TIME nation

5 of the Coolest July 4 Fireworks Displays Around The Country

  • Empire State of Mind

    The Empire State Building’s color show makes the Macy’s fireworks display in New York City.

  • Canada Day

    The fireworks display over the Detroit River is part of a joint celebration organized by the Motor City and Windsor, Ontario, in late June that honors both Canada Day and July 4.

  • Fireworks Synced to Live Music

    The display in Nashville, Tennessee, is unique because the fireworks are choreographed to live music by the Nashville Symphony Orchestra.

  • Big Bay Boom

    Made up of four barges setting off more than 10,000 fireworks, the San Diego spectacle is named one of the five biggest “must-see” fireworks displays to see this year by the American Pyrotechnics Association. A technical glitch in 2012 caused all of the fireworks to go off at the same time. There were no injuries, but the incident did put the event “on the map,” according to the event promo.

  • “Largest Free Concert in America”

    The Philadelphia display hosted by the Benjamin Franklin Parkway bills itself as part of the “largest free concert” in America.

TIME animals

14 of The Most Patriotic Pets in America

Paw-sitively festive

Zachary Harris, 5, of Moore, Okla., dressed as Uncle Sam, walks with his dog, Brutus, dressed as “Lady Liberty” in the Downtown Salute Parade, July 4, 2005, in Oklahoma City, as part of the parade’s Most Patriotic Dog Competition. Bill Waugh / The Oklahoman – AP
Bill waits to compete in the Mutt Strutt patriotic dog contest during an Independence Day celebration in Moscow, Idaho, on Friday, July 4, 2008. Geoff Crimmins/Moscow-Pullman Daily News – AP
Stretch, a Corgi from Odenton, Maryland, marched as part of the doggie drill team from Greenbelt dog training at Takoma Park’s 122nd Fourth of July celebration in 2011. Sarah L. Voisin/The Washington Post – Getty Images
A dog decked out for the annual I’On Community Independence Day Parade in Mt Pleasant, South Carolina, July 4, 2012. Richard Ellis – Getty Images
A chihuahua at the 4th of July parade in the McKinney, Texas, town square. Michael Prengler – AP
TIME Aging

Long-Life Secrets From An (Almost) 115 Year Old Woman

Joseph C. Lin—TIME

Bacon and lingerie are among Susannah Mushatt Jones's favorite things

What’s the secret to living to be almost 115?

“I don’t have a secret,” says Susannah Mushatt Jones, 114, her head tied in a yellow scarf for warmth, and her body wrapped in a pink and green blanket. Then she adds: “Believe in the Lord.”

It’s a few weeks before her 115th birthday, on July 6, and Jones is spending time with family in her Brooklyn, New York, living room. Jones is the second-oldest American, according to the roster of supercentenarians validated by the Gerontology Research Group, and her niece, Lois Judge, 74, is trying to remind her of that fact. (Update: On July 4, the Gerontology Research Group confirmed that Gertrude Weaver is the oldest American at 116 years old, now making Jones the third-oldest American.)

“I’ll be 115? I ain’t gonna be 115,” says Jones. “Nope.” Frankly, her family can’t believe it either, though Jones is doing remarkably well. She never drank or smoked, and to this day she sleeps like a champion—upwards of 10 hours a night. And while it’s impossible to isolate one thing that can explain any supercentenarian’s longevity, Jones seems to have made some interesting choices along the way.

For starters, she loves bacon. Every morning she eats four strips of it, followed by scrambled eggs and grits. “Sometimes, she’ll take the last strip, fold it in a napkin, put it in her pocket and save it for later,” says her niece Selbra Mushatt, 70. She also seems to be a minimalist when it comes to interfering with her health. The only medication she takes is a multivitamin and a pill for her blood pressure. Blind from glaucoma since she was 100, Jones refused cataract surgery, and her nieces say Jones has never had a colonoscopy or a mammogram. Lavilla Watson, 82, another one of her nieces, said a doctor recommended a pacemaker, but she refused. She sees a primary care physician every three to four months.

Jones’s Backstory

The third oldest of 11 siblings, Jones was born and raised in Lowndes County, Alabama, about an hour southwest of Montgomery. In 1922, she completed high school, and the graduation roster recognizes her for studying “Negro Music in France.” She always wanted to be a teacher and was accepted to the Tuskegee Institute’s teacher training program, but could not afford to go.

A year later, she moved to New York City and worked as a child care professional for wealthy families. She was married briefly to a man named Henry Jones and didn’t have children, so she has always called the kids she cared for “her children.” Photos of them all grown up with their own kids are propped up on a coffee table next to her in the living room.

She used her salary to help send her nieces to college and fund a college scholarship program that she established for African-American students called The Calhoun Club. She was generous with her family, but when it came to splurging on herself, Jones’s weakness was, of all things, high-end lace lingerie. “She would save her money and then go to Bloomingdale’s,'” says her niece Selbra Mushatt. “One time, when she had to get an EKG, the doctors and nurses were surprised to see her wearing that lingerie, and she said, ‘Oh sure, you can never get too old to wear fancy stuff.'”

After retiring in 1965, she lived with her niece Lavilla Watson, who remembers coming home to find Jones cracking up at I Love Lucy while cradling Watson’s newborn son in a rocking chair.

Life at 115

The world’s oldest person, 116-year-old Misao Okawa of Osaka, Japan, says the answer to a long life is eating sushi, while the oldest American, 115-year-old Jeralean Talley of Michigan, says it’s pigs’ feet. Some studies argue that long life has to do with being a conscientious, giving and most importantly, happy person. Other research says that strong personal connections play a big role, which may in part explain Jones’s long life.

She was active in her neighborhood for nearly 30 years, serving on its tenant patrol team, and these days, her nieces visit almost daily. Sunday evenings, they all gather together for a BBQ feast.

Becoming a supercentenarian likely has to do with genes, says Thomas Perls, a professor of medicine and the director of the New England Centenarian Study at Boston Medical Center, the largest study of centenarians and their families worldwide. “You have to have some relatively rare combinations of a whole bunch of genes, probably hundreds, that will help people age more slowly or protect people from age-related diseases [dementia, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer],” he says. “The super-centenarians, they not only delay disability toward the very end of their lives but also diseases. In fact, they’re often functionally independent and disease-free, except for some things you can’t get away with like cataracts and osteoarthritis.”

He estimates the prevalence of centenarians in the U.S. population is about 1 per 5,000, 1 per 5 million for super-centenarians, and thus 1 per about 100 million for people over 114. And most are female. “Why women do this better than men is really unclear in terms of what genetic advantages they have versus men,” he says, “but one possibility is that many of the genetic variants of interest that may be slowing aging and decreasing the risk for age-related disease could be on the X chromosome. And women have two of those, men just have one.”

A life that lasts 115 years is, by all measures, an extraordinary thing. But the gift of time comes with the very human fear of loss, compounded perhaps by the extra years. Reflecting on the significance of her aunt’s upcoming birthday in a phone conversation, her niece Lavilla Watson says, “I’m very emotional about it. It makes me sad. Now that she’s going to be 115, they don’t live that long after that, you know?”

Then again, this birthday also feels like a thrill. “Listen,” says Judge. “Who knows anyone who is 115? That’s excitement in itself.”

TIME animals

Yet Another Bear Channels Winnie the Pooh and Gets Head Stuck in Cookie Jar

NJ Department of Environmental Protection / AP

An animal crackers jar, appropriately enough

A bear cub got its head stuck trying to eat the crumbs at the bottom of a plastic jar of animal crackers while dumpster diving in a northern New Jersey town on Friday, June 27.

Officials from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection rescued the animal, which had climbed up a tree in Ringwood. It was tranquilized, then brought down, so firefighters could cut off the jar.

In April, a story about a bear that got its head stuck in a plastic birdseed bucket and wandered around the town of Lively in Ontario, Canada, went viral. Both incidents produced paw-sitively adorable photos.

TIME technology

Now You Can Be The Person Who Brews Apple’s Coffee

Getty Images

Proof that every position at Apple starts with the letter "i"

If you’re looking to work at Apple but you don’t have a degree in computer science, then there may still be hope. You could apply to be an “iCup Technician.”

The job summary of the listing on Apple’s website, posted June 28, 2014, says, “The Apple iCup Services is specially designed to provide a fresh brew coffee to all Apple employees within their department.”

Applicants may not have to code for the position, but they should have “some computer skills.” The ideal person for this 40-hour-a-week job in Santa Clara Valley, California, would also have “prior experience working with coffee machines” and be someone who “continually grows in knowledge.”

Can’t wait to see how many applicants start their cover letters with “iBrew.”

 

 

 

 

TIME animals

Red Panda That Escaped From The National Zoo Is Now a Dad

The mother, Shama, looks especially bright-eyed and bushy-tailed in this video

The Smithsonian National Zoo announced Wednesday that its red pandas Rusty and Shama have given birth to three cubs — and they have already weaseled their way into our hearts. The video above shows Shama cuddling with her babies after giving birth on June 26.

“All four red panda pairs at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute in Front Royal, Va., successfully bred and had cubs this year,” according to the National Zoo’s website. “Of the 10 cubs, more born at SCBI than any other year, seven have survived.”

You may remember Rusty as the little dude that literally had zoo officials seeing red when he escaped from his enclosure in the Asia Trail section last summer. Rusty was later found in Adams Morgan, a D.C. neighborhood known for its nightlife. Time will only tell whether the cubs will inherit their father’s penchant for party animal antics.

(h/t DCist)

TIME viral

How to Put on Pants Without Using Hands

The DIY explainer nobody asked for

For some, getting out of bed and getting dressed is the hardest part of the day — usually an issue with motivation, general laziness.

Now one man seems to think he has made everyone’s life easier by demonstrating a way to put on pants without using hands that looks like he is half break-dancing, half trying to avoid scratching an itch — all with the focus of a professional athlete or a professional dancer.

If you decide to try this method at home, then perhaps make sure you move all coffee tables and other furniture with sharp edges.

(h/t Digg)

WATCH: Guy Peels Potatoes with Power Drill, Toilet Brush, and a Hose

TIME World Cup

No, Twitter, Prince Harry Did Not Score for Belgium

Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne celebrates scoring a goal against the U.S. during extra time in their 2014 World Cup round of 16 game at the Fonte Nova arena, July 1, 2014. Ruben Sprich / Reuters

Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is being mistaken for the royal on the micro-blogging site

Twitter users watching the match against Team USA tonight seem to think that Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne looks like Prince Harry:

Others got the joke early on:

A Modern Family star has weighed in:

And GMA has clearly just decided to go with it:

MORE: This Barber Will Shave Your Favorite World Cup Player onto Your Head

PHOTOS: Epic Photos from The USA vs. Belgium World Cup Match

TIME Internet

This Map Shows The Most Popular “Fourth of July” Songs in Each State

Spotify

These tunes are played more on July 4 than they are the rest of the year, according to Spotify

In a move that the Founding Fathers could have only dreamed of, Spotify is helping celebrate Independence this year with a map of the United States that shows which songs got more play on July 4 last year than any other day in 2013.

How did this map come into fruition? Paul Lamere, director of developer platform at Spotify subsidiary Echo Nest, began by combing through playlists that users titled “Fourth of July” and then compared those songs to what they listened to during the week prior. A post on Spotify’s blog adds: “He also looked at each state’s favorite song, finding 46 of the 50 to prefer Miley Cyrus’ ‘Party in the U.S.A.’.”

Because patriotism.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lamere found that people in the nation’s capital listened to the most red-white-and-blue tunes on July 4. Washington D.C. was followed by Nebraska, Delaware, Louisiana and Utah. The states ranked lowest were Alaska, New Hampshire, Maine, South Dakota and Hawaii.

LISTEN: From Springsteen to Cyrus: NewsFeed’s All-American Independence Day Playlist

TIME World Cup

This Barber Will Shave Your Favorite World Cup Players Onto Your Head

"It's like trying to draw on a baseball," says San Antonio hair portraitist Rob Ferrel

A Texas barber known for “hair portraits” of celebrities, from Marilyn Monroe to Bryan Cranston, is offering dedicated World Cup fans a brand new look for the tournament.

In the gallery via Reuters below, Rob Ferrel etches Argentine football star Lionel Messi onto the back of a guy’s head, working off of a black and white picture on a mobile phone. In the last frame, he’s creating a more colorful portrait of Mexico’s forward Javier Hernández Balcazar.

The barber has been doing hair portraits for eight years, and uses black and white photos in order to get each shading just right. “I do add a little eye liner or lip liner for color,” he says. “Black eyeliner makes the image pop.”

Ferrel told TIME that most customers at his San Antonio-based Rob the Original Barbershop have been asking for portraits of players on the Mexico and USA teams. USA fans getting ready to watch Tuesday’s match against Belgium may want to check out his portrait of the team’s goalie Tim Howard.

Business gets hectic during most major sports tournaments. Last month, Ferrell said he created a portrait of NBA shooting guard Manu Ginobili, after the San Antonio Spurs clinched their fifth championship.

The trickiest part of the task: navigating the roundness of people’s heads. “It’s like trying to draw on a baseball,” he says. “Like a puzzle, I start working on one section, and then I start adding pieces to it.”

A likeness of Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi is cut onto the head of a customer ahead of the World Cup match between Argentina and Switzerland. Ashley Landis / Reuters
A likeness of Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi is cut onto the head of a customer ahead of the World Cup match between Argentina and Switzerland. Ashley Landis / Reuters
A likeness of Argentine soccer player Lionel Messi is cut onto the head of a customer ahead of the World Cup match between Argentina and Switzerland. Ashley Landis / Reuters
The likeness of Mexican soccer player Javier Hernández Balcazar known as “Chicharito” on the head of a customer. Ashley Landis / Reuters

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