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If the volcano is a-rockin', don't come a-knockin'
August 18, 2014
Vedur.is

Imagine a typical volcano. Then picture a 16-mile-wide volcano that stretched from Philadelphia to 30 miles past New York City. Now imagine this gargantuan volcano squished under a thick ice sheet that would unleash a torrent of meltwater as soon as an eruption began. Finally, envision this super-massive, ice-encased volcano unleashing the largest lava flow on Earth in the last 12,000 years, and you'll probably have some idea as to why Iceland's authorities are sounding the alarm over the recent rumbling emerging from the Bárðarbunga volcano.

After the most powerful earthquake since 1996 struck the area early Monday — part of a swarm of thousands of smaller earthquakes indicating magma movement underneath Bárðarbunga — Iceland's meteorological office raised the threat of eruption to "orange," the second-highest alert possible (the highest alert is reserved for an active eruption). Officials are primarily concerned with the threat of a very large eruption damaging Iceland's extensive hydroelectric power grid.

So why should you be concerned with Bárðarbunga, non-Icelanders? One need only look back to 2010, when the ash plumes of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano caused airline chaos across Europe and the world, to see the far-reaching consequences of a major volcanic eruption. Still more alarming was the eruption of the nearby Laki volcano complex in 1783-4, which unleashed a cloud of highly toxic gas that killed 25 percent of Iceland's residents before killing thousands more in Europe. Bárðarbunga is Laki's big sister.

Care to monitor the volcano yourself? Here's a handy webcam of the (hopefully) snoring giant. Mike Barry

excellllllleennnnnnnt
1:59 p.m. ET
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

They'll never stop The Simpsons. Just weeks after announcing he was leaving The Simpsons behind after 26 years, Harry Shearer — who voices Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, and Principal Skinner, among many others — will return to Springfield after all.

Shearer has signed a new contract for The Simpsons, which secures his voice work for four more seasons. Shearer and the other five principal voice actors on The Simpsons, who had already signed on for the new seasons, are each estimated to earn more than $300,000 per episode. 

Shearer originally left The Simpsons in May over a dispute during contract negotiations for the show's upcoming 27th season. "I wanted what we've always had: the freedom to do other work," tweeted Shearer at the time. In reply, executive producer James L. Brooks tweeted, "Hey, we tried. We're still trying. Harry, no kidding, let's talk." Scott Meslow

Really? Really.
1:53 p.m. ET

Southern cooking star Paula Deen once again has "a lot of esplainin' to do." This time, it's for a photo that Deen posted on Twitter and Facebook, in which her son Bobby is wearing brownface.

"Lucyyyyyyy! You got a lot of esplainin' to do! #TransformationTuesday," the now-deleted tweet read. A photo of Deen and her son Bobby dressed up as Lucy and Ricky Ricardo from I Love Lucy was attached below it.

Since Bobby Deen's hands are held right up to his face in the photo, it's glaringly obvious that his skin was intentionally darkened with makeup in order for him to depict the Cuban-American Ricardo. It's unclear why Deen would have decided to resurface the photo, which Yahoo reported is actually from a shoot in 2011.

Deen is no stranger to accusations of racism: She first landed herself in a batch of trouble for racism in 2013, when she admitted to using the "n-word" and said she once thought about hiring "black waiters and waitresses to dress up like 'slaves' for her brother Bubba's wedding," Mic reports. These incidents cost Deen most of her business relationships and her reputation, and yet, two years later, she seems to be right back at it. Becca Stanek

This just in
12:55 p.m. ET

An F-16 military fighter plane collided with a private Cessna C-150 in the skies above Moncks Corner, South Carolina, 11 miles north of Charleston, ABC News reports. One witness described the collision as a "ball of fire in the air" to local station WCBD.

The F-16 was reportedly from Shaw Air Force Base in Sumter, and a defense official said that the pilot ejected safely from the plane. There is no word yet on how many others were aboard the private Cessna, nor are there details of casualties. Jeva Lange

This just in
12:32 p.m. ET
Pool/Getty Images

South Carolina prosecutors said Tuesday that Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old accused of killing nine people at a historically black church in Charleston last month, has been indicted on 13 charges, including murder, attempted murder, and possessing a weapon during a violent crime.

Charleston County prosecutor Scarlett A. Wilson previously said that she has not decided whether to seek the death penalty against Roof, since she first wanted to discuss that possibility with the victims' families. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R), meanwhile, has called for Roof to face the death penalty. Becca Stanek

Breakfast anyone?
12:27 p.m. ET

Here's something you can use that pocket change for: In honor of the International House of Pancakes' 57th anniversary, the breakfast chain will be selling its short stack of three buttermilk pancakes for just 57 cents between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 7.

IHOP started as a single restaurant in Los Angeles specializing in pancakes from around the world in 1958 and has since expanded to over 1,500 locations in the United States and Canada. In recent years, it got a little bit more international when it opened locations in Dubai and Kuwait. Marshall Bright

Shaken, not stirred
12:07 p.m. ET
Greg Williams/Getty Images

Having saved the world countless times, James Bond is setting his sights on a more modest goal: conquering Broadway. Playbill reports that producer Merry Saltzman has acquired the rights to stage James Bond: The Musical. The play is already in development, and producers hope to have it ready for Broadway or Las Vegas by 2017 or 2018.

While the story of James Bond: The Musical will be original — and introduce a brand-new female character for 007 to tangle with — the play will include several existing Bond villains. Here's hoping Jaws finally opens his steel-toothed jaw and reveals the beautiful baritone he's been hiding all along. Scott Meslow

Our Modern World
11:52 a.m. ET

A new campaign by the Russian Interior Ministry seeks to help curb dangerous 'selfie' behavior, the BBC reports. A poster released by the ministry urges Russia's youth to stop trying to impress their friends by snapping selfies near trains, with guns or wild animals, or on electrical pylons, among other potentially dangerous situations.

(Facebook.com/Russian Interior Ministry)

"Even a million 'likes' on social media are not worth your life and well-being," the "Safe Selfie" motto goes. The campaign is in response to a growing number of selfie-related injuries, including one in May in which a 21-year-old woman survived shooting herself in the head while attempting to take a selfie with a gun. Marshall Bright

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