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Imagine being dead and knowing you’re dead, that’s what happened in new study

Scientists may be a step closer to solving the mystery surrounding death and what happens next. New research finds a person’s brain is still active after the heart stops beating, so many people actually may be aware that they have died, according to a new report.

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Researchers from New York University’s Langone School of Medicine are currently conducting a study to explore how the brain functions after death. 

To do so, they examined individuals who suffered cardiac arrest, but were later revived. The scientists noted that death was defined by when the heart stops and blood stops flowing to the brain.

During the evaluation, many patients were able to recall full conversations and visuals, and in some cases, participants even reported hearing they had been pronounced dead. 

"They'll describe watching doctors and nurses working; they'll describe having awareness of full conversations, of visual things that were going on, that would otherwise not be known to them," lead author Sam Parnia told Live Science.

>> Related: No cure, yet, but scientists may have found the cause of dyslexia

Scientists confirmed the patients’ stories with doctors and nurses present at the time of death, and were stunned to hear what the subjects remembered.

Why is there still brain activity after death?

Brain death is a process. It takes up to 20 seconds before brain waves are no longer detectable. Once they aren’t, a set of cellular processes take place that eventually result in brain death. And this could occur hours after the heart has stopped, Parnia said. 

"If you manage to restart the heart, which is what CPR attempts to do, you'll gradually start to get the brain functioning again. The longer you're doing CPR, those brain cell death pathways are still happening — they're just happening at a slightly slower rate," he said.

The scientists are now expanding their ongoing experiment, which will be the largest of its kind, to investigate the occurrences of consciousness after death and how it may affect the rest of a person’s life if they are revived.

>> Related: After near-death experience, Atlanta teen pursues songwriting dreams

"In the same way that a group of researchers might be studying the qualitative nature of the human experience of 'love.'” Parnia said.

“For instance, we're trying to understand the exact features that people experience when they go through death, because we understand that this is going to reflect the universal experience we're all going to have when we die."

ACLU: Oklahoma school's national anthem policy is unconstitutional

The American Civil Liberties Union said Wednesday that an Oklahoma school's national anthem policy is unconstitutional.

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The statement was released after Stuart Public Schools enacted a policy requiring all students, staff and spectators to stand for the national anthem, prohibiting any form of protest.

The Hughes County school's policy was announced amid a nationwide conversation about kneeling during the national anthem. Professional football players started kneeling in protest of police brutality against minorities. The protests received increased scrutiny after President Donald Trump criticized NFL players who chose to join the protests.

While some say the protests are disrespectful to U.S. service members, other say they fall under free speech and raise awareness to an important domestic issue in the country.

The ACLU of Oklahoma's legal director released a statement Wednesday:

“Stuart Public Schools’ new policy is blatantly unconstitutional and unenforceable. The Supreme Court has made clear that students have the right to express themselves. Our Constitution guarantees that public schools can neither mandate forced displays of patriotism and nationalism, nor forbid lawful protests against injustice. Stuart Public Schools has chosen to violate both of these guarantees. This school district’s school’s leaders are in desperate need of a First Amendment lesson, one that they are likely to receive swiftly in the event they actually attempt to enforce this unlawful policy.”

The organization's director of external affairs also released a statement:

“Forcing students to stand for the National Anthem is irresponsible and flies in the face of every conceivable understanding of the First Amendment. If this school district were actually interested in real patriotism, they would do their duty as a government actor to uphold the values of the Constitution rather than waste taxpayers’ time and resources with an unlawful attempt to shut down the expression of their students and staff.”

Fugitive turns himself in, with doughnuts, after issuing challenge to police

A man made good on his promise to turn himself in to police in Michigan this week with a box of doughnuts in-hand after he challenged officers to get a Facebook post shared 1,000 times after taunting the department on social media.

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“You guys suck!” wrote 21-year-old Michael Zaydel, who goes by the name “Champagne Torino” on Facebook, in response to an Oct. 6 post from the Redford Township Police Department.

Zaydel was wanted on multiple misdemeanor warrants and taunted police on social media, writing that he was sure they didn’t know his last name and later messaging officers with a challenge.

