Nik Wallenda to Wear Blindfold for Tightrope Walk Between Chicago Skyscrapers

The stunt will air on the Discovery Channel on Nov. 2

Apparently walking a tightrope between two 65-story Chicago skyscrapers isn’t exciting enough for daredevil Nik Wallenda. The stuntman has decided to kick the thrills up a notch by walking the tightrope blindfolded.

The thrillseeker, who most recently completed a tightrope walk across the Little Colorado River Gorge near the Grand Canyon, will stroll between Chicago’s two 587-foot Marina City towers, which is the highest skyscraper walk in the history of his famed Flying Wallenda family, according to Deadline.

The stunt, which will air on the Discovery Channel on November 2, will be divided into two parts. In the first act, Wallenda will walk blindfolded over the streets of downtown Chicago. In the second act, the rope for Wallenda’s two-block walk will be slanted up at a 15-degree angle, which is the first time Wallenda has attempted such a steep angle. “I’ll not only need incredible physical strength to complete this walk, but laser-focused concentration,” Wallend said in a release.

Wallenda announced the new stunt on Today, and host Matt Lauer spoke for us all when he asked Wallenda a simple question, “Why?”

Wallenda said, “It’s about challenging myself and through challenging myself, inspiring other people.” While Wallenda may hope to inspire, it never hurts to add, don’t try this at home, kids.

TIME society

It’s October 3rd: 19 Ways to Celebrate Mean Girls Day

Quality: Original. Film Title: Mean Girls/Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert & Amanda Seyfried. Copyright: TM&Copyright ©2003 by Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved. For further information: please contact your local UIP Press Office.
Paramount Pictures

It's not like a regular holiday, it's a cool holiday

Every day is the perfect day to quote Mean Girls, but October 3rd is a particularly noteworthy date for fans of the 2004 hit movie. (A brief refresher: it was the day when things really started to heat up between Aaron Samuels and Cady. He asked her what day it was, and she replied, “It’s October 3rd.”)

Most fans celebrate this occasion — unofficially known as National Mean Girls Day — on social media. But we’re here to help you take your celebration off the screen and into the real world. Here, 19 ways to celebrate all day long.

  1. Start planning your sexy Halloween costume. You can be a mouse, duh!
  2. Eat lunch in the bathroom stall by yourself, just to remind you of the hard times.
  3. Go to Taco Bell, even if you’re on an all-carb diet. (Make sure to stop by Barnes and Noble on your way back to work).
  4. Make your face smell like peppermint.
  5. Polish your fertility vase of the Ndebele tribe.
  6. Eat as many cheese fries as you want. There is no limit to how many cheese fries you can have. THE LIMIT DOES NOT EXIST.
  7. Make sure you’re in the right school auditorium.
  8. Wear a wig made out of your mom’s chest hair.
  9. Push someone’s hair out of their face and tell them their hair looks sexy pushed back.
  10. Wear pink, even though it’s not Wednesday.
  11. Bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone will eat and be happy.
  12. Start a toaster strudel Twitter nostalgia campaign.
  13. Treat yourself to another pair of white gold hoops. Live every day like it’s Hanukkah.
  14. Spike your mocktail because you’re not a regular mom, you’re a cool mom.
  15. Purge yourself of your secrets and get a Brazilian blowout.
  16. Wear sweatpants AND a vest.
  17. Ask someone why they’re white.
  18. Use the word “grool” at least three times throughout the day.
  19. Watch a Danny DeVito movie. You love his work.


