TIME celebrity

Benedict Cumberbatch Chills With a Penguin at Comic-Con

Richard Shotwell—Invision/AP

"Cumberbitches" are bound to be jealous

While Comic-Con fans in San Diego have been ogling at the suit that Ben Affleck wore as Batman, fans of Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch (nicknamed “Cumberbitches”) may be more interested in this hilarious photo of the actor with a penguin mascot for The Penguins of Madagascar.

As the Associated Press points out, his appearance at a Dreamworks Animation panel marked two firsts for the actor: his first time at the convention and his first animated part.

(h/t EW)

LIST: This Is How The Internet Reacted When TIME Put Benedict Cumberbatch on The Cover of Its International Edition

TIME NextDraft

A Reflection on Privacy and Other Fascinating News on the Web

nextdraft_newsfeed_v2

1. Show Me Your Public Parts

During the tech revolution, the line between public and private has become increasingly blurry (or in the case of certain below-the-belt selfies, not blurry enough). Anil Dash examines the ever-changing definition and wonders how we decide what Is public? “Public is not just what can be viewed by others, but a fragile set of social conventions about what behaviors are acceptable and appropriate. There are people determined to profit from expanding and redefining what’s public, working to treat nearly everything we say or do as a public work they can exploit. They may succeed before we even put up a fight.” — I found this article in Anil’s backpack. I hope he doesn’t mind that I published it

2. Not Going Anywhere for a While?

Joseph Rudolph Wood was pronounced dead by way of lethal injection at 3:49pm on Wednesday. His execution was initiated an hour and fifty seven minutes earlier. Wood was “gasping and snorting” for so long that his lawyers filed an emergency appeal during the execution.

+ Vox explains why it took so long.

+ Days before the botched execution, U.S. 9th Circuit Court Chief Judge Alex Kozinski argued that executions should be carried out by firing squads: “Using drugs meant for individuals with medical needs to carry out executions is a misguided effort to mask the brutality of executions by making them look serene and beautiful — like something any one of us might experience in our final moments. But executions are, in fact, brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality. Nor should we. If we as a society want to carry out executions, we should be willing to face the fact that the state is committing a horrendous brutality on our behalf.”

3. Hell-ter Shelter

As the violence in the Middle East hits its seventeenth day, the news continues to be bad. There’s still no ceasefire plan in place, and Israeli artillery hit a UN-run school in Gaza that was being used as a shelter.

+ Late last night, the FAA lifted its ban on flights to Tel Aviv.

+ The extent to which a sliver of territory in the Middle East can dominate world news is truly remarkable. WorldMic takes a look at what the Gaza invasion would look like (in terms of population and geography) if it took place in your city.

4. Just Don’t It?

“There’s something in the culture — there’s this magical, mysterious part of the culture that breeds helpfulness. The opposite of what I was taught growing up in New York, which was not to help. That you’re not a bad person if you don’t help.” Aeon’s Dwyer Gunn looks at the long history of people just standing there and doing nothing when someone else is being victimized and wonders, why won’t they help?

5. Call of Jury Duty

As advisor to David Cameron has suggested that laws be enacted to ensure people “who steal online items in video games with a real-world monetary value receive the same sentences as criminals who steal real-world items of the same monetary value.” I don’t know if such a law will ever pass, but I told my son to keep his Minecraft pickaxe handy just in case.

+ This Meme’s Not Big Enough For Both of Us: In New York, dozens of detectives from the homicide, counter-terrorism, and intelligence units, are searching for a skateboarder and several of his friends who could have been behind the Brooklyn Bridge flag planting.

6. It Doesn’t Add Up

“The inadequate implementation can make math reforms seem like the most absurd form of policy change — one that creates a whole new problem to solve. Why try something we’ve failed at a half-dozen times before, only to watch it backfire?” NY Mag on the story of Akihiko Takahashi and why Americans stink at math.

7. Paste Traumatic Stress Disorder

Senator John Walsh is being criticized for plagiarizing much of a paper he submitted as his 1998 master’s thesis. One of the people he borrowed from doesn’t seem too upset: “I was surprised and mildly flattered that Sen. Walsh had decided to incorporate so much of my paper into his.”

+ Meanwhile, Walsh is suggesting that PTSD may have played a role in his plagiarism. “I don’t want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor.” At least we can be completely sure he made up that sentence on his own.

8. The King and Fry

The CEO is 33. And many of the other top executives are even younger. Together, they want to run their company like a startup and want all the employees to have an “ownership mentality.” But this is no new Internet company. It’s one of America’s most recognizable brands. From BloombergBusinessweek: Burger King Is Run by Children.

