Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
Surging mercury and power outages because of storms have combined forces to make many readers miserable.
With temperatures around 107 degrees in Nashville, iReporter Holly Coons tried to bake cookies in the car.
"I actually burned my hand when I grabbed the cookie sheet out of the car," she says, adding that she considers the hourlong experiment a success. "I would have made a bigger batch if I knew they were going to turn out so good."
In South Charleston, West Virginia, Eddie Harmon has been without power for days. He's unemployed and trying to stay cool as much as he can; his wife and the couple's younger daughter slept in the car last night. Another daughter is staying with her grandmother, who has a generator. At 6 feet 5 inches, Harmon has to try to sleep in the house.
"It is very hard to sleep," he says. "I’m doing the best I can with it. I’m probably getting anywhere from five to three hours of sleep and not until 5 in the morning when the house finally cools off."
He recorded a video the day after losing power, in which he shares his tips for coping with the heat.
Several CNN.com readers also joined the conversation about temperatures and energy stability.
For some, a short time without power was enough to have them concerned. The following reader said they had made several calls to their electrical service provider in the hopes of getting information, but it was very difficult. They also said Santa might be bringing them a generator this year.
RabbitMan196: "I live in Virginia and was without power for three days. I have an electric well (no manual capability yet - will be rectified VERY soon) so no power means no water. I drove 50 miles on Saturday looking for ice. I think I now know what the end of the world (at least in America) will look like: thousands of folks driving in their air-conditioned cars, clogging gas stations and looking for ice."
But others said we need to be more resilient without power.
Lovemypitbulls: "We are so reliant on computers and electricity that we freak out when we lose them. That gas station in Silver Spring could still sell ice and food. People shouldn't go without because electric cash registers aren't working. Pen and paper will get the job done; it'll just mean a little more work for the owner when the power finally comes back."
Some people are very miserable. FULL POST
Thousands of Internet jokesters are on the cusp of sending Miami recording artist Pitbull to a far-flung land of grizzlies, salmon and crab.
Pitbull, in a promotion by Walmart and Energy Sheets tongue strips, agreed to visit the U.S. Walmart store that receives the most “likes” on its local Facebook page in a 28-day period that ends July 15.
As of Tuesday afternoon, the leader was a Walmart in Kodiak, Alaska, with more than 48,500 likes - roughly eight times its population of about 6,000 people - Walmart spokeswoman Sarah Spencer said Tuesday.
A blogger caught wind of the contest and mischievously suggested last week that the Internet should bind together and send the Miami artist to Kodiak - one of Walmart’s most remote locations – according to FUEL Partnerships, a marketing company involved in the promotion. The call to action spread, including on Twitter with the hashtag #ExilePitbull.
Self-proclaimed "rednecks" gather across the country to enjoy some fun in the mud and we've captured them on video. Watch as some swim in a mud pit, hurl hubcaps and compete in beer-related contests. One woman states "what makes it so fun is that it's a bunch of rednecks getting along."
The "Redneck Resort Mud Park" in Tennessee promises a good time for those who don't mind getting dirty. WVLT reports.
Annual Redneck Games are held in East Dublin, Georgia. Mud pit bellyflops and hubcap hurls are among the games played.
Hundreds came out for toilet seat horseshoes and pigs feet bobbing in one town's alternative Olympics. WCSH reports.
With wildly high temperatures, wicked weather and wildfires across the country, there are more warnings than usual posted about fireworks safety this year. In addition to harming themselves, people are also in danger of lighting up their entire neighborhoods.
"What people don’t realize is while they’re setting off fireworks and sparklers in this hot, dry heat or wind, that fires can move very quickly, putting their neighborhood directly in threat," said Mike Apicello, a spokesman for the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho.
"Look for open, wide spaces to ignite fireworks, and stay away from fire fuels such as grass, which in this type of heat, cure out really fast. And with the high winds, all it takes is an ignition, even in an urban environment. A bottle rocket on a shake roof would ignite a fire very rapidly.
"Our fire resources are going to be very busy across the nation this July Fourth, so please use caution," he said.
In the event of high winds, drifting embers can easily start a fire, so if it's too windy for you to safely ignite, it's best to set the sparklers aside for another day.
Apicello advises checking locally before you do anything, adding that fireworks are not allowed in national parks.
After all, fireworks aren't legal everywhere. CNN Radio reports in this podcast about where you can and can't ignite them.
Each year, more than 100 fireworks-related injuries are reported to hospitals, according to the National Council on Fireworks Safety.
Last year alone, 65% of those injuries happened, not surprisingly, during the 30 days around the Fourth of July, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reported.
Actor Andy Griffith, the friendly face who played across people's living rooms as Sheriff Andy Taylor on "The Andy Griffith Show" and Ben Matlock on "Matlock," has died at the age of 86, Sheriff J.D. "Doug" Doughtie of Dare County, North Carolina, said Tuesday.
