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Eighth planet found orbiting distant star

An eighth planet has been discovered orbiting a star 2,545 light-years from Earth, NASA announced Thursday.

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The star, called Kepler-90, is located in the Draco constellation. It is the first known star to have as many planets orbiting it as our solar system does, NASA said.

NASA scientists had known about seven planets orbiting Kepler-90. The eighth planet -- dubbed Kepler-90i -- is a hot, rocky planet that orbits its star once every 14.4 days, NASA said. By contrast, in our solar system, Mercury, the closest planet to the sun, has an orbit of 88 days.

Kepler-90i was found using machine learning from Google Artificial Intelligence. In this case, computers learned to identify planets by finding in Kepler data instances where the telescope recorded signals from planets beyond our solar system, known as exoplanets, NASA said. 

Christopher Shallue, senior software engineer at Google AI in California, told CNN that, “Machine learning really shines in situations where there is so much data that humans can't search it for themselves.”

Watch: He’s going to Harvard, and Louisiana student’s reaction is priceless

It has been quite a week for two Louisiana brothers. Both were accepted into big-name colleges, and separate videos of their reactions have gone viral.

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On Tuesday, 16-year-old Ayrton Little and his classmates at T.M. Landry College Preparatory waited as he opened his email to see if he had been accepted into Harvard University’s 2019-2020 class, WAFB reported. The junior’s reaction is priceless when he gets the good news.

His classmates shout “three-peat,” as it is the third consecutive year that a T.M. Landry student has been accepted to Harvard, WAFB reported. 

Ayrton said he plans to major in applied math and computer science.

His celebration came on the heels of a joyous day for his older brother, Alexander Little. On Friday, Alexander got the news that he had been accepted into Stanford University.

Alexander said he plans to major in physics with a minor in computer science.

Anonymous donor pays $40,000 in layaway bills at Pennsylvania Walmart

“Santa B” has struck again, and more than 200 families received a wonderful Christmas gift.

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For the second straight year, an anonymous donor paid for all of the items on layaway for 200 families at a Pennsylvania Walmart, WJAC reported. 

According to the staff of the Walmart store in Everett, “Santa B” paid more than $40,000 of layaway items. Last year, the same donor paid off $46,000, Fox News reported.

The store had been notifying the families of Santa B’s generosity. Monday was the layaway pickup day, but Walmart officials said there was a grace period of a couple of days.

“In this area you don’t hear a lot, I mean you hear small things where somebody pays somebody’s grocery bill or things like that, but this was pretty big,” employee Barbara Karns told WJAC.

Kristen Martin said she received a call from Walmart and said she “couldn’t wait” to get to the store.

“I was like driving and shaking,” she told WJAC. “Look at me, I'm shaking. It's crazy.”

Martin's kids can now get their X-Box games and toys, WJAC reported.

"I think it means more to me, but I think they'll be happy. I remember when I was growing up for Christmas. I was just telling my mom the other day that I want my kids to have Christmas like that," she said.

Police: Georgia shopper beaten, shot at in Kroger parking lot

A shopper was robbed, beaten and shot at in the parking lot of a Georgia grocery store, police said.

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His assailants also told the man to “stop moving or (I’m going to have to) kill you,” according to the report.

The incident happened about midnight Wednesday, which is one hour before closing time at the Kroger on Old National Highway, according to a new police report.

The customer, described as a 47-year-old College Park resident, was putting groceries in his car when two armed robbers walked up to him, demanded his wallet and cellphone, and pistol-whipped him, Fulton police said.

“I’m just minding my own business,” the victim told the robbers. “I’m trying to go home. Just leave me alone.”

The encounter started when one of the men asked the victim for his car keys and he refused, according to the report.

“Give me your wallet instead,” the robber said.

At that point, the victim started resisting.

“Stop moving or (I’m going to have to) kill you,” one of the robbers told him.

The robber then snatched at the victim’s wallet, causing it to fall. An accomplice picked it up and one of the men cocked a firearm, according to the report.

“Open your car,” one of the men said. “We going to ride together. I should kill you right now for resisting.”

The robber hit the victim on the left side of his head, police said.

