ON THIS DAY
On this date in 1914, the Germans occupied Brussels.
In 1918, during World War I, Britain opened its offensive on the Western front.
On this date in 1920, America's first commercial radio station began broadcasting in Detroit.
In 1953, The Soviet Union publicly admitted they had detonated a hydrogen bomb.
NBC weather guy Al Roker celebrates #55, The voice of Led Zeppelin, Robert Plant, hits the big 6-0 today.
THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Don Hewitt, the creator of the CBS News magazine "60 Minutes," died Wednesday of pancreatic cancer. He was 86.
- The Black Eyed Peas just made history on the Billboard charts, topping the Hot 100 singles charts for 20 consecutive weeks, the most ever by an act. "Boom Boom Pow" and the song that dislodged it, "I Gotta Feeling," have been at the top of the charts for 12 and eight weeks, respectively.
- British botanists have discovered a plant in the mountains of the Philippines that captures and eats rats.
- Researchers say that popcorn and other whole grain snack foods and cereals contain high amounts of antioxidants that are usually associated with fruits and vegetables.
- Robin Wright Penn has filed for divorce from husband Sean Penn.
- Britney Spears did Letterman's Top Ten List bit the other night wearing a bikini. The topic -- Top ten ways the world would be different if Britney Spears was president.
- Nicole Kidman will make an appearance on tonight's "Project Runway: All Star Challenge!"
- An Internet gambling site has named Aaron Carter the 3-1 favorite to win the next round of "Dancing with the Stars." The long shot? Tom Delay, at 25-1.
- There will be a 40th anniversary of Monty Python at the Ziegfield Theater in New York this October. John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and even the late Graham Chapman will be there.
- Spike Lee is going to throw a free block party in Brooklyn on August 29 in honor of Michael Jackson.
- A 30-year-old performer at Disney World is dead after rehearsing for a stunt show. That makes the third worker to die in the last seven weeks at the Orlando park.
- Scientists researching the death of Mozart say that the legendary composer may have died from kidney failure, the result of strep throat.
- The new drummer for the Smashing Pumpkins is just 19 years old.
- Hollywood's latest odd couple: 56-year-old Jeff Goldblum and 21-year-old actress Tania Raymonde, who you last saw as Ben's daughter in "Lost."
- Weeks after breaking up, Kim Kardashian and Reggie Bush have been spotted together.
(Netscape) America's favorite TV dad is Cliff Huxtable of "The Cosby Show," according to an annual Harris Poll. Ward Cleaver of "Leave It to Beaver" and Jim Anderson of "Father Knows Best" round out the top three. The top 15 favorite TV dads:
- Cliff Huxtable of "The Cosby Show"
- Ward Cleaver of "Leave It to Beaver"
- Jim Anderson of "Father Knows Best"
- Andy Taylor of "The Andy Griffith Show"
- Ozzie Nelson of "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet"
- Mike Brady of "The Brady Bunch"
- Howard "Mr. C" Cunningham of "Happy Days"
- "Pa" Charles Ingalls of "Little House on the Prairie"
- Ben Cartwright of "Bonanza"
- Tim Taylor of "Home Improvement"
- Danny Tanner of "Full House"
- Archie Bunker of "All in the Family"
- Steve Douglas of "My Three Sons"
- Homer Simpson of "The Simpsons" and Al Bundy of "Married with Children" tied for #15.
Only those 64 and up did not choose Cliff Huxtable as their favorite TV dad; they preferred Jim Anderson. Only one television dad on the list is currently on prime-time television: Homer Simpson. Of the top 15 television dads, seven of them are from shows that originally aired in the 1950s or 1960s, while two were set in the 1950s or earlier.
Here's a relationship check: Analyze your instant messages. Your IM word choices can reflect relationship satisfaction, according to a study in Personal Relationships. Researchers analyzed 10 days' worth of IM conversations between 68 couples. The more the women used "I," the more satisfied both parties were. But the more the men used "me" or "you," the less happy both were. The use of "we" indicated nothing about satisfaction. Frequent use of "I" may be a signal that people are able to talk openly about themselves with their mates, says study author Richard Slatcher, Ph.D. "You" can indicate accusations, he says, and excessive sarcasm can also be a warning sign. To express satisfaction, use words like "happy," "excited," and "great." (Men's Health)
Family Circle reports on back to school:
- Half of all parents of K-12 students have had an argument with their kids over homework in the last year that involved yelling or tears; a third said such meltdowns occurred repeatedly.
- Many parents feel they're being held responsible for their kids' education, instead of teachers and schools and they resent it.
- The amount of time kids spend reading for fun declines sharply after age 8. The number one reason given by parents is too much homework.
- All those long homework assignments are exhausting, especially for middle and high schoolers: 22% of teens say they're so tired they fall asleep while studying, and 28% say they nod off in the classroom.
Personal Shopper recently surveyed two-thousand parents to find out their take on back-to-school shopping. Here's a look at the results:
- 64% say back-to-school shopping is time-consuming or stressful
- 20% dread back-to-school shopping
- 61% find sticking to their budget to be the biggest challenge of back-to-school shopping
- 70% say quote, "getting deals on the items both they and their kids want" would make the experience more enjoyable
- 29% say they have to keep their kids focused on buying the things they need to go back to school
- 20% go to the mall more than once or visit than one store to buy necessary items
- 18% don't have enough time to finish back-to-school shopping
- 17% argue with their children while shopping
- 15% can't find the brands their children want
Percentage of parents surveyed who find back-to-school shopping worse than the following activities:
- 21% - sitting in traffic
- 20% - doing laundry
- 12% - visiting their in-laws
- 12% - cleaning their homes
- 11% - helping their kids with their homework
- 10% - paying their bills
- 9% - working longer hours
- 8% - doing taxes
- 7% - going to the dentist
Within five to seven years, both cash and credit cards and the purse or wallet you carry them in will be things of the past, a panel of banking experts predicts. They'll be replaced by "smart" chips installed in your mobile phone, watch or other similar device. Pilot projects to test the devices are already underway in Hong Kong and Singapore. So far, they only cover low cost transactions, like buying a soda or chocolate bar, but it's just a small step to extend the program to include big ticket items. "Whereas we now have a wallet and a purse, it will be a chip in your phone or your watch or something like that as your access," says Greg Connor, an Australian banking executive involved in the experiment. "The access to credit is still going to be there, but you don't need the card because that's really only a means of identification." (Sun)
Maybe we do need John Conner. Robots with superhuman strength are being tested at the University of Texas and the University of British Columbia. The mechanical men have a layer of artificial muscle stretched over their metal frames. The gel-like substance is made of microscopic carbon nanotubes and can flex in milliseconds when charged with a small jolt of electricity. In their flexed state, the muscles are many times stronger than steel. Apart from creating super strong robots that can lift thousands of pounds, the muscles will have applications in human transplants and bionic limbs. (Sun)