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January 21, 2016
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Astrobiologists from the Australian National University Research School of Earth Sciences suggest that the reason why we haven't encountered alien life is because all the aliens are extinct, the university reported Thursday. In studying how life might develop on other planets, the scientists realized that early critters likely had a hard time quickly evolving to their heating or cooling planets and did not survive.

"Early life is fragile, so we believe it rarely evolves quickly enough to survive. Most early planetary environments are unstable. To produce a habitable planet, life forms need to regulate greenhouse gases such as water and carbon dioxide to keep surface temperatures stable," Dr. Aditya Chopra said in the paper publishing the astrobiologists' findings.

"Life on Earth probably played a leading role in stabilizing the planet's climate," co-author Associate Professor Charley Lineweaver said.

The paradox of astrobiology is that many planets likely check all the boxes for being habitable for life, but we have yet to discover any. The researchers have named their solution to this paradox the "Gaian Bottleneck." "One intriguing prediction of the Gaian Bottleneck model is that the vast majority of fossils in the universe will be from extinct microbial life, not from multicellular species such as dinosaurs or humanoids that take billions of years to evolve," Lineweaver said. Jeva Lange

1:22 a.m. ET

As a child growing up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, 2nd Lt. Alix Schoelcher Idrache was fascinated by the U.S. forces he saw conducting humanitarian missions, in awe of their technology, military hardware, and Chinooks. He didn't dare dream that one day, he'd be among their ranks.

No greater feeling than that of accomplishment! #DutyHonorCountry (@usarmy photo by: Staff Sgt. Vito T. Bryant)

A photo posted by U.S. Military Academy (@westpoint_usma) on

"People where I'm from don't grow up to be pilots, right?" he told a military reporter. "You don't just say I'm going to be a pilot and make it happen. There's no aviation, there's no helicopters, no flight schools. There's none of that." Idrache, 24, ended up proving himself wrong — on May 21, seven years after immigrating to the United States, he graduated from West Point as the top physics student. In July, he will enter the Army Aviation Center for Excellence at Fort Rucker, Alabama, going in as the recipient of the Brigadier General Gerald A. Counts Memorial Award for earning the highest rating in physics.

Idrache's joy at being a West Point graduate was immortalized by a photographer at the ceremony, who captured Idrache's tear-stained face right before the graduates threw their caps. His father, Dieujuste, had to drop out of school at 14 to care for his family, and he encouraged his son to use education as a way to improve his life. Idrache was lured to the Maryland Army National Guard "because of a free t-shirt," and thought the closest he would get to West Point was a sticker his sister brought home from a high school presentation. With the support of his platoon leader and unit's office administrator, he applied, and left the National Guard in 2012 to enter the 214th class of West Point cadets. The administrator, Sgt. 1st Class Christi McKinney, was at his graduation, tears streaming down her face as well, as she became the first person to salute Idrache. Catherine Garcia

12:22 a.m. ET

"Listen up, liberals," Samantha Bee said in short intervention posted Thursday. "Whether you think that Hillary Harpies are corrupt liars who should be burned at the stake, or that Bernie Bros are condescending pricks who should be drowned in a lake, we can all agree on one thing: This primary has ruined the internet." To end the scourge of "liberal-on-liberal violence" before it leads to President Donald Trump, Bee explained, Full Frontal has created a site that liberals can post in the middle of any Bernie-Hillary online grudge match. Check out TotallyObjectivePoliticalFacts.org and see for yourself — how can you be mad when faced with adorable puppies and calming bromides? On the other hand, why do you hate kittens, Full Frontal!?! Peter Weber

May 26, 2016

For the third year in a row on Thursday night, the Scripps National Spelling Bee ended in a tie. This year's precocious co-champions are Jairam Hathaway, the 13-year-old younger brother of 2014 co-champion Sriram Hathaway, and 11-year-old Nihar Janga, the youngest National Spelling Bee winner yet.

The finale was a nail-biter, as far as spelling out loud goes — each finalist misspelled two words, until Jairam spelled "Feldenkrais" correctly and Nihar followed up with "gesellschaft," both of which are apparently real words.

