TIME 2016 Election

Ted Cruz Stresses Conservative Cred At CPAC

Cruz doled out the red meat to a supportive crowd on Thursday

Sen. Ted Cruz was in his element at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday, throwing out tweet-sized red meat to a crowd of grassroots activists.

As he prepares for a possible run for the Republican presidential nomination, the Texas Republican stressed his conservative bona fides, arguing that primary voters should look at actions, not words.

“We all know that in a campaign every, candidate comes out and tells you, ‘I’m the most conservative guy that’s ever lived,'” Cruz said. “If you’re really a conservative you will have been in the trenches and you will bear the scars.”

“I demand action, not talk,” Cruz said.

Cruz has made a name for himself as a hardline opponent of the Obama White House, helping prompt a government shutdown in 2013 in an unsuccessful bid to defund the Affordable Care Act. His pugnacity has drawn ire from Republicans like Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain, who has called Cruz “wacko bird” and “crazy.” But Cruz stood by his record during his speech on Thursday, drawing applause from an audience.

“If a candidate tells you they oppose Obamacare, fantastic,” said Cruz in a reference to his 21-hour speech against the law. “But when have you stood up and fought against it?”

Cruz also is seeking to establish an ideological distance between his likely campaign and Washington DC, which he impugned for its “mendacity.”

“We need to run a populist campaign, standing for hardworking men and women,” Cruz said “We need to take the power out of Washington and bring it back to the people.”

Cruz took some pointed shots at the presumptive Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, saying that she “embodies the corruption of Washington.” Cruz was asked in a question-and-answer session with Fox News commentator Sean Hannity after his speech to describe Bill Clinton. The Texas senator answered “youth outreach” to snickers from the crowd—a less-than-subtle reference to the Monica Lewinsky scandal during his presidency.

“What I’m trying to do more than anything else is bring a disruptive app to politics,” Cruz said.

TIME 2016 Election

Conservatives Aim to Take Campaign Tips From Obama Playbook

CPAC 2015 Republicans Conservatives
Mark Peterson—Redux for TIME An empty ballroom set up for the start of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Md. on the morning of Feb. 26, 2015.

They're studying the tactics used by President Obama in 2008 and 2012

Conservative organizers hope to overcome a crucial shortfall in digital savvy and voter reach ahead of the 2016 election by taking a page out of President Obama’s winning campaign playbook.

“We can do better on the center-right at moving people to the polls before they close,” said Ned Ryun the founder of American Majority, a political action committee that focuses on local organizing. “If you’re going to turn out a sophisticated, targeted campaign, look at the last three elections.”

Ryun was one of many GOP activists at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington D.C. who huddled in training rooms Wednesday to plan a strategy that will build local campaign infrastructure and social media strategies in order to get voters to the polls.

Organizers pointed to several Democratic outreach strategies as effective models. Building local support based on meticulous electronic data election was something “the Obama campaign did very well in 2012,” Ryun added. Conservatives also said they envy Democrats efforts to target unregistered voters and convince voters to go to the polls.

Part of the advantage comes from more focus by progressives and the Democratic party on training frontline organizers and campaign staff in the latest tools of the trade. This is the first year CPAC is hosting its own “activism boot camp,” modeled in large part on boot camps held by progressive groups such s the New Organizing Institute. The aim is to broaden the GOP’s reach by training organizers in social media, research for negative ads and targeting voters.

In recent years on the presidential level, the disparity has been stark. The Obama 2012 campaign’s sophisticated voter targeting and data-driven approach to getting out the vote applied a level of technical sophistication the Romney campaign lacked. Obama volunteers knocked on over 7 million doors on election day, using complex data to target voters, according to a 2012 Obama campaign report. That compares with Romney’s 1 million door knocks, Ryun said.

The Romney campaign also did a “very poor” job in establishing a campaign infrastructure, said Ryun. “The emphasis of the Romney campaign on infrastructure and the get out the vote that should have been there, was not there.” Much of the conservative effort will also be focused on attacking Democratic candidates. The research arm of America Rising, a GOP-friendly super PAC that combs opposition candidates’ public records to inform critical advertisements, has been investigating Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton’s background since 2013.

During a presentation on Wednesday, Geoff Embler, vice president at American Rising, quoted the campaign manager for the 2008 Obama campaign David Plouffe, who said in 2012, “nowadays, if it doesn’t have a video component, it doesn’t really go anywhere.” “That is a philosophy we’ve really taken to heart,” Embler said his group, which is known for extensively culling video to run ads against opponents.

