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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

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!":


When We Mistake Our World

Aug 20, 2012

We mistake our world.

With an arrogance born in part of science's triumphs since Newton, in part of the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, modernity, we mistake our living, human world.

More importantly, we mistake our humanity and how we might better come to live with one another as our globe, with its dozens of civilizations, rushes together.

Let's start with Newton. More than any other single mind, Newton taught us how to think. I've posted on this before, I know, but it warrants repetition. We remain Newton's children.

With his famous three laws of motion, Newton taught us how to understand the motion of billiard balls on a table. He taught us that we'd need to measure the initial positions and momenta of the balls — ie, the initial conditions. He taught us to measure the shape of the table — ie, the boundary conditions. And he taught us to then write the three laws of motion in differential equation form, then integrate those equations to derive the past and future motions of the balls as trajectories.

In other words, Newton gave us the tools to see reality as the "entailed unfolding" of the universe. This view remains the cornerstone of classical and even quantum physics — our fundamental concept of reality.

But I have come to believe that Newton is wrong — at least when it comes to the living, evolving world.

I made this argument in January, in a paper I co-wrote with French mathematicians Giuseppe Longo and Mael Montevil of the Ecole Polytechique in Paris, which was published in Physics ArXhivc. The paper is a tough read, I admit.

But I think we show that applying Newtonian thinking is wrong when it comes to the evolution of life and — even more certainly — the evolution of the economy, law and culture. No laws predefine this evolution.

This evolving system creates its own possibilities of becoming. As I blogged before, the invention of the Turing machine enabled — but did not cause — the mainframe computer, which enabled — but did not cause — the invention of the personal computer, enabling the invention of word processing, enabling file sharing, enabling the Web, enabling selling on the Web, enabling Web search engines like Google and social media tools like Facebook.

We think we live in a web of cause and effect. We do. We also live in a web of enabling opportunities that may or may not be seized, and the living world, biosphere up, unfolds in a different way, creating ever new possibilities of becoming.

But these possibilities often can't be stated ahead of time. No one foresaw Facebook when Alan Turing did his work in the first half of the 20th century. Nor can we foresee all the possibilities of the evolution of life.

Life is not a well-formulated, complex optimization problem to be solved. We do not know all the variables that may become relevant.

Science is my life, and it is wonderful. But science will not ultimately know everything.

In the world of modernity, our values have become badly deformed. Gordon Gekko's "greed is good" has replaced "integrity, generosity, and courage" as our First World cultural ideal. Modernity does not serve our humanity well, although it does offer enhanced standards of living. We are reduced — to price tags, cogs in an economic system making often useless products in the name of forever GDP growth on a finite planet. The bankers corrupt themselves and our government. Our government does not yet realize that its better job is to enable, not command, to "garden," to coach, to enable the creativity of its peoples, here and around the globe.

Enable us for what? I think to "live well-discovered lives," where we cannot say ahead of time what we will discover and co-create, we of 30 civilizations rushing together around our globe.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit