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

Welcome To The Third Copernican Revolution

Oct 3, 2012
Originally published on October 3, 2012 2:36 pm

When Einstein proposed the first cosmological model of the modern era in 1917, he had no reason to suppose that the Universe had a beginning. Everything indicated that the Universe was static and infinitely old, without an "origin" event. (A few redshift measurements made by Vesto Slipher in the United States were inconclusive and probably didn't make it to Europe, anyway.) Everything also indicated that the Milky Way was all there was out there. Other nebulae, seen with telescopes, were considered to be part of our galaxy. Beyond the Milky Way there was just dark emptiness, stretching itself through endless space.

In a little over a decade, everything changed.

To the horror of most scientists, by the early 1930s observations suggested that the cosmos was apparently endowed with a history which, at least qualitatively, was uncomfortably close to the biblical "Let there be light!"

In a succession of remarkable observations, thanks to a new powerful 100-inch telescope atop Mount Wilson and to impeccable methodology and diligence, the American Edwin Hubble and his assistant Thomas Humason determined that the Milky Way was one among "hundreds of thousands" of other galaxies, which Hubble called "island universes." Today, we know that galaxies are numbered in the hundreds of billions. Still, from one to hundreds of thousands was quite a jump.

A new cosmic vision was inevitable: just as Copernicus had removed the Earth from the center of the cosmos in 1543, Hubble had removed the Milky Way from the center of the Universe in 1924. We can call this the Second Copernican Revolution. There was no longer a center to the Universe; as Earth had lost its central role with Copernicus, the Milky Way had lost its centrality with Hubble.

As this was not enough, in 1929 Hubble and Humason demonstrated that the galaxies were receding from one another with speeds proportional to their distances. The conclusion, even more shocking, including to Einstein, was that the Universe was not static: it was expanding, the space between the galaxies stretching as if it were a rubber sheet.

For the first time in thousands of years of astronomy, the cosmos became dynamic: going backwards in time, there had to be a moment when galaxies were on top of one another occupying a small volume of space — the moment of "creation." If Hubble was right, cosmology would become mythic, facing questions very close to those of religious creation stories: if the Universe has a history, how did it begin? What or Whom started it? Why did it start?

The situation became even more interesting when, in 1927, the Belgian priest-physicist Georges Lemaître proposed that the Universe appeared from the decay of a giant primordial nucleus. Lemaître had invented a scientific model of "creation." And even if he insisted that there was no relation with Genesis, it was hard not to relate the two. For a few years, no one really took Lemaître seriously. But after Hubble discovered the expansion, his ideas begun to spark growing interest in cosmological models.

Since then, cosmology has been struggling with the question of the "beginning" of everything. In 1948, three British physicists proposed an alternative, the "steady-state model," where the cosmos would be eternal: matter would be created at the same rate that the expansion diluted it so that, on average, things remained the same in spite of the apparent expansion. However, in the 1960s, it was the model with a beginning that "won," due to the incontrovertible evidence gathered from the so-called cosmic microwave background, the left-over radiation from the epoch when hydrogen atoms were first formed, about 400,000 years after the "beginning." The steady-state model couldn't explain the existence of the radiation and was, for the most part, discarded. Since then, much stronger evidence makes the conclusion inevitable: our Universe did have a beginning dating back to 13.7 billion years ago. Is cosmology stuck with a creation event then?

Not if our Universe is not unique.

For the past two decades or so, theorists have been exploring the possibility that our Universe is part of a "multiverse," which would be eternal and infinite in spatial extension. If that's the case, our creation event becomes less interesting, one among possibly infinitely many others. Once again, a unique aspect of the cosmos is pushed aside and made part of a much larger whole, thus losing its centrality.

As I have written here recently, at present we have no evidence that the multiverse exists or, worse, that we can come up with observational tests of its existence. Still, if the theory proves out one day, it will change everything, again.

As Earth became just another planet in the First Copernican revolution and the Milky Way just another galaxy in the Second, our Universe would become just another universe among countless others, each with its properties, private histories, and creation events. This would, among all of its remarkable consequences, be essentially a Third Copernican revolution, now removing the centrality of our Universe in favor of an eternally-existing multiverse.


You can keep up with more of what Marcelo is thinking on Facebook and Twitter @mgleiser

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