TIME Bizarre

Feel Good Friday: 16 Fun Photos to Start Your Weekend

From American flag kilts to octopus helmet covers, here's a handful of photos to get your weekend started right

TIME NextDraft

Debating the Use of Real Names Online and Other Fascinating News on the Web

October 2, 2014


1. My Name Is…

In a moment of distinguished poignancy, the esteemed philosopher Eminem once said: “I am whatever you say I am, if I wasn’t, then why would I say I am?” It turns out that what seemed like a rhetorical question has become more difficult to answer in the age of social networks. After much protesting by a group of drag queens, Facebook has issued a public apology and promised to tweak its policy of requiring that all profiles include user’s “real names.” As The Atlantic’s Jessa Lingel and Tarleton Gillespie explain, what seems like a narrow issue has broader implications: “If we’re willing to look past the glitter, the makeup, and the fabulous hair, the issue beneath is an important one … Must we be ‘ourselves’ online? Can we allow people to be playful or protective about their online personas, while still avoiding the abuses that seem to accompany pseudonymity? And most importantly, who decides?” And won’t the real Slim Shady please stand up?

+ The New Yorker: Who’s real enough for Facebook?

2. Spread Dread

“As a precaution, the four people who live in the home where [Thomas E]. Duncan was staying have been ordered to stay in their apartment and a law enforcement official has been posted outside.” Officials in Texas are working to monitor around 100 people who may have had some kind of contact with the Ebola patient or his family members.

+ Here’s Thomas Frieden, the direct of the CDC: “I have no doubt that we will control this importation, or case, of Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country.” And here’s NPR: Why is Frieden so sure this virus won’t spread beyond a handful of cases?

+ One of the key challenges facing officials was finding medical workers who were willing to clean the apartment where Thomas E. Duncan was staying.

+ “You see people dying like chickens.” While there is understandable concern around America’s first case of Ebola, it’s worth connecting this relatively minor story to the terrifying, isolating reality of life on the front lines of the Ebola crisis.

3. Secret Agent, Man

“The 6,700-member agency, long an elite class of skilled professionals who prized their jobs, now suffers from diminished luster and historically high turnover rates … Some agents who have sworn to take a bullet for the president and his family have little faith in the wisdom or direction of their ­senior-most leaders.” The turmoil surrounding the Secret Service has led to the resignation of its director, Julia Pierson, who has only held the top spot for eighteen months.

+ “I don’t lose sleep about it. Because the realities are, as a black man, you know, Barack can get shot going to the gas station.” Jelani Cobb: Barack Obama’s Safety.

4. Hard News

In these days of Internet hoaxes and Twitter journalism, we sometimes forget about the excellent journalists who do the hard work of digging deep into hard news. These stories often have a huge impact. Meet Carol Leonnig. You are definitely aware of her work. From Yahoo News: The reporter who brought down the Secret Service’s director.

+ Want to see how big an impact investigative journalism can have? Check out the work of my friends at the excellent Center for Investigative Reporting: 3 investigations, 3 new laws.

5. Be Courteous, Kind and Dangerous

As the protests continue to grow, Hong Kong’s chief executive has offered to have his second in command seek talks with demonstrators.

+ “Rather than presenting scenes of smashed shops or violent confrontations with the police … the photos from central Hong Kong show smiling students sitting around doing their homework, passing out donations of food, and meticulously picking up litter — even sorting out the recyclables.” From Slate: The Occupy Central demonstrators are courteous. That’s actually what makes them so dangerous.

6. Jihadiville

“They have earned their reputations over the past four years by being the first to report key developments later confirmed by mainstream research and reporting — such as the split between the Islamic State and Al Qaeda, the burst of jihadi recruitment in the West, and the entry of Hezbollah into the Syrian battle.” They are not part of any intelligence department. They don’t work for the government. They are self-made experts with an internet connection. From The Boston Globe’s Thanassis Cambanis: The Jihadi Hunters.

7. Enter the Sandman

Netflix has signed Adam Sandler to an exclusive four-movie deal. Don’t laugh. Sandler’s movies have grossed a cool $3.9 billion worldwide. In a prepared statement, Sandler explained: “When these fine people came to me with an offer to make four movies for them, I immediately said yes for one reason and one reason only … Netflix rhymes with wet chicks. Let the streaming begin!” ($3.9 billion…)

+ I find it hard to cheer about content exclusives. I want to watch what I want to watch where I want to watch it. But this deal is probably a good one for both Netflix and Sandler, who as Chris Plante explains, just became Billy Madison: rich, entitled, and rewarded for putting in the least effort imaginable. (And they said the American dream was dead.)

