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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.

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"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."

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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!":


As Scientists Question New Rat Study, GMO Debate Rages On

Sep 20, 2012

The headlines on the press releases that started showing up yesterday, here at The Salt certainly got our attention. Just one sample: "BREAKING NEWS: New Study Links Genetically Engineered Food to Tumors."

The reason for all the excitement was a study published this week in the well-respected journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. The French scientists who conducted the study basically concluded that rats fed a diet of genetically modified corn and small amounts of herbicides got sicker faster than their counterparts eating regular corn and no herbicides.

Based on the study, several anti-GMO groups are calling for a ban and the French government is calling for more investigation, but many scientists met the research with a heavy dose of skepticism.

The study describes an experiment in which scientists fed 18 different groups of rats (ten rats in each group) various concentrations of a genetically engineered kind of corn and/or small amounts of the herbicide Roundup. (Roundup is widely used in combination with genetically engineered "Roundup Ready" crops.)

Two control groups got a diet of non-modified corn and no Roundup. The experiment went on for two years, an unusually long time. Most experiments with rats that attempt to measure the toxic effects of chemicals last only 90 days.

On average, the rats that ate GM corn or drank water laced with Roundup did worse than the control group. Tumors showed up earlier (at least in some of the groups) and more rats died than in the control groups. The contrast was most stark among female rats.

So is this solid evidence that GM corn (or other crops) are bad for you? The author of the paper, Gilles-Eric Seralini, who has been campaigning against GM crops since 1997, says yes. Definitely yes.

Other scientists say, absolutely not.

Some of their complaints about the study are aimed at the study's methods. Critics point out that the type of experimental rats used in this study are particularly prone to tumors. So if you divide up 200 of them into twenty groups, as this study did, you are likely to get very high tumor rates in some of the groups. And the fact that such clusters of tumors didn't show up in the two small control groups could easily be due to random chance.

One particularly irreverent critic, Michael Grayer, a medical statistician, pointed out that the study included 18 groups of rats that were exposed to GMOs or Roundup (nine each for male and female rats), compared to only two control groups. "The potential for cherry-picking the nice positive results here from a sea of boring null ones is immense," he wrote on his blog. "Not saying they did it, of course, but it's certainly a concern."

Also, if this experiment truly showed a link between genetically engineered food and tumors, one might expect the rats that ate more of the GM corn to develop more tumors. In fact, the opposite happened. The rats eating a diet of 33 percent GMO corn stayed healthier than animals eating food with a GMO concentration of just 11 percent.

Seralini, for his part, says that this simply shows that GMOs are toxic in a different way. They merely need to rise above a certain threshold level to have harmful effects; increasing the concentration doesn't increase the harm.

Some scientists were inclined to dismiss the study simply based on Seralini's history of anti-GMO claims. "I know this guy. He has published a lot of rubbish," says Harry Kuiper, a Dutch scientist who used to be in charge of the European Commission's research program on the safety of genetically modified foods. That program sponsored many previous studies, including animal feeding studies, which came to less alarming conclusions and got much less attention than Seralini's.

In fact, Kuiper and many of his colleagues don't even think that animal feeding studies are a very good tool for studying the safety of GM foods. If there was a harmful chemical hidden in GM corn, they say, such studies wouldn't be likely to catch it, because rats can't eat enough corn for them to get a harmful dose of the toxic or cancer-causing substance.

But apart from methodological concerns and personal animosity, there's a deeper reason why scientists like Kuiper give little credence to Seralini's studies. There's a saying in science: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. For most of the scientists who have been studying the safety of GMOs, it's an extraordinary claim, at this point, to assert that the current generation of genetically modified crops are harmful to human health.

There's no apparent reason why that should be true; No one has found new toxic substances in these crops. And the giant feeding experiment that's been going on for the past fifteen years — hundreds of millions of Americans consuming GMO ingredients — hasn't produced evidence of harm, either.

It would take a lot more evidence that the results of this study to change their minds.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit