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AUSTIN, Texas – A Republican-dominated state senate committee has voted 8-to-1 in favor of legislation restricting public bathrooms, showers and locker rooms in Texas to persons of the same sex at birth.

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Exactly one month from yesterday, a total solar eclipse will sweep across America, casting millions of people into temporary darkness.It will be the biggest astronomical event America has seen in years, watched by millions of people from within the path of totality and tens of millions more who are outside it. One astronomer has said it will be the "most photographed, most shared, most tweeted event in human history."Some eclipse enthusiasts have spent years preparing for this solar spectacle, the first eclipse to cross the entire continental United States in almost a century. But even if you are just finding out about the eclipse, it's not too late to plan for the big event. Here's what you need to know:Q: What is happening?A: A total solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between Earth and the sun, blocking our view of the sun. If you are standing in the moon's shadow on Earth, you will see the sky darken and feel the temperature drop. The place where the sun should be will look like a black circle in the sky. You will be able to view the sun's atmosphere, called the corona - a halo of exceedingly hot gas that's invisible under normal circumstances. Mike Kentrianakis, the solar eclipse project manager for the American Astronomical Society, calls it "the most gorgeous natural wonder you will ever see.""If it strikes you hard enough," he promises, "you will never be the same."Q: When and where is it happening?A: The eclipse will occur across the continental United States on Aug. 21. The moon's shadow first hits land north of Newport, Ore., at 10:15 a.m. Pacific time. It will then make its way southeast through Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The shadow will leave the continental United States close to Charleston, S.C., at about 2:49 p.m. Eastern time.Q: What is "the path of totality"?A: The 70-mile-wide, 3,000-mile-long swath that lies directly in the shadow of the moon is called "the path of totality." For this eclipse, it will start off the coast of Oregon and sweep across the country to South Carolina. Because the moon orbits around Earth so quickly (at a pace of 2,100 miles per hour), each spot on the path will experience only about two minutes of totality. There is no way to chase the shadow around the country - the moon will cross the entire United States in about 90 minutes, faster than the speediest jetliner.Q: What will I see if I am not inside the path of totality?A: The shadow of the moon, known as the "umbra," will cross a relatively small swath of land. But the moon also casts a lighter shadow, called the "penumbra." People in this region, which will cover all of North America, will experience a partial eclipse. They will see the sun partly covered by the moon - like a cookie with a bite taken out of it. The degree to which the sun is covered depends on your proximity to the path of totality - the closer you are, the less of the sun you will see. People in the Washington area can expect to see about 80 percent coverage of the sun. If you are watching a partial eclipse, you must wear protective glasses for the entire event, or you will risk severe eye damage. (More on that below.)Veteran eclipse chasers say that a partial eclipse isn't nearly as beautiful as totality. "It's a completely different phenomenon," said Kentrianakis, of AAS. "It shouldn't even be called an eclipse. It should be called something else." He recommends that everyone who is interested in the eclipse make their way to the path of totality for the big event.Q: What about clouds?A: Clouds would be a bummer. If the sky is overcast during totality, it will still get dark, but you will not be able to see the moon cover the sun or the glow of the corona. Eclipse experts recommend checking the weather forecast for your area in the days before Aug. 21 to ensure that you watch the event from a spot where skies will be clear.Q: Why is this a big deal?A: This is the first total solar eclipse to occur solely in the United States since the country was founded. For most Americans, this is the best chance to see a solar eclipse we will have in our lifetimes. An estimated 12 million people live in the path of totality, and as many as 7 million more will migrate to the path for the big event. It's likely to be a tremendous astronomical experience, and you don't want to miss it.This eclipse is also a huge opportunity for scientists. The corona, which becomes visible when the moon covers up the sun, is the object of intense scientific interest - it emits sprays of hot, ionized particles that can damage electrical grids and satellites and harm astronauts in space. Because this eclipse will move across thousands of miles of mostly inhabited landscapes, rather than hard-to-reach wilderness or open seas, it will be within sight of scientists for almost the duration of totality. That means that researchers positioned at various locations along the path of totality can film the event and piece their clips together to create an unprecedented 90-minute video of the corona in action.Q: Where should I go to watch the eclipse?A: Anyone within the path of totality will be able to see the moon cover up the sun. But several cities along the path are putting on a special show for the occasion. Here's a look at some of the festivals taking place across the country on the big day. It's also worth considering where you are least likely to experience clouds.Q: Do I need any special equipment?A: Yes! Except during the brief phase of totality, you must wear eclipse-watching glasses the entire time you are looking at the sun. This is also true if you are watching the eclipse from outside the path of totality. If you attempt to look at the eclipse without protective lenses, you risk severe damage to your eyes. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can literally give your eyeballs a sunburn.Only specially designed solar filters will do the trick. Regular sunglasses are not good enough! NASA has identified several manufacturers of eclipse glasses and solar filters that meet international safety standards. Eclipse glasses are also available at many libraries.To recap: If you are outside the path of totality, you must wear glasses the entire duration of the eclipse. If you are within the path of totality, wear your glasses until the moon completely blocks the sun. Then you can take your glasses off to see the spectacle and the sun's corona. But before totality ends (after about 2 minutes, depending on your location), put your glasses back on to watch the rest of the event.We are not trying to scaremonger, but c'mon, guys. Be smart, wear your glasses. Your optometrist will thank you.Q: When is the next one?A: The next total solar eclipse visible from planet Earth will occur in July 2019 over Argentina and Chile. And the United States is set to see another total eclipse on April 8, 2024, when the moon will cast a shadow across Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Canada and Maine.Q: Why don't eclipses happen every month?A: We experience total solar eclipses because of the cosmic coincidence that the moon is 400 times closer than the sun and 1/400th of its size. This means that when Earth, the moon and the sun line up perfectly, the moon neatly blocks out the light of our star. But the orbit of the moon is slightly tilted relative to the plane in which Earth orbits the sun, so most of the time it passes below or above the sun from our line of sight. The moon's orbit takes it directly in between Earth and the sun every 18 months or so, resulting in a total solar eclipse.In addition to being tilted, the moon's orbit is not perfectly circular. Sometimes, the moon is farther away when it passes between us and the sun. In these cases, it appears slightly smaller than the sun, so a ring of the sun's light is still visible during the eclipse. This phenomenon is known as an annular eclipse, and it also occurs roughly every year and a half.But Earth won't experience eclipses forever. The moon is drifting away from our planet at a rate of about an inch and a half per year. In approximately 650 million years, the moon will be so distant that it can no longer completely block out the sun. Humans will have seen their last eclipse - if we manage to make it that long.

AUSTIN — Come August, the southeast Texas city of Trinity will not only lose 60 jobs, but also the local hospital where its employees worked, leaving residents with a 20-mile trip to the nearest hospital.

ATLANTA – A new law that makes it tougher for companies to build or expand petroleum pipelines in Georgia has replaced an outright ban that state legislators passed last year.

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Every year since 2006, CNBC has conducted a study ranking American states from best to worst for business by measuring various categories, including one that compares the 50 states on their overall livability based on factors like crime rate, attractions, air quality, health care and legal protections against discrimination. 

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GRUNDY, Va. - Five days earlier, his mother had spent the last of her disability check on bologna, cheese, bread and Pepsi. Two days earlier, he had gone outside and looked at the train tracks that wind between the coal mines and said, "I don't know how I'm going to get out of this." One day earlier, the family dog had collapsed from an unnamed illness, and, without money for a veterinarian, he had watched her die on the porch. And now it was Monday morning, and Tyler McGlothlin, 19, had a plan.

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FRANKFORT – Gov. Matt Bevin did not violate the ethics code when he purchased a home in Anchorage at a price below its listed value for tax purposes from Neil Ramsey, a supporter whom Bevin appointed to the Kentucky Retirement System Board of Trustees, according to an opinion issued by the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

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When many middle-aged people think back to their childhood, they remember roaming the streets with their friends during long, hot summers. Our parents threw us out the door in the morning and instructed us not to come back until dinnertime. Often in charge of younger siblings, we strayed further than we should have, got into trouble and, by the end of the summer, had a collection of triumphs, scars and memories for life.

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Dude ranch vacations bring to mind western states like Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Montana, which are chock-full of places for a city slicker to ride horses, eat hearty meals, square dance and enjoy an evening campfire. While they blanket the West, we were surprised to discover a dude ranch in Tennessee. Perhaps we shouldn’t have been. Newman “Old Man” Clanton, father of Clanton Gang members famed for a shootout at the O.K. Corral, was born in Tennessee.

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Albert Yee said the coffee was everywhere you looked in the densely packed vendor stalls along avenues in Malaysian cities: an instant mix with a natural ingredient similar to what's found in Viagra that helps men with erectile dysfunction. And he wanted a piece of the action.

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Transforming large swaths of the tropics into farmland could render almost one-third of wildlife there extinct, new research suggests.From the Amazon rain forests to the Zambezi floodplains, intensive monoculture farming could have a severe adverse impact on wildlife around the world.Wildlife would disappear most dramatically in the remaining forests and grasslands of Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa. The greatest species loss would occur in the Peruvian Amazon basin where as many as 317 species could vanish as a result of agricultural development.As a doctoral researcher at Humboldt University Berlin, I studied human food consumption, land use and how they affect wildlife. Our research was published July 17 in Nature Ecology and Evolution.While human population has doubled since 1970, the number of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians have dropped by more than half. At its root, this widespread environmental destruction is a result of our growth as a species and increasing food consumption to sustain ourselves.Although climate change casts a shadow over future conservation efforts, farming is the No. 1 threat to wildlife. We have already altered some 75 per cent of the ice-free land on this planet. If we continue along our current course, we will need to double our crop production to feed a growing world population that demands more resource-intensive foods such as meat and dairy.Africa at riskOur research shows that Sub-Saharan Africa is particularly at risk of harmful agricultural development. This region is at the crossroads of economic, demographic and agricultural growth, and minimizing potential effects of agricultural change there is an urgent challenge. The potential biodiversity loss due to agricultural expansion and intensification worldwide could be as high as 317 species in some locales (left), reaching 31 per cent of known vertebrate animals (right). (Laura Kehoe), Author providedThis becomes more worrying when considering the percentage of land that is currently at risk (i.e. natural but arable) and not protected against future development. Four-fifths of the regions we identify at risk of farmland expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa are unprotected. This is less than half of the 43 per cent protected in Latin America.Some may mistakenly believe that protecting land from farming is about preserving wildlife habitat while local people go hungry. But it’s not a binary choice. Instead, the goal is to ensure an ample supply of nutritious food while at the same time conserving the most biodiverse and unique places on Earth. This is possible if we try. Knowing in advance what areas are most at risk allows us to better plan for a more sustainable future.Aside from protecting land, food can be grown at little to no cost to biodiversity. For example, small-holder agro-ecological farming, which uses diverse cropping techniques along with fewer chemical fertilizers and pesticides, can produce large quantities of nutritious food at little to no cost to wildlife.We need to increase awareness of agro-ecological farming methods and secure local people’s land-holder rights — a crucial step to preventing large foreign corporations from buying up land for monoculture farming.Communities adopting agro-ecological techniques is a win-win solution that goes a long way towards sustainably feeding the world without pushing wildlife towards extinction.What can policy makers do?Current large-scale conservation schemes are based on factors that include past habitat loss and the threatened status of species, but none include the potential for future land-use change. We need to do a better job of predicting future pressures on wildlife habitat, especially because timely conservation action is cheaper and more effective than trying to fix the damage caused by farming. Our research takes a step in this direction.We also show which countries could do with more support for conservation initiatives to protect land and find ways to sustainably grow food. Suriname, Guyana and the Republic of the Congo are just a few examples, as well as a number of countries in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa that are at the centre of high agricultural growth, low conservation investment and very high numbers of species that could be lost due to agricultural development.Since most agricultural demand comes from richer nations, those countries should provide education and support for sustainable farming methods and locally led conservation efforts. Map shows countries at risk of high species loss from agricultural development (yellow, bear icon), rapid agricultural growth 2009 to 2013 (orange, tractor symbol), and differing levels of conservation spending. Red represents low spending, high growth, and high species loss. Purple shows high spending, high growth, and low species loss. Green is high spending, low growth, and high species loss. Low values for all three factors are in grey. White represents no data. Dollar figures per square kilometre. Laura Kehoe, Author providedWhat can you do?All of this raises the question: How can we eat well without harming wildlife? One simple step we can all take right now that would have a far greater impact than any other (aside from having fewer children): Cut out the grain-fed beef.The inefficiency of feeding livestock grain to turn them into meals for humans makes a diet heavy in animals particularly harsh on the Earth’s resources. For example, in the United States, it takes 25 kilograms of grain to produce one kilogram of beef. Pigs have a grain-to-meat-ratio of 9:1, and chickens are 3:1.Imagine throwing away 25 plates of perfectly good food to get one plate of beef — the idea is absurd and would likely be news if done en masse. But that is precisely what we are all unknowingly doing by eating resource-intensive meat. Articles on food waste seem half-baked when keeping in mind the bizarre grain-to-meat ratio of many of our most popular meats.There are ways in which farmers can raise livestock with little to no environmental damage, particularly when land is not overgrazed and trees remain on the landscape. Indeed, in some remote areas grazing cattle are a crucial source of food and nourishment. Unfortunately, the industrialized feedlot model that relies heavily on grain makes up the overwhelming majority of the meat in your supermarket. That is the kind of farming that our research investigates.Livestock and deforestationTo make matters worse, the grain we feed animals is the leading driver of deforestation in the tropics. And it’s a hungry beast: our cows, pigs, and poultry devour over one-third of all crops we grow. Indeed, the grain we feed to animals in the U.S. alone could feed an additional 800 million people if it were eaten by us directly — more than the number of people currently living in hunger.Livestock quietly causes 10 times more deforestation than the palm oil industry but seems to get about 10 times less media attention. While it’s certainly true that avoiding unsustainable palm oil is a good idea, avoiding eating animals that were raised on grain is an even more effective conservation tactic.Feeding the world without damaging nature is one of the greatest challenges humanity faces. But with a little foresight, better land governance and some simple meal changes, many of the solutions are at arm’s length.For wildlife’s sake, go forth and enjoy your veggie burgers.

