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May 29, 2018

In a real-world example of "out of the frying pan and into the fire," archaeologists have found the body of a man who miraculously survived the first eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., only to be crushed by a giant boulder while making his escape from Pompeii, CNN reports.

Hundreds of Pompeiians were obliterated in an instant when "a 100-miles-per-hour surge of superheated poison gas and pulverized rock … poured down the side of the mountain and swallowed everything and everyone in its path," History writes. The man, whose remains indicate he was approximately 30 and had a bone infection in his leg, was likely limping down an alley after the initial eruption when he was hit by a massive rock, possibly thrown at him by the force of the volcanic eruption.

Collision with the stone, which weighs more than 600 pounds, evidently beheaded the ancient man. "Archeologists found the rock sticking out of the ground at an angle, with the remains of the man protruding and intact from the chest down," The Telegraph writes.

Massimo Osanna, who is the director general of the site where the body was found, did not downplay the cause of death, calling it "dramatic and exceptional." Jeva Lange

4:34 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) may be the only thing standing between a spending bill and the president.

House Democrats and a few Republicans passed two spending bills last week that would reopen the government, but McConnell refused to bring them before the Republican-held Senate. And on Tuesday, McConnell did it again — even though Democrats "have secured enough Republican votes in the Senate to reopen government," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) tweeted Wednesday.

The government shutdown began Dec. 21 over President Trump's refusal to sign a spending bill without $5.7 billion in border wall funding. Democrats still refuse to bend to that demand. And when they took over the House this year, they and five Republicans quickly passed a spending bill to fund most government departments for the year and another that would fund the Department of Homeland Security for 30 days. McConnell refused to bring them for a vote in the Senate, saying they were "absolutely pointless show votes" on bills Trump wouldn't sign.

Democrats pointed out that the GOP-held Senate passed similar bills last year, which then-House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) wouldn't bring for a vote. And when those House Democrats, along with 12 Republicans, voted Friday to send a new set of spending bills to the Senate, McConnell again turned them down. Kathryn Krawczyk

4:13 p.m.

The creators of the massively popular online game Fortnite have acknowledged a security flaw that may have put players' accounts at risk.

Check Point Research said Wednesday they discovered a bug that would allow hackers to obtain users' login username and password if they clicked on a phishing link; the user would not need to enter any information at this link for their account to be taken over by the hacker, they say. The group blames this on a "vulnerability found in some of Epic Games' sub-domains."

Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, says that the security bug has been fixed, though it did not disclose how many users were affected. "We thank Check Point for bringing this to our attention," the company said, per Fortune.

Since Fortnite thrives off in-game currency, once a hacker had logged in to a victim's account, they would be able to make purchases using the person's credit card information, The Washington Post notes. Check Point Research also points out that hackers could have been able to listen into private chats by impersonating the user they hacked, although Epic Games clarified to The Verge that the hackers wouldn't be able to eavesdrop on the person whose account they'd taken over.

Fortnite has more than 200 million users and, according to The Verge, generated an estimated $2.4 billion in 2018. Brendan Morrow

3:50 p.m.

The definition of fake news has hit Washington, D.C.

"UNPRESIDENTED," the front page of The Washington Post screamed Wednesday, featuring a story that claimed President Trump had resigned. Except it wasn't The Washington Post, and it definitely didn't happen.

An activist group spent Wednesday morning handing out the fake Post copies around the capital, dated May 1, 2019 and suggesting Trump would resign with a note written on a napkin, the real Washington Post reports. It was full of anti-Trump stories that also appeared on a Post lookalike website, which has since been taken down.

The Post's PR team quickly tweeted that the paper and website were "not Post products." Anti-Trump activist L.A. Kauffman later said she, along with author Onnesha Roychoudhuri and the activist pranksters known as the Yes Men, created the fake paper, per NPR. As Politico report Ian Kullgren tweeted, "this is problematic" and definitely not helping their cause, but whoever was handing out the papers "wasn't having it" when he told her as much, he said.

The now-defunct fake Post website contained just a story called "A look at the 64 bills." The real Post published a real version of it, which you can read here. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:04 p.m.

Don't expect Disney's live-action remaking spree to slow down anytime soon.

