TIME viral

Everyone on the Internet Wants to Know What Color This Dress Is

Is it black and blue or is it gold and white?

The Internet took a weird turn Thursday when all of a sudden everyone started buzzing about the color of a dress. A woman had taken to Tumblr the day before to ask a seemingly normal question: what color is this dress?

But there was something off about the dress and the image. The woman says when she saw a photo of the dress once, it was blue and black (she even posted a photo of the dress being worn at a wedding. In that image, it appears to be blue and black) but when she looked at it again, the dress was gold and white.

This is about the point where the Internet broke.

Her Tumblr got flooded with comments. “i’ve gained over a thousand followers so all I’m going to say is hello,” the user known as swiked posted Thursday. Twitter erupted. Gawker posted it. BuzzFeed did, too. BuzzFeed even seems to have solved the mystery.

But that still doesn’t quite explain why the image appears white and gold to some and blue and black to others. Probably eye, light, mind tricks, but hopefully scientists of the world are hard at work trying to figure this out. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll get some great think pieces out of it, too.

TGIF, amirite?

Read next: Here Is the Proof That #TheDress is Black and Blue

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Companies

SeaWorld Aims to Revamp Image After Blackfish Blowback

Marketing push is about "changing mind-sets," company says

The once-beloved theme park SeaWorld is still reeling from the effects of the 2013 critical documentary Blackfish, which linked stress caused by holding killer whales captive to the 2010 death of a trainer. But SeaWorld Entertainment indicated Thursday it has plans to reshape its brand.

On a call with analysts, during which the Orlando Sentinel reports the company announced its fourth-quarter earnings were worse than expected, SeaWorld announced it would launch a new marketing campaign in April aimed at people who haven’t picked a side in the debate between those who are against keeping animals in captivity and those who remain loyal to the park.

“This is not a hit-and-run, as we say in the marketing world, where you can just advertise for a month and hope it goes away,”Board Chairman and interim CEO David D’Alessandro said. “This is changing mind-sets and making sure mind-sets stay changed, recognizing that the opposition is not going to stand still as we do this.”

Read more at the Orlando Sentinel.

TIME celebrities

Kanye Tweets Apologies to Beck and Bruno Mars

And he even offered Mars a chance to sing on a new track

It’s the dawn of a new day for Kanye West.

First, he went to dinner with Taylor Swift. Now, he’s publicly trying to make good with two artists he’s hated on in the past: Yeezus tweeted apologies on Thursday to Beck and Bruno Mars.

The Beck apology came after he kind of stole the artist’s thunder at the 2015 Grammy Awards, nearly “pulling a Kanye”—or his “I’mma let you finish” moment with Swift at the VMAs in 2009—when Beck won Album of the Year over Béyonce. He later said in an interview that the Morning Phase singer should give his award to the superstar.

The Bruno Mars apology, however, could come as a surprise to some. West admitted that he “really used to hate on” the “Uptown Funk” singer. (He has ranted about Mars during a couple of his concerts, too.)

Now, it looks like he thinks he’s pretty cool. In fact, he invited Mars to sing on a new track.

What he’ll do next is anyone’s guess.

TIME White House

Obama Thanks Redditors After FCC Approves Strict Net Neutrality Rules

"I wish I could upvote every one of you"

President Barack Obama knows his Reddit slang.

In a handwritten note, the Commander-in-Chief said he wished he could “upvote” every one of the Redditors who commented on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s net neutrality rules amid the hard-fought battle.

On Thursday, the agency approved the strongest rules yet in a vote split along party lines. “This would not have happened without the activism and engagement of millions of Americans like you. And that was a direct result of communities like reddit,” Obama said in a longer note posted in a Reddit blog post.

Learn more about the FCC’s rules here.

TIME isis

Global Art Community Condemns ISIS Destruction of Artifacts at Mosul Museum

A new video purports to show militants destroying ancient works

A new video purporting to show militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) destroying ancient artifacts at a museum in the Iraqi city of Mosul has sent waves through the global art community.

Militants in the footage are shown pushing statues to the floor and smashing others with hammers. The Guardian reports that a man speaking to the camera then aims to justify the acts, citing how they didn’t exist in the time of the Prophet Muhammad and were worshipped by irreligious people.

The director of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art condemned what he called the “catastrophic destruction to one of the most important museums in the Middle East.”

“This mindless attack on great art, on history, and on human understanding constitutes a tragic assault not only on the Mosul Museum, but on our universal commitment to use art to unite people and promote human understanding,” Thomas P. Campbell said in a statement.

Corine Wegener, a cultural heritage officer at the Smithsonian Institution who helps preserve ancient works at risk in war zones, labeled it the “wanton and unnecessary destruction of cultural heritage.”

“[ISIS] has a particular viewpoint about what’s offensive,” she told TIME. Wegener has helped facilitate workshops on how to protect cultural history in Syria and Iraq, in a partnership with the Penn Cultural Heritage Center and other groups. “The fact that they really feel this is something they have to do because they’re emulating the Prophet Muhammad makes our work really difficult.”

