TIME animals

Dolphins Are Apparently Attracted to Magnets

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Dolphin in aquarium of Barcelona vdorse—Getty Images/Flickr RF

Where does this fit into their plot for world domination?

According to a French study released Monday, dolphins are attracted to magnets. Platonically, of course.

To find out if dolphins are magnetosensitive—or able to sense Earth’s magnetic field—researchers tested how six bottleneck dolphins swimming freely independently reacted to barrels containing both magnetized and demagnetized blocks.

Dolphins approached the device with shorter latency when it contained a strongly magnetized neodymium block compared to a control demagnetized block that was identical in form and density and therefore undistinguishable with echolocation. We conclude that dolphins are able to discriminate the two stimuli on the basis of their magnetic properties, a prerequisite for magnetoreception-based navigation.

If the findings hold up to scrutiny, it would be a momentous discovery. Although many animals are suspected to orient themselves using the Earth’s magnetic pull, there’s precious little proof that this is the case. Researchers from Baylor College of Medicine concluded in 2012 that pigeons have magnetosensitive GPS cells in their brains.

We don’t quite know where this fits into dolphins’ plot to take over the world, but now that they might be working with the pigeons, we are utterly terrified.

TIME Bizarre

The 35 Most Surprising Photos of the Month

From eating ice cream in the senate to kissing Tony Bennett, each photograph will give you an intriguing experience, as TIME shares the most outrageous images from September 2014

TIME NextDraft

Why Rumors Get Shared More Than The Truth and Other Fascinating News on the Web

September 29, 2014

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1. Rumor Has It

It may not come as a great shock that the viral story about a woman who had a third breast surgically implanted turned out to be a hoax “after it was reported that a three-breast prosthesis had been previously found in the woman’s luggage.” But as is often the case, the correction to the story was shared a lot less than the original. The NYT’s Brendan Nyhan takes a look at why rumors outrace the truth online.

+ You undoubtedly heard that the iPhone 6 has a bending problem. But did you hear that Consumer Reports did a test and found that the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are not as bendy as believed. Next week’s headline: The iPhone is Inflexible.

2. Umbrella Stand

Hong Kong residents were promised direct elections by 2017. But Beijing has since ruled that ballot choices will be limited to a pre-approved slate of candidates. That’s the root of the protests in Hong Kong that started out peacefully, were met with police action, and have since attracted the attention of the world. From Vox: Hong Kong’s unprecedented protests and police crackdown, explained.

+ The protests have quickly come to be known as the Umbrella Revolution. Here’s the BBC on how the humble umbrella became a protest symbol.

+ Foreign Policy (No registration required for ND readers): “Future generations may well commemorate Sept. 28, 2014 in the history of Hong Kong as the day when the famously apolitical city turned unmistakably political.”

+ The Verge: What if everyone in Tiananmen Square had been carrying a smartphone. And Buzzfeed: The Hong Kong Occupy Central protest has triggered mainland China’s biggest ever crackdown on Weibo. (The Chinese are censored while we use devices they built to gain unfettered access.)

+ InFocus has an excellent collection of photos from the scene.

3. Stringer Bell and Omar Don’t Count?

“The only news most people ever hear about the inner city comes from grim headlines; the only residents they can name are characters on The Wire. Of course, ignorance of a community doesn’t stop outsiders from having opinions about it or passing laws that govern it.” The Atlantic’s James Forman Jr. explains how aggressive police surveillance transforms an urban neighborhood: The Society of Fugitives.

4. Troll Position

“It’s why trolling isn’t really trolling anymore. The motive isn’t sublimated. The rage is bare. Trolls don’t expose the vanities of the world these days; the world exposes the vanity of trolls.” From Emmett Rensin: The Confessions of a Former Internet Troll. (I’m nostalgic for the days when this was a troll.)

5. Poll, Pass and Kick

First there were the brain injury stories. Then there was the elevator video seen around the world. Then there was the mishandled response when the league’s best running back was arrested for child abuse. The seemingly endless series of bad publicity led many fans (especially women) to leave the NFL huddle. That much is clear in recent polls. It’s less clear in recent television ratings.

6. Caffeine Intelligence

Writing names, any names, on the cups makes the “caffeine-addicted” customers nervous. And the Barristas are given background checks before they can foam their first latte. Welcome to the CIA Starbucks: “There are no frequent-customer award cards, because officials fear the data stored on the cards could be mined by marketers and fall into the wrong hands, outing secret agents.” How little they share provides a cautionary reminder of how much data we share each time we participate in almost any transaction, even if we stick to decaf. It’s also a reminder that it’s National Coffee Day.

7. Nabster

“‘I heard a bang-bang-bang. I’m thinking it’s, like, Amazon.’ It wasn’t a delivery. It was a team of federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security, wearing bulletproof jackets and carrying guns.” The NYT’s Jenna Wortham with an excellent story about the deposed Queen of NinjaVideo, The Unrepentant Bootlegger. Even after the Queen and others have done serious time in jail, “online piracy is thriving. File-sharing, most of it illegal, still amounts to nearly a quarter of all consumer Internet traffic.”

8. Leadership Style

In gorilla society, it’s easy to pick out the leaders because of key characteristics such as hair color, size, posture, fitness, and the sounds they make. It turns out, the same is pretty much true in human society where, as The Economist reports: “The typical chief executive is more than six feet tall, has a deep voice, a good posture, a touch of grey in his thick, lustrous hair and, for his age, a fit body.” (In my industry, the leader is typically a jittery guy in a t-shirt sitting on a beanbag chair.)

+ Want to dress for success? Then lose the orange sweater and follow these rules.

9. The Finisher

“When Dennis Holland died of cancer this spring, he left behind a lifetime of unfinished projects, perhaps more than one man could hope to complete. The dream of finishing them kept him young.” And now his son is taking over and working to complete all the unfinished efforts.

10. The Bottom of the News

It’s the end of an era. While it’s already been essentially dead for years, Yahoo will make it official as they shut down the onetime hub of everything Internet. Say goodbye to the Yahoo Directory.

+ There is a compound in hops that could make you smarter. So have a beer. And then have 5,635 more each day and we’ll see if it works.

+ From the always-entertaining Dave Pell: Band Names for Aging Rockers.

+ Cats don’t need to do anything to get covered on the Internet. Dogs, on the other hand, have to surf.

+ Take a closer look at these 50 clever logos.

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TIME Music

Like Many Classic Songs, Fergie’s New Single Is Just a List of Random Cities

Fergie Duhamel Promotes Fergie Footwear At Macy's At The Fashion Show Mall
Singer Fergie Duhamel appears at Macy's at the Fashion Show Ethan Miller—Getty Images

So many cities — just three minutes

Fergie released her first single in six years Monday, and the song, called “L.A. LOVE (La La),” employs one of our favorite musical tropes of all time: It’s a pop song that lists off as many random city names it can in approximately three minutes’ time. A beloved but often unheralded genre, it’s long overdue for some recognition.

The American populace as a whole might have difficulties identifying important locations on maps, but not pop stars. And just as Coldplay schooled us in science, Brian McKnight in math, Gwen Stefani in spelling (B-A-N-A-N-A-S!), Barenaked Ladies in history and, of course, Olivia Newton John in physical education, it’s now time to study abroad.

Here are songs that celebrate artists’ illustrious travel itineraries:

Fergie, “L.A. LOVE (La La)”

As the title implies, we begin in California — “Hollywood to the slums,” if we are being specific. Then “like a gnat on a jet,” (because what self respecting insect flies commercial?), we head to New York to London to Brazil to Quebec to Russia to Venice.

Fergie’s travel itinerary is nonsensical. This lady doesn’t care how big her carbon footprint is! In order, we travel with her to: Brooklyn, Hacienda, Vegas, Rio, Tokyo, “Down Under,” Miami, Jamaica, Atlanta, Texas, back to Miami and back to London and Jamaica, then to France, L.A., Moscow, Espana, Kingston, San Diego, Chi-town, Germany, La Puente, Ibiza, LA, Amsterdam, Frisco, Switzerland, Jo’burg, Mexico, Stockholm, back to Jamaica, and back to L.A. (La la).

Jennifer Lopez, “On the Floor”

Artists love “La la la-ing” around the world. J.Lo danced the night away in “Brazil, Morocco, London to Ibiza, straight to LA, New York, Vegas to Africa.”

Johnny Cash, “I’ve Been Everywhere”

Johnny Cash, on the other hand, leans more towards Oskaloosa than Ibiza. More specifically:

Boston, Charleston, Dayton, Louisiana,
Washington, Houston, Kingston, Texarkana,
Monterey, Faraday, Santa Fe, Tallapoosa,
Glen Rock, Black Rock, Little Rock, Oskaloosa,
Tennessee to Tennesse Chicopee, Spirit Lake,
Grand Lake, Devils Lake, Crater Lake, for Pete’s sake.

For Pete’s sake, indeed!

Ludacris, “Pimpin’ All Over the World”

But not all musicians aimlessly wander the globe. When customs officers ask Ludacris about the reason for his visit, he has but one answer: Pimpin. He pimps in the Virgin Islands, Miami, Hawaii, Madriga, and, of course, Howard University, because his pimping styles lean towards the well-educated lady.

