Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit Montgomery-ed.org

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

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/.

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Sun Goes Down. Up Comes A Mystery

Oct 12, 2012

Here's a question you probably didn't know was a question: Why is the sky dark at night?

My daughter asked me this about 10 years ago. We were looking up at the night sky, and she said, "There's lots of stars up there." And I said, "Yes."

Then she said, "Are there stars everywhere?" And I said there were. Then she said, "Well, if there are stars everywhere, all of them shining, why don't they fill the sky and make the sky shiny?" In her mind, the sky, instead of being dark, should look like this, brightness everywhere.

Thirteen-year-old girls aren't the only ones asking this question. In 1823, a German astronomer, Heinrich Olbers, wondered, "Why is there dark between the stars?" And ever since, this is called Olbers' Paradox (which sounds better than My Daughter's Too Hard To Answer Question.)

The key to the paradox is, if you look closely at any patch of sky, you will see shining stars. If you look through a telescope, you will see more. The nearer stars will be brighter, of course, but behind them will be more stars, and behind those, even more. Even if those distant stars are dimmer, there are so many of them, their combined glow should add up to a considerable brightness.

So why is it so dark at night? Where does the darkness come from?

Here's an answer. It comes from Henry Reich and his team at Minute Physics. They do very short videos about very big questions.

They pack a lot into this "minute." Actually, they cheated. It's almost four minutes long. I found it fascinating.

The big revelation — for me — is that the darkness between stars suggests that there are chunks of deep space where stars are missing, either because they aren't there (wrong), or because they are so far away, light from those stars hasn't reached us yet (right).

In other words, the darkness tells us something about the size and character of our universe. We're expanding. In a few billion years, those dark patches between stars will grow. There will be fewer stars to see. A few billion years after that, you'll be standing on a hill looking up on a clear night, and the sky will be close to pitch black, no Milky Way, no constellations, just blackness, because the stars we see today are speeding away from us, leaving a faint, infrared light. It will be very lonely. (Unless you're a telescope-wielding butterfly. Butterflies can see infrared. Distant retreating stars will be visible to them. To us, those stars will be invisible.)

Ah me. I'm glad I'm living now. 10 billion years from now, I'd rather be a butterfly.


If you found the Minute Physics video intriguing and you want to spend five more minutes thinking about this, there's another, really good, though more traditional, video that covers the same ground. It's from DeepAstronomy.com and you can find it here.

Also, we came upon a startling Milky Way image, shot from the surface of Mars. It comes, (we think) from independent filmmaker, Rich Smyth, in Britain. Deep space photographers should all be so daring.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.