Total Eclipse of the Moon

News worth an honorable mention, including word of a celestial sight you've got to see.

BILL WOLFF (Announcer): This is NPR.

RACHEL MARTIN, host:

Hey, Welcome back to THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News. We are always online at npr.org.

THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT is your place for news, beelzebufos(ph). and other B's that, well, just shouldn't be really. Yup. That means it's time for The Ramble.

(Soundbite of music) ALISON STEWART, host: Beelzebufo, my favorite story of yesterday. The discovery of that existence of a giant dinosaur eating frog from hell, hence the name Beelzebufo. I think it was a size of a bowling ball.

Well, today, we're going to talk about giant sea spiders. How about it? Eight legged beast the size of dinner plates discovered by a scientific expedition in the mysterious oceans of Antarctica. Also discovered, hmm, giant worms, a jellyfish with 18-foot long tentacles. This all sounds terrifying but they also collected a bunch of sea squirts. They sound cute, but I looked them up, they're not so cute.

MARTIN: They're not?

STEWART: I just want to record. And believe it or not, NPR, of course, did a long story on sea squirts on '04. So you can just Google that.

The teams leader, scientist Martin Riddle says the finds, they are, well, strange looking fish. The expedition is monitoring the impact of environmental change in the Antarctic waters. Let's just hope this isn't the result of environmental change, just evolution. Some are concern that global warming could draw sharks south and tamper with the ecological balance. But shark, jellyfish with 18-foot long tentacles, I'm not sure I'd put my money on.

MARTIN: You know, it's fun to be a science correspondent. I want to be a science correspondent. You get to hang out with all these crazy creatures. And it's not politically divisive, it's just something interesting.

So, people who go to bed at unusual hour, not 7:30 like the rest of us. There's something cool that you should look for tonight. A total lunar eclipse. Total moon eclipse. The earth will cast it's shadow on the moon tonight . It will be first visible at 8:43 - not 8:42, not 8:41, not 8:44 - 8:43 PM Eastern time. The moon will be completely covered by 10:01. The eclipse will also be visible in Western Europe, Africa and Western Asia. The moon - during this phenomenon, the moon will appear red because of the sun's filtered and refracted by the earth's atmosphere. If the earth had no atmosphere, the moon would pretty much disappear to us during the lunar eclipse. So this is a special - this is a very special event so stay up.

STEWART: I wondered if you (unintelligible) Cancer, I'm a moon child if I'm going to get wacky at.

MARTIN: Get all crazy? Interesting.

STEWART: I don't know. Anybody who knows astrology out there, let me know if I need to, you know, hide things in my house.

A firefighter's life was saved by a DVD about fire extinguishers but maybe not how you think. South Carolina firefighter Barry McRoy was leaving a Waffle House restaurant on a Saturday. Love the Waffle House. Two man ran in, struggling over a gun. It went off. A bullet hit one of them and then hit Mr. McRoy.

MARTIN: Okay.

STEWART: Thankfully, he was carrying that DVD in his pocket and that caught the bullet.

MARTIN: That is crazy.

STEWART: The DVD was a recording of a TV show about fire extinguishers made by an employee. So, literally.

MARTIN: Saving his life.

STEWART: Saving his life.

MARTIN: Okay. So call this a new version of the midlife crisis. Workers in their 40s are dipping into their 401k retirement plans to payoff debts. This is apparently happening at an increasing rate. People are spending their nest eggs to pay for gas for those big SUVs, for mortgages on those houses that suddenly aren't worth as much as they use to be, to pay off credit cards and even in some instances just to buy groceries. Just to get by. Some big retirement administrators tell the Associated Press that applications to take out this so-called hardship withdrawals or to barrow from a 401k plan, are up by double digits. This is not a good thing - coupled out with the fact that some 401k plans don't let you continue to contribute to your retirement fund while you're borrowing against it and the Center for Retirement Research predicts that 43 percent of workers are now at risk of not being bale to maintain their current standard of living during retirement. We got to save, people.

STEWART: And also, you get taxed.

MARTIN: Yeah.

STEWART: All right, in Great Britain, a controversy.

MARTIN: A controversy.

STEWART: A controversy over an ultrasonic mosquito device meant to keep teenagers from loitering in front of convenient stores. You probably heard about this or you've only heard about it because you maybe haven't...

MARTIN: Yeah.

STEWART: ...you don't hear it. Here's the deal. This is the sound. This high pitched sound, it's so high that it can only be heard by the youngsters. I have not heard it. This is how I officially know I was getting old. We actually played this noise once because it was a ringtone for a while.

MARTIN: Uh-huh.

STEWART: And teenagers were able o call each other and pick up their phones or at least know their phones were ringing and schools and teachers weren't hearing it. We tried it over back at MSNBC and then everybody was sort of listening like can you hear it? Can you hear it? And some intern, way across - it was like a big giant loft space - across the (unintelligible) gets up and goes, what is that noise? He was so annoyed with it.

MARTIN: The young person.

STEWART: About 35,000 debuggers have been installed in the UK. Buggers, the American sense, not the UK sense. We'll get in trouble with the UKFCC for that one. Now, England's children commissioner is demanding that the device be banned because it infringes on kids' human rights. But an association of convenient stores, not surprisingly, fully behind the mosquito noise machine. There you go.

MARTIN: Hey folk, that does it for The Ramble.

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