TIME NextDraft

Who’s at Risk After Nude Celebrity Photos Hack and Other Fascinating News on the Web

September 2, 2014


1. The See Through Internet

“We use our smartphones almost like they are part of our brains. I don’t think people realize how much of themselves they’re giving to Apple, and potentially to hackers.” In The New Yorker, Jay Kaspian Kang looks at the latest hack of celebrity photos and wonders, who’s at risk now. Short answer: Everyone.

+ The FBI and Apple are investigating the leaks. But as Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky explains, whether it’s fair or not, “any hacks are the user’s fault after clicking that Accept button” on the terms of service. Maybe Apple’s new wearable device should be a curtain.

+ Slate’s Amanda Hess takes on commentators who have shared advice such as “don’t take nude selfies” that appear to be blaming the victim: “These messages instruct women that they are to blame for being sexually exploited because they dared to express themselves sexually in private and in consensual contexts. (When hackers steal credit card information, the public isn’t blamed for daring to shop.) As Lena Dunham succinctly put it, “The ‘don’t take naked pics if you don’t want them online’ argument is the ‘she was wearing a short skirt’ of the web.'” Hess brings up a lot of important points. But there is a difference between blaming the victim and reminding everyone of the inherent risks built into the network. We shouldn’t blame someone who had their personal photos hacked any more than we should blame a victim of credit card theft. But we should advise both to assume that if it’s on the Internet, it’s not safe.

2. Another Beheading

A video appears to show American journalist Steven Sotloff becoming the latest victim of the Islamic State’s terror campaign. Sotloff did freelance work for Time and Foreign Policy before he disappeared in Syria in 2013.

+ A new report from Amnesty confirms that the Islamic State has “carried out ethnic cleansing on a historic scale” and has literally changed “the demographic map of northern Iraq in a few weeks.”

+ The man behind the Nairobi mall attack may have been killed by an airstrike

+ The New Yorker’s Steve Coll explains why Obama’s options in Iraq are terrible and in Syria, they’re even worse.

3. Ebola’s Geo-Targeting

In past Ebola outbreaks, geography has helped to contain the virus. This time, Ebola is spreading to the cities. From David Nabarro, coordinator of the new U.N. Ebola effort: “We have never had this kind of experience with Ebola before. When it gets into the cities, then it takes on another dimension.”

+ Jim Yong Kim and Paul Farmer: What’s missing in the Ebola fight in West Africa.

+ NBC News: “A man who escaped from an Ebola quarantine center in the Liberian capital Monrovia fended off vigilantes with rocks and a stick before medics caught up with him.”

4. That’s the Ticket

For some, the potential of winning a mega lottery jackpot is a lot more enticing than tossing a few bucks into a savings account (even if the latter provides a more promising route out of poverty). So how do you provide the thrill of a potential prize with the more sensible act of saving one’s dough? As the NYT’s Patricia Cohen explains, some financial institutions have introduced prize-linked savings accounts.

+ CityLab on an experimental program that uses barbershop intervention to bring health education to African American Men: A Shave, a Haircut, and a Blood Pressure Test.

5. Self Diagnosis

“In the mid-20th century, physicians were the pillars of any community. If you were smart and sincere and ambitious, at the top of your class, there was nothing nobler or more rewarding that you could aspire to become.” In the WSJ, Sandeep Jauhar tries to explain why doctors are sick of their profession.

+ If you have any interest in the early days of surgery (or just an interest in good TV), check out The Knick starring Clive Owen.

6. Carb Sharks

For those still keeping score, the road to better cardiovascular health is paved with butter. The latest major study suggests you should maintain a diet low in carbs and higher in fats.

+ We’re apparently already on the right track. The butter people can barely keep up with the demand. There is a season, churn, churn, churn.

+ Everlasting GOPstopper: Ever wonder how Republican your Hemp Granola is? Now you can use an app to determine the political leanings of your favorite food manufacturers.

+ Watching TV can make you overeat. But it might depend on what you’re watching. (I’ll read this article just as soon as I’m caught up on Cake Boss.)

7. Who’s On First?

“Over time, their lives were constrained — or cushioned — by the circumstances they were born into, by the employment and education prospects of their parents, by the addictions or job contacts that would become their economic inheritance.” The researchers behind a long term study look back at the lives of Baltimore’s first grade class of 1982 to better understand what your 1st-grade life says about the rest of it.

