw a pair of triangles that will give the distance from the Earth to Venus. Thanks to the work of mathematician Johannes Kepler, 18th century astronomers already knew Venus' orbit is about 70 percent that of Earth's. So if you know the distance between the Earth and Venus, you can easily figure out the value for the Astronomical Unit.

But it wasn't that simple. Because of something called the "black drop effect" having to do with density differences in the sun's outer layers, the observations were a little skewed. That threw the post-1769 figure for the Astronomical Unit off by a few percent from the correct answer. Still not bad, actually.

And how did the transit of Venus give us the distances to the stars?

The parallax method turns out to be good for figuring out how far they are, too. But since the stars are so much more distant than Venus, a much longer baseline was needed. Instead of two different geographic locations, the observations needed to be made during two different points in Earth's orbit, say one in June and another in December. Knowing the length of the Astronomical Unit (and therefore the size of the Earth's orbit) allowed scientists to know just how long the base of that massive triangle would be.

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