TIME Education

Science Teachers Need Training Before Fiery Chemistry Displays, Panel Says

After three fires in the last two months

A federal board seeking to improve safety in science classrooms recommended Thursday that teachers undergo more training before performing fiery, explosive chemical experiments beloved of high schoolers.

After investigating three fires in the last two months, the U.S. Chemical Safety Board found that the teachers lacked safety training, used too much of the flammable chemicals, and did not put up see-through safety barriers between themselves and their pupils.

The three incidents, in Nevada, Colorado and Illinois, badly injured students and teachers but did not lead to any deaths. At the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum in Reno, 13 people received burns. All three cases involved demonstrations of flames using methanol.

The panel’s chairperson, Rafael Moure-Eraso, said it was not attempting to take the fun out of the classroom. “When performed safely these kinds of demonstrations can engage students and visitors and stimulate their interest in science,” he said. “But methanol… is classified as a highly flammable liquid, and users should adopt strict safety controls.”

TIME People

Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino Dies at 71

Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino
Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino W. Marc Bernsau—Boston Business Journal

Menino was the city's longest-serving mayor, who led for more than two decades

Thomas M. Menino, the beloved former mayor of Boston who led the city for more than two decades, died Thursday. He was 71, and his passing was confirmed in a statement on his Facebook page.

Menino, who served five terms in office to become the city’s longest-serving mayor, was diagnosed with advanced-stage cancer soon after stepping down earlier this year. Last week, Menino announced that he would stop chemotherapy treatment — and suspend a tour to promote his book Mayor for a New America — to spend more time with his family and friends.

“At just after 9:00am this morning the Honorable Thomas M. Menino passed into eternal rest after a courageous battle with cancer,” the statement said. “He was surrounded by his devoted wife Angela, loving family and friends. Mayor Menino, the longest serving Mayor of the City of Boston, led our city through a transformation of neighborhood resurgence and historic growth — leaving the job he loved, serving the city and people he loved this past January. We ask that you respect the families’ privacy during this time and arrangements for services will be announced soon.”

Menino is credited with overseeing the ascent of Boston’s skyline and leading the city through economic downturns to become a hub for business and technology. The city’s first mayor of Italian descent, according to the Boston Globe, Menino’s old-school political style won him the support of the city, leaving office with an approval rating of nearly 80%. A 2008 Globe poll found that more than half of the Boston respondents said they had met him personally.

Read TIME’s 2013 profile of Menino here: The Last of the Big-City Bosses

TIME movies

Court Rules Company Doesn’t Have the Rights to Spider-Man, X-Men

2014 Alamo City Comic Con - Day 1
Comic book writer Stan Lee attends day one of the Alamo City Comic Con at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center on September 26, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas. Rick Kern—WireImage

The company's claims to Lee's characters, which include Spider-Man and the X-Men, are "simply implausible"

The company co-founded by but long since unaffiliated with comic book tycoon Stan Lee does not own the rights to his most famous characters, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The 9th Circuit ruled that a federal judge in Los Angeles appropriately dismissed the case in 2012, saying that the Colorado-based company Stan Lee Media Inc. never demonstrated that Lee had given it the rights to his characters.

SLMI was founded in 1998 but declared bankruptcy in 2001. Its shareholders are asserting their claim over Lee’s characters.

“Give the significant value of these franchise, SLMI’s failure to publicize, protect, or exploit its right to profit from the characters establishes that these claims are simply implausible,” the court said.

TIME Military

Pentagon to Boost Support for Troops Exposed to Chemical Agents

U.S. soldiers don chemical warfare gear. Stocktrek Images—Getty Images/Stocktrek Images

After an investigation found fault in the military's handling of claims

The Pentagon will provide long-term health monitoring for American service members and veterans who were exposed to chemical agents in Iraq, according to a report Thursday, in a move that comes after an investigation earlier this month found fault in how the military responded to troops’ claims.

The New York Times reports that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was said to have ordered a review into the military’s handling of troops who came forward about their exposure following its explosive investigation that found at least 17 U.S. service members had been exposed to abandoned mustard and nerve agents dating back to the regime of Saddam Hussein.

Eight new cases have emerged since the report was published in mid-October, the Times said Thursday, and the U.S. government has neither released a list of those incidents, nor of the abandoned chemical weapons found in Iraq.

[New York Times]

TIME celebrities

Bill Maher Will Be UC Berkeley’s Commencement Speaker Despite Student Protest

Celebrities Visit "Late Show With David Letterman" - September 8, 2014
Television personality Bill Maher enters the "Late Show With David Letterman" taping at the Ed Sullivan Theater on September 8. Ray Tamarra—WireImage

School says it's not "an endorsement of any of Mr. Maher’s prior statements"

The University of California, Berkeley says it will not rescind an invitation to comedian Bill Maher to be the school’s commencement speaker, despite a student vote to disinvite him.

The student committee in charge of the speaker selection process voted to rescind the HBO host’s invitation on Tuesday amid growing criticism of Maher’s views on religion and particularly Islam. More than 4,000 people have signed a petition on Change.org to cancel Maher’s December commencement speech.

But on Wednesday, the university released a statement saying it will not accept the student vote.

“The UC Berkeley administration cannot and will not accept this decision, which appears to have been based solely on Mr. Maher’s opinions and beliefs, which he conveyed through constitutionally protected speech,” the school said. “It should be noted that this decision does not constitute an endorsement of any of Mr. Maher’s prior statements: indeed, the administration’s position on Mr. Maher’s opinions and perspectives is irrelevant in this context, since we fully respect and support his right to express them.”

Maher’s response to the controversy? You’ll have to watch the show:

Read next: Watch Ben Affleck and Bill Maher Argue About Islam

TIME Television

Watch Anita Sarkeesian School Stephen Colbert on GamerGate

She even declares Colbert a feminist

The maker of a feminist video game who has faced vitriol from some members of the “GamerGate” online movement stopped by The Colbert Report on Wednesday and handily schooled the host’s fake gamer persona.

“I’m saving the princess, and I’m supposed to let the princess die? Is that what you want?” Colbert asks Anita Sarkeesian incredulously.

“Well maybe the princess shouldn’t be a damsel and she could save herself,” Sarkeesian replies, drawing cheers from women in the crowd. (“I didn’t know you brought a posse,” Colbert jokingly responds.)

The GamerGate movement, named after the Twitter hashtag that has fueled its growth, purports to challenge poor ethics in video-game journalism. But it has also unleashed a wave of sexist comments and threats against women in the overall gaming industry.

Sarkeesian, who has publicly criticized video-game culture for its portrayal of women, canceled a talk at Utah State University earlier this month after the school received an email threat of a shooting massacre. While the school considered it safe for the talk to continue, Sarkeesian decided to pull out of the event because the school was barred by state law from disallowing legal guns on campus during the event.

“They’re lashing out because we’re challenging the status quo of gaming as a male-dominated space,” Sarkeesian says. By the end of the interview, she even declares Colbert a feminist after he asks if he’s allowed — as a man — to be one.

See the full interview below:

TIME Companies

Apple CEO Tim Cook Is ‘Proud to Be Gay’

The tech executive's first public acknowledgement

The CEO of Apple announced he’s gay Thursday, in an essay that puts him among the highest-profile publicly out business leaders in the world.

“I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” Tim Cook, who took the reins of the world’s most valuable company from the late co-founder Steve Jobs, writes in Bloomberg Businessweek.

The highly private Cook has never publicly acknowledged his sexuality, though it was widely rumored outside the company, and he writes that colleagues at Apple already knew.

“I don’t consider myself an activist, but I realize how much I’ve benefited from the sacrifice of others,” Cook wrote. “So if hearing that the CEO of Apple is gay can help someone struggling to come to terms with who he or she is, or bring comfort to anyone who feels alone, or inspire people to insist on their equality, then it’s worth the trade-off with my own privacy.”

Read next: The Best Way to “Come Out” to Coworkers and Bosses

TIME england

Man Sues Sotheby’s Over Painting Valued at $17.7 Million

Caravaggio Exhibit
Caravaggio's The Cardsharps Kimbell Art Museum/AP

Sotheby's calls the valuation of what it determined to be a Caravaggio copy "preposterous"

A man is suing Sotheby’s in London after a painting he sold in 2006 for $68,000 was valued to be worth up to $17.7 million.

Bill Thwaytes, from northern England, has accused Sotheby’s of “professional negligence,” according to the BBC, after the new owner declared the painting to be done by the Italian baroque master Caravaggio.

Thwaytes, whose family bought the painting for $226 in 1962, says Sotheby’s failed to thoroughly research the artwork when it determined that the painting–depicting a wealthy man playing cards with two swindlers, called “The Cardsharps”–was a 17th century follower’s copy rather than the real deal.

Sotheby’s stands by its analysis and says the $17.7 million valuation is “preposterous.”


TIME Television

Taylor Kitsch Confirms Involvement in True Detective Season 2

Actor Taylor Kitsch attends the GQ x LaCoste Sport Pop-Up on October 23, 2014 in New York City.
Actor Taylor Kitsch attends the GQ x LaCoste Sport Pop-Up on Oct. 23, 2014 in New York City. Noam Galai—WireImage/Getty Images

"I’m itching, man. I’m overdue"

HBO and the True Detective crew have remained tight-lipped about the next season of the hit show, confirming last month only that Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn will be featured.

Now Taylor Kitsch, the star of the 2006 drama series Friday Night Lights who has been largely absent from the screen in the past year, has confirmed that he, too, has jumped on board for True Detective‘s second season.

Kitsch told AdWeek–which reported that the actor is nearing a deal, citing unnamed sources–that he will be working on the show.

“I’m really excited. I’ve just been prepping,” he said. “It’s been almost a full year since I’ve been on camera, so I’m itching, man. I’m overdue.”

The show is slated for eight episodes, like the first season, and begins production this fall in California.


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