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!":


Medical Electronics Built To Last Only A Little While

Sep 27, 2012

Most engineers build things to last.

But a group of mechanical and electrical engineers are working on electronics that will break down in as little as a couple of days. On purpose!

The electronic circuits they're developing don't crash. It's more dramatic than that. They dissolve in liquid.

Sounds a little bit crazy, but circuits that work for a while then disappear could be pretty useful in medical devices implanted in the human body.

In a paper published in the journal Science, the engineers describe how they used silicon, magnesium and a special type of reconstituted silk to create a microchip that can last for as long as needed, then fade away when its job is done.

"It will have a finite lifetime while in a wet environment," says Fiorenzo Omenetto, an electrical engineer at Tufts University who co-authored the article.

Right now, some medical implants have to be surgically removed when they've overstayed their welcome inside the body. But if these devices could instead dissolve and get flushed out through the body's natural processes, surgery could be avoided.

That's one of the potential benefits for dissolvable electronics, but definitely not the only one.

Omenetto says they says might also be used to create more environmentally friendly consumer devices, like iPhones or televisions. "Electronic waste is not a pretty waste," Omenetto tells Shots. "Anything that could be done to use more benign materials [in electronics] could help."

At this point, you might be wondering how these electronic devices could possibly function while submerged liquid and not experience catastrophic short circuiting.

It all boils down to silk.

Omenetto and his colleague at Tufts, David Kaplan, have been experimenting with silk for years and have used it to develop a biodegradable plastic-like material. The silk-based material can be programmed to dissolve over a predetermined time period — six hours, six days, six months, you name it.

Omenetto teamed up with mechanical engineer John Rogers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to design a magnesium and silicon circuit encased in this silk-based material. "The silk is water-soluble, but its dissolution rate can be controlled," Rogers says. "We used that as a protecting layer to go on top of our water-soluble electronics."

Once the electronics no longer need to be protected, the silk starts dissolving and then the circuit goes along with it. "Everything dissolves," Rogers says.

Don't expect to see dissolvable electronics in the doctor's office anytime soon. Omenetto estimates it could be a decade before they're in widespread use. Not only would these devices need to be tested and pass muster with the Food and Drug Administration, but Omenetto says someone would also need to figure out how to mass produce these circuits in a factory.

"People can make very nice electronic gadgets in a lab," he says, "but that's a long way from Intel."

Today's Science article has people in the engineering world buzzing. "This is a small but growing field for sure," says Christopher Bettinger, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University. The key to taking this technology out of the lab and into the marketplace will be "identifying an application first — a disease or a treatment that can benefit from this," he says. "There are definitely applications that could benefit from this."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit