TIME NextDraft

The Ideal Earthquake Warning System and Other Fascinating News on the Web

August 25, 2014


1. You Have Ten Seconds

According to scientists at U.C. Berkeley, an earthquake early warning system sent an alert ten seconds before a 6.0 magnitude quake hit the Napa area. Researchers think they can get that number up to 40-50 seconds. What good would it do if such a system could be implemented before the next big one? A lot. As the LA Times reports, an alert of even less than a minute could give “time for elevators to stop at the next floor and open up, firefighters to open up garage doors, high-speed trains to slow down to avoid derailment and surgeons to take the scalpel out of a patient.”

+ How responsible are scientists when it comes to providing warnings about the risks of quakes? Matter’s David Wolman takes a look back at the case of seven Italian scientists who got their predictions very wrong and were convicted of manslaughter.

+ Different faults make different quakes. From NatGeo: What caused California’s Napa Valley earthquake?

+ Some wineries lost as much as fifty-percent of their wine.

+ Don’t worry. You’re not sleeping. You’re providing data and a marketing opportunity for Jawbone.

+ And this is just how we (shake, rattle, and) roll in California: An immediately iconic image captured shortly after the weekend’s quake.

2. It Seems Real This Time

Over the years, we’ve heard a lot about the promise of virtual reality. But these days it’s looking like we could be on the cusp of an amazing leap forward, in part because some very big tech companies want a piece of the action. From The Verge: The rise and fall and rise of virtual reality. I can’t wait to put on my virtual reality headset and finally get a break from all this distracting technology.

+ Last month, everyone was sure that Google was buying Twitch, a site where millions of people watch other people play video games. That deal died. Amazon moved in and made one of its biggest acquisition to date.

3. Terrorism’s New Brand

The land. The money. The weapons. The people. The shirts, magazines, and published annual reports. Take a look at some of these scary charts and numbers that present a snapshot of the rise if ISIS.

+ And as of today, they also control an airbase in Syria.

4. No Angel

As you’d expect, thousands of people and many media crews were on-hand for Michael Brown’s funeral. The Guardian has been providing photos and updates from the scene.

+ “He’s a waiter, a roller skater and a father of three.” Edward Crawford is also the person seen throwing back a tear gas container in a photo that came to represent the tensions in Ferguson.

+ “Michael Brown, 18, due to be buried on Monday, was no angel.” With that line (and the article that followed), did the New York Times just give a basic course on everything the media gets wrong about black men?

+ “He occasionally smoked marijuana and drank alcohol, according to friends.” Jordan Lebeau: There are no angels — what The New York Times won’t tell you.

5. Have It Your Way, Eh

Burger King is in talks to buy Tim Horton’s, Canada’s coffee and donut chain. The deal would enable to Burger King to migrate its official tax jurisdiction north of the border. (If Canada gets our fast food-related taxes, we get hockey.)

6. The Happiness Formula

OK, you want to be happy? Here’s what you do. Live in a suburb. Spend your money on experiences. And listen to a lot of sad songs along the way.

7. That Alarming Sound

It’s that time of year when your alarm goes off just a little earlier because you have to get the kids to school on time. Maybe it’s time we hit the collective snooze button. Yet another study suggests that school starts too early and the sleep deprivation is having a negative effect on kids.

8. Twerk for the Homeless

After watching most of last night’s show, I’m convinced that Jay Z and Beyonce are just about the only parents who would let their young kid watch the Video Music Awards (I hit pause when my six year-old asked why all the dancers were in their underwear). Here’s a look at the top moments from the show.

+ Miley Cyrus provided the surprise of the evening when she sent up someone named Jesse to accept her award on “behalf of the 1.6 million runaways and homeless youths in the United States who are starving, lost and scared for their lives right now.”

+ Buzzfeed with a Giftastic look at the 27 most important things at the VMAs.

+ The night (like all others) was all about Beyonce. Listen in on her VMA performance, with her vocals isolated.

+ If nothing else, the VMAs provided a nice warm-up for The Emmys which are on tonight, a Monday and a weeknight in August, because the NFL is just too big to go up against. Here’s full pre-Emmy coverage from The Hollywood Reporter.

9. Suge Knight Rising

Before the VMAs started, the event was already making news as Suge Knight and three others were wounded by gunshots during a party hosted by Chris Brown. Amazingly, this was Suge Knight’s second time being shot at a pre-VMA party (the first time was at a Miami party hosted by Kanye West in 2005). Next year, he might want to think about going to the Tony’s instead.

10. The Bottom of the News

Don’t bleep it out. There are promising signs that swearing at work can actually be beneficial. Quartz with the complete guide to swearing at work.

+ A British guy has been sentenced to three years in prison for movie piracy.

+ The NYT takes an interesting and interactive look at the decline of the backhand, and the one player who could save it.

+ 33 facts everyone knows that are actually total lies.



Pizza Hut Japan’s New Ad Boasting Cat Chefs Is as Adorable as It Is Unsanitary

Featuring a fictional pizzeria called Pizza Cat!

Everyone loves pizza, and (mostly) everyone loves cats, so Pizza Hut made the brilliant decision to combine the two for its latest ad campaign — in Japan, at least.

Basically, “Pizza Cat!” is a fictional Pizza Hut location operated entirely by a ragtag crew of cats named Tencho, Hime, Dora, and Detch. The campaign features a series of vignettes about these feline employees attempting to do their jobs. Naturally, they are pretty bad at those jobs because they are cats, and cats were simply not built to run fast food pizza joints.

Here they are mapping out their delivery route:

And trying to figure out how hats work:

And riding Roombas:

And trying to do computers:

The real question here is: Why is this only a thing in Japan? We’re pretty certain cats could sell a ton of pizzas in the U.S. too.

TIME celebrity

Best Couple of the VMAs Was Celebrities and Their Smartphones

Stars: They're bored like us.

While some might say that the most touching moment of the VMAs was provided by Bey, Jay, and Blue Ivy, Rolling Stone provided compelling video evidence that a different relationship trumped all relationships on display during Sunday night’s show: Celebrities and their cell phones.

It turns out that we weren’t the only ones Tindering and tweeting to pass the time during the award show. The above video shows a compilation of celebrities being bored and checking Instagram. Or something.

While many celebrity smartphone moments went unnoticed, the Kardashians’ were publicly called out when MTV showed video of them on their phones during a moment of silence for Michael Brown, the unarmed teenager who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri earlier this month.

Although Buzzfeed notes the possibility that the moment was a poorly timed video delay rather than a real-time moment.

TIME viral

Get “Happy” With This American Sign Language Performance of Pharrell’s Hit Song

This video gives new meaning to the term "happy campers."

Pharrell’s “Happy” is the song that keeps on giving (and giving and giving and giving).

Whether it’s watching adorable kids dance to the catchy tune, listening to an acoustic version, checking out the full choir treatment of the track or watching Weird Al Yankovic’s take on it, it’s hard not to smile when you hear the song, no matter how many times you’ve heard it. While a “Happy” overdose may be setting in, there’s one more take on the chipper tune that you’re going to want to check out.

In a new video posted to YouTube, campers and staff from the 2014 Deaf Film Camp put a new spin on the song by performing it in American Sign Language (ASL). Produced by campers and staff at Deaf Film Camp — a two-week summer program for deaf and hard-of-hearing teens interested in filmmaking — their joyful take on the song gives new meaning to the term “happy campers.”

MORE: The 2014 VMAs: The Good, the Bad, the Beyoncé

MORE: Let’s Go Crazy: Prince to Release Two New Albums In September

TIME viral

Little Girl and Tibetan Mastiff Are Best Friends

The Tibetan Mastiff is a gentle giant

While Internet users seem to love watching videos of small dogs having fun instead of working (or twerking), today Simba the Tibetan Mastiff proves that big dogs deserve attention, too.

If you aren’t familiar with the Tibetan Mastiffs, the breed dates back to around 1100 BC in China, according to the American Kennel Club. The dogs, who are known for their loyalty and protectiveness, are massive animals that can stand over three feet high and weigh well over 100 pounds.

So if you are a little girl, a Tibetan Mastiff could easily look more like a mountain than a playmate. In this video uploaded to Facebook by Lin Zhihong, Simba proves that the whole “gentle giant” thing can be a reality. In the clip, Simba lets his tiny little friend Weiwei clamber all over him while he sweetly sits there and puts up with anything the little girl dishes out. It’s an adorable reminder that big dogs can be all heart.

MORE: What Life Is Like for America’s Most Famous Panda Cub

MORE: Black Cat Interrupts Barcelona Game

TIME viral

This Video of a Tiny Hamster in a Tiny Mansion Is Hugely Adorable

If you love watching tiny hamsters eat tiny burritos, then you'll love this clip

Whether it’s Tumtum and Nutmeg or Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Two Bad Mice, the joy of seeing tiny animals act like people is universally appealing.

In the wake of viral video Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos and hit sequel Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Pizzas, YouTube hamster fanatic and tiny food enthusiast April’s Animals has released a follow-up that you have to see, featuring a tiny hamster living in a tiny mansion. It’s two minutes of adorableness as a tiny rodent sleeps in a tiny bed, sits in a tiny chair, and uses a tiny bathtub before eating a giant strawberry with its tiny little hands.

It’s a much-needed cute break for when the news cycle gets you down, and you have watched all of Beyoncé’s VMA performance. Twice.

MORE: What Life Is Like for America’s Most Famous Panda Cub

MORE: This Italian Beach Says ‘Si, Per Favore’ to Dogs

TIME Social Networking

You Might Actually Like Facebook’s New Changes

Facebook is making changes to your News Feed to make it less annoying

The era of clickbait may be coming to an end. Facebook says it’s taking steps to keep the hyperbolic headlines—about the unbelievable, amazing, overly-sentimental news that will restore your faith in humanity and leave you literally crying—out of your News Feed.

The problem with these kinds of stories is that they work—they tend to draw a lot of clicks and thus appear prominently in users’ News Feeds—but they rarely deliver meaningful content to live up to the headline in the first place, according to a blog post written by Facebook research scientist Khalid El-Arini and product specialist Joyce Tang. The social networking giant’s own survey says that 80% of users would prefer to have enough information to decide whether they’d read an article before clicking through.

So to identify and weed out clickbait (and to keep users coming back to the site), Facebook is evaluating News Feed content on two criteria. The first is reading time—if users are all clicking on a link and immediately returning back to Facebook, the story probably didn’t deliver on the promise of its headline. The second metric is engagement—if Facebook users are all clicking on a link without commenting, sharing or liking it, the story probably is low on substance.

The site will also prioritize articles that are shared as links, rather than as photos with with URLS tucked into a caption—a method of sharing that lets users and publications to draw clicks with less information and potentially misleading photos that aren’t actually in the story.

These changes will help Facebook turn its News Feed into a more enriching a experience: a place to catch up on well-reported news stories, expand horizons with insightful op-eds, stalk exes and find out which high school classmate is having a baby.


You Know Things Have Gone Too Far When a Samsung Galaxy Challenges an iPhone to the Ice Bucket Challenge

#Brands being #Brands

Some people are dumping buckets of ice water over their heads to raise awareness for ALS. Others are dumping buckets of ice water over their head to raise awareness for their social media profile. Samsung, for instance, dumped a bucket of ice water over a waterproof Galaxy S5 to bash Apple’s non-waterproof iPhone.

Brands, amiright? Always finding a way to latch onto the latest viral trend…

Chili’s had a more subtle approach to the challenge:

And Ronald McDonald had the most confused, failing to mention donations and nominating all “redheads”:

The Ice Bucket Challenge has raised more than $80 million for ALS research since July 29.


Black Cat Interrupts Barcelona Game

Manu Fernandez – AP A cat runs on the pitch during a Spanish La Liga soccer match between FC Barcelona and Elche at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014.

Paws-ing play until it trotted off the field

It looked like an unlucky beginning to the Spanish soccer season yesterday when a black cat wandered onto the field, mere minutes after kickoff in the Barcelona vs. Elche match.

The feline intruder upstaged all the players as it raced around the field and evaded capture, much to the delight of laughing fans and commentators. It eventually trotted off the field, apparently done with its time in the spotlight.

Turns out the cat was a bad omen for Elche – Barcelona won the match 3-0.

Manu Fernandez – AP
TIME celebrities

Nicki Minaj Apparently Had Big Dreams as a Little Girl, But They Did Not Involve Rapping

Funny how life works out, isn't it?

Many young girls can only dream of the type of superstardom Nicki Minaj enjoys: fame, fortune, unlimited access to wigs, unlimited access to Drake, etc.

But before she was Nicki Minaj, she was Onika Maraj — just a normal girl attending P.S. 45 in Queens, New York. The video above, which surfaced on Reddit, shows young Onika discussing her hopes and dreams. And let us assure you: they do not involve wigs or Drake at all!

Instead, she says she aspires to be a nurse, so she can help people less fortunate than herself.

Real talk: there’s very little information about where this video comes from, but it sure seems like Nicki — even without that goofy Barbie voice.

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