TIME Malaysia

Malaysia Airlines Asked for Travelers’ ‘Bucket Lists’ in Ill-Advised Contest

A member of ground crew works on a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-800 airplane on the runway at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang
A member of ground crew works on a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 737-800 airplane on the runway at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on July 25, 2014 Olivia Harris—Reuters

Would-be passengers in Australia and New Zealand were invited to share their bucket lists in hopes of winning a free ticket

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) launched a competition in Australia and New Zealand four days ago, according to media reports, in which it said it was giving away free economy-class tickets and free iPads.

The marketing ploy was to be expected from an airline still reeling from the twin tragedies of MH17 and MH370, but the competition name was bizarre: My Ultimate Bucket List.

Contestants had to explain “What and where would you like to tick off on your bucket list?”

The Merriam-Webster definition of bucket list is “a list of things that one has not done before but wants to do before dying.” The association is horrific, given that 537 people lost their lives flying on the airline this year.

The contest appears to have since been withdrawn, with the original competition link now leading to a 404 error page. A PDF of the competition terms and conditions could be found here at time of publication, but besides that there no longer appear to be details of the competition on the MAS site.

The launch of the competition was picked up in the Australian travel-industry press and even name-checked in British tabloid the Daily Mail. But perhaps MAS has since realized that asking prospective passengers to think up a bucket list before accepting a free ticket on one of its planes might be construed as macabre.

The airline can at least be grateful that online gaffes can be deleted. In 2003, the Hong Kong Tourism Board ran an ad promising would-be visitors that “Hong Kong will take your breath away.” At the time, SARS — severe acute respiratory syndrome — had killed about 100 people, mostly in Hong Kong and China. But the ad ran in British and European print magazines — and there was no time to change the slogan before the presses started to roll.

TIME Science

Russia’s Zero-G Sex Geckos Died Before Returning to Earth

Gecko
Getty Images

Russia's attempt to find out how organisms reproduce in space did not end with a bang

Russia’s troubled experiment to study how geckos, fruit flies and other organisms reproduce in weightlessness ended with a huge downer: When the Foton M-4 satellite containing the creatures returned to Earth on Monday and the hatch was opened, researchers found that all five geckos had died.

“We can’t say yet at which stage of Foton’s space flight it happened,” the RIA Novosti news agency quoted a source at the Russian Academy of Sciences as saying. Interfax quoted an unnamed source as saying the geckos were mummified and may have frozen to death.

Read more from our partners at NBC News

TIME Television

Parks and Rec’s Cones of Dunshire Game Is (Almost) Real

“It’s about the cones. Never forget that.”

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From the lips of nerds to God’s ears: Cones of Dunshire, the amusingly complex fictional board game featured in Parks and Recreation has become a real-life game thanks to the company behind Settlers of Catan.

Parks and Recreation producers originally contacted Mayfair Games to create a loose concept for the game that Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) dreams up during time off between jobs, as Vulture reported last year. But while a commercial version of the game isn’t headed to stores, Mayfair did flesh out the concept and debut it at gaming convention GenCon, where 33 people paid $100 to participate.

“I don’t think that there was a plan to produce an actual game, and whatever cohesiveness there was to the content was almost an afterthought,” Alex Yeager of Mayfair told Nuvo, Indianapolis’ alt-weekly. “As we’ve moved forward with our planning for this charity event, we’ve come to regret that a little bit!”

Scott and Aziz Ansari, who plays Tom Haverford on the NBC comedy, even made an introductory video for the event. But no word yet on whether any of the lucky gamers followed it up with a round of True American.

TIME Crime

Bikini Coffee Shop Owner Hit With Prostitution Charges

Baristas at "Java Juggs" were allegedly serving up more than just cappuccinos

For the past few years, some coffee shops in Washington state have been taking the idea of customer service a little too far.

A former owner of a Seattle-area “bikini coffee shop” was charged with money laundering and promoting prostitution Thursday, after her baristas allegedly served up sex acts to customers as well as hot drinks, CBS News reports.

Documents claim the “bikini baristas” charged $14 to flash their genitals or breasts at customers, and more for sexual acts.

Prosecutors in Shnohomish County allege that Carmela Panico collected more than $2 million in three years through her illegal business offerings. Panico, a former erotic dancer, managed to skip out on paying her full taxes by operating largely in cash — officials found more than $250,000 during a home raid in 2013.

