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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.

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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!":


Why Is The World's Largest Foundation Buying Fake Poop?

Aug 10, 2012
Originally published on August 10, 2012 12:31 pm

Last week, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that it's purchasing 50 pounds of fake poop.

A practical joke? No, not in the least.

Nor is this synthetic poop a plastic replica of the real thing; it's an organic version made from soybeans. The Gates Foundation will use it to test high-tech commodes at their Reinvent the Toilet Fair next week.

Naturally, real poop would not be welcome inside the foundation's elegant Seattle offices. But if you're going to demonstrate how supertoilets could cut down the spread of diseases and reduce environmental footprints, you'd better have a reasonable substitute.

The Gates Foundation might be best known for its work on malaria and vaccines. But lately it has also taken an interest in sanitation, for good reason. More than 2.6 billion people in the world don't have access to clean toilets, and 1.5 million children die each year of diseases that could be prevented with decent sanitation.

But in many places that lack sanitation, people also don't have good access to water or power. So last year, the Gates Foundation granted eight engineers around the world more than $3 million to develop cheap commodes that don't require water, electricity, or even a connection to a sewage system. The idea was that the toilets would be completely self-contained, and instead of releasing waste out into the world, they would produce clean water and nutrients useful for farming.

Since winning one of the $400,000 grants, Christopher Buckley from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa has been working on a toilet that dries and then burns feces into fertilizer.

"It's like a toilet that you'd find in the spaceship," the chemical engineer tells Shots. "The fecal matter itself powers the toilet, and you maybe have some energy left over to power the latrine's light and recharge your cellphone."

Another team from the California Institute of Technology has built a solar-powered commode that could charge hydrogen fuel cells. And a group from the Netherlands is converting waste into electricity with microwave technology. A climatologist from Stanford University is even trying to make charcoal that captures carbon from human waste.

On Aug. 14 and 15, the teams will demo their innovations in Seattle and in front of Bill Gates himself. Top performers will win more funding and the chance to have their devices deployed in the field.

The scientists need a standardized material for testing their toilets, and that's where the fake poop comes in.

They can't use the real stuff because it's a hazardous material, and of course, it's noxious. So the foundation turned to the experts of fake feces — Maximum Performance, which distributes synthetic poop to nearly all toilet manufacturers around the world for testing purposes.

The company first concocted the fake poop in 2003, and the recipe is simple. Soybean paste is mixed with a dash of rice to obtain the correct moisture level and consistency. The paste is then extruded through a sausage machine into 350-gram cylinders.

The fake poop is "very important from a technology perspective," Carl Hensman, who leads the water, sanitation and hygiene programs at the Gates Foundation, tells Shots. "You need to demonstrate what the equipment can do without having the real stuff around."

"There isn't a silver bullet for the sanitation problems," Hensman adds. "But when we put together very smart people, we have a much better chance of solving this problem."

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit