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Perseids light up the night sky in annual celestial show for stargazers 

The annual Perseid meteor shower is underway and, while stargazers look forward to the summer light show, this year’s meteor shower won’t be quite as spectacular as last year.

>> Read more trending news

Last year is what scientists refer to as an “outburst year” when as many as 200 meteors an hour were visible during peak viewing times.

This year space buffs can expect to see a typical number of meteors, about 80 an hour.

The Perseids started on July 17 and will be visible until August 24 as the Earth crosses paths with the comet Swift-Tuttle.

This year’s shower is expected to be more difficult to see, as well,  because of the three-quarters full moon, which rises in the nighttime sky late around 11 p.m.

The peak viewing time for the Perseids this summer, according to, will be Aug. 11 through Aug. 13  between midnight and dawn.  

Boys, 5 and 2, go for joyride, crash mother's car

Two toddlers, 5 and 2 years old, hit the road on Monday, taking their mother’s car to go on a 3-mile joy ride, according to news reports.

>> Read more trending news

The eldest brother was behind the wheel, with the 2-year-old his passenger, as they headed down country roads in Putnam County, West Virginia, deputies told WSAZ

According to KSTU, the 5-year-old knew his mother kept an extra set of keys under the mat in her car, and the boys wanted to visit animals on their grandfather’s farm seven miles away.

The boys made it nearly halfway to their destination before driving off the road down an embankment, Putnam County Sheriff Steve Deweese said. Homeowners in the area saw the crash and called police, KSTU reported.

Deweese told WSAZ authorities found the boys’ mother about an hour after they crashed. She told them she thought the boys were playing in their front yard. She hadn’t known they were missing, KSTU reported.

The children were taken to a hospital and released without injuries. 

“I’m so glad that the kids didn’t get seriously injured, and hopefully, the mother will do her parental duties and watch her children,” Deweese said.

So far, no charges have been filed, but the owner of the apartment complex where the family lives is kicking them out. 

“I have families that live here,” Sharlene Wiseman told WSAZ. “We have other tenants. Our children play out here. They're not expecting anything like a runaway car coming by.”

Read more at WSAZ and KSTU.

Father’s tattoo pays tribute to last time he held young son’s hand

Anthony DeNicola does everything he can to keep the memory of his son, Joseph, alive. 

The 7-year-old died Nov. 4, 2014, just days after going into anaphylactic shock on Halloween. DeNicola, of Staten Island, has created a nonprofit, Joseph’s Helping Hand, to raise awareness of severe food allergies, from which Joseph suffered all his life. 

He also has a tattoo on his arm that commemorates the last time he held his son’s hand. The poignant moment took place as doctors prepared to wheel Joseph into surgery to harvest his organs after the boy was declared brain dead. 

“I’m very proud of it,” DeNicola told the Staten Island Advance about his tattoo. “I look in the mirror every day, and I’m still holding my son’s hand.” 

According to Joseph’s story on the Helping Hands website, he began having problems with allergies almost immediately after his March 2007 birth. Eventually, he was diagnosed with severe allergies to milk, milk proteins, whey and hazelnuts. 

“This is where it all started,” his father wrote on the website. “We had to read the ingredients in everything we bought.”

When Joseph outgrew baby formula, he had to drink soy milk. His family also grew accustomed to carrying around an Epi-Pen and Benadryl wherever they went. 

Even smelling food that contained an ingredient he was allergic to could send Joseph into anaphylaxis, his father wrote. 

On his final Halloween, Joseph went trick-or-treating with family and friends. At a party later that night, his cousins had regular pizza in one room and Joseph had a specially-made pizza in a separate room.

Despite all the precautions, Joseph, whose asthma had been acting up that week, required a breathing treatment with his nebulizer when he got home, his father said. As his breathing worsened, two Epi-Pens failed to bring him out of the reaction, so his father and a neighbor rushed him to the hospital.

“At 5 o’clock, we were trick-or-treating, and at 7 o’clock, we were in the emergency room,” DeNicola told the Staten Island Advance shortly after Joseph’s death

Joseph suffered cardiac arrest in the emergency room, his father said. His brain was deprived of oxygen for 20 to 30 minutes and, four days later, he was declared brain dead. 

>> Read more trending news

Joseph’s doctors said his cause of death was a “one-two punch of asthma and allergies together,” DeNicola told the Advance in 2014. Though no one saw Joseph eat anything he shouldn’t the night he got sick, DeNicola said the smell of the wrong food or someone failing to wash their hands around the little boy could have triggered his fatal allergic reaction. 

After his death, his donated organs saved the lives of five other people, his website said

“Joseph was always a giving little boy,” his father wrote. “If there was a line for something, Joseph would let everyone go first and he would wait quietly for his turn. He never complained.”

The DeNicola family said that donating Joseph’s organs was one of the best things they ever did. 

“It gave us peace and comfort to know that Joseph lives on through all of the people he saved,” the website said. “In life, he was always giving. He will continue to give through his foundation, through education and research on allergies and asthma.”

11 things you probably never knew about the historic Apollo 11 moon landing

On this day in 1969, Apollo 11 landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong took one giant leap to became the first human to walk on it.

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Putting a man on the moon was a national goal set by President John F. Kennedy on May 25, 1961.

» RELATED: Photos: Apollo 11's historic mission 

In his post-flight press conference, Armstrong called the historic mission watched by more than half a billion people on television “a beginning of a new age.”

Here are 11 interesting facts about the Apollo 11 moon landing:

1. There were three crew members.

The Apollo 11 crew included Neil Armstrong as commander, Edwin E. Aldrin Jr. (or Buzz Aldrin) as Lunar Module pilot and Michael Collins, Command Module pilot.

2. The astronauts almost didn’t stick the moon landing.

The astronauts actually missed the initial landing site and were headed toward a crater. With less than one minute of descent fuel left, Armstrong piloted the Lunar Module four miles from the original landing site, according to National Geographic.

» RELATED: Moon dust heading to auction after galactic court battle 

3. What were the first words spoken on the moon?

It’s debatable. If you count the moment The Eagle touched down onto the moon’s surface, Aldrin’s first words were “contact light.”

But, according to NASA chief historian Bill Barry, if you’re talking about the first words spoken the moment humans stepped onto the surface, the first words would be Armstrong’s famous statement, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

More from Politifact.

4. The famous “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” phrase isn’t exactly what Armstrong said he said (or intended to say).

According to CNET, Armstrong may have messed up his famous phrase, which was supposed to be “one step for a man, one giant leap for mankind” (with the inclusion of an “a” before “man.”

» RELATED: Feel like you’re flying over Pluto’s majestic, icy mountains in these epic NASA videos 

In his 2006 biography, Armstrong said he did actually say the “a” and people just didn’t hear it.

“I think that reasonable people will realize that I didn't intentionally make an inane statement and that certainly the 'a' was intended, because that's the only way the statement makes any sense,” he wrote.

5. And that “one small step” wasn’t actually so small.

Armstrong actually had to hop about 3.5 feet from the Lunar Module‘s ladder to reach the surface. 

» RELATED: 7 things to know about the rare total solar eclipse crossing the nation this August 

6. The flag placed on the moon was made by Sears (and was knocked down as soon as they launched back into orbit).

In a July 3, 1969 NASA press release, NASA said the flags bought for the mission were purchased by different manufacturers in the Houston, Texas, area, but eventually it was discovered they were all bought at Sears.

NASA didn’t want to confirm the manufacturer because they didn’t “want another Tang” (or inclusion in any advertising campaign).

The flag placed on the surface of the moon was knocked over when Aldrin and Armstrong launched the Lunar Module back into lunar orbit to join Collins in the Command Module.

7. A felt-tipped pen played a critical role in the historic moon landing.

When Aldrin and Armstrong landed, they accidentally broke off the switch to the circuit breaker, which was needed to activate the engine that would lift them off the moon.

In his 2009 memoir, Aldrin wrote: 

“Since it was electrical, I decided not to put my finger in, or use anything that had metal on the end. I had a felt-tipped pen in the shoulder pocket of my suit that might do the job. After moving the countdown procedure up by a couple of hours in case it didn't work, I inserted the pen into the small opening where the circuit breaker switch should have been, and pushed it in; sure enough, the circuit breaker held. We were going to get off the moon, after all.”

All three astronauts carried the pen. According to EETimes, Collins donated his to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, which he helped found.

But Aldrin held on to his pen, keeping it with the broken breaker switch.

8. Here’s what they left behind 

In addition leaving the American flag on the moon, Armstrong and Aldrin left their backpacks, a gold olive-branch-shaped pin symbolizing peace, messages from 73 world leaders and a patch from the Apollo 1 mission that never launched and killed three U.S. astronauts in a 1967 training exercise.

They also left behind medallions honoring Russian cosmonauts, including Vladimir Komarov and Yuri Gagarin, both of whom died in flight in 1967 and 1968, respectively.

» RELATED: Photos: Amazing NASA photos through the years 

According to NPR, the tragic story goes that Komarov knew he was probably going to die on the 1967 mission to put a man into orbit, but because Gagarin was his back-up and he didn’t want him to die, Komarov didn’t back out of the mission. 

9. The computers that were processing Apollo 11 had less power than a cellphone.

The command module computer (or the so-called Apollo Guidance Computer) made it possible for astronauts to enter noun/verb commands to control the spacecraft and navigation.

But, according to Computer Weekly, the “ingenious computer systems” were more basic than what we find in toasters today.

And today’s USBs are more powerful than the computers used to land the first man on the moon, too.

10. In case the worst happened, all three astronauts had a plan to support their families financially. 

Without expensive astronaut life insurance, the astronauts got creative about how they were going to support their families if the worst did happen.

The answer: autographs.

According to NPR, during quarantine (about a month before Apollo 11 launched), the famous astronauts signed hundreds of envelopes and gave them to a friend to save.

On big dates, such as the day of the moon landing or the day Apollo 11 launched, their friend would get the autographed envelopes postmarked at the post office and give them to the astronauts’ families.

Luckily, those “life insurance autographs” were not needed.

However, according to space historian Robert Pearlman, those autographs were worth as much as $30,000 in the 1990s.

11. They had to fill out customs and declaration forms when they returned to the U.S.

Just because you make it to the moon and back doesn’t mean you get a pass on the dreaded customs forms.

The astronauts comically noted “Apollo 11” as the flight on their customs form with a departure from “Moon” to Honolulu, Hawaii.

And under “Any other condition on board which may lead to the spread of disease,” the response was: “To be determined.”

Learn more about the Apollo 11 mission at

 Airline passenger helps soothe shrieking boy who was disrupting 8-hour flight

In a heartwarming moment that was captured on camera, a woman on an eight-hour flight from Israel to Brussels helped calm a crying boy.

>> Read more trending news

Rochel Groner was on the July 14th flight with her husband when a boy started crying. She told it was clear to her that the shrieking boy was trying to communicate something but he didn’t have use of a vocabulary, and his wailing was causing other passengers to get weary.

“People are frustrated. People are waking up. It was a day flight, which is always a little harder,” Groner said. “The phones [on the plane] just started to ring so I’m getting thoughts in my mind we’re going to have an emergency landing. You can see people kind of craning their necks and trying to figure out what’s going on and all I’m thinking about is this poor mom; she’s probably mortified as it is.”

>> Related: Family outraged after being kicked off JetBlue flight

As the boys crying continued, Groner decided to lend a hand.

“Finally, I just got out of my seat,” she said. “I went to the aisle where he was sitting. I just put out my hand. It was surreal. I didn’t know what I was doing. There are tears streaming down his face. He put out his hand. I just put him on my lap and just gave him a gentle but firm hug and started to rock him and he was quiet.”

Groner sat with the boy, who she said she thinks was around 8 years old, and doodled on motion sickness bags with him. He started to smile.

>> Related: Mickey Mouse helped tell these foster kids that they finally have a forever family

“I took another motion sickness bag and I put my hand down and I gave him the pen and together we traced my hand,” she said. “He started to smile and he looked at me and took his glasses off and put them on his face. All of a sudden, we were friends.”

As she sat with the boy, Groner said she could feel the sense of relief from passengers on the plane.

“It told me that everybody just wants a hug and to be listened to and if we’re willing to do that, we can literally change lives […] I was just in awe,” said her husband, Bentzion Groner, who took pictures of the touching moment.

Ryan Seacrest to return as host of 'American Idol' revival

It’s official: Ryan Seacrest will return to “American Idol” to serve as host for ABC’s reboot of the singing competition.

>> Read more trending news

Kelly Ripa made the announcement on Thursday morning’s episode of “Live with Kelly and Ryan.”

“We’ve been talking about it for a little while but I am happy to confirm … with absolute confirmation that Ryan Seacrest is returning (as) the host of ‘American Idol,’” Ripa said.

“(I’m) very, very excited,” Seacrest said. “First of all, I don't know if you've ever been in a 15-year relationship and then, for a reason that you really don't know, you break up … I thought, 'Gosh, it'd be great to get back together at some point.’"

The announcement followed three months of negotiations, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Seacrest will join pop star Katy Perry, who was confirmed in May as a judge for the series, on the reboot.

ABC announced in May that it planned to bring back “American Idol” for the 2017-2018 season. The show aired 15 seasons on Fox before the network announced in 2015 that 15th season would be its last.

>> Related: 'American Idol' set to return to television

“‘American Idol’ is a pop-culture staple that left the air too soon,” Channing Dungey, president of ABC Entertainment, said in a news release.

