TIME History

Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Birthday Message to Sir Isaac Newton Makes Big Bang on Twitter

StarTalk Radio's Climate Change Panel Discussion And Reception
Andrew Toth—Getty Images Physicist/TV host Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson in New York City, June 5, 2014.

It was shared over 68,000 times

As Christians celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ on Thursday, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson noted the birth of another notable man: Sir Isaac Newton.

Tyson’s tweet was met with some praise and some ire—many felt the tweet was disrespectful to those observing Christmas on Dec. 25. But many cheered Tyson’s wit.

The anti-Christian furor was stoked by Tyson’s follow-up tweet, which read:

Late Friday, Tyson wrote a Facebook message explaining his tweet, which he says is his most retweeted ever.

“Everybody knows that Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25th,” Tyson wrote. “I think fewer people know that Isaac Newton shares the same birthday. Christmas day in England – 1642. And perhaps even fewer people know that before he turned 30, Newton had discovered the laws of motion, the universal law of gravitation, and invented integral and differential calculus.”

Tyson also addressed the idea that his posts were somehow anti-Christian, saying, “If a person actually wanted to express anti-Christian sentiment, my guess is that alerting people of Isaac Newton’s birthday would appear nowhere on the list.”

TIME space

Watch This Astronaut’s Amazing Timelapse Video of Earth

It’s seriously stunning

Astronaut Alexander Gerst’s stunning images from space have been joined together to form a practically seamless timelapse video.

The 12,5000 images Gerst captured while traveling aboard the International Space Station were turned into this stunning video that offers a birds-eye view of massive storms, auroras, and the world a-glow after dark. Gerst was aboard the ISS from May to November 2014.

TIME vatican city

Vatican Frees Activist Who Stole Baby Jesus Statue While Topless

Vatican Activist Arrest
AP A gendarme from the Vatican's security forces stops a Ukrainian feminist group Femen activist after she snatched the statue of Baby Jesus from the Nativity scene set in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Dec. 25, 2014.

The FEMEN activist stole the statue topless with "God is a Woman" written across her bare chest

The Vatican has released a Ukrainian activist who stole a replica of baby Jesus from St. Peter’s Square Nativity scene while topless on Christmas day.

Iana Zhdanova was freed Saturday after being seen by a Vatican prosecutor, according to the Associated Press. She has been ordered never to set foot in Vatican City or on any Vatican property outside of the city-state again.

Zhdanova reportedly had the words “God is a Woman” written on her chest when she snatched the statue from St. Peter’s Square. Vatican police swiftly arrested Zhdanova, who is a member of the feminist group FEMEN.

According to FEMEN’s website, her protest was a part of their “Massacre of the Innocents” anticlerical campaign, which criticizes “the senturies-old Vatican stance on women’s rights for own body and reproductive function.”

TIME Crime

Vice President Biden, Gov. Cuomo and Mayor de Blasio Honor Life of Fallen Officer

Officer Rafael Ramos was shot to death along with his partner Wenjian Liu while on a meal break in Brooklyn last week

Thousands gathered to honor the life of New York City police Officer Rafael Ramos, who along with his partner Wenjian Liu, was shot in broad daylight the weekend before Christmas.

Vice President Joe Biden, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio were among the many government officials who offered their condolences to the family of Rafael Ramos during his Saturday morning services at the Christ Tabernacle Church in Glendale, Queens.

Vice President Joe Biden offered his sympathies, telling Ramos’s sons, widow, and extended family that the nation’s “hearts ache for you.”

“Being a cop is not what they did,” Biden said of Ramos and Liu, both shot in broad daylight in Brooklyn last weekend. “It was who they were.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said of Ramos: “New York City has lost a hero.” During his remarks, officers outside of the church turned their backs on the mayor.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised the NYPD’s response to Eric Garner protests over the past couple of weeks and added, “Nothing will ever defeat or divide our New York family.”

New York Police Commissioner William Bratton used strong language during his remarks, saying the two officers were “assassinated” by a “madman” for choosing to serve his community as a member of the police department. He also spoke about the need for healing and bringing the city together in the wake of the officers’ deaths. “If we can learn to see each other, we’ll heal,” he said.

At the funeral, Bratton promoted both Ramos and Liu to detectives and posthumously appointed Ramos as an honorary chaplain.

TIME Somalia

Islamist Extremist Leader Surrenders in Somalia

Somalia Extremist Leader Surrenders
Farah Abdi Warsameh—AP In this Thursday, Feb. 17, 2011 file photo, hundreds of newly trained al-Shabab fighters perform military exercises in the Lafofe area some 18km south of Mogadishu, in Somalia. A Somali intelligence official says Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi, a leader with the Islamic extremist group al-Shabab who has a $3 million bounty on his head, has surrendered to police in Somalia.

Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi turned himself into Somali police, an intelligence official said

A leader from the Islamist extremist group al-Shabab has reportedly surrendered to Somali police.

Zakariya Ismail Ahmed Hersi was one of eight leaders of the extremist group that has been on the Obama Administration’s wanted list since 2012, according to the Associated Press. A total of $33 million was offered in exchange for information that could lead to their capture. There was a $3 million bounty out on Hersi.

The leader’s surrender comes just days after an attack by al-Shabab Christmas Day on an African Union base in Mogadishu killed nine people, including three African Union soldiers. That attack was allegedly in retaliation for the killing of Ahmed Abdi Godane, al-Shabab’s former top leader.

