TIME Science

This Eerie Hole Opened Up at the ‘End of the World’

Crater appeared on the Yamal peninsula in northern Russia

Helicopters spotted this mysterious hole in northern Russia on Tuesday and scientists are on their way to investigate the scene, reports the Siberian Times.

The hole—estimated to be over 250ft wide—is located in the Yamal peninsula, a region affectionately meaning the “end of the world.” One scientist speculates that global warming in conjunction with natural gas lines may have caused the yawning cavity in the earth.

Anna Kurchatova from Siberia’s Sub-Arctic Scientific Research Centre believes the crater was a result of an explosion when a mixture of water, salt and natural gas exploded underground. Global warming, she claims, has caused the permafrost in Siberia to melt at an accelerated rate, placing stress on the natural gas reserves.

Yamal authorities are visiting the hole along with two scientists from the Centre for the Study of the Arctic and one from the Cryosphere Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

[Siberian Times]

 

TIME Dating

Sorry, Google: Amazon’s Employees Are Hotter Than Yours

An employee seals a box at the Amazon.com Inc. fulfillment center in Phoenix, Arizona on Dec. 2, 2013.
An employee seals a box at the Amazon.com Inc. fulfillment center in Phoenix, Arizona on Dec. 2, 2013. Bloomberg—Getty Images

At least according to dating app Hinge

Amazon isn’t just a company with an attractive portfolio—CEO Jeff Bezos is worth a staggering $30 billion—it also possesses the most attractive employees, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Hinge, a dating app that matches young professionals in similar networks, found that users are 14.2% more likely to “swipe right” for Amazon employees than their counterparts at tech companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook and Apple. Microsoft comes in second with approval levels hitting 8.2% above average, while Apple ranks as the least attractive tech firm with a paltry percentage of 0.2.

Since 2013, Hinge has examined the most attractive firms in New York City, Washington D.C., Boston and San Francisco.Different industries are represented in the lists. Two media firms top New York’s list—Women at MediaVest USA and men at Facebook boast high scores.

But are Amazon employees really more attractive than their Googlers? Amazon reported having 117,300 employees as of January, including part-time workers, while Microsoft has 99,000, Apple 80,300, Google 47,756 and Facebook with 6,337. Hinge works to connect people within their career networks, meaning that more Amazon employees may be more likely to be on the dating app, just because of sheer size. Hinge also reported Amazon as the least “picky” of the tech companies—meaning they were more likely to say “swipe right” on a profile—which could also account for the high numbers.

Amazon employees could be ridiculously good looking, or maybe they just like to lovingly look at their colleagues’ profiles in hopes for a date.

 

 

TIME career

It Will Take 75 Years for Women to Achieve Equal Pay, Says Oxfam

Poverty, discrimination and unpaid labor are among the barriers facing women

Women still have a ways to go until they’re paid the same as men. According to a new report released today by Oxfam, the gender pay gap will likely close in 75 years, as long as it continues to melt away at its current rate.

The agency is encouraging G20 countries to asses their agendas on gender inequality when they summit in Australia later this year. Oxfam asks member countries to extend their commitment to tackling barriers to women’s social and economic participation set in the 2012 Los Cabos Declaration.

Long-standing gender discrimination and poverty prevent women from realizing their full economic potential, which can suppress a country’s economic growth. The report works to address the systematic issues present in member countries by incorporating gender equality measures in fiscal economic policy and social infrastructure and governance—one measure suggests redistributing taxes to compensate for wage gaps.

With the worlds largest economies, G20 members have a lot to gain from a gender-equitable economy. Oxfam’s Executive Director Winnie Byanyima explained the shortcomings. “Meanwhile, if women’s paid employment rates were the same as men’s, the USA’s GDP would increase by nine per cent, the Eurozone’s by 13 per cent and Japan’s by 16 per cent,” said Byanyima.

The 2014 Australian G20 Summit will be held in Brisbane this coming November.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

People Still Don’t Know the Difference Between “Organic” and “Local”

Food Prices Expected To Rise Significantly In 2014
Fresh produce is displayed at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market on March 27, 2014 in San Francisco. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

'Organic' vs 'local', the saga continues

It’s no secret that the organic food market is ever-growing. Organic food hit $28.4 billion in sales last year, and the Nutrition Business Journal reports that organic food products will reach and estimated $35 billion in 2014. Yet despite the popularity of “local” and “organic,” Americans are still very confused about what those words mean, according to a recent study published in the International Food and Agribusiness Management Review.

A team of researchers surveyed consumers across the U.S. and Canada and discovered that 17% of the people they spoke with incorrectly believed that foods labelled “organic” were also grown locally. Another 23% falsely believe that local produce is grown organically. Researches also found that 40% of consumers think “organic” food is more nutritious than conventional food, while 29% believe that “local” products are more nutritious than their imported equivalents.

