Tattoo parlor owners must be salivating. An assertion in a Minneapolis Star Tribune article that our understanding of the zodiac is off by about a month - and that therefore people have been identifying themselves with the wrong sign - caught fire on the internet Thursday, and many folks are in an absolute panic on social media.
"If my zodiac symbol has been changed to a Libra, what am I supposed to do with my Scorpio tattoo?!?!," read one tweet Thursday.
Some vowed to get their tats removed. Others groaned about losing the sign with which they’ve identified themselves for years. The zodiac and related terms - including Ophiuchus, said to be a 13th and neglected sign - were trending Twitter topics much of Thursday.
But before astrology fans scrape the ink from their arms because they think they're now a Virgo instead of a Libra, they should consider this: If they adhered to the tropical zodiac - which, if they're a Westerner, they probably did - absolutely nothing has changed for them.
That's worth rephrasing: If you considered yourself a Cancer under the tropical zodiac last week, you're still a Cancer under the same zodiac this week.
For months, Jared Lee Loughner creeped out classmates and teachers with his odd behavior.
As a student at Aztec Middle College in Tucson, Arizona, Loughner was prone to sudden outbursts in class, teachers said. He'd ask "incoherent" questions and make inappropriate comments.
Other times, he would just stare into space.
"He had an intense stare, but he usually didn't stare at other people," said Kent Slinker, who taught an "Intro to Logic" class attended by Loughner. "He would have a focused stare some place else in the room, and almost as if he was viewing another scene or intensely thinking about something."
Loughner often spoke out of turn and asked questions unrelated to the class topic, leading Slinker to assume the student had Tourette Syndrome.
"I was never able to talk to him on a one-to-one basis and I did worry about him a lot," he said. "I do recall thinking I hope his parents know what's going on and that they have a handle on things."
Loughner was arrested in Saturday's shooting at a constituents gathering held by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in front of a Tucson Safeway grocery store. Six people died and more than a dozen were wounded. Federal authorities have charged Loughner with first-degree murder, attempted murder counts and attempting to kill a member of Congress, counts that involve shooting federal employees. State prosecutors also could bring charges related to other victims.
Interviews with friends and former teachers and classmates provide a glimpse of how he appeared in public - a little off, but not necessarily threatening. Background checks reveal brushes with the law that alone did not set off any alarm bells, a law enforcement official told CNN. He was also suspended from community college in September with the understanding that he could return if he obtained a clean bill of mental health from a doctor, school officials said.
On their own, the incidents prompted as much action as school officials or law enforcement felt necessary, given the cirumstances. Whether anyone ever put them all together remains unclear.
Stocks end lower, Intel posts best quarter
Investors took a step back Thursday, with stocks ending lower ahead of Intel's blockbuster earnings.
The Dow Jones industrial average, lost 23.54 points, or 0.2% to close at 11,731.90 according to preliminary figures. The S&P 500 slipped 2 points, or 0.2%, ending the day at 1,283.76, and the Nasdaq fell 2 points, or 0.1%, closing at 2,735.29.
After the bell, Intel reported the best fourth-quarter earnings in company history. The company posted earnings per share of 59 cents.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had forecast earnings of 53 cents per share. Revenue for the Santa Clara, Calif., company rose 3% over the previous year to $11.5 billion, topping analysts' forecasts of $11.37 billion.
Former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole is back on the mend after three stays in various hospitals for an infection that led to a fever.
"I want my friends to know I've left Walter Reed Army Medical Center," Dole said in a prepared statement on Thursday. "I appreciate the great care I've received from the outstanding men and women at Walter Reed. I feel a whole lot better after being treated for a minor infection."
Dole, who was the GOP nominee for president in 1996 and served 27 years
as a senator from Kansas, was admitted to Walter Reed for an elevated
temperature last week. He was released later in the week only to head back to George Washington University hospital for a check-up on Friday, and then was admitted to Walter Reed later that night.
The 87-year-old Dole vows to get back to work at Alston & Bird, an Atlanta-based law firm that has a large lobbying office in Washington.
"I'm excited to get back to work tomorrow and to be joining my new colleague at Alston & Bird, Earl Pomeroy, he said. "It's going to be a different Congress and different players on each side of the aisle."
A roundup of today's CNNMoney news:
Digging for gold – 2 miles down (video): With gold selling near record highs of $1,400 an ounce, demand has never been higher - and that means big profits for the companies who drill and blast it out of the ground. An exclusive look inside one of the biggest gold mines in the country in rural Nevada.
My 3-year-old got a credit card offer: When a CNNMoney writer's 3-year-old daughter received a credit card offer in the mail, she laughed at first. Then she pondered the financial implications.
5 states where jobs are getting worse: States like Nevada and Colorado have seen their unemployment rates skyrocket. Here's why, and what they're doing about it.
Verizon scraps ‘new every two’ credit: Verizon Wireless customers will generally no longer be able to get credits of $30 to $100 off the already-discounted price of a new phone, starting January 16. Current Verizon customers who are eligible for the credit still will be able to use them toward Verizon iPhones when they go on sale next month.
IBM’s Jeopardy computer: Watson, which takes its name from the surname of IBM founder Thomas J., is a computing system that aims to "understand" language as humans naturally speak it. And that's no easy feat! But in a 15-question round, Watson fielded about half the questions - and got none wrong.
Former NFL star and Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor, initially charged last year with raping a 16-year-old girl, has pleaded guilty to lesser charges in a deal in which he'll avoid jail time, according to the district attorney's office in Rockland County, New York.
Taylor pleaded guilty Thursday afternoon to sexual misconduct and soliciting a prostitute. He is expected to be sentenced March 22 to six years probation - with sex offender conditions - and ordered to pay a fine of $2,000, according to the district attorney's office.
Taylor was arrested in a Ramapo, New York, Holiday Inn room on May 6, accused of having sex with a 16-year-old Bronx runaway a few hours earlier in exchange for $300.
Taylor initially was indicted on charges of rape in the third degree, criminal sexual acts, sexual abuse, endangering the welfare of a child and patronizing a prostitute.
Taylor was a 10-time all-pro linebacker for the New York Giants from 1981 to 1993 after earning All-American honors at the University of North Carolina. He played on two Super Bowl champion teams.
The catastrophic weather events taking place across the globe – from Brazil’s and Australia’s flooding to the Eastern United States’ heavy snowfall – have two likely explanations.
Tony Barnston, lead forecaster at Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society, said two phenomena – La Niña and the North Atlantic Oscillation – are likely responsible for the patterns we’re seeing.
Though La Niña is different every time, it can be simply defined as a drop in water temperature in the eastern and central tropical Pacific Ocean. This particular La Niña appeared in July, Barnston said, and will last through spring.
During La Niña, there is less rainfall in the tropical Pacific and a horseshoe pattern of warm water typically forms in the North Pacific, the coast of Southeast Asia and the seas around Indonesia and Australia (check out the graphic above).
In this case, though, “the whole globe looks to be compensating,” Barnston said, noting that it’s difficult to determine if La Niña spawns individual weather events.
Police believe they may have found a black bag that caused an argument between Arizona shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner and his father hours before Loughner allegedly shot 19 people, killing six and wounding 13, authorities said Thursday.
A teenager out walking his dog found the bag in a "wash," or dried river bed, on Thursday morning, and turned it over to a neighbor, who called police, Pima County Sheriff's Department Capt. Chris Nanos said. The bag was found near where Loughner's family lives, he said.
On Wednesday, Richard Kastigar, bureau chief for the sheriff's department, said investigators were looking for a black bag Loughner was carrying early Saturday when he had a brief discussion with his father, Randy Loughner, in the Loughners' front yard.FULL STORY
While space shuttle commander Mark Kelly oversees his wife's recovery after she was shot Saturday, NASA named a backup commander for the final space shuttle mission Thursday.
Astronaut Rick Sturckow will serve as a backup commander for the mission so the crew and support teams can continue training, NASA said.
Kelly's wife is U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically wounded in a shooting Saturday in Tucson, Arizona.
Want to find the sweetest citrus in the orchard? Ask a baboon.
A group of baboons in South Africa is being credited with sniffing out a new, sweeter variety of orange.
Alwyn van der Merwe, production director of ALG Estates near Citrusdal, South Africa, said the farm noticed that baboons that come down to the farm from nearby mountains each year always went to feed from a particular tree among the thousands in the orchards. The animals stripped the tree clean of fruit well before others in the orchard were in season, he said.
"At closer inspection we discovered that the brix [sweetness grade] of this particular minneola, a soft citrus variety, was much higher than the rest of the orchard and that it started bearing fruit at least three weeks earlier than expected," van der Merwe said, according to a report in the Mail & Guardian newspaper.
For the first time since March 3, Duke came up short Wednesday night.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski's No. 1 Blue Devils lost 66-61 to unranked Florida State after 25 consecutive wins, 16 of them this season. But, as SI.com's Luke Winn relates, Coach K was not surprised that his team's streak came to an end with point guard Kyrie Irving out of the lineup since early December.
"I've said all along that we're not a great team since Kyrie's injury," Krzyzewski said, "but we've got a chance to be a good team, and we have to learn what this team can do."
Since the star freshman was sidelined with a toe injury, the Blue Devils have looked more and more vulnerable. They may still be the best in the ACC, but tournament time could be another story.
Their matchup with the Seminoles was their first true road test after easy nonconference victories over Kansas State and Oregon.
With Duke's winning streak coming to an end, who should move up the ranks to take the No. 1 spot in the next AP Top 25 poll? The two likely candidates appear to be Ohio State (with wins over Florida and Florida State) or Kansas (with wins over Cal and Michigan).
Up tonight: pro and college hoops. (All times Eastern.)
Miami Heat at Denver Nuggets (10:30 p.m., ESPN)
In the midst of Carmelo Anthony's uncertain future with Denver, the Nuggets will take on a possibly LeBron James-less Heat at the Pepsi Center.
No. 8 Purdue at Minnesota (7 p.m., ESPN)
The Boilermakers are looking for their first 5-0 Big Ten start since the 1989-90 season.
By the Numbers
62: Number of games football coach Les Miles has won at LSU. Miles recently signed a seven-year contract extension after talk (again) of a possible move to Michigan.
5: Number of candidates the Denver Broncos have expressed interest in for their head coaching position.
$3.4 million: Value of outfielder Ryan Raburn's new two-year contract with the Detroit Tigers.
A former commanding officer of the USS Enterprise has had his scheduled retirement delayed pending the Navy investigation into inappropriate videos made on board the ship in 2006 and 2007, a Navy spokesman said Thursday.
"This is a prudent and necessary step as the investigation continues," said Rear Adm. Dennis Moynihan, chief of Navy information.
Rear Adm. Lawrence Rice had been scheduled to retire on February 1. He was the senior officer on board Enterprise during at least some of the time Capt. Owens Honors was the number two officer. Honors was responsible for the raunchy videos, officials have said.
Honors had become the commanding officer of the Enterprise, but was relieved of duty this month when the videos came to light inside the Navy.
After serving on the Enterprise, Rice moved to Joint Forces Command, where he was until recently being reassigned to the Navy Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia, pending conclusion of the investigation.FULL STORY
Ontario authorities have filed first-degree murder charges against a 44-year-old man accused of running down and killing a Toronto police officer with a snow plow on Wednesday.
Richard Esber Kachkar stole a truck equipped with a snow plow in downtown Toronto and then went on a two-hour rampage through city streets, police said.
Toronto police Sgt. Ryan Russell was struck by the truck driven by Kachkar and was pronounced dead after arriving at a local hospital, police said.
Police Chief Bill Blair said authorities were able to bring charges quickly because of information from the video camera in Russell’s cruiser and the cooperation of witnesses.
Kachkar also faces two counts of attempted murder related to the incident. He is recovering in a Toronto hospital from a gunshot wound suffered when police opened fire on the plow truck, according to CNN affiliate CTV.
They described it as "a miracle."
Shot in the head less than a week ago, U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords opened her eyes briefly for the first time Wednesday, with her husband, her parents and other members of Congress in the room.
"It was extraordinary," said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, who was holding Giffords' hand at the time. "It was a miracle to witness."FULL STORY
If you find thunderstorms scary, here's one more thing to think about: Scientists say some big boomers create antimatter.
Certain lightning flashes produce terrestrial gamma ray flashes, which indicate the presence of antimatter, said Michael Briggs, a member of the Gamma-ray Burst Monitor team at the University of Alabama at Huntsville. The team works with NASA's space-based Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope.
Strong electrical fields near the top of a storm blast electrons upward a NASA article explains. When they're deflected by air molecules, the electrons emit gamma rays, the highest-energy form of light.
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino lifted a city snow emergency Thursday, one day after blizzard conditions pounded the city and created hazardous travel conditions across New England.
Hundreds of schools remained closed in Massachusetts as crews continued to clear snow and to salt icy roadways, according to state Emergency Management spokesman Peter Judge.
The state's 250 National Guardsmen - who were mobilized as a precautionary measure on Wednesday - were relieved from duty by Thursday morning, Judge said.FULL STORY
Mewbourne commands the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise as it leaves Norfolk Naval Station, Virginia, on Thursday on a deployment to the Arabian Sea.
Mewbourne took command of the carrier earlier this month after raunchy videos made under the watch of Capt. Owen Honors’ were made public.
The Enterprise is the third carrier Mewbourne has commanded, following the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the USS Abraham Lincoln. Before taking command of the Enterprise, Mewbourne was chief of staff of Navy Cyber Forces. He is a native of Ormond Beach, Florida, a 1982 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a naval aviator.
Mewbourne commanded the Eisenhower during two combat tours and said the Enterprise was prepared for its newest mission.
"It is clear Team Enterprise is trained and ready to accomplish the missions that lay ahead. I am honored to be joining such a professional crew and to be a part of the legacy and heritage of Enterprise," Mewbourne said in a Navy release before the deployment.
The Enterprise is the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the Navy’s second-oldest active ship. More than 5,000 sailors and air crew serve aboard the ship.
Italian police supported by the European Police Agency arrested 26 people this week suspected of smuggling thousands of illegal immigrants from Afghanistan into Europe.
The smuggling network was responsible for transporting about 200 hundreds migrants a month since August 2008, according to a news release from Europol. Twenty percent of those moved through the network were children, the police agency said.
The migrants were first moved through Pakistan, Iran and Turkey into Greece, the agency said. From there, they went through Albania, Croatia, Slovenia, Montenegro or Bosnia into Rome for transport northward. Most went to the United Kingdom, Norway and Sweden. The migrants could spend from days to weeks in transit, depending upon circumstances.
Migrants paid anywhere from $4,600 to $6,600 for the trip. Money was moved through the system using the “hawala” money transfer network that operates outside of normal banking channels, Europol said.
Most of the 26 arrests were made in Italy, but others were taken into custody in France and Germany, Europol said.
Italy's Constitutional Court Thursday struck down key parts of a law that would protect Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi from prosecution.
The law was designed to halt criminal proceedings against top government officials for 18 months on the grounds that they are too busy to appear in court.
But Italy's top court ruled that 18 months is too long, and that judges, not politicians, should be the ones to determine if a defendant is free to appear in court.