TIME World

PHOTO: Pope Floats

Pope Francis Balloon
A balloon flies past Pope Francis during his general audience in St Peter's Square at the Vatican on May 14, 2014. Tiziana Fabi—AFP/Getty Images

A wayward balloon got between the Pope and a photographer today

A pink balloon managed to get right in-between Pope Francis and a photographer at St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday, setting up this perfectly-timed shot.

TIME NextDraft

The Genetically Modified Foods Debate and Other Fascinating News on the Web

May 14, 2014

nextdraft_newsfeed_v2

1. The Mod Squad

The debate over the labeling of genetically modified foods affects a lot of people, and a lot of food — about 60-70 percent of processed foods contain GMOs. People on one side of the debate want labels on foods and argue that they have a right to information. People (and corporations) on the other side argue that their position is supported by science, and that labels would imply that people should be worried when there’s no cause for concern. As Molly Ball explains in her very interesting piece in The Atlantic: “Both of these lines may be true as far as it goes; what the debate comes down to is politics.” was being made with cow’s milk.

2. Live Like a Refugee

The number of people who have been forced from their homes due to violence has hit its highest number in 20 years. In Syria, 9,500 people are forced from their homes every day. And in Nigeria, 3.3 million have fled their homes (due in large part to Boko Haram).

+ Syrian children were given cameras to show what life in the world’s second largest refugee camp looks like.

3. Disaster in a Coal Mine

“This was not an accident, it happened because not enough is ever done to protect workers … The government is complicit in these deaths, in our tragedy.” As the Turkey mine disaster’s death toll rises, there is an increasing level of anger and violence on the streets.

4. A PhD in STFU

In the past five years, there has been a surge in the number of graduation speakers who have been protested, withdrawn their names, or had their invitations revoked. It can make sense to disagree with the politics of a speaker. But does it make sense to shut that speaker up? The Internet was supposed to herald in an era of unfettered discourse and free speech. But it seems like this is becoming the era of silencing those with opposing opinions.

+ Smith College President Kathleen McCartney: “I want to underscore this fact: An invitation to speak at a commencement is not an endorsement of all views or policies of an individual or the institution she or he leads…I remain committed to leading a college where differing views can be heard and debated with respect.” That was in response to her school’s commencement speaker dropping out.

5. History’s Most Consistent Storyline

A new global survey resulted in some very disturbing numbers when it comes to the worldwide levels of antisemitism. (The numbers are even worse for Muslims.) An amazing number of people were unaware of the Holocaust — “66% had either not heard of it or didn’t believe the historical accounts were accurate.”

6. War Games?

“The catalog of the walking dead also includes zombies that come from outer space; those deliberately created by Frankensteinian bio-engineers; and humans that have been invaded by a pathogen that turns them into zombies.” FP with an unusual exclusive: and the troubling implications of the EU’s new right to be forgotten. Europeans want the right to be forgotten online and most Americans freak out if they’re forgotten for five minutes.

+ “Could your town’s mayor spark a police investigation into your activities that ends with town cops rifling through your mobile phone, your laptop, and the full contents of your Gmail account—all over an alleged misdemeanor based on something you wrote on social media.” Pretty much. Ars Technica: How a mayor’s quest to unmask a foul-mouthed Twitter user blew up in his face.

8. The Ocarina of Time(clock)

Videogame producers utilize music to keep you engaged, increase your achievement, and give you the energy to make it to the next level. So maybe you just found your ideal work soundtrack. (Up until now, this newsletter was being typed to the tunes of Zelda. I’m kicking it up to Call of Duty for the next few items.)

+ Aside from being entertained by the brothels and beheadings, how does George R.R. Martin stay focused when he’s writing Game of Thrones? “I actually have two computers: I have the computer that I browse the Internet with that I get my email on, that I do my taxes on. And then I have my writing computer, which is a DOS machine not connected to the Internet.”

9. A Piece on Shit

“The mechanics of the disease are still not well understood. Some experts believe that fecal matter leaks out of your colon and travels through your lymphatic system into your writing. Others think it’s figurative. But those distinctions matter little when you are looking at a page of your own writing and seeing shit.” Andy Bobrow explains how writing for the TV show Community cured him. “Five years ago, shortly after my beautiful daughter’s third birthday, I was diagnosed with advanced SWS – Shit Writing Syndrome.”

10. The Bottom of the News

A cat in Bakersfield may have saved a kid’s life when it chased away a
vicious dog
. And in doing so, the cat reminded us once again why the Internet was invented.

+ Whatever happened to roller skating?

+ Eighteen ways to say awesome.

TIME Internet

Kim Jong Un Takes on the Capitalists in New Video Game

With additional assistance from the North Korean leader's best friend, Dennis Rodman

Other video games let you experience life as a cat, but now you can pretend to be a dictator.

Atlanta-based Moneyhorse Games created a side-scrolling video game that will be available soon for PCs and mobile devices. It features North Korea’s Kim Jong Un gallivanting through forests on unicorn and dashing through the streets of Pyongyang, battling U.S. paratroopers and eventually setting fire to an American flag.

Oh, and of course, Kim Jong Un’s noted bestie Dennis Rodman will be involved.

As the Guardian points out, this game — simply titled “Glorious Leader!” — could trivialize the very serious accusations against the dictator’s regime and the many perceived problems within the secluded nation. Moneyhorse Games CEO Jeff Miller told the Guardian that the company hopes to “carefully walk the line of satire without being an apologist for the regime.”

(h/t The Daily Dot)

TIME animals

Las Vegas Police Track Down Escaped Large, Predatory Cat

A large cat was out of its cage and on the prowl for chickens in a Las Vegas residential neighborhood Wednesday morning

Who let the cats out?

A large predatory cat escaped from its cage in Las Vegas on Wednesday morning, running loose in a residential neighborhood and sending local police on a cat hunt.

The cat, reported to be either an Ocelot or an Africa Serval, was tracked down and put back in its cage, the local ABC affiliate reports. But not before it jumped into a nearby woman’s yard and killed one of her chickens.

An African Serval can stand as tall as 3 ft. and weigh 40 lb.0, and an Ocelot is usually between 10 and 18 inches, weighing up to 40 pounds. No details were given about the cat’s owner, or why the feline wanted to bust loose so badly.

[KTNV]

TIME

The UN And U.S. Pentagon Are Actively Working To Save Us From Killer Robots And Zombies

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Zombie Getty Images

Now let's talk about the probability of a "Day After Tomorrow" scenario...

The world’s governing bodies have seen disaster movies, and they want you to know that they’re on it.

In Geneva Tuesday, the UN discussed banning killer robots before they become an international concern. While we would imagine the meetings involved a stream of Terminator clips, fist banging and old European men shouting “Not on my watch,” the Chronicle Herald describes a far more civilized scene. Diplomats discussed the necessity of limiting lethal autonomous weapons that “could go beyond human-directed drones already being used by some armies today”:

“All too often international law only responds to atrocities and suffering once it has happened,” Michael Moeller, acting head of the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva, told diplomats at the start of the four-day gathering. “You have the opportunity to take pre-emptive action and ensure that the ultimate decision to end life remains firmly under human control.”

He noted that the UN treaty they were meeting to discuss — the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons adopted by 117 nations including the world’s major powers — was used before to prohibit the use of blinding laser weapons in the 1990s before they were ever deployed on the battlefield, and this “serves as an example to be followed again.”

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have already petitioned against a future of killer robots.

And now onto another summer blockbuster favorite: The zombie apocalypse.

Foreign Policy received a document called “CONOP 8888″ that outlines the U.S. Pentagon’s plan to survive an attack by the undead — ranging from vegetarian to “evil magic” zombies.

According to FP, the document’s summary read:

This plan fulfills fictional contingency planning guidance tasking for U.S. Strategic Command to develop a comprehensive [plan] to undertake military operations to preserve ‘non-zombie’ humans from the threats posed by a zombie horde. Because zombies pose a threat to all non-zombie human life, [Strategic Command] will be prepared to preserve the sanctity of human life and conduct operations in support of any human population — including traditional adversaries.”

While a spokesperson for Strategic Command assured FP that the (real!) document was a “fictional training scenario,” a disclaimer on CONOP 8888 reads, “this plan was not actually designed as a joke.”

