Poll: Americans’ eclipse viewing plans take shape

About half of Americans (51 percent) have plans to watch the eclipse of the sun happening across the United States on Aug. 21, according to a CNN poll conducted by SSRS. That figure climbs to 60 percent among those who live in states touched by the “zone of totality,” where the moon will completely block the sun’s light in the middle of Monday’s solar spectacle.

The survey was conducted in early August. Among those who already had plans in place, most said they were not going to travel for a better view. About four in 10 said their eclipse plans were to stay put, while 8 percent said they had made travel plans to view the “Eclipse of the Century.” More who live in totality states plan to make a pilgrimage than in the rest of the country (15 percent vs. 6 percent), perhaps because a shorter distance will bring them a much better payoff.

Although Laurie Doherty and her husband live in Bend, Oregon, only about 30 miles from the zone of totality, they are among those who plan to do some traveling that day to stake out a good spot. They’ve booked a hotel in nearby Redmond — closer to totality — and are aiming to leave there at 6 a.m. to beat the traffic and claim a prime location from which to experience the view.

Doherty is a native of Oregon and remembers vividly the total eclipse that passed over the state in February 1979. She recalled the corona along the edges of the moon, the “black wavy lines” known as shadow bands that appeared in mid-air, and noted that “once the sun began to come back up, the birds began to tweet like it was first thing in the morning, and the roosters crowed.”

She says she expects this eclipse to be a very spiritual moment, and is looking forward to sharing it with her husband, who has never seen one before. “There are many, many people coming into town, and this area is not very heavily populated, so we’re looking forward to sharing the experience with all of the visitors.”

Excitement for the first eclipse to cross the United States in nearly a century is about the same whether Americans live in or out of the zone of totality: 48 percent describe themselves as excited for the event, while about three in 10 say they are uninterested. A scant 4 percent describe themselves as scared of the eclipse.

Excitement is most prominent among the young. Almost six in 10 under age 35 say they’re excited for it; that dips to 50 percent among those age 35-50, 44 percent among the 50- to 64-year-old block and just 38 percent among seniors.

Crystal Wooten lives in Aiken County, South Carolina, near the border with Georgia, where they’re expecting a near-total eclipse. She and her husband are among those planning to watch, but they’re a maybe on travel. With two toddlers, she’s afraid the little ones “may not have the discipline not to look at the sun.”

If they stay home, she says, “It’ll be our own little science day.” They’ll set up chairs near a sliding door so her children, ages 2 and 1, can watch the shadows change shapes. Wooten, whose husband is retired, said, “Gratefully, it’s pretty accessible to us, and since we’re home with the kids, we don’t have to take off of work or anything.”

Some who do have to go to the office or to school may be experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime lunch break.

Eric Meadows will be watching at his office in Indianapolis, where his employer has planned an event for those interested in watching. In their area, about 90 percent of the sun will be blocked, and his employer will be providing glasses. Meadows’s children will also be able to watch at their school. “I was going to take the kids out of school and drive to the zone of totality,” he said. “But the kids’ school system has a whole program planned around it for them.”

News about the eclipse seems more prominent in the states where the spectacle will be most spectacular. Those living in zone of totality states were far more apt than those in the rest of the country to say they’d heard a lot about the upcoming eclipse — 61 percent in the 12 states where a substantial chunk of the state will pass under the moon’s full shadow vs. just 28 percent outside of that range. Overall, 35 percent have heard a lot about the upcoming event, 41 percent a little and about a quarter (24 percent) said they’d heard nothing at all at the time the survey was conducted.

Those who’ve heard a lot about the eclipse are more apt to have made plans to watch it; 62 percent in that group planned to watch versus 45 percent of those who had heard less about it.

And because virtually nothing in this country is safe from political divisions, this celestial event too sparks a divide. Democrats are more apt than independents or Republicans to have made plans to watch the event (57 percent among Democrats vs. 48 percent each among Republicans and independents), and liberals are nearly twice as likely as conservatives to say they’re excited about it (63 percent among liberals vs. 34 percent among conservatives).

This CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS by telephone Aug. 3 through Aug. 6 among a random national sample of 1,018 adults. The margin of sampling error for results among the full sample is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points; it is larger for subgroups.

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Poll: Americans’ eclipse viewing plans take shape

About half of Americans (51 percent) have plans to watch the eclipse of the sun happening across the United States on Aug. 21, according to a CNN poll conducted by SSRS. That figure climbs to 60 percent among those who live in states touched by the “zone of totality,” where the moon will completely block the sun’s light in the middle of Monday’s solar spectacle.

The survey was conducted in early August. Among those who already had plans in place, most said they were not going to travel for a better view. About four in 10 said their eclipse plans were to stay put, while 8 percent said they had made travel plans to view the “Eclipse of the Century.” More who live in totality states plan to make a pilgrimage than in the rest of the country (15 percent vs. 6 percent), perhaps because a shorter distance will bring them a much better payoff.

