TIME Advertising

Watch the Hypnotic New Ads That Are About to Take Over Facebook

Facebook ThreatExchange Hackers
Bloomberg via Getty Images

The new ads are oddly entrancing

With auto-play videos now being a firmly established part of the Facebook News Feed, the social network is reportedly planning to try upping the quality of the ads displayed there. A new ad format called a cinemagraph will reportedly start appearing in the News Feed soon, according to Adweek.

The ads are moving GIFs, but the motion is restrained to just a few parts of the image. An ad for wine might show a large banquet table with just a single glass of wine swirling, for instance. Or an ad for a newspaper might show a reader slowly stirring his coffee while everything else around it is static. An agency that’s been experimenting heavily with cinemagraphs, Ann Street Studio, features several of the ads on their website.


The ads have a dreamy, hypnotic quality that makes them stand out amongst the multimedia assault most users experience as they surf the Web. Most likely, these types of ads would be played on loop, a functionality that Facebook just added to Instagram last week. The unique format might convince users to stop scrolling and actually take an ad in for several moments, which would be good news for both marketers and Facebook.


TIME Retail

Urban Outfitters Sells Tapestry Similar to Holocaust Garb

Anti-Defamation League A tapestry seen at an Urban Outfitters store in Boulder, Colo.

The latest in a long line of controversial retail choices

Clothing retailer Urban Outfitters is in hot water with a Jewish civil rights group for selling a tapestry that looks similar to clothing worn by gay men in Nazi concentration camps.

The tapestry, which features gray and white stripes and several pink triangles, was being sold for $69 at an Urban Outfitters in Boulder, Colo., according to the Anti-Defamation League. The group said it wrote to Urban Outfitters CEO Richard Hayne asking him to stop selling the item, but the retailer hasn’t commented so far, the Washington Post reports.

“Whether intentional or not, this gray and white stripped pattern and pink triangle combination is deeply offensive and should not be mainstreamed into popular culture,” Abraham H. Foxman, the American Defamation League’s director, said in a statement.

This is not even close to the first time the retailer has had a clothing-related controversy. In the past the company has sold a blood-stained Kent State sweatshirt and a T-shirt with a logo that looked like the Star of David patch Jews were forced to wear during the Holocaust.

TIME Crime

NYPD Officer Indicted in Killing of Unarmed Black Man

Public Housing Police Shooting
John Minchillo—AP A demonstrator looks on at a memorial to Akai Gurley on Nov. 22, 2014, in Brooklyn, New York.

Rookie officer Peter Liang will face second-degree manslaughter charges

A New York police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black man in a housing project stairwell has been indicted for manslaughter over the incident.

Officer Peter Liang, a rookie, shot Akai Gurley, a 28-year-old Brooklyn resident, in a dark stairwell during a routine patrol of an apartment building, the Associated Press reports.

NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called the killing “an unfortunate accident.” According to the New York Daily News, Liang will face second-degree manslaughter charges with a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison.

The decision comes two months after a grand jury decided not to indict an NYPD officer for the killing of Eric Garner, another unarmed black man, on Staten Island. The Garner decision sparked several weeks of protests in New York and around the country.


TIME Innovation

5 Things You Need to Know About the Coolest Company Google Owns

Boston Dynamics makes incredible robots that look like animals

What’s cooler than robots? Robots shaped like adorable puppies, of course.

That likely explains why a new video of a robotic dog is making the Internet rounds. The dog, named Spot, is from Boston Dynamics, a robotics company Google acquired in 2013. Google has been relatively quiet about its growing robotics ambitions, but there’s plenty to be gleaned by understanding how Boston Dynamics operates and why Google bought the company.

Here’s what you should know:

Boston Dynamics has been around for a long time

The company was founded in 1992 by Marc Raibert, a former researcher at MIT. Boston Dynamics originally focused on developing human simulation software used to train law enforcement. But Raibert had done extensive research on robotic mobility at MIT and Carnegie Mellon, leading the company to eventually expand to producing robotic machines.

They’ve built a whole robot animal kingdom

Spot is not Boston Dynamics’ first animal-like design. The company has also built BigDog, a 3-foot long, canine-like creature; WildCat, which can run at speeds of 29 miles per hour; and the six-foot humanoid robot Atlas.

Mobility makes their robots special

Boston Dynamics’ robots are renowned for their incredible balance. In the video of Spot, company employees can be seen kicking the robotic dog, trying to topple it over. However, Spot simply staggers sideways a few steps and easily regains its footing. The larger BigDog can walk up slopes as steep as 35 degrees and navigate through snow, water and muddy hiking trails.

Broadly, Boston Dynamics’ goal is to create a fleet of robots that can easily navigate real-world terrain. This could be useful for everything from sending Atlas into a disaster zone to letting Spot clean up a cluttered apartment (sorry, DJ Roomba).

