TIME health

Meet the Utah Teen Who Is Allergic to Water

Only 50 cases of the condition have been documented worldwide

Ever since she was a little girl, Utah teen Alexandra Allen has broken out in hives every time her skin was exposed to water.

In 2013, her family discovered that her condition was most likely aquagenic urticarial, an allergy to water when it comes in contact with the skin. There are only 50 cases documented in medical journals worldwide.

To avoid water exposure, Allen takes five-minute cold showers twice a week, cut her hair short and became a vegetarian so her body would produce less oil.

Read more at People.com.

TIME animals

These Endangered Penguins Are Getting ‘Honeymoon Suites’

Biologists hope privacy will encourage endangered African penguins to breed

Things are about to get a little racy between the animals at the New England Aquarium.

Aquarium experts are building “honeymoon suites” for eight pairs of endangered African penguins, as a way of encouraging them to breed more chicks, the Associated Press reports. The aquarium hopes to grow the population of the birds, which are expected to be extinct in the wild by 2025.

The honeymoon suites will be plastic igloo-like homes and private nooks built off of the main exhibit to protect the penguins’ modesty from the prying eyes of the aquarium’s visitors.


TIME Companies

Alfred Taubman, Inventor of Indoor Shopping Malls, Dies at 91

Al Taubman
Carlos Osorio—AP This Oct. 10, 2008 photo shows shopping mall mogul A. Alfred Taubman in Waterford Township, Mich.

He capitalized on the trend of Americans moving to the suburbs in the 1950s

Alfred Taubman, a real estate developer who invented the concept of indoor suburban shopping malls, has died at 91.

His son, Robert Taubman, the chairman of his father’s company, shared the news on Friday.

“He was so proud of what this wonderful company he founded 65 years ago has accomplished,” Robert Taubman said in a message to the company’s employees. “Tonight, after dinner in his home, a heart attack took him from us, ending what was a full, extraordinary life that touched so many people in so many wonderful ways around the world.”

Alfred Taubman was born to German Jewish immigrants in Michigan in 1924, CNN reports. When he noticed in the 1950s that Americans were moving to the suburbs, he thought they would need centralized places to shop. It was a brilliant innovation. In 2015, Forbes put his net worth at $3.1 billion.

But Taubman’s business life was not always rosy. He bought Sotheby’s auction house in 1983 and was sent to jail for nine months in 2002 after he was convicted of conspiring with Christie’s to fix auction house commission rates. He maintained his innocence.

TIME Environment

Millions of Jellyfish Invade Pacific Northwest Beaches

Kathy Quigg—AP Alan Rammer of the Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife's marine conservation and education division, holds a handful of the blue-hued velella jellyfish in Ocean City, Wash., on May 14, 2004.

Jellyfish are washing up on shore in Oregon and Washington

Beach-goers beware.

Millions of jellyfish are washing up on the shores of beaches in Washington and Oregon, CNN reports.

It is not unusual for the bluish-purple species called Velella velalla to turn up in the spring, but a sail fin on their body usually keeps them away from the shore. This spring, though, their sails were no match for the wind.

The species, also known as “purple sailor,” has stinging cells that are not seriously harmful to humans, but the Oregon State website warns it’s best to avoid rubbing your eyes after touching them or walking barefoot through them on the beach.

TIME Japan

Japan’s Population Falls to 15-Year Low

More than 1 in 4 people in Japan is now 65 or older

Japan’s population has dropped for the fourth year in a row, bringing it to a low not seen since 2000.

There were just more than 127 million people living in Japan as of last Oct. 1, which marked a decrease of 215,000 people compared to one year earlier, according to newly released government data reported by The Guardian.

The biggest problem for Japan may be the rate at which its population is aging. The number of people aged 65 or older in Japan has reached 33 million. More than 1 in 4 people are older than 65 and they outnumber people 14 and younger 2 to 1. The government estimates the population will drop to 86.7 million by 2060, with people over 65 making up 40% of the country.

Though the problem of falling birthrates and aging population is particularly acute in Japan, a similar problem is also brewing in Europe and the U.S. The federal government’s data from late last year showed that 2013 birthrates hit a record low in the U.S. in 2013, down 9% from a high in 2007, as American women delay having children.


TIME animals

Watch 3 Escaped Zebras Run Through Brussels

A video captures three zebras galloping calmly through the city

Three zebras were caught on video running through the streets of Brussels on Friday, after escaping from a ranch in Vilvorde near the city, the Guardian reports. The city dispatched two police crews and a traffic team to apprehend them. The zebras ran loose for about an hour. The best part is the sound of their hooves clopping on the street.