She may have also had some help from the inside: authorities allege that Darrell O’Neill, a sheriff’s sergeant, gave Panico and her employees the heads-up about police investigations in return for sexual favors.

The coffee stand, Java Juggs, was one of seven locations police busted for charges related to prostitution and lewd contact. According to court documents, Panico would dock employees’ pay if the women weren’t wearing high heels or adequate makeup.

An attorney for Panico said the 52-year-old, feeling a little burned by the coffee business, has left the industry for good.

[CBS News]

TIME Crowdfunding

This Smart Cooler is Now the Most Successful Kickstarter Project Ever

Coolest Cooler

Ice bucket meets challenge

Experts say wearable technology is the next big thing, but now the people have spoken. And the people don’t want smartwatches — they want a cooler that will make margaritas and charge their phones while blasting the latest Pitbull song.

The Coolest Cooler, which has a built-in blender, waterproof speakers, USB chargers, LED lights and other features, become the most successful Kickstarter campaign ever on Tuesday, the crowdfunding site announced. The project raised $13,285,226 from more than 60,000 backers in 52 days, beating previous record-holder the Pebble smartwatch, which raised more than $10 million in 2012.

The historic Kickstarter campaign marks the second attempt by creator Ryan Grepper to fund the cooler of the future. In 2013, his design failed to meet its $125,000 funding goal in time, so this year, he opted for a more modest $50,000 goal — that ended up raising $2 million in 24 hours.

Alas, the Coolest Cooler won’t be ready for any Labor Day bashes (Grepper is still finalizing the design and choosing a factory), but it is still coming to a pool party near you: backers who donated $165 or more are expected to receive the cooler in February 2015, and the item will likely retail for $299.

TIME animals

A Dog Started a House Fire By Turning on the Stove

A dog: man's best friend. A smart dog: firefighter's worst enemy

A dog is the culprit in a Friday night house fire in New Jersey that began when a pooch turned on a stove.

Local firefighters responded to a call in Lacey township and saw fire coming out of the roof of the home, the Asbury Park Press reports. The Forked River Fire Department entered the home and extinguished the fire.

The Ocean County Fire Marshal investigated the fire and found that a dog inside the house turned on the stove, which had then burned through a laptop that was sitting on the stovetop.

No word yet on whether the dog believed there were unattractive photos of it on the incinerated laptop.

[Asbury Park Press]

 

TIME Food & Drink

Watch This Evil Genius Use An Electric Screwdriver to Peel Apples Cause Nobody Got Time for That

If MacGyver had been a chef...

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It’s true, peeling apples can get really, really boring. But peeling apples with an electric screwdriver actually seems like more fun than not peeling apples at all.

Try this one at home, safely, the next time you’re peeling lots and lots and lots of apples.

TIME Photos

The 22 Most Surprising Photos of the Month

From dogs suckling tiger cubs to earthquake skaters, each photograph will surprise you as TIME shares the most outrageous images from August 2014

TIME Television

Saved by the Bell’s Dustin Diamond Seeking Redemption in Bell Biopic

"Mega Python Vs. Gatoroid" New York Premiere
Dustin Diamond attends the "Mega Python vs. Gatoroid" premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre on January 24, 2011 in New York City. Jim Spellman—WireImage

The actor who played Screech is looking for a redemption story — but will Behind the Bell be it?

Dustin Diamond, best known for role as Saved by the Bell’s “Screech,” doesn’t understand why he has such a bad reputation.

Like why fans believe he’s actually the aggressive guy they saw on reality show Celebrity Fit Club. (“It was scripted on my end,” the 37-year-old tells TIME. “I had to outdo Gary Busey! I didn’t think the fans would think of everything being real.”)

Or why they were turned off by his self-released and allegedly staged adult film, pleasantly titled Screeched — Saved by the Smell. (“Paris Hilton made $14 million for her sex tape . . . As an opportunist, I thought I could easily fake it and get a stunt double,” he said. “But people just ran with it. Everyone has a sex tape, but I was making porn. And I wasn’t, it wasn’t me. My conscience is clear.”)

