TIME Panda Sex

Richard Nixon Asked a Reporter to Watch Panda Sex

A new book details the former president’s keen interest making sure his new pandas got busy

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When former Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai gave the United States two pandas in 1972, the result, as captured in a pun-perfect turn of phrase by first lady Pat Nixon, was “panda-monium,” report the authors of the new book The Nixon Tapes: 1971-1972.

And that panda-monium–something which we here at TIME, progenitors of our very own replacement panda-cam, know all about–has continued, once more proving that we are but one nation, under panda.

But the very first panda lover of all of us–the prototypical panda pursuer, the panda panderer to rule them all–was none other than bowling enthusiast and nearly two-term President Richard M. Nixon.

Nixon’s interest in his new Chinese pandas, Ling Ling and Hsing Hsing, was such that he was touchingly concerned with their sex lives.

Here’s Nixon’s exchange with Washington Star foreign editor Crosby Noyes, courtesy of The Washington Post.

Nixon: The problem, however, with pandas is that they don’t know how to mate. The only way they learn how is to watch other pandas mate. You see?

Noyes: [laughs]

Nixon: And, so they’re keeping them there a little while—these are younger ones—

Noyes: I see.

Nixon: —to sort of learn, you know, how it’s done.

Noyes: Sure, learn the ropes—

Nixon: Now, if they don’t learn it, they’ll get over here and nothing will happen, so I just thought you should just have your best reporter out there to see whether these pandas—

You get the picture.

In exchange for the pandas, the U.S. gave China two musk oxen, which are neat enough, sure, but it’s pretty clear who got the better end of that deal.

TIME Books

The Gang From Always Sunny Has Written a Self-Help Book

FX Season Premiere Screenings For "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" And "The League"
Jason LaVeris—FilmMagic / Getty Images

Because they're totally the kind of people who should be giving you advice

Dennis, Dee, Mac, Frank and Charlie from Always Sunny have already taught us plenty of things: how to sing a cappella, how to excel at the game of Flip Cup, and how not to act on a first date, for example. Since they’re so good at teaching people how to live their lives, they’ve written a self-help book, which will be released in January. (It’s available for pre-order on Amazon now.)

The book is called It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The 7 Secrets of Awakening the Highly Effective Four-Hour Giant, Today. Based on the description, it’s actually a bit hard to tell if it’s really a self-help book, or if it’s simply a book outlining the story of the gang writing a self-help book:

The Gang may have finally found their golden ticket. Left alone to close down Paddy’s Pub one night, Charlie Kelly inadvertently scored himself, and his friends, the opportunity of a lifetime—a book deal with a real publishing company, real advance money, and a real(ly confused) editor. While his actual ability to read and write remains unclear, Charlie sealed the deal with some off-the-cuff commentary on bird law and the nuances of killing rats (and maybe with the help of some glue fumes in the basement with an unstable editor on a bender). While The Gang is stunned by the news, and the legally binding, irrevocable contract left on the bar, they are also ready to rise to the task and become millionaires—and of course, help Charlie actually write the book.

But further details suggest that the book will indeed include some real advice:

In their own inimitable voices, Charlie, Mac, Dennis, Sweet Dee, and Frank weigh in on important topics like Relationships, Financial Success and Career, Fashion and Personal Grooming, Health and Diet, and Survival Skills, providing insane advice, tips, tricks, and recipes (Rum Ham anyone?) as only they can.

We already knew they were crab people — now we also know they’re book people.

TIME NextDraft

How Social Media Makes Us Feel Less Alone and Other Fascinating News on the Web

July 28, 2014

nextdraft_newsfeed_v2

1. Just Look at Yourself

Work, email, social media, a never-ending to-do list, too many commitments, too much on the schedule — you’re crazy busy. But are you this busy because it’s just the nature of life in our increasingly digital, device-driven society? Or is it — as a series of recent studies suggest — because you’ll do just about anything to avoid introspection? “In 11 experiments involving more than 700 people, the majority of participants reported that they found it unpleasant to be alone in a room with their thoughts for just 6 to 15 minutes.” (Can an Introspection App be far behind?) Louis C.K. often touches upon this need to be busy: “Sometimes when things clear away and you’re not watching anything and you’re in your car and you start going, oh no, here it comes, that I’m alone, and it starts to visit on you, just this sadness. And that’s why we text and drive. People are willing to risk taking a life and ruining their own because they don’t want to be alone for a second because it’s so hard.”

2. Outbreak

Over the weekend, the Ebola virus spread to a fourth African country. Nearly 700 people have died during the outbreak.

+ NYT: Fear of Ebola breeds a terror of physicians.

+ Quartz: Why Ebola reaching Nigeria’s largest city is a whole new level of scary.

3. Critical Condition

“In the name of humanity, the violence must stop.” So said UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who described Gaza as a place that is in “critical condition.” In Gaza, a hospital was hit with explosives that killed ten and injured many more. Hamas claimed the hospital was hit by Israeli airstrikes, while the IDF said the Israeli military has no role in the hospital damage, “and attributed the explosions to failed rocket launches from Gaza militants.”

+ “Death to the Jews.” The Daily Beast reports on the Isis black flags that are flying in Europe.

+ “The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.” Here’s a controversial but very interesting essay from Sam Harris: Why I don’t criticize Israel.

+ Here’s a stat that Israelis should watch: “Among Americans under 30, 29% say Israel is most responsible for the current violence compared with 21% who blame Hamas.” Here’s more from Pew on how Americans view the current Middle East crisis.

+ Even allies are arguing: From AP: US Fuming over Israeli Criticism of Kerry.

4. Face the Face

“Richard Norris was 22 when he shot himself in the face. This was back in 1997. He doesn’t remember how or why it happened, but his mom, who was three feet away, said it was an accident. She remembers pieces of Richard’s face showering her body. This was in the living room. The gunshot had blown off his nose, cheekbones, lips, tongue, teeth, jaw, and chin, leaving just his wide brown eyes and a swirl of nameless twisted flesh. The miracle that would come to define Richard’s life begins with these tragic details.” GQ’s Jeanne Marie Laskas on The New Face of Richard Norris. What’s it like to live with an entirely new face? Not nearly as easy as it looks.

5. There Goes the Neighborhood

Zillow has acquired Trulia, one of its key competitors, for $3.5 billion. In addition to making it even easier for your friends and colleagues to know exactly how much you paid for your house, will this mega-merger finally change the antiquated way we go about buying and selling real estate?

+ Dollar Tree acquired Family Dollar for 9.2 billion dollars. That seems like a perfect excuse to listen to Aloe Blacc sing a live, orchestral version of I Need a Dollar.

+ Arthur S. Demoulas gained control of Market Basket from his cousin Arthur T. Demoulas, who he then fired (It’s a longstanding family thing). But the employees and managers didn’t want to work for Arthur S, and now the customers are joining the fight to bring back Arthur T. From The Boston Globe, here’s the latest on the state of Market Basket.

6. Stream Interpretation

Ken Florance “dropped out of school and, in between Grateful Dead concerts and acid trips, made a pilgrimage to the Oregon home of Ken Kesey.” In other words, he has the perfect resume to be the dude who is responsible for making sure that Netflix keeps the video streaming.

+ Will you finally be able to get HBO without paying for cable? It could be coming to a screen near you. (Though, compared to Netflix, it might be priced like Valyrian Steel.)

+ Putting lipstick on a gig: For just slightly more than the fee Netflix charges you to access shows, movies, and a lot of award-winning original content, you can subscribe to the new Sarah Palin Channel, and “go beyond the sound bites and cut through the media’s politically correct filter.” It’s worth keeping an eye on this effort. It’s backed by industry veterans and is part of a larger migration of content from TV to the Internet.

7. Leggo My Logo

“Today, on the cusp of its 40th year, the symbol borne of necessity … at Portland State is one of the most recognizable in the world — so much so that it can stand alone.” OregonLive’s Allan Brettman looks back at a chance meeting and thirty-five bucks that led to one of world’s most recognizable logos. Hint: Just do it.

8. Cuckoo for Coconuts

It began as a street fight between two guys, and now coconut water is at the center of a swirling $400 million war for shelf space. Coconut water is also the leading cause of “Why the hell am I drinking this?”

+ To us, these market shifts may seem like silly fads. But to major corporations, these trends are big business. From Time: 10 things Americans suddenly stopped buying. (Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing gluten.)

9. Time Warp

“But, but…here is the thing. In terms of the internet, nothing has happened yet. The internet is still at the beginning of its beginning. If we could climb into a time machine and journey 30 years into the future, and from that vantage look back to today, we’d realize that most of the greatest products running the lives of citizens in 2044 were not invented until after 2014.” Kevin Kelly in Medium: You are not late. Unless your over 30. Then you’re late as hell.

10. The Bottom of the News

“In Connecticut pickles must bounce to officially be considered pickles.” Wired has put together a list of some of the most ridiculous laws in America.

+ Welcome to the front lines of the Times Square superhero crackdown.

+ McSweeney’s: The first annual conference on how to tell Samantha I really like her.

nextdraft

TIME Dating

OkCupid Relaunches OkTrends: A Beloved Blog That Tracks Online Daters’ Fascinating Habits

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OkCupid relaunched OkTrends after 3 years off Getty Images

After a three-year hiatus

In 2009, OkCupid gave the people of the Internet a beautiful gift. No, not eternal love. A peek into the its massive treasure trove of user data — exposing everything from strange overshares (How much do Twitter users masturbate?) to serious issues (How does race impact the messages you receive?).

The observations and statistics were catalogued in the blog OkTrends, written by OKC co-founder Christian Rudder, which started accumulating some 1 million unique views per post. But in April 2011, the web favorite went dormant, leaving its fans questioning, what’s REAL “stuff white people like” today?

Until now. Monday marked the relaunch of OkTrends.

“We always said we were going to relaunch the blog,” Rudder says. “I put it on pause because I was working on a book… but with that being finished and about to come out, it was time to restart.”

All hail.

Since the OkTrends lull occurred two months after Match.com bought OkCupid, Rudder says some people floated conspiracy theories that Match shut it down. “They absolutely did not,” he says. “In fact they were sad we had to take time off from it.”

But with his book Dataclysm: Who We Are set for a September release, Rudder says he’s back and ready to write a new OkTrends post once every four weeks.

This month’s post proudly declared “We Experiment on Human Beings!” — appropriate given the collective freakout over Facebook’s June emotional manipulation study — and chronicles times the dating network used its users as guinea pigs. For example, OkCupid once told people with a 30% compatibility rating that they were a 90% match, just to see what happened.

Even though Rudder says OkCupid only gets an estimated 1,000 people to sign up after a post goes live, “the effect is more simmering than that.”

For example, if a woman reads an OkTrend piece when she’s in a relationship, she might remember a particularly insightful post several months later when she’s single again and sign up for the service.

“It was more of a long game for us,” Rudder says. “It’s like a billboard in Times Square for Coke. I don’t think people walk past it and are like, ‘I’ve gotta go get a Coke right now.’ It just puts it in their mind and then, when they’re thirsty, they go get a Coke.”

 

TIME Internet

Facebook Isn’t the Only Website Running Experiments on Human Beings

Online Dating
Getty Images

OKCupid proudly cops to the trend

It was the Facebook study heard ’round the world. In June, the social network revealed that it had briefly tweaked its algorithm for a lucky (or unlucky) 698,003 users to make them feel happier (or sadder) based on what they see on their Newsfeed. The reaction to human experimentation—creepy emotional manipulation! mind control!—came out so strong, that Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.) asked the FTC to investigate.

Christian Rudder, the co-founder of dating site OKCupid, was shocked by the internet’s shock. “It’s just a fact of life online,” he says. “There’s no website that doesn’t run experiments online.”

And so, Rudder posted OKTrends’ first blog post in three years Monday to announce to the world, “We experiment on human beings!”

Rudder relaunched the site with the revelation that “OkCupid doesn’t really know what it’s doing,” which is why it uses human guinea pigs. And to be honest, “If you use the Internet, you’re the subject of hundreds of experiments at any given time, on every site.”

For example, OkCupid decided to run an experiment in which it told people who were bad matches (30%) that they actually had a compatibility score of 90%. And the result was that they were far more likely to exchange four messages — aka an actual “conversation” — with a bad match they thought was good than with a bad match they knew was subpar.

OkTrends

Luckily, OKC investigated further and found that all online daters aren’t just sheep. Matches were far more likely to have conversations with people they were actually matches with as opposed to people they were told they were good matches with.

OkTrends

Other experiments can be found in the OkTrends blog post.

Rudder argues that some online experiments can lead to offline life changes, like when Facebook tests out a new layout on a small percent of users to see if it’s more effective. “My wife’s Facebook was ordered differently than mine,” he says. “You know, I’m not saying that we are now totally different people, but she saw some news that I didn’t see and she reacted to it and whatever.”