TIME Television

Why Stephen Colbert Wouldn’t Want to Take Over The Daily Show

George Lucas, Stephen Colbert
Charles Sykes—Invision/AP George Lucas, left, and Stephen Colbert attend the Tribeca Talks: Director Series during the Tribeca Film Festival at the BMCC Tribeca Performing Arts Center on April 17, 2015, in New York.

“I don’t want to be the guy who takes over for Jon Stewart"

Stephen Colbert had a quick response when George Lucas asked him on Friday why he wasn’t taking over The Daily Show from Jon Stewart.

“Don’t you think the perfect choice to replace that Jon Stewart fella would have been you?” Lucas asked Colbert at a Tribeca Film Festival panel, according to Deadline. “And now you’re working at Late Show where nobody sees you. Who stays up past 1 a.m.? Wouldn’t you say, I’m taking over the crown?”

Colbert replied, “I don’t want to be the guy who takes over for Jon Stewart. I’ve worked with him, and my memories of him is that he’s the keenest, most intelligent, most beautifully deconstructive mind—the clearest thinker I ever worked for. I would never get underneath his shadow. Someone else who doesn’t love him as much might have a better time on that show than I ever would.”

Stephen Colbert is taking over from David Letterman as the host of The Late Show on CBS, starting this fall. Comedian Trevor Noah is set to be Jon Stewart’s replacement on The Daily Show.


TIME small businesses

Celebrate Record Store Day With Exclusive Vinyl Releases

Oli Scarff—AFP/Getty Images Joe Blanchard, an employee of the music shop 'Record Collector', arranges their vinyl stock ahead of tomorrow's 'Record Store Day' in Sheffield, Northern England on April 17, 2015.

Get a copy of Elvis' first recording

It’s time to celebrate vinyl.

Saturday is Record Store Day, an annual event that promotes independent record stores. Participating record stores across the world sell a limited supply of records released just for the day.

This year’s selection of 400 exclusive releases include David Bowie’s “Changes,” Bob Dylan’s “The Night We Called It a Day” and “15 Everly Hits” from The Everly Brothers.

Jeff Harrigfeld, co-owner of The Woodstock Music Shop in Woodstock, N.Y. said people were already lining up in front of the store before it opened at 9 a.m., with the first customer showing up at 5:30 a.m. to get first dibs. Harrigfeld’s personal favorite this year is a copy of Elvis’ first recording, a 10-inch record in a paper sleeve, recently purchased at auction by Jack White, lead singer and guitarist for The White Stripes. The record features two songs, “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin.”

TIME Tennessee

Push to Make the Bible Tennessee’s Official Book Derailed Amid Legal Questions

But it may not be the last we've heard of the Bible as a state book

Legislation to make the Bible the official state book of Tennessee was beaten back by the state Senate on Thursday, but even if the measure had become law, it would have been on constitutionally shaky ground, legal experts said.

The state Senate voted to “refer” a bill passed by the state House back to a legislative committee because of questions over its constitutionality, and Tennessee’s Republican Governor Bill Haslam has also criticized the bill.

Even though the Tennessee measure appears to be scuttled for now, this may not be the last the country sees such laws floated. On the heels of a quickly withdrawn attempt last year to make the Bible the official state book of Louisiana, a similar bill was introduced earlier this year in Mississippi. It fizzled in committee, but state Representative Tom Miles, a Democrat, said he plans to introduce it again next session. “We feel like if it would have hit the floor, we had the votes,” he told TIME.

As these states weigh measures on the Bible—and as religious exemption laws sparked concerns in Indiana and other states over potential discrimination against gays—the question of how much states can wade into issues of religious freedom is coming to the forefront. In some cases, proposed laws are clashing with the Constitution, experts said.

The Tennessee bill likely violates not just the state’s constitution—as a prohibited endorsement of religion by the government—but also the U.S. Constitution’s prohibition on laws “respecting the establishment of religion,” legal scholars said.

To test whether a law violates this clause in the Constitution, judges look to whether it’s an “endorsement” of a particular religion, or whether it is fundamentally secular, said Suzanna Sherry, a law professor at Vanderbilt University. For example, it’s easier to defend the inclusion of “under God” in the pledge of allegiance in schools because of the phrase’s history, but it could be more difficult to defend a law that a state adopts amid controversy.

Robert Blitt, a law professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law, said choosing an official state book is such a clear endorsement of religion that it would be hard for a state to defend. “I don’t think one could make a distinction that this is about invoking a generic god or having a national prayer breakfast. I think there is something substantively different making the Bible the official book of the state. Are they going to be printing copies of the official state book? Hosting the state book on government websites? That gets into entanglements that are problematic.”

