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Science!
July 15, 2014

At NASA's Washington headquarters on Monday, a panel of space program scientists announced their estimation that humans will find extraterrestrial life within 20 years, going as far as to say that the estimate is a "conservative" one.

NASA outlined its plan to search for alien life and said it would launch the Transiting Exoplanet Surveying Satellite in 2017. The agency predicts that as many as 100 million worlds in the Milky Way galaxy may be home to alien life.

"Just imagine the moment when we find potential signatures of life," Matt Mountain, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, said at the announcement. "Imagine the moment when the world wakes up and the human race realizes that its long loneliness in time and space may be over — the possibility we're no longer alone in the universe."

NASA astronomer Kevin Hand seconded Mountain's opinion, saying that within the next 20 years, "we will find out we are not alone in the universe," suggesting that extraterrestrial life may exist on Jupiter's moon Europa. The scientists at the panel said NASA's efforts are focusing on finding alien life on planets or stars outside the Earth's solar system.

For more detail about NASA's current projects and search for alien life, watch the video of Monday's panel below. --Meghan DeMaria

This just in
1:11 p.m. ET
Pool/Getty Images

Dylann Roof, who faces federal charges including hate crimes and obstructing the practice of religion for allgedly murdering nine in a historically black Charleston church, has chosen to plead not guilty, his lawyer said. Roof wanted to plead guilty to his 33 charges, but because prosecutors haven't yet revealed if they are seeking the death penalty, his defense attorney argued he couldn't advise his client to enter a guilty plea without knowing what the government was planning, The Associated Press reports. Roof also faces charges for nine counts of murder in South Carolina, and the state could also decide to seek the death penalty. Jeva Lange

Semper Fi
1:06 p.m. ET
iStock

Bambi, one of Disney’s most beloved animals, may be most known for being cute and a little awkward, or, as Donnie Dunagan, who voiced Young Bambi describes him, “a little frail deer, not doing very well, sliding around on the ice on his belly.”

That image of a helpless baby animal is exactly what Dunagan didn’t want people associating him with when he was later drafted into the Marine Corps, as he explained to his wife in a recent visit to a recording booth in San Angelo, Texas as part of StoryCorp's project to collect the stories of everyday Americans.

Dungan would serve in the Marines for over two decades, both in combat and as a commander in a boot camp, all the while keeping his Bambi past a secret, terrified that the marines he wanted to fear him would instead start thinking of him as “Major Bambi.” Dunagan’s conversation with his wife was broadcast Friday on Morning Edition as part of their weekly StoryCorps series:

Dunagan thought he had successful kept Bambi a secret up until a month before his retirement. During a particularly busy time on the base, a general he had known for years called him into his office, assigning him more duties. Dunagan expressed dismay at the extra workload. Then, as Dunagan recalls, the general pulled out a top-secret folder from a safe with his name on it, looked at him over his glasses and said, “You will… won’t you, Major Bambi?”

While Dunagan may have once had mixed feelings about his Disney past, today he wouldn’t trade that experience for anything, loving it when people realize, as he puts it, “This old jerk, he’s still around and was Bambi.” Marshall Bright

election 2016
1:04 p.m. ET
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton, a frontrunner in the race for the Democratic nomination for president, didn't shy away from attacking former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a GOP 2016 frontrunner, Friday morning on his home turf, where they both took the stage to speak at the Urban League conference in Fort Lauderdale.

"I don't think you can credibly say that everyone has a right to rise and then say you're for phasing out Medicare, or repealing ObamaCare," Clinton said, referencing Bush's PAC slogan, "Right to Rise." "People can't rise if they can't afford health care. They can't rise if the minimum wage is too low to live on. They can't rise if their governor makes it harder for them to get a college education. And you can't seriously talk about the right to rise and support laws that deny the right to vote."

Clinton continued on her warpath later in the day at Florida International University, where she openly urged Congress to put an end to the trade embargo on Cuba. "We were unintentionally helping the regime keep Cuba a closed and controlled society, rather than working to open it up to positive outside influences, the way we did so effectively with the Soviet bloc and elsewhere," Clinton said. "The choices we make will have lasting consequences, not just for more than 11 million Cubans, but for American leadership across our hemisphere and around the world." Jeva Lange

D.C. is 'hip' and 'cool'
11:05 a.m. ET

It's called "Neutra," and you see it every time you turn on HBO's Girls, order a SmokeShack from Shake Shack, or go to a Washington Nationals game. And now the hipster-chic, thin, mid-century font is officially the typeface of Washington, D.C.

