TIME animals

Newly Discovered Snail Species Named in Honor of Marriage Equality

The Aegista diversifamilia has both male and female sex organs

A newly discovered species of snail has been named in honor of marriage equality.

The snail, Aegista diversifamilia, which has both male and female sex organs, “represents the diversity of sex orientation in the animal kingdom,” the BBC reports. The snail is common in eastern Taiwan, where same-sex marriage is illegal, according to research published in the journal ZooKeys.

“When we were preparing the manuscript, it was a period when Taiwan and many other countries and states were struggling for the recognition of same-sex marriage rights,” said Dr. Yen-Chang Lee, the first person to suggest the snail might be its own species and not another, similar species of snail previously mistaken for it.”We decided that maybe this is a good occasion to name the snail to remember the struggle for the recognition of same-sex marriage rights.”

Lee, from Taipei’s Academia Sinica, first noticed that snails of the Aegista subchinensis species were very different in the eastern part of the country in 2003 before taking part in a detailed study of the “new” snail with researchers from National Taiwan Normal University.

[BBC]

 

 

TIME Television

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon Developing Thriller for Syfy Network

The Good Will Hunting bros have a new project, Incorporated, in the works

Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are headed to the land of Sharknados.

The long-time friends and frequent collaborators are working with cable network Syfy to develop Incorporated, a spy thriller about a man trying to stand up to a futuristic world where big corporations rule, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Ted Humphrey (who has written and produced for The Good Wife) will be the showrunner. Affleck and Damon are among the drama’s producers.

Affleck is currently starring in the marital thriller Gone Girl, which is the number one movie in the country for the second week in a row.

[THR]

TIME Music

Watch a Mesmerizing Clip of Lorde Singing Her South Park Song

Ya ya ya ya ya ya

One of TIME’s most influential teens is taking her not-so-flattering South Park spoof in stride. According to a recent episode of the show, Lorde as we know her is not actually Lorde, but instead a grown, mustachioed adult male named Randy Marsh, who doesn’t really sing so much as he goes “ya ya ya ya ya” a lot. (Guess we have to take her off our list.)

But during an interview with New Zealand’s TV3, Lorde revealed that not only had she watched her South Park portrayal, she also enjoyed the song “Lorde” sings. “We actually, in my hotel room, went ‘Ya ya ya ya ya I’m Lorde! Ya ya ya!’ for like an hour, because that’s what they do on the episode,” the 17-year-old explained. And from that interview, a generous user of the Internet created this oddly catchy YouTube video, which, to no one’s surprise, has already been given the dance remix treatment.

TIME Television

5 Things to Know About Jane the Virgin

Gina Rodriguez, Photographed in Los Angeles on October 3, 2014.
Gina Rodriguez, Photographed in Los Angeles on October 3, 2014. Ramona Rosales for TIME

Gina Rodriguez, the star of the CW's new comedy, talks to TIME about the telenovela-inspired show

The new CW comedy Jane the Virgin, premiering tonight, has one of the most over-the-top premises on television right now. In the show, a religious 23-year-old named Jane is accidentally artificially inseminated when a frazzled doctor mistakes her for a fertility patient. Complicating the situation are the reactions from Jane’s grandmother (a conservative Catholic horrified by the news), her boyfriend (who’s eager to get married) and the accidental donor (who has a surprising history with Jane).

In the latest issue of TIME, Jane the Virgin‘s breakout star Gina Rodriguez told us all about her character and what viewers can expect from the show. Here are a few things to know before you tune in.

Rodriguez only takes roles she feels portray Latina women in a positive light.
The actress says Jane the Virgin was love at first script. “To read a story about a young girl where her ethnicity wasn’t at the forefront, where her dual identity was so integrated in life that it didn’t feel like a separate conversation, was such a breath of fresh air,” Rodriguez says. The Chicago-born daughter of Puerto Rican parents says she has turned down high-profile roles when she needed the money because she thought the characters were too stereotypical. “I have fought so hard to not take roles,” Rodriguez says. “I had to fight [myself] like, ‘Gina, you can’t pay rent. Are you really going to say no?'”

Rodriguez made an instant impression on producers
Executive producer Jennie Snyder Urman says “there was just nothing to change” about Rodriguez’s audition for the show. “You expect it to be a really long search, and to see someone come in, literally the third person [to audition], it was amazing,” says Urman, who remembers rushing home to tell her husband about Rodriguez’s talent. “She’s 100% genuine and 100% fun. Sometimes I feel like I’m hanging out with one of my college friends.”

Jane the Virgin features an international cast
“The integration of having stars from other countries here is really cool,” Rodriguez says. Jane’s father, for example, is played by Mexican actor Jaime Camil. Colombian crooner Juanes and Mexican pop star Paulina Rubio are both set to guest star. And Rodriguez is hoping the show can also snag Daniela Alvarado, the lead actress from Juana la Virgen, the Venezuelan telenovela upon which Jane the Virgin is loosely based. “We got in touch with each other very early on,” Rodriguez says. “I love her. She’s fantastic. She promotes our show and loves us, and we’re obviously praying that we have some awesome crossover where she’ll join our show for a few episodes.”

The show is in capable hands
As a former Gilmore Girls writer, Urman knows a thing or two about crafting great multigenerational families for the small screen. And fellow executive producer Ben Silverman knows a thing or two about adapting foreign TV shows from his work on Ugly Betty (also based on a telenovela) and The Office. “[Silverman] saw the title and was like, ‘I want that one,'” Rodriguez says. “He literally picked it off of the title.” When Urman was approached, she was a little more hesitant. “I got the logline and was like, ‘Whoa, I can’t do this. What?‘” she says. “It just seemed so outrageous.”

The show strives to be universal
Rodriguez hates it when people call Jane the Virgin “a Latino show.” “It’s mind-blowing to me,” she says. “Why, because I’m brown-skinned? It’s not a Latino show — it’s a human show! We talk about love, we talk about sex, we talk about dreams, we talk about failure, we talk about life. There’s nothing about that that’s different from any other ethnicity.” And though it has some sensitive subject matter, Rodriguez hopes interested viewers with strong beliefs about sex and virginity aren’t turned off by the show’s frank discussions. “There is no commentary on right and wrong,” she says. “[We're] not saying we’re pro-life, we’re pro-choice, those who are not pro-life are going to hell, nobody’s commenting on anything.”

TIME Crime

Cornel West Arrested as Protests Continue in Ferguson

Activist Cornel West is detained by police during a protest at the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson
Activist Cornel West (2nd R) is detained by police during a protest at the Ferguson Police Department in Ferguson, Missouri, October 13, 2014. Jim Young—Reuters

Cornel West was one of the people arrested

Author, activist and academic Cornel West was arrested Monday in Ferguson, Mo., amid continued demonstrations demanding justice for Mike Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was killed by a white police officer on Aug. 9.

Boston-based minister, activist and author the Rev. Osagyefo Sekou was also arrested, MSNBC reports. Earlier in the day, more than 1,000 protestors took part in a sit-in at the campus of St. Louis University.

The events occurred during a “weekend of resistance,” organized to protest “the epidemic of police violence facing Black and Brown communities.” Earlier this month, another black teenager in the St. Louis area named Vonderrit Myers, Jr. was killed by a white police officer.

Although there were more than a dozen arrests over the weekend, as well as accusations that police used excessive force, overall the protests were mostly peaceful compared to the ones that gained national attention in August, where tear gas was used on citizens and many more arrests, including of members of the media, occurred.

[MSNBC]

TIME politics

How Indigenous Peoples Day Came to Be

Berkeley, Calif., adopted the holiday 22 years before Seattle and Minneapolis did in 2014

Updated 10:47 a.m. EST

Earlier this month, the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Day as an alternative to Columbus Day, following in the footsteps of Minneapolis, which made the same decision in April of this year. But both cities were late to the game compared to Berkeley, Calif., which in 1992 became the first city in the country to formally recognize a new holiday challenging the idea that Christopher Columbus “discovered” America with his 1492 voyage.

Back in 1992, then-Mayor of Berkeley Loni Hancock told TIME Magazine that Columbus Day celebrations have been “Eurocentric and [have] ignored the brutal realities of the colonization of indigenous peoples.”

Now a California State Senator, Hancock says she’s pleased so many other cities are catching on to Indigenous Peoples Day. (Different cities have made different choices about where to put the apostrophe after peoples, or whether to have one at all, but the idea is the same.) “Berkeley was just a little bit in front,” she says, noting that Berkeley was also the first city to ban Styrofoam carry-out containers and install curb cuts to assist the disabled. “As often happens, things happen in Berkeley first and then other places pick them up.”

Talk of an alternative to Columbus Day dates back to the 1970s, but the idea came to Berkeley after the First Continental Conference on 500 Years of Indian Resistance in Quito, Ecuador, in 1990. That led to another conference among Northern Californian Native American groups, Hancock says; some attendees, along with other locals interested in Native American history, brought their concerns to the Berkeley City Council. The council appointed a task force to investigate the ideas and Columbus’ historical legacy, and in 1992 they unanimously approved the task force’s recommendation for an Indigenous Peoples Day. (Other alternatives exist in the U.S., such as Native American Day—South Dakota has recognized that holiday since 1990.)

“[Columbus] was one of the first Europeans to get to the American continent, but there was a lot of history that came after that in terms of the wiping out of native people,” Hancock says. “It just didn’t seem appropriate. It seemed like a reemphasizing of history and recognizing that to be very ethnocentric really diminishes us all.”

In addition to being an official holiday, Indigenous Peoples Day in Berkeley is celebrated with an Indian market and pow-wow that attracts Native Americans from all over the state as well as the country. “Any holiday like that says, ‘This is an important factor in our history,’ whether it’s Martin Luther King’s birthday or President’s Day,” Hancock says. “I think that it impacts the way the young people of Berkeley look at the world.”

While cities like Seattle now observe Indigenous Peoples’ Day in addition to Columbus Day, the city of Berkeley replaced Columbus Day altogether. Hancock says there was vocal opposition to change but notes that most of it came from outside of the Berkeley community. As was also the case in Seattle, some members of the Italian-American community argued that Columbus Day was an important celebration of Italian pride and heritage, and that changing the celebration was disrespectful.

“We just had to keep reiterating that that was not the purpose — the purpose was to really affirm the incredible legacy of the indigenous people who were in the North American continent long before Columbus,” Hancock says. “But I’d also suggest that most of the Italian-Americans really came to this country looking for safety and economic opportunity, and I’m sure we could find some of the Italian-Americans who stood up for that and helped make that happen. Maybe we should look into that. The Berkeley City Council, as you know, will consider many things!”

Read next: Bummed About Having to Work on Columbus Day? Read This

TIME movies

Gone Girl Stays No. 1 at Box Office

The David Fincher film beat out competition in The Judge and Dracula Untold

Gone Girl isn’t going anywhere. For the second week in a row, the marital thriller based on Gillian Flynn’s best-selling novel topped box offices across the country, while The Judge almost had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad weekend.

Gone Girl, which stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, could become director David Fincher’s most successful movie to date, as its $78.3 million gross approaches the $127.5 million domestic gross of 2008’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Variety reports.

The Judge, which stars Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall (featured in this week’s issue of TIME), wasn’t so lucky, opening in fifth this weekend. The film was expected to gross $16-18 million, but came in with only $13.3 million. Dracula Untold did the opposite, however, surpassing its $18 million estimated gross with $23.5 million.

Coming in at third place was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, a family-friendly moving starring Jennifer Garner and Steve Carell that grossed $19.1 million this weekend, a decent debut for a film that had a reported production budget of $28 million.

[Variety]

TIME animals

Robot Snakes Teach Scientists How Sidewinders Move

Elizabeth the robot snake gave scientists insight into sand dune travel

Scientists have finally figured out how sidewinder snakes work their way up sand dunes — thanks to the help of a robot snake (yes, a robot snake) named Elizabeth.

For a study published recently in Science, researchers observed that sidewinding rattlesnakes flattened themselves on steep dunes to maximize body contact with sand, rather than dig their bodies deeper into the dune, the BBC reports.

Researchers took their observations and contacted a lab that develops robot sidewinders to further explore the movement. After a robot snake named Elizabeth was unable to scale a desert dune in Egypt, they brought Elizabeth to a fake dune in Atlanta, where “she” ultimately found more success after researchers applied the flattening technique to her movements.

Following that breakthrough, playing with Elizabeth’s settings gave the scientists insight into how sidewinders move so effortlessly. As it turns out, an out-of-sync combination of left-and-right motions and up-and-down movements working their way down the body helps keep the sand stable underneath the snake, to avoid slipping. The flattening motion helps keep the snake’s contact with the sand at the ideal, moderate amount. Too much contact and the snake can slip; too little, and it can’t successfully scale.

[BBC]

TIME Iraq

60 Dead in Iraqi Suicide Bombings

Men wounded by a car bomb in Qara Qubah are transported to a hospital in Kifri, Iraq on Oct. 12, 2014.
Men wounded by a car bomb in Qara Qubah are transported to a hospital in Kifri, Iraq on Oct. 12, 2014. Reuters

The police chief of another province was also killed in a roadside bombing

Updated at 4:31 p.m. ET

More than 120 people were wounded and 60 people were killed after three suicide bombers targeted a group of government offices in the Iraqi province of Diyala on Sunday, authorities said.

Many of the people injured and killed were there in the district of Qara Taba in order to collect government subsidies for people who had been displaced or forced to leave their homes in other parts of the country, the New York Times reports.

The police chief of the province of Anbar was also killed Sunday after roadside bombs detonated as his vehicle passed. Authorities say Maj. Gen. Ahmed Saddag’s death sets back efforts to keep control of the province out of the hands of the extremist group Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), which has expanded its control throughout the country over the past few months.

The offices targeted in the suicide bombing included the mayor’s office, a building used by the local Kurdistan government’s security unit and a Patriotic Union of Kurdistan office.

[NYT]

TIME celebrities

Watch John Cleese Insult Taylor Swift’s Cat to Her Face

No cat fight here

You have to be pretty bold to take on Olivia Benson. No, not that Olivia Benson — Taylor Swift’s cat, who happens to be named after the Law & Order: SVU character.

The singer showed off her feline friend (one of two she owns) on The Graham Norton Show, where guest John Cleese made his feelings on the animal’s appearance known to all. “How did it have the accident?” Cleese asked a more-surprised-than-usual Swift. “Is that a proper cat? Is it damaged irrevocably? It’s the weirdest cat I’ve ever seen in my life.”

No cat fight here, though. Taking her own advice, Swift shook off her hater and kept quiet while the Monty Python alum and comedy legend went on to show off his own giant cat.

Read next: Taylor Swift Finally Explains Why She’s a Feminist and How Lena Dunham Helped

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