Hawking says God not needed for creation
London — Did creation need a creator?
British physicist and mathematician Stephen Hawking says no, arguing in his new book that there need not be a God behind the creation of the universe.
The concept is explored in “The Grand Design,” excerpts of which were printed in the British newspaper The Times on Thursday. The book, written with fellow physicist Leonard Mlodinow, is scheduled to be published by Bantam Press on Thursday.
“The Grand Design,” which the publishers call Hawking’s first major work in nearly a decade, challenges Isaac Newton’s theory God must have been involved in creation because our solar system couldn’t have come out of chaos simply through nature.
But Hawking says it isn’t that simple. To understand the universe, it’s necessary to know both how and why it behaves the way it does, calling the pursuit “the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.”
“We shall attempt to answer it in this book,” he wrote. “Unlike the answer given in ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,’ ours won’t be simply ‘42.’”
The number 42 is the deliberately absurd answer to the “Ultimate Question” chosen by sci-fi author Douglas Adams.
Oprah’s Book Club back with new pick coming
Chicago — The first week of the final season of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” will include a selection for Oprah’s Book Club.
A Harpo spokeswoman said Thursday that Winfrey will announce her 64th and latest pick during a live episode airing on Sept. 17. That would be 14 years to the day that Winfrey announced her first book club selection — Jacquelyn Mitchard’s “The Deep End of the Ocean” — on Sept. 17, 1996.
Winfrey’s book club choices have vaulted to best-seller lists and instant fame. Her last choice was author Uwem Akpan’s short story collection “Say You’re One Of Them.”
It’s not known if Winfrey’s latest pick will be her last on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which is set to premiere its 25th and final season on Sept. 13.
‘Always Sunny’ stars welcome baby boy
Los Angeles — Kaitlin Olson and Rob McElhenney of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” hit a home run with their new baby boy.
A spokeswoman for the couple says Olson gave birth to Alex Lee McElhenney at home in the Los Angeles area Wednesday. He weighed in at 8 pounds, 7 ounces — and forced his parents to miss a Philadelphia Phillies victory.
In a statement Thursday, Olson said she went into labor at the Dodgers-Phillies game Tuesday night in L.A. but stayed until Phillies player Ryan Howard hit a three-run homer, giving his team a hefty lead.
The actress joked that she and her husband love the baby, their first, “like crazy” despite the game interference.
McElhenney is the creator-producer of FX’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and stars in the sitcom with Olson.
‘Gone with the Wind’ child actress dies at 76
Fort Bragg, Calif. — Cammie King Conlon, the former child actress who portrayed the doomed daughter of Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind,” has died at the age of 76.
She died of lung cancer Wednesday morning at her Fort Bragg home on California’s north coast, said friend Bruce Lewis. Her son, Matthew Ned Conlon, was by her side.
Conlon was picked to play the small but pivotal role of Bonnie Blue Butler in the 1939 Civil War epic at age 4. Her character’s death in a fall from a pony irrevocably damages Rhett and Scarlett’s tumultuous marriage.
Conlon also voiced the young doe Faline in Walt Disney’s “Bambi” three years later. It would be her final film role.
“My mother decided she wanted me to have a normal childhood,” she wrote on her blog.
Dave Haywood looking for CMA Awards date
Nashville, Tenn. — Lady Antebellum guitarist Dave Haywood still needs a plus-one for the CMA Awards.
He tells The Associated Press that he asked his mom to go with him over Twitter, because “she loves Twitter for some reason.” But it turns out she can’t go.
The group is up for five awards at the Nov. 10 show, including entertainer of the year and album of the year.
Haywood tweeted from the group’s account Wednesday: “SO humbled by the nominations!!! Very excited. Would be more excited if my mom (at)SCLadyA would be my date for the show. Mom?”
Haywood says he’s “bummed” his mom can’t attend, but now he’s “in the hunt.” He thinks his dad will likely come up.
Singer Charles Kelley says, “You know we’re in a new age, a new era, when you’re asking your mom over Twitter to go to an awards show. That is awesome.”
T.I., wife arrested on drug charges
West Hollywood, Calif. — Grammy-winning rapper T.I. was arrested along with his wife on suspicion of possessing methamphetamines, five months after the hip-hop star finished a prison stint on weapons charges.
The 29-year-old rapper and his wife, Tameka Cottle, were arrested Wednesday night in West Hollywood after deputies smelled marijuana and pulled the couple over, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said. They were released from jail about 4 a.m. Thursday after posting $10,000 bail each, sheriff’s Deputy Luis Castro said.
The arrest could spell significant legal trouble for the Atlanta-based rapper and multiplatinum hitmaker who has become one of music’s most profitable stars. He is on probation for the weapons charges, and could get sent back to prison because of the arrest.