+ Speaking of eating establishments run by children, how do you get yours to eat a few vegetables before they bolt away from the kitchen table? Here’s a tip from the experts: Don’t say a damn thing.

+ “Slowly but surely, the kale salad will make its way to TGI Friday’s menu, then McDonald’s, Kraft, and, eventually, as a Doritos flavor.” Meet the people who know what you’re going to want to eat before you do.

9. The Brain Guarding the Lane

“I can usually remember plays in situations a couple of years back — quite a few years back sometimes. I’m able to calibrate them throughout a game to the situation I’m in, to know who has it going on our team, what position to put him in. I’m lucky to have a photographic memory.” ESPN introduces you to LeBron’s greatest gift, and curse. His fast-twitch, incessantly churning brain.

+ What if Morgan Freeman read LeBron James’ letter discussing his return to Cleveland?

10. The Bottom of the News

“The people who want to look like Angelina Jolie are having cheek augmentations, which makes me think that the release of Maleficent was significant.” Kevin Fallon takes you inside the weird world of celebrity clone surgery. Meanwhile, a kid in India just had 232 teeth removed (and he still looks nothing like Kim Kardashian…)

+ “We all just managed to stay alive longer than everybody else.” That’s Roy Englert on the strategy that enabled his relay team of nonagenarians to set a new track record.

+ How blatantly did Xiaomi rip off Apple designs. Here’s a hint: And there’s one more thing

+ Tuaw: I searched for all 74 of the stickers in Apple’s new ad so you don’t have to.

+ A car dealership gave a disgruntled customer a $100 refund, in loose change. This story isn’t that interesting, but it does provide a good excuse to re-watch a great moment from Breaking Away.

nextdraft

TIME technology

Watch Jimmy Kimmel Hilariously Convince People That a Cheap Casio Is Apple’s iWatch

They willingly admit they'll buy pretty much anything with an Apple logo on it

+ READ ARTICLE

It seems there nothing Jimmy Kimmel loves more than a good old-fashioned prank. (Remember that time he got Drake to dress up in disguise and ask people their opinions about Drake?) This time, Kimmel took a $20 Casio, slapped an Apple logo on it and got his team to trick strangers into thinking it was Apple’s rumored smart watch.

Even though the device can really only do things that a basic watch can do — like tell the time, or indicate the date, or act as a stopwatch — people are blinded by that iconic apple logo.

“I mean, if it’s Apple, it’s good right?” one guy says. Another woman admits, “I would pretty much buy anything from Apple.” Even, it turns out, a cheap Casio.

TIME Television

Conan O’Brien’s Cameo in Sharktopus Vs Pteracuda Is Spectacular

Hey Conan: Gross.

+ READ ARTICLE

Sharktopus vs. Pteracuda is coming.

Syfy is continuing it’s manifest destiny to be the destination for must-see, must-mock, made-for-TV movies with the very dramatic film produced by gore master Roger Corman and featuring talk show host Conan O’Brien. While the movie (event?) doesn’t air until August 2nd, fans don’t need to wait that long to see O’Brien’s spectacularly gruesome cameo, which in true Corman fashion is both horrifying and hysterical.

The clip was unveiled last night on Conan, when Corman stopped by to help promote the film, and while O’Brien’s part is just a cameo, it will undoubtedly be collected on listicles of Best Cameos Ever for years to come.

If you dare to watch, be forewarned it’s truly violent, patently disgusting and darkly humorous. That said, the clip brought the <em>Conan</em> studio audience to its feet for a well-deserved standing ovation. It’s just too bad that they only give out Oscars for films released in theaters.

MORE: The 64 Best Seconds of the Sharknado Trailer—Ranked!

MORE: Perfect Storm: The Genius of Sharknado

TIME technology

Hero Builds a Genius Machine That Can Fill 100 Water Balloons in a Minute

The Kickstarter campaign to fund it has already earned more than $100,000

Some people turn to Kickstarter for dumb ideas that clearly will not help anyone. (We’re looking at you, potato salad guy.) But other people, like this father of eight from Texas, use the crowdfunding site to raise money for something that could ACTUALLY ALTER THE COURSE OF HUMAN HISTORY.

Say hello to Bunch O Balloons, a contraption that solves a very real problem about water balloons: they’re so much fun, but they take forever to fill. No longer! This device will easily fill and tie 37 balloons in 20 seconds flat. You simply attach it to a hose and give it a gentle shake once the balloons are filled. Already tied, they’ll then drop right into a bucket below.

Creator Josh Malone set out to raise $10,000 to begin manufacturing this invention — and now, having raised more than $100,000, he’s clearly surpassed that goal.

This contraption will be especially handy if you’ve got sneaky pets who tend to pop your water balloons:

Now you’ll be all, Who cares? Give me just a minute and I’ll have 100 more where that came from!

TIME India

An Indian Boy With 260 Teeth Just Got 232 of Them Pulled Out

Indian Boy Gets 232 Pulled
Indian dentists operate on Ashik Gavai at JJ Hospital in Mumbai on July 22, 2014, AFP/Getty Images

Doctors said the operation was "really fun"

A boy in India endured a six-hour operation Monday to remove 232 teeth that grew as a result of a rare medical condition. Now, Ashik Gavai, 17, has 28 teeth left—four fewer than most adult mouths.

17-year-old Gavai had been suffering from composite odontoma, a condition in which a benign tumor forms in the mouth, causing additional teeth to grow as well. In Gavai’s case, a molar tooth in his lower jaw had grew hundreds of smaller teeth. Gavai’s doctors at J.J. Hospital in Mumbai couldn’t initially remove the growth deep in Gawai’s jaw with normal surgical tools, so they opted for a “basic chisel and hammer” before more delicately removing teeth one-by-one. His doctors called their operation a “world record,” and are planning to submit it to Guinness World Records.

“I have never seen anything like it in all my years of practice,” Sudanda Dhiware, head of the hospital’s dentistry department, told the Washington Post. “We were so excited by it. And it was really fun for us to be able to extract them all, one by one.”

The condition doesn’t normally result in teeth as plentiful as Gavai’s — Dhiware said medical literature shows that a maximum of 37 teeth have been extracted in the past.

Gavai, who comes from a poor family of cotton growers hours outside of Mumbai, had noticed swelling along his jaw months before his operation. But local doctors were unable to fix his condition, and his family didn’t have enough money to seek immediate, proper treatment. Fearing that Gavai’s puffy cheek may have been cancer-related, his family went to a state-run hospital, where they obtained funds through a program offering financial support to poor patients.

Gavai is currently recovering from his grueling surgery, and his doctors are hoping that the condition doesn’t reoccur—which it could, if a bit of tumor, even microscopic, remains.

[Washington Post]

TIME viral

Watch a Toddler Learn He Can Rally an Entire Summer Camp With His Cuteness

All he has to do is wave his hands in the air

+ READ ARTICLE

When this 15-month-old boy stood in front of a crowd, he quickly realized that his charisma and charm could be leveraged quite easily. He claps, the people clap. He raises his arms, the people raise their arms.

Next step: complete world domination.

TIME viral

This Is What It Looks Like When The Queen Photobombs Your Selfie

One is amused

An Australian field hockey player was minding her own business, talking a selfie at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, when her picture was photobombed by the Queen. As in, Elizabeth II, Queen of England.

AND she was smiling.

This wasn’t the Queen’s first time embracing millennial photobomb culture, either:

Royals. They’re just like us.

TIME society

These Awesome Photos of People Emerging From a Water Slide Capture the Essence of Summer

Krista Long

Simply titled “I Love Summer,” this series of high-speed photographs focuses on the specific — and, it turns out, highly captivating — experience of bursting out of a water slide.

Krista Long, a clinical social worker from Des Moines, Iowa, came up with the idea for the series last summer after spending time with her kids at a local pool. She found herself entertained for hours watching people emerge from the water slide, one by one, each with comically distinct facial expressions and body contortions. As a photography enthusiast, she began to think, Hey, this would be a great subject.

“I love how people’s emotion right before they splash down is either total excitement or fear or cringing,” Long says. “So I just really wanted to capture that moment.”

Capturing that moment, however, took a healthy dose of trial and error. After plenty of goof ups, Long eventually learned how to get her framing and timing just right. She also learned how to use Photoshop to add a black background, making the subjects and the water droplets stand out.

Ultimately, what Long says she hopes to convey here is that fun, carefree feeling so many of us enjoy in the longer, lazier days of summer.

“We just came off of the worst winter, and I know in many areas of the United States it was horrendous,” Long says. “It was so cold, it was so frozen, it lasted forever. I just thought, you know what, this really does capture just how wonderful it is to be enjoying summertime.”

Below are some of our favorite shots. Head over to Flickr to see more.

Krista Long
Krista Long
Krista Long
Krista Long
Krista Long
Krista Long
Krista Long
Krista Long

 

TIME viral

Meet the First Viral Snapchat Stars

Snapchat stars Jerome Jarre and Shonduras pose in a Snapchat Shonduras

The secret to how some Snapchatters earn $100,000 for a week's work and stand out in a medium that is all about disappearing

Three twenty-something guys, armed with smart phones and a neon yellow soccer ball, are scrambling in different directions in a crowded New York City Whole Foods. Shaun McBride just maneuvered around bandana-wearing Chris Carmichael to score a “goal” into a shopping cart, and now they have to escape before getting caught by startled shoppers or, worse, security.

“I got the shot!” says Jerome Jarre, breathing heavily outside of the grocery store. It is 30 minutes before the beginning of this month’s World Cup final, and they have to finish their Snapchat Story before the game starts. Together, the trio has an audience of almost 2 million people, and pockets of the fans have gathered around Union Square to take pictures of the social media personalities.

They are among the first viral stars of Snapchat, a popular mobile app created in 2011 on the premise that friends would send each other photos, videos, and doodles that would self-destruct in 10 seconds or less. Unlike Instagram or Vine, it wasn’t built to be a sharing platform to broadcast creative content to the masses but to be shared intimately with acquaintances. But Snapchat has grown up fast and now large companies are trying to reach its audience and are handing some of its most loved users six-figure paychecks to do it.

Building a Staying Following on a Disappearing Medium

When Jin Long Shi, 14, saw on Snapchat that his favorite social media celebrities were just a few blocks away, he ran out of his apartment — only stopping to buy them a box of Munchkins from Dunkin’ Donuts — to watch them shoot. “Before this, I didn’t know you could have followers on Snapchat and create stories, I thought you just used it to take selfies and send funny things to friends,” Shi says.

Shi came primarily for Jarre, 24, who describes himself as an “outgoing Borat Frenchman.” His creative niche is slapstick and playing pranks on strangers. Jarre gained his celebrity from his 6-million follower Vine account, but he has recently transitioned his focus primarily to Snapchat after downloading it a month ago.

“Why would Christophe Colomb go to America? Why would we go to the moon? It’s fresh, anything can happen there,” he says.

Jarre, who has 1.2 million Snapchat followers, says that the new medium is building his portfolio from 6-second videos to 2-minute narratives and increasing his followers. (Snapchat launched a Story feature in October that allows users to create a longer narrative that is displayed to all of their friends, rather than directly send to select followers, that lasts a 24-hours and can be viewed multiple times.) After 18 months on Vine, he had accumulated 800,000 Instagram followers. After three weeks on Snapchat, that number grew 1.3 million. Jarre shared his Story statistics, showing his zany narratives — “that always end with a positive message” — get viewed upwards of 1.1 million times and screen grabbed upwards of 43.9K times:

Snapchat story data shows how many people viewed and taken a screenshot of a user's content.
Snapchat story data shows how many people viewed and taken a screenshot of a user’s content. Jerome Jarre

“It’s the most viral platform ever because people need to screenshot, share, and talk to their friends,” Jarre says. “Because it is disappearing in 24-hours, they have to tell their friends or else no one will see it… There’s an insane word of mouth power. That’s how Shaun gained his followers from scratch.”

Shaun McBride, whose “Shonduras” Snapchat account has more than 140,000 followers, is known by brands, social media celebrities and agencies as a Snapchat pioneer. The 27-year-old snowboard sales rep from Ogden, Utah is a self-proclaimed member of the “Facebook generation,” and he didn’t have a social media presence at all until his six sisters, who are in high school and therefore Snapchat’s key demographic, pressured him into making a Snapchat account in November.

McBride’s Snapchat specialty is turning the ordinary into the extraordinary, and often silly, with detailed finger doodles over pictures. This caught on with his sisters’ friends and soon their entire high school had requested to follow him. He started getting notifications that his photographs of silly scenarios, like pictures of dogs he turned into Disney princesses with Snapchat’s drawing tools, were getting screen-shot hundreds of times. McBride says that when he would send out prompts to followers, asking them to send in a picture of a quarter in exchange for a personalized drawing, “Thousands of people sent me pictures of quarters. I spent the whole day snapping them back because I didn’t want to be rude. I was like, is this for realz?”

Snapchats by Shonduras

How to Engage With Snapchat Followers

As McBride’s following grew from hundreds to tens of thousands, he began building a presence on other social media sites so that his fans could see his content even after it disappeared. This is when his work started getting picked up by media outlets and companies (including Taco Bell, Disney, and MLS) began reaching out to work with him. That’s one of the ironies of Snapchat celebrity: It depends on screengrabs from other social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter.