The victim started walking quickly toward the grocery store, and that’s when he heard at least one gunshot and saw a store window shatter, according to the police report.

Fulton County police Officer Sherton Hutchins, who was in the area doing a business check, heard the shot. 

The officer then saw two men in gray clothes sprint across Old National Highway. Hutchins ran toward the victim while others searched the area for the two robbers, police said.

They have not been found.

Detectives are now looking at surveillance video for clues into who the robbers are. Kroger spokesman Felix Turner said that store officials were “in full cooperation with local authorities to provide any information as they investigate the incident.”

In a statement, he said Kroger is committed to providing a secure environment for all customers.

“As part of this commitment,” Turner said, “Kroger has invested in several measures at the Old National Highway location, including in-store security, security patrol in the parking lot, surveillance equipment and associate training. “

Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler opens Janie’s House for abused girls 

The first thing you see when you walk into Janie’s House is a quote painted in script on the wall: “They say the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”

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Those words from Mark Twain would resonate with anyone.

But Steven Tyler turned them into a mission.

On Nov. 1, the first-ever Janie’s House opened off a secluded road in Douglasville as part of the campus for Youth Villages, the nonprofit organization that helps emotionally and behaviorally troubled children.

The residential facility serves girls aged 12-18 who are survivors of abuse and neglect and gives them the opportunity to engage in group and individual counseling, along with other therapies, such as drumming and animal. It currently houses nine girls and has a capacity of 16.

When Tyler sashayed into Janie’s House for the first time in early December to participate in the official “scarf cutting,” he was greeted by the energetic rhythm provided by two rows of staff and kids from Youth Villages, who exhibited talents gleaned from the therapeutic drumming program.

After removing some of the jewelry weighing on his fingers, Tyler sat next to drummer girl Tatiana Rolles and seamlessly picked up the cadence on his own drum.

Tyler was motivated to begin his Janie’s Fund after a 2014 Aerosmith concert at Philips Arena, when he spent an afternoon with some of the abused girls at Youth Villages.

A year later, on the 26th anniversary of Aerosmith’s hit song about abuse, “Janie’s Got a Gun,” Tyler launched Janie’s Fund, which is housed within the Youth Villages Foundation. From it, Janie’s House emerged.

>> Related: Steven Tyler says it wasn't heart attack that cut tour short

“You adopted me and my philosophy. To be a part of this has been…it’s nothing more than a beautiful thing,” he told the Youth Villages team gathered at the opening.

Tyler grew up in the Bronx, where he said he was beaten up regularly by the neighborhood kids and floundered without purpose until he discovered music. He talked about his stints in rehab and how he discovered there that there were, “a lot more girls who are abused.”

According to Youth Villages, more than 68,000 children are raped or sexually abused each year in the United States.

“I always thought that I could have a Janie’s House,” he said, visibly moved by the surroundings.

Even with his busy schedule of recording, touring and being one of the most recognizable rock stars in the world, Tyler was deeply involved in the creation of the house, a refurbished existing Youth Villages building.

“Steven designed everything, from the logos to the quotes in the rooms to the color scheme,” said Youth Villages CEO Patrick Lawler, gesturing at the navy blue butterflies squiggled on the walls around more quotes, some from Aerosmith’s classic “Dream On,” and other inspirational phrases.

The goal of the house, Lawler said, is to provide these traumatized girls a place to stay. The goal is to help them through difficult situations and eventually reunite them with their families, but some may go to foster care.

During the Janie’s House presentation, 15-year-old Skylar, a transgender male who had moved into the house three weeks prior, addressed the gathered throng with heart and courage.

>> Related: Steven Tyler announces illness, Aerosmith cancels tour dates

Being at Janie’s House was, “the greatest experience of my life,” he said, after detailing a life spent hopping through eight previous mental facilities and struggles with PTSD and manic depression.

“I have learned that not everything in the past is my fault,” he said through tears.

When finished, he walked a few feet over to Tyler, who wrapped the teenager in a hug, his eyes scrunched closed as he pulled Skylar closer.

No doubt, Tyler found an answer as to why he was born.

