Lauren Sikes

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Dark, star-filled skies draw visitors to national parks, survey finds

What do you look for in a vacation -- rest and relaxation? Gorgeous vistas? Cultural experiences? How about a view of the cosmos?<p>A new study suggests that gazing upon a naturally dark sky that is unpolluted by artificial light plays a significant role in visitors' enjoyment of national parks.<p>"There …

China's troop-cut plan is more about modernization than peace, analysts say

President<p>Xi Jinping's announcement Thursday that China will cut its military by 300,000 troops was couched in the language of peace. Yet analysts say that it was intended as a move to modernize and strengthen, not diminish, the country's armed forces.<p>"War is the sword of Damocles that still hangs …

The changing face of modern U.S. labor

<b>(CNN) —</b> Smoke-free flights, weekends off, health and safety regulations, no more exploitative child labor and even lunch breaks.<p>As the country celebrates the Labor Day holiday this weekend, workers can thank the U.S. labor movement for all those changes and more over the past two centuries.<p>Yet most …

Uzbek president bans teaching of political science

Repressive central Asian regime recalls Soviet era by outlawing what it calls ‘western pseudo-science’<p>From a political scientist’s perspective, Uzbekistan is almost certainly an authoritarian government: the regime of President Islam Karimov, who has ruled the country since before the breakup of …

Political Science

This app gives you a virtual security guard to walk you home

Some of the best app ideas are also the most obvious, and that's definitely the case with the Companion app.<p>The app makes it easy to recruit friends …

Apps

27 Stunning Lakeside Campsites

Photo by Matthew Hosford, Explorer for The Outbound<p>There's something special about waking up at sunrise to a glassy mountain lake outside your tent. If you're ready to make this a reality, check out this list of lakeside campsites and start planning your next adventure.<p>1. Mono Lake<p>California | Car …

Hiking

Grandparent Power: Bonds With Seniors Help Stabilize Teens

Study surveyed more than 1,400 adolescents<p>By<p>Ann Lukits<p>Teens who form close, loving relationships with a grandparent are more likely to have fewer behavioral and emotional problems than less-attached teens, says a study published online in the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.<p>The benefits to the …

Diabetes

20 places for fall travel | CNN Travel

Travel

A Look At Open Bionics’ 3D-Printed Robotic Hands For Amputees

Open Bionics, a startup out of the U.K. that makes bionic hands, figured out how to dramatically lower the cost of prosthetics using a combination of open-sourced 3D printing software and robotic sensors.<p>Nearly 2 million people live with the loss of a limb in the U.S., according to Amputee …

Fear stalks Burundi as besieged regime turns to torture

Victims say president Pierre Nkurunziza is trying to turn Hutus against Tutsis as protests continue against government<p>Lie on your back and stare directly into the sun – if you shut your eyes or look away, we will stamp on your toes. This is one of the perversely innovative forms of torture …

Africa

World's most romantic places

Ready to really get away from it all? From iconic romantic cities like Paris and Venice to beautiful beaches in Tahiti and Koh Samui, here are Budget …

Nearest rocky planet outside our solar system found

<b>(CNN) —</b> Astronomers have confirmed the discovery of the nearest rocky planet outside of our solar system.<p>The planet orbits a star in another solar system about 21-light years away. It cannot be seen from Earth with the naked eye. The planet is bigger than Earth, but it's too close to its star to …

Universe

6 Reasons Why Montreal is the Perfect Summer Destination

Ask anyone who has ever visited Montreal during the summer, and you would be hard-pressed to find someone who does not love this city. I would go as far as to say it's the perfect summer destination for everyone. Yes, everyone.<p>Montreal's unique blend of North American and European cultures is …

Travel

The world's longest cruises

There can be few simpler ways to tick off as many countries as possible than by boarding a world cruise.<p>The longest of the nine we've unearthed - a 180-night voyage on board Insignia, operated by Oceania Cruises - visits a truly remarkable 90 ports and 44 countries. That's more than a fifth of the …

Cruise Ships

Best Bay Area glamping spots: Where to camp without roughing it

<i>This story is courtesy Red Tricycle.</i><p>Do you feel like sleeping under the stars is a parenthood prerequisite but know your family is better suited to the Ritz than roughing it?<p>Fear not—there are plenty of options that can ease you and your brood into an overnight in nature minus the "sleeping on the …

Hiking

Why is Russia sending bombers close to U.S. airspace?

<b>(CNN) —</b> Two Russian bombers intercepted by U.S. fighter jets off the California coast on July Fourth could be seen as having raised a metaphorical middle finger to the United States.<p>"Good morning, American pilots. We are here to greet you on your Fourth of July Independence Day," they said, …

Military
Empathy

6 built-in Windows tools you might not know about

One of the great strengths of Windows is that users can install literally millions of programs and achieve a staggering amount of tasks. But as …

Software

New Horizons: 10 facts about Nasa's astonishing Pluto mission and beyond

Spacecraft clocked fastest launch speed, recorded first video of volcanic eruption off Earth and carries the ashes of the man who discovered the dwarf planet<p>• New Horizons clocked the fastest launch ever recorded when it blasted off in January 2006, exceeding 36,000 miles per hour. The spacecraft …

Solar System

Despite Consumer Complaints, Amazon Prime Day Sales Soar

Consumer demand was there for Amazon Prime Day, but the deals did not deliver. At least, that’s the sentiment being shared on social media about Amazon’s first-ever attempt at creating its own sales holiday – one which the company had promised would feature “more deals than Black Friday.”<p>In …

eCommerce

Exploring Fire and Ice in South Iceland

Iceland is truly a land of contradictions. Look to your left and you'll see smoke spewing from the ground as active lava fields, volcanoes, and ash flood the land. Look to your right and you'll see snow-covered glaciers in the distance, waterfalls, and geysers. The landscape is quite mystical and …

European Travel

18-day negotiation yields historic Iran nuclear accord

After long, fractious negotiations, world powers and Iran struck a historic deal Tuesday to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions — an agreement aimed at averting the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran and another U.S. military …

Heroin use and addiction are surging in the U.S., CDC report says

Heroin use surged over the past decade, and the wave of addiction and overdose is closely related to the nation's ongoing prescription drug epidemic, federal health officials said Tuesday.<p>A new report says that 2.6 out of every 1,000 U.S. residents 12 and older used heroin in the years 2011 to …

How does the Greek debt crisis impact the United States?

In 2010 and 2012, the Eurozone's debt problems shook global stock markets and sparked fear of a financial contagion that might derail America's fragile economic recovery.<p>Both times the crisis eased, but not before swiping a little bit of confidence and economic growth.<p>Once again, a financial crisis …

Changes urged at World Health Organization after bungled Ebola response

The<p>World Health Organizationmust undergo fundamental changes if it is to fulfill its function of protecting global health, according to an independent panel of experts that reviewed the agency’s bungled response to the deadlyEbolaoutbreak.<p>"The panel considers that WHO does not currently possess the …

Facebook to build new, wind-powered data center

Facebook's newest data center will be built in Fort Worth, completely powered by renewable energy.<p>Facebook worked with local energy companies to bring 200-megawatts of renewable wind power to the Texas grid, the company said Tuesday.<p>Producing about half the power of a typical coal plant, the wind …

Breathtaking Photos of People Climbing the Alps

During the past few years, Kamil Tamiola has had the rare privilege to photograph the magnificence of the high Alps, most especially the Mont Blanc …

Here are the top US cities to visit chosen by Travel + Leisure readers

The votes are in! For the 20th year in a row, Travel + Leisure magazine has announced the winners of the World’s Best Awards, a readers’ survey ranking the top cities, hotels, airlines and more in North America.<p>And the best part? You don’t have to go far to see some of the winners. Here, in reverse …

Travel

The Great Wall of China is Nearly One-Third Gone

New figures show the Ming-era structure in dire straits, while protections remain as paltry as ever<p>Though the Great Wall of China has long been under …

China

5 Outdoor Home Improvements to Increase the Curb Appeal of Your House

When it comes to the sale of your home, many a realtor will tell you the kitchen is where it's at, and that new cabinets and state-of-the-art appliances will go a long way toward a faster sale of your home at a good price. And they're right. But there are a lot of things you can do to the exterior …

Home Improvement