Astronaut tweets space view of Hurricane Harvey, offers prayers

Published: Sunday, August 27, 2017 @ 2:17 PM

Rockport, TX Devastated By Hurricane Harvey

“Houston, we have a hurricane.”

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That’s the message astronaut Jack D. Fischer sent to his Twitter followers early Saturday from aboard the International Space Station. Fischer, a native of Colorado and graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, posted the words with an image of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Texas on Friday night.

“Our thoughts & prayers are with folks feeling Harvey’s wrath, as dawn breaks after a long night of rain,” Fischer also wrote.

>> COMPLETE COVERAGE: The Statesman is on the ground on the Texas coast, in Houston, in Victoria and across Central Texas

Fischer also tweeted a picture of the storm as seen from orbit Friday morning.

Harvey hit Texas as a Category 4 hurricane late Friday. By Saturday morning, the storm had been downgraded to Category 1 and has since atrophied to tropical storm status. The storm has already cut a swath of devastation on the Texas coast, causing massive damage in Rockport. Meanwhile, Houston waits to see what the storm will bring its way. In Central Texas, steady rainfall is expected to continue through the weekend.

See more views of Hurricane Harvey from space below.

UNITED STATES, GULF COAST - AUGUST 25: In this NASA handout image, Hurricane Harvey from the cupola module aboard the International Space Station as it intensified on its way toward the Texas coast on August 25, 2017. The Expedition 52 crew on the station has been tracking this storm for the past two days and capturing Earth observation photographs and videos from their vantage point in low Earth orbit.Now at category 4 strength, Harvey's maximum sustained winds had increased to 130 miles per hour. (Photo by Jack Fischer/NASA via Getty Images)(NASA/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES, GULF COAST - AUGUST 25: In this NOAA handout image, NOAA's GOES East satellite capture of Hurricane Harvey shows the storm making landfall shortly after 10:00pm CDT on August 25, 2017 on the mid-Texas coast. Now at category 4 strength, Harvey's maximum sustained winds had increased to 130 miles per hour. (Photo by NASA/NOAA GOES Project via Getty Images)(Handout/Getty Images)

Disney handing out $1,000 bonuses to 125,000 US employees

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 8:16 PM

Disney’s Chairman and CEO Bob Igor stands next to Minnie Mouse during a star ceremony in celebration of the 90th anniversary of Disney's Minnie Mouse at the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 22, 2018 in Hollywood, California.  
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
Disney’s Chairman and CEO Bob Igor stands next to Minnie Mouse during a star ceremony in celebration of the 90th anniversary of Disney's Minnie Mouse at the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 22, 2018 in Hollywood, California.  (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

The Walt Disney Company is handing out $1,000 bonuses to all U.S. employees and creating a new $50 million education fund for its hourly workers, according to a statement released Tuesday.

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The Burbank, Calif.-based entertainment giant announced all U.S.-based hourly and part-time employees with the company since Jan. 1, 2018 are eligible for the one-time payouts.

Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger said the bonuses are a result of the new tax cuts enacted late last year.

“I am proud we are directing approximately $125 million to our cast members and employees across the country and making higher education more accessible with the launch of this new program,” Iger said.

The company already has an education reimbursement program for full-time employees and that will remain unchanged.

“I have always believed that education is the key to opportunity; it opens doors and creates new possibilities. Matched with the $1,000 cash bonus, these initiatives will have both an immediate and long-term positive impact,” Iger said.

Almost 88,000 hourly Disney workers will be eligible for the new education program and can pursue classes unrelated to their Disney jobs, company officials said.

Disney will provide $25 million a year for the new program after the first $50 million investment this year.

>> Related: AT&T announces $1,000 tax bill bonuses to 200,000 employees, Trump approves

Verizon and AT&T also announced bonuses for their employees after President Donald Trump signed the new tax-cut measure into law just before Christmas.

14-year-old accidentally shot, killed by older sister

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 2:53 PM

Teen Accidentally Shoots, Kills 14-Year-Old Brother

A 14-year-old Indiana boy was accidentally shot and killed by his older sister Sunday as they and their father prepared to go target shooting.

Rex William Pruett was shot at his father’s home in Campbellsburg, a small Indiana town located about 50 miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky. Rex, a seventh-grader at Orleans Junior-Senior High School, died a short time after his father rushed him to a hospital. 

“The father received a phone call and, while he was on the phone, the daughter, in what appeared to be unintentional, shot her brother with a .22-caliber revolver,” Indiana State Police spokesman Chad Dick told The Times-Mail in Bedford.

Officials at the boy’s school, where his sister is a ninth-grader, said that extra counselors were brought in Monday to help students cope with the tragedy. Police investigators waited to release the boy’s name until those measures were in place. 

“The first-period teachers had a written statement to read about the incident and then, for any students that need additional help, we have counselors standing by,” Orleans Community Schools Superintendent Gary McClintic told the newspaper.  

