TIME Courts

Supreme Court Justice Says Americans Ready to Accept Gay Marriage

"The change in people’s attitudes on that issue has been enormous,” Ruth Bader Ginsburg said

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg doesn’t think there would be widespread backlash if the high court decides to legalize same-sex marriage across the country this year.

“I think it’s doubtful that it wouldn’t be accepted,” Ginsburg said in an interview with Bloomberg. “The change in people’s attitudes on that issue has been enormous.”

About 72% of Americans live in the 37 states and Washington, D.C., where gay and lesbian couples are free to marry, and soon the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments that will decide whether that freedom carries over to the rest of the U.S.

“I think that as more and more people came out and said ‘This is who I am,’ the rest of us recognized that they are one of us,” Ginsburg said. “We discovered it’s our next-door neighbor; we’re very fond of them. Or it’s our child’s best friend or even our child.”

[Bloomberg]

 

TIME Environment

‘Megadroughts’ Could Devastate Southwest U.S. Within a Century

New study warns of dry consequences if greenhouse emissions continue to rise

Droughts like the one California is experiencing are only going to get worse over the course of the century and could devastate some central and western parts of the U.S., according to a new NASA study.

Using data from 17 climate models, scientists were able to project that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, there is a significant risk of severe droughts in the Southwest and Central Plains between 2050 and 2100. Reductions in rainfall and increased temperatures will lead to drier soil, according to their models, causing “megadroughts,” which could last between 30 and 35 years, according to the report published Thursday in the journal Science Advances. Typically, droughts last about 10 years. But if emissions continue to increase throughout the 21st century, there’s an 80% chance of “megadrought” events worse than any in the past 1,000 years, researchers said.

“Natural droughts like the 1930s Dust Bowl and the current drought in the Southwest have historically lasted maybe a decade or a little less,” said Ben Cook, a NASA climate scientist and lead author of the study in a statement. “What these results are saying is we’re going to get a drought similar to those events, but it is probably going to last at least 30 to 35 years.”

TIME Television

James Franco Will Try to Prevent JFK’s Assassination in Hulu Miniseries

The nine-hour adaptation of Stephen King's '11/23/63' is being produced by King and JJ Abrams

James Franco is going back to television — well, sort of.

The star of The Interview is set to play the leading role in a new Hulu miniseries based on the best selling novel by Stephen King, 11/23/63.

The Hollywood Reporter says Franco will star as English teacher Jake Epping, who travels back in time to stop the assignation of President John F. Kennedy. The miniseries, which will run a total of nine hours, is a joint project by King and J.J. Abrams.

The role will be Franco’s first regular television role since the late 90s cult hit Freaks and Geeks.

[THR]

TIME

Meet Willow, the Dating App That Won’t Judge You By Your Looks

TIME.com stock photos Social Apps iPhone
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

Is this the 'anti-Tinder?'

There are a lot of apps on the market now for young folks in search of love: Tinder, Bumble, and OkCupid, to name a few. Though their rationales vary—Tinder and Bumble are both about the swipe, but on Bumble, ladies make the first move, and with OkCupid you can control how much information you reveal up front—they all have at least one thing in common: Potential mates judge one another based on looks.

But Willow, a new app hitting the App Store on Wednesday, is seeking a different approach. Instead of swiping left or right based on the first selfie you see, you’re prompted to answer a set of three questions—written by users—that are designed to spark up a conversation. What’s more, users decide when and if they wish to share photos with other users; at first, the answers to these questions are all future dates see.

The app’s founder Michael Bruch says Willow puts the “social” back in social media. Bruch, now 24, was fresh out of New York University when he launched the app last year. He says he was looking to fill a void he noticed when using dating apps that focused on swipes rather than what you like.

“You can match with a bunch of people that you think are good looking but you don’t really know much about them until you start talking to them,” Bruch tells TIME. “If I’m going to spend time with someone I want to know that we have something to talk about–that’s what’s important to me.”

Bruch is hoping that same interest in conversation is important to a lot of other young people as well. So far, Willow has gained some traction. Over 100,000 users downloaded the beta version of the app that launched in August, sending an average of three messages a day.

What’s more, people are using it for more than just finding love. “It’s become more about social discovery than strictly dating,” Bruch says. “If you just want to get on an have a casual conversation about video games you can, and you can also use it to spark up a romantic conversation with someone that’s less than 30 miles away.”

The version of the app released Wednesday also includes a “Discover” feature that helps users search what’s trending and better sort through questions they’d be interested in answering.