A live-action version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame is now in the works, The Hollywood Reporter said Wednesday. While no director is attached to the new Disney project, playwright David Henry Hwang is reportedly on board to pen the script, and Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz will return to do the music after working on the original movie. Menken previously returned to score 2017's Beauty and the Beast after also scoring the 1991 original. The remake will reportedly be based both on the original movie and on the novel by Victor Hugo.

Josh Gad will serve as producer on the project, and Deadline reports he might also star as Quasimodo after previously playing LeFou in the live-action Beauty and the Beast. No release date is set, as the Reporter notes that while The Hunchback of Notre Dame is in development, it's "not currently a priority for the studio."

After already having remade Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, Pete's Dragon, and Beauty and the Beast, Disney has three new versions of their classic animated films slated for 2019: Dumbo, Aladdin, and The Lion King. After that, a remake of Mulan is also set to release in 2020, and new versions of Pinocchio, The Little Mermaid, Lilo & Stitch, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, and The Sword in The Stone are on the way as well. Additionally, a live-action film about Cruella de Vil from One Hundred and One Dalmatians is in development, and a sequel to Maleficent, the live-action film about the Sleeping Beauty villain that grossed more than $750 million in 2014, will release in 2020. Brendan Morrow

2:56 p.m.

U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has survived a confidence vote in her leadership, but a much bigger challenge is just getting started.

May's plan for a slow British exit from the European Union was historically denied Tuesday, 432-202. Opposition party leader Jeremy Corbyn scheduled a confidence vote in May's leadership for Wednesday, and she narrowly survived it, with 306 MPs voting no confidence and 325 voting with her, CNN notes. She'll now have until Monday to formulate a new Brexit plan.

Tuesday's vote to deny May's Brexit deal was expected, with even members of May's Conservative Party rallying against her. It set a record for the harshest defeat a government has received in Parliament. Still, May's leadership was predicted to be upheld in Wednesday's confidence vote. The country is slated to leave the E.U. in 72 days, and will either have to agree on another deal, leave with no deal, or hold a second referendum on the decision. Following the confidence vote, Corbyn said the government should remove the prospect of a no-deal Brexit from consideration, which May declined to do. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:09 p.m.

Maine, we have a problem.

It appears that the moon has somehow crashed into the northern state's Presumpscot River. It's a lot smaller than we previously thought, and also it's a flat circle made of ice.

An practically perfect ice disk is floating on the river's surface, slowly and mesmerizingly spinning away, the Portland Press Herald describes. The disk was first spotted Monday and has since grown to a massive 100 yards across — and it's also sparking some serious alien talk.

This giant disk isn't a portal to the underworld, but rather a naturally occurring phenomenon. Scientists aren't entirely sure how the disks get so big, but they assume little bits of ice originally stick together and keep piling on as the floe rotates, a physics professor tells Maine Public Radio.

Admirers aren't encouraged to stand on the disk, but wildfowl certainly are. Rob Mitchell, who first spotted the circle, told the Press Herald there were "ducks sitting on ... this big Lazy Susan," adding that it "was a big duck-go-round." Check out more footage of the beautiful duck carousel below. Kathryn Krawczyk

Kathryn Krawczyk

1:56 p.m.

Steve Carell and the creator of The Office are reuniting for a new comedy series, and they have President Trump to thank for the idea.

Carell will star in Netflix's Space Force, which comes from The Office's Greg Daniels, according to The Hollywood Reporter. It's being described as a workplace comedy, and as you might glean from the title, it was inspired by Trump's announcement last June that he would be ordering the creation of a sixth military branch that has been dubbed Space Force.

A teaser trailer released by Netflix Wednesday ties itself directly to that news, mocking the 2018 announcement while not directly mentioning Trump's name and saying that the show is the story of the "men and women who have to figure [the creation of Space Force] out." Howard Klein, a producer on The Office, will also serve as producer on this show, which has received a straight-to-series order. Carell, the Reporter notes, will receive a hefty payday for the series, possibly more than $1 million per episode.

This is the second show Carell has boarded after spending years focused on feature films. In October, he signed on to a new Apple original series about morning news, although that's a drama, so Space Force will be his first regular starring role in a comedy series since he left The Office in 2011.

Watch the announcement of Space Force below. Brendan Morrow

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