TIME animals

This Website Knows Where Your Cat Lives

I Know Where Your Cat Lives
Getty Images

Purrfect for the Internet's cat lovers

Attention all 4.9 million users of the #Catstagram hashtag: You’re being watched. Same for the #RichCatsOfInstagram pictures and the 16 million photos tagged simply #Cats on Instagram.

Mashable points out that a new data visualization project called “I Know Where Your Cat Lives” is trolling the internet and collecting metadata in your #adorable #cat #picture. Using the geotags embedded in the metadata in public photos, the project collects the information and puts the cat’s location on a map perfect for cyberstalking your fuzzy feline friend. Thank goodness cats don’t read Orwell.

The site features cats from everywhere around the globe — a giant red tom in Chiba, Japan to a grey fuzzball kitten in Apulia, Italy to a kitten cuddled with his mom in Queensland, Australia — all available for gawking at and cooing over at the click of a button.

The project was created by Florida State University art professor Owen Mundy, who views “I Know Where Your Cat Lives” as both a thought-provoking experiment into how we view online privacy, as well as a sort of Tinder for cat fans filled with a seemingly endless stream of kitten pics for the millions of cat fans who populate the Internet.

The site is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to help fund web hosting and continuing the project.

MORE: The Hottest New Exercise Equipment Is a Giant Hamster Wheel…for Cats

MORE: There’s Now Facial Recognition Software for Cats

TIME nation

First Recreational Marijuana Legally Sold in Seattle Donated to Museum

Elaine Thompson – AP In this July 8, 2014, file photo, Deb Greene, 65, Cannabis City's first customer, displays her purchase of legal recreational marijuana at the store in Seattle.

A marijuana milestone saved for posterity

The first marijuana sold for recreational purposes in Seattle is being donated to the city’s Museum of History and Industry, the Associated Press reports.

Deb Greene, a 65-year old grandmother, purchased it at the store Cannabis City on July 8, when the state’s first legal, recreational marijuana stores opened. The retiree brought “a chair, sleeping bag, food, water and a 930-page book” so she could camp out overnight and be the first in line, the AP reported at the time.

She purchased two bags of legal weed, one for personal use and another that was signed by Cannabis City owner, James Lathrop, so it could be “saved forever,” Greene told the Seattle Times. “You don’t use history.”

As Greene told the Puget Sound Business Journal, “I wanted to be a part of this, this is part of the history of our city.”

MORE: The Rules About Pot Just Changed in Washington D.C.

MORE: House Votes to Help Pot Businesses Use Banks

TIME Crime

Mystery White Flags on Brooklyn Bridge Provoke Social Media Frenzy

"We will not surrender"

The New York Police Department has removed a pair of white flags that mysteriously replaced the American stars and stripes on top of the Brooklyn Bridge Tuesday morning.

While the unexplained security breach is under investigation by police, the incident has incited a slew of social media confusion and some conspiracy theories.

Has Brooklyn surrendered?

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams issued a statement that no, “We will not surrender our public safety to anyone, at any time.”

Were the flags in question actually American flags that had been whitewashed? Oren Yaniv of the Daily News said yes:

Even more suspiciously still, the police folded the flags in a ceremonial manner after taking them down:

While Adams is approaching the confusing stunt very seriously — “If flying a white flag atop the Brooklyn Bridge is someone’s idea of a joke, I’m not laughing. The public safety of our city is of paramount importance, particularly our landmarks and bridges that are already known to be high-risk targets.” — others online are taking a lighter approach.

It’s a marketing stunt for a little-remembered British singer of the 1990s:

Some thought it was a message from the borough on the other side of the bridge:

Others speculated what Brooklyn might be giving in to:

If it helps, public officials aren’t sure either. In the words of an NYPD Deputy Commission for Public Information officer to Business Insider, “We don’t know anything.”

TIME Family

Watch a Dad Comb His Daughter’s Hair Using a Vacuum Cleaner

Looks like the world’s fastest way to do a ponytail.

Some dads may feel a certain disadvantage when it comes to doing their daughters’ hair. After all, they didn’t braid their own hair or put it into a ponytail when they were children, that is, unless they happened to be in a metal band.

But in this video, Rene Ortner showcases one crazy trick for making a perfect ponytail: Use a vacuum cleaner. He sweeps his daughter’s hair into the hose, then unrolls a hair-tie onto it. Voilà! Instant perfect pony.