The show launched the careers of artists including Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood and Adam Lambert. Contestants on the show have sold more than 60 million albums and made more than 450 Billboard No. 1 hits, according to ABC.

Texas woman found dead in husband's trunk

A Texas woman who was reported missing Friday was found dead in her husband’s trunk over 1,000 miles away in Mansfield, Ohio.

>> Read more trending news 

According to WFAA, Tamara Harris, 33, was found dead in the trunk of car belonging to her husband, 35-year-old Dequalan Harris.

The two were in the process of getting a divorce, according to Cedar Hill police.

Dequalan Harris traveled to Ohio “for love” or “an internet connection,” Mansfield police said.

While there, he stayed with his girlfriend, Demika Rucker, starting on Friday. By Monday, police caught up to Harris and discovered Tamara Harris’ body in the back of his car.

They also found that Dequalan Harris had his victim’s child with him.

He currently faces charges of resisting arrest, obstructing official business and abuse of a corpse.

The suspect has pleaded not guilty and claimed that he hadn’t seen Harris since Thursday when he picked up the child from her house.

The child is in state custody and officials are working to return him to family members, Cedar Hill police said.

Investigators are working to determine Tamara Harris’ cause of death. 

Dequalan Harris’ bond was set Monday at $1 million.

Read more at WFAA.

Sinkhole grows between homes in Florida

A depression that started off as a small hole in The Villages has grown larger and has put residents on heightened alert.

Landscaping crews spotted the depression Monday between two homes on Lavaca Lane in Sumter County. 

Read: Depression forms in backyard of home in The Villages

One homeowner, who uses a wheelchair, packed some of his belongings and left. Another neighbor said he's becoming more worried.

>> Read more trending news

"Absolutely amazing. We were dumbfounded and terribly shocked," said neighbor Frank Topping, who has lived in his home for 20 years.

The sinkhole, which was noticeably larger Wednesday, threatened the structural integrity of Topping's home, so he evacuated it.

"We're about to go in and make sure that we haven't gotten any cracks in the walls or ceiling," he said.

Read: Sinkhole opens under home in The Villages

The Sumter County building inspector told Channel 9 that engineers are expected to assess the home and stabilize the sinkhole. Topping said he has contacted his insurance company to review his options.

No injuries or damage have been reported. It's unclear how deep the hole is.

A cluster of sinkholes has also formed in a nearby retention pond, draining the pond of its water.

Watch: The in-depth science of sinkholes

Police hope video IDs whoever broke hands off university’s Jesus statue

Authorities are hoping surveillance video identifies whoever broke the hands off a granite statue of Jesus on the campus of a private, Catholic university in Pittsburgh.

Carlow University officials announced the vandalism on Wednesday, but said it was unclear exactly when it occurred.

The statue, which shows Jesus with his hands raised toward the sky, once belonged to nearby St. Agnes Church.

Craving heat this summer? Tabasco introduces new ‘Scorpion’ sauce 20 times hotter than original

Tabasco, the iconic Louisiana-made hot sauce seen on dining tables across the country, is vying to provide one of the country’s hottest products with a new sauce 20 times hotter than the original. 

Tabasco on Wednesday launched its Scorpion Sauce, made with the scorching Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper. By Thursday, the new sauce, made in a limited small batch and available only on Tabasco’s website, had sold out. 

A second new flavor, roasted pepper, was still available. 

Today reported that scorpion sauce is typically made from the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper, along with the flavor of a tropical fruit to pay homage to the pepper’s Caribbean roots. Tabasco’s Scorpion Sauce includes pineapple and guava. 

The description on Tabasco’s website describes the sauce as “a combination of scorpion peppers blended with guava, pineapple and a dash of Tabasco sauce (that) makes for a tangy sauce with untamed heat and a touch of Caribbean sweetness.”

>> Read more trending news

The McIlhenny Company, which produces Tabasco on Louisiana’s Avery Island, calls the sauce “not for the wary.”

That description did not stop Tabasco aficionados from pining for the new sauce.

Today reported that, while regular Tabasco peppers come in at around 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville units -- the scale used to measure a pepper’s heat -- the scorpion pepper can register up to 2 million Scoville units. 

The Scoville heat scale measures the amount of capsaicinoids in a pepper. 

Time reported in 2012 that the newly-discovered Trinidad Moruga Scorpion pepper was the spiciest on the planet. It has since been displaced by the Carolina Reaper, which the Guinness World Records has named the hottest pepper in the world. 

The Carolina Reaper peaks at 2.2 million Scoville units.

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