TIME Jobs

A Leafy Office is a Happier Office, Study Finds

Desk with Plants
Getty Images

Green begets green

The world’s first study of the “long-term impacts of plants in an office environment” suggests that a simple arrangement of a few plants around the office can pay huge dividends.

Researchers measured a 15% increase in productivity after “lean offices”—or workplaces with a desert-like aesthetic—were spruced up with leafy, green plant life. Over the course of several weeks, workers in three commercial spaces in the U.K. and the Netherlands reported higher levels of air quality, improved powers of concentration and a general increase in workplace satisfaction.

“It appears that in part this is because a green office communicates to employees that their employer cares about them and their welfare,” said study author Alex Haslam, a psychology professor at the University of Queensland. “The findings suggest that investing in landscaping an office will pay off through an increase in office workers’ quality of life and productivity.”

Researchers also noted the findings contradicted a movement among interior designers towards severely stripped down and unadorned workspaces. “Sometimes less is just less,” Haslam concluded.

 

TIME Crime

Ferguson Cops Start Using Body Cameras in Wake of Unrest

Police chief says officers "are really enjoying them"

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Law enforcement officers in Ferguson, Mo. attached body cameras to their uniforms while policing a peaceful demonstration on Saturday, three weeks after the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager by a police officer triggered violent clashes between police and protestors in the St. Louis suburb.

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told the St. Louis Post—Dispatch that his department received a donation of 50 wearable cameras from two surveillance companies last week. The company representatives led the department in a training session on Saturday. “They are really enjoying them,” Jackson said of the body cameras, which captured video and audio recordings at a protest march on Saturday.

Advocates of a “Mike Brown Law,” named after the teenager who was shot by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson, have petitioned for a law that would require police to wear body cameras at all times during their patrols to increase transparency.

Concerns about cost and a dearth of research into their effectiveness have hampered widespread adoption of the surveillance technique.

[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

TIME celebrities

Hackers Leak Explicit Photos of More Than 100 Celebrities

Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton among the victims of hacking from a cloud-based data storage network

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Jennifer Lawrence, Selena Gomez and Kirsten Dunst were among an estimated 100 celebrities alleged to have private and explicit photos leaked online Sunday, after hackers apparently accessed their cellphones through a cloud-based storage network.

The photographs originally turned up on the website 4chan, where hackers claimed to have infiltrated the phones of more than 100 celebrities and promised to leak more images in the future.

The pictures were reportedly stolen from a cloud-based data storage network. Some posters claimed it was Apple’s iCloud system that was hacked, Mashable reports, though the company has not confirmed those rumors.

A spokesperson for Lawrence acknowledged the authenticity of the images, calling it a “flagrant violation of privacy” and vowing to prosecute anyone who shared the images online. “The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence,” the spokesperson said in a statement, People Magazine reports.

Actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead lambasted both the people who posted and viewed the images, which she said were taken in the privacy of her home with her husband.

Nickelodeon star Victoria Justice denied the authenticity of the images, accusing hackers of doctoring images.

McKayla Maroney, the teenage gymnast who won Olympic gold medals in the team and vault competitions in 2012, also tweeted that images of her were faked. Like Winstead, she had a message for the hackers:

TIME 2016 Election

Rick Perry Disavows Tweet Calling Democratic D.A. a Drunk

Rick Perry Discusses Immigration And Border Crisis In Washington DC
Texas Governor Rick Perry delivers remarks about immigration at The Heritage Foundation August 21, 2014 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images

'I do not condone the tweet and I have taken it down'

Texas Governor Rick Perry deleted an “unauthorized” tweet sent out from his official account on Sunday evening, that included a mocking image of a district attorney who is involved in a criminal indictment against the governor.

“I do not condone the tweet and I have taken it down,” Perry tweeted from his official account. The removed tweet included an image of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg surrounded by beer bottles with a derisive comment about her drunk driving conviction in 2013.

Lehmberg refused to resign after the conviction, prompting Perry to withhold funding from her office until she stepped down. An indictment last month held that Perry’s maneuver might constitute a possible “abuse of power,” a charge the governor contests is based on a vague and outdated law.

TIME Web

See Every Single Device Connected to the Internet

Internet Map
A map showing every device connected to the Internet. John Matherly /@achillean

Bright spots and blackouts trace wide disparities in global connectivity

A map of every device connected to the Internet shows the wealthiest parts of the world flush with connections, while poor and sparsely populated parts of the world are blacked out — as well as a few head scratchers in between.

The map was created by John Matherly, founder of Shodan, a search engine that probes the Internet’s backend for connections to all sorts of devices from routers to refrigerators. Matherly said it took about five hours to ping every IP address on the Internet and store every positive response. It took another 12 hours to plot the responses on a heat map which glows bright orange in densely connected areas and blue and black in sparsely connected areas.

The U.S. and Western Europe are, not surprisingly, awash in connectivity. Africa and central Asia have islands of connectivity centered on urban areas. Then there are head-scratchers like Greenland, which has a single isolated dot smack in the island’s center. A Reddit user speculated it was an NOAA observatory on the summit of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

“Oh my f***ing God!! You’re the guy!!!,” wrote another Reddit commentator, ForceBlade, who detected a mysterious ping request around the time of Matherly’s project. “You touched my heart, and my server.”

