TIME Business

Apparently Hello Kitty is a Human Girl, Not a Cat

The cat's out of the bag!

In a Los Angeles Times interview, Christine Yano, curator of an upcoming exhibit on Hello Kitty at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, said Sanrio considers its billion-dollar icon to be a human girl. As she put it:

“I was corrected — very firmly. That’s one correction Sanrio made for my script for the show. Hello Kitty is not a cat. She’s a cartoon character. She is a little girl. She is a friend. But she is not a cat. She’s never depicted on all fours. She walks and sits like a two-legged creature. She does have a pet cat of her own, however, and it’s called Charmmy Kitty.”

Cue the collective—and understandable—”What?!?!?!” on social media.

Sanrio indeed confirmed the news and also pointed us to Hello Kitty’s official bio:

As tall as five apples, and as heavy as three, Hello Kitty is a bright little girl with a heart of gold. She loves to bake cookies and play the piano, and dreams of one day becoming a pianist or maybe even a poet. She has a gift for music and English, and a soft spot for Mama’s apple pie. Hello Kitty and her twin sister Mimmy are the best of friends.

This story was updated to include Sanrio’s response.

TIME animals

Here’s The World’s Fastest Dog on Two Paws

His top speeds beat out how fast humans walk normally

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Jiff, performing pomeranian and Internet star, has set two world records – one for the fastest 10 meters on hind legs (6.56 seconds) and another for the fastest 5 meters on front paws (7.76 seconds) at an Illinois kennel in September, according to a Guinness World Records statement. That means the fluffy pom can literally walk at 3.4 miles per hour, slightly faster than the average walking speed of humans.

world-record-pomeranian-jiff
Guinness World Records

The dog will be featured in the Guinness World Records 2015 Edition, due out September 10, but Jiff has been quite the star for a while now. A social media sensation, the pom has appeared in the film Adventures of Bailey: A Night in Cowtown, the music video for Katy Perry’s “Dark Horse,” and a tweet from Ke$ha, who claimed Jiff was her “new boyfriend.”

And if Jiff’s credentials haven’t put you to shame yet, then ponder this: do you have an IMDB page?

Guinness World Records

But being the world’s fastest dog is only one trick in the Los Angeles pom’s repertoire. Jiff, whose owners have remained anonymous so that he gets all the attention, can also skateboard, stamp his autograph, cover his eyes and bow, among other moves. He’s known for his impromptu performances at the Santa Monica Pier and the Hollywood Walk of Fame—but if you can’t make it to one of those, there’s always his online trick demos.

TIME Food & Drink

All-Nutella Restaurant Coming to New York City

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post—Getty Images

Sweet idea!

Attention Nutella fans: Book a ticket to Brooklyn and pack the pants with the stretchiest waistbands, because an all-Nutella restaurant is opening in Park Slope, Grub Street reports.

The menu for the soon-to-open aptly-named restaurant Nutelleria is filled with chocolate-nut spread-filled delights, including breakfast pizzas, crepes, croissants and a bacon-banana-Nutella waffle sandwich, that should give Mario Batali and Dominique Ansel a run for his money (unless they team up to serve Nutella-filled Cronuts).

The exact opening day for the restaurant run by self-described “Nutella enthusiasts” is still to be determined, but buzz is already building around the chocoholic’s dream spot, who may already be eying opening an additional location in Miami.

While Nutella freaks worldwide love the concept, Ferrero, the Italian company that makes Nutella, may not be a fan. In the past, the company has sent cease and desist letters to Nutella visionaries around the world, including Boloco, a New England chain that sold a Nutella-yogurt shake on the grounds that they “don’t endorse the use of Nutella or the Nutella brand in frozen beverages,” as well as the creator of World Nutella Day. Plus, the company has its own Nutella bar set up across the East River in Eataly and may not take a shine to the competition, even though there’s probably more than enough Nutella love to go around.

Don’t worry, there are always these Nutella alternatives.

MORE: There’s a $10 Secret Menu Item at Arby’s Called the Meat Mountain

MORE: Mozzarella Is the Best Pizza Cheese, According to Science

TIME NextDraft

Study: Facebook and Twitter Users Don’t Voice Controversial Opinions and Other Fascinating News on the Web

August 27, 2014

nextdraft_newsfeed_v2

1. Cat Got Your Tongue?

The Internet is supposed to be the vast network that provides a new and unprecedented way for us to share our diverse opinions. But it turns out that the Internet cats have got your tongue. According to a new survey from Pew, people who use Facebook and Twitter are less likely to share their opinions on controversial issues. And that self-censorship spills over to their offline lives as well. “Researchers said they detect what they call the spiral of silence phenomenon: Unless people know their audience agrees, they are likely to shy away from discussing anything controversial.” That’s really terrible. (Unless you think it’s good, in which case it’s really good.)

+ It’s amazing how powerful an impact online life can have on even longstanding friendships. I saw that first-hand during a trip to Vegas a couple years ago: What Happens in Facebook…

2. Ain’t No Change in the Weather

Given the need for Senate approval, there’s basically no way that the U.S. could sign a global climate change treaty. So President Obama is working on an international “agreement” instead. The goal is to avoid another Kyoto, when the world signed a climate change treaty and the Senate rained on their parade.

3. Worth It?

After fifty days of fighting and a couple days of truce, Quartz takes a look at the latest cease-fire in Gaza, by the numbers.

+ MoJo reports on a game called Peacemaker that let’s you try to solve the Middle East conflict.

+ Freed American journalist Peter Theo Curtis thanks the “brave determined and big-hearted people” who helped save him.

+ The New Yorker’s George Packer: “Among the many reasons to mourn Foley’s death is the loss of his reporting, and of reporting in general, from Syria.”

+ Another reporter who was once kidnapped while reporting in Syria explains why it wasn’t worth it: “Now that he’s gone, I wish I could believe that such an extraordinary person died striving to inform an American public yearning to know the truth. It’s harder to accept what really happened, which is that he died while people eagerly formed opinions on his profession and the topics he covered without bothering to read the stories he put in front of them.”

4. All You Can Eat Buffett

Let’s see if we can gain any insight into Warren Buffett’s investment strategy by looking at some of the companies he’s invested in: Coke, See’s Candy, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Wrigley. You know you want it all. And so does Buffett.

+ Who’s in the office? NPR graphs the American workday.

5. From Startup to Neverending

The process usually goes like this. You start a tech company. You make a few million bucks. Then you realize that, hey, life is good and you’d like to live a little longer. Like forever. Former techie Dave Asprey explains: “I decided that I was just not going to die. That would be my next challenge.” (My next challenge is taking up squash.) FastCo takes you inside the quest to disrupt death.

+ Don’t trust today’s scientists and geeks to find the cure for death? Well, for a couple hundred grand, you can swap your blood for antifreeze and wait things out.

+ Computer modeling and bioengineering could be good for you in the long run. In the near term, it could be even better for those creatures who suffer the slings and arrows (and scalpels) of animal testing.

+ Five diseases that wearables are tackling.

+ You’re not old. It’s just that your blood is old. The latest research on young blood.

6. The Dread Carpet

Remember that story about the white movie producer who was detained and handcuffed on the way to an Emmy party because police thought he was a bank robber? Neither does anybody else. But that did happen to a black producer, which at this point, surprised exactly no one.

7. A Superego, an Id and an Ego Walk Into a Bar

“Clients follow her up a narrow staircase, past the bar and VIP lounge, to a third-floor office where they sit on an old-fashioned red couch that used to belong to Groucho Marx. Clowns gape from the walls. Through the floorboards rise the muffled sounds of jokes living and dying on the stage below.” Meet the psychologist who works out of an office at a comedy club to help comedians to keep laughing.

8. Grad School of Hard Knocks

“People often ask if jail is like Orange Is the New Black, but I see nothing similar in incarceration and entertainment. Every day in jail, you are belittled and berated.” Cecily McMillan explains how she went from grad school to prison.

9. Cutting to the Chase

“I had been talking with Chase for a few years when I finally asked him whether Tony was dead. We were in a tiny coffee shop, when, in the middle of a low-key chat about a writing problem I was having, I popped the question. Chase startled me by turning toward me and saying with sudden, explosive anger, ‘Why are we talking about this?’ I answered, ‘I’m just curious.’ And then, for whatever reason, he told me. And I will tell you. So keep reading.” Spoiler alert. Tony lived. But the ending was really all about your imagination.

10. The Bottom of the News

We started this edition by questioning the ability of the Internet to provide a panacea. Let’s end with a reminder of all that is great about this online world of ours with this remarkably enjoyable video: Is this the new iPhone 6?

+ Can you read these classic first lines of novels written in emojis?

+ ESPN felt the need to report on Michael Sam’s showering habits. One of his teammates summed up the response: “Dear ESPN, Everyone but you is over it.”

+ Zara decides to pull their recently released shirt that looks like a concentration camp uniform. (Next, they should design themselves a dunce cap.)

+ The GoPro dog harness has arrived.

+ Coming soon to reality TV: Sex Box: A show where people have sex in a box on TV, and then discuss it with an expert panel.

nextdraft

TIME animals

11 Lobster Facts That Will Leave You Shell-Shocked

A blue lobster caught by Jay LaPlante off Pine Point in Scarborough, Maine. Meghan LaPlante—AP

Yes, they can naturally be blue.

Earlier this week, a Maine lobsterman and his 14-year-old daughter made headlines because they caught a blue lobster. Turns out chances of finding one are 1 in 2 million, and the blue color is caused by a genetic defect that produces “an excessive amount of a particular protein.”

We thought that tidbit was as good a time as ever to consider the lobster. Herewith, 11 totally essential facts:

1. They keep growing forever.

Or so research suggests. But scientists won’t be able to tell how long lobsters really live because traps aren’t designed to catch the largest lobsters. “When we catch one that is 20-30 pounds, it’s because a claw got caught in the entrance of the trap, not inside,” says Robert C. Bayer, executive director of The Lobster Institute at the University of Maine.

2. They eat each other.

“They’re looking for fresh food and what’s around, and if that happens to be another lobster, then it’s dinner,” says Bayer. “One of the reasons lobster culture is not profitable is because they are cannibalistic, and there are lot of expenses that go along with that.”

3. Females are players—and they make the first move.

Not much courtship precedes lobster love-making. Females that have just shed their shells send out a pheromone to let the males know they’re in the mood. Usually, lobsters that shed their shells are vulnerable and could be eaten by other lobsters, but when a female says she’s ready to get it on, the male lobster will usually opt to have sex with her over killing her.

How do they do it? “I would describe it as the missionary position,” Bayer says. Six to nine months later, eggs appear on her tail, and after another six to 9 months, they hatch. A one-pound-and-a-half female lobster can have between 8,000 to 12,000 eggs, each about the size of a raspberry segment. And they could be from multiple fathers. Females are not monogamous.

4. They taste with their legs.

Chemosensory leg and feet hairs identify food. Small antennae in front of their eyes are used for tracking down food that’s farther away. “If you watch a lobster in a tank in a market, you’ll see they’re flipping, looking for food, dissolved substances in the water,” says Bayer.

5. They chew with their stomachs.

The grinding structure for breaking up food is called the gastric mill, kind of like a set of teeth on their stomachs, which are right behind the eyes and the size of a walnut in a one-pound lobster.

6. The green in cooked lobsters is liver.

Well technically, it’s the tomalley—a digestive gland that’s the intestine, liver, and pancreas. And any red things are eggs.

7. They don’t scream in pain when you cook them.

The noise you hear is “air that has been trapped in the stomach and forced through the mouth after being out of water for short periods of time,” says Bayer. Lobsters don’t have vocal chords, and they can’t process pain.

8. One of their claws can exert pressure of up to 100 pounds per square inch.

So they may not feel pain, but they can cause some serious pain. Researchers discovered that after having the lobster’s larger claw, the crusher claw, clamp down on a load cell, a pressure-measuring device. This claw looks like it has molars because it’s used to break up anything hard like crabs, clams, mussels. The other, called the ripper claw or the quick claw, tears softer food like fish or worms.

9. They can regenerate limbs.

“It’s going to take probably a good five years for a one-pound lobster to regenerate a claw that’s about the same size of one that was lost,” says Bayer. But they can do it.

In this March 31, 2011, photo, a lobster is posed next to a golf ball made from ground lobster shells in Orono, Maine. Robert F. Bukaty – AP

10. Their shells were once used to make golf balls.

Shells left over after lobster processing are usually tossed into landfills. So in an effort to make them worth something and keep the money in the lobster industry, a University of Maine professor created golf balls with a core made out of lobster shells. They’re also biodegradable, designed for golfing on cruise ships or courses near oceans and lakes.

The problem is they only go about 70 percent of the distance of a regular golf ball, so you won’t see them at the U.S. Open anytime soon.

11. Once upon a time, they were the go-to prison food.

In the colonial era, only the poor, indentured servants, and prisoners ate lobsters because they were cheap, too plentiful, and considered “tasteless.” After prisoners in one Massachusetts town got sick of eating them all the time, a new rule said they only had to eat them three times a week.

 

TIME Gadgets

You Can Now Buy a GoPro Camera Harness For Your Dog

GoPro's new Fetch Dog Mount. GoPro Inc

The video camera maker has launched a new product for pet lovers

Now you can feel even closer to your dog by seeing the world from a more canine point of view.

GoPro, which makes tiny cameras popular with adventurers and travelers, has launched a new camera mount for dogs called Fetch. The dog harness is adjustable to accommodate dogs of all sizes, and GoPro cameras can be attached in two different locations: on the dog’s back and underneath its chest. With Fetch, you can watch your dog chew its bone close-up or frolic through a dog park.

GoPro's new Fetch Dog Mount in action.
GoPro’s new Fetch Dog Mount in action. GoPro Inc

The harness is washable and includes a tether to make sure the camera stays in place. The harness is by no means cheap, costing $60 (camera not included), and as of Wednesday afternoon, the product was already out of stock. You can check it out here.