An intelligence official told the AP that Hersi may have surrendered because he had fallen out with al-Shabab extremists loyal to Godane.


TIME cybersecurity

Playstation Back Online After Christmas Hack

Playstation 4
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez—Getty Images A man plays on a Playstation 4 on Nov. 9, 2013 in Madrid.

Two days after a Christmas hack downed Sony's Playstation and Microsoft's Xbox online networks

Sony’s Playstation network is “gradually coming back online,” the company announced early Saturday, two days after a hacking group claimed responsibility for downing it.

A group known as “Lizard Squad” said they hacked both the Playstation network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live just as new users were launching consoles they received on Christmas. The console’s networks allow users to play games with an online community.

On Friday, the Xbox network was “up and running,” according to NBC News.

TIME justice

Milwaukee Officer Will Not Face Charges in Unarmed Man’s Death

Officer Christopher Manney shot Dontre Hamilton 14 times, eight months ago

A former Milwaukee police officer will not face charges in the shooting death of an unarmed man in a city park, authorities said Monday.

Milwaukee County District Attorney John Chisholm called the death of Dontre Hamilton, who is black, “tragic” but said evidence and witness accounts supported claims by Officer Christopher Manney, who is white, that he acted in self-defense.

“This was a tragic incident for the Hamilton family and for the community,” Chisholm said in a report published Monday by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “But, based on all the evidence and analysis presented in this report, I come to the conclusion that Officer Manney’s use of force in this incident was justified self-defense and that defense cannot be reasonably overcome to establish a basis to charge Officer Manney with a crime.”

Officer Christopher Manney shot and killed Dontre Hamilton in late April, following a struggle that ensued after Manney approached Hamilton, who was sleeping in the park.

Workers at a nearby Starbucks kiosk called the police to complain about Hamilton. Two officers checked on him before Manney arrived, according to the report. According to witnesses, at one point Hamilton grabbed the officer’s baton from him and hit him with it. The officer fired his weapon 14 times.

The police department terminated Manney’s employment, but Hamilton’s family was hoping he would face criminal charges.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, an attorney for the family says they are pursuing Federal charges. In a statement, the attorney made connections to the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

[Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]


Finding Nemo Will Be Dubbed in Navajo

The Navajo Nation Museum undertook a similar effort to translate Star Wars in 2013

The Navajo Nation is hoping that a clownfish and his friends can help continue efforts to preserve the native language.

The Navajo Nation Museum is looking for voice actors to star in a dubbed version of Disney’s Finding Nemo, swapping out the English script for one in Navajo. The Wall Street Journal reports this effort piggybacks off of a similar undertaking in 2013, in which the museum partnered with George Lucas to re-record Star Wars: Episode IV-A New Hope in the Nation’s native tongue.

The Navajo Nation one of the largest American Native populations, according to the 2010 Census, and about half of the 300,000 members speak the native language. The movie voice-overs, museum directors hope, will keep young people interested in learning and speaking the language.

Translating modern films into Navajo can be quite a task, the museum director told the WSJ. The Navajo language lacks of direct replacements for words like “robot” and “anemone,” but at least the translation of jokes can yield hilarious results.

“Things that tend to be kind of funny in English tend to be hilarious in Navajo,” Director Manny Wheeler told the Journal.

Read more at the Wall Street Journal.

TIME weather

Oh, the Weather Outside Will Be Frightful, Holiday Forecast Promises

In some parts of the U.S., a sunny day would be a Christmas miracle

The week ahead could bring snow and rain to large swaths of the U.S., just in time for busy holiday travel.

Rain will slink across the East Coast and parts of the South on Monday and Tuesday, the Weather Channel reports, with heavy-duty storms set to put a damper on Christmas Eve travel. Rain is expected from Boston to Washington on Wednesday, while the Mississippi Valley and parts of the Great Lakes and the West Coast will see snow.

The Weather Channel is already forecasting flight delays at major airports including ones in Chicago, Charlotte, and Milwaukee on Wednesday

For those who hoped for a white Christmas, Christmas Day snow could fall across the Rockies and in northern New England.

For a full forecast, read more at The Weather Channel.

READ NEXT How to Survive the Airport During the Holidays

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Spain

Hundreds in Spain Hit Massive Holiday Jackpot

Javier Fuentes—EPA The owner of a lottery administration at the Deiland-Chimida mall in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, celebrates selling the number 13,437 ticket that was awarded with the first prize of the traditional Spanisch Christmas Lottery 'El Gordo', on Dec. 22, 2014.

More than 100 winning tickets were sold, divvying up a $3 billion prize

Hundreds of Spaniards found themselves thousands of dollars richer on Monday after the winning numbers in the country’s annual Christmas lottery were announced.

In one Madrid neighborhood, more than 100 winning tickets were sold, divvying up the $3 billion jackpot of the “El Gordo” lottery among a the lucky people, the Associated Press reports. At least 10 people won the lottery’s top prize, landing each a 400,000-euro bonus for the New Year, BBC reports.

Given the higher chances of winning “El Gordo” prizes, people across the country participate in the decades-old Christmas giveaway. And given the economic hardship facing Spain, where the employment rate stands at 24%, the winnings are a welcome financial boost.


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