TIME NextDraft

Snapchat Settles with the FTC and Other Fascinating News on the Web

May 8, 2014


1. The Disappearing Act

Snapchat has settled with the FTC over charges that the company “deceived customers about the disappearing nature of messages sent through its service and that it collected users’ contacts without telling them or asking permission.” When it comes to photos, recipients could take a screenshot with their phones. And accessing videos that “disappeared” was equally simple. What’s amazing here is that any company would be able to “deceive” customers about disappearing content. Consider this your last public service announcement on the topic of dropping one’s pants and snapping a photo: If it’s on the Internet, it’s public, and it’s there forever.

+ And by forever, I mean forever. So who gets access to your embarrassing social media stream after you’ve been uploaded to the eternal cloud? For now, that depends on where you live. But a proposed law could clarify who gets access to your digital accounts once you’re deceased.

2. Check Out My Butler

“Forget about the dainty lord ringing for his cup of tea. The butlers of today serve paranoid money managers, manor-owning supermodels, Chinese celebrities, and horny sheiks. And they all have stories — horrible, hilarious, sometimes hooker-fueled stories — that they never get to tell, because nobody talks to the butler. Until now.” There are more billionaires than ever and the job market for butlers is looking good. GQ’s David Katz takes you inside the world of the real butlers of the .001 percent.

3. Bordering Absurd?

Two days have passed since Putin announced that Russian troops would be pulled back from the Ukraine border. So far, no one else sees any signs of that happening.

+ Confused by Putin’s latest statements, moves, and non-moves? So are many of the journalists who cover him. That said, Putin’s approval numbers at home continue to soar.

4. Mysterious Ways (and Means)

“One of the most powerful forces in American philanthropy is a shadow.” And the shadow knows how to make a ton of money, and how to give a whole lot of that money away. BloombergBusinessweek’s Zachary Mider on the $13 billion mystery angels.

+ The Atlantic: Most people in the world have no idea how to manage their money.

5. Giving You the Fingers

Vibram — makers of the FiveFingers sock-shoe thingies – has agreed to pay $3.75 million and stop claiming that “FiveFingers footwear is effective in strengthening muscles or reducing injury.”

+ In other news, face cleansing products are bad for the environment.

6. Buzz Kill

The good news. The legalization of marijuana has caused the prices of illegal pot to fall, so Mexican drug farmers are planting a lot less pot. The bad news: They are now filling their fields with opium poppies and driving a surge of cheap heroin. It’s going to take a while to undo decades of ineffective drug laws. Looks like you picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.

+ Mario Tabraue Sr. was once a drug kingpin who was compared to Scarface. Now he’s fighting to get Congress to allow him to keep his cheetahs.

7. Bullied. And Packing.

According to a new study, bullying victims are twice as likely to bring a weapon to school. And “perpetrators of 12 of 15 school shootings in the 1990s had a history of being bullied.”

8. There is No Off-Season

Back in 1967, Commissioner Pete Rozelle recorded the NFL draft picks on a chalkboard. Things have changed. This year’s NFL draft will be shown live, in prime time, on two networks.

+ Vox: How NFL teams ignore basic economics and draft players irrationally. (You can accuse the NFL of a lot, but they definitely get basic economics.)

+ The league that wasn’t: An oral history of the fast life and quick death of the XFL.

9. Life’s Building Blocks

“A photo album on the office’s meeting table shows employees arriving via a fleet of private jets, driving around in Ferraris, riding in helicopters and partying on a yacht.” I’m mostly linking to this article because I want my 7 year-old son and his friends to understand where all their college money went. Rolling Stone on Markus Persson, The Wizard of Minecraft.

10. The Bottom of the News

“We made small talk in the checkout line at Trader Joe’s. You said that you literally could not live without the salsa you were buying. I wish we could talk again. You used ‘literally’ incorrectly. It really pissed me off. I wish you could literally not live without that salsa, because then I’d take it from you.” The New Yorker: Missed Connections for A-Holes.

+ John Travolta took a lot of heat for his pronunciation of Idina Menzel’s name during the Oscars. She should just be glad that she wasn’t introduced by Al Sharpton. Wow.

+ Why do you hate watching pundits exchange heated political discourse on TV? Because no one ever throws a table at the other person. Until now.

+ The Cannibal Cop is now a prison chef.



NFL Hopeful Proposes on Empire State Building Before Draft

Eric Ebron, who will likely be selected in the first round draft for the NFL at Radio City Music Hall, proposed to his girlfriend at the setting of many a romantic film (like Sleepless in Seattle and An Affair to Remember). Spoiler alert: She said yes

Eric Ebron, who will likely be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft on Thursday night, decided to make his day even more memorable. Ebron proposed to his girlfriend atop the Empire State Building, just hours before the draft began at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

She said yes.

The former University of North Carolina tight end was a “ball of nerves” leading up to his proposal to his fellow athlete, UNC basketball player Brittany Rountree, according to Fox Sports. He bought the ring a week ago and planned the proposal for the couple’s free afternoon in New York.


Cats 24/7 Is a TV Channel That Gives You What You Really Want

Aaron Weber / Flickr

Non-stop meow

Television is great and all. True Detective, Mad Men, Game of Thrones and the like are making us rethink what a TV show can do. But sometimes, isn’t all you want just more cats? Like, all day, every day?

Pluto.tv is a free television streaming service with hundreds of free channels. And they just launched Cats 24/7, which gives you exactly what its name describes. Every hour is filled with felines, from documentaries on big cats to YouTube-friendly cartoon skits and parodies. Shows include “Famous Felines,” “Scaredy Cats,” “Cats Gone Viral,” and many, many more.

It’s pretty light fare—no one’s going to mistake this for a cat HBO. But we do have a few suggestions. Real Cats of Orange County would be a smash hit, as would Kitten Survivor. Catnip could make a great name for a sexy all-cat drama.

