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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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Science, Solace And Hope

Sep 11, 2012

I would like to give you this. It's not much. But in its way it may offer some solace on this date always synonymous with suffering.

It's an image. It is a picture of someplace else, someplace utterly different, someplace that knows nothing of the hatred, bigotry and violence humans unleash on each other for the most seemly absurd reasons.

It's a place where the universe is trying something new, a place of new beginnings and, perhaps someday, new life. It's a region of star formation 2,600 light years away (10,000-trillion miles).

It's a vast cloud of gas and dust, formed (in part) by the winds of stars that have already completed their lives and are returning the heavy elements forged in their fusion cores back to space. The clouds are rich with these atomic seeds: carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and more. As they collapse under their own gravity to form new stars, the new elements go with them, ending up, perhaps, in new planets. These will be fragile worlds made of stone and ocean. And each revolution, each day, they will host the rising of their own young stars and their own possibilities.

It's all there in this image of incredible scale, of incredible power and potency. It's all there in this picture of ineffable beauty. It's beauty on a physical scale that dwarfs our own experience and limitations. It is from that vantage point that we might find solace and some hope.

A dear friend of my mine lost her brother – a good and honest man – 11 years ago today. He was one of the heroes of United flight 93. A painter of great talent, she has found solace using art to help hospitalized children. The effort expended through the process of expression has helped her.

My own brother died in a car crash when I was 9. I turned to the images of galaxies and nebula I found in my astronomy books. It was the creative expression of the universe as a whole that helped me.

In both cases there is a power in the beauty and fecundity of nature – including our own responses to them – that can lift the crushing weight of sorrow.

The relief will be only temporary. The horror of loss always rushes in again. And when our loss comes through deliberate malice of others, then the sting of simple questions like "Why?" makes the weight of our suffering all the heavier.

But these images of the universe we inhabit can overwhelm that malice with their scale and beauty. They can deliver to us a taste of freedom, for at least a few breaths. In these great works of nature's own art we can remember that, in spite of the raw selfishness some humans are capable of, in spite of the depths of suffering some humans are willing to inflict for the most craven reasons, we are still children of this wider, grander range of possibilities. We are still, and always, part of something much, much greater.

That is a perspective science offers us in the midst of suffering and, in its way, it is is a glimpse of what is sacred. In that way, it can be of help.


You can keep up with more of what Adam Frank is thinking on Facebook and on Twitter @AdamFrank4. His latest book is About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang.

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