This just in

Northern California rocked by a 6.9 earthquake

March 10, 2014

A magnitude 6.9 earthquake off the West Coast shook Northern California and Oregon late Sunday. There are no reports of damage so far from either the temblor or the several smaller aftershocks, and no tsunami warning was issued. The quake hit about 50 miles west of the seaside town of Eureka, where a smaller 6.5 quake caused significant damage in 2010. This map, from the USGS, shows how widely Sunday night's earthquake was felt. --Peter Weber

Source: USGS
Watch this

'Feta' actually comes from an Italian word, and 23 other cheese name origins

1:26pm ET

Feta has been around in Greece since the eighth century B.C.E., but its name is actually borrowed from an Italian word that means "slice."

That's just one of the 24 facts about cheese name origins in this week's List Show video from our sister site, Mental Floss. Author John Green explains a number of strange cheese names in the video — for some reason, Green notes, "there's something about the name 'American cheese' that's just a little more appetizing" than calling it by its other names, "factory cheese" and "rat trap cheese."

To learn more about the origins of cheese names, check out the Mental Floss video below. —Meghan DeMaria

Coming Soon

Watch the raunchy first trailer for Ted 2

12:29pm ET

Ted was one of the biggest surprise hits of 2012, grossing nearly $550 million worldwide with the simple, raunchy tale of an adult man and his unapologetically profane teddy bear. Given the first movie's success, it's no surprise that the trailer for Ted 2 packs in plenty of gross-out gags:

What is different about Ted 2 is the impressively star-studded cast. New cast members include Morgan Freeman, Liam Neeson, and Amanda Seyfried, as a lawyer saddled with the name Sam L. Jackson. (The actual Samuel L. Jackson is not, unfortunately, billed as a cast member.) Can Ted 2 live up to the box-office highs of the original? We'll find out when it hits theaters this June.

This just in

Deadly gas tank explosion collapses a maternity and children's hospital in Mexico City

11:48am ET

On Thursday, a gas tank truck, reportedly connected to the hospital kitchen, exploded due to a leak in the hose. The blast collapsed 30 percent of the building, injuring at least 54 people, including 22 children, and trapping others inside, ABC News reports. The Mexico City Mayor says at least 7 are dead. 

Residents in the densely packed, lower-middle class neighborhood reported hearing the blast and seeing a plume of smoke and fire. People reportedly ran into the building to help save at least 8 babies from the nursery. The hospital is dedicated to maternity and child care. —Lauren Hansen

department of getting off lawns

Watch John McCain call a bunch of protesters 'low-life scum'

11:45am ET

At a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, protesters from the group Code Pink berated invited speaker Henry Kissinger, President Nixon's national security advisor and secretary of state, with chants of "Arrest Henry Kissinger for war crimes." The demonstration really got under the nerves of committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.), who said, "I've been a member of this committee for many years, and I have never seen anything as disgraceful and outrageous and despicable as the last demonstration."

When one member of Code Pink protested, McCain, doing his best Dirty Harry impersonation, growled, "Get out of here you low-life scum!" Watch the whole exchange below. —Ryu Spaeth

2016 Watch

Sen. Lindsey Graham launches committee to 'test the waters' on 2016 bid

11:34am ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday formally unveiled an exploratory committee to "test the waters" on a potential White House campaign.

Called "Security Through Strength," the committee is a riff on Ronald Reagan's "peace through strength" message. Graham, who hinted at a possible 2016 bid earlier this month, said Wednesday on Fox News he would soon establish an exploratory committee to lay the groundwork for a presidential campaign.

Watch this

Kanye West's new 'Only One' music video is all about being a dad

11:32am ET

Kanye West has a reputation for excess, but the new music video for his new single "Only One" couldn't be simpler: Kanye, happily wandering around in a foggy field with his daughter North.

Kanye debuted the Spike Jonze-directed video on Ellen, where he also discussed how his marriage has changed him. "I think I'm a better human being because of [wife Kim Kardashian] and because of my daughter , and I have always someone to think about going home to," he said.

with liberty and justice for some

Report: Freedom on the decline worldwide

11:16am ET

Freedom House' annual report for 2015, released this week, is grimly titled, "Discarding Democracy: Return to the Iron Fist." The study found that freedom declined in 61 countries over the last year, while only 32 nations are more free now than they were at the start of 2014. This disturbing trend is now nine years strong:

(Freedom House)

"In a new and disquieting development," the report notes, "a number of countries lost ground due to state surveillance, restrictions on internet communications, and curbs on personal autonomy." One bright spot was Tunisia, which in 2014 held free, legitimate elections and became the only Arab country among the "free" nations of the world in the last four decades.


Fishermen may have accidentally discovered new primitive species

11:13am ET

When Taiwanese fishermen sold a fossilized jawbone to an antique shop, they had no idea it would hold enough scientific significance to be acquired by Taiwan's National Museum of Natural Sciences. But it turns out that the fossil may be evidence of a previously undiscovered group of primitive humans.

A new study on the fossil published in the journal Nature Communications describes what may be an ancient type of hominin that lived between 10,000 and 190,000 years ago and was previously unknown to science.

The fossil, labeled Penghu 1, bears resemblance to a 400,000-year-old specimen that was found 600 miles from the jawbone's location in the Penghu Channel. Scientists now wonder if the two fossils may have come from an unclassified human species. The fossils may also provide evidence that multiple human lineages coexisted in Asia before modern humans arrived about 40,000 years ago.

The scientists noted that more research is needed, though — the evidence isn't conclusive until they've discovered other skeletal parts related to the two fossils.

Kids these days

Police stop teenagers trying to make a buck shoveling snow

11:03am ET

Two entrepreneurial teenagers in Bound Brook, N.J. tried to earn some extra money this week by offering to shovel snow for neighbors while school was canceled. To bolster business, they went door to door handing out fliers — until they were stopped by police, who shut them down for failing to comply with local regulations against solicitors.

An older resident of the neighborhood where the boys where questioned expressed outrage over the situation: "Are you kidding me? Our generation does nothing but complain about his generation being lazy and not working for their money," he said. "Here's a couple kids who take the time to print up flyers, walk door to door in the snow, and then shovel snow for some spending money. And someone calls the cops and they're told to stop?"

This just in

Obama calls for end to sequestration cuts in new budget

10:41am ET
Pool/Getty Images

President Obama on Thursday proposed doing away with the blanket budget cuts known as sequestration in his latest spending blueprint.

The automatic budget cuts went into effect in 2013 after Congress failed to reach a compromise on places to selectively pare spending. Both parties have sought to undo some of the cuts, though they've so far struggled to find common ground toward that end. Obama's budget proposal, to be unveiled Monday, would fully reverse the domestic cuts as part of his push for "middle-class economics" aimed at reducing income inequality.

"The budget I'm sending to Congress is a blueprint for success in the new economy," Obama wrote in a preview for The Huffington Post.

See More Speed Reads