"Whatever we're promoting, whether it's summer camp or a public health test, we want to make sure that it looks and feels like a government product," the D.C. Communications director Michael Czin told Wired.

So how exactly did our nation's capital decide on a font? Let Wired explain:

[Designer Andy] Cruz credits the font's "certain stylistic but non-descript feel." "I think it has that comforting authority to it," he says.

[Designer Paula] Scher doesn't regard the font as neutral, saying that it harkens back to a specific moment in time — the midcentury — which makes it an odd choice for a city government. "It's a retro font," she says. What does it have to do with progress? Then again — this is Washington D.C. [Wired]

Jeva Lange
Iran nuclear deal
10:36 a.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) attacked opponents of President Obama's Iran deal on Thursday by expressing confusion over whether they'd still oppose the plan if they truly understood it. "You wonder why," she mused. "Have they even read it? [This opposition] looks political to me."

Whether Pelosi is right or not, it's a line of critique that she is uniquely not positioned to make: Perhaps the most infamous line to come out of the 2010 ObamaCare debate was Pelosi's claim that "we have to pass the [health care] bill so that you can find out what's in it."

Pelosi's quote was, of course, taken out of its context by a sound bite-driven news cycle, but she has since stood by the substance of the argument. Bonnie Kristian

trump nation
10:15 a.m. ET

Donald Trump's tradition of giving hyperbolic sound bites dates all the way back to 1973, when he was the 27-year-old president of the Trump Management Corporation in Brooklyn. The New York Times unearthed its very first mention of the now-inescapable public figure, and his first-ever quote is quite fitting.

In the Oct. 16, 1973 article "Major Landlord Accused of Antiblack Bias in City," Trump got his first taste of infamy after the Justice Department brought a suit in federal court against Trump and his father, Fred C. Trump, accusing them of violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968 by refusing to "rent or negotiate rentals because of race and color." The suit "charged that the company had required different rental terms and conditions because of race and that it had misrepresented to blacks that apartments were not available," The New York Times writes. Trump, of course, was indignant:

Donald Trump's first quoted words in The New York Times expressed his view of the charges:

"They are absolutely ridiculous."

"We never have discriminated," he added, "and we never would." [The New York Times]

Though Trump Management later sued the government for $100 million over the accusation, the two parties reached an agreement in 1975 in which the company had to provide the New York Urban League with a list of apartment vacancies every week for two years, and the league could present qualified applicants to every fifth opening in a Trump building where less than 10 percent of the occupants were black.

If that irked Trump, he wasn't showing it: He refused to describe the agreement as an admission of guilt, and by 1976, he seemed to be doing quite well for himself. From the Times on Nov. 1, 1976:

He is tall, lean and blond, with dazzling white teeth, and he looks ever so much like Robert Redford. He rides around town in a chauffeured silver Cadillac with his initials, DJT, on the plates. He dates slinky fashion models, belongs to the most elegant clubs and, at only 30 years of age, estimates that he is worth 'more than $200 million.' [The New York Times]

Samantha Rollins
Oops
10:13 a.m. ET
David McNew/Getty Images

On Thursday afternoon, anti-drug organization D.A.R.E. published a surprising op-ed on its site. "I support [marijuana] legalization precisely because I want to reduce youths' drug use," the article argued. "We already tried alcohol prohibition and it was a violent catastrophe, too. Please don't let Ohio be known as one of the last bastions of marijuana hysteria."

As the news coverage piled up ("The war on drugs is over, and weed won," declared New York), the article disappeared (see a screenshot of the post before it was taken down here). In an emailed statement to The Washington Post, D.A.R.E. regional director John Lindsay clarified that D.A.R.E. does "not support legalization nor do we advoate [sic] for legalization of marijuana." Lindsay suggested that the op-ed's title, "Purchasing Marijuana Puts Kids at Risk," was the source of the mistake.

Next time, D.A.R.E., just say no to republishing content after only reading the headline. Bonnie Kristian

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