Chris Stevens, principal of the siblings’ school, showed a news crew from WAVE 3 News in Louisville Rex’s locker, which was adorned Monday with photos and letters from his classmates. 

“This does remind you quite a bit of Rex,” Stevens told the station. “There were a lot of tears and a lot of smiles today.”

Stevens said that faculty members and administrators have made it clear to students that the shooting was accidental. When Rex’s sister returns to class, they will offer her their support, he said. 

Family and friends also offered the girl their support on Facebook, where she described her younger brother as “such a sweet little boy.”

“Much love, Rexy, much love. We will all keep you in our hearts,” the girl wrote. 

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Stevens described the rural community as one in which guns are part of everyday life.

“In our elementary, at the sixth-grade level, we have a gun safety course that all of our students are allowed to go through,” Stevens told the news station

McClintic, who said he taught Rex’s father when he was a teacher, described the boy’s family as a good one that had been involved with Orleans’ public schools for multiple generations. 

“It’s hard on the community, just as much as it is on the school,” McClintic told The Times-Mail

Johnny Henderson, pastor of Lost River Missionary Baptist Church in Claysville, said that Rex and his family attended services there the morning of the shooting.

“He was an outstanding young man,” Henderson said.

The pastor said the Pruett family needs support, not criticism over the shooting.

“They need support and people to pray for them for peace and comfort,” Henderson said. “They still have a hard time going forward. They still have a funeral to go to.

“They are going to be living without this young man.”

12 camels booted from beauty contest at Middle East festival over Botox use

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 6:16 PM



Pixabay
(Pixabay)

Camels were once prized across the Middle East for transportation, for use in war, for food and even as companions, as guides and partners. Now they’re prized for a whole different set of reasons, including their beauty and racing abilities, and are celebrated at annual camel festivals across the region.

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But it was a little surprising when news reports began surfacing that at least 12 camels have been disqualified from a camel beauty pageant in Saudi Arabia after their handlers were caught using Botox on them.

The camels were among 30,000 of the desert beasts competing in the annual King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, according to The National, a United Arab Emirate-based news service.

Because a “perfect pout” is so valuable, camel owners will go to great lengths to ensure their camel has the proper assets, including “a full, droopy lip and large features,” The National reported.

“They use Botox for the lips, the nose, the upper lips, the lower lips and even the jaw,” Ali Al Mazrouei, 31, a regular at Gulf camel festivals and the son of a top Emirati breeder told the online site.

“It makes the head more inflated so when the camel comes it’s like, ‘Oh look at how big is that head is. It has big lips, a big nose,’” features the camels are prized for. They’re also prized for small ears and some handlers have been known to take matters into their own hands and perform plastic surgery on the ears to achieve a perfect ear.

It’s no wonder camel handlers are so serious about the appearance of their beasts and willing to risk disqualification to enhance their features: $57 million is at stake in prize money at this year’s festival.

>> Related: Giant burning spider spreads flames in apartment, after torched by tenants

Some 300,000 visitors have attended the second annual festival since it started in early January. It runs through the end of the month.

(Pixabay)

Should adolescence last until age 24? A group of scientists think so

Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2018 @ 4:53 PM



Pixabay
(Pixabay)

Adolescence is thought to end at about age 18, but a group of scientists wants to extend it to 24, according to a new report. 

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Researchers from hospitals and research institutions in Australia recently conducted an experiment, published in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, to determine the span of years that should define adolescence.

Traditionally, it is the period between childhood and adulthood, or generally from age 10 to 18. However, the researchers believe the biological and societal shifts over the last several decades indicate the need for an extension of adolescence. 

“Adolescence is the phase of life stretching between childhood and adulthood, and its definition has long posed a conundrum. Adolescence encompasses elements of biological growth and major social role transitions, both of which have changed in the past century,” they said.

>> Related: CDC: Adolescent habits with contact lenses risk eye infection

Young girls and boys develop earlier than previous generations, they noted. For example, many preteens begin menstruating at 10, while their parents and grandparents started at 14. 

They also pointed out that the adolescent brain does not stop developing until a person is in their 20s and that wisdom teeth now generally grow in at 25. 

Furthermore, young adults are getting married later in life. It’s more common for youth to settle down in their 30s as opposed to their 20s. And they’re leaving the nest later, too, which is expected by parents and society, they said. Analysts used the United States as an example, because insurance companies are now allowing adults to keep their kids on policies longer. 

>> Related: Gender stereotypes and gender norms effect on children

“Rather than age 10–19 years, a definition of 10–24 years corresponds more closely to adolescent growth and popular understandings of this life phase and would facilitate extended investments across a broader range of settings,” the authors wrote. 

Researchers believe the extension will encourage governments to better frame laws meant to protect youth and help young people on their journey through adulthood.

>> Related: The suicide rate for teen girls is the highest it’s been in 40 years — Is social media to blame?