Hmmm.

Now let’s get on that Day After Tomorrow climate change disaster plan. Anybody?

TIME Television

ABC’s New Show Selfie Looks Even Worse Than We Could Have Imagined

Or maybe just watch Doctor Who instead

The first trailer for ABC’s new sitcom Selfie is here and, well, it could be worse.

The show, which is slated to debut this fall on ABC, is by Suburgatory creator Emily Kapnek and stars the talented John Cho and Karen Gillan, but the result of all that talent falls very flat. While the show is called Selfie, don’t expect any Louis CK-style introspection or assessment — instead it’s basically MTVs Awkward with a My Fair Lady twist. Watch the first trailer above.

MORE:ABC Marks Modern Family Finale By Paying for New York Weddings

MORE: Louie Checks His Privilege

TIME

Pet Cat Heroically Saves Boy From Attacking Dog And Proceeds To Chase Mutt Down

Cats: Maybe they don't hate you after all

Warning: the above video shows mild gore around the 45 second mark.

The title of man’s best friend might be in contention.

A pet cat came to her small human boy’s rescue when a neighborhood dog began attacking the child out of nowhere. Not only did Tara the cat hurl itself at the dog, but she chased him down the street.

“Thankfully my son is fine!” Roger Triantafilo said in the description of the surveillance video footage he posted on YouTube. The boy’s mother told the Bakersfield, Calif. ABC affiliate that her son needed stitches, but is overall a-okay. The dog is currently under observation — probably plotting his evil revenge.

TIME Food & Drink

Try Ordering These Delicious-Sounding Drinks From Starbucks’ Secret Menu

Starbucks Plans to Create 5,000 Jobs in U.K. Coffee Expansion
Getty Images

Cake pop frap. We repeat, cake pop frap

If you’ve stopped going to Starbucks — in an attempt to support local coffeehouses instead or to save money or because you’re just sick of it or whatever — there may be a reason for stopping back in. Just in time for summer, the folks over at Foodbeast have discovered three totally unadvertised frozen drinks you can order off the chain’s secret menu. Here’s how to order them:

1. Horchata

  • Order a Tazo Chai Creme Frappuccino
  • Add vanilla syrup, Cinnamon Dolce syrup and Chai syrup
  • Add whipped cream and cinnamon as a topper

2. Orange creamsicle

  • Order choice of milk
  • Add Orange Mango or Valencia Orange Refresher Juice
  • Add classic syrup and a creme base
  • Add whipped cream

3. Cake pop Frappuccino

  • Order Vanilla Bean Frappuccino
  • Add cake pop (or two) blended

We wouldn’t recommend making any of these your new go-to drink, because your body might revolt.

(h/t Foodbeast)

TIME

Here’s A Ranking Of The Richest Superheroes

Because who cares about all the times you saved Gotham from villainous underlords?

There are many ways to measure a superhero’s worth. Numbers of babies saved is a pretty solid one. And then there’s the literal way of measuring a superhero’s net worth.

Buddy Loans created a chart that itemizes the wealthiest superheroes and villains. Because who cares about stopping that comet hurdling towards earth if your stock portfolio isn’t impressive?

worlds richest superheroes

courtesy of BuddyLoans.com

MORE: Understanding the Marvel Cinematic Universe

TIME viral

Congressman Eats His Earwax on Live TV, Then Blames Hangnails

"My mom always told me to keep my fingers out of my mouth, and now I know why"

House Judiciary Committee meetings are already incredibly thrilling and action-packed, obviously, but last week, things got even more interesting after Florida Congressman Joe Garcia picked his ear and ate it.

Of course, the whole thing was recorded live on C-SPAN. In the video above, you can clearly see the Democrat digging in his ear, inspecting his findings, placing them into his mouth, and then going back for seconds.

He got an earful (get it?) from lots of grossed-out people, so yesterday, he took to Twitter to respond:

Okay, okay, we guess that’s a valid explanation, but he sounds so defensive. Something is just not quite right here. Either way, now he knows that what happens on C-SPAN apparently doesn’t just stay on C-SPAN.

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