We begin with a landmark announcement in the future of space exploration. With the space race being handed over to private companies, NASA has awarded two cutting edge corporations with contracts to help shuttle its astronauts to the International Space Station.The winning companies are Boeing and SpaceX, and the contracts are worth 6.8 BILLION dollars! Boeing will build three new CST-100 aircraft, which can carry up to seven passengers. SpaceX, meanwhile, will contribute its Dragon spacecraft, which has mainly been used to transport cargo. SpaceX will also reconfigure the Dragon to carry passengers. NASA says the goal is to establish safe, reliable and cost effective access to space.
Since ending its Space Shuttle program in 2011, NASA has had to rely on Russia's Soyuz spacecraft to reach the ISS - but it wasn't cheap. NASA was paying 70 million dollars PER SEAT for its astronauts, usually buying six a year. The Boeing and SpaceX crafts will undergo strict safety testing before conducting any manned flights. Once given the green light, they'll each launch between two and six flights a year. The hope is to have the new vehicles operational by 2017.
Four million fewer Americans are uninsured thanks to Obamacare and other government health initiatives. That's according to the results of a new survey released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They found that the number of people without coverage dropped from 44.8 million last year to 41 million in early 2014. The CDC says it's one of the largest year-to-year decreases they've seen.
The US poverty rate is on the decline for the first time since 2006! Numbers from the US Census Bureau show the rate dropped to 14.5-percent in 2013, down from 15-percent in 2012. But although more Americans have been able to find full-time work, the census figures also show that median household incomes remained flat, at just over 51,000 dollars. That's barely higher than it was in 1995.
UPS is delivering some holiday cheer by announcing they'll be hiring 95,000 employees for the Christmas season. The number nearly doubles last year's hiring figure of 55,000. The temporary jobs will pay at least ten dollars an hour for workers to sort packages, load trucks, and help drivers with deliveries during the holiday rush. UPS says some of the temporary jobs could turn into full-time gigs in the new year.
And Microsoft has sent out invites for an event in San Francisco where it will unveil Windows 9. A lot is expected from the latest version of the iconic operating system. It will offer more cloud-based functions, and will also bring back the Start menu and scale back the tiles interface - two big pet peeves of Windows 8 users. Microsoft will raise the curtain on September 30th.
Manhattan's landmark One-Ninety Bowery has been listed for sale. It's currently home to award winning photographer Jay Maisel and his family. The former bank's seventy-two rooms have thirty seven thousand square feet of living space. The first two floors have eighteen-foot ceilings, and the original copper cage elevator still works. It's believed the place could sell for FIFTY million dollars.
The French government is selling off over two thousand state-owned properties as part of its debt-reduction plan. In New York, this includes a seven-storey, sixteen thousand square foot block consisting of five luxurious apartments. It was listed for thirty two point five million dollars. France has almost two hundred and fifty million in properties worldwide. Of course, the country's national debt is over two and a half TRILLION.
A 3-bedroom, three thousand square foot condo in New York's posh fifteen Central Park West has sold for THIRTY million dollars. That price tag is more than TRIPLE what it last sold for in 2008. The unit was owned by billionaire Sara Blakely, the woman who invented Spanx. The new owners will rub shoulders with other residents like Denzel Washington and Sting.
Portland Maine resident Art Girard is now the proud owner of Boon Island. The island is six miles offshore and has New England's tallest lighthouse. The only catch, Mr Girard is required to let the US Coast Guard use the hundred and thirty three foot lighthouse as a navigational aid. The selling price was seventy eight thousand dollars.
And a MASSIVE new mansion is set to be built near Ascot, England. The plans call for the home to have over forty two thousand square feet of living space with fifteen bedrooms - all with ensuites. There will be a movie theatre, billiards room, juice bar, bowling alley, and the garage wing will have space for six cars. When completed, the developers, Consero London, plan to price it at ninety seven million dollars.
The Minnesota Vikings have FLIP-FLOPPED on Adrian Peterson. The team has decided to place the running back on the exempt/commissioner’s permission list. Essentially, the Vikings are suspending Peterson indefinitely – just days after saying he would play this Sunday. Peterson won't be allowed to participate in any team activities until his child-abuse case is resolved.