She adds, “the best we can do as cultural heritage professionals is to remind everyone that cultural heritage belongs to us all.”

The destruction at the Mosul Museum also prompted the cultural arm of the United Nations to call for the Security Council to hold an emergency meeting on protecting Iraq’s cultural heritage. “This attack is far more than a cultural tragedy,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a statement, adding, “this is also a security issue as it fuels sectarianism, violent extremism and conflict in Iraq.”

The video showing the destruction of ancient works, including statues from the UNESCO world heritage site Hatra, is among the latest attacks on significant artifacts by the Islamist extremists. ISIS has reportedly destroyed thousands of books and manuscripts from Mosul’s central library.

TIME Infectious Disease

Deadly Stomach Bug Infects About Half a Million in U.S. Each Year, Study Shows

Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, was linked to 27,000 deaths last year

Nearly half a million Americans are infected by a deadly stomach bug every year, according to a recent report.

A study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that an estimated 453,000 cases of Clostridium difficile, or C. diff, infection in the United States in 2011, which resulted in 29,000 deaths. That’s almost double prior infection estimates.

C. diff bacteria release toxins that drugs can’t fight; those infected usually contract it from hospitals or health care related settings, though sickness typically occurs after one leaves the hospital. A new, more severe strain of the bacteria was discovered in 2000. Ordinary antibiotics and hand sanitizers are considered no match for the bug, which causes severe diarrhea, inflammation and sepsis.

The CDC says that soap and water are essential to stopping its spread, NBC News reports. The Department of Health and Human Services will begin punishing hospitals that fail to reduce rates of C. diff in their facilities by 2017.

Read next: Measles Outbreak in U.S. Tops 150 Cases

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME White House

Obama Tries to Stave Off Deportation Woes at Town Hall

President Barack Obama answers a question from the audience during an immigration town hall meeting and Telemundo interview at Florida International University in Miami on Feb. 25, 2015.
Jim Watson—AFP/Getty Images President Barack Obama answers a question from the audience during an immigration town hall meeting and Telemundo interview at Florida International University in Miami on Feb. 25, 2015.

He called out Congress for stalled immigration policy but also shifted some of the blame to Americans who don’t vote

President Barack Obama did his best before an audience at Florida International University in Miami on Wednesday to reassure that his administration would be “as aggressive as we can” in the legal fight over his executive actions that would have given nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants temporary relief from deportation.

Speaking to nearly 300 people, Obama used the platform as an opportunity to call out Congress for stalling on comprehensive reform that would offer a more permanent solution.

“Until we pass a law through Congress, the executive actions we’ve taken are not going to be permanent; they are temporary,” Obama said Wednesday, at a town hall hosted by Telemundo and MSNBC anchor José Díaz-Balart that aired in the evening. “Not only are we going to have to win this legal fight, but ultimately we’re still going to pass a law through Congress.”

But the audience seemed most concerned with what’s really at stake for immigrant families amid the squabble that’s put his executive actions in jeopardy. And Obama’s answers on that were less encouraging. In the wake of a Texas judge’s decision to temporarily block the executive order—which the administration appealed on Monday—Obama and Secretary of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson have said that the judge’s order does not impact the administration’s ability to prioritize criminals and others who pose threats to national security for deportation.

Obama said Wednesday, however, that although his administration will focus on “criminals” and “potential felons,” there is no guarantee that everyone at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency will have gotten the memo.

“There are going to be some jurisdictions and there may be individual ICE official or Border Control agent not paying attention to our new directives,” he acknowledged. “But they’re going to be answerable to the head of Homeland Security because he’s been very clear about what our priorities will be.”

There are reports that some ICE agents are already using the Texas’s judge’s order as a signal they don’t have to follow enforcement priorities. In fact, the New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice reports, one woman who has actively spoken out against the lawsuit against Obama’s executive action was subjected to wearing an ankle monitor at her last check-in.

The President also shifted some of the blame for stalled immigration policy to Americans who don’t vote.

“I’m willing to bet that there are young people who have family members who are at risk in the broke immigration system who still didn’t vote,” he said. “If we here in America voted at 60-to-70% it would transform our politics. We would have already passed comprehensive immigration reform.”

Wednesday’s town hall came amid the showdown in Congress over whether to use a bill aimed at funding the Department of Homeland Security as an opportunity to block Obama’s immigration action. If funding does not pass this week, the department could shut down. On that, Obama reiterated that Congress should pass a clean bill and challenge the action another way.

“In the short term if Mr. McConnell, the leader of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, want to have [a] vote over whether what I’m doing is legal or not they can have that vote,” Obama said, adding that he would “veto that vote, because I’m absolutely confident that what we’re doing is the right thing to do.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has signaled he intends to do just that.

TIME LGBT

Report Sheds New Light on Lives of Homeless Gay Youth

Rainbow flag on street
Christoph Hetzmannseder—Getty Images

Youth in New York share experiences selling their bodies in order to survive in new Urban Institute report

A new report paints a grim picture of homeless youths selling their bodies in order to survive on the streets.

