Discovering the origins of the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey requires only a keen cinematic eye or a time spent with Arthur C. Clarke's novel. But the mystery surrounding its apparent real-life counterpart just got stranger.

A metallic monolith of unknown origin, discovered more than a week ago, has vanished from the Utah desert as mysteriously as it appeared, according to the Bureau of Land Management's Utah division.

The number of hospitalizations from the coronavirus set yet another record on Saturday, as cases continue to surge and public health officials warn of a worsening outlook with the holiday season just weeks away.

More than 91,500 people were hospitalized with the virus on Saturday, with 18,000 in intensive care units. That's according to data compiled by the COVID Tracking Project, which collects and analyzes data from across the United States. Over 6,000 patients were on ventilators.

Romain Grosjean's car violently hit a barrier, split in half and erupted in flames during the first lap of Formula One's Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.

The race was halted and Grosjean, who miraculously made it out of his car without life-threatening injuries, is currently being treated in a Manama hospital.

It's the most serious accident in the sport in years.

Another Republican effort to overturn the results of the 2020 election has been stopped, this time by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which on Saturday rejected a request that some 2.5 million mail-in ballots in the state be thrown out.

In its ruling, the high court unanimously dismissed a lawsuit that claimed that a 2019 state law allowing no-excuse absentee ballots was unconstitutional.

Six months after Donald Trump became president, he delivered remarks about law enforcement that set the tone for civil rights.

In a speech to law enforcement officers on Long Island, Trump said: "Please don't be too nice." To applause from the crowd, the president added that it might not be necessary to protect the heads of suspects being folded into the back of police cars.

For former civil rights prosecutor Kristy Parker, those words marked a major turnaround.

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SARAH MCCAMMON, HOST:

Sohla El-Waylly loves a challenge, and that's on full display in her new YouTube series.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Who wants to play with toys that poop?

Seven year old Jack Reynolds does. The second grader in Denver, Colo., enthusiastically showed off his collection via video to a reporter. It includes an adorable pooping stuffed animal, a bathtub game called Fishin' For Floaters and fuzzy brown poop emoji bed slippers. When asked why he likes such toys, Jack was unequivocal.

"Because poop is stinky!" he announced. "Gross! Smooshy!"

In Misty Copeland's new book Bunheads, a young girl named Misty discovers her love of dance with her friends. The dancers in this studio "come from all different walks of life," Copeland says. "They have different backgrounds, different body types, different skin color, different hair color, different ethnicities."

For me, and I imagine not me alone, this fall has been a season of creeping dread. The presidential election had something to do with it, as did the arrival of cold weather and the departure of Daylight Savings Time, and, now, the terrifying national spike in coronavirus cases, which seems worse every time I check the news. No wonder, then, that I have found myself attracted to fiction suffused with melancholy, dread, and low-level doom. Reading darkness-filled novels has proved a useful way for me to manage the darkness outside.

David Prowse, the British weightlifting champion and man behind the Darth Vader mask, has died. He was 85.

On Sunday morning, the actor's management company shared on social media the news of his death "with great regret and heart-wrenching sadness for us and million of fans around the world."

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