TIME policy

Twitter, Yelp, eBay CEOs Speak Out Against Religious Freedom Bills

Newest Innovations In Consumer Technology On Display At 2014 International CES
Ethan Miller—Getty Images Twitter CEO Dick Costolo speaks during the Brand Matters keynote address at the 2014 International CES at The Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on January 8, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Critics say the laws could allow discrimination against LGBT citizens

Executives at several large technology companies are banding together in opposition to a controversial new religious freedom law in Indiana and a similar bill in Arkansas that critics say could open the door for businesses to discriminate against LGBT customers.

“Religious freedom, inclusion, and diversity can co-exist and everyone including LGBT people and people of faith should be protected under their states’ civil rights laws,” reads the joint statement signed by Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Square founder Jack Dorsey, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman and eBay CEO John Donahoe, among others. “No person should have to fear losing their job or be denied service or housing because of who they are or whom they love.”

The group called on state legislatures nationwide to make sexual orientation and gender identity protected classes under state laws designed to protect religious freedoms.

Controversy over those laws erupted last week after Indiana’s legislature passed such a law in the state, while Arkansas’ legislature did the same soon afterwards. Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who signed his state’s law, said this week he’s pushing lawmakers to “fix” it and ensure it doesn’t allow for discrimination. Other business leaders across many different sectors have previously expressed concern about Indiana’s law, with some threatening boycotts if the rule isn’t amended.

Read next: Arkansas Governor Asks for Changes to Controversial Religious Freedom Bill

TIME Media

Netflix Is Begging You to Take a Shower in These New Binging PSAs

Special Screening Of Netflix's "House Of Cards" Season 2
Jason LaVeris—FilmMagic Actor Kevin Spacey attends a screening of "House Of Cards" at Directors Guild Of America on February 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.

This is your brain on House of Cards

“Just say no” to binging — that’s the message behind a new set of Netflix public service announcements conveniently timed for April Fools’ Day.

The PSAs warn of the social, physical and psychological dangers of watching way too many TV episodes back-to-back. If users watch more than two consecutive episodes of a show on April 1, they’ll be greeted with one of 13 PSA’s from stars such as Michael Kelly (Doug Stamper on House of Cards) and Taylor Schilling (Piper Chapman on Orange Is the New Black).

The messages cover a wide range of basic human activities that hardcore Netflix users might often ignore, such as venturing into the outside world, calling their mothers and eating a meal that involves utensils. “Turn off the TV,” Freaks and Geeks star Linda Cardellini says in one ad advocating showering. “You stink.”

Netflix users can see all the ads in one place by searching for “Binge Responsibly” within the service.

 

TIME Television

Comedy Central Calls Criticism of Trevor Noah ‘Unfair’

Network assures that Noah has a bright future at The Daily Show

Comedy Central is stepping up to defend new Daily Show host Trevor Noah after a series of potentially offensive messages were dug up from the comedian’s Twitter account.

“Like many comedians, Trevor Noah pushes boundaries; he is provocative and spares no one, himself included,” Comedy Central said in an emailed statement. “To judge him or his comedy based on a handful of jokes is unfair. Trevor is a talented comedian with a bright future at Comedy Central.”

Just hours after Noah was named the successor to Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show, old jokes he made on Twitter began circulating widely online. Some of the tweets making fun of women and Jewish people attracted wide criticism, with some Twitter users declaring they would not watch The Daily Show if Noah hosted. Noah himself made an oblique reference to the controversy Tuesday morning, writing, “Twitter does not have enough characters to respond to all the characters on Twitter.” The tweet was quickly deleted.

TIME weather

California’s Snowpack Reaches All-Time Low During Drought

A skier threads his way through patches of dry ground at Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, Calif., on March 21, 2015.
Max Whittaker–Getty Images A skier threads his way through patches of dry ground at Squaw Valley Ski Resort in Olympic Valley, Calif., on March 21, 2015.

Low snow levels indicate water supplies will continue to be scarce through much of the year

The snow that typically tops California’s mountains and is critical to maintaining the state’s water supply dropped to a record low level this year.

Because of an abnormally warm winter and little precipitation, the California Department of Water Resources has estimated that the California snowpack level is 8 percent of the historical average, as of late March. A manual survey of snow levels will be conducted in April. The previous record low for the snowpack level, at 25 percent of the average, was set in 1977 and was seen again last winter.

The lack of snow could have big implications for California’s battle against an ongoing drought. A department of water resources official told the San Francisco Chronicle that snowpacks typically provides 30 percent of the state’s water supply after the snow melts in spring and summer. With that resource nearly wiped out this winter, Californians will likely have to continue to limit their water use in the coming months.

TIME Labor

Fast Food Workers Plan April 15 Strike

Fast Food Labor
Seth Wenig—AP People participate in rally in front of a McDonalds in New York, Tuesday, March 31, 2015.

Professors and home care workers will join the protests

U.S. fast food workers are planning a major one-day strike on Tax Day, April 15, their latest action in a two-year campaign for a $15 hourly wage and the right to unionize.Workers will walk off the job at fast food restaurants in more than 200 cities across the U.S. to demand higher pay, and protests will be held in as many as 40 other countries the same day.

College campuses will join in the demonstrations, with 170 universities planning rallies and marches, and adjunct professors will also advocate for their own pay increases. Home care workers, airport personnel and Walmart employees are also expected to be involved. Overall, events will take place in more than 200 U.S. cities on April 15 and as many as 40 other countries.

