July 4, 2014

Scientists at the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization in Japan say they have uncovered a way to slow the aging process in flowers.

According to, the Tsukuba-based researchers first discovered the gene responsible for the life expectancy of a Japanese flower known as "Morning Glory," which unfolds in the morning but withers by dusk. The researchers were then able to almost double the flower's lifespan by suppressing the gene (cleverly named EPHEMERAL1).

One of the lead researchers told AFP that the discovery could lead to new ways to extend the life of cut flowers. Unfortunately, the only human beneficiaries would be florists and flower lovers, so don't go changing your retirement plan yet. Nico Lauricella

10:04 a.m. ET

Computers, particularly the massive servers that undergird the internet, give off a ton of heat, so much that internet companies spend a good chunk of money on keeping them cool. But why let that heat go to waste?

That's the inspiration behind a heating system created by Dutch company Nerdalize, which wants to exploit the "nerd power" of computers for energy purposes, according to the BBC. Instead of keeping servers in a massive warehouse, they're spread out via fiber-optic cable to people's homes, where the computers are encased in iPod-like radiator casings. And voila: free heat (after a few set-up costs.)

Nerdalize's pilot program will last a year, and has some corporate clients as well.

Read the whole story at the BBC. Ryu Spaeth

Coming Soon
9:32 a.m. ET

The internet tends to go wild over anything Bill Murray does, so the announcement of a Netflix-only Bill Murray Christmas special is a pretty big deal. The star-studded cast list released by Netflix — which includes George Clooney, Amy Poehler, Michael Cera, Chris Rock, Jason Schwartzman, Rashida Jones, and Miley Cyrus, among others — offers even more reasons to get excited.

But despite all that promise, the brief teaser for A Very Murray Christmas sees the star looking pretty glum:

Cheer up, Bill! 'Tis the season (roughly seven months from now). Scott Meslow

The Voice
9:30 a.m. ET

Close your eyes and think back to that classic Notting Hill scene in which Julia Roberts asks Hugh Grant to love her. Now, speed ahead to the two-minute mark in the video, below, and have that touching moment ruined forever.

Roberts and Grant are just two of the actors who poke fun at themselves in a sketch for NBC's "Red Nose Day" — Daniel Craig and Liam Neeson also take turns confessing to their "real" voices, all of which, the sketch claims, have had to be dubbed over for audiences.

Give Roberts credit: She takes the brunt of the gag but seems to be having a ball in her documentary-style interviews. However, watching Craig insist he is a "manly man" is good for a laugh as well. Enjoy the stars revealing their less than velvety "real" voices, in the video, below. —Sarah Eberspacher

This doesn't look good
9:30 a.m. ET
AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Hundreds of protesters marched in Washington state on Thursday after news broke that a white police officer in Olympia shot two unarmed black stepbrothers. The men were allegedly trying to steal beer from a grocery store. Both men are in stable condition and are expected to survive the shooting.

Ryan Donald, the police officer who confronted the stepbrothers, said the 21- and 24-year-old men had assaulted him with a skateboard on Thursday. Witnesses at the scene claimed one of the men was "advancing aggressively toward the officer," according to The Seattle Times.

Police say the men were not armed with guns when they were shot, and a team of detectives is investigating the shooting. The protesters marched from a park to the Olympia police headquarters on Thursday night, chanting the names of the shooting victims as well as slogans including "Black Lives Matter" and "No Justice, No Peace." Meghan DeMaria

9:20 a.m. ET

The avian flu outbreak is causing a surge in egg prices, as 39 million birds have already been killed by the extremely contagious virus. A quarter of the chickens that produce "breaker eggs," or eggs sold in liquid form for commercial use, are already affected, causing their wholesale prices to triple. Meanwhile, "shell eggs," the type sold in grocery stores, have seen wholesale price increases of up to 85 percent. Iowa, the largest producer of eggs in the U.S., has already lost a quarter of its laying hens. The highly infectious strain of bird flu has been so devastating partially because of the "massive populations" of chickens on farms today — sometimes up to 1 million. The effects of the outbreak are expected to last for years as egg manufacturers struggle to repopulate their facilities. The Week Staff

goin' to the chapel
9:17 a.m. ET

How do you make a surprise wedding even more surprising? Bring in an A-lister like Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to officiate.

Johnson tricked Nick Mundy, a fan and correspondent for the YouTube channel "Screen Junkies," by canceling a planned interview. But as Mundy panicked over whether or not he had somehow botched the opportunity, Johnson came out in a tuxedo to deliver the real news: the interview was canceled in favor of a surprise wedding, officiated by Johnson, that brought Mundy and his fiancée Dilara into wedded bliss.

"Just when you thought the day was gonna be terrible — it's actually gonna be the greatest day of your life," said Johnson as he led Mundy into the makeshift chapel full of their friends and family:

"This is cool, 'cause it's real," says Johnson as he marries the couple. "By the power invested in me — Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, ordained by the state of California and the almighty universe itself, I now pronounce you husband and wife." Scott Meslow

2016 Watch
9:09 a.m. ET
Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

Since 2002, the Clintons have been raking in speaking engagement fees that, on the high end, ranged from $100,000 for Chelsea Clinton, $500,000 for Hillary Clinton, and $1 million for Bill Clinton.

After pressure from outsiders that found discrepancies in the foundation's accounting, the Clinton Foundation released the previously undisclosed fees Thursday. The list comprised 97 speaking engagements that span 13 years and netted the organization between $12 million and $26.4 million.

No specific dates were included in the list of payments, but Bloomberg reports that at least a few came as Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state. All told, there are nearly two dozen speeches paid to Clinton and her husband by foreign groups that will be of particular interest to critics given the presidential hopeful's role and influence at the time as a top diplomat. Other major donors include universities and Wall Street giants.

"Posting these speeches is just another example of how our disclosure policies go above and beyond what's required of charities," the Foundation spokesperson said. Lauren Hansen

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