TIME Military

Pilot Still Missing After Fighter Jet Crashes in Virginia

Preparations Ahead Of The Farnborough International Airshow 2014
Military personnel talk as they stand beside an F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet, left, prior to the opening of the Farnborough International Airshow in Farnborough, U.K., on Sunday, July 13, 2014. Bloomberg — Getty Images

Authorities have not yet confirmed if the pilot had ejected from the plane before it crashed Wednesday morning

The pilot of a fighter jet that crashed into the mountains of western Virginia Wednesday morning is still missing hours later, officials say.

Col. James Keefe, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Air National Guard, said that rescue crews were still searching for the pilot Wednesday afternoon, the Associated Press reports. It’s unclear whether the pilot ejected from the single-seat F-15C. The pilot reported an inflight emergency while flying the plane to New Orleans for routine maintenance and lost radio contact shortly thereafter.

Residents near the crash site reported hearing a loud explosion and feeling the ground shake from the force of the impact.

[AP]

TIME Environment

Obama Mulls Circumventing Congress for International Climate Change Agreement

Climate Change Global Warming Asbestos Mines
Asbestos mines in Amiandos, Troodos Mountains, Cyprus, June 15, 2014. G. Nimatallah—De Agostini/Getty Images

Possible end-run around Senate ratification

The Obama Administration is working on an international agreement for countries to cut their fossil fuel emissions, a move that could set up a showdown with Congress by avoiding the need for formal treaty ratification.

The accord, meant to be signed at a United Nations summit next year, will likely bypass the usual ratification procedure, the New York Times reports. Ratification would require a two-thirds vote from the Senate, but any action on climate change faces stiff resistance from Republicans and from some moderate Democrats, and President Barack Obama has increasingly looked for ways to work around congressional opposition as his time in office winds down. The Administration is considering framing an agreement as “politically binding” instead of legally binding as a way to circumvent the need for ratification, the Times reports. Obama’s climate negotiators told the Times that the framework would help “name and shame” negligent countries.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said it’s premature to say the Administration is planning to circumvent the Senate.

“Not a word of the new climate agreement currently under discussion has been written, so it is entirely premature to say whether it will or won’t require Senate approval,” Psaki said in a statement. “Our goal is to negotiate a successful and effective global climate agreement that can help address this pressing challenge. Anything that is eventually negotiated and that should go to the Senate will go to the Senate. We will continue to consult with Congress on this important issue.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voiced opposition to the possible maneuver, saying it’s indicative of what he called the Obama Administration’s tendency to “ignore the elected representatives of the people when they don’t agree.”

-Additional reporting by Zeke J Miller

TIME Education

Gov. Bobby Jindal Sues Federal Government Over Common Core ‘Coercion’

Leading Conservatives Gather For Republican Leadership Conference In New Orleans
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal speaks during the 2014 Republican Leadership Conference on May 29, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

The Louisiana governor accused federal officials of forcing states into a national curriculum

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has filed suit against the Department of Education over federal educational standards that he says are intended to “coerce” states into adopting federal guidelines.

According to the filing submitted to a Louisiana district court on Wednesday, Jindal charges the Department of Education with violating the 10th amendment by requiring states to participate in a consortium to help implement Common Core standards or risk losing federal funding.

The Common Core standards, which were released in 2010, are benchmarks for proficiency in English and math. The Obama administration urged states to sign up to Common Core, saying states using the standards would be more likely to win Race to the Top grants. Forty-four states have adopted them, but some have chosen to withdraw from the standards in the belief that they represent a step towards a federal takeover of education.

“Through regulatory and rule making authority, Defendants have constructed a scheme that effectively forces States down a path toward a national curriculum,” the suit alleges.

Jindal has been a vocal opponent of the Common Core standards, a bipartisan initiative which has gathered critics on the left and the right. He sought to remove Louisiana from the initiative in June, despite its backing from state legislators and the state’s Board of Education.

TIME Retail

Zara Yanks Baby Shirt Likened to Concentration Camp Uniform

Now that's a fashion faux pas

Clothing retailer Zara hastily removed a baby shirt from its online stores Wednesday after social media users noted its resemblance to a concentration camp uniform.

The shirt has thin black and white stripes and a yellow star sewn on the front. The company described the design as “sheriff” themed, but the word “sheriff” was barely legible within the star, and to many outraged critics on social media the shirt was far more evocative of one of the darkest chapters of World War II history.

Zara removed the shirt from its site on Wednesday, according to the Israeli blogger for 972 Magazine who first broke the story, and its Israeli office issued an apology to any customers who might have been offended.

TIME Companies

Time Warner Cable Outage Affects Users Nationwide

Internet and TV blackouts reported in areas ranging from New York to Texas to California

A massive Time Warner Cable outage reportedly brought down internet and television services in cities from coast to coast in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Customers began to grasp the scope of the outage on Twitter, as users from multiple cities reported service blackouts spanning several hours and customer service hotlines returning busy signals.

The website downdetector.com, which tracks reports of outages in real time, posted a map of affected areas, showing a large number of reports in areas ranging from New York to Texas to California. At the peak of the outage the site reported almost 10,000 complaints.

Time Warner Cable released a statement on the outage. “At 4:30am ET this morning during our routine network maintenance, an issue with our Internet backbone created disruption with our Internet and On Demand services,” the statement read. “As of 6:00am ET services were largely restored as updates continue to bring all customers back online.”

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