And then there was his book, Behind the Bell, that claimed to provide salacious details about cast hookups and drug abuse that even Diamond now admits were embellished. (“They gave me a ghostwriter who just talked to me for a few hours here and there on the phone” and then came up with a false, final manuscript he was “powerless” to change, although he did pose for the cover, Diamond says. While he didn’t say what the book got wrong about other cast members’ stories, he said that he never called anyone a douche-nozzle or had a sexual relationship with NBC Vice President of Children’s Programming, Lisa Mancuso, who died of cancer years before the book’s publication.)

But now, Diamond is ready for redemption, which he hopes will come in the form of the upcoming and unauthorized Lifetime biopic based on Behind the Bell, premiering Monday. Diamond says the film isn’t based on the “nasty and negative” lies told by his ghostwriter, but on Diamond’s own clarifications. Viewers will be “surprised” by the film, Diamond says. And apparently Diamond will be, too — because in spite of his Executive Producer title, Diamond admits that he hasn’t “actually read the script or seen the final product.” Or been on set, for that matter.

When informed that the teaser shows Diamond’s character punching someone in the face while shouting “I’m not Screech!,” he was surprised, because that incident, he says, never happened.

“No one who is writing this was there,” says Diamond, revealing his first signs of concerns over the film, to which he signed on in a hands-off capacity. “I didn’t talk to [the writers] really, so how did they research? I’m going to watch with very nervous hopes . . . if they butcher it and get it completely wrong, I’m just going to film a documentary of just me talking about the errors.”

All this uncertainty might be why Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Bell’s Zack), Dennis Haskins (Mr. Belding), and Elizabeth Berkley (Jessie) have all exhibited disappointment in Diamond and complete disinterest in watching a dramatized version of what they remember as a positive experience. A spokesperson for Mario Lopez (A.C. Slater) responded to an email request for comment with a brusque single-word punctuated response of, “Nope.” Lark Voohries (Lisa), meanwhile, tells TIME that she will be watching because the movie’s release “was flattering all around, you know, that the excitement lives on.”

While Diamond and Voohries have kept in touch and worked together on independent film projects, Diamond says he hasn’t heard from the rest of the cast since he was 16, which was more than 20 years ago. Diamond was only 11 when filming of Saved by the Bell began, which socially isolated him from his mostly 14-year-old cast-mates.

“Some of [the cast] would go out to a bar or a restaurant, and I wasn’t invited,” Diamond says. “And at that age it hurts. And it was like, what am I? I haven’t earned my place?”

Diamond, however, says there are no hard feelings. “No one holds on to a grudge over two decades.” But, depending on the backlash from the Lifetime film, Diamond said that “maybe reaching out to the cast members after all this time would be a good thing.”

TIME Food & Drink

9 Surprising Uses For Bacon in Honor of International Bacon Day

international bacon day 2014
Getty Images

A meaty round-up

August 30 is the 14th annual International Bacon Day, a holiday which should be celebrated by waking up, making yourself some nice sizzling strips of bacon and spending the day properly appreciating all things bacon. And I mean all things.

Here are 9 uses for the comfort food that take bacon fanaticism to a whole new level:

Air Freshener

Want to keep that delicious bacon smell lingering long after breakfast? Now you can, with bacon-scented air freshener.

Toothpaste

This bacon-flavored toothpaste allows you to “practice oral hygiene [and] satisfy cured meat cravings” at the same time, according to its website.

Prayer

The patron saint of bacon is believed to be St. Anthony the Abbot, who was a healer and used pork fat to treat skin diseases.

Landscaping

Who knew bacon could be so picturesque? Photographer Carl Warner is known for his photographs of food landscapes, and he once made a world entirely out of bacon.

Vodka

According to its website, Bakon Vodka is “Pure. Refreshing. Bacon.” It even has a list of recipes, including a BLT Martini.

Shaving Cream

Here’s some bacon shaving cream, for all the guys out there who want their faces to smell like bacon.

Perfume

But don’t worry girls, you can wear eau-de-bacon as well with this bacon perfume.

Lube

For couples who want to incorporate bacon in the bedroom, here’s some bacon lube that “is sure to have the bacon lover in your life squealing with pleasure.”

Coffin

And for the truly die-hard bacon fans out there, here is the bacon coffin you’ve all been waiting for.

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