Did he bring a smile to your face or warmth to your heart? Did you get to meet him? Share your images of you meeting Griffith or send us a fan video with your ode to the actor on CNN iReport. The best stories could be part of CNN's coverage.
Here's a look at Griffith's timeline and body of work:
■ Name: Andrew Samuel Griffith
■ Birth date: June 1, 1926
■ Birth place: Mount Airy, North Carolina
■ Parents: Carl Lee, a carpenter, and Geneva (Nunn) Griffith
■ Marriages: Cindi (Knight) Griffith (1983 – present)
Solica Cassuto (1973 – 1981, divorced)
Barbara Edwards (1949 – 1972, divorced)
■ Children: Adopted with Edwards: Andrew Samuel Jr. (1957 – 1996)
Dixie Nan (1960)
■ Education: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, B.A., 1949
■ 1960 – 1968: Star of "The Andy Griffith Show" as Sheriff Andy Taylor
■ 1986 – 1995: Plays seersucker suit-wearing lawyer Ben Matlock in "Matlock"
■ Emmy, Grammy and People's Choice Award winner
■ The town Mayberry in "The Andy Griffith Show" is based on Mount Airy, North Carolina, Griffith's hometown.
■ In 1983, Griffith is stricken with Guillain-Barre syndrome and is partially paralyzed, but mostly recovers after rehabilitation.
■ In 2000, he suffers a heart attack and undergoes quadruple bypass surgery.
Pakistan has decided to re-open supply routes that the United States and its allies have used to supply their troops in Afghanistan, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Tuesday.
Pakistan shut down the supply routes - stretching from Afghanistan through the lawless western tribal regions of Pakistan and down to the southern port of Karachi - last November after dozens of its troops were killed in a mistaken U.S. airstrike. Clinton said Tuesday she offered her "deepest regrets" to Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar for the "tragic incident."
"This is a tangible demonstration of Pakistan’s support for a secure, peaceful, and prosperous Afghanistan and our shared objectives in the region," Clinton said. "This will also help the United States and ISAF conduct the planned drawdown at a much lower cost. This is critically important to the men and women who are fighting terrorism and extremism in Afghanistan."
The routes offer a shorter and more direct route than the one NATO has been using since November that goes through Russia and other nations and avoids Pakistan altogether. The supply route will take on more significance as NATO troops prepare to depart Afghanistan by 2014 and will have to move heavy equipment and supplies out of Afghanistan for shipment from Karachi.
Actor Andy Griffith, the man who played folksy Sheriff Andy Taylor in the fictional town of Mayberry, has died at the age of 86, Sheriff J.D. "Doug" Doughtie of Dare County, North Carolina, said Tuesday.
Griffith died at about 7 a.m. at his home on Roanoke Island, the sheriff said in a statement. The statement did not provide a cause of death.
Best known for his role on "The Andy Griffith Show," the actor also starred as a murder-solving Southern attorney in the television series "Matlock" during the 1980s and 1990s. He was also known for his roles in movies and on the stage, as a producer and as a Grammy Award-winning gospel singer.
Ron Howard, who played Taylor's son, Opie Taylor, on "The Andy Griffith Show," said he is "forever grateful" to the actor.
"His pursuit of excellence and the joy he took in creating served generations & shaped my life," Howard said on Twitter.FULL STORY
An American student is in critical condition after undergoing two operations after chimpanzees tore apart his body in front of tourists at a South African animal sanctuary, a hospital spokeswoman told CNN on Tuesday.
Andrew Oberle, a primatology student from University of Texas at San Antonio, was being treated at a Johannesburg hospital after two chimps attacked him Thursday, spokeswoman Robyn Baard said.
Oberle had been at the Jane Goodall Institute's Chimp Eden since May, according to Eugene Cussons, the facility's managing director. Oberle was at the sanctuary, near Nelspruit, South Africa, for the second time after training and volunteering there in 2010. His training included an explanation about "no-go" areas - spaces for animals where people are not supposed to go.
Witnesses to the attack said that Oberle went into a no-go area because he seemed to want to remove a stone close to one of the animals that could have been picked up and thrown around, Cussons told CNN.
Oberle crossed one barrier and approached a second one, which is a main fence with 24 strands of electrical wiring, Cussons said. Two male chimps grabbed Oberle and tried to drag him under the fence, but were not able to yank him into their enclosure.
Cussons said he estimates the attack lasted 15 minutes.
At some point, people tried to stop the chimps, and Cussons shot two rounds in the air to see if that might get them to retreat, he said. One of the chimps then charged at Cussons, he said. Cussons shot that chimp in the abdomen, he told CNN, and it seemed to shriek as a kind of signal to other chimps that there was a more powerful threat present. The chimps then backed off, he said.
