There may be certain instances where it's worth the risk of dying to hitch a ride in the wheel well of a passenger jet — say, gunmen are after you — but taking a pleasure trip to Hawaii doesn't make the list. On Sunday, an unidentified 16-year-old jumped a fence at California's San Jose Mineta International Airport, climbed up the wheel well of a departing Hawaiian Airlines flight, and miraculously jumped out after the plane landed in Maui five and a half hours later. Maui airport officials spotted him and informed the FBI.
"How he survived I don't know," said the FBI's Honolulu spokesman Tom Simon. "It's a miracle." The boy, a runaway from Santa Clara, survived temperatures of minus 80 degrees and an oxygen-starved altitude of 38,000 feet. "I imagine he must have blacked out at about 10,000 feet," Simon added. "The air is pretty thin up there."
The teenager was turned over to the Hawaiian child welfare department, but not charged with any crimes. "Our primary concern now is the well-being of the boy, who is exceptionally lucky to have survived," said Hawaiian Airlines spokeswoman Alison Croyle. The FAA says that wheel-well stowaways are aided a bit by residual heat from hydraulic lines and wheels, but that the main mechanism for survival is your body shutting down as the plane gradually ascends and descends.
Still, people can and do die from riding in wheel wells. It seems a better idea to mow lawns or babysit until you have plane fare, right? Peter Weber
The Bernie Sanders campaign still faces an uphill battle challenging the Clinton juggernaut for the Democratic nomination, but there's one place where he's already won: Reddit.
If you're not familiar with the site, Reddit is a massive online forum that allows users to "upvote" and "downvote" user-submitted content, and it's divided into subreddits, which are single-topic forums users can subscribed to or ignore according to personal interests.
Sanders currently has more than 80 subreddits devoted to his cause, including one for every single state plus Washington, DC. The primary subreddit of the bunch, r/SandersforPresident, has nearly 100,00 subscribers, meaning there are lots of upvotes constantly pushing pro-Sanders content into the view of Reddit's 203 million monthly visitors. State-based subreddits have played a key role in organizing for real life events, too, helping Sanders pack stadiums with thousands of supporters.
This is not the first time Reddit has cottoned to a presidential candidate: In 2008 and 2012, Ron Paul was Reddit's choice for aggressively upvoted underdog, to the point that frustrated non-Paul supporters created an r/EnoughPaulSpam subreddit in protest. Bonnie Kristian
While Donald Trump himself may speak at the level of a fourth grader, the controversy surrounding his campaign has had the positive side effect of making Americans brush up on their vocabulary skills.
The editors of Merriam-Webster's online dictionary have noticed spikes in research on a number of campaign-related words, and Trump, says Merriam-Webster Associate Editor Kory Stamper, "has brought up the motherlode of lookups." He has particularly inspired curiosity about "demagoguery" and "misogyny."
But Trump isn't the only candidate unintentionally making us a little smarter this campaign season. The release of Hillary Clinton's emails, for instance, fueled interest in "louche," a word used by one of her advisers to describe House Speaker John Boehner.
Stamper expects these lookup trends to continue throughout election season. "It's going to be a long, verbose 14 months," he said. Bonnie Kristian
When pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP (Truvada) first hit the market, critics were skeptical of the pill's claims that it could keep clients HIV-free if it at the same time it lured people into believing they could have safe sex condom-free. However, 657 clients and more than two years later, it looks like that has, in fact, been the case: Not one person on the pill caught the virus, The New York Times reports.
However, critics who suggested the security provided by PrEP — which is close to 100 percent successful — would lead to a false sense of security about sexually transmitted diseases appear to have been correct. Gay men in the study did use fewer condoms, and about half became infected with syphilis, gonorrhea, or Chlamydia within a year. Forty percent said their condom use decreased, although the vast majority said their number of sexual partners remained the same. At least there's this: While HIV (which can develop into AIDS) is controlled with antiretroviral drugs taken for life, most other STDs are treated with a run of antibiotics. Jeva Lange
Four-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady has emerged victorious yet again. On Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman nullified the four-game suspension the NFL had slapped on Brady for his alleged role in the "Deflategate" scandal, in which Brady's New England Patriots were accused of breaking the rules by deflating footballs in a playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts last season. The Patriots won that game 45-7, and went on to win the Super Bowl.
Berman "did not rule on whether Brady tampered with the footballs in a bid for competitive advantage," The New York Times notes. "Instead, he focused on the narrower question of whether the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the players union gave [NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell] the authority to carry out the suspension. Judge Berman ruled that it did not."
Brady is now expected to face the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first game of the Patriots' season on September 10. And his star tight end, for one, certainly seems thrilled to have his QB back. Jeva Lange
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) September 3, 2015
Donald Trump reportedly plans to sign a loyalty pledge to the GOP, a source revealed to Politico Thursday. The pledge would force Trump to endorse the eventual GOP nominee, and theoretically prevent him from a third-party run if he doesn't win the Republican nomination. By signing the pledge, Trump will avoid complications of getting on primary ballots as a Republican and also rob opponents of an attack line at the next debate.
Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski would not confirm Trump's plans to Politico, saying, "I don't think you can 'expect' ANYTHING from Mr. Trump." Jeva Lange
Another elected official has challenged the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage — this time, a judge in Hamilton County, Tennessee.
Chancellor Jeffery Atherton denied the divorce petition of Thomas and Pamela Bumgardner, who filed for divorce last September citing irreconcilable differences. Among several listed reasons for denying the petition, Atherton noted that, in his view, the recent Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage left Tennesseeans “incompetent to define and address such institutions as marriage and, thereby, at minimum, contest divorces.”
Atherton's decision comes amid a flurry of other state officials challenging the June 27 ruling, most prominently county clerk Kim Davis in Kentucky.
While the attorneys for the plaintiffs declined to comment to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, other members of the Chattanooga legal community expressed skepticism over the ruling. “I don't know for sure, but I suspect the U.S. Supreme Court did not intend to preempt divorce law,” one attorney told the paper.
As to where that leaves the Bumgardners, who remain married against their will? Atherton is optimistic: "Hopefully they can reconcile." Marshall Bright
When Sesame Street took on Donald Trump in their 2005 episode, "Grouch Apprentice," of course no one had any idea that 10 years later he'd be running for president. Luckily, The Daily Beast has resurfaced the clip — which skewers "Donald Grump," a grouch whose name "is on every piece of trash in town." Mr. Grump even has his own song in which he sings, "My name is Donald Grump and I have more trash than all of you, so nah-nah-na-na-nah!"
Spoiler alert: Elmo ultimately gets to be Donald Grump's apprentice, and as a reward for being a great helper, he is gifted Donald's hair. The other grumps aren't as lucky — "You're fired!" Grump shouts, just like the real-life Trump does on his show.
This episode wasn't even the first time Sesame Street took on the real estate tycoon. In 1994, the program featured a character named "Ronald Grump" in an anniversary special. The plot found Grump staking out Sesame Street as the perfect location for his Grump Tower.
Unfortunately, the Trump campaign did not respond to The Daily Beast's request for a comment. Jeva Lange