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

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!":


Scientists Unveil 'Google Maps' For Human Genome

Sep 5, 2012
Originally published on September 5, 2012 5:56 pm

Scientists unveiled the results of a massive international project Wednesday that they say debunks the notion that most of our genetic code is made up of so-called junk DNA.

The ENCODE project, which involved hundreds of researchers in dozens of labs, also produced what some scientists are saying is like Google Maps for the human genome.

"We like to think about the ENCODE maps similarly," said Elise Feingold at the National Human Genome Research Institute."It allows researchers to look at the chromosomes and then zoom into genes and even down to individual nucleotides in the human genome in much the same way that someone interested in using Google Maps can do so."

For decades, scientists thought that most of our genetic code was essentially useless — basically filler between our genes. Only a tiny fraction — the part that has genes in it — really mattered, according to this thinking.

"The phrase that was thrown around was junk DNA," said Michael Snyder, a geneticist at Stanford University who participated in the project. "I think all of us would agree that really wasn't a good term because it was simply something that we didn't know what it did."

So in 2003, the National Institutes of Health launched the ENCODE (Encyclopedia of DNA elements) project, at a cost of $288 million. The researchers conducted more than 1,600 experiments to understand what is going on in this supposed genetic wasteland.

The results appear in more than 30 papers published in a slew of leading scientific journals, including Science, Nature and Genome Research.

"So the most amazing thing that we found was that we can ascribe some kind of biochemical activity to 80 percent of the genome. And this really kind of debunks the idea that there's a lot of junk DNA or really if there is any DNA that we would really call junk," NHGRI's Feingold said.

What has been called junk DNA is actually teeming with an intricate web of molecular switches that play crucial roles in regulating genes. The ENCODE project scientists found at least 4 million of these regulatory regions so far.

These switches rev genes up. Calm them down. They orchestrate how the whole complex system works. Scientists have already started to figure out which switches control which genes. And that's uncovered even more surprises. Genes can get instructions from up to dozens of switches. And some of the switches are nowhere near the genes they control.

"Most of the human genome is out there mainly to control the genes," said John Stamatoyannopoulis, a geneticist at the University of Washington School of Medicine, who also participated in the project.

The findings help explain why so many studies have found genetic mutations that appear to be associated with diseases in places where no genes reside. It turns out, these areas contain the molecular switches that, when damaged, are behind the diseases.

"The whole way that we look at the genetic basis of disease is going to change. And it's going to change from this model from trying to look at particular this gene or that gene etc to trying to look at genes operating as a system or a network," Stamatoyannopoulis said

Other scientists hailed the findings as providing crucial new insights. But they warned that any payoff probably won't be seen any time soon. "I think it would be irresponsible and really counterproductive to try to massage this into a situation where you're going to go to the doctor's office in the next year and see these things playing out," said James Evans of the American College of Medical Genetics. "That's not the way science works."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit