TIME NextDraft

More About The White House Intruder and Other Fascinating News on the Web

September 30, 2014

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1. Running Down a Dream

You see the men in dark suits and sunglasses listening to secret messages through their their earpieces, and you wonder at the near-magical tools being deployed to protect the Commander in Chief. It’s like a forcefield; a layer of security that is beyond your understanding, so advanced that no modern tactic could pierce through its multiple layers of techno-complexity. The most talented people in the most powerful nation are protecting the country’s most valuable person. But then some guy with a knife jumps a fence and runs across the lawn and makes it deep into the White House before being tackled, and your science fiction movie sense of security morphs into something that looks more like a scene from Home Alone. From WaPo: The White House fence-jumper made it far deeper into building than previously known.

+ Vox: How a man was able to run through the front door of the White House with a knife.

+ ABC: 6 Secret Service safeguards breached by White House intruder.

+ And the intruder “could have gotten even farther had it not been for an off-duty Secret Service agent who was coincidentally in the house and leaving for the night.” (Let’s make sure that guy gets paid time-and-a-half…)

2. Is That a Yes?

In reaction to the rise of sex crimes on college campuses, California Governor Jerry Brown signed country’s first affirmative consent law. According to the new law, “Consent can be conveyed by a verbal ‘yes,’ or signaled in a nonverbal way, but lack of resistance or objection cannot constitute consent.”

+ Slate: Consensual Sex? There’s an app for that.

3. The Polite Protest

Hong Kong leader CY Leung has indicated that China will not give in to the demands of protestors and demanded that the street rallies stop immediately. But with a holiday coming Wednesday, the protests could get bigger than ever.

+ Free fabric fresheners, signs apologizing for any inconvenience, and other things you’d only find at a Hong Kong protest.

+ NY Mag: After Hong Kong, Instagram isn’t just for brunch photos. (From Ferguson to Hong Kong, the Internet has turned photos into the international language.)

+ Buzzfeed: A 15-step guide to understanding why Hong Kong has erupted in protest

4. New Money

Ebay is spinning off PayPal and setting up an epic Internet payments battle. While the split had been pushed by Carl Icahn and other large investors, today’s move probably has as much to do with the announcement of Apple’s payment system and the rise of Stripe.

5. The Horatio Ratio

“From the beginning, selling the self-made dream to those who hoped to live it was a lucrative business itself. In a country where everyone thinks he’s bound to be a millionaire, you can make a fortune selling the secret to making that fortune.” Slate’s John Swansburg on the self-made man; the story of America’s most pliable, pernicious, irrepressible myth.

6. Online Confrontations

“Amanda is now a fat, happy mom in the suburbs and I’m still terrified of her. I know this because, for this story, I started contacting her on Facebook Messenger. I soon developed a Pavlovian response to the Facebook pop. It made my hands shake and my heart race. Sometimes I buried my face in my palms for two breaths before I checked the message.” From The Atlantic: Confronting My Cyberbully, 13 Years Later.

7. Scene Stealers

Netflix and the Weinstein Company came up with a plan to simultaneously release the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon on the big screen and small screen? But the people who own the big screens don’t think that’s such a great idea.

+ Why do so many people watch HGTV? (Oddly, that’s not a rhetorical question.)

+ It is “slow compared only with normal broadcast timetables. It runs not at the warp speed of narrative drama but at the rate of actual experience. It is not scripted or heavily edited; it is more concerned with movement than with tension, contrast, or character.” The iconic example of Slow TV is a seven-and-half hour recording of the exterior of a train as it travels along the countryside. From The New Yorker: Slow TV is Here.

+ If GoPro has its way, we’ll all be recording Slow TV (along with the action videos they’ve become known for). Someone definitely believes in GoPro’s promise. The company is currently worth nearly $12 billion. (That makes the Kodak Instamatic strapped to my head worth at least a couple million.)

8. Simple Twist of Phrase

“With five competing rivals, the pace of Dylan references accelerated.” NPR shares the odd story of a group of scientists who have been competing to sneak the most Bob Dylan references into their research papers.

9. The Mars Bar

“If we can establish a Mars colony, we can almost certainly colonise the whole Solar System, because we’ll have created a strong economic forcing function for the improvement of space travel.” From Aeon: Elon Musk argues that we must put a million people on Mars if we are to ensure that humanity has a future. There’s something about making huge money in technology that makes people want to live forever and move to Mars. Most of of us will be lucky if we make Moon money.

10. The Bottom of the News

Do you read the fine print when accepting online access agreements? Probably not. And neither did the Londoners who unwittingly agreed to hand over their first born child for Internet access. (Or maybe they read the agreement and thought it seemed like a reasonable deal.)

+ How Bill Murray went missing during Letterman’s first episode. (He had a good excuse.)

+ Finally, a wearable technology that shocks you when you’re bad. (Oh who are they kidding? Bill Murray invented that too.)

+ Does your car really need a tune-up?

nextdraft

TIME Culture

Watch Mindy Kaling and Elmo Dance Together

It's a cuteness explosion

Mindy Kaling stopped by Sesame Street Tuesday to help Elmo teach kids about a new vocabulary word: enthusiastic. It turns out that both Kaling and Elmo are enthusiastic about dancing. Watch the Mindy Project star break it down with your favorite fuzzy monster.

TIME society

World-Famous Violinist Joshua Bell Performs in Union Station

Joshua Bell performs in Union Station in Washington, D.C. on September 30, 2014.
Joshua Bell performs in Union Station in Washington, D.C. on September 30, 2014. Tessa Berenson

In 2007, Bell posed as a street performer in the Metro, and nobody noticed him. Today, he made sure everyone did.

At first glance, Joshua Bell’s violin performance in Union Station in Washington, D.C. Tuesday afternoon bears no resemblance to his famous subway performance seven years ago.

In 2007, as part of a social experiment for a Washington Post magazine article by Gene Weingarten, the renowned violinist posed as a street performer in the Metro to see if hurried commuters could recognize beauty in their midst. He wore a baseball cap, stood by the escalators in the L’Enfant Plaza Metro station in D.C., and opened his violin case for tips. (The case, by the way, that normally houses his multi-million dollar Stradivari violin.) To make a long story short: almost no one noticed him.

Today, Bell is once again playing in a train station, but this time he’s made sure people will notice. His publicist Jane Covner said that it was supposed to feel “impromptu,” but there’s nothing spontaneous about this. The performance was publicized; there’s a designated area for press marked off with red velvet ropes, and there are chairs and microphones set up where Bell performs. People begin arriving over an hour before he’s due to play, and by 12:30, there are hundreds of spectators packed into the main hall of Union Station, sitting on the hard floor, trying to squeeze close to the front along the edges of the room, and some even climbing on construction scaffolding to see over the mass of people.

Compare this to the scene in the train station seven years ago, when in his piece about the stunt, Gene Weingarten lamented, “There was never a crowd, not even for a second.”

Today Bell is playing with nine students from the National YoungArts Foundation to promote an upcoming HBO special entitled “Joshua Bell: A YoungArts MasterClass” and his new Bach album out today. So while 2007 was, according to Weingarten, an experiment in “context, perception and priorities — as well as an unblinking assessment of public taste,” today was all about Bell. His documentary, his album, his performance, his celebrity.

Weingarten took the stage first, appraised the hundreds, possibly thousands of people waiting patiently for Bell—some of whom had traveled from well outside the city to come see him play — and said, “This is a lot better than the first time. A lot better, trust me.”

Better, that is, because people were actually paying attention. This performance is “a do-over for the people in Washington,” Covner said. “Not a do-over for [Bell].” And some of those Washingtonians agreed. Weingarten asked for a show of hands how many people in the audience were some of the “morons” that passed by Bell in 2007; four hands went up. “We accept your apology,” Weingarten deadpanned.

Finally, Bell and his accompanists take the stage. They begin with the first movement of the Bach violin concerto. After the 2007 performance, Weingarten wrote, “There are six moments… that Bell finds particularly painful to relive: ‘The awkward times,’ he calls them. It’s what happens right after each piece ends: nothing. The music stops. The same people who hadn’t noticed him playing don’t notice that he has finished. No applause, no acknowledgment.”

Today, after first movement, the station echoes with booming applause, whoops and cheers. Bell beams as he says, “This is more like it!”

Then, looking out at the impressive crowd, he says, “The only thing I regret is we don’t have an open violin case for tips this time.” (Last time, he made a total of $32.17.)

But how can this performance really be seen as a redo of the last one? Yes, it’s in a train station (albeit a much finer one than L’Enfant Plaza), but the 2007 performance was about whether true artistry could be appreciated without fanfare in ordinary spaces. And while Union Station may not be a grand concert hall, today people came knowing they were going to experience something beautiful, which itself defeats the entire question Weingarten initially posed: “In a banal setting at an inconvenient time, would beauty transcend?”

So today’s performance was not a redo; it was a reimagining. Bell didn’t like the answer he found last time, so today he created a different one. He wanted to prove that art could transcend, if only you give people a little nudge.

“I think the whole idea is that if you give people a chance to listen to music and let them concentrate, then it means something,” Bell told TIME afterwards. “And this shows even in a train station that people can be totally focused.”

Finally, almost a decade later, Bell got the answer he was looking for when he first donned his baseball cap and descended into the Metro.

“I thought of it as closure,” he says. “It was a perfect end.”

Then he laughs: “I don’t see myself ever doing this again.”

TIME viral

This Video Captures Everything Wrong With Overblown Tech Hype

Ever heard of the MyBook?

Forget about the Apple Watch. What about the MyBook?

Never heard of it? In spoof video above, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone drops hints at, as an interviewer describes it, a “secret tablet-sized object you had in your hand at Disrupt?”

“My book?” Stone asks.

“The MyBook!” And that’s all it takes for the fanboys to being hyping up the most mysterious and disruptive product on the market.

Influential angel investor Ron Conway is behind the funny video launching One City, an initiative that asks tech companies to invest in their own communities. This pitch-perfect spoof touts a program that partners companies with schools, and it hilariously captures the zeitgeist surrounding tech products and begs the question: “What if schools were the next big thing in tech?”

 

TIME viral

Watch an 11 Year Old Perform a Killer Choreographed Dance to Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’

It's awesome, even if the song's subject matter isn't exactly, uh, tween-friendly

Sia hired an 11-year-old dancer to perform a ridiculously great dance routine in the video for her smash hit “Chandelier” — and maybe Nicki Minaj should have done the same thing for her “Anaconda” video. Just kidding, that probably would have been weird given the video’s, er, graphic nature. But if Nicki does decide to hire a tween dancer in the future, she should give Taylor Hatala a shout.

In the video above, 11-year-old Hatala — who her instructor Laurence Kaiwai describes as a “beast” — delivers a totally killer performance to “Anaconda” alongside Kaiwai, who choreographed the routine. The song and its lyrics clearly are not the most tween-friendly material, but at a certain point you kind of just forget that Hatala is 11 because whatever. She totally nails it.

 

TIME Advertising

This ‘Bra Cam’ Shows How Often Women’s Breasts Get Ogled

Nestlé created video in honor of October's Breast Cancer Awareness month

In honor of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month, Nestlé FITNESS launched a campaign encouraging women to #CheckYourSelfie.

How did the company drill the message home? By chronicling how often people ogle women’s breasts by implanting a camera in a bra. And it turns out that the volunteer’s breasts get checked out a lot, by men, women, babies, and dogs, alike.

To be fair, though, the woman in the video is walking around with a bright pink bra sticking out of her shirt, which is likely to draw attention — although far be it from us to knock a breast cancer awareness campaign.

This isn’t Nestlé’s first go at smart-bra innovation. In 2013, the company created a bra that tweets every time it gets unclasped:

We can only imagine what undergarment-related promotions 2015 will hold.

TIME celebrity

Watch Alex Trebek Make a Hilarious Mistake on Jeopardy! in an Unaired Clip

"I don't even know where the hell I am today! That's never happened before."

Jeopardy! posted a YouTube video of Alex Trebek bungling contestants’ names during a taping of the interview portion of the show.

In a snafu that never aired, he calls a woman by the wrong name and starts chatting her up about her recent trip to the Tower of London. She tells him she went with it instead of correcting him because “I just wanted to make you feel good.”

Looking dumbfounded, he then tells the audience he knows almost nothing going into each show. “I don’t even know where the hell I am today!” After more laughter ensues, he adds, “That’s never happened before.”

MORE: Alex, I’ll Take “How to Invest Like a Jeopardy Champ” for $1000

MORE: Find Jeopardy’s! Most Popular Clues Over 30 Years

MORE: Trebek Trolls Us All By Making ‘Final Jeopardy’ Question About the Pronunciation of ‘GIF’

TIME viral

Student’s Dream of Epic Yearbook Cat Photo Comes True

His wish was granted after an online petition went viral

Earlier this month, NewsFeed reported that Draven Rodriguez, a student at Schenectady High School in upstate New York, was asking the school’s administration to let him pose with his cat, Mr. Bigglesworth, in his senior portrait. An online petition with the photo below only needed 500 signatures to “pass,” but ended up going viral and racking up more than 7,400 signatures.

Vincent Giordano / Trinacria Photography

Now CBS6 reports that the petition worked! Well, sort of! The bad news is the photo still can’t be his senior portrait, but the good news is the school principal Diane Wilkinson posed for a new epic photo with Rodriguez and her pet chihuahua Vivienne that will go on her yearbook page to encourage animal rescue and adoption. Behold:

Vincent Giordano/Trinacria Photography

 

TIME Food & Drink

America’s Greatest Cookbook

A 10 year old compiled recipes from Chris Christie, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal and 23 other governors

When most children hear “school project,” they think cardboard dioramas and baking soda volcanoes. But others? They aspire to greatness.

Such was the case with one Miss Lauren Wu, 10, of San Carlos, Calif., who asked every U.S. governor for his or her favorite recipe. Twenty-six said yes. (Twenty-seven if you count Hawaii, who came in past the deadline.) The below cookbook is the result.

“American Cooking” speaks to the nation’s deeply engrained culinary traditions—Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley submitted a recipe for crab cakes; Florida Gov. Rick Scott sent two variations on Key Lime pie.

But it also reveals much about the personal and professional priorities of those governors who did not participate. If Chris Christie found time to send his blueberry French strata recipe on April 1, while he was deep in the muck dealing with Bridgegate scandal, what excuse do his non-participating peers have?

Miss Wu, however, is not one to hold a grudge. “The governors are all very busy,” she says, “and I don’t know, I’m sure they get a bunch of emails every day.”

She embarked on this project to learn more about cooking, and has already tried a number of the recipes at home. So far, her favorite has been Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead’s chocolate chip cookies. “We usually have chocolate chip cookies at our house,” she says, “but these were different—they were really fluffy and good.”

In the above video, she watched her friend and TIME staffer Joel Stein try his hand at Christie’s strata. As for O’Malley’s native dish, Wu says, “The crab cakes weren’t my favorite, because I’m not a huge fan of crab, but they were good still.” Plenty of experimentation remains ahead: “There are a lot of good options. Maybe I’m gonna try Maine’s blueberry pie, or maybe Florida’s Key Lime pie. I’m probably gonna try a pie of some sort.”

Wu intends to participate in the program that invited her to do this optional project again next year, when she will be in sixth grade. By then, there’s no doubt she’ll have the clout to get recipe submissions from the likes of Angela Merkel and Kim Jong-un.

American Cooking

 

TIME celebrity

Listen to Aretha Franklin’s Powerful Cover of Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’

Some listeners suspect that the legendary singer is being Auto-Tuned

On her upcoming album, Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics, the iconic songstress takes on 10 tracks originally written and performed by fellow female powerhouse vocalists. This week, Aretha shared the first single off the album. It’s a big, fiery, loud cover of a big, fiery, loud song: Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep.” (The song also manages to incorporate pieces of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”)

This is pretty exciting, yes, but some listeners have raised concerns about a possible use of Auto-Tune in this track. Auto-Tune, of course, is a device used to alter or enhance a singer’s pitch, and it’s understandable why people would be concerned about this, as Aretha Franklin is widely considered one of the greatest singers of all time. Many commenters were quick to point out that even if the track doesn’t include Auto-Tune itself, Aretha’s voice still sounds like it was enhanced in some way.

Either way, she’s still the Queen of Soul, and she still sings her heart out.

The album is out Oct 21, and we’ve heard that it includes a cover of Sinéad O’Connor’s “Nothing Compares 2 U,” so get excited.

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