“If (your) next post gets a thousand shares I’ll turn myself in along with a dozen doughnuts,” Zaydel wrote, according to a screenshot shared by police. “And that’s a promise. And I’ll pick up every piece of litter around all your public schools.”

The post was subsequently shared more than 4,500 times. Police said they topped the 1,000 share mark in less than an hour.

Zaydel turned himself in to authorities 10 days later, according to authorities.

“He walked in on his own, and not only did he bring the donuts, he brought one bagel!” police said in a Facebook post. “We would again like to express our gratitude for the support of all who followed this, shared it and left us positive feedback.”

Police officer rescues kitten and raccoon found cuddling in dumpster

An animal control officer with the Knoxville Police Department responded to a call that could have been taken out of a Disney movie.

KMBC reported that Officer Nick Powell responded to a call about an animal stuck in a dumpster in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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“When Officer Powell looked inside the dumpster he located two unusual companions -- a kitten and a baby raccoon -- cuddled in the corner keeping each other warm,” a Wednesday post on the department’s Facebook page said.

Commenters expressed concern that the raccoon would be euthanized and the kitten would be quarantined or euthanized, but an update from the department indicates a happier ending.

“The raccoon was relocated and released. The kitten was transported to Young Williams Animal Center,” department officials said. 

According to the Young Williams Animal Center website, the center’s goal is to find a home for all pets.

There’s now a Harry Potter wizarding school in Central Texas

Feeling bummed about never receiving your Hogwarts letter?

Well, you may be able to live out your Harry Potter dreams after all.

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Worthwich School’s annual Worthwich Wizarding Weekend, described as a “3-day magical retreat to Worthwich School of Witchcraft and Wizardry,” is taking place in Killeen, Texas, Oct. 27-29.

And yes, it’s eerily similar to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The retreat is for adults 21 and up and lasts three days, with a curriculum of classes including potions, charms, defensive magic, divination, astronomy, herbology, magical creatures and flying lessons. First-year students even get sorted into their houses, just like at Hogwarts (no word on if there’s a magical Sorting Hat, though). 

The weekend kicks off with wand-making classes, pumpkin carving and magical shopping, followed by a sorting ceremony. There will be screenings each night, magical sporting games and classes throughout the weekend. Tickets, which are $400 per person for the entire weekend, include lodging, food and drinks. 

You can buy tickets and get more information here.

Worthwich also offers regular wand making classes in Austin and across Texas, as well as Harry Potter trivia nights. 

Man Previously Shot 10 Times In Six Months Killed In Shooting

Man Previously Shot 10 Times In Six Months Killed In Shooting

Coral Springs Pep Rally With Al P

Critics say Museum of Ice Cream’s plastic sprinkles pose environmental risks 

Environmentalists in San Francisco and Los Angeles are concerned about the effects of one feature at local Museum of Ice Cream locations: sprinkles. 

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Critics say the plastic pieces are littering California streets blocks from the pop-up museums as they’re carried out on the clothes of museum visitors. The plastic material becomes litter and has the potential to end up in the water, a danger to marine life, KABC reported. 

“My concern is that they go down the drains and into the bay, where they will be bite-sized for most fish,” San Francisco resident Johanna Sanders told the San Francisco Gate.

The Museum of Ice Cream, which opened in Los Angeles in April and San Francisco in September, is known for its colorful displays, tasty treats and Instagram-worthy photo backdrops. 

According to a Forbes description of the LA location, there’s a “gallery of suspended bananas, ... rooms of giant melted popsicles, big-as-you gummy bears and a swimming pool full of sprinkles.” The San Francisco Gate describes its local pop-up as including “a candy garden, psychedelic rainbow unicorns, a pink rock climbing wall, banana swings, an all-pink diner with a jukebox and a sprinkle pool filled with more than 100 million plastic imitation sprinkles. A circular swimming space even has pink floats and a diving board.”

Both locations feature bright pink walls and interactive exhibits.

“All of the rooms in the museum have things you can eat or smell,” KABC reported.

