TIME viral

ICYMI: The Complete History of the Internet’s Obsession With Cats

cat mustache
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Every Friday we round up some stories you might have missed this week and publish them in one neat little post. Think of it as our gift to you, only it’s not really free because you’re repaying us in likes and shares. No…thank YOU.

The complete history of the Internet’s deep and abiding love for felines. (Mashable)

How people hold their drinks reveals a lot about them than you’d think, so you better start paying attention. (The Savory)

A group of firefighters sang “Let It Go” from Frozen to comfort a young girl who got stuck in an elevator. (TODAY)

A woman attempted to burn down her ex-boyfriend’s house with a pound of burning bacon. Oh, her name is Crispi. (Gawker)

Arnold Schwarzenegger learned some new dance moves this week: the Nae Nae and the Stanky Legg. (Uproxx)

Everyone’s favorite upbeat jam, Pharrell’s “Happy,” got a super sad remix. (Billboard)

These illustrations of the American West are beautiful — and they’re also the size of a penny. (Laughing Squid)

Read last week’s ICYMI here.

TIME NextDraft

The Online Self Is More Popular Than The Physical Self and Other Fascinating News on the Web

March 28, 2014


1. Meet the Other You

Pia Farrenkopf died in 2009 in her home in Pontiac, Michigan. But no one knew about it until about a month ago. How could this be? In part, it was because she had set up her bank account to pay her bills automatically. This was a unique case, but it points to a broader trend. There is the you that’s made of flesh and bone. And the you that’s been created via your digital activities. Carmen Maria Machado provides an interesting take in her New Yorker piece: The Afterlife of Pia Farrenkopf. “Farrenkopf had a kind of institutional doppelgänger, as do we all: a presence that forms as we post on social media, shop online, send e-mails, and use the Internet for paying bills, banking, and dozens of other financial and technological transactions. Some of us have more than one. The institutional doppelgänger is hard to see because it shadows our everyday lives so closely. Every so often, though, the curtain twitches, reminding us of its existence.”

+ Your online self might be a lot more popular than your physical self, especially among data brokers who are panning for gold in the digital age.

2. Unpredictable Putin

“Russian troops massing near Ukraine are actively concealing their positions and establishing supply lines that could be used in a prolonged deployment.” How worried should we be? That’s the big question. As the WSJ reports, “American intelligence agencies have struggled to assess Russian President Vladimir Putin’s specific intentions.”

3. Weekend Reads

Audrey Polk was sexually assaulted in 1997. Fourteen years later, her assailant was arrested. What took so long? Polk’s untested rape kit was one of 11,304 in Detroit’s backlog. From Buzzfeed’s Emily Orley: Being Raped In A Bankrupt City.

+ Wired’s Jordan Golson: Here’s how they’ll piece together what happened to Flight 370.

+ The 2014 National Magazine Finalists have been named. And Longform has story descriptions and links to all of them (many of which were featured in NextDraft.)

4. Where Everyone Believes in Climate Change

“Climate scientists predict that this area will be inundated as sea levels rise and storm surges increase, and a cyclone or another disaster could easily wipe away her rebuilt life. But Ms. Khatun is trying to hold out at least for a while — one of millions living on borrowed time in this vast landscape of river islands, bamboo huts, heartbreaking choices and impossible hopes.” Their are many countries like Bangladesh where populations “have contributed little to the pollution that is linked to rising temperatures and sea levels but will suffer the most from the consequences.” From the NYT: Borrowed Time on Disappearing Land.

5. Fat Chance

They told us not to eat fat because it would make us fat. But now they’re telling us they were wrong. The fat wasn’t the problem. It was the carbs and sugars we ate instead of the fat. The problem can be traced back to the U.S. Senate, in 1976. (From now on, I’m eating nothing but pasta and white bread. I want to be ready when they change their minds again.)

+ Mark Bittman in the NYT: Butter is Back. (“Parkay…”)

6. Put Everything on Hold

Here’s a stat from the National Safety Council that probably won’t surprise you. Twenty-six percent of car crashes are tied to cellphone use. And here’s a stat that might surprise you. Just five percent of crashes involve texting.

+ Texting while walking can be dangerous as well. But a patent application from Apple could save you via transparent texting: “a feature that would continuously capture and display video images of the environment ahead of you.” So then you’d only have to look up from your phone, well, never.

7. Anti-Social

A week after banning Twitter, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan blocked YouTube as well. If they block Facebook too, I may go there to get some work done.

+ Turkey isn’t the only country looking to silence the online conversation. Here’s a map of the countries that block Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

+ The efforts to block access in so many places is evidence of the power of social media. But in some cases, it’s hard to tell if it makes a difference beyond the noise. Newsweek takes an interesting look at how social media has enabled activists from around the world to pummel a Japanese fishing village for slaughtering dolphins

8. Asset Management

This week we learned that autism rates have been surging over the past few years. And estimates suggest that about 85% of autistic adults are unemployed. But that could change as some large employers are starting to view autism as an asset and not a deficiency in the workplace.”

9. Getting Trashed

It’s “a contraption consisting of a large silver barrel on top of various other metal parts, all connected with pipes and hoses. It looks like something you’d use to cook meth.” But it’s actually a machine that turns trash into electricity (which makes it only slightly less valuable than if it cooked meth).

+ A bankruptcy dispute led to millions of jars of unwanted peanut butter getting dumped into a New Mexico landfill. (Wait, unwanted peanut butter? Conscious Uncoupling makes more sense than that.)

10. The Bottom of the News

McSweeney’s: “As you know, we took a lot of measurements this morning — height, weight, head circumference — and in most respects, your baby is doing great. There’s just one thing, and it’s not necessarily something to be concerned about, but we do need to talk about it: Your baby’s Klout score is in the 25th percentile.”

+ How the Bishop of Bling spent $43 million renovating his house.

+ Security guards outnumber high school teachers in the United States.

+ Quartz: How the phrase “no worries” infected American English. (I’m Jewish. It’s never even occurred to me to use that phrase.)



This Map Shows the Most Popular Attractions in Every State

A lot of people really like the L.L. Bean flagship store

Approximately 17 million people go to Walt Disney World every year. And 3.5 million people who go to Maine check out the L. L. Bean flagship store annually.

This map pulled 2009 numbers from National Park Services, state tourism offices, and other statistical resources to show what the most popular attractions are in every state across the United States. Unfortunately no balls of twine made the cut. Everything is a popularity contest:

(Click to enlarge)

(h/t: Reddit)


You Can’t Drink This Beer if You’re Using Your Phone 

Mauricio Perussi

Designed to cure the anti-social

Now that cell phones have shrunk and we’re contemplating wearing our computers on our faces instead of in our pockets, smart design is more about stopping us from being online then letting us check Twitter more often. Call it anti-social design: devices like this beer glass are devoted to preventing a Tinder session at the bar.

The Offline Glass, designed by the Fischer & Friends ad agency in Brazil, is a normal beer glass with a notch cut out of the bottom exactly the size of an iPhone. The beer has to balance on your phone, otherwise it’ll tip over—so either leave your phone on the table, or double-fist smartphone and glass (not the Google kind).

The beer glass is part of a larger trend of anti-social design that includes the OFF Pocket, artist Adam Harvey’s smartphone case that blocks all signals being sent to or from your phone. With its metal-plated fabric, the case acts like a faraday cage, bouncing radio waves away from the device. You can’t check your text messages—you won’t even get them until you remove your phone.

There’s also the traditional game of Phone Stack. When out a bar or restaurant, have everyone pile their smartphones in the middle of the table. The first person to give in to their ceaseless social media addiction and grab their phone has to foot the bill for the rest of the group. Watch out for signs of technology withdrawal: squirming in seats, nervous foot-tapping, and eyes darting around looking for any and all screens.

TIME relationships

Confirmed: April Is the Cruelest Month

Getty Images

Anybody wanna hibernate until May?

“APRIL is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain.”

That’s a quote from a T.S. Eliot poem, but according to everybody’s favorite astrologer Susan Miller, April 2014 is going to be an absolutely horrific month for almost all of us. Of course, that’s only if you believe in astrology.

New York Magazine points out that in an interview given to the Guardian in January, Miller noted that two “angry eclipses” destined for us in April will cause some intense emotional upheaval, particularly for anyone born between April 15 and 29. From NY Mag:

Eclipses have a mission to expose truths, Miller writes, and thereby sweep away elements that are no longer relevant in your life. You might think they are relevant or important, she notes, when they are taken from you on April 15 or April 29, but they’re not.

And it gets worse. From the Guardian story:

“Look at 29 April!” I look. “Some people feel the stock market is…” She pauses for such a long beat that I offer to complete her sentence: “…going to crash?” She shakes her head. “This is even worse – we’ve not had this since the American Revolution.”

Miller also said that April looks so scary she’s “giving classes on it.” At least Mercury won’t be in retrograde?

TIME Teens

Teen Wins $70,000 Settlement After School Demanded Her Facebook Password

School officials forced a female student to give up her password after she posted about a mean hall monitor and flirted with a classmate on Facebook, even though the post and conversation happened off-campus and after school hours

A Minnesota teen is getting a $70,000 payday because school administrators demanded her Facebook password to investigate her social media history when she was caught doing totally normal tween things in sixth grade.