In partnership with the New York-based Streetwise and Safe, the Urban Institute interviewed 283 youths who had engaged in sex work or so-called “survival sex” with people of the same gender, mostly while homeless, for its latest study.

The research built on several studies on homeless youth, including a survey out of New York that found that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youth were seven times more likely to have traded sex for food or a place to stay.

Meredith Dank, a senior research associate at the Urban Institute and lead author of the study, said she realized during earlier research on sex work that there was not enough good information about why LGBT youths made these decisions, so the study focused on letting them tell their own stories.

“I realized at that point that there was so much that we didn’t know about this population,” she tells TIME. “And if we were really going to be able to serve the needs of these young people we needed to know exactly what their experiences were and the large breadth of their experiences.”

Many of the stories detailed in the report are telling; and a great deal of those who engaged in the work didn’t identify as gay—but they found themselves selling their bodies to people of the same sex in order to survive.

One 20-year-old straight male described his experience: “He asked me like do you really need the money? At that moment I thought I did. I felt I did and . . . like it was just like he grabbed me by like my waist and he just started doing it. And it was like . . . and I just like, try to close my eyes. Just try to think about something else.”

Another 19-year-old gay Latino said he felt he had no choice: “If you have no food in your stomach, if you have no transportation, but you have a man in your face willing to give you money for a half hour. You put your pride to the side, you throw everything out the window and you forget who you are and you forget what you’re doing and you learn to be someone else.”

The exact number of homeless youth is hard to pin down. In 2014, the Department of Education reported that 1.3 million school children are homeless. The Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated that a total of 578,424 people were homeless on a given night in 2014—about 10% were between the ages of 18 and 24. According to some estimates, as many as 40% of homeless youths are LGBT.

Even though the report focuses on New York City, Dank stressed that it is not “the place where all gay kids go to engage in survival sex.”

“Having had many conversations with people who work with this population in California, Florida, the Midwest, the Northwest,” she says. “They’re seeing the same things amongst the young people that they are working with, particularly with LGBT youth.”

Fifty-eight percent of the young people interviewed in the study lived either in a shelter or on the streets. About 30% lived in either a friend or family member’s home or in their own apartment, often giving the money they made in the sex trade to families members in need. Almost half of the participants were male, and the report includes insight into the experiences of trans males, which according to Dank is unprecedented.

The report comes as Congress is looking at human trafficking as a rare issue of bipartisan agreement. Already the House of Representatives has sent a number of bills on the issue to the Senate, although the legislation tends not to address the needs of homeless and LGBT youths. Dank says that’s a missed opportunity.

“If you’re going to be pouring resources and passing bills around this I think [it’s] important to know that this is another part of the population that needs to have their needs met and served,” she says.

TIME Canada

Canadian City Eyes ‘Freezeway’ for Commuters to Skate to Work

Edmonton, Alberta considers proposal to flood a 7-mile path to create a skating route into the city center

One Canadian city is looking to make the most of the frigid temperatures that come with winter in much of North America. The city of Edmonton, Alberta is eyeing plans to flood a 11km (7-mile) path in the city to create a skate route for commuters, or a “freezeway.”

Matthew Gibbs, a landscape architecture student who grew up in Edmonton, first floated the concept in 2013, when he took home the top prize in the Coldscapes international design competition. This winter, he presented it again at the 2015 Winter Cities conference, according to BBC, an event centered on finding ways for cities to make the best of the long, cold months of winter.

While Gibbs’ freezeway idea was a hit this year, many lawmakers and residents worry about cost and steering resources away from more serious issues.

Read more at BBC.

 

TIME cities

Rahm Emanuel Seeks to Avoid Runoff in Chicago Mayoral Election

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel talks with residents at a senior living center during a campaign stop on Feb. 23, 2015 in Chicago.
Scott Olson—Getty Images Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel talks with residents at a senior living center during a campaign stop on Feb. 23, 2015 in Chicago.

The incumbent must receive at least 50% of the vote in Tuesday's election

It’s Election Day in Chicago, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the four candidates that are vying for his spot spent the past couple of days scrambling for last-minute votes.

Emanuel needs to get over 50% of the vote in order to avoid a runoff in the non-partisan contest. He’s raised about $15 million in the race, according to the Chicago Tribune, and has received vocal support from President Obama, who praised his former White House chief of staff during a visit to Chicago last week. The president has appeared in a radio spot, is featured in Emanuel’s latest ad, and even stopped by a campaign office during his visit.

Emanuel’s biggest challenge comes from Cook County Commissioner Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who has criticized the mayor for spending big in the race—saying it’s proof that wealthy donors are funding his campaign.

According to a recent Chicago Tribune poll, Emanuel had 45% of the vote while Garcia had 20%. Challengers Alderman Bob Fioretti and Businessman Willie Wilson each had 7% of the vote and candidate William Walls held 2% of the vote.

[Chicago Tribune]

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