Arizona Woman Prohibited From Cartwheeling at Meetings

The manic pixie dream girl is alive and well

In an attack against whimsy, Arizona officials sent a Phoenix woman a written request to stop cartwheeling during local government meetings. Or else.

Dianne “DD” Barker is a real-life manic pixie dream girl. She rides around town on a red bicycle—matching her red hair and sneakers—and does cartwheels when words don’t suffice.

“You have from time to time suggested that MAG [Maricopa Association of Government] cannot prevent you from performing cartwheels during your comments,” the attorney signed letter states. “That position is incorrect.” For years, officials have asked her to keep her feet on the ground as it is distracting and causes potential danger to those nearby.

But Barker isn’t taking this request to “immediately cease performing cartwheels” lightly. She responded that the MAG letter was “intimidating, threatening, and defaming…No longer could I freely speak/express in such positive conviction, my continuing commitment, and unwavering support for MAG’s transportation/air quality duty and directives!”

If Zooey Deschanel movies have taught us anything, it is that soon Barker will turn the hearts of the curmudgeon-y members of MAG, who pretty soon will be holding all public meetings outside and end particularly fraught debates with a shared homemade cake.

[AZ Central]

TIME animals

Koalas Hug Trees to Keep Cool (and Look Cute)

Erik Veland / Getty Images

Unlike panting and licking their fur, tree-hugging doesn't lead to dehydration

Turns out koalas aren’t just hugging trees so we can all marvel at how adorable they are — they’re actually hugging trees to keep themselves nice and cool in hot weather.

Researchers tracked a group of koalas in their natural habitat in Australia during warm months. With the help of thermal imaging, they found that many of the creatures would cling to the coolest, lowest parts of the trees. Some tree trunks, it turns out, can be more than 5°C cooler than the surrounding air.

Access to those trees can significantly reduce the amount of heat stress for koalas by reducing the amount of water they need to stay cool, according to the study, originally published in the journal Biology Letters. The researchers confirmed that tree-hugging is an important cooling behavior and that tree trunks are an “important microhabitat” for other tree-dwelling animals as well.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt that tree-hugging is just really really cute.

TIME animals

6 of the Cutest Cat Hugs for International Hug Your Cat Day

The most devoted cat lovers honor June 4 as Hug Your Cat Day. Below are some of our favorite viral cat hugs.

  • Cat Hugs Baby Chick

  • Mom Hugs Kitten Having a Nightmare

  • Cat Hugs Like a Human

  • Cat Hugs Man

  • Cat Hugs a Stuffed Animal

  • Baby Hugs Cat

  • The Grumpy Cat Hug

    David Livingston / Getty Images

    Pshh, you wish.

TIME health

This Nurse Is Using Tinder to Remind Dudes to Get Prostate Exams

via Matchesformenshealth.com

Men's health outreach, Tinder style

“Nurse Nicole” sounds like every man’s fantasy: She’s young and beautiful, loves “dogs, warm weather, and spontaneous decisions,” and has that whole sexy nurse thing going for her. It’s no wonder that she’s been catching many suitors’ eyes and their eager right swipes on Tinder. But when the men match with Nurse Nicole, they realize she has a somewhat strange fixation on prostates. Specifically, getting young men to have annual prostate exams.

Nurse Nicole does not actually exist. Instead, her Tinder profile was set up as part of a health awareness campaign run by Matches for Men’s Health. When a Tinder match is made, Nurse Nicole responds to the sometimes salacious texts from suitors with pithy, health-related comebacks encouraging trips to the doctor for prostate exams, testicular cancer screenings and colonoscopies. If the men get too worked up, she will even suggest blood pressure monitoring.

It’s a clever campaign and it should be effective, but based on the text exchanges that appear on Matches for Men’s Health, it’s not clear that the men getting the health tips actually realize that when Nurse Nicole suggests a colonoscopy, she really means a colonoscopy.

[Via The Daily Dot]

MORE: Sick of the People on Dating Apps? Now There’s a Tinder for Dogs

MORE: Dating Show Contestant Reveals He Murdered Wife And Mistress, But Is Still Looking For Love

TIME History

Head On Over to Germany to Check Out a Live Replica of Vincent van Gogh’s Severed Ear

Germany Van Gogh's Ear
Undated picture shows an ear made of human cells grown from samples provided from a distant relative from Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh, in the center for art and media in Karlsruhe, Germany, Tuesday, June 3, 2014. Diemut Strebe / AP

Thanks to DNA provided by one of the artist's distant relatives

You’ve probably heard the legend of how Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh cut off his own ear. Or how perhaps someone else cut off his ear. Either way, somebody cut off van Gogh’s ear, and that has fascinated everybody ever since.

If you’re especially fascinated by van Gogh’s ear, then you should find some time in your schedule to head over to the Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany, to see a copy of it grown from DNA samples provided by one of van Gogh’s living relatives.

Artist Diemut Strebe crafted the replica with living cells from Lieuwe van Gogh, the great-great-grandson of Vincent’s brother Theo, the Associated Press reports. She used a 3D-printer to shape the cells into an ear-like shape, and then, because of this process, basically deemed herself an artist just like van Gogh.

“I use science basically like a type of brush, like Vincent used paint,” Strebe told the AP. Okay, sure.

The ear is now being kept alive with nourishing fluid and could, in theory, remain preserved for years, so that gives you plenty of time to go check it out. This current exhibition only lasts until July 6, and then the artist is considering putting it on display in New York.

Oh, and if this was not creepy enough for you already, you can “talk” to the ear.


