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Why Colbert May Have Chosen That Final Song

After Stephen Colbert was bid a fond farewell by dozens of celebrities last night, the outro music that ran over the closing credits for his final show was not the music the Colbert Report typically used. Instead, it was Neutral Milk Hotel's "Holland, 1945", Slate reports, and it points to...

Miss World Banishes the Bikini

Just days after South Africa's Rolene Strauss won this year's crown , Miss World organizers have announced it will no longer feature the swimsuit portion of the contest, reports the New York Daily News . Next year's competition will be the first year in the event's 63-year history in which the contestants...

A Telltale Beard Hair: 5 Craziest Crimes of Week

A man who was given up by his own beard, as well as a guy who walks reeeaaally slowly, are among the weirdest crime stories of the week: Toyota Corolla Sticks It to Would-Be Carjackers : If you're going to handpick your getaway vehicle, make sure you can drive it. A...

Here's How Much Holiday Weight We Really Gain

Plan to enjoy a few extra helpings of mashed potatoes, gravy, and gingerbread men over the coming weeks—but worried about all those pound you're bound to pack on? Cut yourself some slack, suggests Travis Saunders on the PLOS blog. He points out that while people regularly parrot the line...

How an Arrest Ended Secret Talks to Save Peter Kassig

For weeks before Islamic State militants released a video showing the beheading of Peter Kassig , FBI officials backed a plan to save the US aid worker. In an exclusive, the Guardian reveals New York lawyer Stanley Cohen—who has represented Osama bin Laden's son-in-law —convinced al-Qaeda-linked clerics Abu Muhammed al-Maqdisi...

Stephen Colbert Gets Massive Send-Off

Think of any celebrity and there's a pretty good chance they dropped in on Stephen Colbert's send-off from The Colbert Report last night. The dozens of guests included Cyndi Lauper, Jeff Daniels, Katie Couric, Michael Stipe, George Lucas, Henry Kissinger, Big Bird, and even Mike Huckabee, reports Mediaite . Jon Stewart...

Tech Whiz Snags Beverly Hills' Priciest Home

It's the most expensive home ever sold in Beverly Hills: a 23,000-square-foot mansion with eight bedrooms, 15 bathrooms featuring $5,600 toilets, an 18-seat theater, fountains controlled by iPad, vodka and tequila bars, and something called a "candy room." But the $70 million home wasn't purchased by a Hollywood...

Kepler 'Rises From the Ashes,' Finds a 'Super-Earth'

The Kepler spacecraft has had its shares of ups and downs since its 2009 launch. The downs have included a 2013 mechanical failure that left Kepler supposedly "beyond repair" . The ups have included a "resourceful strategy" that made use of pressure from sunlight to allow Kepler to be repurposed for...

How PayPal's Founder Plans to Live to 120

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel hopes to stick around to enjoy a fortune estimated by Forbes at $2.2 billion into the 2080s at least. The venture capitalist and Facebook investor, 47, says he "certainly hopes to" live to 120 and is already taking steps to help him get there. Thiel...

8 Kids Found Dead in Australian Home

Another tragedy in Australia: Eight children were found stabbed to death at a home in a Cairns suburb today, police say. The children were between 18 months and 15 years in age, reports the Sydney Morning Herald . Seven of them are believed to have been siblings, and their mother was...

On Heels of School Massacre, Pakistan Kills Dozens

Pakistani jets and ground forces killed 67 militants in a northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border, officials said today, days after Taliban fighters killed 148 people—most of them children—in a school massacre that stunned the country and brought cries for retaliation. The military says ground forces killed...

Uber Agrees to Quit Portland ... for 3 Months

Uber has ended its dispute with authorities in Portland, Ore., by agreeing to stop operating in the city while it updates its laws to allow the service. The agreement yesterday came days before a judge was to hear the city's lawsuit against the ride-sharing service, reports the Oregonian , which notes...

Slender Man Suspects Ruled Fit for Trial

Two Wisconsin girls who allegedly stabbed a classmate 19 times to please the "Slender Man" fictional online character are competent to stand trial, a judge has decided. Both girls, who were 12 when they allegedly tried to kill another 12-year-old girl after a sleepover, have been charged as adults. Morgan...

Kurds Break ISIS Mountain Siege

Iraqi Kurdish forces battling ISIS militants managed to open up a key corridor yesterday so that thousands of people from the country's Yazidi minority who have been trapped on a mountain can flee, a senior Kurdish official says. The development was an incremental step in the battle to retake the...

Europe Court: Obesity Can Be a Disability

Obese people who feel discriminated against in the workplace scored a potentially big legal victory in Europe today. The European Court of Justice ruled that obesity can be a disability that requires special protections, reports the BBC . The ruling is "nuanced," however, observes Al Jazeera America . The court didn't say...