They work with the military

Boston Dynamics has partnered with DARPA, the U.S. Navy, the Army and the Marines, according to its website. BigDog was funded in part by DARPA and is envisioned as a kind of robotic pack mule that could accompany soldiers on missions. The robots are incredibly strong—check out BigDog hurling a cinderblock—but to this point their uses seem centered on aiding people, not being weaponized to hurt humans. There’s a growing debate within the United Nations about whether nations need to establish rules about weaponied “killer robots” before they become easy to produce.

They’re part of Google’s robot army

Boston Dynamics is the most famous of Google’s robotics acquisitions, but the search giant snatched up at least seven other robotics companies in 2013. It also put Android creator Andy Rubin in charge of a new robotics division, though Rubin said last October that he was leaving Google. Google hasn’t said what it plans to do with all these robot companies, but the New York Times reports it will initially target enterprise customers and offer robots that can be used in manufacturing or retail.


New Report Documents 4,000 Lynchings in Jim Crow South

Hundreds more than previously known

A new report has tallied almost 4,000 lynchings of black people in the South during the Jim Crow era, about 700 more than were part of previous tallies of Southern lynchings.

The report by the Equal Justice Initiative, a nonprofit that provides legal counsel to the poor, calculates that there were 3,959 lynchings in the South from the end of the Reconstruction era in 1877 to 1950. The EJI report focuses specifically on what the group calls “racial terror lynchings.” The victims were killed often because they had committed some type of social transgression (like bumping into a white woman) or because they were accused of a crime. In cases involving criminal accusations, lynching victims were not given the due process of a trial. The perpetrators of these lynchings were not charged with crimes for the killings.

Georgia had the most lynchings during the period studied, with 586. Mississippi had the second-most, with 576 killings ,and Louisiana was third with 540. Florida had the highest rate of lynchings per capita, with 0.594 black residents being lynched annually per 100,000.

Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the EJI, is now on a campaign to get more communities to erect markers or memorials at locations where lynchings occurred. Most lynching sites are not publicly acknowledged.

TIME Airlines

JetBlue Will Let You Buy Food and Booze With Apple Pay

JetBlue Plane At John F. Kennedy International Airport
Allison Joyce—Getty Images A JetBlue plane is seen at John F. Kennedy International Airport April 27, 2012 in the Queens borough of New York City.

Everything is amazing

Apple and JetBlue want to give you one less reason to complain about the miracle of human flight.

The airline will begin accepting Apple’s new mobile payments service Apple Pay for mid-flight purchases of food, drinks and amenities next week. JetBlue will become the first airline to accept Apple Pay.

To make the new service work, JetBlue is issuing iPad Minis to 3,500 flight crewmembers. Attendants will able to use the devices to interact with customers who have an Apple Pay-equipped iPhone 6. Customers will also be able to pay with the Apple Watch when that device launches in the spring.

For now, Apple Pay is only usable on transcontinental flights from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to airports in San Francisco and Los Angeles. All JetBlue flights will accept Apple Pay by June.

[USA Today]

TIME Fast Food

Teen Found a Chicken Organ in His KFC Order

Johannes Eisele—AFP/Getty Images Two people walk past a KFC fast food restaurant in Shanghai on July 23, 2014.

He thought it was a chicken brain at first

A California teenager thought he found a chicken brain in his KFC order—and all he wants is his money back.

Manuel Cobarubies of Stockton was digging into an order of chicken and corn when he says he found the unusual organ earlier this month, the local Fox affiliate reports. He sent messages to KFC’s Twitter account requesting a refund.

Cobarubies says he eventually heard from a KFC official, who said that the organ was probably a gizzard or kidney and was completely edible. Still, the episode may deter the teen from visiting KFC again soon. “I’m probably just going to have to start packing my own meals, making my own sandwiches,” he said.



Heinz Is Now Selling Sriracha-Flavored Ketchup

Because sometimes regular ketchup just isn't enough

Sriracha lovers, rejoice! Heinz is bringing a new ketchup flavor featuring the popular hot sauce to U.S. shores.

The new condiment, rather mundanely called Heinz Tomato Ketchup Blended with Sriracha Flavor, is available now at retailers including Walmart and Target. Heinz says this new version of ketchup will be delicious on a lot of things that regular ketchup would be super weird on, like chicken and eggs. A taste test over at the Huffington Post determined that the ketchup has a bit more kick than old-fashioned Heinz but is still pretty far off from the hot and spicy flavor of straight sriracha.

The sriracha ketchup retails for $2.69 for a 16-ounce bottle.

TIME Media

How to Watch The Walking Dead Without Cable

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 5, Gallery - Photo Credit: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC
Frank Ockenfels 3—AMC Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes in The Walking Dead, Season 5.

Sling TV adds AMC to new live-TV streaming service

The biggest show in the history of cable television is no longer just on cable television.

AMC announced Monday that it’s joining the roster of channels available on Dish Network’s new television streaming service, Sling TV. That means, for the first time ever, the mega-popular zombie series The Walking Dead will be available to watch live for people who don’t have a traditional cable or satellite subscription. All the rest of AMC’s programming, including critical darling Mad Men and the new Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul, will also be available to stream.

