near miss
September 21, 2017

If Tom Hanks had gotten his way last fall, the world would've been a very different place. Former Saturday Night Live castmember Bobby Moynihan has revealed that Hanks didn't really want to play the now iconic role of David S. Pumpkins, and tried to talk his way out of wearing the pumpkin suit. "He thought it was very bizarre and was like, 'Hey, I think Chris Hemsworth [the following week's host] would make a great David Pumpkins,'" Moynihan recalled.

Hanks, who obviously ended up playing the haunted house character flanked by dancing sidekick skeletons, has since come to his senses about how bizarrely good the sketch is. The official SNL YouTube video of the sketch has racked up more than 8.3 million views, and rumor has it Hanks might reprise his character again this fall.

Breathe a sigh of relief that Hanks didn't get his way as you watch the brilliant Halloween sketch below. Becca Stanek

January 31, 2017

A truck-sized asteroid passed within 40,563 miles of Earth on Sunday, just hours after it was first spotted by scientists, CBS News reports. It was a very, very near miss: The moon, by comparison, is 238,900 miles away from Earth.

The asteroid is estimated to be approximately 15 feet by 33 feet in size. You can breath a sigh of relief at least — to cause "worldwide effects," an asteroid would probably have to be about a mile wide. NASA reports that "space rocks smaller than about 25 meters (about 82 feet) will most likely burn up as they enter the Earth's atmosphere and cause little or no damage."

What is more concerning is that Sunday's asteroid came out of nowhere. "We didn't expect 2017 BH30 and other nearby asteroids to seem to be sneaking up on us every other week, so keep your eyes open," CBS News reports. Jeva Lange

January 29, 2016

Russia and the U.S. continue to eye each other warily in the Middle East, where a Russian fighter plane's near collision with an American reconnaissance plane is the latest incident to stir up trouble. According to the Pentagon, a Russian plane flying in an "unsafe" manner came within 15 feet of hitting an American aircraft over the Black Sea last week.

From The Hill:

"On January 25, 2016, a U.S. RC-135U flying a routine route in international airspace over the Black Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 in an unsafe and unprofessional manner," said Army Lt. Col. Michelle L. Baldanza, a Defense spokeswoman.

"Aircraft intercepts are not unusual, but are normally routine events. In this case the intercept was not routine, and the Russian pilot acted in an unprofessional manner that put both the American flight crew and himself at risk," she added. "We have addressed our concerns on this matter appropriately." [...] The official did not know if the Russian aircraft was armed at the time and said the incident occurred more than 40 miles from the Russian coast. [The Hill]

There were two similar incidents in 2014, one when a Russian Su-27 came within 100 feet of the U.S. Air Force RC-135U, and another when a Russian aircraft turned to "show its belly" to U.S. crew to show it was armed with missiles. Jeva Lange

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