Tony Stewart is another high-profile athlete facing legal troubles. The NASCAR driver's case is headed to a grand jury. It will decide whether Stewart will face charges for striking and killing another driver with his car. The incident took place at a race in upstate New York last month. He didn't race for three weeks after the tragic event, but returned to the track for the final two Sprint Cup races of the season.
Philadephia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon has a reputation for being a bit of a hot head. And it FINALLY caught up to him! Papelbon was suspended for SEVEN games by Major League Baseball for his actions over the weekend. He was pulled from Sunday's game and responded to booing fans by grabbing his crotch. He also bumped an umpire – which is a BIG no-no.
Legendary golfer Greg Norman is nicknamed “The Great White Shark”. But a recent accident at his home left his hand looking like it had been ATTACKED by a shark! Norman was cutting trees with a chainsaw when a branch caused his left hand to make contact with the blade. He's lucky he didn't LOSE the hand altogether! Norman sustained nerve damage but otherwise should be fine.
And Russia's national soccer association could be resorting to DRASTIC measures. It's considering buying national team players out of their club contracts the season before the 2018 World Cup. The players would compete in the Russian domestic league as a tune up for the World Cup. It's no coincidence – Russia is HOSTING the 2018 tournament. The team has struggled internationally and the blame is apparently on a lack of teamwork.
A new survey says that TWENTY percent of married people are hiding a big secret from their spouse. And a quarter of them think that SHARING it would break up the marriage! The secrets include infidelity, money issues, and pornography, among others. A full QUARTER of people had kept a big secret from their spouse for over twenty five years!
There's a new geolocation dating app on the market! Happn is kind of like Tinder, in that it finds other users that are close to you. But it goes a step FURTHER by LOGGING all the other users you've crossed paths with. So if you spotted an attractive woman at your grocery store, if she's a Happn member, you can indicate that you're interested. But you can only CONNECT if BOTH of you want to hook up.
Turns out that "once a cheater, always a cheater" is the truth, according to a recent study. Once a person has cheated on a partner, they're three and a half times more likely to cheat in future relationships. AND, people who were cheated ON are more likely to be cheated on again. The study didn't go into WHY people cheat, but does it really matter?
Love me, love my dog. That's the premise of sites like "You Must Love Dogs Dating" dot com. It's one of SEVERAL websites that help members match up with other pet lovers. These sites let users post ads from their pets, and encourage people to bring their dogs with them on first dates. Dog lovers are FLOCKING to the sites, too. You Must Love Dogs Dating now has over two MILLION members.
According to research out of Virginia, a THIRD of modern marriages started with a hookup! And interestingly, THOSE marriages were determined to be "lower quality relationships" than the ones with more traditional origins. The researchers speculate that's because the couples were together more because of sexual attraction than by actual overall compatibility.
The Miss America Pageant went down last weekend. And I think I can go on record and call it the WEIRDEST competition they've ever had. So singing and banging a cup on the ground is a talent now? I've seen HOBOS who can do that!
But the highlight of the pageant was COMPLETELY unscripted. Check out what Miss Nebraska “accidentally” revealed during the evening wear competition. Judges didn't have to “look through” HER dress – she decided to cut out the middle man. Talk about a wardrobe malfunction!
What's the BEST Simpsons episode ever? (You Only Move Twice! Homer At The Bat! Last Exit to Springfield!) You're all wrong! The correct answer is Marge vs. The Monorail. And that got CONFIRMED during last weekend's Simpsons 25th anniversary show at the Hollywood Bowl. Take it away, Conan O'Brien! Fun fact – Conan WROTE that episode way back in 1993. I still say it's the BEST thing he's ever done. Yes, even better than the Masturbating Bear.
And Jimmy Kimmel recently brought back his hilarious Lie Witness News segment. And once again, his target was Fashion Week, and the very, VERY gullible people who attend the events. I have ABSOLUTELY no idea what those people were saying at the end there. And I'm pretty sure THEY didn't either
Carli Bei and Eila Adams discuss some of the stories from Dating Uncovered, including married people hiding big secrets, a study saying a third of marriages started as hookups, and whether "once a cheater, always a cheater" is true. They also had a new poll question, and gave the results of yesterday's poll question.
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