TIME Aviation

Feds Probe Security Expert Who Claims to Have Hacked Numerous Flights

The suspect says he penetrated up to 20 flights during the past four years

Federal authorities have launched an investigation into the actions of a cyber security consultant who claims to have hacked several commercials flights’ computer systems, even causing one aircraft to bank sideways.

According to an official search warrant application, Chris Roberts told the FBI in April that he compromised commercial flights during 15 to 20 occasions from 2011 to 2014 by hacking the vessels’ in-flight entertainment systems.

During one such incident, Roberts allegedly was able to access a plane’s navigational system and caused the craft to veer sideways briefly mid-flight.

On Sunday, Roberts tweeted that his actions were motivated by his desire to help make aircraft security safer, but refrained from commenting further.

In a report published last month, the U.S. Government Accountability Office warned that new aircraft might be susceptible to having their in-flight computer systems penetrated via onboard wi-fi networks.

TIME Gadgets

Sony Is Taking Advance Orders for Custom-Made Earphones That Cost $2,500

All of a sudden Beats look crazy affordable

There are expensive earphones and then there are Sony’s new Just Ear XJE-MH1 earphones.

After unveiling the product late last year, the Japanese tech giant announced that it was taking advance orders this week for the earphones tailor-made to mesh with an individual’s environment, ears and audio tastes.

To optimize the listening experience, the buyer’s individual measurements are taken, allowing the device to fit snuggly along the contours of the outer ear. However, the experience does not come cheap.

Rocket News 24 reports that the headphones will sell for approximately $2,500.

TIME Environment

Starbucks is Selling California Spring Water For $1.95 a Bottle Amid a Historic Drought

California's Central Valley Heavily Impacted By Severe Drought
Justin Sullivan — Getty Images Well water is pumped from the ground on April 24, 2015 in Tulare, California.

A bottled-water company owned by the coffee giant is drawing on precious springs in the bone-dry state

A Starbucks owned bottled-water company in California is continuing to sell locally sourced spring water, as the Golden State battles one of the worst droughts in recent memory, according to a report in Mother Jones.

Starbucks acquired Ethos Water, an enterprise that gives a nickel of every $1.95 bottle sold to water charity projects around the world, in 2005. Ethos has reportedly raised around $12.3 million for water charity projects to date.

However, the company partially relies on water from private springs in central California’s Placer County and also operates a factory further south in Merced, where it uses local water sources at its production facility. Both areas are in territories that are experiencing “exceptional drought” conditions, according to federal authorities.

The Merced Sun-Star reports that locals are increasingly irritated that the company is continuing to tap the area’s scarce water resources amid the blistering dry spell.

A Starbucks spokesperson told Mother Jones that Ethos water came from “a private spring source that is not used for municipal water for any communities.” However, the magazine also spoke to a geologist with the state’s Department of Water Resources, who said that local communities downstream could still be adversely affected “if you capture and pull it out before it ever makes it.”

Read more at Mother Jones.

TIME Bizarre

A Stinking 11-Ton Megalith of Congealed Fat Has Been Removed From a London Sewer

It’s called a fatberg and it’s terrifying

Londoners have been advised to stop flushing cooking oil and pre-moistened towelettes down sinks after authorities successfully removed a mammoth 11-ton piece of congealed fat, caked with compacted wet wipes, from one of the city’s sewers.

The “fatberg” was reportedly the size of one of the British capital’s famed double-decker buses and inflicted more than a half-million dollars of damage to the sewer pipes under West London’s plush Chelsea neighborhood.

“The original sewer has been so badly abused by fat being chucked down the plughole we’ve had to opt for the time-consuming and disruptive option of replacing many meters of pipe,” Stephen Hunt, a maintenance supervisor at Thames Water charged with overseeing the removal of fatberg, told the Guardian.

West London is home to a high-concentration of restaurants and food-related enterprises that produce approximately 32 million to 44 million liters of used cooking oil, much of which is then flushed down the drains, annually.

“I’d urge people to consider what lurks beneath their feet,” pleaded Hunt. “When it comes to getting rid of fat, ‘bin it – don’t block it.’”

The same, naturally, goes for wet wipes.

[Guardian]

TIME Britian

Chairman of U.K.’s Ruling Party Denies Editing His Wiki Entry and Those of Rivals

Grant Shapps speech
Hannah McKay — AP Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps gives a speech on free trade at the Institute of Directors in London on Feb. 12, 2015

He blames a “smear campaign” ahead of elections next month

U.K. Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps was in an all-out denial mode on Wednesday, after a story broke in the Guardian this week claiming he had edited his own Wikipedia page and those of rival politicians.

The British daily reported that Wikipedia had blocked an account that it alleged was being used by Shapps “or someone acting on his behalf.”

“It is the most bonkers story I’ve seen in this election campaign so far,” Shapps told the BBC on Wednesday.

During the interview with the broadcaster, the politician claimed that his diary proved that he was “elsewhere” when the edits by Wiki user Contribsx were made.

He then went on label the accusations that he was tied to Contribsx as a possible “Labour/Guardian smear campaign” ahead of general elections next month.

The chairman was caught editing his Wikipedia page without revealing his identity in 2012, but claims to have learned from the experience.

