In California, thousands of acres of forest have been destroyed by fires, and thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes. The worst of the 11 wildfires is the Courtney Fire, which has burned through 320 acres, just east of Yosemite. Close to 11 hundred residents there had to be evacuated due to the flames. A little further north, some eight hundred firefighters are battling the King Fire in El Dorado County. Close to four thousand acres have been charred, with hundreds of people evacuated. Officials say THAT blaze is only ten percent contained and spreading quickly.
Meanwhile the threat of the Silverado Fire, which was burning southeast of Los Angeles, appears to have subsided. Authorities have lifted an evacuation order that forced hundreds to leave the area. Years of drought across California, coupled with their current heat wave, is turning this year's wildfire season -into the most destructive on record.
And with no end to the heatwave in sight, officials expect a rough go of it over the next few weeks.
Speaking of warm weather, new data from NASA shows that this past August was the hottest since record keeping began in 1881! Climatologists say that individual months don't necessarily indicate climate change, and that the key issue is looking at longer-term trends. May of this year also broke warmth records.
Apple has shattered records with its upcoming iPhone 6 models! Four million pre-orders were logged on the very first day the phones were made available - that's DOUBLE the number of iPhone 5 pre-orders from two years ago. Based on the early numbers, analysts estimate Apple could sell up to ten million phones during its opening sales weekend. The iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus are being released this Friday.
Over on Wall Street, excitement is building for the year's most anticipated debut - and possibly the world's largest-EVER IPO! I'm talking of course about Chinese e-commerce powerhouse Alibaba Group Holding Limited. The company has seen such strong demand from investors that it's raised the price range on its IPO from the mid sixties to around 70 dollars per share. That would value the company at around 168 BILLION dollars. Trading is expected to start later this week on the company who handles more online transactions than eBay and Amazon combined. Needless to say, investors are clamoring to get their hands on this stock
US President Barack Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to a pair of Vietnam veterans, one living and one who passed away. The first was Donald Sloat, who sacrificed himself by jumping on a grenade to save the rest of his platoon from harm. Sloat's brother accepted the medal on his behalf. Meanwhile 80-year old Bennie Adkins also received the honor. President Obama said Adkins' performed too many heroic acts to count during his time in Vietnam. One of them involved loading injured soldiers onto a helicopter while taking on enemy fire. Medal of Honor recommendations normally need to be made within two years of an incident, but the White House made an exception for Sloat and Adkins.
Natasha Olenski also responds to a viewer's question in Ask An Anchor
A Swiss startup has invented The Chairless Chair. It's a wearable mechatronic system that converts to a chair with the push of a button. The device will hold your body weight while never directly touching the ground. This could help millions of people around the world who work in factories, assembly lines and distribution centers and suffer from muscle related disorders. The Chairless Chair is currently in trial production in Germany.
Samsung's new virtual reality headset WON'T be cheap! The Gear VR will cost 199 dollars. And that DOESN'T include the cost of the phone! The wireless headset wraps around the Galaxy Note 4, which acts as the screen. The phone alone could set you back 300 bucks with a contract, or EIGHT hundred without one! So the take home message here is: if you want VR, prepare to pay up!
Google's next big thing could be a QUANTUM computer chip. The Internet giant's Quantum Artificial Intelligence Team is partnering up with the University of California Santa Barbara. They will work on the development and creation of quantum information processors. The project could revolutionize the computing world as we know it. Or it could create Skynet and lead to Judgment Day. Either way, pretty exciting!
Lost in all the recent Apple hype was the announcement of a new Android tablet from Dell. The Venue Eight 7840 is the THINNEST tablet EVER – at just SIX millimeters thick. And the eight point four inch OLED screen could be the BEST we've ever seen. The tablet also boasts FOUR cameras that combine to produce spectacular images. Expect the new Dell tablet to be available for the holiday season.
Now it's time for our COOL tech item of the week. Dyson is showing off its first ever ROBOT vacuum! The 360 Eye has a camera mounted on the top that helps the device map out obstacles and avoid them. Narrow furniture? No problem. Corners? No problem. And suction? Let's just say you don't want this thing to run over your foot. Or any other sensitive part of your body. The Dyson 360 Eye is expected to cost about a THOUSAND dollars and goes on sale in the US in early 2015.
