TIME Appreciation

What to Know About Geek Pride Day

Getty Images

Get your geek on

Geek Pride Day is May 25, and here’s what you need to know about the celebration for nerds worldwide.

The date was reportedly chosen to coincide with the first Star Wars film, Episode IV: A New Hope, which was released on May 25, 1977. The day also marks “Towel Day,” which is celebrated by fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams. Fans carry a towel in his honor. Lastly, the day also marks The Glorious 25th of May, which fans of author Terry Pratchett’s Discworld celebrate, often with a sprig of lilac.

On Geek Pride Day, which is a worldwide celebration of nerdom, there may be meet-ups or parties to celebrate anything and everything worth geeking-out over. Of course, tech brands are excited:

TIME Television

George R.R. Martin Says This Religion Inspired the Game of Thrones Faith Militant

"The Sparrows" are based on a real religion

George R.R. Martin, the author of the books that inspired Game of Thrones, says the medieval Catholic Church “with its own fantasy twist” was his inspiration for the Faith Militant cult, also known as “The Sparrows,” that is now taking center stage in the show.

“If you look at the history of the church in the Middle Ages, you had periods where you had very worldly and corrupt popes and bishops. People who were not spiritual, but were politicians,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly. “They were playing their own version of the game of thrones, and they were in bed with the kings and the lords.”

Read more at Entertainment Weekly

TIME Archaeology

Oldest Known Stone Tools Discovered in Kenya

This undated photo made available May 20, 2015 by the Mission Prehistorique au Kenya - West Turkana Archaeological Project shows the excavation of a stone tool found in the West Turkana area of Kenya.
MPK-WTAP/AP This undated photo made available May 20, 2015 by the Mission Prehistorique au Kenya - West Turkana Archaeological Project shows the excavation of a stone tool found in the West Turkana area of Kenya.

The tools are about 3.3 million years old

Researchers who stumbled upon stone tools in Kenya in 2011 revealed in a new paper that they are now considered the oldest ones ever found.

The discovery in West Turkana—after researchers apparently took a wrong turn—was chronicled in the journal Nature by co-authors Jason Lewis and Sonia Harmand of Stone Brook University. The paper explains that the tools are about 3.3 million years old, or 700,000 years older than ones that researchers had previously discovered, making them some half-a-million years older before the known emergence of modern humans.

“It just rewrites the book on a lot of things that we thought were true,” Chris Lepre, a geologist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Rutgers University who dated the tools, told the Guardian. Alison Brooks, an anthropology professor at George Washington University who examined some of the tools, told the Associated Press, “It really absolutely moves the beginnings of human technology back into a much more distant past, and a much different kind of ancestor than we’ve been thinking of.”

TIME Research

Rape Is Common Among Female College Freshmen, Study Shows

Demonstrators protest sexual assault on college campuses at the #YesAllWomen rally in solidarity with those affected by violence in Seattle on May 30, 2014.
Alex Garland—Demotix/Corbis Demonstrators protest sexual assault on college campuses at the #YesAllWomen rally in solidarity with those affected by violence in Seattle on May 30, 2014.

Sexual assaults and rape have reached "epidemic levels," researchers say

A new study of first-year women at a large private university in the Northeastern U.S. reveals that many freshman women have suffered some form of rape.

The study looked at 483 women (a relatively small study size) who were a representative sample of the freshman class and who volunteered to partake in the study. The women filled out questionnaires when they arrived on campus, at the end of their fall semester, at the end of their spring semester and at the end of the summer following their first year at college. The study was published Wednesday in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Before entering college, about 18% of the women reported enduring a completed or attempted incapacitated rape (involving drugs or alcohol) since age 14, and 15% reported being victims of completed or attempted forcible rape. Over the study year, the researchers found that 9% of the women reported experiencing attempted or completed forcible rape and 15.4% reported attempted or completed incapacitated rape. Some of the women in the study reported more than one incident. At the end of the study, the lifetime experience of forcible rape was 21.7% among the women in the study, and 25.7% for incapacitated rape.

In general, rape involving drugs and alcohol was most common among the women in the study. The data also suggests that women who had already undergone a rape before entering college were more likely to report experiencing rape during their first year. “These findings are important not only for sexual assault prevention but for mental health promotion on campus as previous work has illustrated that multiple exposures to violence are strongly associated with poor mental health, including suicidality,” a corresponding editorial on the study reads. The study authors add that risky drinking behavior should be a target for prevention.