(h/t Digg)

TIME Television

Man’s 41 Homer Simpson Tattoos Set World Record

Guinness World Records Lee Weir's Homer sleeve

"Woo hoo!" as Homer would say

Some people get drunk before they get a tattoo, but Lee Weir, a 27-year-old from New Zealand, gave up alcohol for a year while getting 41 tattoos of Homer Simpson in a sleeve on his arm—setting a Guinness World Record for the most tattoos of the same cartoon character on a single body.

The tattoo might also break a record for how many different versions of the same cartoon character it contains. Weir has Homer as a jack-in-the-box, the Grim Reaper, and a donut. There’s Homer as a baby, as an old man, and in a Hawaiian shirt.

Why Homer? Weir wasn’t allowed to watch the cartoon as a kid, but he “got into it at a later age” he told Australia’s Sunrise morning show. He considered getting tattoos of all the different Simpsons characters, but the process was too difficult. How do you choose who to include and who to leave out? Homer makes for “a great conversation starter,” he said.

TIME Internet

The Hottest New Exercise Equipment Is a Giant Hamster Wheel…for Cats

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Getty Images

A Kickstarter for this project has already raised more than $120,000

If you’re hoping to help your fat cat slim down, consider getting him this feline hamster wheel. It’s still in its funding stages, but a Kickstarter campaign has already vastly exceeded its goal of $10,000.

In just a few weeks, supporters of this exercise wheel — called One Fast Cat — have pledged well over $120,000. But why a hamster wheel?

“It’s good for cats to get some sort of workout and changing it up to keep them interested is important,” creator Sean Farley wrote on the Kickstarter page. “There are many ways to keep your cat lively, giving them access to energetic companions, making a play session part of their day, and/or offering them tempting exercise equipment for use when you’re not at home…that’s why we came up with “One Fast Cat” cat wheel.”

Okay then! Here’s a look at how the contraption works:

After giving this some thought, we’re not really surprised that the campaign surpassed its funding goal. It’s 2014. If there’s wine for cats, why can’t there be a hamster wheel for cats too?

TIME

George Harrison Memorial Tree Destroyed by Beetles

Peter Carrette Archive Collection
Peter Carrette Archive—Getty Images Musician and former member of 'The Beatles' George Harrison attends a press conference to launch the new book by Derek Taylor 'Fifty Years Adrift' at the Sydney Opera House on November 30, 1984

Much to the delight of wordplay fans

In a terrible case of irony, a tree planted in memory of Beatles guitarist George Harrison in Los Angeles has been destroyed by literal beetles.

The pine tree was planted in Griffith Park in 2004 in honor of the musician and avid gardener, who resided in LA at the end of his life.

But don’t fret. According to the LA Times, “Except for the loss of tree life, Harrison likely would have been amused at the irony. He once said his biggest break in life was getting into the Beatles; his second biggest was getting out.”

No date has been set for the replanting of a new memorial tree.

[LA Times]

TIME NextDraft

Why Things We Want Don’t Make Us Happy and Other Fascinating News on the Web

July 21, 2014

nextdraft_newsfeed_v2

1. Happy Trails

Fame. Money. Multiple partners. Sounds good right? Abd Al-Rahman III was an absolute ruler in 10th century Spain, where he had all that and more. And yet, according to his own writings, he wasn’t all that happy: “I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: They amount to 14.” The NYT’s Arthur C. Brooks looks at a series of studies and finds that the things many of us want don’t necessarily lead to happiness. I’d like to sign up to be a participant in one of these studies.

+ The Atlantic argues that polyamorous people handle certain relationship struggles better than monogamous people do. “Bill says watching his wife have sex with another man induces compersion — basking in the joy of a partner’s success.” (I’m pretty happy when my wife gets retweeted.)

2. The Bitter Trail

“What exactly are they trying to hide?” That was one of the questions President Obama asked as the international call for better access to the remains of Malaysian Airlines flight 17 grew louder. Meanwhile, a Russian general suggested that there were Ukrainian fighter jets close to the plane just before it was hit.

+ A deal has been reached with the rebels to hand over the black box, and a train holding the bodies of the victims has finally started to roll. Here are the latest updates on the story.

+ Nate Silver: Should travelers avoid flying airlines that have had crashes in the past?

+ Dutch cyclist Maarten de Jonge made last minute travel changes that kept him off both doomed Malaysian Airlines flights.

3. No Justice, No Cease

As U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrive in Cairo to urge a Middle East ceasefire, the death tolls continued to rise. More than 500 Palestinians have been killed, and 25 Israeli soldiers have been slain since the ground offensive began.

+ The Guardian’s Peter Beaumont on the children frozen in fear: “In most wars I have covered, you encounter one of the combatant parties, often both, but in Gaza, where death falls from the sky, those fighting are largely invisible except for the impact of their weapons. The result is that you see a war in Gaza through the prism of the suffering of the victims — a conflict in which those willing to offer an organizing rationale are absent.”

+ New Republic: The explosive, inside story of how John Kerry built an Israel-Palestine peace plan — and watched It crumble.

+ Buzzfeed: Jewish and Arab people are posing together in inspiring photos saying “We refuse to be enemies.”

4. You Can’t Get Off the Canvas

ProPublica has a report on a new kind of browser tracking tool called Canvas. It works sort of like cookies, except you can’t turn it off. Meet the online tracking device that is virtually impossible to block.

5. I’ll Show You Minecraft

“Minecraft is a game about creation, yes. But it is just as much a game about secret knowledge.” Robin Sloan on the secret of Minecraft. Amazingly, nothing about the game seems like a secret to my eight year-old son and his friends. Every party turns into a Minecraft party.

+ Maybe all this video gaming will pay off. The Verge takes you inside the life of a pro gamer.

+ And The Economist shares a chart that details just how lucrative video game prize pools have become.

6. Game Saving

Jon Michaud in The New Yorker: “My grades were mediocre, and my parents were worried about my prospects. I didn’t know it, but I was simply waiting for the right game to come along — a game in which there were no winners or losers. That day finally arrived in the spring of 1979. It is only a slight exaggeration to say that Dungeons & Dragons saved my life.” Most of my 1979 was spent on a beach waiting for Bo Derek to jog by…

7. Face Saving

Facebook has launched a feature that enables users to save links, pages and events for later reading. But the company’s much bigger initiative is the introduction of a buy button. Can Facebook and Twitter move you closer to the transaction without chasing you away from their services?

+ Shakira just became the first the person to reach 100 million Facebook likes. Here’s the WSJ on how she got to be the Queen of Facebook.

8. A Homeric Binge

Along with a new site design, The New Yorker has opened its archives on stories published since 2007. (You can find my stories rejected by The New Yorker since 2007 on my blog.) Longform has a list of their 25 favorite unlocked New Yorker stories.

+ When you’re done reading those stories, you can binge on some episodes of The Simpsons. Well, 552 episodes to be exact. FXX is about to redefine the meaning of a series marathon.

9. One-Way Ticket to Ride

“These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.” It’s been 45 years since humans walked on the moon and returned to Earth. Here was the speech prepared to be delivered in the event that the men were stranded on the moon.

10. The Bottom of the News

Carlos Slim, the world’s second richest person, has an idea. He thinks you should only work three days a week. (This works better if you’re not being paid by the hour.)

+ New at Banana Republic: The Startup Guy Collection. In my experience, that just includes undershorts and equity.

+ In 2004, the odds were 500-1 that Rory McIlroy would win the British Open within the next decade. His dad took those odds and made the bet, and won it yesterday.

+ At long last, cake you can spray out of a can.

nextdraft

TIME technology

This Robot Would Very Much Like to Play a Game of Connect Four With You

Game on

When the singularity finally hits and artificial intelligence takes over everything, at least we know some of the robots will know how to have a good time — like this Connect Four-playing bot, programmed by MIT student Patrick McCabe.

Users can choose between four levels of difficulty and can even ask for a hint if needed. Head over to McCabe’s website for a detailed breakdown of how the machine works. In the meantime, watch here as the bot beats McCabe in the first round — and even taunts him a little bit before clinching the game.

TIME nation

Sheriff Replaces Jail’s Orange Jumpsuits Because Orange Is The New Black Made Them Too “Cool”

Now inmates at a Michigan county jail wear black and white stripes

A local Michigan sheriff is afraid that Orange Is The New Black, the hit Netflix series about female prisoners, has made orange jumpsuits a popular fashion statement. So now inmates at Saginaw County Jail have to wear black-and-white striped jumpsuits instead of orange ones, according to The Saginaw News and MLive.com.

“Some people think it’s cool to look like an inmate of the Saginaw County Jail with wearing all orange jumpsuits out at the mall or in public,” Saginaw County Sheriff William Federspiel told The Saginaw News and MLive.com. “We do have our inmates out sometimes doing work in the public, and I don’t want anyone to confuse them or have them walk away.”

MORE: Princesses in Prison: Watch a Very Entertaining Mashup of Frozen and Orange Is the New Black

MORE: REVIEW: The Dark Optimism of Orange Is the New Black Season Two

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