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A number of programs and initiatives nationwide have worked tirelessly this summer to help students beat “brain drain” in efforts to ensure that they return to the classrooms just as sharp — if not sharper — than they left at spring’s end. But while retention among students has become a prime concern, how are educators across the country staying in touch with the real life situations and industries that inspire their teaching?

BOSTON — A new federal rule that would stop banks and other companies from using fine print to block legal action against them by consumers is hitting stiff resistance from the financial industry and GOP-controlled Congress.

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Up to one-third of the world's dementia cases could be prevented by addressing factors such as education, hypertension, diet, hearing loss and depression over the course of a person's lifetime, according to a new report presented Thursday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in London.

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Confusion pervaded the national capitol Wednesday as President Donald Trump once again switched directions on health care, scolding Republican senators at a White House lunch to stay in town until they “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare as he calls it.

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Indiana sheriffs will make an effort in the next few months to pinpoint the causes of overcrowding in jails, one of the first attempts at documenting the recurring problem throughout the state.

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CULLMAN, Ala.-- As the investigation continues into the Monday shooting death of Alabama attorney Stephen Griffith, the person who fought and killed his assailant remains in the hospital recovering from injuries and is in good condition, according to a hospital spokesperson.

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As transportation networks expand and urban areas grow, noise from sources such as vehicle engines is spreading into remote places. Human-caused noise has consequences for wildlife, entire ecosystems and people. It reduces the ability to hear natural sounds, which can mean the difference between life and death for many animals, and degrade the calming effect that we feel when we spend time in wild places.

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PENDLETON, Ind. –– Mitchell Smith couldn’t imagine spending his life doing anything other than what his ancestors have done for the past seven generations – farm.

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With the prospects of an immediate repeal of the Affordable Care Act apparently dead, Robert Dean, a Fort Worth, Texas, web consultant, said Tuesday he’s “stuck in a broken system.”

Getting a solid night's sleep is crucial not only for feeling good the next day - there is increasing evidence that it may also protect against dementia, according to new research presented Tuesday at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in London.