this is pretty cool
July 30, 2014

Back in 2010, during the World Trade Center's rebuilding effort, construction workers found an unidentified ship just south of where the towers once stood. Its fragments were excavated and sent to the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory.

Now, tree rings have provided details about the wooden ship. Researchers at Columbia University's Tree Ring Laboratory, where some of the ship's fragments were sent, recently found that the ship was likely built around 1773.

The research team looked at the tree ring patterns to figure out what climate the wood came from, and the ship's pattern was close to the rings of both living trees and historic wood from Philadelphia and Independence Hall, which, Live Science notes, was built between 1732 and 1756.

"We could see that at that time in Philadelphia, there were still a lot of old-growth forests, and [they were] being logged for shipbuilding and building Independence Hall," Martin-Benito told Live Science. "Philadelphia was one of the most — if not the most — important shipbuilding cities in the U.S. at the time. And they had plenty of wood, so it made lots of sense that the wood could come from there." Meghan DeMaria

1:32 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Facing allegations that the House Select Committee on Benghazi is little more than a long, expensive witch hunt to wreck Hillary Clinton's political future, House Republicans are now accusing panel Democrats of politicizing the hearings. House Democrats sent a letter to committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) on Monday saying they will release transcripts of closed-door interviews, beginning with Cheryl Mills (pictured), a top Clinton aide. "Despite claims that the Committee would be run with integrity," they wrote, "Republicans have engaged in a series of selective leaks of inaccurate and incomplete information in an effort to attack Secretary Clinton." Committee Democrats gave their Republican colleagues five days to tell them any sections of the Mills transcripts that should be "withheld from the American people," then they will release the rest of the interview.

Republicans responded that none of the interview should be released before the committee is done with its work. In a statement, committee spokesman Jamal Ware said that "by selectively leaking and spinning" the Mills transcript, "Democrats have shown their nakedly political motivation, willingness to violate the letter and spirit of House Rules, and their desire to defend Secretary Clinton without regard for the integrity of the investigation." He added, "Serious investigations hear from all witnesses and the testimony of each witness should be viewed in the context of all available information." And that's something the Democrats on the committee would probably agree with. Peter Weber

1:31 a.m. ET

Animals like elk, wild boar, red deer, and roe deer are flourishing in an unlikely place — Chernobyl.

It's been nearly 30 years since the 1986 nuclear disaster, and scientists wrote in a study published Monday in the journal Current Biology that radiation contamination is not keeping wildlife from thriving in the 1,600 square mile Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, where people cannot live. "When humans are removed, nature flourishes — even in the wake of the world's worst nuclear accident," Jim Smith, a specialist in earth and environmental sciences at Britain's University of Portsmouth. "It's very likely that wildlife numbers at Chernobyl are now much higher than they were before the accident."

Earlier studies conducted in the zone showed major radiation effects and a decrease in wildlife populations, Reuters reports, but Smith and his fellow researchers found that now, the population rates of elk, roe deer, red deer, and wild boar were close to those in four uncontaminated nature reserves in the area. The team also discovered that the number of wolves living in and around the site is more than seven times greater than in similar nature reserves. "These unique data showing a wide range of animals thriving within miles of a major nuclear accident illustrate the resilience of wildlife populations when freed from the pressures of human habitation," co-leader Jim Beasley of the University of Georgia said. The researchers said by looking at Chernobyl, it might give insight into the long-term impact on wildlife following the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan. Catherine Garcia

Late Night Antics
12:59 a.m. ET

"You're looking at me so disappointed, Alex," Jimmy Fallon told Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek, after shoving him in a phone booth with NBA giant Shaquille O'Neal on Monday's Late Night. "You're looking at me, like, 'This is a game show?'" It is, called "Phone Booth," and it's probably a lot more fun to watch than play. Now, you'd think having Trebek in your booth would be a big plus — and it was — but it didn't save the Shaq booth from losing a round over the Spice Girls. Fitting O'Neal in the phone booth by himself was enough of a stretch, and by the end things got a little silly. Watch below, and feel a special pang of sympathy for Blacklist star Megan Boone. Peter Weber

hollywood 411
12:26 a.m. ET

Goodbye River Heights, hello New York City: CBS is developing a new series on everyone's favorite titian-haired girl detective, except now Nancy Drew is in her 30s and working for the NYPD.