The researchers conclude that incapacitated and forcible sexual assaults and rape have reached “epidemic levels” among college women. The findings are among a small population of women, but underline that rape is not an altogether uncommon experience among young women. While it should be noted that the study looks at self-reported rapes and not clinically validated assaults, it’s also important to note that Department of Justice data suggests up to 80% of rapes and sexual assaults of female college students go unreported.

The study replicates findings in a number of other studies, which tend to find that close to 1 in 5 women in college are sexual-assault victims. But over the past year, there’s been a great deal of controversy about using the results from one study as a stand-in for a national average of college rape victims. This has been particularly true of the 1-in-5 number often cited by the White House, which comes from the 2007 Campus Sexual Assault Study of two different colleges. This new study was much, much smaller — its value should be taken as one data point to build a broad picture of sexual assault on America’s campuses.

“These data make clear that prevention programs for both men and women in both high school and college are necessary,” the study authors write. “Programs may need to address trauma-related concerns for previously victimized women.”

TIME Research

Suicide Rate Is Up Among Young Black Children

New study reveals racial disparities in suicide rates among young children

While the suicide rate among young children has remained relatively stable, a new study shows that the number of black kids between the ages of 5 and 11 who commit suicide has almost doubled since 1993.

The research, published Tuesday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, shows that from 1993 to 2012, there were a total of 657 kids in the age group who killed themselves in the U.S.; 84% were boys and 16% were girls. Overall, the suicide rate was stable over the nearly 20-year period, yet the rate among black children significantly rose while the rate among white children dropped. Why black children were more likely to die by their own hand could not be determined in this study. The researchers say that the apparent racial disparity needs further investigation.

Study author Jeffrey Bridge, an epidemiologist at the Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, told the New York Times that he was “shocked” by the results.

The findings are troubling, and the authors note in the study that historically, the rates of suicide among black children has been lower than the rate among white children. Suicide previously ranked as the 14th cause of death among black children ages 5 to 11 from 1993 to 1997, but it went up to the ninth cause of death in 2008 to 2012. For comparison, among white children, suicide was ranked as the 12th cause of death for the age group from 1993 to 1997 but it dropped to the 11th cause of death from 2008 to 2012.

“Although rates of suicide in adolescents aged 12 to 19 years are roughly 50 times higher than suicide rates in children aged 5 to 11 years, investment in upstream suicide prevention approaches that occur prior to the onset of suicidal behavior may have strong potential to reduce youth suicide rates,” the study authors write.

The researchers call for more studies to understand the trend, and to hopefully determine what interventions might be necessary.

TIME public health

80% of Sunscreens Don’t Really Work or Have ‘Worrisome’ Ingredients: Report

Here's how to find one that works

Summer is around the corner, and when it comes to sunscreen, it’s important to know how to stay covered.

Yet new research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology shows that many Americans aren’t protecting their skin as much as they should. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) asked people how often they use sunscreen when out in the sun for over an hour and only 14% of men said they regularly slathered on sunscreen. Women, at 30%, were twice as diligent about putting on sunscreen—while men were more likely than women to report never using sunscreen.

The problem isn’t only compliance. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its 2015 sunscreen guide on Tuesday, which reviewed more than 1,700 SPF products like sunscreens, lip balms and moisturizers. The researchers discovered that 80% of the products offer “inferior sun protection or contain worrisome ingredients like oxybenzone and vitamin A,” they say. Oxybenzone is a chemical that can disrupt the hormone system, and some evidence suggests—though not definitively—that adding vitamin A to the skin could heighten sun sensitivity.

The report points to Neutrogena as the brand most at fault for promising sun protection without delivering. The EWG says that Neutrogena claims its baby sunscreens provide “special protection from the sun and irritating chemicals” and is labeled “hypoallergenic,” but it contains a preservative called methylisothiazolinone that has been deemed unsafe for use in leave-on products by the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety. The company also boasts of high SPF levels like SPF 70 or SPF 100+, even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says there’s only notable protection up to SPF 50, the report adds. Neutrogena did not respond to requests for comment by publication time.

In the new report, EWG also provides a Hall of Shame of products that don’t deliver on their sun protection promises, as well as a database for users to search how protective their particular sun products are—and find one that works.

