TIME Crime

How a 4-Year-Old Girl Foiled Her Babysitter’s Robbery Plot

Yellow police tape Getty Images

Definitely not Babysitter's Club material

A babysitter’s ill-planned burglary plot was foiled by a very wise 4-year-old named Abby.

Wednesday, or what Abby described to a Detroit Fox affiliate as “the worst day in my life,” two teenage men invaded the parent-free home. Among other goods, “The bad guys stole my kitty bank, they stole my iPod,” Abby said.

While the 17-year-old babysitter said that the thieves were two armed black males — one of whom suspiciously looked like the next door neighbor — her story fell apart when Abby “described the suspects as having peach-colored skin as opposed to having dark colored skin,” Sheriff Bill Elfo told ABC News. The babysitter almost immediately confessed that her boyfriend and a cohort had, in fact, been the ones who actually committed the crime.

All three involved were arrested. The innocent neighbor was handcuffed and questioned for hours, but was later released.


TIME Science

This Awesome Facial Recognition Technology Could Replace Passwords


As much as we love "qwerty"...

After decades of either getting hacked for making your password something easy like “password” or getting locked out of your computer for making it something ridiculously hard to remember (like the name of the Queen’s second favorite Corgi plus a series of random number), researchers might have finally found a way to solve your crummy password conundrum.

A report was published in the journal PeerJ Tuesday that explores a new password alternative called “Facelock,” which is based on the psychology of facial recognition.

Essentially, psychological research has proven that while people can recognize many different photographs of the same person, unfamiliar faces are associated with a specific image. So if you see the same stranger in multiple different action shots, it almost seems like they’re different people. (Now you know why online dating profiles can be so confusing.)

To use Facelock, researchers propose that users would flag a set of faces that they know pretty well but others may not — like an ambiguously famous comedian. To unlock whatever you’re trying to unlock, the user would then simply have to identify said face on a series of grids (that would be trained to feature faces from a similar field, in this case the illustrious jazz flute ingenues). The face would stick out to the password creator and fraudsters wouldn’t see a difference.

Research showed that the faces were easily identified 97.5% of the time with an 86% success rate a year later. Strangers had a less than 1% success rate and people who knew the password-maker only succeeded 6.6% of the time.

“Pretending to know a face that you don’t know is like pretending to know a language that you don’t know—it just doesn’t work,” said lead author Dr. Rob Jenkins of the University of York. “The only system that can reliably recognize faces is a human who is familiar with the faces concerned.”

Pretty cool, although we have grown kind of attached to “qwerty” …

TIME Innovation

Hoverbikes Are Here, So the Future Must Have Arrived

Sci-fi fans — brace yourselves

A Los Angeles–based company, Aerofex, says it has developed a “tandem-duct” aerial vehicle that hovers above the ground. It’s called Aero-X, and its maker says it is made for flying a few feet above terrain and can travel up to 45 m.p.h. (72 km/h).

Chief technology officer Mark DeRoche told the BBC that while he knows his product is part of a niche market, “There’s really nothing between a ground vehicle and an aircraft.”

The Aero-X is about the size of a small car, can hold up to two people, and looks like a way clunkier version of the speeder bikes used in Star Wars.

While most consumers will want to take the Aero-X for a pure joyride, Aerofex says it has serious purposes and could prove useful to farmers, disaster-relief services, security patrols and anyone who needs to navigate uneven terrain quickly.

But the ride comes in at a whopping $85,000. While buyers can put a $5,000 deposit to reserve a seat, the vehicle will not be delivered until 2017.

No word yet on plans to develop a hoverboard for Back to the Future aficionados. But this is certainly a good start.


TIME World Cup

World Cup Whimsy Captured in New McDonalds Ad

Adorable kids, a woman in stiletto heels, and an elderly man in a motorized all can’t help but catch the futbol fever sweeping the world right now, showcasing some spectacular stunts (seriously, how many takes did it take to land that shot in the back of a moving truck?) in a quirky FIFA-themed ad from the marketers under the Golden Arches. The ad serves as a promotion for their site gol.mcd.com.

Talk about a Happy Meal.

TIME Music

Prince Wrote a Song About an Internet Meme

Prince performs onstage during the 2013 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 19, 2013 in Las Vegas.
Prince performs onstage during the 2013 Billboard Music Awards at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 19, 2013 in Las Vegas. Kevin Mazur—WireImage/Getty Images

The Purple One keeps up with the viral web, apparently

The artist formerly known as the Artist Formerly Known as Prince is either the most sincere person in America or looking to troll us all: just a few months after guest-starring on New Girl, Prince revealed he wrote a song about an Internet meme.

Specifically, Prince has a song on his upcoming record called “This Could Be Us.” He told Jon Bream of the Star Tribune that the track was inspired by a picture of him and Apollonia Kotero from movie Purple Rain that got the meme treatment after the hashtag #ThisCouldBeUsButYouPlayin, which is typically paired with awkward photos of couples, took off on social media.

The “joyful ballad” will be on Prince’s first new album since 2009, but fans should really get excited about his next album, undoubtedly destined to feature the songs “#TrueDetectiveSeason2” and “#WorldsMostTalkedAboutCouple.”