Django Unchained star Daniele Watts was recently HANDCUFFED in Los Angeles because of a PDA, making out session with her boyfriend! Police got a call about the couple canoodling inside their Mercedes. The African American Watts alleges that she was mistaken for a PROSTITUTE - possibly because boyfriend Brian James Lucas is white. They were both promptly released since they didn't pose a threat. Mind your business, people!
Daryl Hannah is reportedly dating rock legend Neil Young! They were recently spotted sharing their OWN public displays of affection at a California restaurant. Hannah collaborated with Young on an environmental documentary earlier in the year. The Canadian rocker filed for divorce from his wife Pegi in late July after 36 YEARS of marriage. As for the new couple, I say "Long may you run!"
There's a THIRTEEN year age difference between Young and Hannah. But Ray Donovan star Steven Bauer has got old Neil beat! The 57-year-old actor is stepping out with 18-year-old
Lyda Loudon - who's nearly FORTY years younger! Let's do some quick math. Bauer played Manny in Scarface. That movie came out in 1983 - more than a DOZEN years before Loudon was born! "Say hello to my little friend" just took on a WHOLE new meaning!
He may only have ONE look - but Derek Zoolander may be getting a SECOND movie! Will Ferrell revealed he's taking part in a read-through of a SEQUEL to the 2001 fashion comedy Zoolander. Ferrell would be reprising the role of Mugatu - aka the self-proclaimed inventor of the piano key necktie. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson are also reportedly on board. No word on Billy Zane, though. What happened to that guy, anyway?
And how's THIS for a payday? Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro are appearing in a short film to promote a new casino in Macau. They're each taking home a cool THIRTEEN MILLION BUCKS - for TWO days of work! Not bad. The promo movie is being directed by Martin Scorsese and will reportedly cost SEVENTY million dollars. The film AND casino will debut in 2015. Nice work if you can get it!
American politics has REALLY gone to the dogs lately hasn't it? Case in point, the town of Cormorant Minnesota has elected a 7-year old Great Pyrenees as its next mayor! Duke the Dog won the town's election in a landslide, garnering the vast majority of the TWELVE votes cast. Rather than earning a salary, Duke's been awarded a year's supply of kibble from the local pet shop. He strikes me as being the strong silent type.
An Illinois barber has earned free KFC for life! The Rock Island native developed a reputation around town for cutting intricate designs into peoples' hair - everything from Steve Jobs to Kanye West to corporate logos. Some reps at KFC eventually caught wind of his award-winning work and asked if he could cut the Colonel's face into a client's hair for an ad campaign. He did it the next day, and you have to admit the results are finger lickin' good!
If you HATE when people use their cell phones in movie theaters, you definitely don't want to go to China! Theaters in major cities there have started experimenting with so-called "bullet screens", allowing people in the theater to comment on the film via text message! The innovation is aimed at younger viewers who supposedly can't go five minutes without checking their smart phones. We give the idea two thumbs down!
If you're at home playing in your sex swing, try and keep it down. It's a lesson one German man has learned the hard way! He's been evicted from his Munich apartment after complaints from neighbors about "sexual, athletic and squeaking noises" going on late into the night! A court upheld the landlord's decision to evict, and now the poor guy's been left swinging in the wind!
And weddings are supposed to be unforgettable, but this one will be remembered for all the WRONG reasons! A groom in Pittsburgh got a little TOO touchy feely with a pregnant receptionist, who then called her boyfriend. He showed up and a massive brawl broke out in the parking lot, while the bride stood by helplessly and watched. Here's wishing the new couple a happy life together!
In our weekly From The Vault segment, we've got a classic segment from former anchor Alex Pantos. It's a special Naked in the Streets from Miami, and it's all about picking people up at the beach.
In today's wrap-up, Whitney St. John, Eila Adams, and Katherine Curtis talk about some of today's stories. They start with Django Unchained actress Daniele Watts being handcuffed, and whether there was racial motivation. That's followed by a discussion of whether the age gap between Ray Donovan star Steven Bauer and his girlfriend Lyda Loudon is creepy or just fine. And finally, they debate whether Dyson's thousand-dollar robot vacuum is something people will pay for.
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