The other dogs at the dog park will be so jealous.

TIME viral

David Lynch Plays Trumpet in Ice Bucket Challenge, Nominates Putin

Exactly what you'd expect from the director

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As the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge makes its way around the globe, it was only a matter of time until it eventually came around to director David Lynch. Naturally, the man who brought us Blue Velvet, Eraserhead and Elephant Man interpreted the fundraising and awareness-raising exercise in a very David Lynchian way.

Challenged by Laura Dern (who starred in his film Wild at Heart) to dump iced coffee over his head, the director dumped a double shot of espresso into a bucket of ice water and proceeded to play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” on the trumpet until someone drenched him with the jumbo iced Americano. It was an odd cinematic moment that still managed to makes more sense than Mulholland Drive.

Lynch made the video a two-for-one deal, as he was also nominated for the stunt by The Leftovers star Justin Theroux. Still soaking from the original dousing, Lynch had another bucket dumped on him, disappointingly with just plain old ice water.

As water dripped down his face, Lynch passed the nomination forward. To Vladimir Putin.

MORE: Matt Damon Uses Toilet Water for His Ice Bucket Challenge

MORE: Superman Proves He’s Superman By Hardly Wincing During The Ice Bucket Challenge

TIME Food

Mozzarella Is the Best Pizza Cheese, According to Science

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Pizza Fabio Sabatini—Getty Images/Flickr Open

No word yet on the best topping

Mozzarella is the best pizza cheese because it melts, bubbles and browns better than any other cheese, according to a new study published in the August issue of the Journal of Food Science, titled “Qualification of Pizza Baking Properties of Difference Cheese and Their Correlation with Cheese Functionality.”

Researchers in New Zealand compared pizzas using mozzarella, cheddar, Edam and Gruyere cheese using software specifically designed to measure browning, blistering and oil. Mozzarella, they found, was stretchier than other cheese, which allowed bigger bubbles to form when water evaporated from the pizza. And since mozzarella isn’t as oily or as filled with moisture as, say, Gruyere, it browned more easily.

The scientists concluded that these factors make mozzarella the most appealing to both the eye and the taste buds.

 

TIME Food & Drink

Texas Brewery Unveils 99-Pack of Beer

99 Pack Beer
Helms Workshop

The 7-foot-long monster is all yours for $99.99

Don’t mess with Texas, especially when it comes to beer.

Austin Beerworks has partnered with Helms Workshop to launch “the world’s first and only 99-pack” of its Peacemaker Anytime Ale.

Moving it will take a few friends because the 99-pack is over 7 ft long (2.13 m) and weighs 82 pounds (37 kg), according to the brewery. Inside the box are three rows of 33 cans of the pale ale, which, if you drank them all, would amount to over 15,000 calories.

“What started out as a joke became very real when we realized how much people love the idea of 99 beers for $99.99!” Austin Beerworks co-founder Michael Graham said in a press release.

A limited supply of 99-packs are expected to hit selected stores this week.

“Good luck and remember,” the 99-pack creators warn on the website, “lift with your legs, not your back.”

 

TIME animals

Happy 29th Birthday to What Is Believed to Be The Oldest Wombat in Captivity

He may be "the oldest living wombat virgin" as well

Patrick, the oldest wombat in captivity, according to Ballarat Wildlife Park, turned the ripe old age of 29 on August 25.

His longevity is not the norm. In the wild, wombats tend to live only five years, while those in captivity average a lifespan of around 20 years.

Patrick — who was named the “3rd best city mascot” by CNN — is an Australian legend who has been greeting visitors to the wildlife park for decades. He was hand-raised by zookeepers after he was orphaned as a joey, as marsupial babies are called. According to Tourism Australia, “the team at the park tried releasing Patrick back into the wild a couple of times but he couldn’t defend himself against other wombats.”

The plus-sized Common Wombat may also be the world’s largest, tipping the scale at 88 lbs (40kg). He’s so big that Ballarat Wildlife Park curator Julia Leonard used to push the lovable wombat around in a wheelbarrow just “to keep a check on what is going on,” according to the organization’s website. He’s now been retired from active park duty, preferring to hang (and eat) in his pen.

Oldest and largest aren’t the only titles that Patrick has earned during his long life. According to Australia.com’s Facebook post, he may have earned another slightly more ignominious title as well. “Given that Patrick has never had children, or any partners in general, probably makes him the oldest living wombat virgin as well!,” said the post. “Congrats mate!”

MORE: Little Girl and Tibetan Mastiff Are Best Friends

MORE: Lil Bub Stars in a Summer Version of the Yule Log

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