Ludacris, “Area Codes”

The “list off locations” genre appears to be one of Luda’s favorites. He even boasts of memorizing the various numbers of his “hoes in different area codes.” Ludacris has a lot of fun with rhymes in this one:

I bang c*ck in Bangkok
Can’t stop, I turn and hit the same spot
Think not, I’m the thrilla in Manilla,
Schlong in Hong Kong

Beach Boys, “California Girls”

Really, Ludacris is just perfecting a genre that the Beach Boys toyed with in 1965. Although the Beach Boys rattled off regions — oh, those Northern girls with the way they kiss! — instead of specific city names, they still deserve recognition for their contributions to the genre.

Lupe Fiasco, “Paris, Tokyo”

Lupe Fiasco, on the other hand, travels in the name of monogamy. He sings, “Let’s go to sleep in Paris, and wake up in Tokyo. Have a dream in New Orleans, fall in love in Chicago, maybe. Wherever I go she goes.”

Nelly, “Country Grammar”

Nelly shimmies his cocoa whats “From Texas back up to Indiana, Chi-Town, K.C. Motown to Alabama, L.A., New York Yankee n—-s to Hotlanta.”

Lil’ Kim, “Lighters Up”

This song genre can prove unifying. Lil’ Kim, for example, wants people from L.A, V.A., Texas, and so on to “put ya lighters up” in solidarity.

Sir Mix-A-Lot, “Jump On It”

Sir Mix-A-Lot wants the people of Denver, Columbus, St. Louis and Tacoma to “jump on it, jump on it, jump on it.” (Consider it jumped on).

DJ Khaled, “We Takin Over”

Other rappers rattle off city names as potential future conquests on the battlefield. DJ Khaled, for example, is planning a takeover “from down in Miami where it warm in the winter, on up to Minnesota where it storm in the winter.”

Boyz II Men, “All Around the World”

And finally, Boyz II Men. Let’s be honest — do people actually remember any of the lyrics past “Houston, Phoenix, Carolina…”?

TIME celebrity

Watch an Interview with Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig Go Hilariously Wrong

The actors crack up

Former Saturday Night Live actors Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig, stars of the new movie The Skeleton Twins, got a good laugh last week when they realized their interviewer had not seen the film and had no idea what it was about. That became clear when Denver anchor and entertainment reporter Chris Parente asked Kristen Wiig for advice on how to deliver the news in the nude, mixing it up with a scene in which she walks around naked in Welcome to Me, another 2014 flick. Bill Hader took over, “The movie you want to go see is called Skeleton Twins. Kristen is fully clothed in it, I’m fully clothed in it.”

Watch the full clip here:

MORE: The Skeleton Twins: Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader Play Saturday Night Dead

WATCH: Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader in The Skeleton Twins Trailer

TIME Food & Drink

Eating Scotland’s Favorite Fatty Snack Can Heighten Stroke Risk in Minutes, Study Finds

Food in Scotland
Food in Scotland. A deep fried Mars bar is prepared in a Glasgow chip shop ahead of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Picture date: Monday April 7, 2014. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire URN:19505513 Danny Lawson—PA Wire/Press Association Images/AP

Eating a deep-fried Mars bars can rapidly slow down the flow of blood to the brain, a study found, making a stroke more likely — though researchers said impact was "modest"

Scotland’s deep-fried Mars bar is a fatty and unhealthy snack nonpareil, and we all knew that a few too many greasy chocolate wads would kill you someday.

But that day may actually be today, if you happened to be eating one right now. A new study suggests the 1200-calorie snack, made by battering and deep-frying a British chocolate bar akin to a Milky Way, could cause a stroke within minutes of eating one by slowing blood supply to the brain.

Men who already have narrow arteries are most in danger, the Daily Record reports. Glasgow University researchers fed the loaded chocolate bar to 24 volunteers, and registered that within just 90 minutes, blood flow to the brain was “modestly” reduced in men, raising their risk of stroke.

“Deep-fried Mars bar ingestion may acutely contribute to cerebral hypoperfusion in men,” the study concluded, noting that the same effects were not found among women.

It sounds bad but it’s not exactly an unredeemable, one-way ticket to stroke city. “We’ve shown that eating a sugar and fat-laden snack can actually affect blood flow to the brain within minutes,” said William Dunn, who performed scans on volunteers. “This reduction in the reactivity of blood vessels in the brain has previously been linked to an increased stroke risk – but the changes we observed were modest.”