The museums use plastic for the sprinkles in the pools instead of real, edible ones for sanitary reasons. A spokesperson for the Museum of Ice Cream told the Gate the sprinkles are coated in “antimicrobial germ bloc.”

Museum officials said they’re working to address people’s concerns. They’re working with an environmental specialist and also instructing exiting visitors to shake off excess sprinkles at an “air shower” at the San Francisco location, according to the Gate

But even still, “guests have been putting sprinkles in their pocket(s) as a memento of their experience in the sprinkle pool,” spokeswoman Shelley Reinstein said.

Eva Holman, with the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit environmental organization, said the plastic sprinkles pose risks that need to be taken more seriously. 

“If it's on the sidewalk it most likely goes into storm drains and then into the ocean,” Holman told the Gate. “(And) my 5-year-old would think it’s candy. Why wouldn’t a bird on the street think it’s something to consume?”

“Most plastic has a purpose, like bottle caps and food wrappers,” Holman said. “What is the purpose of this tiny piece of plastic other than a selfie moment?”

The Museum of Ice Cream’s Los Angeles location, originally slated to close in May, has had its close date pushed back five times due to popularity. It’s scheduled now to close in December. The San Francisco location will be open until Feb. 13, just in time for lovebirds to take their sweet someone before Valentine’s day. The museum was set to close in October, but officials extended the schedule after tickets sold out in just 18 minutes.

Read more at the San Francisco Gate.

George W. Bush Speaks In New York

George W. Bush Speaks In New York

Georgia school fires Muslim employee who asked for time to pray, lawsuit says

A Gwinnett County custodian was accused of falsifying her job application and then fired after asking supervisors to accommodate her prayer schedule, a federal lawsuit alleges.

Penny Deams filed the lawsuit against Gwinnett County Public Schools on Monday. She previously worked at Ferguson Elementary School in Duluth, Georgia.

Deams also previously filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint related to her termination, but the commission “found insufficient evidence to support her claim of discrimination,” Sloan Roach, a spokeswoman for Gwinnett County Public Schools said. The district declined to comment on the lawsuit itself, Roach said.

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When she was asked to extend her work schedule from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m., she told supervisors that it would interfere with her daily prayer schedule, as her mosque closed before 10 p.m., the lawsuit says. Deams is an observant Muslim, and it is customary for Muslims to pray multiple times each day. 

When Deams objected to the schedule change because of her prayer obligations, Principal Angelique Mitchell asked her about her religious activities, including when she prayed, how many times per day she prayed and what days she prayed, the lawsuit says. After that encounter, Deams says she went to the school’s human resource office to “inquire about her rights.” 

Deams noticed “significant, retaliatory changes” in the way she was treated by school management, the lawsuit says. A supervisor told Deams that Mitchell was upset with her for asking the HR department about her religious rights, according to the lawsuit. A human resources worker asked Deams when, where and how often she prayed, and requested a letter from Deams’s mosque explaining when Deams needed to pray, the lawsuit said. Deams did not objec,t but mentioned she would consult an attorney about her religious rights, according to the suit. 

After Deams said she would speak with an attorney, the human resources worker began questioning Deams’s job application references and accused Deams of falsifying her job application, according to the lawsuit. One of Deams’s listed references had worked with Deams in DeKalb County, but no longer worked for the county at that point.

The lawsuit says Deams was suspended from work for falsifying her application, which she denied doing.

The human resources worker told Deams she would have to provide a document from DeKalb County verifying her previous employment within two days, “knowing full well the process for obtaining the requested form takes at least four to five days,” the lawsuit says. A DeKalb County employee told Deams that it would take “several days” for her to receive the document.

Deams went to work the next day, despite her suspension. When the two-day period was up and she did not have the employment verification letter from DeKalb County, Deams was fired for allegedly falsifying her application and for working while suspended, the lawsuit says. Deams “knew these reasons had a casual connection to her (religion) because they were never raised with her” before she asked for her schedule to accommodate her prayer obligations, the lawsuit says.

Deams is suing the school district for damages, back pay, interest, attorney’s fees, reinstatement or lost potential earnings and “further relief” to be determined at trial. 

Deams and her attorney declined to comment on the suit further at this time. 

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