As Irma raged, Floridians stopped to take care of creatures great and small

Updated 12:03 AM ET, Tue. September 12, 2017
(CNN)By now, you’ve most certainly seen the video of the flamingos at Busch Garden strutting to safety because of Hurricane Irma. Or the manatees who were rescued after the storm sucked up water from a bay and left them stranded.

But they weren’t the only ones. As Irma ripped its way through Florida and millions of people evacuated, Floridians weren’t just thinking about themselves. They stopped to make sure that creatures – great and small — were also safe from harm’s way.

Some animals simply hunkered down with their owners in pet-friendly shelters, like this one at the Miami-Dade County Fair.


How to tell if your solar eclipse glasses are safe or fake

Don’t get caught with counterfeits on August 21.

The eclipse economy is in full swing. Eclipse glasses are in low supply, and counterfeit eclipse glasses being sold. How can you tell if the solar eclipse glasses you bought are safe for staring directly at the sun or fakes?

Reputable vendor research

Unfortunately, fake glasses may also be labeled as being compliant with ISO 12312-2 because, as a general rule, people are greedy, selfish and not to be trusted. To double check the veracity of your eclipse glasses’ ISO claims, you can check to see if the vendor from which you purchased the shades is trustworthy in the eyes of the AAS. See its list of Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters and Viewers.

In assembling its list, the AAS checks to make sure a manufacturer earned its ISO rating with proper, labs-based testing. It also asks manufacturers for their authorized resellers and resellers for their manufacturers. If the vendor of your eclipse shades is listed, then you are safe. But the opposite isn’t necessarily true. If your vendor isn’t listed, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are slinging counterfeits. It just means the AAS hasn’t checked them out or hasn’t been able to track everything down.

So, what are you to do if your vendor isn’t on the list? Perform an eye test.

Eclipse glasses eye test

First off, a pair of honest-to-goodness solar eclipse glasses should be way darker than, say, your sunglasses. According to the AAS, the solar filters of eclipse glasses are “many thousands of times darker” than ordinary sunglasses.

Total Solar Eclipse to Shadow Parts of Missouri

For nearly 13 minutes on Mon., Aug. 21, 2017, Missourians in a 70-mile swath stretching catty-corner from St. Joseph in the Northeast to Cape Girardeau in the Southeast will witness the totality of the moon obscuring the sun, otherwise referred to as a total solar eclipse. Totality will last anywhere from a few seconds to 2:39 depending upon a viewer’s specific location. During that time, darkness will fall, temperatures may drop 10-15 degrees, breezes may vanish, insects will come out, stars and planets will be visible, and if one lives on a farm, the animals may head toward the barn.

When looking at the sun, safety is important.  Here’s a list of eye safety suggestions from the American Astronomical Society for viewing a solar eclipse.

This will be the first total solar eclipse to touch the United State since 1991 when one occurred in Hawaii, and the first coast-to-coast across the southern U.S. since 1918. The last time a total solar eclipse occurred in the greater St. Louis area was 1442. St. Louisans can expect the next one in 2505.

Eclipse-chasers from around the world are expected to converge in St. Louis and the areas beyond as about half of both Kansas City and St. Louis lie within the patch of totality. Consider that more than 43 million people live in large metro areas outside of the totality path where St. Louis is the closest large city, making St. Louis a main destination. Hotel rooms will be at a premium during the period and travelers are encouraged to book their accommodations and travel plans in advance to ensure the best possible experience.

Viewers in St. Louis are recommended to head to parks south and southwest of the city. One notable fact is that Jefferson City is one of only four U.S. state capitals located in the totality path. The others include Salem, Oregon; Nashville, Tennessee; and Columbia, South Carolina.


Saint Louis Zoo Wins 2017 Readers’ Choice for Best U.S. Zoo!

We asked a panel of family travel and zoological park experts to nominate their 20 favorite facilities across the United States (all accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums), and for the last four weeks, readers have been voting for their favorites.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Zoo are as follows:

  1. Saint Louis Zoo – St. Louis
  2. Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium – Omaha
  3. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum – Tucson
  4. Fort Worth Zoo – Fort Worth
  5. Riverbanks Zoo & Garden – Columbia, S.C.
  6. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo – Colorado Springs
  7. San Diego Zoo – San Diego
  8. Brookfield Zoo – Chicago
  9. Audubon Zoo – New Orleans
  10. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo – Cleveland

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to picked the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Katie Dillon (La Jolla Mom), Debra Erickson (International Zoo Educators Association), Kyle McCarthy (Family Travel Forum), Eileen Ogintz (Taking the Kids) and Alan Sironen (Zoo Consultants International) were chosen based on their knowledge and experience of American zoos.

Other nominees included the Bronx Zoo, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Gardens, Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, Denver Zoo, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Houston Zoo, Memphis Zoo, Phoenix Zoo and Woodland Park Zoo.

Congratulations to all 10 USA TODAY winners.

“This is what lucky looks like.”

I was in a terrible accident in 2008 because I wasn’t paying attention (either playing with the radio, looking at my phone or GPS; I really can’t remember).   Although I have had 20 surgeries, my face has been rebuilt, I’ve lost an eye and was in a coma, I still say,  “This is what lucky looks like.”
I am so grateful that I did not hurt anyone else and I’m alive to tell my story and to make sure no one has to go through what I have or worse. Now I am hoping to start a motivational speaking tour to let people know that the more distractions you add while driving, the higher you risk your life, and others’ lives.
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Scientists Say the Clock of Aging May Be Reversible


At the Salk Institute in La Jolla, Calif., scientists are trying to get time to run backward.

Biological time, that is. In the first attempt to reverse aging by reprogramming the genome, they have rejuvenated the organs of mice and lengthened their life spans by 30 percent. The technique, which requires genetic engineering, cannot be applied directly to people, but the achievement points toward better understanding of human aging and the possibility of rejuvenating human tissues by other means.

The Salk team’s discovery, reported in the Thursday issue of the journal Cell, is “novel and exciting,” said Jan Vijg, an expert on aging at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York.

Leonard Guarente, who studies the biology of aging at M.I.T., said, “This is huge,” citing the novelty of the finding and the opportunity it creates to slow down, if not reverse, aging. “It’s a pretty remarkable finding, and if it holds up it could be quite important in the history of aging research,” Dr. Guarente said.

The finding is based on the heterodox idea that aging is not irreversible and that an animal’s biological clock can in principle be wound back to a more youthful state.

Why Did No One Tell Modern Cars Owners This New Policy?

New policy for cars running headlights all day

Missouri: Why Did No One Tell Modern Cars Owners This New Policy?

This is the trick your auto insurer does not want you to know. If your car has anti-lock brakes, day-time running lights, or air bags — you qualify for a discount. If you qualify for 2 or 3 of these discounts, the savings are extremely high. Also, there is a select group of insurers that will give a discount for zero DWIs.

To find the lowest rate is simple. To get the biggest savings, compare rates from our vast network of agents (in your area).

  • During November — 3,683 U.S. drivers have trusted this to get extreme insurance discounts
  • Recent survey shows that the average driver may save $859 a year by finding the right insurer
    • Consumer Fed has warned that 45% of major insurers unfairly hike up loyal customers’ rates just to maximize profits – insurers call it “price optimization.”

Centenarian’s advice won’t steer you wrong

2016_12-02_rar_blog_centenarians-advice-wont-steer-you-wrong-01Mary E. Cooper, 101, sits behind the wheel of her 2005 Hyundai in front of the North Michigan Park Recreation Center in Northeast Washington, DC on Aug. 9, 2012. Cooper often visits the recreation center to socialize and play cards with friends. (PHOTO BY COURTLAND MILLOY/TWP)

On her 101st birthday last week, Mary E. Cooper took me for a ride in her car. I am often flabbergasted by the way elderly people drive, and I couldn’t imagine someone born in 1911 being on the loose in Washington traffic.

I just had to see how she rolled.

“The good thing about me, I’m still very alert and know what’s happening around me,” Cooper said.

Of course she’d say that. When it comes to self-assessment of driving ability, nobody talks a better game than an elderly person. To hear the elderly tell it, the older they get, the better they drive. Anything to keep from giving up those car keys.

A study published in the September issue of Accident Analysis and Prevention found that 85 percent of Maryland drivers ages 65 to 91 rated their road skills as “excellent” or “good.” None thought of themselves as “poor” drivers, even if they had been in a crash.

 Cooper, it turns out, was not exaggerating. She’s a good driver, wears a seat belt, checks the mirrors and approaches intersections with extra caution.

Emotional support duck owner: ‘Everybody loved him’

As Daniel the emotional support duck basks in international fame, owner Carla Fitzgerald is a little surprised at the attention but says it’s well-deserved.

“It’s just weird how a little six-pound duck could cause such an uproar, you know?” Fitzgerald, 37, said with a laugh. “It’s crazy, in a very good way, and I’m very happy it’s in a good way. But what’s not to love about him? He’s a happy little guy, and he makes other people happy. He makes me happy.”

Daniel’s 15 minutes of fame began Sunday afternoon when Asheville author Mark Essig, on a short flight from Charlotte to Asheville, encountered the little fellow waddling up the aisle and started tweeting about him.