+ Maybe it was a concern about the importance of early childhood development that led parents to attempt to frame a rival PTA member by planting drugs in her car. Out here in Northern California, if you wanted to frame a rival parent, you’d plant gluten in their car.

8. The Home of Hardware

MIT’s Joi Ito reports on his trip to Shenzhen, where he got a firsthand look at the world’s manufacturing ecosystem: “The retail price of the cheapest full featured phone is about $9. Yes. $9. This could not be designed in the US – this could only be designed by engineers with tooling grease under their fingernails who knew the manufacturing equipment inside and out, as well as the state of the art of high-end mobile phones.”

9. Hold the Purpose

“Researchers tested ten 16 ounce decaf coffees from nine coffee shops. They found that 9 of the 10 cups contained between 8.6 milligrams and 13.9 milligrams of caffeine. And zero milligrams of purpose.” Mental Floss answers your question: How Do They Make Decaf Coffee? Next, someone should explain why.

10. The Bottom of the News

“Sheepishly, I inform him that it’s the colloquial term for the patch of skin between the genitals and the anus, properly known as the perineum. People call it the taint, I say, because it taint one part and it taint the other, either.” NY Mag’s Kevin Roose takes a stroll through Burning Man with Grover Norquist.

+ InFocus shares a Burning Man photo collection.

+ I assume you peel your apples using an electric screwdriver.

+ We may soon need an ice bucket challenge to collect money for victims of the ice bucket challenge.


TIME Science

Here’s Why Scientists Are Tripping Elderly People on Purpose

Researchers are using controlled trips to help the elderly reduce their chances of falling


At the University of Illinois at Chicago, researchers are tripping senior citizens on purpose. But it isn’t a horrible prank.

The elderly people are part of a new study, strapped into safety gear and motion sensors while walking on a treadmill that occasionally skips, training them to avoid falling, the Associated Press reports.

While conventional fall prevention methods include improving muscle strength, balance and flexibility, the new study focuses on building subconscious learning, Clive Pai, a physical therapy professor who is leading the research, told the AP. Pai’s method has been shown to reduce the chance of falling by 50% up to a year later.

Each year, treating falls in the elderly can cost up to $30 billion to treat, according to the CDC.

TIME animals

Giant Hippo Splashes Into River Thames

Giant Floating Hippo River Thames
Steve Stills

The artist's latest creation following his giant floating rubber duck

Along London’s River Thames are some notable landmarks: the London Bridge, the Millennium Bridge, and now, a giant floating hippo.

The nearly 70-foot-long replica of the water mammal—named “HippopoThames”—is the latest project of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, according to CNN. The work was commissioned by the Thames Festival Trust, which had approached Hofman earlier this year to design artwork for Totally Thames, an annual festival celebrating the river.

Hofman, who debuted the “world’s largest rubber duck” last month, is known for his humor, sensation and maximum impact, In line with his artistic vision, HippopoThames was inspired by everyday objects, especially those that time warp people to their childhoods. It’s also designed to force viewers to appreciate public spaces, even after the installations are removed.

“I wanted to use the hippo to get people out of their homes, away from the Internet and the TV, and to explore London with a new perspective,” Hofman told CNN.

HippopoThames will be on display until Sept. 28.

TIME viral

Dad Makes Hilariously Passive-Aggressive Instructional Video to Get His Kids to Do Chores

This one explains the difficult art of changing a toilet paper roll


Fed up with the fact that his kids won’t help with household chores, this dad has created what he calls the “first in a series of instructional videos for my kids.” It’s an incredibly passive-aggressive parenting technique, and the result is hilarious.

“Obviously me telling them face to face is not working,” he explains in the video, “so I’ve tried to be creative and I’ve come up with the idea of using social media to try and reach you.” Then he proceeds with a very precise step-by-step guide to changing a toilet paper roll in the bathroom.

We’re excited to see what he comes up with next — perhaps a meticulous explanation of how one takes out the trash?

TIME viral

Cat and Toddler Team Up to Take on a Laser Pointer

They're so convinced they're eventually going to catch it


This video shows a black cat desperately trying to pounce on the elusive red dot of a laser pointer, with a toddler joining in to assist with the task. The cat is named Muon and is one year old, and the child, Phineas, is two and a half, the poster explains. He adds that they “are on the same wavelength.”

The pair are so, so convinced that the dot is a real, physical being, and sadly, the video cuts off before they come to the realization that it’s not. Maybe a video of their shared existential crisis could be a good follow-up.

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

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.”


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.

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