TIME Bizarre

British Passport Officials Say Woman Cannot Use the Name ‘Skywalker’ in Signature

Luke And Leia
American actors Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher in costume as brother and sister Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in George Lucas' Star Wars trilogy, 1977. Terry O'Neill—Getty Images

Her name could be copyright infringement

Authorities told a British woman who tried to add “Skywalker” as a middle name on her passport that she’s committing trademark infringement.

Laura Matthews, 29, legally applied to change her name to Laura Elizabeth Skywalker Matthews “for a bit of a laugh” in 2008, using the famous Star Wars‘ character Luke Skywalker’s moniker, the BBC reports.

When she tried to renew her passport, she wrote her signature as “L. Skywalker.” But passport officials said they “will not recognize a change to a name which is subject to copyright or trademark.” Authorities said she will likely have to submit another passport with a different signature, though with the same printed name.

This was the first time Matthews encountered a problem with her signature. She says that she’s used it on her driving license and credit cards.


TIME NextDraft

The Power of Names and Other Fascinating News on the Web

July 29, 2014


1. My Name is Inigo Montoya

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Shakespeare (or perhaps for the purposes of this blurb, we’ll call him Bill) may have had it right when it comes to odor. But a rose by another name might not earn as much, get into the same schools, or live in the same area. Your name can have a major impact on your life. That’s true for individuals and for brands and products. The Atlantic’s Cody C. Delistraty shares some insights on who wins the name game. (Hint: Not Cody.)

+ I still can’t forgive my parents for not naming me Inigo Montoya.

+ By the time people are judging you by your name, they’ve already made a snap judgment about you based on your face.

2. Viral

Modern transportation has made the world a much smaller place. That’s made very clear by the fact that Patrick Sawyer, who just died of Ebola, was close to boarding a plane to make it home in time for the birthday party of his twin daughters. From The Daily Beast: “He Could Have Brought Ebola Here.”

+ Vox: What would happen if Ebola made it to the United States?

+ “FiveThirtyEight: We still don’t know how deadly the ebola outbreak in West Africa will be.

+ Time: Ebola by the numbers.

3. The Crossfire

As Israel intensifies its military efforts in Gaza, the casualties continue to mount. WaPo reports that a school sheltering evacuees and a marketplace were both struck in recent fighting.

+ This ongoing conflict in the Middle East has blown the lid off of pent-up antisemitism in cities across Europe.

+ As Gaza dominates the headlines, the world seems to once again have forgotten about Syria. According to Human Rights Watch: “The Syrian government is still indiscriminately bombing civilians with explosives-filled barrels.”

4. I’m Pacing Myself

Running is good for your health. But just how far do you have to run to make a difference when it comes to longevity? According to a recent study, your runs can be both short and slow (which is right in my wheelhouse). From the NYT’s Gretchen Reynolds: “Those who hit the paths for 150 minutes or more a week, or who were particularly speedy, clipping off six-minute miles or better, lived longer than those who didn’t run. But they didn’t live significantly longer those who ran the least, including people running as little as five or 10 minutes a day at a leisurely pace of 10 minutes a mile or slower.”

5. Goldman Sats

Last October, Goldman Sachs did the unthinkable. They told their junior investment bankers to “take Saturdays off. From 9 p.m. on Friday until 9 a.m. on Sunday, all analysts and associates were required to be out of the office doing anything other than working.” Slate’s Alison Griswold takes a look at how that’s working out. (When investment bankers are working on Saturdays, what exactly are they doing?)

+ Do happy workers make richer companies? (Amazingly, that’s not a rhetorical question.)

6. Passing the Pipe, Getting the Shaft

“The resentment goes something like: We Latinos and African Americans from the ‘hood were stigmatized for marijuana use, disdained and disproportionately prosecuted in the war on drugs … Now pot is legalized and who benefits? Rich people with their money to invest and their clean criminal records and 800 credit scores. And here we are again: on the outskirts of opportunity.” Tina Griego takes you inside Colorado’s flourishing, segregated black market for pot.

7. Film Buffs

With more movies being shot on video, sales of Kodak’s motion-picture film have dropped by 96% percent in the last seven years. So Kodak seriously considered shutting down its film manufacturing plant. (And they’re the only major producer left). So a bunch of big name directors got together and made a deal: “The negotiations — secret until now — are expected to result in an arrangement where studios promise to buy a set quantity of film for the next several years, even though most movies and television shows these days are shot on digital video.”

