TIME Internet

Best Buy Tweeted a Rather Insensitive Joke About Serial

The company apologized for its payphone quip

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Screenshot of Best Buy tweet

Hoping to capitalize on Serial’s popularity, Best Buy tweeted a joke Thursday about the true crime podcast, entertaining some fans but offending others.

[Minor spoilers for the Serial podcast follow]

Serial, a spinoff of This American Life, boasts 5 million listeners, more than any other podcast. Each week, its host Sarah Koenig investigates a different aspect of the 1999 murder of high schooler Hae Min Lee. Part of the case against Hae’s ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, hinges on the idea that Adnan was able to place a call to a friend at a Best Buy payphone, asking for a ride after apparently murdering Hae. But whether this payphone actually existed is a point of contention between Adnan (who is currently serving time for Hae’s murder) and the prosecutors who put him away.

Hence Best Buy’s tweeted joke, “We have everything you need. Unless you need a payphone. #Serial”

Though the tweet garnered hundreds of favorites and retweets (including one from Serial’s own Twitter account), many tweeted to remind Best Buy that Serial is a podcast about a real murder and therefore not the best material to use for corporate promotion. Best Buy later deleted the tweet and issued an apology:

But Best Buy isn’t the first to poke fun at the podcast or even the payphone specifically. In one of a series of parody podcasts, comedians Will Stephen, Zach Cherry and Paul Laudiero mock Sarah Koenig’s obsession with a payphone that, if it existed, has been gone for around a decade and which nobody is likely to remember.

Read next: Watch Stephen Colbert Interview Serial‘s Sarah Koenig

TIME Travel

This Is The Number One Travel Destination for 2015

Surise at the East River with jetty and the Manhattan skyline.
Getty Images A jetty in Long Island City, Queens, with the Manhattan skyline in the background.

"Queens, New York’s largest borough, is also quickly becoming its hippest, but most travelers haven't clued in… yet."

Travel guide book publisher Lonely Planet has unveiled its list of the best U.S. travel destinations for the coming year, and the winner is… Queens, New York.

“With microbreweries springing up, new boutique hotels, a reinvented seaside at Rockaway, a world-class art scene, and a truly global food culture, 2015 is the year to try Queens,” Lonely Planet explains on its site. Home to more than two million people — which would make it the fourth largest city in America if it were its own city — Queens is “finally emerging from the shadows of Manhattan to take its place as one of New York’s most fascinating boroughs.”

Some of the borough’s many tourist destinations include the Queens Museum and the Museum of the Moving Image, the boardwalk at Rockaway and tons of restaurants, Lonely Planet says.

READ MORE Why One Woman Is Going On a Free Around-the-World Trip With a Total Stranger

Here’s the full list of top travel destinations:

1. Queens, New York

2. Western South Dakota

3. New Orleans

4. Colorado River region

5. North Conway, New Hampshire

6. Indianapolis

7. Greenville, South Carolina

8. Oakland, California

9. Duluth, Minnesota

10. Mount Shasta region, California

Read more at Lonely Planet.

TIME Family & Relationships

This Baby Sleeping on Top of a Santa Will Warm Your Heart

Adorable encounter at a Maryland mall

The Aegis, a Baltimore Sun newspaper, shared this adorable Facebook photo of a baby named Scarlett sleeping on a Santa’s belly at the Harford Mall in Bel Air, Md. (about an hour north of Baltimore). Her mother, Jennifer Sawyer Genna of Abingdon, Md., told the paper that the youngster “passed out so Santa decided to take a ‘little snooze’ for her first picture!”

As NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams put it on air Wednesday night, “Happiness is a warm Santa.”

TIME Social Media

Malala Yousafzai’s 3 Tips for Taking Stellar Selfies

Malala Selfie
Sean Drakes/CON—LatinContent/Getty Images Malala Yousafzai poses for a selfie with admirers at the National Academy for the Performing Arts on July 30, 2014 in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

She's still a 17-year-old, after all

Sure, Malala Yousafzai just became a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, but she’s also a 17-year-old. And that means the Pakistani education activist knows a thing or two about selfies, and — believe it or not — takes selfies, too.