Police: Drug dealers left mother of 9 to die from overdose

Authorities in Ohio are searching for two drug dealers who allegedly left a mother of nine to die from a drug overdose, according to Middletown Police.

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Investigators were called to a home Wednesday night where they found a woman dead from a fatal overdose of heroin, according to the department’s Facebook page.

The woman was with “friends” who let her die in front of her nine children, police officials said on Facebook. The two men also stole money from the dying woman.

Police are looking for two white males, possibly a father/son team.

“It has disturbed us so much that it’s time for us to make a difference,” the police department’s social media post said. “Their father is a hard worker. He has tried to make ends meet, but it’s a vicious cycle.”

Middletown police are accepting donations of clothes, coats, blankets, food, a stove, a refrigerator, and toys for the children.

The kids range in age from 1-14, according to the police department. The girls are ages 14, 5, 3 and 1. The boys are ages 13, 11, 10, 6 and 2.

Donations have started to come, according to Middletown Police Chief Rodney Muterspaw.

>> Related: Drunk man steals taxi, crashes through gates of Trump’s Florida golf  course, police say

Muterspaw said one donor gave $9,000 — $1,000 for each child.

What time do stores open and close on Christmas Eve 2017?

If you’re banking on some last minute Christmas shopping, you’re not alone. 

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According to a 2016 survey from the International Council of Shopping Centers, 76 percent of adult shoppers said they planned on making holiday purchases right up until Christmas.

And with Christmas Eve on a Sunday this year, shoppers will have an extra weekend day to hit the stores.

>> Related: Ultimate Guide to the Holidays

For all you last-minute shoppers, here’s a breakdown of store hours for Christmas Eve on Dec. 24, 2017:

Department store hours for Christmas Eve 2017

Belk: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Dillard’s: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

JCPenney: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Kmart: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. or midnight, depending on the location.

Kohl’s: Noon to 6 p.m.

Macy’s: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Neiman Marcus: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nordstrom: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Target: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Sears: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Walmart: Regular opening time (varies by location). All stores close at 6 p.m.

Von Maur: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

» RELATED: 2017 Christmas shipping deadlines for Amazon, Walmart, FedEx, UPS and more

Speciality retail store hours for Christmas Eve 2017

Apple Store: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Babies R Us: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Banana Republic: Opening hours vary. All stores close at 6 p.m.

Barnes & Noble: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Bed, Bath & Beyond: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Best Buy: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

BJ’s Wholesale: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Costco: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Dick’s Sporting Goods: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Dollar Tree: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

GameStop: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Gap: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Hobby Lobby: Closed on Sundays

Ikea: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Lowe’s: 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Office Depot & OfficeMax: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Old Navy: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Patagonia: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

REI: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Sam’s Club: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Stein Mart: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Toys R Us: 12 a.m. to 8 p.m. or 9 p.m., depending on the location.

Grocery store hours for Christmas Eve 2017

Kroger: Hours vary by location. Some will be open until 8 p.m. or close earlier, around 5-6 p.m. Call your nearest store to confirm.

Publix: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Whole Foods: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Trader Joe’s: Opening hours vary by location (8 a.m. or 9 a.m.) All stores close at 6 p.m.

Sprouts: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Pharmacy hours for Christmas Eve 2017

Walgreens: Most Walgreens pharmacies will have regular hours on Christmas Eve. Call yours to confirm.

CVS: Most CVS pharmacies are open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Call yours to confirm.

Rite Aid: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Another 8-planet solar system? 7 things about Kepler’s ‘sizzling’ discovery

Looks like our solar system isn’t the only one out there with eight planets circling around a single star.

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NASA scientists, along with Google engineers, used artificial intelligence to discover a new, scorching hot planet in the Kepler-90 solar system, bringing the total number of planets circling the Sun-like star to eight, the agency announced Thursday.

>> Related: Breathtaking NASA time-lapse shows how much Earth has changed over 20 years

Scientists used Google machine learning to teach computers how to identify planets in the light readings recorded by NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope.

Here’s what you should know about the new discovery, according to Thursday’s live teleconference:

What exactly is the Kepler mission?

The Kepler mission, NASA Discovery’s tenth mission, first launched in March 2009 with a goal to survey the Milky Way and hunt for Earth-size and smaller planets near the galaxy or “habitable” regions of planets’ parent stars.

In 2014, the Kepler space telescope began a new extended mission called K2, which continues the hunt for planets outside our solar system along with its other cosmic tasks.

>> Related: Follow NASA’s Kepler and K2 missions 

According to Space.com, “Kepler spots alien worlds by noticing the tiny brightness dips they cause when they cross the face of their host star from the spacecraft's perspective.”

Since 2009, Kepler has discovered thousands of exoplanets ranging between Earth-size and Neptune-size (four times the size of Earth).

As of Dec. 14, Kepler has confirmed 2,341 exoplanets.

How did NASA find the planet?

Researchers Christopher Shallue (Google AI software engineer) and Andrew Vanderburg (NASA astronomer) were inspired by the way neurons in the human brain connect and adapted the “neural network” concept to machine learning.

They taught computers how to identify planets in the light readings recorded by the Kepler telescope by first training them to search for the weaker signals in 670 star systems that already had multiple planets.

>> Related: Amazing NASA photos through the years 

“Their assumption was that multiple-planet systems would be the best places to look for more exoplanets,” researchers wrote in the press release.

Using this concept, the network “found weak transit signals from a previously-missed eighth planet orbiting Kepler-90, in the constellation Draco.”

Their findings will be published in The Astronomical Journal.

Would humans have found the planet without machine learning?

Without machine learning, it would have taken humans much longer to scan the recorded signals from planets beyond our solar system (exoplanets), Shallue said. Kepler’s four-year dataset consists of 35,000 possible planetary signals. 

>> Related: 15,000 scientists warn it will soon be 'too late' to save Earth

Additionally, people are likely to miss the weaker signals that machine learning was able to identify.

Won’t this form of automation put astronomers out of work?

"This will absolutely work alongside astronomers," Jessie Dotson, Kepler’s project scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, said in a press briefing. "You're never going to take that piece out."

Researchers hope astronomers will use this form of automation via machine learning as a tool to help astronomers make more of an impact, increase their productivity and inspire more people become astronomers.

Read more here.

WATCH: Sheep runs off with baby Jesus in hilarious church nativity program

A nativity scene performed by children didn’t go quite as planned at a Baptist church in White Pine, Tennessee.

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A little girl playing a sheep decided she wanted the baby Jesus for herself.

The children in the nativity scene were singing “Away in a Manager,” when the sheep suddenly stood up and grabbed the doll, which was in a manger, surrounded by other children who were playing Mary, Joseph, an angel and others. 

Well snatching the baby didn’t go over very well with the little girl playing Mary. She grabbed the doll back from the sheep and put it back in the manger. That didn’t sit well with the sheep, who grabbed the baby Jesus back again and danced across the stage. 

Mary had had enough and went after the sheep for a second time. She grabbed the sheep from behind, trying to reach around for the doll, dragging the sheep and doll back to the stable.

>> Related: Man puts 14-foot-tall “A Christmas Story” leg lamp in front yard

At this point the laughing adult onlookers in the congregation decided it was time for an intervention.

The video was posted on Facebook and has been shared thousands of times.

Actress Halle Berry ‘done with love’ after latest break-up

Halle Berry doesn’t need a man and she has the Instagram story to prove it.

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On Wednesday, the actress reportedly shared a photo on her Instagram story of a rope shaped like a heart and the words “done with love” along with three flexing muscle emojis. The post comes just hours after US Weeklyreported that she had split from her music producer boyfriend, Alex Da Kid.

Ahead of the split, Berry took a rather cryptic tone on Instagram. Sharing a photo of the back of her head, Berry wrote, “Grow out got me feelin’ some kinda way every day ain’t perfect…”

The actress has two children from previous relationships, Maceo, 3 and Nahla, 9. She was previously married to David Justice from 1992 to 1997, then wed Eric Benét in 2001 but the two split in 2005. She married Olivier Martinez in 2013 and the two finalized their divorce in 2016.

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