Democrats have tended to use Twitter and Facebook more fluently than GOP organizers, building campaigns around hashtags and effective Facebook posts. There are limits though to mimicking Obama’s 2012 strategy, organizers said. “You can’t run a social media campaign in 2016 just based on what Obama did in 2012 or you’ll get crushed,” American Majority national executive director Matt Batzel said. “It’s innovate or die.”

TIME Companies

Why Warren Buffett Wants to Buy a Bunch of German Companies

Germany is the über-economy of Europe

Legendary investor Warren Buffett is preparing to buy companies in Europe’s biggest and most reliable economy after purchasing a German motorcycle parts maker this month.

Buffett said in an interview published Wednesday in the newspaper Handelsblatt that his Berkshire Hathaway holding company is eyeing companies in Germany because of the size of its economy and its regulatory framework.

“Germany is a terrific market, lots of people, lots of buying power, productive, it’s got a legal system we feel very good with, it’s got a regulatory system we feel very good with, it’s got people we feel very good with—and customers,” Buffett said.

Berkshire Hathaway acquired family-owned motorcycle apparel and accessories retailer Detlev Louis Motorrad-Vertriebs in February and is looking to expand its footprint in Germany. Berkshire Hathaway purchased the company for a little more than 400 million euros ($456 million), Reuters reports.

Buffett said he was ready to pay cash for good German companies, despite the weakness of the euro currency, which has dropped more than 15% against the dollar over the past year.


TIME Environment

Watch How NASA Monitors Sand Flying From the Sahara to the Amazon

Millions of tons of Saharan dust land in the Amazon each year

A NASA satellite has been monitoring the movement of sand from the Sahara Desert in Africa to the Amazon rainforest in South America.

The space agency’s Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observation (CALIPSO) is tracking the massive plumes of dust particles that make the Atlantic crossing from the great African desert to the largest rainforest in the world, where the particles settle and aid plant growth. The phosphorus content of the African dust is an important nutrient in the Amazon.

On average, 182 million tons of dust leave Africa each year, of which 27 million tons is deposited in the Amazon basin, according to data collected since CALIPSO launched in 2006. The amount varies each year, however.

“Using satellites to get a clear picture of dust is important for understanding and eventually using computers to model where that dust will go now and in future climate scenarios,” NASA research scientist Hongbin Yu says.

Read next: This Is How Incredible (and Terrifying) Space Looks in Virtual Reality

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME France

Drones Spotted Over Paris Again

A view shows the illuminated Eiffel Tower and La Defense business district in Paris, Feb. 24, 2015.
Gonzalo Fuentes—Reuters A view shows the illuminated Eiffel Tower and La Defense business district in Paris, Feb. 24, 2015.

For the second time in two days

Drones were again spotted overnight hovering above Paris on Wednesday, prompting an investigation in the city just a day after they were first spotted.

Between 11 p.m. Tuesday and 2 a.m. Wednesday, the unmanned aerial vehicles were spotted above Rue de Vaugirard, the Assembly, the city’s east train station, Porte de Saint-Ouen and Porte de la Chapelle, CNN reports.

Its unclear whether the drones are recreational and to whom they belong, but they’ve put authorities on edge following the terrorist attacks in the city last month.

Just a day earlier, five drones were seen over the Eiffel Tower, the Bastille, Place de la Concorde, Les Invalides and the U.S. Embassy, said Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre, a spokeswoman for the Paris prosecutor’s office.


TIME Smartphones

Siri Took All Those Language Classes You’ve Been Putting Off

Apple's Siri on iPhone
Oli Scarff—Getty Images A man uses 'Siri' on the new iPhone 4S after being one of the first customers in the Apple store in Covent Garden on October 14, 2011 in London, England.

Siri is learning Russian, Danish, Dutch and more

A new beta of iOS 8.3 Apple released Monday morning shows Siri will soon be fluent in many more languages.

The new iPhone operating system build shows that Russian, Danish, Dutch, Thai, Turkish, Swedish and Portuguese will be added to Siri’s impressive repertoire, 9to5Mac reports. The new iOS will also add different English accents for regions like New Zealand.

Siri already knows French, German, Japanese, Mandarin, Italian, Cantonese, Korean, and Spanish—as well as regional variants of those languages.

The new iOS will also have a slew of more racially diverse palette of emoji, allowing users to click and hold on any emoji to change the skin tone.

There’s no set release date for iOS 8.3 yet.


TIME Gadgets

This Startup Is Basically Making Ultimate Frisbee With Drones

Exploring Santa Barbara's Coastal Charms
George Rose—Getty Images A Phantom drone buzzes above Gaviota State Beach at sunset on November 26, 2014, in Santa Barbara, California.