8. Going With the Norm

“He was to shed the gentle Irish intellectual Carroll O’Connor to become the poorly educated, full-of-himself blowhard Archie Bunker, spewing a kind of rancid, lights-out conservatism for a television audience that grew quickly to more than 50 million people.” The Hollywood Reporter has some excerpts from Normal Lear’s new memoir. When it comes to exploring issues of race on television, Norman Lear was ahead of his time. And ahead of our time.

+ Why Tom and Jerry cartoons carry a racism warning.

9. The Offspring of My Discontent

“Nothing in life is allowed to be more important than our children, and we must never speak a disloyal word about our relationships with our offspring. Children always come first … Once our gods have left us, we try to pick up the pieces of our long neglected marriages and find new purpose. Is it surprising that divorce rates are rising fastest for new empty nesters?” Astro and Danielle Teller share their take on how American parenting is killing American marriage. (I can’t wait to see how their kids respond on Snapchat.)

10. The Bottom of the News

“I respect Starbucks for its business sense, customer service and amenities including clean bathrooms and WiFi. But unless I am checking a new store off my list, I would not go there for the coffee.” And this guy (who calls himself Winter) should know. He’s been to 11,733 Starbucks so far.

+ The honey lobby wants the feds to define honey. While we’re on the topic, why do honeybees die when they sting?

+ Mayor Bill de Blasio has never been to the High Line. New York Mayor Bill de Blassio.

+ Elon Musk sent Tesla’s stock soaring with a cryptic Tweet that read: “About time to unveil the D and something else.” The last time I said something like that I ended up spending the night in jail.


TIME Pictures of the Week

Pictures of the Week: Sept. 26 – Oct. 3

From growing protests in Hong Kong and an intruder at the White House, to child jockeys in Indonesia and George Clooney’s wedding, TIME presents the best pictures of the week.

TIME Opinion

Subway Wants Women to Stay Skinny So They Can Wear Sexy Halloween Costumes

This new ad reminds you that it's never time to stop dieting

You thought it was over. You thought it was finally safe to sit down at lunch and eat one, just one, burger. Subway wants you to know that YOU THOUGHT WRONG.

Thank your lucky thigh gap the sandwich chain, which recent research asserts is just as unhealthy as McDonald’s, is here to remind you that it’s your moral obligation to stay skinny. Because “bikini season may be over” — that’s an actual quote from the company’s YouTube page — “but there’s more reasons right around the corner to stay fit.”

Namely: To wear skimpy Halloween costumes. Cue a video montage set to the tune of waiting room music where an excessively perky woman models an array of sexy costumes.

Except, Subway clearly isn’t allowed to say sexy. Rather, it’s a “hot devil” (too literal), “sassy teacher” (literally smacking a ruler against her hand), “foxy fullback” (please, let’s get into how women feel about the NFL right now), and our personal favorite, “attractive nurse.”

Luckily for Subway, there’s an emerging sexy (albeit bizarre) Christmas costume market, so that they can keep their “it’s never ok to break a diet” campaign going.

Your skinny coworker lunch buddy will be watching you!


Watch Matthew McConaughey Give a Matthew McConaughey Speech to Texas Football Players

It was almost exactly what you would have expected it to be

Matthew McConaughey is a well-established master of speeches, both on-screen and off, so when he shows up to address his alma mater’s football team, greatness is to be expected. The Oscar-winning actor visited the University of Texas last week and immediately attempted to downplay his speech-related intentions, then ended up delivering a five-minute opus anyway — complete with that chest-bumping bit made famous in The Wolf of Wall Street that he does before scenes to rid himself of nervousness. McConaughey also revealed that his favorite movie that he’s ever worked on was Mud, which, though a little off the beaten path, makes sense because Mud was awesome.