[Star Tribune]

TIME relationships

Robin Thicke’s ‘Get Her Back': A Lesson in How Not to Win Back Your Ex

Rule number one: Don't broadcast your private text messages in a bid for public sympathy

Robin Thicke is once again proving to be a guy with some serious boundary issues. Now he’s taking his “I know you want it” mantra to another platform: trying to win back his estranged wife Paula Patton—who has notably stayed out of the spotlight—by means of very public, unrelenting peer pressure.

The unsubtle music video for the unsubtle song “Get Her Back,” featured on the unsubtly titled new album Paula, shows a bloody and battered Thicke trying to, well, get her back. And how does he plan to do that? By broadcasting the couple’s private text messages to hordes of fans.

While we can only hope that this was an imaginary exchange, the meta-nature of Thicke’s uber-public “Win back my woman whether she wants it or not” campaign only makes us think that the messages are real. But it doesn’t matter either way. Whether or not Paula wrote the texts, “You drink too much,” “You embarrassed me,” and “I can’t make love to you anymore,” we highly doubt she wanted those sentiments to go viral. (Maybe she should only communicate with Thicke via Snapchat from now on.)

The video is the epitome of male entitlement and an excellent example of faux apology. Thicke attempts to gain sympathy for putting his flaws (drinking) and groveling apologies (“I hate myself”) out there, but really he is attempting to take away his wife’s agency to leave him.

He’s also irreconcilably and non-consensually linking her with his musical success, turning groveling into paychecks. You want to try and forget about me, Paula? Just try as I try to turn my attempts at reconciliation into a summer Top 40.

While Thicke might be going for the sympathy card, his music video makes it clear that he is ignoring his ex’s wishes:

“I wrote a whole album for you,” Thicke texts.

“I don’t care,” Patton responds.

TIME World

Man Sues British Airways For Sending Him to Grenada Instead of Granada

A view of the sunset over the Alhambra in Granada, the Spanish city this man was trying to visit. Getty Images

¡Qué barbaridad!

If you’ve ever mixed up the Caribbean island of Grenada and the Spanish city of Granada, you’re not alone. Apparently even airline officials — whose JOB it is to know things like this — have made the mix-up, too.

American dentist Edward Gamson hoped to visit Granada — a charming city in southern Spain known for its 11th-century Alhambra palace — on a recent vacation. But what he thought would be a two-hour British Airways flight from London ended up being a nine-hour flight all the way to the Caribbean. You know, to Grenada instead of Granada. Whoops.

“I have a lifelong interest in Islamic art. I’m also of Spanish Jewish heritage so it was something I had always wanted to do to visit Granada and the Alhambra,” Gamson told The Independent. “I made it absolutely clear to the booking agent I wanted to go to Granada in Spain. Why on earth would I want to go to Grenada in the Caribbean if I was flying back to America from Lisbon?”

Gamson and his partner never made it to Spain, and British Airways refused to reimburse $4,5o0 first-class tickets. Gamson decided to sue the airline, seeking $34,000 in damages.

It’s obviously a bummer that Gamson never got to take his trip to the stunning south of Spain, but there are definitely worse places he could have ended up, as Grenada is pretty stunning too:

Flavio Vallenari—Getty Images


TIME Music

This Is Spotify’s Ultimate Workout Playlist

The perfect jams to keep you motivated

Need some new tunes to listen to while attempting to fulfill your summer fitness goals? Well, here’s a handy playlist brought to you by the folks at Spotify and Billboard.

Billboard explains the not-super-scientific methodology that led to the curation of the list:

In order to put this list together, we at Billboard asked Spotify and their data science wing the Echo Nest to poll their 24 million users, and the one-and-a-half billion playlists those users have created, to generate the top songs people place in their exercise-related digital mixtapes.

With the data Spotify provided, Billboard created playlists for everything from crossfit to tae bo, but the above playlist is the ultimate roundup of general workout songs. Surprisingly, it does not exclusively consist of Top 40 hits. Here’s a breakdown:



TIME animals

Chill Jersey Shore Shark Grabs an Afternoon Snack off a Fishing Boat

It stole the fishermen's chum bag right off their boat

Fishermen got a great scare over the weekend when a great white shark rushed up to their boat, according to NBC Philadelphia.

It reportedly stole the chum bag of fish off the side of the boat at 28-Mile Wreck, where a World War II shipwreck took place off of Cape May, New Jersey.

According to the South Jersey Times, the fisherman Steve Clark was tagging sharks for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as part of the conservation effort Apex Predators Program.

Cue Jaws theme.


TIME World

12-Year-Old Fakes Own Kidnapping to Avoid Dentist

Boy Fakes Kidnapping to Avoid Dentist
A boy afraid of the dentist observes his friend's dentist appointment in 1970. Bill Peters—Denver Post via Getty Images

Odontophobia reaches a new level

When police found a 12-year-old boy in a French alpine village in May, he insisted he’d been kidnapped—only, he hadn’t.

For someone who wasn’t actually kidnapped, the boy described his abductor with imaginative detail: a 1.70 m. muscular European man in his mid 30s, clad in a black shirt and light jeans with a vertical scar on his right cheek had whisked him away, reports The Local. By chance, he managed to escape after his abductor had taken him to a town nearly 100 miles from his home.

For a month, police searched for the alleged kidnapper, but came up short. Their skepticism grew when they reviewed security footage from the boy’s hometown. Finally, they re-questioned him.

This time, he admitted something different: just kidding. In reality, he was too petrified to go to the dentist, so he staged his own kidnapping to get out of the appointment.

No word yet on what his parents have to say.

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