The movement, supported by the Service Employees International Union, has so far largely not fazed McDonald’s and other fast food giants, who point out that franchise owners set wages for their employees. The companies also say that few workers actually end up walking off the job to participate in protests.

However, retailers such as Target and Walmart have recently announced increases to their minimum wage and a growing number of cities are raising their minimum wage to $10 to $15 per hour. At the same time, the National Labor Relations Board recently determined that McDonald’s corporate office could be viewed as a “joint employer” along with franchisees in addressing some workers’ rights issues.

TIME States

NASCAR ‘Disappointed’ in Indiana’s Religious Freedom Law

The sports league joins a growing chorus of critics

NASCAR says it is disappointed by the passage of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which critics say could be used to discriminate against gay people.

“We will not embrace nor participate in exclusion or intolerance,” NASCAR said in a statement issued to NBC Sports. “We are committed to diversity and inclusion within our sport and therefore will continue to welcome all competitors and fans at our events in the state of Indiana and anywhere else we race.”

The law, which backers say is supposed to ensure religious freedom for people in the state, has come under fire from both gay rights advocates who feel it could be used to deny service to gay people and corporations who fear the law could hurt businesses in Indiana if the state gains an anti-gay stigma. Other sports organizations, such as the NCAA, have also expressed concern over the new law, as have prominent businesspeople such as Apple CEO Tim Cook.

At a Tuesday press conference Indiana Governor Mike Pence said he would push lawmakers to amend the law so that it explicitly states that businesses can’t use it to discriminate against anyone.

TIME Video Games

Google Maps Is Now a Giant Game of Pac-Man

Google Maps Pac-Man
Google Maps Google Maps Pac-Man

Now you can finally battle those demons that plague you in your hometown

Remember when Google turned its logo into a game of Pac-Man back in 2010 and office workers collectively spent millions of hours running away from ghosts? Google is now trying to 1-Up that interactive project by turning Google Maps into a giant version of the popular arcade game.

On the desktop version of Google Maps, users can search for nearly any part of the map that has a large number of roads and immediately convert a city into a Pac-Man maze (rural areas don’t work). The signature pellets, blue walls and ravenous ghosts immediately appear in place of street names and landmarks. Users can share their high scores with others via social media and share their specific maps so others can try to top them.

Pac-Man is also available on the Google Maps mobile app, but the game the game is limited to specific locations that Google is revealing through a series of clues that seem to point to famous global locales such as Times Square in New York and the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.

The game is likely part of Google’s planned April Fools Day tricks for this year. Last year the company turned Maps into a giant game of Pokemon on April 1.

TIME celebrities

Man Arrested For Throwing Banana Peel at Dave Chappelle

Dave Chappelle
Andy Kropa—Invision/AP Dave Chappelle attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Special at Rockefeller Plaza on Feb. 15, 2015, in New York.

The attacker was charged with battery and disorderly conduct

Police arrested a man Monday for throwing a banana peel at comedian Dave Chappelle during a show in New Mexico.

The man, identified as Christian Englander, threw the peel at Chappelle during his performance at The Lensic Performing Arts Center in Santa Fe, according to news channel KOB4. Englander attempted to escape the venue but was apprehended by security and later charged with battery and disorderly conduct by police.

A spokesperson for the Santa Fe Police Department said Englander was “visibly intoxicated” during the show.

According to one account of the incident, Chappelle continued his set after the incident but was visibly upset. He joked about throwing a tuna casserole at Englander as revenge, and complained that he had used a brown banana peel instead of a yellow one.

[KOB4]

TIME apps

Gmail’s Android App Just Got Way Better

Gmail
Gmail Gmail

Now you can combine inboxes and view more email threads as conversations

Android users will no longer have to trawl through multiple email accounts to keep track of all their Gmail messages.

Google is introducing a new feature in the Android version of Gmail that will let users view emails from multiple accounts in a single inbox. The new “all inboxes” option will dump all messages into a single window, even if they are from non-Gmail accounts such as Yahoo or Outlook.

The Android update also includes other new features. The “conversation view,” which groups messages on the same email chain in a single thread, can now be applied to Yahoo, Outlook and other email accounts that are viewed through Gmail. The company has also improved the auto-complete search function and made it possible to save documents to Google Drive with a single button press.

TIME Infectious Disease

1,000-Year-Old Remedy Could Help Cure Superbug

Mixture of onion, garlic, wine and cow stomach bile found to combat staph infections

A 10th-century medicine that was originally used to treat eye infections may also be able to cure staph infections.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham recreated an ancient potion recipe from Bald’s Leechbook, one of the oldest medical texts in existence. By following the recipe steps precisely, including using a wine from a thousand-year-old vineyard, researchers developed a medicine that was found to kill 90% of MRSA bacteria in mice. MRSA is a particularly hard-to-treat bacterial infection resistant to many modern antibiotics.

“When we got the first results we were just utterly dumbfounded,” microbiologist Freya Harrison told CNN. “We did not see this coming at all.”

Researchers aren’t yet sure exactly why the ancient potion is so effective. The odd mixture of ingredients—onion, garlic, wine and cow stomach bile—may create a new molecule when combined or they may be separately killing off different parts of the bacterial infection.

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