July 2, 2014

Meet George Aldrich, the man who gives all space-bound items the go-ahead — by giving them a sniff test.

Aldrich has worked with NASA for nearly 40 years, smelling things before they go into space. Gizmodo reports that "smells don't get quite aired out in space as they do back home." Odors can linger for years in a space station since there isn't additional, fresh air available, so NASA keeps a vigilant watch on the odors that are allowed into space.

The Telegraph reports that Aldrich's official title is "staff sniffer," and he has worked at NASA for 38 years. "My friends and family think I'm a little crazy," Aldrich says in the video. Typical items Aldrich inspects include books, hats, glues, and watches, in addition to specialized space equipment.

The Science Channel created a fun video profile of Aldrich and his job, noting that if Aldrich "fails to identify just one problematic pong, a whole mission could be in jeopardy." Watch Aldrich's olfactory skills in action in the video below. --Meghan DeMaria

2:38 p.m. ET
Facebook/Congressman Dave Trott

After President Trump's unscripted press conference Wednesday, at least one Republican lawmaker is hoping the commander in chief will just stick to golf from now on:

Michigan Rep. Dave Trott's suggestion would not represent an insignificant increase in golf practice: According to Trump Golf Count (yes, it's a thing), Trump has visited his golf clubs at least 50 times since his inauguration and was confirmed golfing 23 of those days. Jeva Lange

1:43 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Greg Pence might be gearing up to run for Indiana's newly vacated 6th district seat, which was once occupied by his younger brother, Vice President Mike Pence, Roll Call reports. The eldest Pence is currently serving as the finance chairman of Indiana Rep. Luke Messer's (R) Senate campaign, and his unusual visibility in the role is leading some to suspect he might be eyeing Messer's empty seat.

"If you're looking for people to go run for office, I'd put [Greg Pence] at the top of the list," said Bob Grand, a fellow member of Messer's finance team.

Another Republican familiar with Indiana told Roll Call that the 6th district might be especially receptive to Greg Pence's name, as the Trump administration remains popular in the region. "There's just no real frustration that you read about. That's not on the ground in the 6th District," the Republican said.

While Greg and Mike Pence are close, "Greg doesn't have any electoral experience himself," Roll Call notes. His counsel to Mike Pence is "best described as the kind of candid advice only a brother could give." Jeva Lange

1:37 p.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

On Wednesday, President Trump's Strategic and Policy Forum decided to disband. A member of the group, comprised of top business leaders and led by Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, told CNBC that the break-up was due to Trump's response to the weekend's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Trump was slow to directly condemn the white nationalists, and he has repeatedly blamed "both sides" for the rally's violence.

"As our members have expressed individually over the past several days, intolerance, racism, and violence have absolutely no place in this country and are an affront to core American values," the members said in a statement to CNBC. "We believe the debate over forum participation has become a distraction from our well-intentioned and sincere desire to aid vital policy discussions on how to improve the lives of everyday Americans." An executive told CNBC that "the thinking it was important to do as a group," not as "individuals, because it would have a more significant impact."

Trump, however, tweeted Wednesday that it was his decision to end the council. "Rather than putting pressure on the businesspeople of the Manufacturing Council & Strategy & Policy Forum, I am ending both. Thank you all!" he wrote.

The forum is separate from Trump's American Manufacturing Council, which has been bleeding members. This week, seven business leaders quit the council over Trump's response to the Charlottesville protests. Becca Stanek

12:55 p.m. ET

Every now and then there is a total solar eclipse, but it's even rarer to turn around and see Bonnie Tyler singing in the midst of it. For lucky cruise-goers on Royal Caribbean's seven-night Total Eclipse trip, though, Tyler will be on hand to perform her hit "Total Eclipse of the Heart" during the total eclipse of … the sun.

