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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!":


Solar Toilet Disinfects Waste, Makes Hydrogen Fuel

Aug 17, 2012



You might take that sound for granted. I know I do. That's because most of us hear it all the time, at least in this country. Toilets are everywhere here in the U.S. But a lot of people around the world don't hear that sound every day, because two-and-a-half billion people, with the B, don't have a safe, sanitary place to go to the bathroom, according to the World Health Organization.

That's why the Gates Foundation rolled out its Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, asking engineers to dream up waterless, hygienic toilets for people in the developing world. They held a toilet fair. Yep, they held a toilet fair in Seattle this week, complete synthetic poop.

And my next guest and his team top prize with a solar-powered toilet that not only disinfects waste, but also produces hydrogen fuel. A lot better than flushing all that energy down the toilet, right? Joining me now to explain how it works is Michael Hoffmann. He's the James Irvine Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and he joins us by phone. Welcome to the show, Dr. Hoffmann.

MICHAEL HOFFMANN: Well, thank you. I'm glad to be here.

LICHTMAN: You're listening to SCIENCE FRIDAY on NPR.


LICHTMAN: I'm Flora Lichtman.


LICHTMAN: And so tell me about this toilet.

HOFFMANN: OK. This is a prototype that was displayed after one year of research. So eight major universities around the world were tasked with coming up with a new approach to completely handle the waste, basically, with no traditional urban infrastructure. In other words, it should operate in the absence of an electrical grid. It should operate in the absence of piped-in water, the subject of your previous conversations. And it should basically function at low cost and be available to the developing world within a three to four-year period of time.

LICHTMAN: And what is yours - what does your prototype look like?

HOFFMANN: OK. Right now, we take some conventional flush toilets and integrate them with a series of chemical engineering processes. That was also one of the tasks, that we should use modern approaches developed in chemical engineering to piece something together to be able to handle the waste in a single drain, basically purify the water that may be present in waste and urine. In particular, urine is a source of water.

So, in essence, we clean up the urine to a relatively high quality. That becomes the water source back into a flush tank location. And then with that water, we can then flush the actual toilet. So we have a combined urinal, which is a waterless urinal, which diverts the urine to a separate treatment process, and then that provides the water for a closed-loop cycle. In addition, the tank could be also filled with gray water from cooking or personal sanitation in the more remote regions.

LICHTMAN: And that chemical reaction is pretty fast, right? Because I think I heard that composting toilets, it takes months to disinfect the waste. But with this...


LICHTMAN:'s a matter of hours?

HOFFMANN: Yes. For a typical daily waste of a family - let's say we're limited to five persons. But we've actually scaled up a system for, let's say, essentially 40 uses per day. But nonetheless, let's take the waste of a single family, five people. That's about half a kilogram of feces, and then five liters of water. And that can be processed, essentially, within three to four hours.

LICHTMAN: Hmm. That's - I mean, that seems like a remarkable innovation.

HOFFMANN: Yes. Some people think it's totally impractical for application in the developing world. But we think there's a lot of promise there for the future with further developments to bring the cost of the integrated system down.

So we're essentially oxidizing the urine and waste at sort of a developed electrode system, multiple electrodes, where the reactive side, the oxidative side is composed of nanoparticulates, semiconductor materials coded in a conductive metal plate in sequence, and then basically centered onto the surface. And then the counter-electrode is simply a metal plate, a sufficiently sized metal plate. It could be almost any metal. Stainless steel is used because it's, obviously, more resistant to degradation over time.

And the electrons that are given up by the waste are essentially passed on to the counter electrode, which we call the cathode. And instead of using oxygen to accept the electrons, we use water and protons, thus generating hydrogen, which can be cleaned up a bit and then used either for cooking or directed into a proton exchange membrane fuel cell.

LICHTMAN: Wow. That is awesome. Michael Hoffmann, thank you. We've just about ran out of time.


LICHTMAN: But thank you for joining us today.

HOFFMANN: Sure. Yeah. Thank you for talking to me.

LICHTMAN: Michael Hoffmann is the James Irvine Professor of Environmental Sciences and Engineering at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.