“It turns out you should never correct your Wikipedia page,” Shapps told the BBC. “And that’s why I’ve never gone near it since.”

TIME trends

Here’s a Fascinating Breakdown of Emoji Use by Country

Hong Kong Rugby Sevens: beer, costumes and, somewhere, a result
Stringer—AP Fans wearing emoji masks watch a rugby match of the Hong Kong Seven in Hong Kong on March 28, 2015

Did somebody say "national stereotypes"?

The French are serious and romantic while Australians are all about partying according to a survey on emoji use worldwide.

In a new report published on Tuesday, British app developer SwiftKey drew some conclusions after analyzing over 1 billion pieces of emoji data taken from communications made in 16 different languages.

According to their findings, Canadians scored highest in categories associated with violence and money, loving the gun and cash emoji more than other nationalities.

Down under, Australians surprised few by embracing icons suggestive of alcohol and drugs, using those symbols are least twice as frequently as the global average.

France was the only country the smiley-faced icon was not the most used emoji. However, French speakers did use the heart emoji with greater frequency than anybody else.

No clear traits emerged for the U.S., but the report said Americans “lead for a random assortment of emoji … including skulls, birthday cake, fire, tech, LGBT, meat and female-oriented emoji.”

Check out the full report here.

Read next: Everything You Need to Know About Snapchat’s New Emoji Feature

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME movies

This Is the First Image from the Next Pirates Of The Caribbean

Captain Jack is back

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer on Tuesday tweeted out the first image from the set of Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which shows Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow caught in what appears to be another episode of dire straits on the high seas.

Depp was temporarily sidelined last month after sustaining a hand injury on set in Australia that forced him to fly back to the U.S. to undergo an immediate operation.

However, the setback will not delay the premiere of the latest Pirates installment, which is slated to hit the silver screen in July 2017.

TIME South Africa

South Africa Deploys Its Army to Halt the Killings of Foreigners

SAFRICA-UNREST-RACISM
Mujahid Safodien — AFP/Getty Images South African police officers and troops of the South African Defence Force raid the Jeppie hostels in the Jeppestown district of Johannesburg late on April 21, 2015

Hundreds of migrants have now fled the country to escape bloodshed

South African troops were deployed to areas of Johannesburg on Tuesday night to help quell ongoing bouts of anti-immigrant violence after a rash of xenophobic attacks spread across the nation in recent weeks.

“We come in as the last resort,” Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the Defense Minister, told reporters at a news conference in Alexandra township, according to the New York Times. “The army will serve as a deterrent.”

Police units backed by military commandos arrested 11 people after raiding a hostel in the suburb of Jeppestown in eastern Johannesburg, where they confiscated a smattering of weapons, including a small ax and several knives.

“We will continue this operation after identifying more hot spots across the province. The army was there as backup during the raid,” said Lieutenant Kay Makhubela, a police spokesman, according to the local news outlet Independent Online.

Bouts of xenophobic violence have rattled South Africa for two weeks, after attacks on foreigners were reported in the coastal city of Durban and later spread to areas in Johannesburg where poor migrants, largely from Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and local communities mix.

The bloodshed made headlines across the globe over the weekend after photographer James Oatway captured chilling images of a Mozambican street hawker being stabbed to death by a group of South African men. The four suspects tied to the gruesome killing appeared in court on Tuesday, where they were charged with murder and robbery, reports the Mail & Guardian.

At least seven foreigners have been killed and hundreds have fled the country in recent weeks. Doctors Without Borders estimates that more than 5,000 people fleeing the violence are currently taking shelter in camps near Durban.

TIME apps

This Is the App You Need to Download for Earth Day

156981341
Getty Images

It lets you keep a log of your daily energy consumption and tells you how to reduce it

Has commemorating Earth Day on April 22 got you in the mood to save some energy? There’s an app for that.

My Earth — Track Your Carbon Savings uses a simple diary format to help make you aware of the energy you’re using during your daily routine.

The app tracks your energy consumption in areas like electricity, travel and food, and within each category, there are suggestions for doing things differently to help conserve energy. Some of the suggestions are simple (like recycling) and some are complex (like installing a high-efficiency water closet). As you take up the suggestions, you accumulate carbon units and can quickly see how much energy you are saving.

A cute visual device — a polar bear perched on an iceberg — depicts your progress. The more energy you save, the bigger the iceberg gets.

Nancy Wong, the app’s designer and professor of consumer science at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, said on the institution’s website that in many people what looked like a lack of concern for the environment was really “a failure to connect individual action to that bigger picture.”

She explained that “Hopefully the app could help you understand actually whatever you do is not insignificant, and this is how you can contribute.”

TIME Social Media

Anyone Can Now Send You a Direct Message on Twitter

App stock
Lauren Hurley — Association Images The Twitter App is shown on an Apple iPhone 4S.

They don't have to follow you first

Starting this week, Twitter users will now have the option to receive direct messages from any of the other 288 million people who have signed up for the service.

Previously, only individuals that followed each other on the social network and microblogging platform were able to exchange private missives.

However, the option to receive direct messages from non-followers is currently turned off by default. To begin receiving messages from any and everyone, users will have to change their own settings manually.

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