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!":


From Politics To Pestilence: Everything Is Earlier

Aug 23, 2012
Originally published on August 23, 2012 4:17 pm

Leaves are falling in the summertime. School starts in early August in many places. Politicos are already talking about the presidential election — of 2016.

Everything is happening earlier.

According to various reports, the allergy season, the NFL season and the winter holiday shopping season seem to be occurring earlier. Fact is, all seasons — winter, spring, summer and fall – are showing up sooner.

"The seasons are coming earlier on land than they used to," says Alexander Stine of Harvard University's Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, "because of changes in patterns of global winds over the last half century."

As the winds sweep across the planet, he explains, "they carry differing amounts of heat with them — depending on where they come from — and can thereby modulate when things warm up or cool down. In particular, the changes in the winds have been biggest at the end of the winter and have sped up the arrival of spring."

A 2009 analysis of global temperatures between the years 1850 and 2007, authored by Stine and others, reveals that the seasons are showing up about two days earlier than they were 50 years ago.

Physiologically, financially, culinarily — life is happening earlier. A recent New York Times story reports that the breasts of young American girls are developing earlier. Because of hypertechnology and global markets, we get financial information earlier. McDonald's just announced it is serving breakfast beginning at midnight instead of 5 a.m.

Earlier than ever, we get: news of the world, new books to read and new music to listen to.

What effect will all of this earliness ultimately have on our culture? In many ways, it's too early to tell.

Earliness Can Really Bug You

We do know this: There can be repercussions when the seasons arrive earlier.

The cherry tree blossoms in Washington, D.C., for instance, are trending earlier and earlier. The Washington Post reports that in 2012, the iconic trees bloomed five days earlier than they did in 1921, the first year that records were kept.

And summer pests appeared earlier than usual this year. Missy Henriksen of the National Pest Management Association, explains that according to the NOAA National Climatic Data Center, the first half of 2012 was the warmest on record for the U.S. mainland since record keeping began in 1895.

"Many parts of the country enjoyed a winter season that kept children in flip-flops instead of snow boots," Henriksen explains. "One of the consequences of the unseasonable winter temperatures is that it caused an early emergence of numerous species of bugs."

Insects are cold blooded, she says, so "they look to cues from Mother Nature to direct their biological functions. While calendars may have said February, mercury readings said June and accordingly, many insects arose from their over-wintering state weeks — and in some cases months — earlier because of the warm weather."

She says termites, mosquitoes, ants, ticks and fleas were all out in force ahead of schedule.

Henriksen didn't mention worms — perhaps they were gotten by early birds.

Fast Track To ... Failure?

Early birds, however, will not be encouraged this time around to line up at midnight for the release of the LeBron X or other new Nike sneakers. The Wall Street Journal and others report that Nike has put an end to that popular practice because of security concerns.

But prospective college students, like the ninth-grader mentioned in this New York Times piece from earlier this year, are looking at possibilities at a younger age. And in turn, SB Nation reports, colleges are looking at young people earlier. The Times also reports a notable rise among some universities in early admission applications.

"Better three hours too soon than a minute too late," William Shakespeare wrote in The Merry Wives of Windsor. Leave it to Shakespeare to point out a virtue of earliness

Early Americans bought into this reverence for earliness. "Early to bed and early to rise," Ben Franklin famously claimed, "makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."

Later Americans also embraced earliness. Tycoon J. Paul Getty is reported to have put his formula for success in six words: "Rise early, work hard, strike oil."

And so we much-later Americans still feel in our national DNA a rush to earliness. We grow up earlier. Eat breakfast earlier. Get into college earlier. Go to work earlier. The quest for ever-earlier earliness is a lifelong pursuit.

There can be drawbacks. Sometimes it's just too soon for a bird to fly. Or it's premature to eat a persimmon. Or it's too early for a Major League pitcher to pitch a full season. Never serve a wine before its time and all that.

Eagerness for earliness can lead to failure — in a hurry.

Leave it to Shakespeare again to point out a fallacy of earliness. In some instances, it can be just another shade of lateness. "I am glad I was up so late, for that's the reason I was up so early." Shakespeare wrote in Cymbeline.

That, of course, was one of his late plays.

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