To stay protected this summer, the researchers suggest, use sunscreens with broad spectrum SPF of 15 or higher, limit time in the sun, wear clothing to cover exposed skin and re-slather your sunscreen every couple hours.

TIME Retail

Under Armour Removes Iwo Jima-Inspired Shirt After Complaints

The shirt reimagined the image of American soldiers raising a flag at the Battle of Iwo Jima

Under Armour is removing its “Band of Ballers” shirt, which was inspired by the image of U.S. soldiers raising an American flag on Iwo Jima during World War II, following a wave of criticism.

The shirt, made by Under Armour, depicted athletes raising a basket ball hoop in a similar fashion. The backlash against the company for the portrayal was swift.

Under Armour responded in a series of tweets over the weekend:

TIME Cuba

Elian Gonzalez Wants to Visit the U.S.

Elian Gonzalez attends an official event with Cuba's President Raul Castro, unseen, in Havana, June 30, 2010.
Adalberto Roque—ASSOCIATED PRESS Elian Gonzalez attends an official event with Cuba's President Raul Castro, unseen, in Havana, Wednesday, June 30, 2010.

He'd like to come back as a tourist

Elian Gonzalez, the boy who made headlines as the center of a tug-of-war between the U.S. and Cuba, would now like to return to the U.S. for a visit, he told ABC News.

Gonzalez was discovered off the coast of Florida at age 6 in 1999 after the boat he was traveling on with his mother and others from Cuba to the U.S. capsized. His relatives in Miami tried to keep him in the United States, but his father wanted him back in Cuba. Eventually, he was taken from his American family members and returned to his father.

“To the American people, first I say thank you for the love they give me,” Gonzalez told ABC News. “I want the time to give my love to American people.” Gonzalez, now 21 years old, said he’d like to visit the U.S. as a tourist.

Read more at ABC News

TIME Education

Teen Barred From Prom for Wearing a Kilt

He was told to change into a different outfit

A North Carolina teen was not allowed to attend his prom until he changed out of the kilt he was wearing.

David Leix, wore a kilt from his late grandfather to the dance last Friday, but was turned away by organizers, ABC 11 reports.

The event, called Praise Prom, is a Christian alternative prom for kids who are homeschooled. The prom has a dress code, and asks girls to wear floor-length gowns and guys to wear something along the lines of dress pants. Jeans, shorts, sagging pants and T-shirts are not allowed.

“They started going into ‘well even for dresses it’s too short to be a dress,’ I was being quiet, ‘OK we’re calling it a dress. That’s not what it is,'” Leix told ABC 11. Leix had reportedly worn kilts to formal events since he was a child.

Leix was allowed into the prom two hours later after parents of prom attendees bought him black pants to wear.

Praise Prom did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

[ABC 11]

TIME ebola

WHO Vows Reform After Ebola Outbreak Mistakes

The agency is establishing a $100 million contingency fund

The World Health Organization (WHO) is implementing “fundamental changes”—including a establishing a $100 million contingency fund—after the poor response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

“The world was ill-prepared to respond to an outbreak that was so widespread, so severe, so sustained, and so complex,” said WHO Director-General, Dr. Margaret Chan at the annual World Health Assembly on Monday.”WHO was overwhelmed, as were all other responders. The demands on WHO were more than ten times greater than ever experienced in the almost 70-year history of this Organization.” The assembly is the decision-making body of WHO and the meeting is attended by delegates from the WHO member states.

Chan told those present at the event that the WHO is making changes to ensure it is better equipped for a similar health-related emergency in the future.

First, the WHO says it is developing a new program specifically focusing on health emergencies that will have performance benchmarks for what must happen 24, 48 and 72 hours after the beginning of an outbreak. The WHO is also establishing a global health emergency workforce and will strengthen its trained emergency response staff through a proposed increase in budget. The agency is also streamlining its managerial and logistical procedures. Lastly, Chan said the agency is establishing a $100 million contingency fund that will be financed through voluntary contributions. This, Chan said, is to make sure the WHO has the necessary resources needed.

“I do not ever again want to see this Organization faced with a situation it is not prepared, staffed, funded, or administratively set up to manage,” said Chan. “We will move forward on an urgent footing. I plan to complete these changes by the end of the year.”

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com