TIME Internet

Funny or Die Enlists Michelle Obama to Cameo in Junk Food Sketch

First Lady appears in tongue-in-cheek parody of dystopian YA novel adaptations

Imagine a world where everyone was addicted to junk food. Unlike The Hunger Games or Divergent, the dystopia featured in this Funny or Die video isn’t all that distant from our reality.

In the parody trailer, If I Stay star Chloe Grace Moretz plays a heroine—à la Jennifer Lawrence or Shailene Woodley—who must save her peers from an evil dictator who has filled the school with junk food. “Snackpocalypse” stars Tyler Posey, Clark Duke and Sufe Bradshaw. First Lady Michelle Obama even has a cameo — perhaps hoping to repeat the success of her husband’s turn on the online comedy hub’s Between Two Ferns.

TIME viral

Hilarious Video Shows How Every Mumford and Sons Song Sounds Exactly the Same

Nailed it.

You know that feeling when you’re listening to a brand new Mumford and Sons song but you swear you’ve heard it before? That’s probably because most of the songs stick to a pretty specific formula. This video, created by YouTuber Dion Beary, captures that formula pretty well.

We should note that the lack of banjo is pretty disappointing, but otherwise, it’s pretty much perfect.

WATCH: Comedians Punk Fans in New Mumford & Sons Music Video

WATCH: How the Banjo Made It Big

MORE: Billboard Chart Decoded: Mumford and Sons Triumph

TIME Bizarre

5-Year-Old Girl Was Locked in Washing Machine on High Speed

Texas girl was hospitalized after spending several minutes inside machine

A Texas girl was hospitalized Tuesday after she was locked in a washing machine on high speed for several minutes.

Police in Pasadena, Tex. told local news outlet KHOU that a woman had tried to use the machine but told the manager it wasn’t working properly, then moved to a different machine. The girl was in the machine for several minutes before anyone noticed and opened the machine.

“She was tumbling pretty fast in there,” Vance Mitchell with Pasadena Police. “One person walked by and said they saw something flopping around in there. They thought it was just a dress or something because it was moving pretty fast.”

Police did not say where the girl’s parents or caregivers were, but some police on the scene told KHOU that the child was unsupervised. Paramedics expect her to survive.

[KHOU]

 

TIME NextDraft

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

September 2, 2014

nextdraft_newsfeed_v2

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.

nextdraft

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
Olivia Harris—Reuters 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

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.

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