8. Punt, Pass, and Sticks and Stones

“Asked when he thought people would stop asking whether he was a trailblazer, Sam said, ‘When I lay somebody out that first game.'” Michael Sam has been a historical figure in the NFL since coming out shortly before the draft. Now he needs to take the next step. And it’s an important one. He needs to make the team.

+ For the first time, the NFL will have “zero tolerance” for “on-field use of racial slurs or abusive language relating to sexual orientation.” Just because you’re smashing the shit out of each other doesn’t mean you have to be rude.

+ How did Jon Bon Jovi become the most hated man in Buffalo?

9. Eighteen Minutes

With a biopic hitting screens, David Remnick urges you to spend 18 minutes watching the real James Brown on a night when he was relegated to opening act status: “When it comes to James Brown, the real thing, in its most thrilling, compressed, erotic, explosive form, just eighteen minutes long, is also arguably the most electrifying performance in the history of postwar American music.”

+ Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean at the Motown 25th Anniversary wasn’t too bad either.

+ The James Brown buzz will have a lot of people replaying Eddie Murphy’s impersonation from the Delirious tour.

10. The Bottom of the News

Buzzfeed gets serious and asks: Why don’t British singers have British accents when they sing? And while we’re on the topic, why do American singers have British accents when they talk? (Now that’s a jolly good question.)

+ The headline you’ve been waiting for — Martha Stewart: Why I Love My Drone.

+ Here’s a video that will make you smile and make you think. Via BoingBoing: Watch a cocoa farmer try chocolate for the first time.

+ By the way, SPF doesn’t really matter.


TIME viral

Jimmy Fallon Makes The Roots Watch Horror Movie Version of The 50 Shades of Grey Trailer

More like "50 Shades of Freaked Out"


The 50 Shades of Grey trailer has been in heavy rotation this week as fans get their first peek at Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan in action as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey, stars of EL James’s steamy boudoir bestseller turned sure-to-be blockbuster. So it wasn’t entirely surprising that Jimmy Fallon would ask The Tonight Show house band, The Roots, to watch the trailer. It never hurts to be up on current event in pop culture when the stars of the film will probably be stopping by the show during the eventual all-out 50 Shades press tour.

What The Roots didn’t know is that Fallon is an evil genius. They may have suspected as much after seeing him make acclaimed actor Morgan Freeman huff helium, but with this prank, he proved he belongs along side Lex Luthor, The Brain and Dr. Evil (or at least Dr. Doofenshmirtz) in the evil genius hall of fame. What did Fallon do? He secretly inserted a bleeding, screaming ghoul into the clip to scare the bejeezus out of them. Questlove did not approve.

MORE: 50 Shades Of Stupid: EL James Releases 50 Shades Wine

MORE: Vin Diesel Shows Jimmy Fallon His Breakdancing Moves


The 9 Circles of Hell for Millennials

If Dante wrote The Inferno today...

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. This is a dead zone. (Effing AT&T…)
- Dante Alighier-ish

Dante’s Divine Comedy was written in the 14th century with his uber-Catholic, Italian counterparts in mind. While the allegory of the afterlife lives on in modern culture, the Inferno would probably look slightly different were it typed out on an iPad. Behold: The nine circles of hell for the basic millennial:

1. An eternity of online dating

Swipe left. Swipe left. Swipe left.

2. “Fun”-employment
Economy blah blah tough market blah lots of 26-year-olds still live with their parents.

3. Sharing an enclosed space with someone playing Candy Crush with the sound on
No one is celebrating you advancement to level 147. HEADPHONES.

4. Trying to cancel your cable
“You don’t want something that works?” “So you’re not interested in the fastest internet in the country?” “I’m really ashamed to see you go to something that can’t give you what we can!” “What is it about this other internet provider???”

These real talking points come courtesy of a Comcast customer service representative who fought tooth-and-nail to keep former tech editor Ryan Block’s loyal service. He posted an 8-minute clip of the recorded conversation that would be more appropriate from a jilted lover rather than, you know, a cable provider.

5. Actual activism as opposed to hashtag activism
#So #Much #Work

6. Only getting 10 likes on every Instagram picture
11 is “the only like that matters.

7. Finding out your Craigslist roommate is actually a hoarder
Slash amateur tap dancer slash serial killer.

8. Explaining any technology to your grandparents
The weekly FaceTime calls home have provided you with a solid working knowledge of cartography of your grandma’s forehead and you hated geography in school.