Drone tennis, drone pong, drone soccer, drone everything

A new “drone game” that allows players to pilot a drone across the sky in friendly competition has launched on Kickstarter. Players use a wand to control a drone’s flight and play games like pong, soccer or race through an obstacle course.

Made by the startup Zyro, the specially-designed drone used in the games is better protected than some other drones. It’s built to swing and spin with the wave of a wand, almost like hitting a ball with a tennis racquet. Players can choose whether to swing or pass Zyro based on the game they’re playing.

Zyro wants to open up its API to allow developers to work on new games.

So far Zyro has raised just over $650 out of the total $50,000 the project needs to be funded, with 18 days left.

TIME weather

Deadly East Coast Freeze Paves Way for Storms and Snow

Historic lows in the East will make way for another round of winter storms on Saturday

Bitter cold gripped the eastern United States from Michigan to Florida on Friday, causing at least 24 fatalities ahead of a weekend forecast to bring more winter storms to regions still digging out of the snow.

Cities including Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and Lexington, Ky., had their coldest morning on Friday in two decades, while the mercury in Flint, Mich. dropped to 25 degrees below-zero. Chicago registered its coldest temperature ever at -8 degrees Fahrenheit at O’Hare airport. As far south as normally sultry Orlando, temperatures hit 33 degrees, tying a previous 1958 record, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

Overall, at least 500 daily record lows have been broken since Sunday, Weather.com reports, with more expected Saturday morning in the Northeast.

The freeze has so far caused at least two dozen deaths across the country, mostly as a result of hypothermia or car accidents on icy roads, NBC reports. Seventeen of the deaths occurred in Tennessee, at least eight due to hypothermia. At least six people in Pennsylvania have died of hypothermia.

“This week ranks among the most intense arctic outbreaks so far in the 21st century for the eastern U.S., and it is certainly one of the most impressively cold air masses we’ve seen this late in the winter season, coming only a month before the spring equinox,” said Weather.com senior meteorologist Nick Wiltgen.

More frigid cold is expected across the region on Saturday, with sleet and freezing rain expected Friday night in Arkansas, and in Tennessee and Kentucky on Saturday. Three to six inches of snow will fall in Pennsylvania, New York and New England, and a foot or more is expected in parts of West Virginia and Virginia.

On Friday, temperatures Lynchburg, Va. dropped to -11 degrees, to -17 in Cleveland, and Washington D.C., hit 5 degrees. The acute cold is the result of an Arctic airmass plunging south from Canada, according to the National Weather Service.


This ‘Exploding Kittens’ Game Just Raised Almost $9 Million

Animal Sanctuary Needs £200,000 To Avoid Closure
Christopher Furlong—Getty Images Milly, a 13-week-old kitten waits with her brother Charlie (L) to be re-homed at The Society for Abandoned Animals Sanctuary in Sale, Manchester which is facing an urgent cash crisis and possible closure on July 27, 2010 in Manchester, England.

The game that blew up on Kickstarter

A card game that features exploding kittens and wise goats has raised an astonishing $8.78 million on Kickstarter.

With 219,382 backers, “Exploding Kittens” is the most-backed Kickstarter project ever. It’s also received more funding than any project from the Games category.

Exploding Kittens was created by comic artist Matthew Inman, as well as Elan Lee and Shane Small. The game consists of a deck of cards and is basically a non-deadly version of Russian Roulette: if you draw a card with an detonation-prone kitten, you’re out.

The creators’ goal was a measly $10,000 in funding. Now, the game’s creators will have to ship card decks to more than 200,000 people, Mashable reports.

In a question-and-answer session on Reddit, a commenter asked, “Did you have any idea that this was going to be this big?.” Lee replied, “NOPE.”

TIME privacy

Revenge Porn Mastermind Pleads Guilty to Hacking and ID Theft

TIME.com stock photos Computer Keyboard Typing Hack
Elizabeth Renstrom for TIME

The "Most Hated Man on the Internet" ran a huge website featuring nude photos of ex lovers

The founder and operator of a notorious revenge porn site has pleaded guilty to charges including unauthorized access to a computer and identity theft.

Hunter Moore, 28, has been called “the most hated man on the Internet” for his role in the website IsAnybodyUp.com, which posted nude and sexually explicit photos of people without their permission. The site brought in a purported $10,000 in ad revenue per month, Ars Technica reports.

Many of the photos came from spurned ex-lovers who submitted nude images of their former partners. An ex’s full name, profession, social media profile and city of residence were posted, ensuring the pictures would appear on Google and allowing family members and co-workers to access lewd pictures. Moore also pleaded guilty to paying for stolen nude photos from victims.

Each of the three charges against Moore carries a maximum penalty of two to five years in jail. Moore will likely be sentenced within the next several months.

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