TIME viral

Soccer Player Thought Goal Was So Good He Ran To Stands To Cheer Himself

Watch the humble-ness unfold

Lithuanian soccer player Dzimtry Koub thought his goal during an away game Wednesday was so impressive that he owed it to himself to run into the stands and give himself a round of applause.

Watch the magic unfold above.


New York’s ‘Cannibal Cop’ Is Now a Prison Chef, Mom Says 

Gail / Flickr

Just watch out for the soup

In 2012, New York City police officer Gilberto Valle was arrested for allegedly plotting in online forums to kidnap, kill and eat women including his wife—fantasies that he illustrated with Photoshopped images found on his computer. Now, Valle has become a chef in prison.

New York Daily News calls it “ the most ironic jail work assignment in recent memory,” but Valle is totally serious about honing his chef skills while jailed. “He has mastered making pizza,” his mother, Elizabeth Valle, said. The hobby helps him “kill time” while waiting to see if he might be granted another trial. The Daily News story does not include comment from the prison where Valle is being held.

Valle’s lawyers are mounting a defense that argues that the former policeman’s fantasies of cannibalism were just that—fantasies. Despite bragging that he owned a “human-sized oven” online, Valle never took any actions to actually kidnap or eat anyone. The conviction blurs the line between online life and reality.

If anything, Valle’s fellow inmates don’t seem to be too nervous that he’ll include a special ingredient in his cooking experiments. They joke about his kitchen skills: “Don’t stand too close to the oven, and that kind of thing,” they say to him, Valle’s mother said.

TIME animals

Watch a Tiny Hamster Eat a Tiny Slice of Pizza

Om nom nom nom

Just a week after a video of tiny hamsters eating tiny burritos went viral and racked up more than 6 million views to date, a tiny gray hamster nibbling at a tiny slice of pizza is climbing to Internet fame. In a clip uploaded by the YouTube channel AprilsAnimals, the tiny fur ball sits on a tiny, green picnic blanket and eats off of a tiny plate. People who eat their slices of pizza with their hands will be happy to see that the hamster picks up its slice as well and does not use the tiny fork on its right.

And in case you haven’t seen it yet, here is the video of hamsters eating tiny burritos, produced by the comedian Hello Denizen:

WATCH: Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos

MORE: France Is Spending 3 Million Euros to Save These Hamsters

TIME animals

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a… Tiger?

A new $2.3 million open-air walkway gives felines more room to roam

It gets boring hanging out in the same place all day long. In an effort to increase big cats’ well-being while in captivity, on Wednesday the Philadelphia Zoo unveiled a 330-ft. long passageway designed specifically for its magnificent felines.

Amur lions were the first to strut across the Big Cat Crossing, which arches over the zoo’s main promenade and ends near a lake. But they won’t be the only cats allowed on the mesh-covered trail: lions, pumas, jaguars and leopards will all take turns strutting their stuff directly above visitors’ heads.

Giving zoo animals more room to roam is “enriching to their environment and their mental capacity,” Ed Hansen, CEO of the American Association of Zoo Keepers told the Associated Press. It’s also part of a growing trend called animal rotation, in which animals are allowed to inhabit different areas on zoo grounds in order to give them more stimulation. The Denver Zoo and the National Zoo in Washington have similar programs in place for hyenas, wild dogs and orangutans.

The Philly zoo already has separate trail systems for monkeys, lemurs and orangutans. Next it plans to let giraffes and rhinos sashay along the open air trails as well.

TIME Education

College Students Order a Hit on Themselves to Avoid Finals

Desks in empty classroom
Getty Images

Just hit the books instead

Instead of hitting the books, two students ordered a hit on themselves.

Two University of Georgia students didn’t have a death wish, but they did wish to be injured just enough to get out of their final exams. The two devised a plan and took out an ad on Craigslist.

While the ad has since been flagged for removal by the online classified site, according to Flagpole.com, a University of Georgia Athens news site who took a screenshot of the ad, the advertisement requested that the hit man literally hit them with a car.

While too lazy to study, but not overly sadistic, the women explicitly stated that they did not want to die, just simply be “injured enough to get out of taking our finals here at UGA.” Wisely the ad was placed under the site’s “skilled trades” section.

As for compensation for the act, the reward would be the act itself, e.g. “hitting two lovely ladies by vehicle w/ permission.”

One can only hope that the entire ad was actually a final exam in creative writing.

[Via Flagpole.com]

MORE: Middle School Teacher Suspended for Assigning Lil Wayne Lyrics as Homework
MORE: Are You As Smart As a Fourth Grader Should Be?

TIME viral

Watch Jordan Journalists Get into a Huge Brawl and Flip a Table on Live TV

They had a disagreement about the civil war in Syria.

AP Photo/Seven Stars Television via AP video

Two journalists in Jordan got into a heated discussion of the ongoing civil war in Syria Tuesday, flipping over and tearing apart the table in the studio. The Associated Press reports that it all started when Mohammad al-Jayousi “accused” Shaker al-Johari “of supporting the Syrian rebels” and al-Johari “accused” al-Jayousi “of taking money for supporting Assad.”

Here is how the brawl played out on the satellite TV talk show Seven Stars, per video uploaded to YouTube by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI):

(video h/t JPost.com)

TIME celebrities

Mariah Carey Mariah-fies David Letterman

"Me. I am Dave. The Magnificent Crooner."

Mariah Carey visited the Late Show with David Letterman on Wednesday and tried to show the host how to “Mariah-fy” his name, using TIME’s Mariah Carey Album Title Generator.

Unfortunately, the singer had a little bit of trouble, losing the link, but she told Letterman his album title: “The Magnificent Crooner.”

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