TIME animals

A Dog Started a House Fire By Turning on the Stove

A dog: man's best friend. A smart dog: firefighter's worst enemy

A dog is the culprit in a Friday night house fire in New Jersey that began when a pooch turned on a stove.

Local firefighters responded to a call in Lacey township and saw fire coming out of the roof of the home, the Asbury Park Press reports. The Forked River Fire Department entered the home and extinguished the fire.

The Ocean County Fire Marshal investigated the fire and found that a dog inside the house turned on the stove, which had then burned through a laptop that was sitting on the stovetop.

No word yet on whether the dog believed there were unattractive photos of it on the incinerated laptop.

[Asbury Park Press]

 

TIME Food & Drink

Watch This Evil Genius Use An Electric Screwdriver to Peel Apples Cause Nobody Got Time for That

If MacGyver had been a chef...

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It’s true, peeling apples can get really, really boring. But peeling apples with an electric screwdriver actually seems like more fun than not peeling apples at all.

Try this one at home, safely, the next time you’re peeling lots and lots and lots of apples.

TIME space travel

Watch a 3,500-Pound Spaceship Burn Up in the Atmosphere

When the Cygnus supply ship arrived at the International Space Station in July with cargo that included food, science equipment and mini-satellites, the astronauts aboard knew it would be making a dramatic exit.

Cygnus was released on August 15 from the ISS carrying more than 3,000 pounds of garbage, and was catapulted through the atmosphere with the plan of having it burn its way into oblivion.

And burn its way into oblivion it did. The commercial cargo ship separated from the ISS and dropped into the atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean two days later. A Vine posted Friday by one of the ISS’s current six astronauts, Reid Wiseman, shows Cygnus reentering the atmosphere and flaring up into a crisp.

TIME movies

Movies Are Having Their Worst Summer Since 1997

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, from left: Dave Bautista, Chris Pratt, 2014.
Dave Bautista and Chris Pratt in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Disney

It's partially because there's a dearth of new movie ideas out there

If you can’t remember the last time you went out and saw a great movie, you’re not alone.

North American box offices are having their worst summer season in 17 years, and it’s because no one is particularly excited about the flicks that have occupied the silver screen for the past several months.

Ticket sales in the United States and Canada are expected to total roughly $3.9 billion between the first weekend in May through the end of August, a 15 percent decline from the same stretch last year, the New York Times reports.

Sequels that were expected to rake in cash at the box office by adhering to tried-and-true formulas ended up bombing. Tom Cruise’s sci-fi Edge of Tomorrow looked kind of like Oblivion (2013, also starring Cruise) and sounded kind of like The Day After Tomorrow (2004). It brought in $99.4 million, but Warner Bros spent at least $250 million on production and domestic marketing.

Amazing Spider-Man 2, Step Up All In, and Hercules, all with familiar themes, did poor to middling in ticket sales.

The No. 1 movie of the summer, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, sold more than $258 million in ticket sales, at least partially for offering something new to moviegoers: a 1970’s-era soundtrack and eclectic range of lesser-known comic book heroes (including a talking raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper) materialized into solid ticket sales.

Here’s to new ideas and better sales next summer.

[NYT]

TIME Smartphones

5 Awesome Things Apple’s New iPhone 6 Is Rumored to Have

Apple Introduces iPhone 5
The new iPhone 5 is displayed during an Apple special event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts on September 12, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

It’s Apple devotees’ favorite time of the year again.

Apple appears set to roll out its new iPhone this month, with a planned Sept. 9 event likely to mark the unveiling of the fabled iPhone 6. Just like unicorns or Tupac, we can’t be absolutely sure what features the new iPhone 6 will have. But the rumors have been flying thick and fast, and expectations are high.

Here are some of features strongly rumored to be on the new iPhone 6.

A Model With a Bigger Screen.

Some Apple critics have compared the iPhone 5’s puny 4-in. screen unfavorably with Samsung’s flagship phones, like the Galaxy S5, which has a 5.1-in. screen. The iPhone 6 is expected to silence the complainers, with one iPhone 6 model rumored to have a 5.5-in. screen, which is quite a big jump in size. A second model may have a 4.7-in. display, which is also a pretty big increase, and certainly much larger than the comparatively minuscule iPhone 4 display, which was a mere 3.5 in.

Near Field Communication (NFC).

Near Field Communication is essentially a way to wirelessly connect devices over a very short range. The Financial Times reported Friday that Apple is working with a Dutch chipmaker to add NFC capabilities to the new iPhone, opening up the possibility of mobile, pay-by-touch payments and open other potential applications.

Mobile Payments.

The iPhone 6’s purported NFC capabilities will mean Apple could turn the iPhone into a mobile wallet, allowing users to pay for goods and services with a swipe of the phone. Apple is reportedly holding talks with credit-card companies and banks on the effort, and thanks to Apple’s massive database of financial data it’s collected through the App Store and iTunes, this could be push mobile payments into the mainstream.

Sapphire Glass.

One of the biggest complaints with the iPhone and other smartphones is that they’re pretty fragile devices, considering how often we use them and how expensive they can be — and there are few things uglier than a cracked iPhone display. Well, Apple is developing synthetic sapphire at its new facility in Arizona, the Wall Street Journal reports, a harder and more expensive material that can replace glass. And if this can be believed, sapphire is remarkably resilient. Plus, Apple already used sapphire in smart parts of the iPhone 5 (over the camera lens) and in the iPhone 5S (for the home button/fingerprint scanner).

iOS 8.

Apple’s new operating system is one of the few things we do know a lot about, and it’s official information from Apple this time. For instance, we know that Apple is rolling out a new HealthKit app as part of iOS 8 that allows users to keep track of their personal health and fitness data, which also pulls in data from other sources like Nike+ apps and health institutions. We also know that iOS 8 allows you to share apps, music and books purchased with the same credit card with your family, as well as save photos, video and documents to iCloud. The camera software will have a shot timer and other improvements, and group messaging will be more versatile: you can now add or drop someone from a conversation, finally.

TIME Iraq

John Kerry Calls for Global Coalition to Fight ISIS Militants

John Kerry
FILE - In this Aug. 12, 2014 file photo, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry gestures as he speaks to the media during a press conference at the conclusion of the AUSMIN talks at Admiralty House in Sydney, Aug. 12, 2014. Dan Himbrechts—AP

"No decent country can support the horrors perpetrated by ISIS"

The United States needs to rally a broad alliance of nations to oppose the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), Secretary of State John Kerry wrote in an op-ed published Friday, even as the Pentagon mulls the potential for new airstrikes against Islamic extremists in Syria.

In a column published Friday by the New York Times, Kerry wrote that a united response by a determined coalition is necessary in order to prevent “the cancer of ISIS” from spreading.

“No decent country can support the horrors perpetrated by ISIS, and no civilized country should shirk its responsibility to help stamp out this disease,” Kerry wrote. “Coalition building is hard work, but it is the best way to tackle a common enemy.”

Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel are meeting European allies at a NATO summit in Wales next week, and President Barack Obama will aim to rally support at the United Nations Security Council next month for a plan to deal with ISIS.

U.S. operations in Iraq against ISIS forces are already costing $7.5 million per day on average, the military has said, as the Pentagon ramps up airstrikes to defend local populations from the invading extremists. Air operations have shifted the calculus of the fight and aided Iraqi and Kurdish forces, Kerry wrote in the Times, but a much broader response is needed.

“Airstrikes alone won’t defeat this enemy,” Kerry wrote. “A much fuller response is demanded from the world. We need to support Iraqi forces and the moderate Syrian opposition, who are facing ISIS on the front lines. We need to disrupt and degrade ISIS’ capabilities and counter its extremist message in the media. And we need to strengthen our own defenses and cooperation in protecting our people.”

Kerry didn’t address the delicate question about putting American or other troops on the ground, but he did call for military aid, among other kinds of assistance.

“In this battle, there is a role for almost every country. Some will provide military assistance, direct and indirect. Some will provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance for the millions who have been displaced and victimized across the region,” Kerry wrote. “Others will help restore not just shattered economies but broken trust among neighbors.”

[NYT]

TIME infectious diseases

2 People Die of Ebola in Democratic Republic of Congo

But the deaths are not related to the current outbreak in West Africa, health officials in Congo say

Two people have died of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of Congo, though the cases may be unrelated to the outbreak in West Africa that has killed more than 1,400 people.

Of eight samples taken in the Boende region of Congo’s northwest Equateur province, two came back positive, Health Minister Felix Kabange Numbi said Sunday, the Associated Press reports. Eleven people are sick and in isolation, and 80 contacts are being traced.

“This epidemic has nothing to do with the one in West Africa,” Kabange said.

Ebola has killed 13 people in the region, including five health workers. The current cases are part of the seventh outbreak of Ebola in Congo, where the disease was first discovered in 1976.

[AP]

TIME Syria

American Held Captive by al-Qaeda Affiliate Freed After Nearly 2 Years

Still frame taken from video shows U.S. journalist Peter Theo Curtis, who has been freed by kidnappers in Syria
U.S. journalist Peter Theo Curtis is shown in this undated still frame taken from video courtesy of al-Jazeera on Aug. 24, 2014 Al Jazeera/Reuters

Peter Theo Curtis' release comes days after the execution of American photojournalist James Foley

An American journalist kidnapped and held by an al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria has been freed, the U.S. said Sunday, ending his nearly two years in captivity.

Peter Theo Curtis was abducted in Antakya, Turkey, from where he planned to enter Syria in October 2012, al-Jazeera reports. He was being held by Al-Nusra Front in Syria before his release.

The U.N. facilitated Curtis’ release, it said Sunday, though it remains unclear where Curtis was exchanged.

U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said Sunday that Curtis “will be reunited with his family shortly.” In a separate statement, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that “for two years, this young American has been separated from his family. Finally he is returning home.”

“Theo’s mother, whom we’ve known from Massachusetts and with whom we’ve worked during this horrific period, simply refused to give up and has worked indefatigably to keep hope alive that this day could be a reality,” Kerry added.

Curtis’ mother Nancy said in a press release Sunday: “My heart is full at the extraordinary, dedicated, incredible people, too many to name individually, who have become my friends and have tirelessly helped us over these many months.”

“Please know that we will be eternally grateful,” added Nancy, who also asked for privacy for her family.

Curtis was imprisoned along with American photojournalist Matthew Schrier, who was held for seven months before escaping in July 2013. Schrier has said he was tortured and starved by his jailers, and described being beaten on the soles of his feet until he could no longer walk.

Curtis’ release comes days after the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley, who was executed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, or ISIS. The U.S. revealed this week it attempted a military rescue mission to save Foley and other Americans but failed to bring them back.

Kerry said in his statement that the U.S. tried many different avenues to obtain Curtis’ release, and that Washington continues to use “every diplomatic, intelligence and military tool” to bring American citizens home.

“Over these last two years, the United States reached out to more than two dozen countries asking for urgent help from anyone who might have tools, influence, or leverage to help secure Theo’s release and the release of any Americans held hostage in Syria,” Kerry said.

TIME celebrities

Rap Mogul Suge Knight Shot in L.A. Night Club

Posing Heroes, "A Dog Day Afternoon" Benefiting A Wish For Animals - Portraits
Music producer Suge Knight in Los Angeles, March 30, 2013. Michael Bezjian—WireImage/Getty Images

Knight has been in his share of East Coast v. West Coast rap feuds, but the reason for the shooting remained unknown Sunday

Rap entrepreneur Marion “Suge” Knight was shot early Sunday in a crowded night club but is expected to survive, Los Angeles police said.

Knight, who is the founder of the influential Death Row Records and who helped steer Dr. Dre, Tupac Shakur and Snoop Dogg to success, was one of three club patrons struck by gunfire around 1:30 a.m. at the 1OAK nightclub on West Hollywood’s Sunset Boulevard, the Associated Press reports.

The two other victims, a man and a woman, were being treated at local hospitals and also expected to survive.

The shooting occurred the night before MTV’s Video Music Awards on Sunday evening in Inglewood. MTV said the party was not affiliated with its awards event.

The R&B star Chris Brown co-hosted the party at the nightclub with Pia Mia and was inside the club at the time of the shooting, but wasn’t hit by gunfire.

Knight has been engaged in a rap feud with East Coast artists over the past two decades and has been in and out of jail due to related parole violations and physical attacks.

[AP]

TIME celebrities

Watch Robin Williams Hilariously Explain How He Was So Good at Improv

In 2001, Robin Williams explained his hilarious improv by doing seven minutes of hilarious improv

+ READ ARTICLE

Robin Williams’ improvisational style—effervescent, manic, freewheeling—was greatly admired among his fellow comedians and adored by audiences. He brought an exuberant energy to the stage and invented characters with a lightning quickness. But how did he do it? What was his trick?

In a session on Inside the Actor’s Studio in June 2001, host James Lipton asked Williams what makes his gift come to life.

“Are you thinking faster than the rest of us?” says Lipton. “What the hell is going on?”

Williams launches into a seven-minute improvisational schtick, playing characters from an Amish prisoner to Kung-Fu master, to an automobile at a car wash, to an Oedipal psychotherapist’s patient. It’s less of an explanation of his talents than a full-throated demonstration of them, and it’s hilarious and wonderful.

“That’s as close as I could explain,” says Williams.

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