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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!":


Should The FDA Rethink How It Runs Clinical Trials?

Sep 3, 2012

I hope this is the first of a series of posts over the next while, examining how we learn to do medicine well. These issues are large and may take some time. No one understands them well.

I begin with a stunning experiment that has found certain skin cells, with their own unique pattern of gene expression, can be shifted to become an entirely different cell type, an embryonic-like stem cell, by the simultaneous activation of three transcription factors. This new embryonic-like stem cell can differentiate into most of the cell types in your body. The normal skin cell type cannot do this.

Three huge points: 1) We are learning, in systems biology, to control cell differentiation from one cell type, with its stable pattern of gene activities, to another normal, or perhaps not, cell type with a different pattern of gene activities. This must transform medicine. 2) Often, no single transcription factor suffices for these transitions, as in the three factors needed above to shift the skin cell to an embryonic-like stem cell. 3) Therefore, we must give up a simple minded view of linear causal pathways in cell biology, i.e. A -> B -> C ... , to think instead of a vast network of genes and other factors interacting.

Causality is often multifactorial. It is like throwing a small stone on bed springs and watching all the springs vibrate in different patterns as a result.

But how does this connect with the Food and Drug Administration, you ask?

We have been taught to do medical science well by varying a single factor at a time in double blind, random clinical trials across many patients, seeking strong statistical results showing that varying a single factor up and down, on and off, yields a clear clinical result. When random clinical trials work, they really work. We learn a lot.

But, if the causality is multifactorial, as in the three transcription factors needed above to go from skin cell to embryonic-like stem cells, no single factor variation alone will reveal this truth. In this case, random clinical trials — varying a single factor, as if all factors were independent — typically will fail.

The FDA's seemingly wise insistence on single factor, double blind, random clinical trials may result in the throwing away of vast amounts of critical medical and clinical data.

We will have to learn something very new. How do we learn to test multi-causal networks? How do we achieve results that are significant and also allow us to rule out dangerous treatments. This is a big problem, with potential implications for clinical medicine, FDA rules and the insurance industry.

I end by noting that surgeons do not use random clinical trials, but still learn to do surgery better over the years. So random clinical trials are not a prerequisite for medical learning.

We have much to learn.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit