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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 http://www.npr.org/.

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!":

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Nature Comes Into Full View On Twitter

Aug 9, 2012
Originally published on August 10, 2012 6:48 am

On Sunday, I went swimming in the Atlantic Ocean at Virginia Beach. As I swam along laterally, in the trough between two lines of waves, I daydreamed about how far those waves had traveled and which other animal species had encountered them along the way.

That evening, tired in that good way that comes from hours in sun and sea, I lazily scrolled through my Twitter feed and found a blog post that expanded my wave-imaginings in fun ways. Oceanographer Kim Martini (@rejectedbanana) described internal waves, huge waves that flow in the ocean's depths. Just as the surface waves that break on the beach occur where air meets water, internal waves occur where layers of different seawater densities meet.

This sort of thing happens frequently: I gain deeper appreciation for something in nature (including our varied human natures) because scientists share blog posts, articles or videos on Twitter.

On vacation in New Jersey last month, we drove up the coast from Seaside Heights to Long Branch. About mid-way, we encountered some darkly magnificent storm clouds. The multiple lightning flashes were impressive, and we got to speculating about sky-to-ground versus ground-up lightning.

On Twitter a few days later, I came across this annotated video clip. It depicts cloud-to-ground lightning that triggers "upward lightning leaders." Now I understand more about relationships among different lightning forks, and how they change dynamically.

This Twitter effect works for me not only in fields like oceanography and meteorology, where I lack any scientific expertise, but also in anthropology and animal behavior, my "home" disciplines.

After last month's mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, anthropologist Daniel Lende (@Daniel_Lende) wrote and shared on Twitter a blog post about why "mental illness" isn't a satisfactory answer for terrible acts of violence like this. Lende suggests that labeling someone as mentally ill "closes off a deeper explanation of what happened and why." He asks us to think instead about shooters who act out "cultural scripts," explaining what he means by this term and changing my thinking on a key contemporary issue.

Even in my academic specialty, primate behavior, I learn via Twitter. A video clip about a zoo dweller has gone viral on Twitter in the last week or so: a chimpanzee in a Welsh zoo, standing in front of an attentive visitor, points with two index fingers towards a window then makes a gestural sign. The ape's action has been widely interpreted as a plea to be let out to freedom. As I wrote about last week, smart animals sometimes do send us messages about how they feel about their captivity. In the chimpanzee's case, there may be alternative explanations, but I'm happy to know that key ethical questions are being raised about animal welfare.

Sure, I might have come across some of this stuff via non-Twitter channels of communication. But because I follow a lot of natural and social scientists (as well as animal people and book people) on Twitter, I'm constantly treated to a bounty of fascinating material in a concentrated space.

Some of you will be reading this post — and others here at 13.7 — from your Twitter feed. Tweet-greetings to you!

To others who haven't yet made the Twitter plunge: Come join us!!


You can keep up with more of what Barbara is thinking on Twitter: @bjkingape

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.