Oh, and then Texas thumped Kansas 23-0. McConaughey’s special powers must be real.

TIME viral

Watch a Guy Pretend to Be ‘Humans of New York’

You can't trust anyone anymore

The blog Humans of New York captures portraits of the people who populate New York City and tells a little of their story. Brandon Stanton, the brain behind the storytelling blog-turned-bestseller, was even one of TIME’s 30 Under 30 last year. Thanks to his hard work and poignant stories, apparently people will tell you anything if you say you are from the blog.

So a prankster did just that. Watch how many people who may normally be inclined to brush off someone with a camera stop in their tracks upon hearing the magic words “Humans of New York.” The YouTube joker, PrankDialz, then took numerous photos of them while engaging the unwitting subjects in deep conversations about personal aspects of their lives.

Watch, and trust no one.

TIME Television

How to Get Away With Hashtags: When Viewers and Networks Collide on Twitter

ABC Viola Davis stars in ABC's How to Get Away With Murder

Is it #HowToGetAwayWithMurder or #HTGAWM? (And other TV hashtag conundrums)

While viewers watched the twisty and turny premiere of How to Get Away With Murder last Thursday, iPhones in hand, they had many important thoughts to share with the Twitterverse about the newest Shonda Rhimes-produced show to hit primetime. (Like puns, and the realization that a familiar looking actor was Dean Thomas in Harry Potter). But while carefully crafting 140-character commentary, a wave of social media panic came billowing in:

In case you’re counting, which every live tweeter is, #HowToGetAwayWithMurder is a whopping 23 characters long — leaving significantly less room for commentary. And while the acronym #HTGAWM is less cumbersome, “it looks like a mouthful of gobbledygook,” as author and prolific TV tweeter Jennifer Weiner tells TIME.

Twitter has reinvigorated the act of watching live television, and active social viewers want to make sure they are seeing relevant tweets (and that their relevant tweets are being seen) under one, consistent hashtag conversation. But when multiple hashtags are trending: What do you use? Shonda Rhimes tweeted #HowToGetAwayWithMurder; her production company ShondaLand tweeted #HTGAWM; and writer/creator Peter Nowalk sometimes used both! (31 characters!)

“The official hashtag is #HowToGetAwayWithMurder,” ABC Entertainment executive director of digital strategy Ben Blatt says, clarifying confusion for those tuning in to Thursday’s second episode. “Even knowing that it was on the longer side, we felt that it served the purpose of getting people to understand that this was a new show, and we wanted to brand the actual title.”

And it makes sense. Viewers aren’t familiar enough with the product to have a nickname or abbreviation resonate. While HTGAWM is reminiscent of How I Met Your Mother’s now nostalgic HIMYM — that show’s ascent to popularity predated Twitter, so the acronym was getting typed into text messages long before Twitter text boxes.

Blatt notes that even though promo material touts the longer hashtag, ABC went into its marketing decision with the knowledge that it will “probably end up with an abbreviated version” based on online habits.

ABC gave TIME statistics from Twitter showing that while 141,139 tweets employed #HowToGetAwayWithMurder, almost 50,000 used #HTGAWM — without any official promotion.

“We are going to start testing that more, and if we see that fans are using it, we’re going to pivot,” Blatt says. “That’s going to inform what we start doing for weeks two and three.”

Networks have learned to be malleable when it comes to official hashtags. According to Adam Zeller, VP of social media for Bravo and Oxygen Media, while the social, marketing, and editorial team decide based on consensus what official hashtag “feels right” before a new show airs: “Immediately after the premiere we will look at data and decide if it worked — and if not, we will change it to what the fans want to use.”