“Snapchat is not like Twitter and Facebook, it’s not about likes, it’s not about followers,” Snapchat spokesperson Mary Ritti says, noting that the app doesn’t even track the number of Snapchat friends people have.

“Maybe it’s just a too cool thing,” says Molly Mitchell (Snapchat name: biggie_molls), who does marketing at men’s short-shorts company Chubbies. “Snapchat is the hipster of the social media world. It’s elusive and you need someone else’s commonplace app to purvey its content.” Mitchell gained brief Snapchat celebrity after she created an Instagram account chronicling the Snapchats she sent her friends of her relationship with her boyfriend.

Over the four hours of storyboarding and shooting their 86-second World Cup Snapchat, Jarre, McBride, and Carmichael discuss the possibilities of posting videos of their stories on YouTube.

Carmichael, (Snapchat name: ChrisCarm), keeps a Tumblr to showcase his comic book-esque Snapchat stories, which often end on cliffhangers. “My theme is that my bandana talks to me, and it’s my mentor,” Carmichael, 27, says. “It takes me on an adventure. A big story that is never ending.”

A panel from one of Carmichael’s Snapchat stories ChrisCarm

Since the medium is still young, Snapchat users are working together to find the best way to engage with fans. One of McBride’s first collaborations was with Boston-based Michael Platco (Snapchat name: mplatco), who doodled on red gloves to have a cross-country boxing match. They asked fans to Snapchat in who they wanted to win, so that they would have influence over the match.

Snapchatters Shonduras and Mplatco sent their followers disappearing photos of them boxing Shonduras and Mplatco / Snapchat
Followers sent Shonduras and Mplatco Snapchats to indicate who they wanted to win the boxing match.Shonduras / Snapchat

Shortly after the boxing match, which ended in a draw, Disney flew McBride to Disneyland and Platco to Disneyworld to simultaneously launch the theme parks’ Snapchat accounts in their first-ever paid Snapchat gigs. Since then, Platco has worked with food site GrubHub and “Harry Potter” fan site MuggleNet. (He is very active in the Snapchat-Harry Potter market, which does, in fact, exist).

Snapchat prowess has also led to full-time office jobs. Dasha Battelle (Snapchat name: dabttll) is known for her stylus-free, intricate artwork, which helped land her a job on Mashable’s visual storytelling team.

Good Snapchatting Pays Off… Literally

Just as companies pay top social media users for their Instagram and Vine abilities, they are starting to shell out cash to those who “get” Snapchat. And for good reason. The popular communication tool has a stronghold on a very young, obsessive and viral-savvy demographic of potential buyers—although the company doesn’t disclose figures, it has an estimated 30 million active monthly users, 71% of whom are under 25.

Compensation ranges widely. Consulting can pay up to $150 an hour and although Snapchatters and companies wouldn’t publicly disclose specific payments, two top Snapchat users said that the most coveted stars now earn anywhere from $1,500 a day to more than $100,000 for a week’s work for a company. That’s in the ballpark of what influencers on other social platforms are getting paid. Marcus Johns told Business Insider that a Vine ad campaign paid off his college tuition, and advertisers have sent influential Instagram users on fully paid trips around the world to Instagram events from their accounts.

Some companies have been hesitant to invest in Snapchat since the branded content doesn’t have a permanent afterlife, as it would on Instagram. But Vayner Media founder Gary Vaynerchuk, a leading social media adviser, thinks discounting Snapchat is shortsighted.

“Why anybody thought that a disappearing piece of content isn’t valuable is insane to me,” says Vaynerchuk, explaining that before technology existed to record television shows, the content within the commercial breaks disappeared. “Last time I checked, when I’m listening to a car commercial on Z100, that sh-t disappeared.”

Vaynerchuk and Jarre co-founded GrapeStory, an agency that pairs top Vine, Instagram, and now Snapchat users including McBride with companies. Sour Patch worked with GrapeStory and Logan Paul, a social media leader, to launch its Snapchat account in early July, and Sonic will use another top user to launch its account in August.

When McBride walked around the grounds of DisneyLand in a Mickey Mouse hat that read “Shonduras” over Memorial Day weekend, he thought that Snapchat had the potential to supplement some of his income as a fun side business and creative outlet.

“This month, I hope to make more than I did last year in my real job,” he says. “It’s insane.”

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