Oberle was rescued and transported for medical care.
None of the 13 tourists - most of them from local areas – were harmed, officials said.
The chimp that was shot had an operation at the Johannesburg zoo to repair damage to his small and large intestines.
Hospital spokeswoman Baard declined to discuss the nature of Oberle's wounds. She said the student's parents had requested privacy, adding that they are "quite traumatized."
The sanctuary, which is featured in the Animal Planet program "Escape to Chimp Eden," remains closed and its staff is receiving counseling, executive director David Oosthuizen said.
There are no plans right now to euthanize the chimps involved in the attack, said Dries Pienaar, who is leading the investigation into the incident. He works for a parks agency that makes sure zoos, sanctuaries and breeding projects comply with the law. Pienaar told CNN that his preliminary findings are that human error is to blame, but he cautioned that his investigation is not complete and that he wants to interview Oberle. He hasn't spoken to all of the tourists yet, either.
Chimp Eden was established as a home for rescued chimpanzees. Many of the primates have suffered "horrible injuries and abuse from humans," according to the sanctuary.
Dave Salmoni, an expert in large predators for the television channel Animal Planet, said abused and captive chimpanzees can be particularly dangerous, likening the chimps to troubled prison inmates.
"Now this is a very nice prison, but it's a prison nonetheless," he said Monday. "And that's why you can see a lot of acting out behavior, and in some cases, with chimpanzees, they act out just because they can."
Oberle was passionate about studying chimpanzees, his friend Anthony Reimherr told CNN affiliate KXAN-TV. He said it was "intriguing" to listen to Oberle when he spoke about the animals.
"It's just something that he loved to do, and I think it's something that he'll always continue to do," Reimherr said.FULL STORY
The race to the presidency now turns toward the general election in November. CNN.com Live is your home for all the latest news and views from the campaign trail.
Today's programming highlights...
10:00 am ET - 'State of the economy' report released - International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde holds a briefing on the fund's annual report on the state of the U.S. economy.
7:30 pm ET - Biden in Pennsylvania - President Obama is taking a break at Camp David today, but the vice president is spending his day on the campaign trail. He'll address fireworks celebrations in Scranton, Pennsylvania.
CNN.com Live is your home for breaking news as it happens.
Blistering temperatures will continue in many states Tuesday, as hundreds of thousands were still sweating and stuck without power from deadly heat-driven storms.
Extreme heat warnings were issued for parts of Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio and Michigan Tuesday with the National Weather Service saying that those areas would be scorched with near and above triple-digit temperatures for days.
Heat advisory warnings were also in place Tuesday for different parts of Missouri, Kentucky, Ohio, as well as parts of Nebraska, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.
Cities and towns in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast have already endured temperatures in the high 90s and above 100 degrees since, in some cases, the middle of last week. It's all part of a system tied to the breaking or tying of more than 2,238 hot weather records nationwide between June 25 and July 1, according to the National Climatic Data Center.
All this comes as about 1.8 million people scattered from the District of Columbia through 11 states, from Indiana to Delaware, had no electricity Monday night.FULL STORY
At the start of a big week for the Higgs boson, the most sought-after particle in all of physics, scientists in Illinois said Monday that they had crept closer to proving that the particle exists but had been unable to reach a definitive conclusion.
The scientists outlined their final analysis based on more than 10 years of research and 500 trillion particle collisions using the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermilab Tevatron collider near Batavia, Illinois, whose budgetary woes shut it down last year.
Their announcement came two days before researchers at the Large Hadron Collider under the Alps are due to unveil their latest results at an eagerly awaited seminar at the CERN particle physics laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland.
"Our data strongly point toward the existence of the Higgs boson," Rob Roser, a spokesman for one of two independent experiments at the Tevatron, said in a statement. "But it will take results from the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider in Europe to establish a discovery."
Finding the Higgs boson would help explain the origin of mass, one of the open questions in physicists' current understanding of the way the universe works.FULL STORY
"Basat al reeh." "Dulab." "Falaqa." They are Arabic names for torture techniques that send chills through the hearts of Syrians, particularly the untold thousands who are believed to have been detained during the uprising of the last 15 months.
"We suffered torture all the time," said Tariq, an opposition activist from the port city of Latakia who spent 40 days in solitary confinement in spring 2011.
He told CNN he endured "dulab," in which torturers force the prisoner's legs and head into a car tire before beating them, and "basat al reeh," in which the prisoner is tied to a board and beaten.
"They threw cold water on our naked bodies and they also urinated on us ... they are really good at what they do," said Tariq, who now is in Turkey helping mobilize men and weapons to rebels inside Syria.
According to a report published Tuesday by the New York-based human rights organization Human Rights Watch, the Syrian government has been carrying out "a state policy of torture" as part of an effort to crush dissent throughout the unrest.FULL STORY