Here are three of Malala’s best practices for taking great selfies:

1. Use selfies for good.

In an interview with the New York Times, Malala explained her approach to taking selfies. And it has nothing to do with angles or lighting:

I think it’s important that we use social media, but for a good purpose. For instance, it’s good to take a selfie to say ‘hey what’s up’ and those things, but I think it’s also important that we use it for the good purpose of highlighting the issues that children all over the world are facing.

One of those selfies-for-good was one GMA anchor Amy Robach snapped this summer of Malala, Ban Ki-moon and herself for the #showyourselfie campaign. The campaign, launched by the United Nations Population Fund, brought awareness to the importance of including young people in decision-making processes:

2. Learn from selfies.

Malala doesn’t think that selfies and hashtag activism should be dismissed as useless forms of advocacy. In fact, she credits the #BringBackOurGirls photo campaign for bringing awareness to the public — and to herself — of the Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram earlier this year. “I came to know about Bring Back Our Girls because it was on Twitter, you could see it,” Malala told the Times. “I think this is the way we can highlight what’s happening and we can speak for our rights.”

She even was inspired to take her own “selfie:”

3. Don’t be above taking selfies.

While Malala champions selfies-for-good, that doesn’t mean she won’t take one just to take one. But make sure to bring your own cellphone — Malala still doesn’t have one.

So this happened. #malalaselfie @forbes #under30summit #techgirls #nobelpeaceprize #malalayousafzai

A photo posted by Tiphani Montgomery (@tiphanimontgomery) on

A Selfie with Noble Peace Prize winner 2014 Malala Yousafzai. Congratulations Malala.

A photo posted by Frank Carlton Mugisha (@frankmugisha) on

TIME apps

Hinge Secures $12 Million of Funding to Help Steal Tinder’s Crown

Hinge

Wants to be the Facebook to Tinder's MySpace

In the world of dating apps, Tinder has long ruled the scene. But its smaller competitor, Hinge, has been working hard in the last year to steal Tinder’s “cool kid” stature.

In fact, the company — which just announced a $12 million investment round with Shasta Ventures Thursday — thinks that it has the power to be seen as the equivalent of Facebook to Tinder’s MySpace.

“Hinge’s trust and transparency are changing the landscape of the dating industry in much the same way Facebook did to social networking in the age of MySpace,” Shasta partner Tod Francis said in a statement. Shasta’s contribution adds to $8.6 million that has been raised previously.

But how do Hinge and Tinder differ?

Rather than showing users virtually any unscreened member of the opposite sex within a five mile radius, Hinge shows users a smaller selection of potential suitors every day at noon that is curated from friends of friends (and friends of friends of friends). Hinge users also get to see matches’ full name, college, and other information culled from Facebook.

When being interviewed about the weird world of app dating last year, McLeod told TIME, “We are trying to harness this feeling of a house party — you go, you see people in your world, friends of friends, that’s the dynamic we’re trying to create.”

Tinder, in comparison, is more of a 10-story club that’s at capacity.

Hinge told TIME that when it polled 500 people who actively use both apps, 59% think Hinge is “a tool to meet people” vs. 16% on Tinder. Furthermore, 64% think Tinder is “a game to play with” vs. 14% on Hinge.

In the last year, Hinge’s undisclosed user base has grown five-fold, and the app has launched in 24 new markets. Although it still has a ways to go before it competes with Tinder’s 600% growth in 2014.

TIME Music

Listen to a Snippet of Rihanna’s New Song ‘Kiss It Better’

Rihanna
Jordan Strauss—Invision/AP

The singer shared a 15-second tease on her Instagram

Desperately, anxiously awaiting Rihanna’s upcoming album? Well, the singer has graciously shared a little something — albeit a very small, brief something — to tide you over.