But when you scrutinize the laws governing what food companies can and cannot say on labels, it becomes obvious why consumers are so confused. Words like “all natural” and even “free range” are not easily (or often) policed, and many words used on so-called health foods have no legal definition enforceable by the Food and Drug Administration or the Federal Trade Commission.

So, what’s organic?

“Organic” is more straightforward, from a legal perspective, but most consumers likely do not know that. To be labelled organic, a producer must abide by a stringent set of government standards. The USDA qualifies produce as organic if no synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers or genetically modified organisms (GMO) are used. Pest control and crop nutrients must be managed through natural physical, mechanical and biological controls. And when producing organic meat, eggs and dairy, for instance, farmers must provide non-GMO livestock with year-round outdoor access. They are also prohibited from using growth hormones or antibiotics. The U.S. and Canada follow fairly similar organic guidelines, said the study.

And what’s local?

“Local,” meanwhile, is murky. A 2010 report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture stated that “though ‘local’ has a geographic connotation, there is no consensus on a definition in terms of the distance between production and consumption.” This despite a provision in the 2008 Farm Act, that stated, in part, that any food labeled “local” must be produced in the “locality or region in which the final product is marketed, so that the total distance that the product is transported is less than 400 miles from the origin of the product.”

To put the distance in perspective, a drive from Washington, D.C., to Boston is about 400 miles, which means “local” is not necessarily close-by. Many states have limited “local” to mean produced within the state, and some retailers and restaurants have their own definitions. Many farm-to-table restaurants, for example, only serve food from within a 100-mile radius.

And are they healthier?

For the health-conscious, organic food is probably better for you—but not necessarily because of traditional nutrition measures. A 2012 study conducted by Stanford’s Center for Health Policy concluded that organic produce is not more nutrition-dense than its generic counterparts. However, the research was widely panned for taking a narrow view of nutrition. Counterarguments insisted that food grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides—which is to say organic—are by definition healthier choices.

As for the 29% of consumer who believe local food is more nutritious, they may be right. Most nutrients begin to degrade the moment a fresh piece of produce is picked, so the sooner it gets to you the better. Many studies have shown that a peach or berry picked closer to ripeness is more nutritious than a fruit—organic or not—picked before or after its peak of ripeness.

The bottom line

Both organic and local are good healthy options, but knowing the difference is important—especially when you consider the cost that can be attached to both.

TIME global health

Aid Group: Cholera Threatens Thousands in South Sudan

Zacharias Abubeker—AFP/Getty Images
South Sudanese refugees fetch water at a watering point in the Kule camp for Internally Displaced People at the Pagak border crossing in Gambella, Ethiopia, on July 10, 2014. Zacharias Abubeker—AFP/Getty Images

"Children are especially vulnerable."

Thousands of people in South Sudan are being put at risk by a cholera outbreak, says international aid group Save the Children. Cholera has infected 2,600 people in 9 of the the country’s 10 states, according to the group, leaving 60 dead since cases were first reported in May.

“Save the Children’s feeding clinics are dealing with an influx of severely malnourished children. We urgently need to further funds to provide families with life-saving food supplements,” said Save the Children’s Country Director Pete Walsh in a statement Friday.

The cholera outbreak is tied to an ongoing conflict in the country. South Sudan is home to a long-standing civil war, with the most recent violence escalating in December after President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy of attempting to launch a coup.

Aid agencies are struggling to receive needed funding even as the fighting has pushed the country to famine. Save the Children says the seven major international aid agencies operating in the country face closure, currently short an excess of $92 million.

“We are seeing a lot of cases of malnutrition at our treatment centers,” Save the Children Director Francine Uenuma tells TIME. “Children are especially vulnerable.”

Save the Children is working closely with local treatment centers, hoping to develop assessment plans and prevention education. However, with the rainy season approaching, conditions are only expected to deteriorate further. Walsh says that flooded roads will only slow down the delivery of life-saving drugs.

 

 

 

TIME relationships

Robin Thicke’s Official ‘Get Her Back’ 1-800-Flowers Bouquet Costs $350

Robin Thicke performs on stage at Wireless Festival at Finsbury Park on July 6, 2014 in London.
Robin Thicke performs on stage at Wireless Festival at Finsbury Park on July 6, 2014 in London. Joseph Okpako—Redferns/Getty Images

"Get Her Back" with flowers

Robin Thicke has managed to shock us again—and this time it’s not with his increasingly desperate public campaign to win back his estranged wife Paula Patton.

Retailer 1-800-FLOWERS.COM has partnered with the lovelorn pop star to create two bouquets named after his track, “Get Her Back” and the upcoming single, “Forever Love.” You can buy your desperation in the form of 18 long-stem red roses in the “Forever Love” bouquet for $64.99 or $89.99, or the romantic “Get Her Back” bouquet with 100 red roses for $349.99.

No word on whether the bouquets come in a vase full of Robin Thicke’s tears.

