August 6, 2014
1. You Complete Me
My mom always warned me not to get into a car with a stranger. I can’t imagine her reaction if I made a habit of getting into cars with groups of strangers. But that could be the next big thing as both Uber and Lyft have announced carpooling services aimed at filling the backseat with other folks going your way. I thought the whole point of technology was to allow us to interact with others without having to share our personal space?
+ Sometimes a crowded commute can be beneficial. In Perth, a large group of passengers helped free a man who was wedged between a platform and a train. (Great. Now my mom won’t let me take trains either…)
2. Rubbing Saline in the Wound
Liberian health care workers who have contracted Ebola have been given saline infusions and electrolytes to keep them from getting dehydrated. Two American health care workers were given an experimental serum and a specially-equipped plane ride to one of the world’s top medical centers. The New Republic’s Brian Till argues that the inequality in care couldn’t be starker.
+ Three experts, including the person who discovered Ebola, argue that Africans should be given access to the experimental drug.
+ The New Yorker’s Richard Preston on the outbreak: “In Liberia, parts of the medical system have effectively collapsed. Some hospitals and clinics have been abandoned, while others have become choked with Ebola patients. The hospitals of Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, are full of Ebola patients and are turning away new patients, including women in childbirth. American Ebola experts in Monrovia are hearing reports that infected bodies are being left in the streets: the outbreak is beginning to assume a medieval character.”
3. The Spread
While most of the media has been focused on Israel and Gaza, the Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has continued to spread throughout Iraq and parts of Syria. According to one expert on the region, the group “now controls resources and territory unmatched in the history of extremist organizations.”
+ George Packer: A friend flees the horror of ISIS.
+ Vox: 16 things to know about ISIS.
4. You’ve Been Owned
Last night, the NYT’s Nicole Perlroth and David Gelles uncovered the details of the latest mega-hack in which a Russian crime ring has amassed 1.2 billion username-password combinations, and more than 500 million email addresses by way of 420,000 websites.
+ The security company that shared this data is now willing to let you know if you’re on the list for an annual subscription fee of $120. Hmmm. While you’re thinking about that, you can change your passwords for free.
5. STD is as STD Does
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says young people ages 13 to 24 make up approximately one in four new HIV infections in the US, and about 60 percent of those infected don’t know they have the disease.” Those are facts that many teens don’t know about. And it turns out that — according to a recent survey — a third of them don’t even know that HIV is an STD. This is either a truly remarkable stat or a really bad survey.
6. The State of Bass
Researchers are learning what heavy metal fans have known for years. Music with a heavy bass line makes us feel powerful. According to one of the researchers behind the study: “The effect of music appears to manifest itself not only in its ability to entertain, but also in the ability to imbue humans with a real sense of power.” I think what he’s trying to say is: “I want to rock!”
+ They could have saved a lot of time and energy on the study if they just asked the opinion of the guy who self-inflicted a brain injury by headbanging at too many Motorhead concerts.
7. Monkey See, Monkey Sue
Wikimedia has repeatedly refused a photographer’s request to take down an image that has been posted without his permission. The photo is a selfie taken by a monkey. And the folks at Wikimedia argue “that because a monkey pressed the shutter button it should own the copyright.” I guess we’ll have to wait and see how this case evolves.
8. Phoning it In
On July 1, 1930, Richard G. Hendrickson called the National Weather Service and reported the temperature from his family’s Long Island farm. And, according to the NYT, he’s done the same every day since. “Twice a day, every day, he has recorded the temperature, precipitation and wind from the same area of Bridgehampton. He has been at it through 14 presidencies, 13 New York governorships and 14 mayoralties in that city 96 miles away. The Weather Service says he has taken more than 150,000 individual readings.” Keep your venture capitalists and your fancy technology. No one disintermediates Richard G. Hendrickson.
9. Dialing for Dollars
When a service goes from 21 million subscribers down to 2.3 million in about a decade, it’s rarely cause for celebration. But in this case, it’s pretty remarkable. There are millions of people who still pay AOL twenty bucks a month for dial-up service.
10. The Bottom of the News
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+ In what could be the ultimate man bites dog story of all time, Donald Trump is suing to have his name removed from two buildings. Trump argues that two casinos he once owned in Atlantic City have “fallen into such disrepair that their continued association with the Trump name is hurting his brand.” Suggestion: Trump’s hair should hire a lawyer.
+ Horses communicate by using their ears. (Humans should try that.)
+ Forget reservations. Now hot restaurants want you to buy tickets.
+ A guy was caught tagging a courthouse while he was there facing multiple counts of vandalism. You’ve got to him points for stick-to-itiveness.
+ Buzzfeed: I went to a One Direction concert by myself. This is my story.
SURFBORT+ READ ARTICLE
The latest surfing animal to go viral is Kama, an adorable pig who hangs ten better than most people.
Kama developed his skills on the surfboard after the orphaned piglet was adopted by a human family. When Kai Holt saw the baby pig fall into the family’s swimming pool and immediately start swimming like a porcine Michael Phelps, he realized the pig was a water fanatic. After Kama got acclimated to swimming pools, Holt, an avid surfer, decided to test the waters, literally, and take Kama out to catch some waves at one of Oahu’s famed beaches. As Holt says in the video, if the pig can swim, he can definitely surf. Sure enough, the pig was a natural, digging his hooves into the front of Holt’s board and soon Kama and Holt were out riding the waves together with Kama standing tall while Holt paddles.
Thanks to GoPro cameras strapped to the board and Kama’s head, the entire internet can get a pig’s eye view as he heads out on a surfing safari.
MORE: Adorable Baby Seal Pops Out of Nowhere to Go Surfing
MORE: This Dog Surfing Competition is Totally Gnarly
A 2-minute video primer on the British comedian who's rumored to take over The Late Late Show+ READ ARTICLE
British comedian James Corden is the frontrunner to replace Craig Ferguson as the host of The Late Late Show on CBS, EW reports.
This two-minute video mashup highlights some of TV shows he has appeared in, from Doctor Who to The Wrong Mans.
The funnyman has also starred in One Man, Two Guvnors on Broadway, as a guy who finds himself working for two bosses simultaneously; for that, he won a Tony Award for best leading actor in a play, and the video caps off with his emotional acceptance speech at the 2012 ceremony.
And you can catch him on the big screen this summer in Begin Again and the upcoming modern adaptation of Into the Woods due out Christmas Day.
Using an ancient grafting technique, Sam Van Aken's Tree of 40 Fruit can bear dozens of stone fruit varieties
Add this to your truth-is-stranger-than-fiction file: an art professor in upstate New York is modifying plum trees so that each can bear not just one, but up to 40 varieties of stone fruit.
In what feels like the backdrop for a children’s tale — move over James and the Giant Peach; this is the real Giving Tree – Sam Van Aken of Syracuse University has developed a years-long technique that involves grafting buds from various antique, heirloom and native fruit trees onto the branches of a base tree to create one-of-a-kind hybrids. As he explained in a recent TEDx Manhattan talk, “I take a sliver off one of the trees that includes the bud, I insert it into a like-size incision in the working tree, tape it, let it sit and heal in all winter, then I prune it back and hope that it grows.” The result: a single tree that bears 40 varieties of peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines and cherries.
“It started as an art project. I wanted people to have this experience where a tree is blossoming in all these different colors or growing all these different kinds of fruit all at once,” Van Aken told TIME. As he began researching the various stone fruits available, however, he learned that there were literally hundreds that aren’t in stores because of their size, color or short shelf life. That led to the project evolving into a conservation effort for hard-to-find varieties. Among his favorite: Greengage plums, which came to the U.S. from France and look like Granny Smith apples.
Van Aken plans to use proceeds from the trees, which he sells for around $30,000 each, to create an orchard that will serve as an archive of native an antique stone varieties. He’s also growing a small grove of the trees in Portland, Maine, where the trees — and their abundant harvests — will be available to the public. Since it takes nine years to graft branches from 40 different fruit trees onto each base tree, chances are Van Aken’s creations won’t end world hunger. But they might get you to think twice about the fruit you eat next time to you bite into a peach.
Copyright law can be obscure, but nothing could have prepared British photographer David Slater for what would happen after a monkey stole his camera in Indonesia to take a selfie.
The picture, which went viral three years ago, is today at the center of a heated copyright dispute between Slater and Wikipedia, the open-source encyclopedia. (See Quartz’s Zachary Seward: “Who owns this monkey’s selfie?”)
In 2011, nature photographer David Slater was on vacation in Indonesia when a group of monkeys started playing with equipment he had set up. “They were quite mischievous jumping all over my equipment, and it looked like they were already posing for the camera when one hit the button,” he told The Telegraph in 2011. “The sound got his attention and he kept pressing it. He must have taken hundreds of pictures by the time I got my camera back, but not very many were in focus. He obviously hadn’t worked that out yet.”
The image was an instant Internet phenomenon, guaranteeing financial success for the British photographer. That is until editors at Wikipedia deemed the image belonged in the public domain and could be used, at no cost, by anyone online. “This [image] is in the public domain, because as the work of a non-human animal, it has no human author in whom copyright is vested,” said Wikipedia’s group of editors.
With Slater now ready to go to court to assert his copyright, he is likely fighting a losing battle, legal experts say.
“That’s ridiculous,” says intellectual property expert Charles Swan of the London-based Swan Turton law firm of Slater’s claim that he holds a copyright on the photograph. “The legal situation as far as European copyright is concerned is that a photograph has to be the author’s own intellectual creation. If a monkey takes a picture, that can be considered an author’s intellectual creation. The fact that [David Slater] owns the camera has nothing to do with it. To have copyright, you’ve got to create something; it has to be an expression of your personality. That’s not. Obviously, [since the monkey is not a person] there is no copyright in that picture.”
Mary M. Luria, an intellectual property specialist and partner at Davis & Gilbert LLP in New York City, also sides with Wikipedia, noting the need for a “natural person” to exist for copyright to be claimed. In this case, a monkey, or any other animal, isn’t considered a living human being.
“These copyright debates come along regularly,” says Swan, who recalls legal experts debating ownership of Ellen DeGeneres’ popular star-studded selfie. While the daytime talk show host posted the image on her own Twitter account, actor Bradley Cooper pressed the shutter button.
“Any disagreements [over ownership] between Ellen DeGeneres and the photographer would be governed by any agreement they reached about the shoot,” Luria says. In the absence of such an agreement, the person that presses the shutter button would normally be considered the copyright owner of the resulting image.
The creator says he submitted the petition when he was drunk
Want “Weird Al” Yankovic to play this year’s Super Bowl halftime show? Of course you do — and you’re not alone. More than 5,400 people have signed a Change.org petition to get the satirical songster the big gig.
“The songs of artists that he is parodying could join him on stage to accompany,” according to the website’s description of the petition. “The theatrics alone would be hilarious and a welcoming change, and draw a wider audience of fans that typically would not tune into the championship game or half-time show.”
The campaign’s organizer, a user named Ed Ball from Washington state, wrote an update on the website saying he was surprised at how fast the idea took off after he “drunkingly submitted” the petition.
Guaranteed to make your smile look just like his!+ READ ARTICLE
When Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo isn’t showing off his well-toned muscles after winning a soccer game, he’s showing off a gadget meant to help people boast his winning smile.
The Portuguese footballer recently appeared in a Japanese advertisement for an unusual little product called Pao Facial Fitness. It requires users to bite down on a winged contraption and then vigorously nod their heads in an attempt to build up cheek strength. Based on the commercial, it seems that users are also encouraged to dance around.
If you don’t want to buy one of these, don’t worry: just watching the video is likely to make you smile so hard that you’ll get a facial workout for free!
"It got scary rough real fast"
Four children and four adults were rescued by helicopter after their boat capsized in rough waters off the coast of Mokolai in Hawaii Sunday. And it was all captured on a GoPro camera attached to one of the child’s heads as he bobbed 12 miles off shore, waiting for help.
“It got scary rough real fast where waves were breaking over the bow and it happened really quick,” crew member Jeff Kozlovich told Hawaii News Now. “Before we knew it, too much water was in the boat and we really couldn’t steer well or maneuver.”
Luckily the group, which had set out from Oahu for an overnight trip, was each wearing life vests and had three kayaks on board. As water began to sink the 21-foot vessel, the group abandoned ship and used their cell phones to call 911, although the US Coast Guard told local news that an “EPIRB” tracking device alerted them to the situation.
The song is taken from her upcoming solo album, 24 Karat Gold — Songs From the Vault+ READ ARTICLE
You know when your favorite musicians feel the need to experiment and grow and explore their artistry or whatever, and while you’re on board with that in theory, you mostly just wish they’d just keep releasing the kind of music that made you fall in love with them in the first place? (Hi, Bob Dylan — here’s looking at you.)
Well, based on her latest track, it appears that Stevie Nicks plans to keep on being the same Stevie we fell in love with. The song, called “The Dealer,” is the first track off her upcoming solo album, 24 Karat Gold — Songs From the Vault, out in October. Mercifully, the song really feels like classic Stevie: soulful and a little twangy, with introspective lyrics sung delivered in her signature gorgeous, gravelly voice.
Granted, most of the songs on the new album were written between 1969 and 1987, as Nicks noted in a press release. That explains why “The Dealer” transports you back a few decades, and sounds like it could have been on one of her early solo albums, or a circa-1970s Fleetwood Mac album. Still, though, it’s nice to imagine that if Stevie were to write a bunch of entirely new songs right now, she’d keep that wonderfully dusty retro vibe.