RiRi posted a 15-second teaser video, featuring guitarist Nuno Bettencourt, offering a quick look at one of the album’s songs. Check it out:

phuck wit nuno

A video posted by badgalriri (@badgalriri) on

Songwriter John Glass posted the same video, revealing that he wrote the tune — which is called “Kiss It Better” — and Jeff Bhasker produced it.

Two weeks ago, Rihanna teased another song, which featured her vocals a bit more prominently.

Oh, RiRi. You sure know how to titillate us.

Read More: The Top 10 Songs of 2014

TIME viral

Here is a Cat Playing Whac-A-Mole with Its Owner’s Fingers

They don’t allow cats in Chuck E. Cheese’s, after all

Today in pet owners who love their animals enough to risk losing digits, a cat plays Whac-A-Mole with its owner’s fingers as she pokes them through holes in a cardboard box. The cat seems to be having fun at first, but when the owner begins to increase the challenge, the cat gets a look on its face that we can only assume to mean, “why would you do this to me?”

It’s not clear whether this is a creative, homemade scheme for cat entertainment or a form of very benign torture. Either way, the cat’s going to have to try again for a better score.

TIME Television

Watch Stephen Colbert Interview Serial‘s Sarah Koenig

“Did you always want to do true crime reporting that people listen to on a treadmill?”

Correction appended: Dec. 11, 2014

Last night’s episode of the Colbert Report brought together two people whose beloved shows will soon come to an end: Stephen Colbert, of course, and his guest, Sarah Koenig. Dec. 18 will mark the final episodes of both The Colbert Report and the first season of Koenig’s wildly popular podcast Serial. Colbert interviewed Koenig about what it’s like to be “the world’s first superstar podcaster,” how she came up with the idea for the show and why she changes her opinion over the course of her reporting.

While the interview is mostly lighthearted and mutually complimentary, Colbert touches on one serious question about the way in which the world has changed since 1999, the year the central murder in the podcast was committed. “Do you really think,” he asks, “that a guy named Adnan Syed could get a fairer trial after 9/11?”

Colbert closes by asking perhaps the most pressing question on the minds of the show’s fans: “Can you just tell me if, by the end of the series, that girl ever learns to pronounce MailChimp?” It looks like we’ll have to wait until next week to learn the answer.

Correction appended: The original version of this article misstated the date of the Colbert Report’s finale. It airs Dec. 18.

Read next: Adnan Syed’s Family Finds Comfort in ‘Serial’ Podcast

TIME Television

This Unaired SNL Sketch Perfectly Spoofs All Those Pointless VH1 Countdowns

The hilarious digital short ranks the '100 Greatest Guys'

For some reason, Saturday Night Live decided not to air this ridiculously spot-on VH1 spoof, just like they decided not to air a topical sketch about Ferguson from last week.

This digital short, called “100 Greatest Guys,” perfectly captures the tone of all those VH1 countdowns — you know, the ones that somehow suck you in for hours even though you totally know you should turn off the TV and go read a book or something. It’s obviously not as topical or timely as the Ferguson sketch, but it’s still confusing why SNL decided to cut it, because it’s so spot-on.

TIME

Watch Jimmy Fallon and Steve Carell Sing ‘Sexual Healing’ With a Barbershop Quartet

The 40-year-old virgin has come a long way

Steve Carell joined Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show Wednesday night, reminding the audience that he is not, in real life, the scary character he plays in Foxcatcher. The pair took turns singing verses from Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing” as a candy-striped quartet ably delivered a four-part harmony behind them.

Running this song through the barbershop wringer extracts pretty much all of its soul — and sexiness, for that matter — and that seems to be the idea. The Ragtime Gals, as the group is known, has de-sexed such songs as “Ignition (Remix),” “I Wanna Sex You Up” and “SexyBack” — the latter featuring its original singer, Justin Timberlake. It’s all part of the “friendly fun house” to which Entertainment Weekly attributes Fallon’s successful takeover of the Tonight Show, earning him the much-deserved title of “Entertainer of the Year.”

Watch the full video here:

Read next: Watch Reese Witherspoon and Jimmy Fallon Sing Gibberish Christmas Carols

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