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Eclipse also has relevance for astrologers

Monday’s total eclipse is a significant event for astronomers, but it also has relevance for astrologers. 

>> Read more trending news

On her website, astrologer Marjorie Orr said that several major history-altering events -- including the explosion of the first atomic bomb and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy -- have occurred within a few months of solar eclipses. 

She called Monday’s eclipse a “Saros Series 1 North” and claims that it “puts pressure on personal relationships.” She advises against hasty decisions, since information will be “distorted and possibly false.”

This particular type of eclipse also occurred in 1909, 1927, 1945, 1963, 1981 and 1999, Orr said.

The 1927 eclipse preceded Charles Lindbergh’s solo, nonstop transatlantic flight, Orr said. She also claimed that the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima took place four weeks after the 1945 eclipse.

Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech was delivered four weeks after the 1963 eclipse, and Kennedy was killed in Dallas three months later, Orr said.

In his 2001 book, “Eclipse: The Celestial Phenomenon that Changed the Course of History,” space scientist Duncan Steel wrote that solar eclipses “have been interpreted as evil omens by many civilizations because the life-giving sunlight is obscured for a few minutes.”

Steel wrote that accounts of the death of Jesus Christ depicted a so-called “crucifixion eclipse,” and that the ancient Chinese would beat drums and shoot arrows into the sky to ward off what they believed was a dragon devouring the sun, Newsweek reported.

Whether one believes in astrology or not, its connection to eclipses still makes for interesting reading.

Eastern Tennessee town prepares for ‘sweetest view’ of eclipse

The east Tennessee town of Sweetwater is normally quiet, with the Lost Sea Adventure caverns its main tourist attraction. On Monday, the town will be bustling with thousands of people ready to view the total eclipse that will be passing through the area.

>> Read more trending news

City recorder Jessica Morgan said nearly 50,000 to 60,000 people are expected in town to see the two minutes, 39 seconds of totality, the Knoxville News-Sentinel reported.

“We’re telling residents to stock up on food and medication and don’t drive anywhere Sunday or Monday. It is wild,” Morgan said.

The town has set up a website touting “the sweetest view in America” and is planning a massive party for the eclipse.

Chip Gruver is a Sweetwater native who lives in Minnesota. He has known about the eclipse  since 2010. 

“I said, ‘Oh my goodness, that goes right through Sweetwater!’” he told the Madisonville Advocate & Democrat.

Gruver promptly asked his boss to reserve Aug. 21, 2017, as a vacation day, the Advocate & Democrat reported.

The town is holding a street festival from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the News-Sentinel reported. The total eclipse will occur just after 2:30 p.m.

Morgan told the Advocate & Democrat that Sweetwater has generated at least $44,000 in revenue from parking places and eclipse items such as T-shirts.

Group from Latvia travels to Idaho for eclipse

A group from Latvia will be among the thousands who will view Monday’s total eclipse, the Idaho Statesman reported.

>> Read more trending news

Agnese Zalcmane organized a trip for 22 Latvians, who traveled more than 5,000 miles to Weiser, Idaho, this weekend.

Zalcmane has seen seven total eclipses in places including Kazakhstan, Australia, Kenya and Indonesia, the Statesman reported. When she learned of Monday’s total solar eclipse, she knew she wanted to find a spot where the moon would fully block the sun.

Zalcmane and her group left home July 31 and has visited San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Originally the travelers wanted to view the eclipse from Oregon, but fearing traffic congestion, decided to stop in Weiser.”I know it’s worth it,” Zalcmane told the Statesman. “Ninety-nine percent and 100 percent are totally different things. It’s worth it to go to the path of totality.”

National parks prime spots for eclipse viewing

Thousands of people have been preparing for years to watch Monday’s total eclipse. Others are going to try and wing it. If you are more of a spur-of-the-moment person, then here are some places to view the eclipse -- assuming there is room. The eclipse will cross over 21 national parks and seven trails. according to the National Park Service.

>> Read more trending news

Here are some notable places to watch the eclipse:

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon

Eastern Oregon is a prime viewing spot for the eclipse, which will begin shortly after 9 a.m. at the park. It will be visible from all three units of the park, with the Painted Hills and Sheep Rock units directly under the center line of the eclipse. The Clamo Unit is north of the center line, but still within the range of totality, officials said.

The Oregon Department of Transportation will not be closing roads. However, motorists might see transportation workers, police and members of the Oregon National Guard directing traffic, and some turns might be blocked, OregonLive reported.

Ketchum and Sun Valley, Idaho

Ketchum and Sun Valley are hosting a joint solar eclipse viewing party. Totality is expected to last 1 minute, 34 seconds, beginning at 11:29 a.m.

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming

There will be five viewing areas at Grand Teton. Astronomers and park rangers will host the events. Park campgrounds are nearly full with visitors planning to camp through eclipse day on Monday, the National Park Service reported. Camping in the park is only allowed at designated campgrounds. 

Monday, roadside parking is prohibited along U.S. Highway 89, Teton Park Road, and Moose-Wilson Road. Parking is prohibited in roadside pullouts, turnouts, and parking areas before 6 a.m.

Homestead National Monument, Nebraska

Bill Nye the Science Guy will be in attendance, along with Hannah Huston, who was a finalist on “The Voice,” the Beatrice Daily Sun reported. A full day of events is planned for Monday. NASA scientists Dr. Amy Mainzer, Dr. Kelsey Young, Dr. Edwin Grayzeck also will be at Homestead.

Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia

Located two hours north of Atlanta, Tallulah Gorge State Park is hosting a two-hour eclipse party beginning at 1 p.m. The park opens at 8 a.m., and totality is expected to pass through the park at 2:35 p.m.

A word of caution: Be sure to bring water, snacks, sunscreen and solar eclipse viewing glasses before leaving home. The chances of finding them on site are going to be difficult.

Here’s where you can get freebies and deals to celebrate the solar eclipse

The solar eclipse is just hours away, and a gang of companies are celebrating the big celestial event with freebies and deals. 

>> Read more trending news

From sweet treats to kitchen appliances, take a look at these offerings to score all of the best discounts. 

Applebee’s

The chain is honoring the occasion with its Perfect Eclipse Margarita. The special is only good on Aug. 21 at participating locations.

Dairy Queen

From Aug. 21 - Sept. 3, you can buy one blizzard at its normal price and get the second blizzard for just 99 cents.

Denny’s

In the mood for breakfast? Denny’s has got your back. On Aug. 21, you can have all-you-can-eat “mooncakes” or moon-shaped buttermilk pancakes for $4.

Frigidaire

The appliance company is having its “first-ever blackout sale.” It began on Aug. 17 and will last until Aug. 23. It’s featuring products from its Smudge-Proof Black Stainless Steel collection, which includes microwaves and dishwashers. 

Krispy Kreme 

Krispy Kreme’s famous original glazed doughnuts will be eclipsed to celebrate the show in the sky. The doughnut company will be coating its original glazed donuts with a covering of chocolate on Aug. 21.

Nike

Dress the part for the big day with Nike. The clothing and shoe line is encouraging customers to take their looks “from day to night to day again in all black” with its merchandise. 

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story said Dairy Queen was offering two Blizzards for the price of one for the price of 99 cents.

What is the cool solar eclipse catchphrase everybody's talking about?

Keep your umbra, penumbra and antumbra, your shadow bands and Baily’s Beads, too.

When it comes to contagious catchphrases that have become part of the dialogue during this season of eclipse fever, the best has to be “The Path of Totality.”

>> Read more trending news

We just can’t shut up about it. It’s like we’ve become a nation of overnight astrophysicists.

For the eclipse-challenged, the path of totality is a miles-wide shadow line across earth’s face when the moon blots out the sun during a solar eclipse. Totality is that magic moment when the sun is completely obscured by the moon.

Sounds awesome, doesn’t it? The Dude from “The Big Lebowski” would be totally into totality, man. Or HAL in Kubrick’s “2001”: “I’m sorry, Dave, but I can’t open the pod bay doors until we’re on the path of totality.”

Story after story about Monday’s total solar eclipse can’t resist this juicy piece of insider lingo, with its knowing mix of nerdy science and Zen hipster cool.

Headlines scream: "Path of totality the place to be.” Others ponder “eclipse economics”: Will the path boost tourism and fill hotel rooms? Path music festivals are planned. A Midwest couple is getting married in the path. “Gas prices climb along path of totality.” Our favorite: “Weed activists in path of totality have big plans for eclipse.” We bet they do.

An article on Quartz Media reports on the worrisome trend of path addicts. It’s sort of like meth for moon-blocking-sun junkies. They suffer from “umbraphilia,” the need to chase the astral dragon across continents and experience full totality multiple times. They share their experiences online with fellow “umbraphiles,” or shadow lovers.

Google “path of totality” and more than 2.2 million mentions pop up. Did you know that Korn’s 10th album was called “The Path of Totality?” (Scary pause to consider that Korn made 10 albums.) There are craft beers called Path of Totality and path T-shirts for sale.

Back in 1918, newspaper stories mentioned “the track of totality.” But path is a much trendier-sounding upgrade for our journey-seeking age. Don’t we all want to be on the path of totality? Or one with it?

Living in the path — or doing a temporary hang there — is Monday’s ultimate American status symbol, a backstage pass and golden ticket good for a few hours only, complete with bragging rights.

For those outside the shadow line, it’s like being stuck behind a velvet rope at Earth’s coolest celestial disco.

Totally, uh, path-etic.

Amazon issues refunds for potentially fake solar eclipse glasses

Having second thoughts about the safety of those cheap solar eclipse glasses you bought from Amazon? You're in luck: The company reportedly has given full refunds to some customers who bought possible fakes.

>> Fake eclipse glasses ‘flooding’ market, astronomy group says

"Safety is among our highest priorities," Amazon said in a statement, KGW reported Saturday. "Out of an abundance of caution, we have proactively reached out to customers and provided refunds for eclipse glasses that may not comply with industry standards. We want customers to buy with confidence anytime they make a purchase on Amazon.com, and eclipse glasses sold on Amazon.com are required to comply with the relevant ISO standard."

>> Solar eclipse 2017: Make your own 'pinhole projector'

Some possibly counterfeit eclipse glasses were removed from the website, as well, CNN reported.

KGW, citing Amazon, reported that "customers who did not receive an email purchased glasses that were safe to use." If you weren't contacted but still are worried about your purchase, WRC reported that you can request a refund from Amazon customer service. 

>> Solar eclipse 2017: What time does it start; how long does it last; glasses; how to view it

The news comes after the American Astronomical Society issued a warning on its website about potentially unsafe glasses for sale ahead of the Aug. 21 solar eclipse. Even glasses stamped with an International Organization for Standardization seal (ISO) could be fake, the AAS said.

>> Want to see the solar eclipse? Head to these 10 places for best views

"Now the marketplace is being flooded by counterfeit eclipse glasses that are labeled as if they’re ISO-compliant when in fact they are not,” the AAS said. “Even more unfortunately, unscrupulous vendors can grab the ISO logo off the internet and put it on their products and packaging even if their eclipse glasses or viewers haven’t been properly tested.”

>> Read more trending news

Your best bet is to buy glasses from an AAS-approved vendor, the organization said. See the full list here.

Your kitchen sponge is filthier than your toilet, study says

The toilet bowl holds quite a bit of muck, but according to a recent report, there’s another item in your home that’s even filthier: your kitchen sponge.

Researchers in Germany conducted a study to determine the different types of bacteria found on a sponge. To do so, they sequenced the DNA of 28 samples of bacteria collected from 14 sponges. 

 >> Dirtier than the toilet? These 5 items are among the filthiest in your home

They found 118 genera of bacteria. That’s more than what’s found on toilets. 

"Despite common misconception, it was demonstrated that kitchen environments host more microbes than toilets. This was mainly due to the contribution of kitchen sponges, which were proven to represent the biggest reservoirs of active bacteria in the whole house," the study said.

>> On AJC.com: Toothbrushes can be more germ-ridden than a toilet seat

However, the scientists noted that most of the genera of bacteria discovered was not harmful. The pathogens that were found were most concerning, because those can cause infections among humans. 

>> On AJC.com: How well are you cleaning the 10 filthiest places in your kitchen?

"Kitchen sponges are likely to collect, incubate and spread bacteria from and back onto kitchen surfaces, from where they might eventually find their way into the human body," the study said. “Direct contact of a sponge with food and/or the human hands might transfer bacteria in and onto the human body, where they might cause infections, depending on their pathogenic potential.”

Although many boil or microwave sponges to rid of toxins, analysts found that the latter method only kills 60 percent of bacteria. Plus, the bacteria could increase after cleaning, because the microbes re-colonize. 

>> Read more trending news

To minimize the spread of germs, researchers suggests that people replace their sponges at least once a week.

Hungry sea lice likely attacked, bloodied teen's legs at Australian beach

An Australian teen is recovering after tiny creatures – likely sea lice – attacked his legs at a beach in Brighton, a Melbourne suburb.

According to a report by the Guardian and the Australian Associated Press, 16-year-old Sam Kanizay of Melbourne went to the beach Saturday to soak his legs after a soccer game. But when he got out of the water 30 minutes later, his legs were numb, bloody and "covered in what his family said were tiny marine creatures eating his legs," the article said.

Sam's father, Jarrod Kanizay, took Sam to the hospital for the wounds, which the teen described to 3AW as "hundreds of little pin-sized bites" on his feet and ankles.

"There was a massive pool of blood on the floor," Jarrod Kanizay said, adding that "no one" at the hospital "knows what the creatures are." 

Marine experts say parasitic sea lice may be to blame.

>> Read more trending news

"They're scavengers who'll clean up dead fish and feed on living tissue," University of Melbourne marine biologist Michael Keough told The Age. "They're mostly less than a centimeter long, and so the bites they make are pretty small, and so that's more consistent with pinprick size marks."

He added: "It's just food for them. Especially if he's been standing around for a long time, it's the chance for more of them to come in and start biting. Just be attracted to a little bit of blood. And if he's standing in the water and he's cold and may not notice a whole lot of little bites."

University of New South Wales Associate Professor Alistair Poore, an authority on marine invertebrates, echoed the sentiment.

"If it is sea lice, then it is a pretty dramatic example of it," he told the Guardian.

In an effort to solve the mystery, Jarrod Kanizay said he returned to the spot where his son was attacked and caught some of the creatures using a net filled with meat. He then recorded the creatures eating the meat in a now-viral – and nauseating – video.

>> See the clip here (WARNING: Graphic content.)

Read more here or here.

What causes misogynistic thinking? New study finds link with early exposure to pornography 

Have you encountered a man with a sexist attitude? His introduction to pornography could be the stem, according to a new study.

>> Read more trending news

Researchers from the University of Nebraska conducted an experiment to determine how exposure to porn for the first time could shape a man’s views on masculinity and sexuality. 

To do so, they handed out a 46-question survey to 330 undergraduate men ages 17 to 54. It was designed to measure masculine norms, and it included questions about the first time males saw pornography and whether or not it was an accident. 

On average, respondents said they were about 13 years old when they were first exposed to pornography. More than 43 percent said it was by accident, 33 percent said they sought it out and 17 percent said they were forced to view it. About 6 percent declined to answer. 

After analyzing the data, scientists found that men who were exposed to porn for the first time at a younger age mostly agreed with statements that asserted male superiority. 

However, those who were older when they were first exposed to pornography and had a “greater endorsement of Playboy masculine norms,” such as having multiple sexual partners.

“We expected that the younger the boys were when first exposed to pornography, the more likely they were to adopt playboy norms as well as norms of masculine power over women,” researcher Alyssa Bischmann said in a statement. “We don’t have a lot of theories that would explain this unexpected inverse relationship between pornography use and playboy norms.”

However, the scientists did note that their experiment didn’t identify other factors, such as negative sexual experiences, performance anxiety, religiosity and frequency of use, which could be related to the surprising results. 

Therefore, more research is needed. 

“Future research,” the study said, “should also investigate outcomes of these relations by including measures of relationship satisfaction, well-being, and perpetration of violence against women, as these variables may be related to masculine norms and pornography.”  

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