Where no man this old has gone before

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At 90 years old, William Shatner has become the oldest man in space. Approximately 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August. And Social Security checks will get a big boost in 2022.

👋 Heyo! Laura here. Like William Shatner, Wednesday's news is out of this world!

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'I hope I never recover'

Space: the final frontier. William Shatner can now say he's boldly gone where no man (his age) has gone before. He's certainly not the first person to visit space, but as of Wednesday, the "Star Trek" veteran is the oldest. At 90, the actor joined Blue Origin, founded by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, for its second human spaceflight. Shatner and three others were launched in a New Shepard rocket from the aerospace company's West Texas launch site just before 11 a.m. EDT. The crew landed safely back on Earth several minutes later, when Shatner could be heard saying the experience was "unlike anything they described." All four passengers on board gave a thumbs up to the recovery crew upon landing to indicate they were OK. An emotional Shatner reiterated to Bezos how in awe he was of what he saw and how it prompted him to consider life and death. "What you have given me is the most profound experience I can imagine," he said. "I hope I never recover from this."

Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket latest space passengers from right Glen de Vries, right, Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner and Audrey Powers walk on the booster rocker landing pad for a media availability at the spaceport near Van Horn, Texas, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021.
Blue Origin's New Shepard rocket latest space passengers from right Glen de Vries, right, Chris Boshuizen, William Shatner and Audrey Powers walk on the booster rocker landing pad for a media availability at the spaceport near Van Horn, Texas, Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021.

They quit

Americans quit their jobs in record numbers during the month of August. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs in August. The nationwide quit rate increased to 2.9% of the workforce – the highest percentage ever reported by the BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey series. To put August's numbers in perspective, the number of workers who quit their jobs rose by 242,000 from July — and by around 1.3 million since August 2020, which recorded a total of almost 3 million quits. Experts stress that people are leaving their jobs as workers across the country are demanding higher pay, better employment conditions and critical support in their daily lives.

A sticker offering jobs adorns the side of a tea at a Starbucks Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Sioux Falls, S.D.
A sticker offering jobs adorns the side of a tea at a Starbucks Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021, in Sioux Falls, S.D.

What everyone's talking about

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Benefits getting a boost

Older Americans scraping by on meager increases in their Social Security checks the past decade will reap a relative windfall next year. The roughly 70 million people – retirees, disabled people and others who rely on Social Security will receive a 5.9% cost-of-living adjustment next year, the Social Security Administration said Wednesday. That's the biggest bump since 1982. The sharp increase is tied to a COVID-19-fueled spike in inflation after years of paltry consumer price increases. For the average retiree who got a monthly check of $1,565 this year, the bump means an additional $92 a month in 2022, boosting the typical payment to $1,657.

Coming soon: Moderna, J&J boosters?

A federal advisory committee will meet for two days this week to discuss the safety and need for a booster shot for people who already received Moderna's or Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine. Members of the advisory committee also will hear about the likely safety and effectiveness of giving people booster shots from a different vaccine manufacturer than their original doses. While presumed safe, there has been little data so far, and the government has encouraged people to stick with the same vaccine. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was approved last month for people over 65, as well as younger people whose medical conditions or jobs put them at a higher risk for disease. So far, people who received Moderna or J&J for their first round of shots have been told to sit tight.

Bradley Sharp, of Saratoga, New York, gets the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from registered nurse Stephanie Wagner in New York.
Bradley Sharp, of Saratoga, New York, gets the Johnson & Johnson vaccine from registered nurse Stephanie Wagner in New York.

Real quick

'Multi-vortex' tornado hits Oklahoma

Severe storms and tornado warnings swept across the state Wednesday following days of violent weather that damaged homes and businesses and knocked out power to thousands. Many woke up to storm sirens as two likely tornadoes touched down in the Oklahoma City area Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service. There were no reported injuries in the city, but some roofs were damaged. KFOR-TV meteorologist Mike Morgan said one of the tornadoes in the Oklahoma City area was a "multi-vortex" tornado, which is what happens when wind rotates around several different, small centers within the tornado as opposed to one center of a tornado. Two other suspected twisters touched down in the western part of the state, near Frederick and Clinton, damaging buildings and knocking over power poles.

Storm damage to a home and an overturned truck caused by a tornado that hit in the early morning hours near SW 49th St. and Czech Hall Rd. in Mustang, Okla. on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021.
Storm damage to a home and an overturned truck caused by a tornado that hit in the early morning hours near SW 49th St. and Czech Hall Rd. in Mustang, Okla. on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021.

A break from the news

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: William Shatner's trip to space, Social Security increase, Oklahoma weather, Americans quitting jobs. It's Wednesday's news.

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