TIME NextDraft

The Ideal Earthquake Warning System and Other Fascinating News on the Web

August 25, 2014

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1. You Have Ten Seconds

According to scientists at U.C. Berkeley, an earthquake early warning system sent an alert ten seconds before a 6.0 magnitude quake hit the Napa area. Researchers think they can get that number up to 40-50 seconds. What good would it do if such a system could be implemented before the next big one? A lot. As the LA Times reports, an alert of even less than a minute could give “time for elevators to stop at the next floor and open up, firefighters to open up garage doors, high-speed trains to slow down to avoid derailment and surgeons to take the scalpel out of a patient.”

+ How responsible are scientists when it comes to providing warnings about the risks of quakes? Matter’s David Wolman takes a look back at the case of seven Italian scientists who got their predictions very wrong and were convicted of manslaughter.

+ Different faults make different quakes. From NatGeo: What caused California’s Napa Valley earthquake?

+ Some wineries lost as much as fifty-percent of their wine.

+ Don’t worry. You’re not sleeping. You’re providing data and a marketing opportunity for Jawbone.

+ And this is just how we (shake, rattle, and) roll in California: An immediately iconic image captured shortly after the weekend’s quake.

2. It Seems Real This Time

Over the years, we’ve heard a lot about the promise of virtual reality. But these days it’s looking like we could be on the cusp of an amazing leap forward, in part because some very big tech companies want a piece of the action. From The Verge: The rise and fall and rise of virtual reality. I can’t wait to put on my virtual reality headset and finally get a break from all this distracting technology.

+ Last month, everyone was sure that Google was buying Twitch, a site where millions of people watch other people play video games. That deal died. Amazon moved in and made one of its biggest acquisition to date.

3. Terrorism’s New Brand

The land. The money. The weapons. The people. The shirts, magazines, and published annual reports. Take a look at some of these scary charts and numbers that present a snapshot of the rise if ISIS.

+ And as of today, they also control an airbase in Syria.

4. No Angel

As you’d expect, thousands of people and many media crews were on-hand for Michael Brown’s funeral. The Guardian has been providing photos and updates from the scene.

+ “He’s a waiter, a roller skater and a father of three.” Edward Crawford is also the person seen throwing back a tear gas container in a photo that came to represent the tensions in Ferguson.

+ “Michael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel.” With that line (and the article that followed), did the New York Times just give a basic course on everything the media gets wrong about black men?

+ “He occasionally smoked marijuana and drank alcohol, according to friends.” Jordan Lebeau: There are no angels — what The New York Times won’t tell you.

5. Have It Your Way, Eh

Burger King is in talks to buy Tim Horton’s, Canada’s coffee and donut chain. The deal would enable to Burger King to migrate its official tax jurisdiction north of the border. (If Canada gets our fast food-related taxes, we get hockey.)

6. The Happiness Formula

OK, you want to be happy? Here’s what you do. Live in a suburb. Spend your money on experiences. And listen to a lot of sad songs along the way.

7. That Alarming Sound

It’s that time of year when your alarm goes off just a little earlier because you have to get the kids to school on time. Maybe it’s time we hit the collective snooze button. Yet another study suggests that school starts too early and the sleep deprivation is having a negative effect on kids.

8. Twerk for the Homeless

After watching most of last night’s show, I’m convinced that Jay Z and Beyonce are just about the only parents who would let their young kid watch the Video Music Awards (I hit pause when my six year-old asked why all the dancers were in their underwear). Here’s a look at the top moments from the show.

+ Miley Cyrus provided the surprise of the evening when she sent up someone named Jesse to accept her award on “behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youths in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now.”

+ Buzzfeed with a Giftastic look at the 27 most important things at the VMAs.

+ The night (like all others) was all about Beyonce. Listen in on her VMA performance, with her vocals isolated.

+ If nothing else, the VMAs provided a nice warm-up for The Emmys which are on tonight, a Monday and a weeknight in August, because the NFL is just too big to go up against. Here’s full pre-Emmy coverage from The Hollywood Reporter.

9. Suge Knight Rising

Before the VMAs started, the event was already making news as Suge Knight and three others were wounded by gunshots during a party hosted by Chris Brown. Amazingly, this was Suge Knight’s second time being shot at a pre-VMA party (the first time was at a Miami party hosted by Kanye West in 2005). Next year, he might want to think about going to the Tony’s instead.

10. The Bottom of the News

Don’t bleep it out. There are promising signs that swearing at work can actually be beneficial. Quartz with the complete guide to swearing at work.

+ A British guy has been sentenced to three years in prison for movie piracy.

+ The NYT takes an interesting and interactive look at the decline of the backhand, and the one player who could save it.

+ 33 facts everyone knows that are actually total lies.

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