9. Going back to dial-up
As terrifying as it is hypothetical. Then again, anything can happen in hell.

TIME viral

This Girl Is Replacing Photos of Her Ex’s Face with Beyoncé’s to Help Cure Her Broken Heart

For all the single ladies out there

After a breakup, Cassandra Blackwell photoshopped Beyoncé’s face over the photos she took with her ex-boyfriend. Then she compiled the images on a Tumblr called “Beyoncify My Boyfriend.” Since the website has gone viral, she has offered to “Beyoncify” other people’s photos with their exes. And now we can’t get the pop star’s hit “Single Ladies” out of our head.

Cassandra Blackwell
Cassandra Blackwell
Cassandra Blackwell

“Plizzanet Earth” Narrated by Snoop Dogg Is Your New Favorite Nature Show

Grab some gin and juice, sit back, and enjoy


It’s hard to imagine watching Planet Earth without the sweet, sweet sound of David Attenborough’s silky smooth voice. It’s like the aural version of a scone with butter and jam — how can you beat that? But it turns out Snoop Dogg is pretty excellent as a narrator too. On Jimmy Kimmel Live, the rapper offered some very high-level commentary about some of nature’s greatest mysteries while watching scenes from the popular BBC nature show. For example: “This is a seal. What’s he doing acting like a dolphin?”

Somebody give this man his own nature show, please.

TIME Television

Sharknado 2: Everything You Need to Know Before Watching The Epically Absurd Second One

Get ready for a fin-tastic voyage


“You know what you did, don’t you? You jumped the shark.”
— Actual line from Sharknado 2: The Second One, as it desperately tries not to jump the shark

If you’re on Twitter come 9 p.m. Wednesday, consider yourself warned. Because literally the only thing the Internet will be talking about is SyFy’s uber-viral, uber-campy Sharknado 2, featuring Tara Reid, Ian Ziering, droves of quasi-celebrity cameos and, of course, a chain saw.

The movie gained more traction than its SyFy brethren Piranhaconda and Sharktopus ever did, and has become a cult classic even for those who have never seen the film. According to USA Today, while only 1.4 million people watched Sharknado’s original airing, a number that grew in subsequent airings, it inspired 5,000 tweets a minute. (We bet Samuel L. Jackson is kicking himself that Twitter was in its infancy during the Snakes on a Plane release).

So if you are jumping on the bandwagon before Wednesday’s premiere, or just need a quick refresher, here’s a crash course in all things Sharknado.

What the first movie was about:
Due to ambiguous reasons (“global warming?” a newscaster guesses) a massive storm and massive influx of sharks have simultaneously hit Los Angeles. Tiger sharks are flying through the windows of Beverly Hills mansions. Hammerheads are eating angry drivers on the 405 freeway. And it is up to one man with the subtle name of Fin Shepard (Ziering) to not only stop an impending Sharknado (which is exactly what it sounds like), but also to reconnect with his estranged wife April (Reid) and kids. His son saves the day by dropping a bomb into the Sharknado. All of our main characters survive, even though two of them were eaten by the toothy predators. (Note to self: When about to enter a shark’s mouth, remember to wield a chainsaw.) Fin and April make out. All is well.

What is the second one about:
Same concept. Different city. The Sharknado has followed Fin and April to New York as they promote their book, How to Survive a Sharknado and Other Unnatural Disasters: Fight Back When Monsters and Mother Nature Attack. (Available for purchase). Now Fin must use his knowledge to save New York from imminent disaster.

Lots of symbolic destruction:
The Santa Monica Pier ferris wheel was shown rolling down the streets of Los Angeles symbolizing THE END OF FUN in Sharknado. Swap that for the Statue of Liberty’s decapitated head catapulting through New York to symbolize . . . something about the shark’s threat of freedom or something, and we’re all set.

It might be kind of educational:
As we learned in Sharknado: “Tornados happen when cold and hot air meet. If you drop a bomb in it, you just might equalize it.” Because SCIENCE.

It also might be kind of political:
Although the first film didn’t exactly take a stand against shark hunting, it was kind of implied considering a poachers face got eaten by a shark.

Hordes of cameos:
Vivica A. Fox, Mark McGrath (a.k.a. Sugar Ray) and Judah Friedlander have joined the cast as Finn’s college friend, his brother-in-law and a helpful cab driver, respectively. But there are also tons of quick hits from “stars” who were itching to ride Sharknado‘s viral wave. Watch for Kelly Osbourne, Andy Dick, The Naked Cowboy, Perez Hilton, Al Roker and Matt Lauer, Kelly Ripa and Michael Strahan, and, of course, Jared the Subway guy, who eats a sandwich as sharks start eating people in a subway. (Get it? He’s eating a Subway sandwich in the subway!)