Grey's Anatomy writers and executive producers Tony Phelan and Joan Rater, with Dan Jinks, are working on the show, Entertainment Weekly reports, describing it as a "contemporary take on the character from the iconic book series." In her role as an NYPD detective, Nancy "investigates and solves crimes using her uncanny observational skills, all while navigating the complexities of life in a modern world." If the show gets picked up, it won't be Nancy's first time on the small screen — ABC aired The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries in the late 1970s, and a 2002 made-for-TV movie about the girl detective starred Maggie Lawson.

Full disclosure: I am a hardcore fan of the Nancy Drew series, who read every single book as a kid and was brainwashed into thinking all houses have secret passages and spooky secrets. Because of my devotion, there are several things I think this new show needs to have (are you listening, producers?). First, Nancy's family, friends, and blue roadster must make appearances; I especially want to see her lawyer father Carson Drew, housekeeper Hannah Gruen, and "special friend" Ned Nickerson (and while we're at it, make sure he doesn't stray from how he's described in the books — handsome, smart, and willing to do whatever Nancy says without asking any questions). Also, keep the paranormal element, as Nancy thrived when she was investigating a haunting or going to a seance. Finally, don't strip Nancy of the spunk and spirit that makes her so enchanting — she's going to need it in the big city. Catherine Garcia

October 5, 2015
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

After finding out some of its gluten-free products may contain wheat, General Mills announced Monday a voluntary recall of about 1.8 million boxes of Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios.

The affected boxes were produced in Lodi, California, and shipped across the country. In a statement, Jim Murphy, president of the General Mills cereal division, explained that the "Lodi production facility lost rail service for a time and our gluten-free oat flour was being off-loaded from rail cars to trucks for delivery to our facility on the dates in question. In an isolated incident involving purely human error, wheat flour was inadvertently introduced into our gluten-free oat flour system at Lodi."

The recalled boxes of Cheerios have a "better if used by" date of July 14, 15, 16, or 17, 2016, and an "LD" plant code, and the Honey Nut Cheerios boxes have a "better if used by" date of July 12-25, 2016, and an "LD" plant code. People with wheat allergies, celiac disease, or gluten intolerance should not eat cereal from those boxes, and affected customers can call 1-800-775-8370 for a replacement or full refund. Catherine Garcia

October 5, 2015
Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

On Friday, President Obama will go to Roseburg, Oregon, to visit with the families of those killed last week at Umpqua Community College.

His schedule has not been finalized yet, White House officials told USA Today, but he will meet with the families privately. On Thursday, police say a 26-year-old man shot and killed eight classmates and an instructor on campus before killing himself during a gunfight with officers. This will be Obama's first trip to Roseburg as president, but in 2008, he made a surprise campaign stop in the southern Oregon town. Catherine Garcia

oregon school shooting aftermath
October 5, 2015
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Saying that Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin holds "extremist" views on gun control, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is calling for his resignation.

As sheriff, Hanlin is leading the investigation into last week's deadly shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon, which left nine people and the gunman dead. In 2013, he wrote a letter to Vice President Joe Biden saying: "Gun control is NOT the answer to preventing heinous crimes like school shootings.... I will refuse to participate in, nor tolerate enforcement actions against citizens that are deemed unconstitutional." Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign, said in a statement that "in pledging not to enforce the new law, John Hanlin has clearly demonstrated that his political ideology trumps his responsibility to protect his community."

Hanlin also posted on his personal Facebook page a link to a video called "Sandy Hook Shooting — Fully Exposed," which suggested that the Sept. 11 attacks and the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School that killed 26 people in Newtown, Connecticut, were staged by the government in order to take guns away from people. The now-deleted post was captioned: "This makes me wonder who we can trust anymore." On Friday, Hanlin said that he now thinks Sandy Hook was not a conspiracy, the BBC reports, and he told The Oregonian that his "focus right now is on getting this investigation completed and taking care of the victims and the victims' families. Now is not an appropriate time to have those conversations."

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) noted Monday that Hanlin "is an elected official accountable to the voters of Douglas County," adding through a spokeswoman: "The evaluation of his performance, past and present, is up to them." Catherine Garcia

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