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!":

Donald Trump wrapped up his public tryout of potential vice presidential candidates in Indiana Tuesday night with Gov. Mike Pence giving the final audition.

The Indiana governor's stock as Trump's possible running mate is believed to be on the rise, with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich also atop the list. Sources tell NPR the presumptive GOP presidential nominee is close to making a decision, which he's widely expected to announce by Friday.

Pages

A 'Thumb' On The Pulse Of What Makes Us Human

Jul 17, 2012

The discovery in early July of a subatomic particle that may be the Higgs boson — also known as the God particle — puts physicists one step closer to unlocking the secrets of the universe around us. Sam Kean's dynamic, brainy new book, The Violinist's Thumb: And Other Lost Tales of Love, War, and Genius, as Written by Our Genetic Code, tells a story that's no less profound: how geneticists strive to unlock the secrets of the universe within us.

Silly to compare the two? Consider this: According to Kean, there's "enough DNA in one human body to stretch roughly from Pluto to the sun and back." That DNA "endowed us with imagination," which we use to dream of "remaking life as we know it." So, if DNA hadn't shaped us the way it has, maybe we never would have asked the questions the Higgs boson promises to answer.

The Violinist's Thumb inherits all the traits of its predecessor, The Disappearing Spoon, in which Kean somehow made the periodic table of elements exciting. Fans of that book will be happy to know that the author again employs an able, lively hand to unpack the story of DNA and genetics through nimble lessons in history and science, along with an assortment of colorful anecdotes and striking trivia.

Among other gems, you'll hear the awful story of Tsutomu Yamaguchi, who survived the bombing of Hiroshima and boarded a train that night so he could return to his family — in Nagasaki. You'll meet Mitochondrial Eve, the "oldest matrilineal ancestor of everyone living today." You'll learn why you should never, ever eat polar bear liver. And finally, if you're a man, you'll understand why there's a pretty good chance that you're a descendant of Genghis Khan.

Thankfully, for the scientifically challenged among us, Kean clearly and early in the book establishes what DNA is, and provides an easy way to differentiate DNA from genes. While "DNA is a thing — a chemical that sticks to your fingers," he writes, genes are more conceptual in nature, "like a story, with DNA as the language the story is written in." It's a good example of Kean at his best — a simple, clever image to illustrate a tricky concept.

Sometimes, however, complexity wins out. For instance, the final step Kean describes in the method Frederick Sanger used to sequence the first genome, which involved sprinkling fragments of DNA with radioactive elements, still doesn't quite compute. But instead of beating readers up for not being able to follow, Kean keeps everything in The Violinist's Thumb light. For instance, when he describes the "half theories" that emerged during the early 20th century as a result of the tug of war between geneticists' and Darwinists' theories of heredity, Kean writes, "You want to scream at the scientists, like a dimwit on Wheel of Fortune or something, 'Think! It's all right there!' " He seems to understand that if folks like what they're reading, they're a heck of a lot more likely to learn what they're reading.

The Violinist's Thumb's most refreshing aspect is the light it sheds on the role women played in studying DNA and genetics. These include DNA pioneer Sister Miriam Stimson, a Catholic nun whose method of mixing DNA and potassium bromide into discs helped confirm the structure of DNA; Lynn Margulis, a scientist whose work with mitochondria showed how microbes have "dominated life's history"; and Barbara McClintock, whose work with corn helped her discover "jumping genes," which govern how cells specialize, "the hallmark of higher life."

Early on, Kean admits that talking about genes can be a touchy subject. When scientists start breaking us down into components, we resist being "reduced to mere DNA." Even worse, when they talk about messing with what makes us, well, us, "it can be downright frightening."

But the ideas Kean explores in The Violinist's Thumb ultimately ennoble us. "We human beings are humane," he reminds us, "in part because we can look beyond our biology."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.