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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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!":


The Miracle Of The Levitating Slinky

Sep 11, 2012
Originally published on September 12, 2012 8:43 am

I should say right off, this is no miracle. The Slinky I'm going to show you does what all Slinkys do, even if it seems so astonishing, you figure, "Oh, come on. Somebody doctored this footage. This can't be."

It can be. It is. Nobody manipulated anything.

Here's what's going to happen. Derek Muller from the Australian science video website Veritasium is going to take a Slinky and hold it from the top with his hand. He will then release the lower part. It will slink down to its full extension, elongating, and come to a dangling rest.

Then Derek is going to let the Slinky go.

Now comes the miracle. If you keep your eye on the bottom of the Slinky, on the last curl at the very end, you will notice that as the top of the Slinky starts to fall, the bottom doesn't drop. It just hangs in the air, levitating, as if it had its own magic carpet. It will stay there, hovering quietly, until a wave, or signal, passing through the Slinky finally reaches it. Apparently, the bottom doesn't know it's supposed to fall, so it sits there, seeming to defy gravity, until the very end.

In this first video, Derek and a physics professor named Rod will drop a Slinky. It drops very fast, but then they run the footage at 300 frames a second — that's very slow. Once again, this is not a trick. It's just deeply mysterious.

Derek asked, what if we attach a tennis ball to the bottom of the Slinky, then drop them both? Will the tennis ball hover, too? Or will it drag the Slinky down? (Or up?) Here's the answer:

So why does this happen? Why — going back to the Slinky — why doesn't it fall right away?

Psst, Pass It On

As the physics professor says, the bottom didn't "know" it was supposed to fall until it got a signal from the top of the Slinky. Only when the metal directly above the last coil transmits the signal, only then do you see the bottom coil start to twist and fall.

This idea, that information has to pass through an object for the whole thing to know what to do, applies not just to Slinkys but to ballpoint pens, logs, arrows and, yes, to all of us.

This week on our Radiolab podcast, we invited Cornell mathematician Steve Strogatz and Hayden Planetarium astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to dissect the miracle of the levitating Slinky. Steve finds the physics beautiful, profound, even tragic. Neil is more the mechanic. Signals rule the world, he says. He explains that what happened to our Slinky has become the essence of tank warfare. What? If you're curious, check out the podcast (if you're reading this on your computer, you can click on the Radiolab box just to the right).

Or, if you seek a Zen moment and wish to contemplate more Slinkys not falling, here's another video; this time the Slinky is huge. Doesn't seem to matter.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit