TIME apps

Oh Snap! Ads Are Coming to Snapchat

Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit - Day 1
Michael Kovac—Getty Images Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel speaks onstage during "Disrupting Information and Communication" at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit on Oct. 8, 2014 in San Francisco.

The ads will be an "opt-in" feature in Snapchat Stories

Advertisements will be integrated into the mobile app Snapchat for the first time, co-founder and chief executive Evan Spiegel said Wednesday, marking a potentially big revenue source for the startup valued at $10 billion.

No date for the ads to begin appearing has been set, Spiegel said at Vanity Fair’s New Establishment Summit, the Wall Street Journal reports. But, he added, “we think they’re pretty cool” and users should expect them “soon” in Snapchat’s Stories feature. Snapchat is famous for its photos and messages that self-destruct in 10 seconds or less, but Stories allows users to feature a longer series of videos and pictures in slideshow form that stays up for 24 hours.

Spiegel, 24, said the ads will not be targeted and users will have the option to either opt-in and watch the ad or skip over it. Prior to paid ads, companies like Taco Bell have used Snapchat for marketing purposes.


TIME viral

The Motown Version of “Shake It Off” You Didn’t Know You Needed

Taylor Swift's song goes retro

It’s a sign of good songwriting that “Shake It Off” is as catchy in Taylor Swift’s head-bopping pop version as it is in a new retro take on the song by Postmodern Jukebox.

The video from the talented crew is filled with vintage glamour, Motown style and undeniably catchy harmonies courtesy of the back-up singers and horn section. Debonaire singer Von Smith belts out the tune, gleefully reminding the world that players are gonna play play play. YouTube poster and pianist Scott Bradlee accompanies him to deliver a jazzy rendition that will have you wanting to shake shake shaking it off on the dance floor (or at your desk).

The smooth remake of Swift’s song somehow manages to sound even more upbeat than the original. The retrofitting of the song is so seamless it’s easy to imagine that “Shake It Off” will be a jazz standard soon enough.


TIME Science

This Is Earth’s Biggest Storm This Year as Seen From Space

NASA/Reid Wiseman

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman posted this shot from the International Space Station. 

Super Typhoon Vongfong is the strongest storm on Earth since the deadly Hurricane Haiyan swept through the Philippines last year, and it’s barreling up through the Western Pacific Ocean.

The storm, which was the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane, is slowly losing steam, but it’s expected to near South Korea and the Japanese mainland by early next week. See an image of the massive storm as spotted and tweeted by Astronaut Reid Wiseman aboard the International Space Station above.


TIME animals

Food Festival Hosts Squirrel Burger Challenge

Hey, they're protein

Squirrel burgers might be the next big trend for foodies.

This year, the annual Forest Showcase Food and Drink Festival in southern England hosted ‘The Extraordinary Squirrel Burger Challenge” on Oct. 4.

Participants were given a quarter of a pound of minced grey squirrel and additional ingredients and spices, according to AFP. The winner was a “Cajun Melt” followed by “Chicken of the Tree Surprise.”

“We have been told that grey squirrel tastes like the dark meat on a chicken and that a pair of mature squirrels provide about the same amount of meat as a medium sized chicken” said an event coordinator in a statement. “It is the ‘free range chicken of the tree.”

According to the coordinators, squirrels may be a sustainable food source.

TIME Television

Watch Bill Hader Do a Terrible Kenan Thompson Impression in New SNL Promo

The former cast members returns to host the show this weekend

Recently-departed Saturday Night Live star Bill Hader is heading back to Studio 8H this weekend — but this time, to host the show. The newly-released promo video shows Hader goofing around with Kenan Thompson, who proudly introduces the actor as “Bill Hader, the movie star.”

Hader asks Thompson if anything has changed since he left, to which Thompson replies, “They renovated the bathroom, there’s spaghetti and meatballs in the cafeteria and we got a ton of black people now.”

We can only hope that Hader will thrive as host, since he did spend eight years on the SNL stage. Fingers crossed we’ll see Stefon back in action.

TIME Opinion

IKEA Made A Talking Mirror That Basically Just Tells You You’re Pretty All Day

Stick to the Swedish meatballs?

Meet IKEA’s “Motivational Mirror” — a wall accessory whose only job is to deliver effusive, 100% genuine compliments like “Magnificent beard!” and “Your eyes are mesmerizing!” and “Darling, your dress looks amazing!” (Even though it kind of looks like a shirt… but it’s the thought that counts.)


The Swedish furniture retailer put the promotional mirror in a British store last week, “bestowing personalised compliments to provide the nation with a much needed morale boost,” according to a statement.

IKEA-commissioned research found 44% of people in the UK are critical of their appearance and 26% say they feel uncomfortable looking in a mirror. BUT 26% also said that “a kind word” makes them like themselves more. And thus, a Dove-esque empowerment stunt was born.

Except, instead of having consumers come to the conclusion that they are really more beautiful than they think they are on their own, IKEA has a far more reliable source — a mirror programmed with audio — do it for them.

This is actually a familiar trope. Adweek notes, “the inspirational talking mirror idea has been done before—most notably by the all-female Austin band The Mrs., but also by other marketers.

Sure, compliments can be nice, but it is a tad on the creepy side — particularly when a man in a blue button down, showing just enough chest hair, is stopped by the mirror … whistling at him.


(Yes, that is an animation of a cat calling wolf).

It’s an odd choice to make unsolicited whistling — street harassment is a very real issue women face on a daily basis— look cutesy, but at least the customer doesn’t seem to mind.

“It was great for me because I never get compliments,” the man recalls, wistfully. “I could have stood there all day, to be honest.”

Still, maybe IKEA should stick to its specialty: flat-pack furniture, ball pits and Swedish meatballs.


Watch Mr. Bean Do Terrible Kung Fu in a New Snickers Ad

Rowan Atkinson reprises his famous role as Mr. Bean for a Snickers UK commercial in which he plays a hapless Kung Fu warrior. He still doesn’t talk and still has the goofiest grin on his face.

The question is: Which do you crave more after watching this video? A Snickers bar? Or a Mr. Bean marathon? We think the latter.

(h/t AdWeek)

WATCH: Snickers Ad Manages to Be Sexist to Both Men and Women

WATCH: Johnny Manziel Dancercizes in New Snickers Ad

MORE: Rowan Atkinson, TV’s Mr Bean, Crashes Million-Dollar F1 Supercar

LIST: The Beaning of Life: 10 Memorable Movie Beans


TIME viral

Watch an Army Vet Throw a First Pitch Like a Grenade

Before the San Francisco Giants played the Washington Nationals in Game 2 of the National League Division Series

The San Francisco Giants may have defeated the Washington Nationals, advancing to the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, but a veteran’s unique ceremonial first pitch in Game 2 of the National League Division Series may one of the most memorable moments of the series.

During the Oct. 4 game at Nationals Park, retired Army sergeant Brian Keaton crawled on his belly up the side of the mound and then threw the baseball as if he was tossing a grenade. This MLB video has racked up more than 1.1 million views so far. Action starts around the 1:05 mark.

WATCH: A Look Inside the Home That Made “Life Easier” for a Marine Veteran Who Lost All His Limbs

TIME Internet

Type ‘Happy Birthday’ and Your Name Into YouTube Right Now and Something Magical Might Happen

YouTube trick of the day

You know when Facebook says it’s a close friend or family member’s birthday, and you want to share something unique and personal on his or her wall other than “happy birthday”?

Well, earlier today, Reddit user elgeo12345 pointed out that when you type “happy birthday” and a first name into YouTube’s search bar, a personalized video from “EpicHappyBirthdays” will usually pop up. It’s so terrifying and weird that you will probably burst out laughing. Here’s mine:

The minute-long videos all seem to start out the same way, with pictures of kids’ birthday parties flashing on screen until a creepy clown face pops up — perhaps to remind you that childhood is dead (as if we needed a reminder). Dinosaurs holding wrapped gifts will make you feel old as cakes drop from the sky, then catch fire. Sheep scream, turtles do gymnastics, dogs eat cake, all before bursting into flames. Why is everything on fire? Is it a message about rebirth? Starting the year anew? We’ll probably never know.

It looks like the channel, which joined YouTube in June of 2013, and boasts over a million views, has been adding videos of names in alphabetical order over the last month, after having stopped on August 20, 2013. So look up the names of friends and family members with a weird sense of humor, and try it on them.

MORE: Hidden Google: 10 Fun Search Tricks

MORE: The First YouTube Video Was Uploaded 9 Years Ago Today


TIME russia

These Russians Made Artwork to Prove Putin Is as Manly as Hercules

A visitor takes photos of the paintings during the "12 Labours of Putin" art exhibition on Oct. 6, 2014 marking the 60th birthday of Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the design workshop in Moscow.
Vasily Maximov—AFP/Getty Images A visitor takes photos of the paintings during the "12 Labours of Putin" art exhibition on Oct. 6, 2014 marking the 60th birthday of Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the design workshop in Moscow.

Russians organized an art gallery with depictions of Putin as the ultimate Greek hero

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s 62nd birthday was celebrated around his country Tuesday, with parades, a children’s choir performance, and, of course, a pop-up art gallery exhibition depicting the Russian leader as the Greek hero Hercules.

A pro-Putin group organized a gallery with art showing Putin as Hercules completing “The 12 Labors of Putin.” The artwork compared Putin’s fight against terrorism, for instance, to Hercules’ battle against the Nemean Lion; his confrontation with the United States over Ukraine, Syria and economic sanctions was shown as Hercules’ fight against the three-headed dog from Hell, Cerberus.

Even though Putin doesn’t quite pull it off like Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson in the recent Hercules movie, he has been photographed many times over the years packing the buffness.

Putin is widely admired in Russia as he challenges Europe and the West this year; his popularity rating at home well exceeds 80 percent.


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