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 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!":

Pages

Science Is Sometimes Wrong, For All The Right Reasons

Aug 8, 2012

Can we make sense of the world without belief? This is the central question behind the faith and science dichotomy, and one that informs how an individual chooses to relate to the world. Contrasting mythic and scientific explanations of reality, we could say that at the extreme, religious myths attempt to explain the unknown with the unknowable, while science attempts to explain the unknown with the knowable. Much of the tension springs from the belief that there are two mutually inconsistent realities, one within this world (and thus knowable) and one without (and thus unknowable).

Perhaps surprisingly, both scientist and faithful believe, even if the nature of the belief is completely different for each.

In the sciences, this is most obvious when there is an attempt to extrapolate a theory or model beyond its tested limits, as in 'gravity works the same way across the entire universe,' or 'the theory of evolution by natural selection applies to all forms of life, including extraterrestrial ones.' The scientist feels justified in doing so, given the accumulated power of her theories to explain so much of the world. We can even say, with slight impropriety, that her belief is empirically validated.

Without this kind of belief in the power of extrapolation, science would not move forward. As David Deutsch wrote in The Beginning of Infinity, "The real source of our theories is conjecture, and the real source of our knowledge is conjecture alternating with criticism."

Here is an example. Newton's theory of universal gravitation, as explained in Book III of his masterful Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, the Principia, should really have been called a theory of solar system gravitation, since by the late 17th century no tests were conceivable beyond its confines. Yet, Newton called Book III The System of the World, assuming that his description of gravitational attraction as a force proportional to the quantity of mass in two bodies and decreasing with the square of the distance between them would extend to the whole world, that is, the cosmos: "if it is universally established by experiments and astronomical observations that all bodies on or near the earth gravitate toward the earth, and do so in the proportion of matter in each body ... it will have to be concluded ... that all bodies gravitate toward one another."

Later, in a letter to the Cambridge theologian Richard Bentley, dated December 10, 1692, Newton used his extrapolation on the nature of the gravitational force to justify why the universe should be infinite. If gravity acted equally across a spatially finite universe, Bentley wondered, why wouldn't all matter be concentrated in a huge ball at the center? Newton agreed that this would indeed be the case if the universe were finite in extent. However, he went on, "if the matter was evenly diffused through an infinite space, it would never convene into one mass but some of it convene into one mass and some into another so as to make an infinite number of great masses scattered at great distances from one to another throughout all that infinite space." Newton's belief in the universal nature of gravity was strong enough to let him speculate confidently about the spatial extent of the cosmos as a whole. Einstein did something very similar, but we will have to leave it for another time.

In order to move forward, a scientist must have the courage to take the risk of being wrong. You stick your neck out so that you can perhaps see a bit farther than the others.


You can keep up with more of what Marcelo is thinking on Facebook and Twitter @mgleiser.

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