Samantha Raphelson

Around 80 sopping wet, black plastic bags lined the floor of an operating room in Thailand last week after they were pulled from the stomach of a whale found stranded on a beach.

If you've spent any time on the Internet this past week, you've probably heard and then argued over a certain viral sound clip.

He's saying, "Laurel," some people swear. No, he's saying, "Yanny," others insist. But for Broadway and television actor Jay Aubrey Jones, he hears himself.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge released two new photos of the newest addition to the royal family, Prince Louis, on Sunday.

The world's largest active geyser has erupted three times in the past two months at Yellowstone National Park, leaving scientists puzzled by the sudden and relatively frequent explosions.

Larry Harvey, co-founder of the Burning Man festival, died Saturday at the age of 70, according to the organization's Facebook page and website.

The first Burning Man event took place on a San Francisco beach in 1986 after Harvey had the idea to burn a giant effigy in celebration. The event eventually grew into the seminal arts and culture festival in Nevada's Black Rock Desert marked by the burning of a giant wooden sculpture of a man.

Scientists now think they understand why so many viruses seem able to exist in widely varying ecosystems on Earth.

There are an enormous number of viruses that get sucked up into the outer atmosphere and then fall out of the sky and scatter across the globe, according to new research published in the International Society for Microbial Ecology Journal.

The U.S. Geological Survey released a report Wednesday predicting that there could be dire consequences if a major earthquake hits the second-largest fault in Northern California.

The USGS simulated a 7.0 magnitude earthquake on the Hayward Fault, which runs up and down the East Bay Area through Berkeley, Oakland, Hayward, Fremont and Milpitas. The results show that an earthquake of that scale could kill up to 800 people and cause more than $100 billion in total damage.

An Atlantic Ocean current that helps regulate the global climate has reached an 1,000-year low, according to two new studies in the journal Nature.

While scientists disagree about what's behind the sluggish ocean current, the shift could mean bad news for the climate. The Atlantic Meridional overturning circulation [AMOC] – often called the conveyor belt of the ocean – exchanges warm water from the equator with cold water in the Arctic.

The U.S. electricity sector is eyeing the developing electric car market as a remedy for an unprecedented decline in demand for electricity.

The film "Black Panther" has inspired black cosplayers around the country to be more visible within the cosplay community.

Cosplay, which is short for "costume play," is when people wear often-handmade costumes to embody fictional characters from comic books and popular movies like Captain America and Star Wars. But black and other non-white cosplayers often feel excluded because non-white characters are rarely featured prominently in the fantasy worlds of comics. They are often relegated to the roles of sidekicks or villains rather than the superheroes.

If you've ever tried to catch an Uber on a rainy day during rush hour or after the ball drops on New Year's Eve, you're familiar with dynamic pricing. That's when the price of a ride costs more or less depending on the demand for drivers.

The pricing strategy has long been used by other sectors of the travel industry, such as airlines and hotels, to balance supply and demand, and last month, a luxury restaurant in London rolled out a similar model.

Coca-Cola introduced four new fruit-flavored versions of Diet Coke this week in an effort to entice former soda drinkers and LaCroix-guzzling seltzer lovers.

The new flavors — Feisty Cherry, Twisted Mango, Ginger Lime and Zesty Blood Orange — are sold in slimmer, redesigned cans. They were launched as part of the beverage company's endeavor to offset slumping Diet Coke sales, which have steadily declined since the height of soft-drink consumption in the mid-2000s.

Cape Town officials are tightening water restrictions amid claims the city could run out of water by April 21. After three years of intensive drought, officials say residents are bracing for "Day Zero," the day water could stop flowing.

South Africa's second-largest city would be the first major city in the developed world to run out of water, if residents do not heed new stricter water measures. The region is experiencing its worst drought in a century, which experts say has been exacerbated by climate change and in Cape Town, rapid population growth.

The Trump administration must decide by next week whether to impose tariffs on the imports of solar panel components.

Some U.S. manufacturers have complained that cheap imports are forcing them out of business, while domestic installers oppose tariffs because cheap, imported solar panels have driven the industry's recent growth.

Lawmakers in the United Kingdom are debating a new tax on disposable cups in an effort to cut down on waste.

While the so-called "latte levy" is controversial, the goal is to replicate the success of Britain's tax on plastic bags; their use has declined by 80 percent since the tax was introduced in 2015. Proponents of the tax say it would encourage people to carry around their own reusable cups rather than use disposable ones, which in their current form are difficult to recycle.

Search and rescue efforts continue in Santa Barbara County, Calif., after deadly mudslides killed at least 17 people and destroyed dozens of homes.

Flash floods swept down hillsides recently devastated by wildfires, highlighting the heightened risk of mudslides after firefighters contained the flames. Officials say 43 people are still missing, and experts are warning that more rainfall could cause more destruction.

Jennifer Brea was a PhD candidate at Harvard University when flu-like symptoms and a high fever brought her down for more than five years.

After her condition stumped several doctors, the 28-year-old filmed herself on her iPhone, including an episode when she was unable to move or speak. She showed the footage to her doctor, and in 2012 – a year and a half after her initial fever – she was diagnosed with a condition called myalgic encephalomyelitis, or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Allegations of sexual misconduct by high-profile chefs and restaurateurs, such as The Chew's Mario Batali, are revealing the wild and sometimes illegal behaviors that thrive in the pressure-cooker environments of some top American restaurants.

You are suspended in an endless dark chamber as thousands of red, green, yellow and blue lights flicker across the air like tiny diamonds in the sky.

Or at least that's how it appears in the selfie you just posted on Instagram. Yayoi Kusama's "Infinity Mirrors" – mirror-lined rooms that seem to go on forever – is part of the latest art craze to take over social media. Immersive exhibits are driving people to museums in search of the perfect snapshot.

Thousands of firefighters who have traveled from across the country to Southern California have started making progress containing the fifth-largest wildfire in the state's history.

The week-old, nearly 230,000-acre Thomas Fire is now 20 percent contained, after firefighters on the ground and in aircraft took advantage of weakened Santa Ana winds on Monday night. The fire has consumed an area larger than the size of New York City.

Azzedine Alaia, the French-Tunisian designer known for his figure-sculpting fashions, has died at 77, the French Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion confirmed on Saturday.

In his more than four decades in the fashion industry, Alaia gained a reputation for going rogue; he refused to follow the calendar of international fashion weeks and released his collections only when he was ready. He rose to fame for his body-hugging designs that celebrated the female form.

Walruses are facing a "death sentence" after the Trump administration declined last month to list the Pacific walrus as endangered, according to the Center for Biological Diversity.

The conservation group, which took legal action starting in 2008 to get walruses on the list, says the White House's decision puts the species in a dire state as it confronts the effects of climate change.

In Northern California, two intoxicants are king — wine and weed.

Both products drive the $3.2 billion-a-year tourism industry in Napa and Sonoma counties. But as wildfires continue to rage through the region this week, marijuana growers and winemakers are struggling to keep their crops safe.

Here's what we've been told about passwords:

  • Make them complicated.
  • Use numbers, question marks and hash marks.
  • Change them regularly.
  • Use different passwords for each app and website.

These guidelines often leave users frustrated and struggling to remember them all.

Many countries are moving to repeal long-established laws that allow rapists to escape punishment if they marry their victims.

A handful of places have recently repealed these laws, including Tunisia, Morocco and, just last week, Jordan.