TIME Media

Study Finds Watching The Colbert Report Is More Informative Than Watching The News

Specifically regarding campaign finance and the politics of money

The Colbert Report
Get More: Daily Show Full Episodes,Indecision Political Humor,The Colbert Report on Facebook

Good news for Colbert Nation: People who watched The Colbert Report during the last presidential election are more informed about campaign financing than people who watched other news channels, according to a study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. That’s because he made the issue a regular joke on the show and created a Super PAC, a real-life example of how it works, the researchers argue.

The Colbert Report was compared to MSNBC, FOX News, CNN, and nightly network news shows, and the data is based on a phone survey of 1,232 adults 18 or older interviewed Dec. 13-23, 2012.

The study was published online in Mass Communication and Society.

TIME celebrity

Watch Ryan Lewis Ask Macklemore Fans What They Think Of Ryan Lewis

Poor Ryan Lewis

Being a sidekick is tough. Just ask Robin, Barney Rubble, Art Garfunkel or, you know, Ryan Lewis.

After Drake trolled his fans at the behest of Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon sent Lewis out on the streets of New York City to ask Macklemore & Ryan Lewis fans what they think about Ryan Lewis. While Drake wore a wig and glasses when he prowled the sidewalks for unsuspecting fans, Lewis just dressed like himself and walked up to people. He even held up a photo of himself standing next to Macklemore and asked fans to point out Ryan Lewis in the picture and, still, no one recognized him. It’s also pretty clear that no one has any idea what Lewis does in the band.

The prank gets especially entertaining — and cringe inducing — when people finally figure out who it is they are talking to. Needless to say they won’t forget what Lewis looks like anytime soon.

MORE: VIDEO: Watch Charli XCX’s The Fault In Our Stars Clip for “Boom Clap”

MORE: Grammys 2014: Macklemore Says Kendrick Lamar “Was Robbed” On Best Rap Album

TIME Food & Drink

Two Words: Marijuana Coffee

Getty Images

Start the day on a high note

It is common to make a pot of coffee in the morning, but imagine drinking pot-infused coffee — at least in places where recreational marijuana use is legal.

Cannabis-infused coffee is expected to be available in Washington state in July, the product’s developer Adam Stites told The Huffington Post earlier this week. A tongue-in-cheek manifesto for the brand “Mirth Provisions” says the product will “establish unprecedented chillness” and enable consumers to “listen to the dark side of the Moon again.”

Stites described the effect of the cold brew — which also comes in a cream and sugar variety — as “wake and bake,” in an interview with MyNorthwest.com. He claims it contains 20mg THC, which will give drinkers about the same buzz as an “IPA or glass of wine.”

As more and more pot edibles pop up on the market, there are concerns that people will overeat them and harm themselves and others, raising questions about how much cannabis regulation is needed. An article in Sunday’s New York Times argues marijuana chocolates, cookies, and other edibles have been the main downside of legal recreational marijuana use in Colorado, especially after a Denver man purchased marijuana-infused candy and then shot and killed his wife. Last month, Reuters reported that the Denver coroner’s office listed “marijuana intoxication” as a “contributing factor” in the death of a Wyoming college student, who bought and ate “six times the suggested amount of marijuana cookies” before jumping off a balcony.

And hospital officials who have treat children nauseated after eating too many pot edibles argue kids are drawn to the bright colors and labeling of marijuana edibles as a fun snack. To curb accidental ingestions by children, Colorado John Governor Hickenlooper (D) signed two safety bills into law last month, one about creating packaging for pot edibles that is not misleading and another that sets limits on how much concentrated marijuana (i.e. hash oil) can be sold to an individual.

TIME National Security

Secret Service Plans to Get Really, Really Good at the Internet

A new software program will help the Secret Service monitor Internet activity by detecting sarcasm and analyzing users' feelings, among other things

Detecting sarcasm on the Internet can be a challenge even for humans who don’t spend every waking minute on the web, so the Secret Service is saving itself some trouble by buying software that will detect sarcasm for the agency, according to a work order posted Monday.

That’s not all: the new software will also track web surfers’ feelings, mine their Twitter histories and perform several other functions related to collecting and analyzing vast amounts of Internet data, Nextgov reports.

The full list of software needs is easy to make fun of, especially with the witty use of irony, but when your job is to protect the president’s life and watch for potential dangers, the ability to analyze sarcasm and weed out “false positives”—like dumb teenagers making joking threats—is probably worth the money.


TIME celebrities

Jenny McCarthy Deletes Transphobic Twitter Joke

McCarthy took down a tweet that made fun of rumors about Jennifer Lopez's boyfriend having an affair with a transgender swimsuit model

Jenny McCarthy usually does harm by promoting her inconsistent and misinformed stance on childhood vaccines, but today she tried something new: a transphobic joke on Twitter.

Responding to rumors that Jennifer Lopez’s boyfriend Casper Smart was cheating on her with a swimsuit model who is also transgender, McCarthy wrote in a since-deleted tweet, “Did Jennifer Lopez’s boyfriend cheat with a transsexual model? I heard JLo gave him an ultimatum: ‘it’s either me or her/him!'”

For obvious reasons, it’s not funny—misgendering someone (identifying a person by a name, gender or pronoun that person doesn’t identify with) or making their gender identity the butt of a “joke” is a harmful and disrespectful. Also, though some people choose to identify with the label, “transsexual” is a mostly-outdated term that has origins in medical communities and shouldn’t be used to describe someone unless that person expresses a preference for it, according to GLAAD’s guidelines.

McCarthy has taken the tweet down, but hasn’t otherwise acknowledged or apologized for it.

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