It’s an interesting approach given the perceived shallow nature of today’s millennials—the Me Generation, as TIME’s Joel Stein pronounced in 2013. Today’s dating apps seem to feed into their inner narcissists. And it’s much easier to turn someone down based on just their face rather than after you’ve started up a conversation. To see how users reacted to profiles without photos, OkCupid one of the largest dating sites, hid profile photos temporarily in January of 2013 dubbing it “Blind Date Day.” They found that their members were much more likely to respond to first messages during that time, but the minute the photos were turned back on, conversations ended–like they’d “turned on the bright lights at the bar at midnight,” wrote one Chris Rudder, one of the site’s founders.

Despite that somewhat depressing result, some millennials are finding that the pressure of putting your face out there for the public to judge can be intimidating—and in some instances, dangerous. Just one glimpse at the jerky messages posted to the Instagram account Bye Felipe (which aggregates negative messages women get online) gives a good sense of how frustrating it can be for many people, but particularly for women, trying to navigate in that visual space. People can be aggressive, fetishizing, and downright cruel.

Apps like Bumble seek to help women circumvent that by putting the power of striking up conversation in solely in their hands. But Willow wants to change the focus entirely, from the way someone looks to what his or her interests are. “If your picture is not being blasted out there, the amount of harassment and messages you’re going to get off the break is going to be lower,” Bruch says.

On its surface, the app’s mission sounds like a cheesy line from a rom-com: a hapless sap whining that they wish someone would take interest in their thoughts and not their looks. But, Bruch and Willow’s other founders are hoping it has carved a place among the myriad apps that cater to the millennial generation’s life online.

TIME White House

Obama: ISIS Is ‘Going to Lose’

"Our coalition is on the offensive. ISIL is on the defensive and ISIL is going to lose”

—President Obama said the terrorist group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) is “going to lose,” during statements Wednesday about the war powers request he sent to Congress.

“Make no mistake, this is a difficult mission and it will remain difficult for some time,” Obama said during his remarks from the White House’s Roosevelt Room. “But our coalition is on the offensive. [ISIS] is on the defensive and [ISIS] is going to lose.”

The President on Wednesday sent a request to Congress to authorize the use of military force against ISIS, which many members have wanted since the U.S. and coalition forces’ offensive against the group began last year. The President has said that though he is already within his legal authority to use force against the group, he wants to work with Congress to show the world the U.S. is a united front.

On Wednesday, the President reiterated that the authorization he sent to Congress does not call for the deployment of ground combat forces in Iraq and Syria, stating he remains convinced that the U.S. “should not get dragged back into another ground war in the Middle East.”

“As Commander in Chief, I will only send our troops into harm’s way when it’s absolutely necessary for our national security,” Obama said.

The resolution would also expire within three years, so that the burden on how to move forward with the offensive would shift to the next President and Congress.

Wednesday, however, is merely the first step in what’s sure to be a drawn-out debate over action in the region. Many lawmakers have already expressed concern over the ambiguity of the resolution. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the resolution is “intentionally” open-ended so that the President can have flexibility in his approach.

So far, the U.S. and coalition forces have launched over 2,300 air strikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

TIME White House

White House Avoids Talking About Obama’s Gay-Marriage Views

A textbook case of the White House all-but-confirming a story without actually doing so

What did the President believe and when did he believe it? That was the thrust of a tricky line of questioning on gay marriage for White House press secretary Josh Earnest on Tuesday.

The questions came after a new book by former political strategist David Axelrod revealed that President Obama misled the country about his true feelings on gay marriage during his 2008 campaign.

Earnest’s responses were a textbook case of the White House all but confirming a story without actually coming out and doing so.

MORE: Obama Adviser Says He Misled on Gay-Marriage Views

Instead of calling into question Axelrod’s accuracy, Earnest first praised him.

“I have not had an opportunity to read all 525 pages of Mr. Axelrod’s book,” he said. “The firsthand account that he provides in the book is not one that I would disagree with or quibble with. He obviously is sharing his views as he remembers them. Sometimes his perspective is informed by his up-close, front-row seat to history. That’s one of the reasons I’m interested in reading the book.”

Then he noted that voters had changed their views, too. (In 2008, 56% of Americans opposed it, while support was at 50% by the time Obama came out publicly in favor of it in 2012.)

“When the President made his first public comments regarding support for gay couples to marry, that was viewed as a pretty controversial political stance,” he said. “I think that’s an indication that the President was not the first person to articulate this position but certainly was at the beginning of a broader change we saw all across the country.”