The infamous Scottish snack was invented at the Carron Fish Bar in Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, in 1992 and is especially popular among tourists.

 

TIME Physics

This Discovery Brings Us One Step Closer to Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak

Handout photo of cloaking device using four lenses developed by University of Rochester physics professor Howell and graduate student Choi is demonstrated in Rochester
A cloaking device using four lenses developed by University of Rochester physics professor John Howell and graduate student Joseph Choi is demonstrated in Rochester, New York on Sept. 11, 2014. Reuters

It's like a very small invisibility cloak made of glass

Researchers at the University of Rochester seem to be taking the words of science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke’s to heart: “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”

Inspired in part by the famous Invisibility Cloak from Harry Potter, scientists at Rochester have discovered new ways to use complex lenses to hide objects from view. While previous cloaking devices distort the background and make it apparent that an object is being cloaked, the four lenses used at Rochester keep an object hidden as the viewer moves up to several degrees away.

“This is the first device that we know of that can do three-dimensional, continuously multidirectional cloaking, which works for transmitting rays in the visible spectrum,” said Joseph Choi, a PhD student at Rochester’s Institute of Optics who is working with physics professor John Howell at the university.

While the lenses do truly disguise the image of an object, scientists aren’t claiming a suit-sized version of the lens will work, much less help its wearers sneak past Death Eaters or into a Room of Requirement.

But there are practical uses for the technology: Howell says that the lenses could help a surgeon “look through his hands to what he is actually operating on,” and the lenses could be applied to a truck to allow drivers to see through blind spots on their vehicles.

Here’s a video that shows in more detail how the lenses work:

 

TIME People

See the First Pictures of Chelsea Clinton’s New Baby

Chelsea Clinton gave birth to a newborn baby girl, she announced Saturday morning. Here, see tiny Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky, the world’s newest Clinton, meet her parents and grandparents for the first time.

TIME NextDraft

The Bad Part of Sports and Other Fascinating News on the Web

September 26, 2014

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1. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

The Bad Part of Sports: There is an unwritten rule when it comes to sports journalism. Reporters are given a lot of access to games and players. And in exchange, they pretend (as we all do) that sports scores and stories are actually news and not just another form of entertainment. But the cozy deal can break down when a single brand both broadcasts and covers sports. Earlier this week, ESPN’s Bill Simmons was suspended for three weeks (yes, longer than Ray Rice’s initial suspension) after he called NFL commissioner Roger Goodell a liar and taunted his bosses. Here’s Amy Davidson in the New Yorker: “In every field of journalism, there are questions of access and the threat that, even if one is in the right, sources will dry up, interviews will be cancelled …The only way for that not to destroy journalism as an enterprise is for reporters to have, at those moments, true institutional support. ESPN has done the opposite, doing the work of the angry, powerful people whom it covers for them.”

+ Slate’s Josh Levin on Bill Simmons: “He can go wherever he wants, for any reason he wants, to watch whatever game he wants. But if he wants to be able to say whatever he wants, in whatever medium he wants, then he’s going to have to start his own company.”

+ The Ugly Part of Sports: Jon Stewart airs a “controversial segment” featuring a debate between Native Americans and Redskins fans who feel a strong connection to the team’s name.

+ The Good Part of Sports: Well, Derek Jeter “jetered” one last time. Yes, the retiring Yankee shortstop has achieved verb status as he closes out his career in the Bronx in a manner we’ve come to expect. Here’s the walk-off single that won his final home game.

+ Roger Angell: “Last night’s encounter was the first meaningless game he’d ever played in pinstripes — but then he gave it meaning.” Even Red Sox fans had to have a lump in their throats. (OK, maybe that was just a chunk of a pretzel.)

2. Bomb Them Back to Dark Ages?

“Beheadings, crucifixions, the gouging out of eyes, the use of rape as a weapon, the slaughter of children. All these things belong to the Dark Ages.” So said British Prime Minister David Cameron as the U.K. parliament voted to join the air war against ISIS. There are now more the 50 countries in the alliance.

+ An activist lawyer and human rights advocate was killed in Mosul for comments she made on her Facebook page.

+ The FBI says they know the identity of the masked militant in the beheading videos. But for now, they’re not saying who it is.

3. Weekend Reads

“This is part of my therapy. I’m pacing my life looking forward to these things, and I enjoy them. I enjoy bringing my friends … It’s not a cost-effective way of doing anything except making me happy for an afternoon.” Since being diagnosed with cancer, The Simpson’s co-creator Sam Simon has been racing to spend his fortune on causes he loves. From Vanity Fair: Always Leave Them Laughing.