But as a practical matter, a case against the Bible as a state book might be surprisingly difficult to win.

The issue is that anyone who wants to challenge the constitutionality of a law must show that they were harmed by it, and there is a question of who specifically would be harmed by the Bible becoming a state book. It’s easier to challenge laws that subsidize religion, as well as public religious displays like a nativity scene, because they clearly affect individuals.

No matter what happens to the Tennessee bill, its success in the state’s House has given legislators who support these bills, like Miles in Mississippi, something to celebrate. “I’m proud they were able to get a vote for it, because I think that’s great impact,” he said.


Advocates Hopeful Obama’s Support Will Help End Gay ‘Conversion Therapy’

"It is an incredible moment," one advocate said

Advocates who want to end “conversion therapy” for LGBT children were thrilled when the Obama Administration called this week to ban the practice—and they hope President Obama’s support will boost their efforts to enact bans in state legislatures across the country.

“It is an incredible moment,” said Samantha Ames, a lawyer for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “We have a champion in our corner who is the most powerful person in world.”

The President, though, is not powerful enough to end conversion therapy on a national scale, a move that would need the support of Congress. The White House, mindful of Obama’s limited sway over a Republican-controlled Congress, didn’t even call for national legislation in its statement of support from top adviser Valerie Jarrett, focusing instead on “steps by states.” It was the latest of several moves in support of LGBT rights Obama has made in his second term.

“While a national ban would require congressional action, we are hopeful that the clarity of the evidence combined with the actions taken [already by states] will lead to broader action that this Administration would support,” Jarrett said.

That’s a hope advocates like Ames share. The movement to pass such laws is in its infancy—with the first one passing in California in 2012, and subsequent laws in the District of Columbia and New Jersey—but it’s gaining momentum. This legislative session, 18 states have introduced bans for under-18 children to receive the “therapy,” which purports to “cure” people of homosexuality and gender-identity issues.

“But even if it is seems inevitable, we are not done,” said Ames, who is also the coordinator for #BornPerfect: The Campaign to End Conversion Therapy. “Every day this practice continues is a day we are risking a kid’s life.”

Conversion therapy is based on the idea that a child’s sexuality can be changed to fit desired norms, a theory that has been widely dismissed by medical experts, including the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association. The suicide of Leelah Alcorn, a transgender teenager who killed herself last December after leaving a note saying her parents had made her see therapists who tried to convince her that she should act like a boy, drew new attention to the issue.

Many of the bills currently being considered are unlikely to pass, not necessarily because they lack support, but because they’re lower on the list of legislative priorities. Still, advocates say that regardless of whether they succeed, the movement to get bans on the books and the support from the President will make a difference in the lives of LGBT youth.

“The fact that these bills exist at all, it’s a huge opportunity for public education,” Ames said. “It used to be that if I was scared for the well being of my LGBT child’s soul, and I Googled it, I’d get a list of conversion therapists. Because of these bells, I get articles with an enormous amount of information about the risks.”

LGBT advocates said that bills in Oregon and Illinois are the most promising. Oregon’s bill is headed to the state Senate soon after it easily passed the state House in March.

Lawmakers across the states are sometimes wary of supporting LGBT protections, legislative experts say, often because they are afraid of alienating conservative constituents. But advocates who have looked at the campaign to end gay conversion therapy for children say it enjoys more bipartisan support than other LGBT-friendly measures. New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie signed a gay conversion therapy ban in 2013—the same year that he vetoed a pro-gay marriage bill in the state.

“I really think in this area, you see increased bipartisan support,” said Alison Gill, senior legislative counsel at the Human Rights Campaign in Washington, D.C. “When the bill passed in New Jersey in 2013, 50% of Republicans voted for it or abstained, which was higher than the margin for marriage equality. When he signed it into law, [Christie], a prominent Republican, had good things to say. Reasonable people can see it’s really about child abuse and protecting children, and outdated and medically inappropriate conduct that harms people for their entire lives.”

Though anti-LGBT groups and conversion therapists have mounted free speech challenges against the laws in New Jersey and California, court rulings in those cases have sided with the position that the laws are constitutionally sound and don’t infringe inappropriately on freedom of speech or religion. In 2013, Judge Freda Wolfson of the United States District Court of New Jersey said that the challenges to the New Jersey law were “counter to the longstanding principle that a state generally may enact laws rationally regulating professionals, including those providing medicine and mental health services.”

Advocates for the bans said they’re not taking anything for granted. As Ames put it: “We are in the long game for this.”

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