Although Laurie Doherty and her husband live in Bend, Oregon, only about 30 miles from the zone of totality, they are among those who plan to do some traveling that day to stake out a good spot. They’ve booked a hotel in nearby Redmond — closer to totality — and are aiming to leave there at 6 a.m. to beat the traffic and claim a prime location from which to experience the view.

Doherty is a native of Oregon and remembers vividly the total eclipse that passed over the state in February 1979. She recalled the corona along the edges of the moon, the “black wavy lines” known as shadow bands that appeared in mid-air, and noted that “once the sun began to come back up, the birds began to tweet like it was first thing in the morning, and the roosters crowed.”

She says she expects this eclipse to be a very spiritual moment, and is looking forward to sharing it with her husband, who has never seen one before. “There are many, many people coming into town, and this area is not very heavily populated, so we’re looking forward to sharing the experience with all of the visitors.”

Excitement for the first eclipse to cross the United States in nearly a century is about the same whether Americans live in or out of the zone of totality: 48 percent describe themselves as excited for the event, while about three in 10 say they are uninterested. A scant 4 percent describe themselves as scared of the eclipse.

Excitement is most prominent among the young. Almost six in 10 under age 35 say they’re excited for it; that dips to 50 percent among those age 35-50, 44 percent among the 50- to 64-year-old block and just 38 percent among seniors.

Crystal Wooten lives in Aiken County, South Carolina, near the border with Georgia, where they’re expecting a near-total eclipse. She and her husband are among those planning to watch, but they’re a maybe on travel. With two toddlers, she’s afraid the little ones “may not have the discipline not to look at the sun.”

If they stay home, she says, “It’ll be our own little science day.” They’ll set up chairs near a sliding door so her children, ages 2 and 1, can watch the shadows change shapes. Wooten, whose husband is retired, said, “Gratefully, it’s pretty accessible to us, and since we’re home with the kids, we don’t have to take off of work or anything.”

Some who do have to go to the office or to school may be experiencing a once-in-a-lifetime lunch break.

Eric Meadows will be watching at his office in Indianapolis, where his employer has planned an event for those interested in watching. In their area, about 90 percent of the sun will be blocked, and his employer will be providing glasses. Meadows’s children will also be able to watch at their school. “I was going to take the kids out of school and drive to the zone of totality,” he said. “But the kids’ school system has a whole program planned around it for them.”

News about the eclipse seems more prominent in the states where the spectacle will be most spectacular. Those living in zone of totality states were far more apt than those in the rest of the country to say they’d heard a lot about the upcoming eclipse — 61 percent in the 12 states where a substantial chunk of the state will pass under the moon’s full shadow vs. just 28 percent outside of that range. Overall, 35 percent have heard a lot about the upcoming event, 41 percent a little and about a quarter (24 percent) said they’d heard nothing at all at the time the survey was conducted.

Those who’ve heard a lot about the eclipse are more apt to have made plans to watch it; 62 percent in that group planned to watch versus 45 percent of those who had heard less about it.

And because virtually nothing in this country is safe from political divisions, this celestial event too sparks a divide. Democrats are more apt than independents or Republicans to have made plans to watch the event (57 percent among Democrats vs. 48 percent each among Republicans and independents), and liberals are nearly twice as likely as conservatives to say they’re excited about it (63 percent among liberals vs. 34 percent among conservatives).

This CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS by telephone Aug. 3 through Aug. 6 among a random national sample of 1,018 adults. The margin of sampling error for results among the full sample is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points; it is larger for subgroups.

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Your phone’s Bluetooth can locate illegal skimmer devices

As more and more skimmers are discovered at South Florida ATM’s and gas stations, police say a simple way to beat crooks from taking your money is in the palm of your hand.

Skimmers are devices criminals attach to debit or credit card readers that allow others to steal your personal information.

Millions have been stolen from unsuspecting customers who use ATM’s or card readers at gas stations.

However, officials say the Bluetooth on your phone can uncover the nefarious devices looking to steal from your wallet.

Simply go to the settings on your smartphone and click on Bluetooth. If a skimmer is present, a long string of numbers and/or letters will appear, attempting to connect you to the device.

Now that the illegal device has been located, make sure you do not connect your phone.

The Federal Trade Commission has additional tips to help consumers avoid skimmers:

  • Make sure the gas pump panel is closed and doesn’t show signs of tampering. Many stations now put security seals over the cabinet panel. This is part of a voluntary program by the industry to thwart gas pump tampering. If the pump panel is opened, the label will read “void,” which means the machine has been tampered with.
  • Take a good look at the card reader itself. Does it look different than other readers at the station? For example, the card reader on the left has a skimmer attached; the reader on the right doesn’t.
  • If you use a debit card at the pump, run it as a credit card instead of entering a PIN. That way, the PIN is safe and the money isn’t deducted immediately from your account. If that’s not an option, cover your hand when entering your PIN. Scammers sometimes use tiny pinhole cameras, situated above the keypad area, to record PIN entries.
  • Monitor your credit card and bank accounts regularly to spot unauthorized charges.
  • If you’re really concerned about skimmers, you can pay inside rather than at the pump. Another option is to use a gas pump near the front of the store. Thieves may target gas pumps that are harder for the attendant to see.