+ “One day you walk 12 hours, and you don’t feel pain. There is no before or after. The intellect doesn’t drive you anymore. It doesn’t exist anymore. You become what nature needs you to be: this wild thing.” From the NYT Magazine: The Woman Who Walked 10,000 Miles (No Exaggeration) in Three Years.

+ Outside on the people who survive lightning strikes: “When lightning hits a human being, a survivor must reconcile not only what happened but why it happened. Why me? For most victims, it is not the unforgettable horror of an agonizing ordeal that haunts them—many can’t even recall the incident itself; it’s the mysterious physical and psychological symptoms that emerge, often long after their immediate wounds have healed and doctors have cleared them to return to their normal routines. But nothing is normal anymore.”

+ BBC: “He’s spent decades dodging the law. He’s escaped from jail twice by helicopter. He’s given millions to the poor. This is the story of how Greece’s most wanted man became a folk hero.”

4. A Ground Zero Sum Game

There has been a longstanding debate on whether or not respiratory illnesses can be linked to the toxic air around Ground Zero following the 9-11 attacks. According to fire officials in NYC: “Three firefighters who were on duty at Ground Zero during the 9/11 attacks died on the same day from cancer.”

5. Playing with the Percentages

“About half of his money is in private investments, like equity in his own firm. He keeps about 20 percent in cash, and a delicious 5 percent in real estate and ‘luxury assets,’ presumably tamed jaguars and yachts with helicopter landing pads. He owns four houses, each worth about $20 million.” NY Mag on how the 0.00003 percent lives.

6. Bendables are the New Wearables

Is the saga of the bending iPhone really a thing or has it been the unfortunate experience of about nine customers? And what is a phone doing in anyone’s back pocket? None of that matters. It’s a story about Apple, so it’s a big story. And it somehow got as all inside the Cupertino building where Apple tortures the iPhone 6. (I always imagined this chamber would be in Redmond…)

+ And meet the Bendgate Truthers.

7. Next Chapter in Internet History?

And then one day, people got so mad at the social network that they joined another social network. Early adopters are signing up for Ello, a new social network that promises to be “a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce, and manipulate — but a place to connect, create, and celebrate life.” From Wired’s Jessi Hempel: Facebook killer Ello doesn’t care about money — so it won’t work. (That’s roughly what my parents think of me spending four hours a day on a newsletter.)

+ The Atlantic: “Ello says you’re not a product, but you are.” (I’ve taken out the garbage and driven my kids to enough soccer games to know I’m a service, not a product.)

8. Green Eggs and Ban

We’re coming to the close of Banned Books Week, and Mic has a list of 15 banned books you should read. And from Mental Floss: Ten twenty-first century bestsellers people tried to ban (and why).

9. Crossing the Spectrum

“In a series that has depicted teenage pregnancy, abortion, alcoholism, a breast cancer battle, and a young war veteran’s PTSD, one of the most emotional, and painful, scenes to watch on NBC’s critically acclaimed Parenthood came when Max Braverman went on his first unsupervised school field trip.” From Buzzfeed: How Parenthood broke down the autism awareness barrier.

10. The Bottom of the News

Could Coke reverse a decade of sagging sales just by slapping a few first names on the side of bottles? Well, Chris, Jess, and Alex, I’m glad you asked.

+ Forty facts about SNL ahead of their fortieth season.

+ The latest rumors have Rachel McAdams starring opposite Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn in season 2 of True Detective. (By now, you’ve probably figured out that the casting of season 2 of True Detective is season 2 of True Detective.)

+ Are you a heavy drinker? Check the chart.

nextdraft

TIME viral

Man’s Obituary Says He “Despised” the Kardashians

He also hated oatmeal and wearing shorts

“Funny obituary” may seem like an oxymoron, but the one that ran for Raymond Alan “Big Al” Brownley in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette after his September 21 passing is the latest humorous write-up to go viral on Legacy.com.

Here are the five best lines:

• “He despised canned cranberry sauce, wearing shorts, cigarette butts in his driveway, oatmeal, loud-mouth know-it-alls, Tabasco sauce, reality TV shows, and anything to do with the Kardashians.”

• “He was highly proficient at cursing. He liked four-letter words just about as much as four-wheel drive pick-up trucks.”

• “Big Al was known for his timeless words of wisdom, including ‘Life is hard; but it’s harder if you’re stupid’ and ‘Don’t be a jackass.'”

• “His famous holiday eggnog had enough whiskey to grow hair on your chest.”

• “He had a life-long ménage a trois with his homemade chili and Gas-X.”

And you can check out a roundup of some of the other hilarious viral obituaries here.

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