Riley Stratton, now 15, was questioned by school administrators and a police officer after posting on Facebook that she hated a mean school hall monitor and had a sexually-charged conversation with a boy in her class. This was a shocking allegation, since everyone knows that sixth grade girls LOVE hall monitors and HATE flirting with boys.

Administrators demanded that she tell them her Facebook password so they could investigate her social media history, even though both the post and the conversation happened off-campus and outside of school hours. “I was in tears,” Stratton told the Star Tribune Tuesday, “I was embarrassed when they made me give over my password.”

The ACLU took up Stratton’s case, and won her $70,000 in damages from the school district, and the administration has promised to rewrite its privacy policies. “A lot of schools, like the folks at Minnewaska, think that just because it’s easier to know what kids are saying off campus through social media somehow means the rules have changed, and you can punish them for what they say off campus,” said Wallace Hilke, the Minnesota ACLU lawyer who argued Stratton’s case. “They punished her for doing exactly what kids have done for 100 years — complaining to her friends about teachers and administrators.”

Minnewaska Superintendent Greg Schmidt did not admit any district liability in the incident, but said the case highlights the debate over how big a role schools should play in parenting their students, especially when it comes to delicate issues like cyberbullying.

“Some people think schools go too far and I get that,” Schmidt told the Star Tribune. “But we want to make kids aware that their actions outside school can be detrimental.”

Now, thanks to the justice team at the ACLU, tweens everywhere can sleep at night knowing their principal will never see their steamy convos with Josh from P.E.

[Star Tribune]

TIME viral

This Stunning Time-Lapse Video Of Fireflies Will Remind You Why Nature Is Awesome

But seriously, it's pretty mesmerizing

Fireflies are pretty captivating when watched with the naked eye, but in this time-lapse video, they become even more stunning. Photographer Vincent Brady created this project after becoming fascinated with fireflies as an artistic subject a few years back.

The video description explains a bit more:

Shot over the Summer of 2013 primarily in Lake of the Ozarks, MO as well as Grand Ledge, MI. The majority of the Summer I dedicated to photographing fireflies, because, well, they are just awesome. Nothing quite ends a hot and humid Summer day like the blessing of the majestic fireflies. Lake of the Ozarks is a fantastic home to the creatures. Being out on the boat and watching as they light the treeline with their all night disco party is just amazing.

The music you hear in the video was composed by Brady’s friend, Brandon McCoy, specifically for this project. It definitely contributes to the whole feeling-at-one-with-nature thing.

TIME Family

DreamWorks Animator Turns Home Videos of His Son Into Action Movies

To remind us that "life is an adventure"

Lights, camera, action! DreamWorks animator Daniel Hashimoto has made home videos of his son seem like riveting scenes from action movies — from his three-year-old James picking out a toy in a toy store that turns into a lightsaber to the youngster blasting off into outer space at a McDonald’s PlayPlace. According to Daniel Hashimoto’s description of his YouTube channel Action Movie Kid, the enhanced scenes are supposed to be reminders that “life is an adventure.”

(h/t The Huffington Post)

TIME Bizarre

Family Finds Terrifying 16-Inch ‘Ratzilla’ in Their Kitchen

WARNING: it's super gross

A Swedish family had to call an exterminator after finding a massive 16-inch “Ratzilla” devouring food leftovers from the trash under the sink. To help, pest control had to bring a heavy duty trap since other traps weren’t big enough.

Even the family cat, Enok, had refused to enter the kitchen while the giant rat was in residence, Erik Korsas, the home owner, told BBC News. Since the incident, the kitchen has been repaired and the family’s cat has not been bothered by rats of any size, Korsas said.

TIME Internet

Hackers Flood Pinterest With Pictures Of Butts

Depending on what you use Pinterest for, this is either the best or the worst

Some hackers decided to replace the DIY mason jar chandeliers on Pinterest with a whole bunch of butts.

Multiple accounts were hacked and promptly flooded with spam pictures, TechCrunch reports. Just imagine: you log in to the digital bulletin board and instead of your usual spread of inspirational quotes typed in Helvetica and recipes for sensible snacks, you just see a variety of butts, along with a few weight loss ads.

More and more scammers have been targeting Pinterest as the site’s popularity has grown. The Better Business Bureau sent out a scam alert a few weeks ago with tips on how to keep accounts safe and how to spot suspect pins.

Although, for the small sliver of Pinterest users who are really only on the site to see butt pictures (and we know those people are out there), this hack must have been a total blessing.

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