One of Zeller’s most surprising hashtag changes was for the show The People’s Couch, a reality show where viewers literally watch strangers watching television. (Yes, really). While Bravo decided to use #PeoplesCouch as a hashtag, displaying it on the screen throughout the broadcast, 95% of the audience independently decided to tweet using #ThePeoplesCouch — foregoing three precious characters.

Obviously, the official hashtag on-air and in promotions changed accordingly. A similar shift occurred when fans preferred #RHOM to the original suggested #RHOMIA for Real Housewives of Miami. With Oxygen’s Tuesday premiere of Nail’d It, a show about nail art, Zeller says, the team has flipped between using the branded #NaildIt versus #NailedIt.

“The pros for #NailedIt is that it’s already a huge hashtag on Twitter,” he says, and so the show might get greater discovery by people who happened to stumble on the popular hashtag. For that reason, Oxygen decided to go with the “e” version, reserving the right to change it when people gain more familiarity with the program.

But even though, according to ABC and Bravo/Oxygen, networks want to work with viewers for consistency, hashtags frequently cause chaos online.

During the SyFy’s premiere of Sharknado 2: The Second One — a television event literally created for Twitter — live tweeters were confused because while the the movie itself touted the #Sharknado2 hashtag onscreen during the broadcast, Sharknado’s official twitter account tweeted using #SharknadoTheSecondOne, creating a conflicting trending topic.

As TIME writer Nolan Feeney sarcastically gripes: “It really hurts my #brand.” But seriously, the warring hashtags do prove problematic.

“You want your tweets to be accessible, you want them to be read by people, you want to feel like we’re all watching this together — that’s the whole point,” says Weiner. “But then when you find out that there’s more than one hashtag going on, it’s like, you’re in the club, and you’re having a good time and then you realize that there’s another party going on. And maybe they’re having more fun with it and maybe they’re not. Maybe you should be at that party.”

Weiner primarily faces this dilemma when deciding whether or not to use “The” while livetweeting The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Although ABC officially pushes #TheBachelor — that’s what’s tweeted by Chris Harrison and written in translucent letters intermittently through broadcasts — a large contingent of #BachelorNation tweets under #Bachelor.

“It’s three characters,” says Weiner, who switches between the two hashtags in spite of the resulting whiplash. “If Michelle Money shows up in a really terrible outfit, you have no room. Sometimes you need every single one of those characters to describe what’s going on and how crazy it is.”

“I think that we do succumb to the reality that fans will sometimes go off on their own,” Blatt says. But even though networks are open to change sometimes, ABC won’t budge on #TheBachelor brand, which has proven successful in spite of discrepancies.

Even if #HowToGetAwayWithMurder shifts to #HTGAWM or something else entirely (ABC probably doesn’t want the #Murder brand), viewers may still face warring trending topics. Official hashtags do not always dictate trends.

“I think that we need to appeal to Twitter,” Weiner says. “Because there is pain going on. People are suffering. People are confused. Let’s fix this. Let’s make it better.”

TIME viral

This Timelapse Pregnancy Video Is the Best Birth Announcement

From a bump on the road to a bundle of joy

Los Angeles filmmaker Joe Penna, whose online persona is MysteryGuitarMan, spent 10 months making this stop-motion timelapse video to illustrate his wife Sarah Evershed’s pregnancy and the birth of their child Jonah Lane Penna (MysteryGuitarBaby). The video starts out with a car that has broken down, and the husband pumping air into the tires as his wife’s belly grows bigger and bigger. Then, violà, a baby! It’s the product of teamwork at its best.

They are the latest couple to go viral for a timelapse video version of “baby bump photography,” from the husband who serenaded his wife throughout her pregnancy to the woman who blew up a balloon for extra dramatic effect while the camera was rolling.

MORE: Cut Parents Who Overshare on Facebook a Break

MORE: Please Stop Telling Me I Won’t Care About My Dog Anymore When I Have a Baby

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