"It's going to be so exciting," Tyler, who will be backed on Oasis of the Seas by the Joe Jonas-helmed band DNCE, told Time. "It doesn't happen very often, does it?" In fact it doesn't: The last total solar eclipse over the contiguous United States was in 1979.

Tyler added that "the eclipse of the sun lasts 2 minutes and 40 minutes, I'm told. Unlike my song. It had to be chopped about, because it was so long. I never thought it would be played on the radio, in the beginning."

Landlubbers will likely be putting on Tyler's song during the eclipse, too — Time reports that during a total solar eclipse in 2016, the song's streams increased 75 percent. Start forever below, and learn more about the solar eclipse at The Week. Jeva Lange

12:29 p.m. ET
Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

On Monday, President Trump held a press conference to declare racism "evil" and to directly condemn "the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists." On Tuesday, Trump held another press conference, during which he snapped at reporters as he insisted that "both sides" were to blame for the deadly violence at Saturday's white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In Trump's opinion, Tuesday's was the more successful of the two press conferences, Politico reported:

Trump, however, was in "good spirits" on Tuesday night, according to a White House adviser who spoke to him. The adviser said the president felt the news conference went much better than his statement on Monday, in which he declared that “racism is evil” and denounced certain hate groups by name. Aides had pressured Trump to deliver the statement after his initial remarks on Saturday — in which he blamed "many sides" for the fatal protests in Charlottesville — set off a firestorm.

The president was not alone in his pleasure at the news conference. Chief strategist Steve Bannon, whose nationalistic views helped shape Trump's presidential campaign, was thrilled with the remarks, according to a friend of Bannon. [Politico]

To be clear: The press conference the president thought "went much better" was not the one that at which he confirmed that "hatred, bigotry, and violence" have "no place in America," but the one that former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke heartily praised. Becca Stanek

12:27 p.m. ET

More than 1,000 people attended the memorial service for Heather Heyer of Charlottesville, Virginia, on Wednesday, with friends and relatives recalling her passion for justice and helping others, ABC News reports. Heyer, 32, was killed Saturday when a white nationalist demonstrator rammed a crowd of counter-protesters with his car.

"She wanted equality and in this issue of the day of her passing, she wanted to put down hate," Heyer's father, Mark Heyer, said in his eulogy. He went on to say, "And for my part, we just need to stop all this stuff and just forgive each other. I think that is what the Lord would want us to do — is just love one another."

Heyer's mother, Susan Bro, told the crowd that she could have had a small funeral to remember her daughter, "but that's not who Heather was. Anyone who knew Heather said, 'Yep, this is the way she had to go, big and large.' Had to have the world involved, because that's my child."

She added: "We don't all have to die. We don't all have to sacrifice our lives. They tried to kill my child to shut her up. Well, guess what: You just magnified her."

"Let's channel ... anger not into hate, not into violence, not into fear, but let's channel that difference, that anger, into righteous action," Bro went on, adding: "Say to yourself, 'What can I do to make a difference?' That's how you're going to make my child's death worthwhile." Watch below. Jeva Lange

12:01 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Just two days after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) congratulated President Trump for his statement Monday condemning white supremacists and declaring racism "evil," Graham walked it back. On Wednesday, he released a statement declaring that Trump "took a step backward" at his combative press conference Tuesday "by again suggesting there is moral equivalency between the white supremacist neo-Nazis and KKK members who attended the Charlottesville rally and people like Ms. Heyer." Heather Heyer was killed at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, after a man drove a car through a group of counter-protesters.

Graham made clear that he and other Republicans "do not endorse this moral equivalency." "Many Republicans do not agree with and will fight back against the idea that the Party of Lincoln has a welcome mat out for the David Dukes of the world," said Graham, referring to former KKK leader David Duke, who praised Trump's remarks Tuesday.

"Mr. President, I encourage you to try to bring us together as a nation after this horrific event in Charlottesville," Graham said in the statement. "Your words are dividing Americans, not healing them." Becca Stanek

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