Dog Accidentally Shoots Owner

Police in northern Wyoming say a rifle discharged after a dog apparently stepped on it, injuring a 46-year-old man. Authorities say the bullet struck Richard L. Fipps of Sheridan in the arm on Monday. The injury is not life-threatening, but Fipps was being treated in a hospital in Billings, Mont....

Navy Captain Gets Credit for U-Boat Hit, 72 Years Later

In 1942, a US Navy captain named Herbert Claudius managed to sink a German U-boat that had just attacked an American passenger ship off the coast of Texas. This week, the Navy finally got around to thanking him, posthumously, reports National Geographic . Cladius told his superiors after the battle that...

Radio Caller: 'This Is Barack Obama, Formerly of Somerville'

On his final radio show as Massachusetts governor today, Deval Patrick took a notable call: "Governor," said the caller to Boston Public Radio , "this is Barack Obama, formerly of Somerville." It was indeed the president, calling his friend to say that he had a "few complaints about service" but adding...

2 Sue Their Neighbor Over Pot: All 3 Are US States

Nebraska and Oklahoma have had enough of their punk neighbor Colorado smoking weed. The attorneys general for both states asked the Supreme Court today to declare Colorado's rule legalizing marijuana null and void, reports the Denver Post and the Omaha World-Herald . Both say they've seen a spike in marijuana-related arrests...

Mystery Donor Handing Out $100 Bills in Massachusetts

What seems to have become an annual tradition is unfolding in Hyannis, Massachusetts: An anonymous man has been visiting fast-food shops and handing over $100 to each employee, reports the Boston Globe . He's an older guy with the same approach: He asks the manager how many people work there, then...

Clay Seals Suggest Kings David, Solomon Were Real

Kings David and Solomon may be memorable figures from the Bible, but plenty of scholars think they were mere figments of somebody's imagination. One big reason is that the archaeological record doesn't mesh: These two supposedly ruled in the 10th-century BC, but where's the physical evidence? Now, however, an archaeological...

Science Shows Half of What Dr. Oz Says Is Bunk

"Misleading at best, total nonsense at worst" is how Julia Belluz describes her gut feeling over the years about the accuracy of Dr. Mehmet Oz's medical advice, she writes at Vox.com . Now she's got science to back her up, thanks to a study published in the British Medical Journal...

Woman Who Fatally Stopped for Ducks Gets Jail

A Canadian woman who stopped her car on a highway in 2010 to assist ducklings was sentenced to jail time today, some four years after a father and daughter crashed into her vehicle and died. Convicted of two counts of criminal negligence causing death and two counts of dangerous driving...

City Bans Negative Comments on Social Media

City employees in South Pittsburg, Tenn., may not like the city's latest policy, but don't expect to see them carping about it on Facebook. The policy forbids them from saying anything negative about the city on any type of social media, reports the Chattanooga Times Free Press . And it applies...

Tsarnaev Back in Court for First Time in 18 Months

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was back in court today for the first time in a year and a half, and maybe the most noteworthy aspect of the quick hearing was that no signs of a plea deal were evident, reports the Los Angeles Times . It would appear, then, that the Boston Marathon...

Executions Hit Lowest Number in 20 Years

Executions and new death sentences dropped to their lowest numbers in decades in 2014, an anti-death penalty group said in a new report. The Death Penalty Information Center, a nonprofit organization that opposes executions and tracks the issue, said 35 inmates were executed this year and 71 have so far...

Cop Charged With Torture in Teen's Wrongful Execution

On Monday, the conviction of an 18-year-old teen in China for the rape and murder of a woman in a public restroom was overturned —18 years after he was put to death for the crime. Today, the police officer who led the investigation into the case of young Huugjilt was...

What the Hackers Have Done to Hollywood

We already know what Mitt Romney thinks Sony should do about The Interview (release it online for free). What do other people think? Pundits are weighing in: At the Verge , Bryan Bishop is with Romney, mostly. He wants to see it put online, stat. "Take the threat of attacking theaters...

Mom Files $30M Suit Against Police for Not Arresting Son

Peter Fedden was picked up by police the night of July 30, 2013, after drunkenly plowing his car through a fence, across a couple of lawns, and into the side of a house in Commack, NY. It's at this point that Fedden's mom, Kathi Fedden, thinks police should have arrested...

JK Rowling: Let's Do Away With Orphanages

JK Rowling makes the case today that millions of kids around the world are living in appalling conditions—the stuff of Grimms' fairytales—in institutions that are supposed to be caring for them. Rowling wants to change that, not by improving these orphanages with "pretty murals" or teddy bears, but...


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