Or the changes can be bigger, Rudder says. “On OkCupid, when we make a change, even a mundane one, that changes who people talk to, who they flirt with, who they go on dates with, and I’m sure in some cases who they get married to.”

At the end of the day, Rudder thinks, “If you like Facebook or think that Reddit is a good thing or OKCupid is a good thing, then almost by definition experiments can be good. That’s the only way you get from Facemash, which Mark Zuckerberg made in his dorm room, to Facebook.”

TIME nation

Police Say Toddler Raced Home to Watch Cartoons After Crashing Jeep into House

This photo provided by the Myrtle Creek Police Department shows a Jeep that authorities say a toddler crashed into an home in Myrtle Creek, Oregon. Myrtle Creek Police Department – AP

The three-year-old was not injured

An Oregon toddler crashed a Jeep into a neighbor’s house and then went home to watch cartoons on Tuesday, July 22, according to police, CNN reports.

The Myrtle Creek Police Department has said the three-year-old boy managed to climb into the vehicle with the keys and knock it out of gear. KPTV reports that witnesses saw the car roll down the street and through an intersection before crashing into a neighbor’s house. A police officer found the boy sitting on the couch in his home watching cartoons on TV, Myrtle Creek Police officer Kevin Taggart told CNN.

The damage to the house is reportedly minor, and the child was not injured. ABC News reports that police cited the toddler’s mother Brennan Pennington for the lack of supervision.

 

TIME animals

9 of the Cutest Dogs All Dressed Up as Superheroes for Comic-Con

Clearly cosplay isn't just for humans

This year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego was truly a celebration of all things comics, all things superheros and, perhaps above all, all things beautifully weird. For many, one of the best parts of the festival is seeing the endlessly creative cosplay (short for costume play) — and while we usually think of humans participating in that, plenty of dogs got in on the fun too. Here are some of our favorite canine cosplayers:

Ollie the French Bulldog, dressed in a "Shazam" costume, sits outside of the San Diego Convention Center during the 2014 Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego
Ollie the French Bulldog, dressed in a “Shazam” costume, sits outside of the San Diego Convention Center during the 2014 Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego, California July 24, 2014. Sandy Huffaker—Reuters
Mark Shaffer walks with Chopper The Biker Dog outside of the San Diego Convention Center during the 2014 Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego
Mark Shaffer walks with Chopper The Biker Dog outside of the San Diego Convention Center during the 2014 Comic-Con International Convention in San Diego, California July 25, 2014. Sandy Huffaker—Reuters

And here, as a bonus gift to you, are two pooches from last year’s festival in San Diego — and one from Dublin:

Exploring California's San Diego County
A pomeranian dog dressed as Batman sits in a toy electric car outside Comic-Con 2013 on July 23, 2013, in San Diego. George Rose—Getty Images
Comic Con Fans Attend The Annual Convention In San Diego
Beckham the dog sports a Superman costume during Comic Con on July 19, 2013 in San Diego. Sandy Huffaker—Getty Images
Dublin Comic Con
Homer the Super Dog, one of the attendees at the Dubin Comic Con event at the National Show centre in Dublin on August 11, 2013. Niall Carso—PA Wire/Press Association Images/AP

 

TIME animals

Scaredy Cat So Freaked By The Outdoors He Tries To Hide In Stranger’s Bag [VIDEO]

It's the great indoors for this cat

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They call it the great outdoors, but when you’re a house cat who has never stepped foot outside before, it may not seem so great.

Take the cat in this video making the rounds on the web this morning. The cat’s owner thought it would be nice to take the pet for a walk in the fresh air. The owner hooked his furry friend up to a leash and took him outside for the first time ever. Instead of being overjoyed at his first foray into the open, the cat is overwhelmed to the point of agoraphobic. His first instinct appears to be to impersonate an ostrich, burying his head, not in the sand, but in a passing stranger’s handbag.

Some cats are just meant to be avid indoorsmen.

MORE: You Will Barely Recognize This Abandoned Dog After His Much Needed Haircut

MORE: This Dog Was So Excited to Be Reunited With Its Owner That It Passed Out

TIME technology

Attaching a GoPro Camera to a Car Wheel Creates a Weird, Futuristic Kaleidoscope

Warning: you may feel a bit dizzy

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The small, waterproof camera known as a GoPro can capture everything from a face-to-face encounter with a shark to the experience of getting robbed at gunpoint. But it can also capture some seemingly mundane situations in unexpectedly beautiful ways, too.

