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 Robin Thicke expecting first child with girlfriend
Robin Thicke expecting first child with girlfriend

Their new bundle of joy is coming at the perfect time it seems as the baby's due date is March 1, which was the birthday of the singer's late father, Alan Thicke.

"Robin and I are very excited to share with you all that we're having a baby! The due date is March 1st, Alan's birthday," she wrote in a caption next to a photo of a sonogram.

A post shared by April Love Geary (@aprillovegeary) on Aug 17, 2017 at 2:08pm PDT

The "Blurred Lines" singer is already a father to a 7-year-old son, Julian, whom he had with his ex-wife, actress Paula Patton. The two divorced in 2015 after 10 years of marriage.

August 18, 2017

 Derek and Hannah Jeter welcome baby girl
Derek and Hannah Jeter welcome baby girl

Derek and Hannah Jeter have welcomed their first child together, a baby girl.

The Players’ Tribune, an online media site Jeter helped start, announced the birth today.

"Congratulations Derek and @hannahbjeter on the birth of your baby girl, Bella Raine Jeter, born Thursday, Aug. 17," the site tweeted.

Jeter, 43, and his wife tied the knot in 2016 and have used the Tribune in the past to break news and share intimate details about their lives together.

In April, a special video was created and shared using former teammates to congratulate the iconic Yankees shortstop on his impending fatherhood and even share some advice.

"Derek and @HannahBJeter recently announced they're having a baby girl,” the site tweeted at the time. “A few of their closest friends have some name suggestions.”

In February, Hannah Jeter, 27, penned an essay about her husband's career and what she hopes for their first child.

"He already has a name in mind — he’s set on it. (We’ll see.)," she wrote. "Whatever her name is, I know she’ll run circles around him ... They’re going to be born into such an extraordinary situation. They’re going to have to be some strong little people. We don’t want them to be defined by their dad’s name — for them, we want him to just be 'Dad.'

August 18, 2017

 What to expect from Marvel's 'The Defenders'
What to expect from Marvel's 'The Defenders'

Charlie Cox's blind attorney/ninja Daredevil, Mike Colter's unbreakable Luke Cage, Krysten Ritter's hard-hitting, hard-drinking Jessica Jones and Finn Jones' indestructible Iron Fist team up in Netflix's "The Defenders," which is now available for streaming.

The show unites all of Marvel's "Hell's Kitchen Heroes" for the first time.

The unlikely team is forced together when a series of clues they individually follow lead them to discover that New York City is in the crosshairs of a mysterious figure played with chilling ease by Sigourney Weaver.

"She has a very formidable presence," Jones told ABC News about the veteran actress. "[I]t just elevates the show by having her on it."

Much of the fun is watching these jagged puzzle pieces of characters trying to fit together. When they're not busting through walls, they're often busting each other's chops: Ritter's ever eye-rolling Jessica Jones pokes fun at Daredevil's costume, and she refers to "hero" as "the H-word."

"We almost felt like fanboys by the time we got to 'The Defenders,'" Cox admitted, "and we were real excited to see ... what the relationships would be like ... I think ... what the fans are really going to respond to is the scenes where the four of us are in the same room, kinda just shooting the s---, you know?"

Jones is also a veteran of "Game of Thrones," though he already met his end as Loras Tyrell, The Knight of Flowers. He noted, "The difference between 'Thrones' and something like this is the Marvel fanbase is incredibly loyal ... [people are] enthusiastic about the show."

August 18, 2017

 Robin Thicke expecting first child with girlfriend
Robin Thicke expecting first child with girlfriend

Their new bundle of joy is coming at the perfect time it seems as the baby's due date is March 1, which was the birthday of the singer's late father, Alan Thicke.

"Robin and I are very excited to share with you all that we're having a baby! The due date is March 1st, Alan's birthday," she wrote in a caption next to a photo of a sonogram.

A post shared by April Love Geary (@aprillovegeary) on Aug 17, 2017 at 2:08pm PDT

The "Blurred Lines" singer is already a father to a 7-year-old son, Julian, whom he had with his ex-wife, actress Paula Patton. The two divorced in 2015 after 10 years of marriage.

August 18, 2017

 Richard Simmons argues tabloids knowingly published false information
Richard Simmons argues tabloids knowingly published false information

Simmons filed a lawsuit in May over stories claiming that the fitness icon is transitioning from male to female, according to court documents.

The media reports that alleged Simmons was changing genders used Mauro Oliveira, Simmons' former masseuse, as their source. Oliveira was also the one who sold photos to a media agency of Simmons dressed in women's clothing, which were used to accompany the stories.

In July, the media outlets asked for the lawsuit to be thrown out, arguing in court documents that saying someone is undergoing a gender transition is "not defamatory under modern jurisprudence."

Neville Johnson, Simmons' attorney, told ABC News that the National Enquirer "has gone out of its way to try and humiliate and embarrass and slander" Simmons.

"They have hyped this into a whole other story with all these other details that are simply wrong and false," Johnson added.

Simmons' move on Thursday argues the National Enquirer and Radar Online knowingly printed information that was false. Simmons' legal team filed a signed declaration from Oliveira, who claims that he never said that Simmons was transitioning genders.

"I was shocked and disturbed after discovering that the National Enquirer and Radar Online published cover stories claiming that Richard Simmons has transitioned into a woman and included the photos I supplied," Oliveira stated.

"Although I may have said that Richard Simmons's chest looks like the chest of someone who might be on hormones," Oliveira's statemend added, "I never stated that Richard Simmons is now a woman, had breast implants, or had sex-change surgery."

Johnson told ABC News that Simmons is "doing fine" in the midst of the legal battle.

"He just is private and he'd like to stay that way," Johnson said. "If he has to come forward and testify and have his body examined, so be it."

A spokesperson for American Media told ABC News the company "stands by its reporting."

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Aug. 30.

August 18, 2017

 Kevin Durant plans to sit out potential White House visit for NBA championship
Kevin Durant plans to sit out potential White House visit for NBA championship

NBA champion Kevin Durant said Thursday that if the Golden State Warriors are invited to the White House to celebrate their win in the 2017 Finals, he will not make the trip.

"I don't respect who's in office right now," he said, referring to President Trump.

Durant continued, "I don't agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that. That's just me personally ... I definitely want to be the voice of where I come from and people who have come from my neighborhood and deal with oppression."

While the Warriors have yet to be invited to the White House, it's customary for championship teams in the NFL, NBA and MLB to visit the nation's capital and meet with the president.

Trump welcomed Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots in April. At least 12 players, including running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive end Chris Long and safety/team captain Devin McCourty, skipped the visit.

"I don’t feel accepted in the White House," McCourty said in an interview with Time magazine.

Durant, 28, also mentioned last week's incident in Charlottesville, where 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed when a man drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters who were opposing a group of white nationalists demonstrating against the planned removal of a Confederate statue. Durant called the events "unfathomable."

Trump has said the man who killed Heyer is a "disgrace to himself, his family and this country," but he also took a more neutral stance on the incident itself, blaming both sides for the violence and adding that there were “very fine people” in both groups of demonstrators.

"I feel ever since [Trump] got into office, or since he ran for the presidency, our country has been so divided, and it's not a coincidence," Durant added. "When [Barack] Obama was in office, things were looking up. We had so much hope in our communities where I come from because we had a black president, and that was a first. So to see that and to be where we are now, it just felt like we took a turn for the worse."

Durant believes "leadership trickles down" and that the office of the president should lead by example.

"For us to move forward, we need more athletes and people of power and influence to come out and speak," he said.

ABC News has reached out to the White House for comment.

August 18, 2017

 Derek and Hannah Jeter welcome baby girl
Derek and Hannah Jeter welcome baby girl

Derek and Hannah Jeter have welcomed their first child together, a baby girl.

The Players’ Tribune, an online media site Jeter helped start, announced the birth today.

"Congratulations Derek and @hannahbjeter on the birth of your baby girl, Bella Raine Jeter, born Thursday, Aug. 17," the site tweeted.

Jeter, 43, and his wife tied the knot in 2016 and have used the Tribune in the past to break news and share intimate details about their lives together.

In April, a special video was created and shared using former teammates to congratulate the iconic Yankees shortstop on his impending fatherhood and even share some advice.

"Derek and @HannahBJeter recently announced they're having a baby girl,” the site tweeted at the time. “A few of their closest friends have some name suggestions.”

In February, Hannah Jeter, 27, penned an essay about her husband's career and what she hopes for their first child.

"He already has a name in mind — he’s set on it. (We’ll see.)," she wrote. "Whatever her name is, I know she’ll run circles around him ... They’re going to be born into such an extraordinary situation. They’re going to have to be some strong little people. We don’t want them to be defined by their dad’s name — for them, we want him to just be 'Dad.'

August 18, 2017

 Fox's James Murdoch slams Trump's Charlottesville response
Fox's James Murdoch slams Trump's Charlottesville response

The CEO of 21st Century Fox denounced racism and terrorists while expressing concern over President Donald Trump's reaction to the deadly violence surrounding a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Murdoch writes that the events in Charlottesville last weekend and Trump's response "concern all of us as Americans and free people."

"I can't even believe I have to write this: standing up to Nazis is essential; there are no good Nazis. Or Klansmen, or terrorists," Murdoch added. "Democrats, Republicans, and others must all agree on this, and it compromises nothing for them to do so."

Trump has put the blame for the violence on both white nationalists and those protesting the gathering last weekend, saying there were "very fine people" on both sides.

The email was first reported by the Times Thursday.

August 18, 2017

 Citing Trump remarks, entire president's arts council quits
Citing Trump remarks, entire president's arts council quits

Another presidential advisory committee appears to be breaking up.

Actor Kal Penn, artist Chuck Close and the entire membership of the President's Committee On the Arts and Humanities have announced their resignation. A letter dated Friday, and signed by 16 of 17 committee members, cited the "false equivalence" of President Donald Trump's comments about last weekend's "Unite the Right" gathering in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump has blamed "many sides" for the demonstrations that left an anti-racism activist dead.

"Ignoring your hateful rhetoric would have made us complicit in your words and actions," the letter reads. "Supremacy, discrimination, and vitriol are not American values. Your values are not American values. We must be better than this. We are better than this. If this is not clear to you, then we call on you to resign your office, too."

The only member whose name did not appear was Broadway director George C. Wolfe. Representatives for Wolfe at Creative Arts Agency said Friday that he was also resigning and that his name would be added to the letter, which seemed to contain a hidden political message beyond the ones stated openly. The first initials of the letter's six main paragraphs spell out "r-e-s-i-s-t."

Earlier this week, two business advisory councils were disbanded as members left in protest.

August 18, 2017

 Geopolitical uncertainty stalks markets after Spain attacks
Geopolitical uncertainty stalks markets after Spain attacks

An aversion to risk was evident in financial markets Friday after the attacks in Spain. Stock markets around the world were under pressure while traditional safe haven assets, such as gold, were in demand.

BARCELONA ATTACK: The source of the risk aversion gripping markets particularly in Europe was the attacks in Spain. On Friday, police shot and killed five people wearing fake bomb belts who staged a deadly car attack in Cambrils, a seaside resort in Spain's Catalonia region, just hours after a van plowed into pedestrians on a busy Barcelona promenade. Spanish authorities said the back-to-back vehicle attacks — as well as an explosion earlier this week in a house elsewhere in Catalonia — were related and the work of a large terrorist group. In total, 14 people were killed in the attacks, 13 in Barcelona and one in Cambrils.

ANALYST TAKE: "We're seeing risk aversion in the markets again on Friday, with the possibility of a self-inflicted crisis within Donald Trump's White House and another terror attack, this time in Barcelona, weighing on risk appetite," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at OANDA.

RISK: Risk aversion traditionally sees supposedly risky assets such as stocks come under pressure, while supposed safe havens, such as gold and the Swiss franc, garner support. The precious metal was up 0.7 percent at $1,300 an ounce.

ASIAN SCORECARD: Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 1.2 percent to close at 19,470.41 and South Korea's Kospi shed 0.1 percent to 2,358.37. Hong Kong's Hang Seng sank 1.1 percent to 27,047.57, while the Shanghai Composite index ended flat at 3,268.72. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.6 percent to 5,747.10.

CURRENCIES: The euro was up 0.2 percent at $1.1741 while the dollar fell 0.4 percent to 109.08 yen.

August 18, 2017

 11 US states added jobs in July
11 US states added jobs in July

Hiring increased in 11 U.S. states in July, while the unemployment rate tumbled to record lows in two states.

The jobs report for states reflects the steady job gains in a recovery from the Great Recession that has entered its ninth year. The overall unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent last month as employers added 209,000.

Several states saw strong job growth between June and July. California added 82,600 jobs. Florida gained 32,700. Pennsylvania saw hiring of 29,000.

North Dakota's unemployment rate fell to 2.2 percent, a record low. Tennessee's rate of 3.4 percent is also a record low for that state.

When unemployment drops that to that low level, businesses may be forced to raise pay to compete for talented workers. So far, wage gains nationwide remain at about 2.5 percent a year, below the 3.5 percent pace normally associated with a healthy economy. But inflation has stayed relatively low, so the wage growth is still leaving many workers better off

The unemployment rate fell by 1.4 percentage points in Indiana, Tennessee and Wyoming over the past year — the biggest declines in the country.

August 18, 2017

 Businesses offer stellar specials for total solar eclipse
Businesses offer stellar specials for total solar eclipse

Check out the list of businesses rolling out specials and savings.

The diner chain is offering $4 all-you-can-eat "moon cakes" on Monday, an eclipse-worthy take on their classic pancakes.

The doughnut shop announced on their site they will "eclipse" their original glazed doughnuts by covering the traditional treat in "a mouth-watering chocolate glaze." Customers can try the limited-time doughnut from August 19 to August 21.

"We love any excuse to celebrate with our fans," Maria Hokanson, American Dairy Queen Corporation's executive vice president of marketing, said in a statement. "What better way to watch the eclipse or enjoy the last lazy days of summer than with a Blizzard BOGO?"

The brand has a celestial body in its name, so the company is giving customers 15 percent off all online orders through August 21.

The airline is running five "celestial chaser" flights, which will pass through the path of totality. Passengers will receive commemorative swag, cosmic cocktails, and special viewing glasses to safely view the celestial event in-flight.

Who says veggies aren't out of this world? Produce purveyor Nature Sweet, which sells dark-colored eclipses tomatoes, is doing a telescope giveaway in honor of the solar eclipse. Friday is the final day to enter and a winner will be announced at the end of the day.

The West Coast creamery is offering an eclipse ice cream cone that boasts "otherworldly" flavors for foodies. It's a black charcoal waffle cone with edible gold and filled with marshmallow fluff and yellow ginger-spiced tumeric soft serve ice cream. The entire thing is topped with a Pop Rocks and black sesame magic shell and is available to customers at their flagship shop in Portland, Oregon until Monday.

A post shared by Salt & Straw Ice Cream (@saltandstraw) on Aug 17, 2017 at 6:07pm PDT

The online retailer is offering 20 percent off all eclipse-themed merchandise.

August 18, 2017

 11 US states added jobs in July
11 US states added jobs in July

Hiring increased in 11 U.S. states in July, while the unemployment rate tumbled to record lows in two states.

The jobs report for states reflects the steady job gains in a recovery from the Great Recession that has entered its ninth year. The overall unemployment rate fell to 4.3 percent last month as employers added 209,000.

Several states saw strong job growth between June and July. California added 82,600 jobs. Florida gained 32,700. Pennsylvania saw hiring of 29,000.

North Dakota's unemployment rate fell to 2.2 percent, a record low. Tennessee's rate of 3.4 percent is also a record low for that state.

When unemployment drops that to that low level, businesses may be forced to raise pay to compete for talented workers. So far, wage gains nationwide remain at about 2.5 percent a year, below the 3.5 percent pace normally associated with a healthy economy. But inflation has stayed relatively low, so the wage growth is still leaving many workers better off

The unemployment rate fell by 1.4 percentage points in Indiana, Tennessee and Wyoming over the past year — the biggest declines in the country.

August 18, 2017

 Businesses offer stellar specials for total solar eclipse
Businesses offer stellar specials for total solar eclipse

Check out the list of businesses rolling out specials and savings.

The diner chain is offering $4 all-you-can-eat "moon cakes" on Monday, an eclipse-worthy take on their classic pancakes.

The doughnut shop announced on their site they will "eclipse" their original glazed doughnuts by covering the traditional treat in "a mouth-watering chocolate glaze." Customers can try the limited-time doughnut from August 19 to August 21.

"We love any excuse to celebrate with our fans," Maria Hokanson, American Dairy Queen Corporation's executive vice president of marketing, said in a statement. "What better way to watch the eclipse or enjoy the last lazy days of summer than with a Blizzard BOGO?"

The brand has a celestial body in its name, so the company is giving customers 15 percent off all online orders through August 21.

The airline is running five "celestial chaser" flights, which will pass through the path of totality. Passengers will receive commemorative swag, cosmic cocktails, and special viewing glasses to safely view the celestial event in-flight.

Who says veggies aren't out of this world? Produce purveyor Nature Sweet, which sells dark-colored eclipses tomatoes, is doing a telescope giveaway in honor of the solar eclipse. Friday is the final day to enter and a winner will be announced at the end of the day.

The West Coast creamery is offering an eclipse ice cream cone that boasts "otherworldly" flavors for foodies. It's a black charcoal waffle cone with edible gold and filled with marshmallow fluff and yellow ginger-spiced tumeric soft serve ice cream. The entire thing is topped with a Pop Rocks and black sesame magic shell and is available to customers at their flagship shop in Portland, Oregon until Monday.

A post shared by Salt & Straw Ice Cream (@saltandstraw) on Aug 17, 2017 at 6:07pm PDT

The online retailer is offering 20 percent off all eclipse-themed merchandise.

August 18, 2017

 Eclipse weather forecast: Best in West, least in East
Eclipse weather forecast: Best in West, least in East

The National Weather Service also is optimistic about good viewing from St. Louis to Nashville. Meteorologist Mike Musher says overall about half the nation is likely to get favorable eclipse viewing weather.

August 18, 2017

 Tech companies continue efforts to banish extremist accounts
Tech companies continue efforts to banish extremist accounts

Tech companies' efforts to banish extremist groups and individuals are continuing as a social network popular with extremists disappeared from Google's Android app store.

Gab had already been unavailable in Apple's store, though it remains accessible on the web.

The banishments come in the wake of the deadly clash at a white-nationalist rally last weekend in Virginia. Civil rights advocates welcomed the moves, but say more needs to be done — and more should have been done earlier.

Here is a look at some of the technology services that have banned hate groups or have otherwise come out against white supremacists and their supporters:

Ahead of the rally, the housing booking service Airbnb barred rentals to people it believed were traveling to participate. The company said it used its existing background checks and "input from the community" to identify users who didn't align with its standards.

Facebook removed several groups and individuals from its service and Instagram for what it calls violations of terms banning hate speech. Groups included Vanguard America, Physical Removal and Genuine Donald Trump. The company uses a combination of artificial intelligence and human moderators to weed out groups, posts and people that violate its policies. Spokeswoman Ruchika Budhraja acknowledges this is a difficult task, as determining what is hate speech is more difficult than something like a beheading video or child pornography.

Twitter, meanwhile, appears to have suspended the account for neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer, though the company doesn't comment on individual accounts.

The Daily Stormer's publisher said he has been effectively "banned from the internet" after mocking the victim of a deadly car attack during the protests in Charlottesville. Andrew Anglin said by email he is "figuring out the next step" after four domain registration companies refused to service his site. GoDaddy and Google said earlier that the site violated their terms of service. After briefly reappearing under a Russian domain name, the site was again offline Wednesday after the security company Cloudflare Inc. dropped him as a customer, leaving the site vulnerable to hacking attacks.

Email marketing firm MailChimp said some groups had their accounts terminated after it changed its terms of service on Monday to exclude customers whose primary purpose was "inciting harm" or promoting "discriminatory, hateful, or harassing content." Squarespace, a website service company, said it had given certain groups 48 hours to leave "in light of recent events." Identity Evropa, a northern California hate group that helped organize participants in Charlottesville, tweeted Monday that it had lost service from MailChimp, Squarespace and PayPal.

PayPal has been removing payment accounts linked to known hate groups in the months leading up to Charlottesville, according to the company and a civil rights organization it was working with. For example, the account for the Daily Stormer was banned several months ago. In a blog post, the company said it "strives to navigate the balance between freedom of expression and open dialogue — and the limiting and closing of sites that accept payments or raise funds to promote hate, violence and intolerance."

Online fundraising sites GoFundMe and Patreon also banned people and canceled fundraisers associated with right-wing hate groups. GoFundMe confirmed that it removed "multiple campaigns" for James Fields, the driver accused of driving his car into protesters and killing a woman.

Dating site OKCupid tweeted that it had banned white nationalist Christopher Cantwell, saying "There is no room for hate in a place where you're looking for love."

Discover said Thursday that it is "in the process" of terminating the accounts of hate groups. The racial justice group Color of Change had called on the credit card company, along with American Express, Mastercard and Visa, to stop processing funds for hate groups.

Amex said most of the websites it was alerted to by activists already do not accept its credit cards. The company said it is "currently reviewing the other sites and will take the appropriate actions. We maintain the right to terminate any relationship that is harmful to our brand."

Mastercard said in a statement that it reviewed the websites "provided by civic leaders and others" and shut down the use of cards on sites it saw as inciting violence. At the same time, the company said it generally doesn't block cards "based on our disagreement with specific views espoused or promoted."

Visa issued a similar statement, saying that while it bans illegal transactions, it does not restrict "lawful expression of views, even if we may find the organization or its positions to be offensive."

21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch told friends in a personal email that he and his wife, Kathryn, will donate $1 million to the Anti-Defamation League.

American Airlines said it will donate $150,000 to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville.

Associated Press Writers Ryan Nakashima in San Francisco, Ken Sweet in New York and Matt O'Brien in Providence, Rhode Island, contributed to this story.

August 18, 2017

 Chasing eclipses across the globe is a way of life for some
Chasing eclipses across the globe is a way of life for some

Glenn Schneider has seen 33. Fred Espenak has watched 28. Donald Liebenberg has logged 26. For newbie Kate Russo, it's 10 and counting.

These veteran eclipse chasers spend lots of money and craft intricate plans all to experience another mid-day darkening of the sky. Many work in science and related fields and they'll travel around the world, even to Antarctica, to see one more.

"I do this not so much as an avocation, but as an addiction," said Schneider, a University of Arizona astronomer.

Russo, a psychologist in Ireland who wrote a book about people's eclipse experiences, said some people find the experience life-changing. That happened to her.

"Eclipse chasing isn't just a hobby or interest," Russo wrote in an email from Wyoming, where she traveled to see Monday's eclipse. "Eclipse chasing is a way of life. It becomes who you are."

Monday's eclipse will cut a 70-mile-wide (112 kilometer) path of totality across the country, when the moon moves between Earth and the sun, blocking it for as much as 2 ? minutes. It's the first coast-to-coast full eclipse since 1918. Many of the big eclipse chasers are planning to be in Oregon or Wyoming because there's a better chance of clear weather there in August. They'll be ready to drive hundreds of miles if need be to find good weather.

Total solar eclipses happen on average every 18 months or so, but they usually aren't near easy-to-drive highways. Norma Liebenberg has been to a dozen, mostly joining her avid eclipse watcher husband, Donald, in remote places like Libya, Zambia and Western China.

There's a compulsiveness to eclipse chasers, especially photographers, said Dr. Gordon Telepun, an Alabama plastic surgeon who has seen only three.

"It's very anxiety producing, it's very challenging," said Telepun, who even developed a talking phone app that times an eclipse so photographers don't miss anything. "It's an adrenaline rush man, I'm telling you."

Telepun said his hero is "Mr. Eclipse" Espenak, a retired NASA astrophysicist, who explains why chasers are the way they are.

"It's the closest any of us will come to being an astronaut and being in space," Espenak said.

Eclipse chasers say their first always hooks them.

Schneider, who got a telescope at age 5, planned out his first eclipse precisely. He was 14 in 1970 and he traveled from New York City to East Carolina University's stadium. He had choreographed how he was going to spend the 2 minutes 53 seconds of darkness. Then came the moment.

"I was frozen in place," he recalled. "I had binoculars around my neck for two and a half minutes and I never picked them up."

When it was over "I was shaking. I was crying. I was overwhelmed," he said. "It was at that instant when I said 'Yeah, this is what I'm going to do with the rest of my life'."

Now Schneider takes his grown daughter with him to eclipses. And he invented what he calls the "lug-o-scope," a telescope that folds into its own luggage to make his eclipse chasing easier.

"Flexibility is probably No. 1," Schneider said. "Keeping your options and open and be ready to take that option if that's what's needed."

A veteran of 28 eclipses, Espenak often leads groups of 50 some people to view eclipses, lecturing both about the beauty and the science. Except when the hour grows close and the skies get dark, he goes silent.

Donald Liebenberg has seen and blogged about his 26 eclipses for Clemson University, where he does research. He holds the record for most time in totality because the retired federal scientist used to view them by airplane whenever possible. In 1973, he convinced the French to let him use the supersonic Concorde for eclipse viewing and he flew at twice the speed of sound. He got 74 minutes of eclipse time in that one flight.

After spending more than 60 years flying around the world, this time the Liebenbergs are only going as far as their driveway.

This eclipse is coming directly to them in South Carolina.

Follow AP's coverage of the total solar eclipse here

Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter at @borenbears . His work can be found here .

This version corrects the profession of Glenn Schneider. He is an astronomer, not an astronomy professor.

August 18, 2017

 Science Says: DNA test results may not change health habits
Science Says: DNA test results may not change health habits

If you learned your DNA made you more susceptible to getting a disease, wouldn't you work to stay healthy?

DNA testing for disease risk has recently expanded in the U.S. The company 23andMe recently started selling the nation's first approved direct-to-consumer DNA tests that evaluate the buyer's genetic risk for certain disease or conditions. That go-ahead came in April, about three years after it was told to stop selling such kits until it got the OK from regulators.

The field also gained a new entrant in July, when a company called Helix launched an online marketplace for DNA tests, including some for genetic health risk. Helix decodes a consumer's DNA and passes the results along to another company for analysis. A request for the currently available health tests must be approved by a physician's group that reviews the customer's medical history.

DNA tests for diseases typically assess genetic predisposition to getting sick. They don't provide absolute predictions about whether or not a disease will strike. Genetic risk is only part of a person's overall risk, which includes influence from other things like a person's lifestyle.

While some disease are caused by a single malfunctioning gene, more common illnesses are influenced by multiple genes, and often each gene nudges a person's risk only slightly.

A 23andMe test that includes ancestry and other information goes for $199. Helix's decoding costs $80, while the currently available health-risk analyses cost $150 and $125. Both companies use a saliva sample for the test.

Last year, researchers published an analysis that combined 18 studies of people who got doctor-ordered DNA test results about disease risks. None involved direct-to-consumer tests; participants were drawn mostly from medical clinics or elsewhere. Eight of the 18 studies were done in the United States.

The result? Getting the DNA information produced no significant effect on diet, physical activity, drinking alcohol, quitting smoking, sun protection or attendance at disease-screening programs.

That fits with other results showing that, on balance, getting the information "has little if any impact on changing routine or habitual behaviors," said psychologist Theresa Marteau of Britain's Cambridge University, a study author.

In an interview, Dr. James Lu, a co-founder of Helix, agreed that the evidence on whether people change their lifestyles in response to DNA information is mixed. But he said it's more likely if they get the right information, education and support.

"We're learning a lot as the field evolves," Lu said.

"It was a kick in the pants," Collins explained. "It was an opportunity to wake up and say, maybe I'm not going to be immortal and maybe there are things I am doing to myself that aren't healthy that I ought to change."

Dr. Robert C. Green of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, whose research indicates DNA test results can change health behavior, said cases like Collins are just the point.

It's very hard to get people to improve health habits, and even when they do, it's hard for researchers to prove that DNA test results were responsible, he said. So it's no surprise that evidence favoring an effect is limited, he said.

"It doesn't necessarily mean that it doesn't help some people," said Green, who's also a scientific adviser to several companies involved in genetic testing.

He and co-authors in May reported evidence that simply going through the process of DNA testing may slightly improve diet and exercise, regardless of what the results reveal. Maybe the experience serves to remind and motivate people about beneficial health behaviors, the authors said.

Green also said that people seek such results for a number of reasons, including simple curiosity, so the value of DNA testing should not be judged simply by whether it changes health behavior.

"I think people have a right to this information," he said.

Follow Malcolm Ritter at @MalcolmRitter . His recent work can be found here.

August 18, 2017

 US post offices in path of eclipse offer special postmarks
US post offices in path of eclipse offer special postmarks

Spokesman Mark Saunders says the postmarks will be unique in some locations, while most will use one designed by the national office. He says some post offices are using the special postmark only on Monday but others are also using it before and after the eclipse.

The post office earlier issued a heat-sensitive eclipse stamp. A touch of the finger transforms the image of a solar eclipse into the moon.

August 18, 2017

 NASA launches last of its longtime tracking satellites
NASA launches last of its longtime tracking satellites

NASA launched the last of its longtime tracking and communication satellites on Friday, a vital link to astronauts in orbit as well as the Hubble Space Telescope.

The end of the era came with a morning liftoff of TDRS-M, the 13th satellite in the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite network . It rode to orbit aboard an unmanned Atlas V rocket. There were handshakes all around two hours later, when the satellite successfully separated from the rocket's upper stage.

"''We're going to really celebrate this one," said launch director Tim Dunn.

"It's like our baby," said NASA's Badri Younes, deputy associate administrator for space communications and navigation.

"People have invested their soul and their sweat into making it happen" over the decades, Younes said on the eve of launch. "This spacecraft has served us so well."

This latest flight from Cape Canaveral was delayed two weeks after a crane hit one of the satellite's antennas last month. Satellite maker Boeing replaced the damaged antenna and took corrective action to prevent future accidents. Worker error was blamed.

TDRS-M is third generation. NASA's next-generation tracking network will rely on lasers. This more advanced and robust method of relaying data was demonstrated a few years ago during the moon-orbiting mission LADEE. NASA hopes to start launching these high-tech satellites by 2024. Until then, the space agency will rely on the current network.

NASA needs seven active TDRS satellites at any given time, six for real-time support and one as a spare. The newest one will remain in reserve, until needed to replace aging craft.

August 18, 2017