And then he deflected the line of questioning by talking about Obama’s support for gay rights.

“That reflects the kind of record this President has amassed while in office when it comes to fighting for justice for all Americans including GLBT Americans,” he said. “From ending ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ to writing an Executive Order banning federal contractors from discriminating against their employees regardless of who they love or for speaking out so boldly in support of gay marriage.”

TIME Education

Leading Women’s College Will Soon Accept Women Who Were Born as Men

Campus Building in Bryn Mawr College
Aimin Tang—Getty Images Campus Building in Bryn Mawr College

But Bryn Mawr College will not accept women who now identify as men

Women’s college Bryn Mawr College announced Monday the school will soon accept applications from transgender women and those who don’t identify as men.

On Monday, the college said it would accept applications from “transwomen and of intersex individuals who live and identify as women at the time of application.” According to a press release, the school will also allow “intersex individuals who do not identify as male” to apply, though those assigned female gender at birth who have taken “medical or legal steps” to identify as male are not eligible.

“Bryn Mawr continues its clear mission to educate women to be future leaders, but it also recognizes that conceptions of gender are changing and that the College must respond to these changes,”said Bryn Mawr College Board Chair Arlene Gibson in a statement.

The president and other members of the board faced pressure from former students of the school that started a petition last year to urge administrators to accept transgender women.

“The Bryn Mawr community deserves a clear, intentional, and well-articulated admissions policy protecting all prospective students, including trans, nonbinary, and intersex students, and especially trans women,” the Change.org petition reads. It was supported by 2,045 individuals.

TIME Terrorism

U.S. Confirms Death of American Held By ISIS

Kayla Mueller, 26, an American humanitarian worker from Prescott, Ariz.
Mueller Family—Reuters Kayla Mueller, 26, an American humanitarian worker from Prescott, Ariz.

Kayla Jean Mueller had been held hostage since 2013

An American aid worker that the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) said was killed in a Jordanian airstrike has indeed died, officials and her family confirmed Tuesday.

“We are heartbroken to share we’ve received confirmation that Kayla Jean Mueller has lost her life,” her parents Carl and Marsha Mueller said in a statement.

Mueller’s parents had been holding out hope that she was alive after ISIS, which had held her hostage since 2013, said she was killed during a Jordanian airstrike against the group last week. Neither her family nor U.S. officials said whether Mueller was killed in the airstrike as ISIS claimed, only that she is dead.

“Kayla represents what is best about America, and expressed her deep pride in the freedoms that we Americans enjoy, and that so many others strive for around the world,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “Kayla Mueller used these freedoms she so cherished to improve the lives of others. In how she lived her life, she epitomized all that is good in our world. ”

Obama said the United States will “find and bring justice to the terrorists” responsible for her death, “no matter how long it takes.”

Read next: Obama Faces Challenge in Congress on ISIS War Powers

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Travel

This Startup Wants You to Feel Comfortable Renting Hotel Rooms For a Few Hours

Empty rooms could be put to great use by business people and travelers resting during the day

A new startup wants to remove the stigma surrounding renting a hotel room for a couple of hours in the middle of the day.

HotelsByDay, which launched Tuesday, is a new app that seeks to serve travelers and city dwellers looking for downtime or a place to change clothes in the middle of the day. The app lets users book a room for a block of hours between early checkouts and late check-ins at hotels. It’s currently live in Washington, D.C., New York, Chicago, Philadelphia with hopes of expanding to Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco and Miami soon, according to Mashable.

In an interview with Mashable, the company’s co-founder says the app is not, however, trying to tap into the existing market for midday-hotel users. “We don’t sell hourly rates,” said Yannis Moati.

Read more at Mashable

TIME

Science Finally Determines How Many Licks it Takes to Get to the Center of a Tootsie Pop

Hint: it's not three

Scientists have finally answered one of humanities most pressing questions: how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie pop?

Turns out, it takes an estimated 1,000 licks to get to the center of a lollipop. In a study recently published in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, researchers from New York University and Florida State University developed a theory for how flowing liquid dissolves and shrinks material which they then used to determine how long it would take to dissolve a lollipop. For Tootsie Rolls specifically, researchers told the New York Post, it’ll take about 2,500 licks. Go home, rest of the science world, there are no more questions left.

Though the lollipop finding is clearly the most pressing, the theory can also be used for important research in geology and pharmaceutical science, according to a report by Science Daily.

h/t NY Post

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