TIME movies

Great Scott! Marty McFly’s Hoverboard Is for Sale

BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II.
BACK TO THE FUTURE PART II. Universal Pictures

Grab your red puffy vest and power-laced Nikes

Flash back to the moment you first saw Back to the Future Part II, when Marty McFly’s pink hoverboard graced Hollywood with its presence, in a chase scene that will go down in ’80s movie history. You wanted one, right?

Well, now’s your chance to make your childhood dreams come true. That iconic prop will soon be up for auction, reports the Radio Times. So forget spending that $20,000 you have saved up for a mortgage — hop on over to the U.K. and get yourself a hoverboard.

The futuristic skateboard ridden by Michael J. Fox in the 1989 sequel will be auctioned at London’s Vue cinema, for between £10,000 and £15,000 pounds ($17,000 and $26,000).

Don’t have a few grand lying around? You can still drool over the hoverboard in person, if you cross the pond. The Vue will showcase the hoverboard starting Thursday, Oct. 1, until auction day, Oct. 16, said Radio Times.

TIME Cycling

Reigning Tour de France Champion Exits Race After Crashes

Le Tour de France 2014 - Stage Four
Chris Froome of Great Britain and Team Sky chases back to the peloton after being involved in a crash just after the start of stage four of the 2014 Le Tour de France from Le Touquet-Paris-Plage to Lille on July 8, 2014. Doug Pensinger—Getty Images

Two crashes lead to an injured right arm

Defending tour Tour de France champion Chris Froome bowed out of the cycling race Wednesday after crashing twice.

The conditions were slick on Wednesday’s Stage 5 section, running from Ypres in Belgium to northern France. Rain poured onto the course, adding an extra challenge to an already demanding race. Froome, of the British Sky team, crashed at the 29-km mark, according to the race’s website, before eventually crashing again at the 83-km mark. He exited the 152-kilometer stage with an injured right arm.

Froome injured his wrist on Tuesday after a crash in Stage 4, but was cleared to race again.

“The wrist is painful and it’s certainly not ideal going into tomorrow’s cobbled stage,” Froome said Tuesday night, “but I have a great team around me and we’ll get through the next few days as best we can.”

TIME career

That Lousy Summer Job Can Help Kids Get Ahead

An employee prepares hamburgers at a MacDonalds restaurant.
An employee prepares hamburgers at a MacDonalds restaurant. AFP/Getty Images

Students who worked up to 33 hours per school week or 43 hours in the summer benefitted in their future careers

Flipping burgers at a fast-food joint might offer teenagers more than just some extra cash. A new study reveals that teenagers who work after-school or summer jobs reap career benefits down the road by establishing practical skills in the real world.

The study, which was conducted by the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School of Business, used data from the Statistics Canada Youth in Transition Survey. Researchers followed 246,661 15-year-old Canadians for a 10-year period, until they turned 25. Students who worked up to 33 hours per school week or 43 hours in the summer had more success finding jobs and earning higher wages. Marc-David L. Seidel, who co-authored the study , explained that working adolescents benefit from the early introduction to the workplace, boasting higher earnings and refining their networking skills.

Yet, school-year and summer jobs can be controversial—facing off against protective parents and the coveted internship. “Adolescent labour has been stigmatized as exploitative with many parents opting to put their kids in summer camp rather than summer jobs,” said Professor Seidel. Other parents feel that their children are more suited to summer camps or educational enrichment programs.

Internships are not an option for everyone, as interns are often unpaid. “Lucrative and influential professions — politics, media and entertainment, to name a few — now virtually require a period of unpaid work,” said author Ross Perlin, of Intern Nation: How to Earn Nothing and Learn Little in the Brave Perlin in an article for the New York Times, “effectively barring young people from less privileged backgrounds.”

Now, choosing to get a summer job over the unpaid internship is not a sacrifice, but perhaps a better plan for the future.

 

 

TIME Crime

Teen Killed While Chasing iPhone Thief

Kritina Lee Knief—Getty Images
Kritina Lee Knief—Getty Images

California teen killed chasing her Iphone

Police are asking for the public’s help tracking down a thief who stole a California teen’s iPhone last week. The young girl was killed after jumping onto the hood of a speeding car in an attempt to retrieve the device.

15-year-old Rubi Rubio of Santa Ana was walking her 7-year-old sister home from school around noon last Thursday when a thief took her iPhone and jumped into a car. Rubio briefly held on to the burglar’s car before falling off and hitting her head, said police corporal Anthony Bertagna.

“According to witnesses, the vehicle was swerving in an attempt to get her off,” Bertagna told the Orange County Register.

The teen died of her injuries while surrounded by family members in Western Medical Center Santa Ana on Saturday. Rubio’s mother, Marisol Hernandez, said she gave her daughter the phone after Rubio received good grades in her sophomore year of high school.

“She was my support all the time and she deserved it,” Hernandez told the Register. “I don’t know exactly what happened,” she said, questioning her daughter’s decision to chase the vehicle.

Superintendent of Santa Ana Unified School District Rick Miller said in a statement that grief counseling will be available for friends, family, teachers and others affected by Rubio’s death.

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