Take, for example, this University of Wisconsin student who decided to mount a GoPro to the wheel of his car using duct tape. The result? One oddly hypnotic little trip of a video.

TIME animals

9 Camps and Retreats to Help Your Pet Sort Out Its Existential Crisis

From popping bacon-scented bubbles on a "Wooftop" terrace to a workshop that teaches your dog how to fetch a beer from the fridge

While kids have been going to camp for years, and the number of camps for adults has been growing, where can their furry friends have fun in the sun? As pet industry spending is expected to reach nearly $60 billion in the U.S. this year, NewsFeed has decided to round-up pet summer camps and retreats nationwide and the new activities for 2014. All but one are for dogs, and while some of them have already taken place for the summer, many have late August and fall sessions right around the corner. Sit back, read up, and enjoy the dog days of summer.

  • Wag Hotels

    Wag Hotels

    At the 2014 summer camp run by Wag Hotels in San Francisco, dogs have chased bacon-scented bubbles on the rooftop terrace — ahem, “Wooftop Terrace,” to be exact. New activities include wine tasting with “doggie wine” (carrot juice), and campers get tattoos on their rumps of hearts, skull & cross bones, and butterflies. The camp also takes place in West Sacramento and Redwood City.

  • Call of the Wild Dog Camp

    Heather Ohmart / City Dog Country Dog

    At this camp in the Yachats River Valley on the Oregon Coast, “Happy Hour” is called “Yappy Hour.” One of the new workshops this summer is “Bring Me a Beer,” which is exactly what it sounds like. Dogs are taught how to fetch a beer from the fridge and carry it over to their owners.

  • Camp Dogwood

    Renny Mills Photography

    “Barn Hunt” is the newest activity at Camp Dogwood, which hosts camps in Lake Delton, Wisconsin, and Ingleside, Illinois. Live rats are put in tubes that look like hamster balls and are then hidden in hay so the dogs have to find them.

  • Camp Gone to the Dogs

    Steve Surfman

    Barn Hunt was also a new activity at the Vermont retreat. There’s also square dancing and freestyle dancing for dogs and their owners who want to boogie down “doggie style.”

  • Canine Camp Getaway of NY

    Laurie Coger

    This upstate New York program offers workshops like “Barks & Crafts,” in which dogs do finger (paw) painting on t-shirts, and dog skateboarding, in which dogs are taught how to stand on the skateboard, get a running start, and take off. New activities offered this year are “Doga”, a form of yoga that dogs do with their owners, and a bone stacking contest.

  • Yellowstone Dog Sports

    Melissa Dragovich / Yellowstone Dog Sports

    Herding is a popular workshop at this camp near Red Lodge, Montana, which is about an hour northeast of Yellowstone National Park, just north of the Montana-Wyoming border. While agility and “search and rescue” exercises are supposed to be physically stimulating for the dogs, astronomy lectures are supposed to be intellectually stimulating for their humans.

  • Camp Unleashed

    Jason Houston

    “Canine Massage How-to” is one of the newest activities at this camp for dogs, which has locations in Asheville, North Carolina, and The Berkshires in Massachusetts. Human campers learn how to give their pets a massage “to enhance the flow of positive energy between you and your dog,” according to the orientation packet.

  • Camp Winnaribbun

    Sharon Eide

    Based right on the beach on the south shore of Lake Tahoe in Zephyr Cove, Nevada, the camp will take dogs on hikes along different parts of the lake. This year, for the first time, the program will host a birthday celebration for the dogs, featuring various booths like bobbing for tennis balls and paw readings, the canine version of palm readings.

  • Morris Animal Inn

    Morris Animal Inn

    Lastly, we’ll throw cat owners a bone. At Morris Animal Inn in Morristown, N.J., lodging is made up of “condos”, duplexes with climbing areas, TVs, rugs, and mini versions of furniture humans use like dressers, nightstands, and sofas with wood frames. Felines feast on mahimahi, and staffers take them on “walks” along the nature trail on the grounds in strollers lined with lambswool.

    Dogs can vacation here, too. In fact, the resort’s canine fitness camp for overweight pets recently made headlines, offering activities from “Barko Polo” to “pawlates.”

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