Each spelling champ will get $45,000 in cash and prizes, and each will get a trophy. Peter Weber

May 26, 2016

If you want to be great, you don't need to have integrity, strength, courage, or grace — as long as you've got money, you're good to go.

So says Donald Trump, who dropped this truth bomb during a campaign rally Thursday in Bismarck, North Dakota. "There's one more thing that we must do to make America wealthy again, and you have to be wealthy in order to be great, I'm sorry to say," he said, in a sound bite that's sure to make its way into a Hillary Clinton ad someday soon.

Trump also brought up crime, which he says is going up in major cities across the United States, a development that is "totally unacceptable." He called crime a "stealth tax, it's a stealth tax on the poor," and said it "undermines their schools, slashes the value of their homes, and drives away their jobs." But Trump has a message for "those living in fear. I say: Help is coming, it's coming soon. A Trump administration will return law and order to America." Catherine Garcia

May 26, 2016

Canadian Ambassador to Ireland Kevin Vickers famously foiled an attack by a gunman who stormed Parliament Hill in 2014, and on Thursday he tackled a protester who interrupted a ceremony in Dublin.

The invitation-only event commemorated the 100 British soldiers who died during the 1916 Easter Rising, when Irish republicans tried to overthrow British control of the country. The protester, wearing an Easter Rising t-shirt, jumped up and yelled, "This is an insult," CBC News reports. Vickers then grabbed the man, identified by the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association (IRPWA) as a member named Brian Murphy, and lead him away. Murphy was later arrested, and the IRPWA said what Vickers did amounted to "assault."

"We were all kind of surprised, to put it mildly, that a dignitary kind of beat the Irish police in wrestling this guy to the ground," photographer Colin Keegan told CBC Radio's Vanessa Vander Valk. "I have to hand it to him. It was impressive." Before Vickers was appointed ambassador early last year, he was sergeant-at-arms of the House of Commons of Canada, and helped stop gunman Michael Zehaf-Bibeau as he entered a parliament building while shooting at people. Before he came into the building, Zehaf-Bibeau shot and killed a soldier serving as a ceremonial guard at the Canadian National War Memorial. Catherine Garcia

May 26, 2016

An afternoon thunderstorm caused flash flooding in Horse Cave, Kentucky, on Thursday, trapping 19 people inside a cave.

On Thursday morning, students from a Clemson University geology course embarked on a guided tour of the Hidden River Cave, which only has one way in and one way out. They had no cellphone service, and after heavy rains caused water to rush into the cave, two police officers entered to help get the group out; they also became stranded.

The group was caught in an area known as The Attic, which has a higher ceiling, Kentucky State Trooper B.J. Eaton said in a statement. As the water continued to rise, they decided it was time to attempt an escape. "When they came out of the cave, they were neck-deep in water," Hart County Emergency Management Director Kerry McDaniel tells The Associated Press reports, "The waters were continuing to rise under the flash flood. They saw an opportunity to exit the cave, so they took the chance." The students, four tour guides, and two police officers were all checked for hypothermia, and all declined additional medical attention. "We looked at this from the beginning and hoped it was a search rather than a recovery operation," McDaniel said. Catherine Garcia

May 26, 2016
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Rapper Troy Ave has been arrested in connection with a shooting at a T.I. concert Wednesday night in New York City that left one man dead and three others, including Troy Ave, injured.

The NYPD released a video it says shows 30-year-old Troy Ave, whose real name is Roland Collins, firing at least one shot inside the green room of Irving Plaza. He is being charged with attempted murder and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, and could face additional charges, ABC 7 New York reports. The shooting occurred before hip-hop artist T.I. took the stage. Police said first there was a fistfight, which escalated to a gunfight, and they are not sure if another shooter was involved.

The NYPD says Troy Ave shot himself in the leg, and 33-year-old Ronald McPhatter was shot in the stomach and pronounced dead at the hospital. A 26-year-old woman inside the green room was shot in the leg, and a man downstairs in another room was shot in the abdomen when a bullet went through the floor. McPhatter's mother, Rose, said she is "trying to figure out what happened and why," and said her son "jumped in to assist Troy. He was very protective." T.I. was not in the green room at the time, and police say he is not believed to be connected to the shooting. Catherine Garcia

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