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Neo-Nazi website loses protection from key tech firm

Another important tech company has cut ties with neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer.

Internet firm Cloudflare said Wednesday it has terminated The Daily Stormer’s account, which means it won’t protect the site from cyberattacks that could cause it to go down.

The Daily Stormer site has already been dumped by the web-hosting services of GoDaddy and Google this week after it published a derogatory story about Heather Heyer, who was killed while protesting against a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday.

Cutting off The Daily Stormer is a big deal for Cloudflare, which had long resisted calls to do so. The company had insisted it remained neutral about the content on the sites that used its services.

But Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince said in a blog post that claims that the tech company secretly supported The Daily Stormer were the last straw.

“Like a lot of people, we’ve felt angry at these hateful people for a long time but we have followed the law and remained content neutral as a network,” he said. “We could not remain neutral after these claims of secret support by Cloudflare.”

The company’s decision leaves The Daily Stormer vulnerable to DDoS attacks — attempts to flood a website with so much traffic that it impairs normal service.

As well as GoDaddy and Google’s moves to cut off The Daily Stormer site, Facebook has deleted links to the article attacking Heyer.

The Daily Stormer moved to a Russian domain on Wednesday but was no longer accessible there later in the day. RU-CENTER, the company that provided the Russian registration, said it suspended it because of concerns over the site’s extremist content.

The site has been forced into the “dark web,” which means it can’t be accessed through standard web browsers.

The tech industry’s shunning of The Daily Stormer has sparked debate over what role companies should play in policing online content. Experts say it’s within businesses’ rights to restrict who uses their products.

Terminating The Daily Stormer was a decision Cloudflare did not take lightly.

“After today, make no mistake, it will be a little bit harder for us to argue against a government somewhere pressuring us into taking down a site they don’t like,” Prince wrote.

He said he hoped The Daily Stormer case would spur a bigger discussion among internet companies about what the framework should be for restricting content.

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The Amazon vs. retail battle: Explained

It’s no secret that Amazon is revolutionizing retail. But what does that mean for shoppers and traditional stores?

Which retailer is Amazon targeting now?

Amazon newest target isn’t a retail chain at all — it’s your local convenience store.

The company rolled out a new service today called Amazon Instant Pickup, which lets customers order basics like chips, soda and toothpaste. You can then pick them up from an Amazon locker in just two minutes.

Isn’t mimicry the sincerest form of flattery?

Not if you’re a retailer that wants to stay in business.

Just ask Dick’s Sporting Goods. Dick’s earnings report disappointed Wall Street on Tuesday. The retailer lowered its full-year profit forecast today because of “a challenging retail environment.” Its stock fell more than 20%.

Sound familiar? Last month, Amazon filed a patent to launch a competing meal-kit delivery service. Blue Apron’s shares plunged 11% following the news.

And grocery stocks got clobbered after Amazon announced plans to buy Whole Foods for $13.7 billion back in June.

Is Amazon a death sentence for traditional retailers?

Not necessarily. Retailers like Home Depot are surviving by selling things you can’t buy on Amazon. Today, Home Depot reported record sales last quarter and bolstered its outlook for 2017.

Home owners and professional builders alike still prefer to go to stores to test out home products, especially big ticket items like flooring and appliances.

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Amazon takes on the corner store with Instant Pickup

Sometimes you need a cold soda, chips, tampons and an Amazon Echo ASAP.

Amazon is taking on the convenience store with Amazon Instant Pickup, a new service it launched on Tuesday. Instant pickup lets customers order from a limited list of basic supplies and Amazon devices from the app, then pick them up from a nearby pickup locker “within two minutes.”

The company is starting with customers often associated with sudden cravings for snacks: college students.

Instant Pickup will make use of the company’s existing network of pickup locations — small spaces with rows of lockers, an inventory room and a staff of Amazon employees. Currently the lockers are used by customers to pick up regular Amazon Prime packages and drop off returns.

It works similarly for the Instant Pickup. A Prime customer uses the Amazon app to choose what they want from among hundreds of non-perishable foods, personal care items and other products that are stocked at the location. Then one of the location employees will quickly move the goods into a locker.

Impulse buys are also available, should customers decide they want something sweet and salty once they get there.

Starting this week, Instant Pickup will be available at five campus locations in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Columbus, Ohio, Berkeley, California and College Park, Maryland. Amazon plans on expanding Instant Pickup to its 22 U.S. college locations as early as next week.

Amazon regularly experiments with different food and grocery services. It’s planning to buy Whole Foods, and is testing Blue Apron-like meal kits delivery service. AmazonFresh Pickup, only available in two Seattle locations, has employees put groceries right in the trunk of your car.

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