A total disregard for human life:
The cast of Sharknado appeared totally and completely unphased when a shark would come out of nowhere and rip someone’s leg off. Reid barely batted an eye when her live-in boyfriend was torn apart in the mansion.

Lots of New York “insider” jokes:
Sharknado’s script was riddled with LA jokes including: “It’s just a little water. Typical Californians afraid of the rain;” and “My mama always told me Hollywood would kill me” — right before letters from the Hollywood sign crushes him to death.

Expect gems like this from the sequel: “This is the big apple. Something bites us, we bite back.”

A renewed sense of patriotism:
May we leave you with Fin’s inspiring speech: “They’re sharks. They’re scary. No one wants to get eaten. But I’ve been eaten, and I’m here to tell ya, it takes a lot more than that to bring a good man down. It takes a lot more than that to bring a New Yorker down.”

TIME World

You Can Send Your Child to Summer Camp in North Korea

The camp was started to teach foreigners about the Hermit Kingdom and boasts access to a private beach and water slides

The Associated Press has published photos of opening day at a nearly 30-year-old summer camp in North Korea on July 29, 2014.

The Songdowon International Children’s Camp in Wonsan is supposed to help young foreigners (especially from Communist countries) get acquainted with the isolated country, attracting over 300 attendees from Russia, China, Vietnam, Ireland and Tanzania, the AP reports. Charging $270 per child, the government-subsidized camp boasts activities like cooking, volleyball, swimming at a private beach, boating and even access to a water slide. Accommodations include air-conditioned rooms with video games.

In the rest of North Korea, however, millions “suffer from malnourishment and inadequate health services,” according to a UN report cited in a TIME article last year. Due to malnutrition, “a third of children under the age of five show signs of stunting. Because of poor sanitation, diarrhea is a leading killer of children.” So it’s hard to ignore the irony while looking at pictures of “fun” camp activities.

North Korean school girls stand in formation during an opening ceremony for the start of summer activities at the Songdowon International Children’s Camp, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Wonsan, North Korea. Wong Maye-E –AP
North Korean girls in similar bathing suits stand under a shower at the Songdowon International Children’s Camp, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Wonsan, North Korea. Wong Maye-E –AP
The lobby of the dormitory at the Songdowon International Children’s Camp is painted in pastel colors, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Wonsan, North Korea. Wong Maye-E–AP
Students from the Laureat International School in Tanzania walk past a statue of the late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, surrounded by children, on the parade square of the Songdowon International Children’s Camp, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Wonsan, North Korea. Wong Maye-E–AP
Students from the Laureat International School in Tanzania walk past a statue of the late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il, surrounded by children, on the parade square of the Songdowon International Children’s Camp, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Wonsan, North Korea. Wong Maye-E–AP
Young North Korean girls hold up signboards with the names of participating countries during an opening ceremony at the Songdowon International Children’s Camp, Tuesday, July 29, 2014, in Wonsan, North Korea. Wong Maye-E –AP

Here’s a Supercut of All of Tom Haverford’s Ridiculous Business Ideas on Parks and Rec

A little something to tide you over until the show returns for its final season


One of the many excellent running jokes in NBC’s Parks and Recreation is Tom Haverford’s, uh, entrepreneurial spirit. Throughout the series, he comes up with a variety of business ideas, ranging from the actually-kind-of viable to the downright ridiculous. (Okay, most of them are just downright ridiculous.)

The video compiles most of these ideas into one four-minute supercut — and they end up sounding even more ridiculous one after the other. Several appearances by his sometimes-partner Jean-Ralphio make the video even better.

TIME viral

Dear Teens: Please Stop Lighting Yourselves on Fire

Mark Weiss—Getty Images

The newest viral video trend is literally on fire

Trends change with the seasons, and for America’s Internet-addled teens, there is nothing more trendy than melting skin. Now that the season for tossing boiling water into sub-zero air is far behind us, listless teens have found new ways to critically burn themselves. Betraying a nostalgia for simpler times, some of today’s young adults have returned to the most reliable route to injury in the name of YouTube infamy: dousing your body in accelerant and just straight up lighting yourself on fire.

The Daily Dot reports that videos of teens purposefully engulfing themselves in flames are spreading like wildfire across social media platforms like Vine and YouTube. One Kentucky teen whose video went viral even had to be treated for second-degree burns to his torso.

It is scientifically proven that hormones are extremely flammable even without the help of lighter fluid. This is why it is absolutely crucial for teens to stay away from anything that poses a fire hazard, such as matchbooks or a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

So, kiddos, please step away from the lighter fluid or I will use it to burn this One Direction poster, and you wouldn’t want that now, would you?

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