The addition of AMC is a huge get for Sling TV, which launched Monday with a small bundle of channels offered to customers nationwide for $20 per month (AMC is not yet part of the lineup, but will be added “soon,” according to a press release). In addition to AMC, subscribers get ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, TNT Cartoon Network and several other channels. Customers can also buy topical add-on packs in categories such as sports and news for an additional $5 per month.

Sling TV is available for desktops, smartphones, Roku boxes and other streaming devices.

Sling TV is the latest in a growing number of online services that will let people live-stream television via the Internet without paying for cable. Sony is planning a TV service delivered online for its PlayStation platforms, while individual channels such as Viacom’s Nickelodeon and Time Warner’s HBO are also planning to offer their content online outside the traditional cable package.

The timing for the AMC add couldn’t be any better for Sling TV: The Walking Dead, which only grew more popular in 2014, returned with new episodes on Sunday.

TIME apps

10 Google Maps Tricks You Need to Know

Google Maps Returns To Apple's iPhone
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images The Google Maps app is seen on an Apple iPhone 4S on December 13, 2012 in Fairfax, California.

How to save an offline map, zoom with one hand and delete your travel history

Navigation apps are one of the most useful features of smartphones, and Google Maps is widely considered the cream of the crop — at least among free options. But chances are there are some features tucked away in Google Maps that you don’t know about. They could make mapping out your next vacation easier, or even improve your daily commute.

Here are ten tips and tricks to help you get the most out of Google Maps on iPhone and Android:

Create Offline Maps

If you want to be able to conserve your mobile data or check out a map when you can’t access the Internet, Google lets you save maps to be viewed offline. Simply zoom the map to the level of detail you want, then write OK Maps in the search field to save the map (you can also tap the microphone icon by the search bar and say “OK Maps”).

Alternatively, you can search for a specific location, select it to bring up the location’s information card, then click the menu icon in the top-right corner to bring up the “save offline map” option.

Launch Navigation Mode Faster

Turn-by-turn directions are one of Google Maps’ most helpful features. Usually it takes a few button presses to launch the feature, but you can start it on Android immediately by holding down the blue transportation icon in the bottom left corner of the app. The icon appears by default as a person, a car, a train or a bicycle depending on the mode of transportation Google thinks is most appropriate.

Zoom in With One Hand

Pinch-and-zoom is the typical way to hone in on a location with Maps, but if you’ve only got one hand free you can double tap the screen to zoom in quickly. If you hold your finger on the screen after the second tap, you can swipe up or down to smoothly zoom in or out.

Find ATMs

Next time you’re desperate to find an ATM, click the Google Maps search bar (make sure the field is blank) and press the ATMs button at the bottom of the screen. Maps will show the ATMs that are near your current location. You’ll find gas stations, grocery stores, pharmacies, car washes and other businesses in the same menu of options.

Save a Cool Location to Remember It Later

Next time you discover a cool new bar, search for the location on Google Maps and click “Save” on the business’s information card. Saved places appear as starred locations on your maps and can be accessed by selecting “Your Places” from the Google Maps menu.

Avoid Highways and Tolls

If you’re trying to avoid toll roads, select “Options” after you’ve pulled up driving directions to a location. You can check three boxes to avoid toll roads, highways or ferries.

Check Train and Bus Schedules

There are many dedicated apps for tracking public transit schedules, but often Google Maps is all you need. Ask for directions to a given location and Maps will automatically queue up a variety of public transit options, including the scheduled departure times for different buses and trains. You can also press bus, train or subway icons on the map itself to view departure and arrival times.

Share a Location With Friends

If you’re in a place devoid of streets and easy landmarks, like a large park, it can be hard to meet up with friends. Google Maps lets you easily drop a pin on any location and then share that location with friends. Simply press the spot on the map where you want the pin to appear, press the pin itself, then press the “share” button. The link to the spot can be sent via text message, email or social media.

Plan a Multi-Stop Route

If you’re headed on a road trip, you can use the desktop version of Google Maps to get directions for multiple stops on a single route. Click the search field box in the top left corner of the screen, then click “Directions.” After you input the first location you want to travel to, a plus sign will appear below the last destination. Click the sign to input the next location on your trip. When you’re done, Maps will calculate the total mileage of the trip and offer step-by-step directions that are easy to print.

Delete Your Maps History

Google uses a feature called Location History to track the track the movements of Android users who are logged into their Google accounts. You can see your own Location History map here. If you didn’t know you had the feature enabled, you might find it to be a useful tool to retrace the steps of your last wild night out — or you might suddenly feel a bit like Will Smith in Enemy of the State.

To disable Location History tracking, you can navigate the labyrinthine menus of your Android device (I found the Location History option by going to Settings, then Location, then Google Location Reporting on my Motorola Moto X running Android L) or by visiting Google’s Account History website, which lets you toggle various data gathering services on or off.

Read next: Here’s How to Enable Offline Maps in the Google Maps App

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