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

Summer Science: What's A Meteor Shower?

Aug 13, 2012
Originally published on August 13, 2012 4:23 am

NPR science correspondent Joe Palca is on a mission this summer to answer the deep, burning questions of summertime. So far he's taught us how to build a campfire, explained the best way to roast a perfect marshmallow and explored the icy mystery of brain freeze.

In this latest installment, Palca is looking toward the skies. Just what is a meteor shower? Meteor showers occur several times during the year. The latest one, the Perseids, peaked just this past weekend.

To answer the question, Palca didn't trek up to a fancy telescope; he took a trip to Venice Beach in California.


Meteors are pieces of space debris that plow into the Earth's atmosphere. Most of this debris is no bigger than a grain of sand on the beach, but sometimes they're big chunks of rock. Often these meteors come from junk spewed out by comets as they orbit the sun.

Comets are basically balls of ice and small clumps of dirt. Think of them as a kind of cosmic dump truck whizzing around the sun, shedding their load as they go.

To understand meteor showers, let's try this analogy. Think of an outdoor shower. Imagine the water flowing out of it represents the band of dirt streaming around the sun, with the water drops represent the individual grains of dirt.

And now you have to imagine that I, Joe Palca, am the Earth. And every once in a while, my earthly orbit takes me through this circling band of dirt.

The water droplets are the particles of broken comet streaming past me. OK. I'm out now. I've passed through the droplets.

And that's just how you get a meteor shower.

The Earth passes through the grains of dirt as they stream into the atmosphere, blowing past the air molecules in the atmosphere at supersonic speeds.

This makes the air glow, so for a few moments you get a streak of light until the grain burns itself up. The bigger the grain, the brighter the glow, and the farther it travels.

It's not really a shower of dirt particles — maybe one or two a minute.

The Perseid shower peaked over the weekend on Sunday, so you've mostly missed that one. The next really big one is the Geminid shower in December.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The Perseid Meteor shower is an annual event. It starts sometime in July and peaks in mid-August. Maybe you caught some of it this weekend. It's just one of the many meteor showers that occurs during the year. As part of our series Summer Science, we asked NPR science correspondent Joe Palca to explain what happens in meteor showers. He told us the best way to explain it was to go the beach. Somehow Joe manages to pull the tough assignments, but we said okay, and the next thing we knew, he was out here in Southern California.

JOE PALCA, BYLINE: This is great. I'm on the boardwalk at Venice Beach in California. The sun is shining, there's people skateboarding and rollerblading, and there's wind and surf. It's fantastic. And yes, I know what you're thinking, but there really is a reason that I've come here to talk about meteor showers. You see, meteors are pieces of space debris that plow into the Earth's atmosphere. Most of this debris is no bigger than a grain of sand on the beach here, but sometimes they're big chunks of rock.

Often these meteors come from junk spewed out by comets as they orbit the sun. Now, comets are basically balls of ice and small clumps of dirt. Think of them as a kind of cosmic dump truck whizzing around the sun shedding their load as they go. To understand meteor showers, let's try this analogy.

(SOUNDBITE OF SHOWER)

PALCA: Imagine this outdoor shower represents the band of dirt streaming around the sun, and the water drops represent the individual grains of dirt. And now you have to imagine that I, Joe Palca, am the Earth, and every once in a while my earthly orbit takes me through this circling band of dirt. Whoo. The water droplets are the particles of broken comet streaming past me. Aah. Okay. I'm out now. I've passed through the droplets. And that's how you get a meteor shower.

The Earth passes through the grains of dirt as they stream into the atmosphere and blow past the air molecules in the atmosphere at supersonic speeds. This makes the air glow, so you get a streak of light until the grain burns itself up. Now, in a real meteor shower, it's not really a shower of dirt particles, maybe one or two a minute, more of a drip, drip, drip, really, but you get the idea. The Perseid shower peaked on August 12th, so you mostly missed that one. The next really big one is the Geminid shower in December. Hey, that gives me an idea. I could come back here and do this again. Joe Palca, NPR News, reporting from Venice Beach, California. Can I get a towel now? Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.