TIME NextDraft

American POW Released and Other Fascinating News on the Web

June 2, 2014


1. Bowe Knows

The release of a prisoner of war after five years of captivity seems like a moment for universal celebration. But the coming home party for Private First Class Bowe Bergdahl, who was abducted in Afghanistan, is complicated. First, there are some in Washington who believe the prisoner release that helped free Bergdahl sets a dangerous precedent. And second, there are some in the military who consider Bergdahl to be a deserter who wandered off the base and put lives in danger.

+ Here’s Nathan Bradley Bethea in The Daily Beast: “I served in the same battalion in Afghanistan and participated in the attempts to retrieve him throughout the summer of 2009 … Bergdahl was a deserter, and soldiers from his own unit died trying to track him down.”

+ And for a very different perspective (and you can expect the dueling perspectives to grow into a huge story over the next week): Sgt. Bergdahl’s Hometown Rejoices At His Long-Awaited Release.

+ The Atlantic: Why are there so few POWs from today’s wars?

2. Working 9 to Forever

“You’re probably not very excited to get to the office in the morning, you don’t feel much appreciated while you’re there, you find it difficult to get your most important work accomplished, amid all the distractions, and you don’t believe that what you’re doing makes much of a difference anyway. By the time you get home, you’re pretty much running on empty, and yet still answering emails until you fall asleep.” If that describes you, the NYT is here to explain why you hate work.

+ There are no power lunches. No executive suites. And failure is considered a badge of honor. The Hollywood Reporter compares work life in Hollywood vs Silicon Valley: Clash of the Corporate Cultures. (Here’s the key difference: When you’re a celebrity, people want to have sex with you. When you’re a tech power broker, they want you to fix their printer.)

+ Pacific Standard: Ignoring your co-workers is worse that bullying them. (Unless they’re vesting.)

+ Slate: The advantages of offices without managers.

+ The weird Google searches of the unemployed and what they say about the economy.

3. Coal-Cocked

In what some are calling the strongest climate change regulations ever, the EPA will mandate cuts in carbon pollution by 30% by 2030 (which, if my math is right, is just about the time my city will be swallowed up by the sea.)

+ Most Americans support additional regulations on power plants.

+ Related: What’s the difference between party cloudy and mostly sunny? (I always thought it was attitude.)

4. What’s Cooking at Apple?

During their much-anticipated WWDC keynote, Apple introduced new versions of their mobile and desktop operating systems; and the two are more linked than ever. Big announcements included a Dropbox-like file sharing service, the ability to answer calls on your Mac, iOS 8, and OS 10.10. Also, Apple has launched Healthkit which will track all the exercise you’re not getting because your phone and computer are so addictive. And there’s also Homekit, for home automation.. Wired has a running list of the highlights.

+ People don’t just line up for Apple products. They line up for Apple keynotes.

5. A Wire Cause

As Apple makes moves on Earth, Google takes to space with plans to spend billions launching a fleet of satellites that will provide connectivity to the unwired regions of the globe.

+ Want to geek out on the emerging global web? Check out this very interesting slide deck.

+ Vox: 40 maps that explain the Internet.

6. His Cup Runneth Over

“His introduction came at 17, just after he’d dazzled aficionados in the ’58 World Cup with a semifinal hat trick and then two goals in Brazil’s 5-2 win over host Sweden in the final — the first score a circus act so flamboyant that it makes even black-and-white clips seem Technicolored.” The stadiums and infrastructure may not be complete, but Brazil’s top World Cup attraction is ready and waiting. From Sports Illustrated: Everybody wants a piece of Pelé.

+ Want to get fired up for soccer (or any other sporting event)? Watch this excellent monologue from Vision Quest.

+ The NYT has a two-part series on the fixed matches that cast a shadow over the World Cup.

+ 13 numbers from this year’s World Cup.

7. Cause for Removal?

As of 2012, one in five Americans had a tattoo. That means tattoo removal is about to become a massive growth market. From Bloomberg: No Pain, No Gain.

8. Alice

Ann B. Davis died in San Antonio. A generation of us knew her better as Alice from The Brady Bunch. It’s almost impossible to explain Alice and The Brady Bunch to today’s kids. It wasn’t a segment or a meme or a trend. It was everyone.

9. The Genius Bar

“I don’t think we’re paying too little attention to our young geniuses. I think we’re paying too much.” So says Jordan Ellenberg, a former child genius.

10. The Bottom of the News

Forget big news and new technological breakthroughs. This will always be remembered as the day when Prince showed up at the French Open wielding a scepter.

+ Phil Collins joins a student band at Miami Country Day to sing a few hits.

+ Smart e-Cigarettes that track your vital signs. (Is looking like a complete douche a vital sign?)

+ “Although my training tells me not to overuse exclamation points because they are shouty and juvenile, I find myself using them because I fear being seen as unfriendly or insincere if I only use a period.” Even grammar experts can’t help themselves. It’s too late. Exclamation marks are unstoppable now.

+ Even elephants take selfies.

+ (New feature) Popular from yesterday’s NextDraft: This weekend, everyone I know was talking about the Client Feedback on the Creation of the Earth piece featured with some other interesting/odd stuff in Friday’s bottom of the news.


TIME technology

Hallelujah—You Can Now Escape Annoying Group Texts Sent to Your iPhone

AFP/Getty Images

RIP irrelevant group text conversations. We won't miss you

You can now officially say goodbye to the inevitable feeling of dread that overtakes your body upon realizing you’ve non-consensually been added on to an irrelevant group text conversation.

Lot’s of stuff happened Monday at Apple’s WWDC. But one of the developer conference’s most exciting moments wasn’t har-harring with the Twitterverse when exec Craig Federighi showed off OS X Yosemite’s phone features by screening a call from his Mom and opting to dial Dr. Dre instead. It was when Apple announced that in iOS 8, users can finally unsubscribe from the endless pings of group chats. Because as happy as you are to know that your four closest friends and three randos with unfamiliar area codes are getting drinks Friday, you’re out of town and really don’t want to be a part of the painstaking pro-cons of West Village versus Williamsburg.

Up until now, there was no opt-out policy of group iMessages, the chain email of our era. There’s now a safe exit from a group text with a new do not disturb feature, which will silence the thread. If you aren’t one for subtlety, you can also just leave.

Sure, this might not be the most innovative thing at WWDC—your phone can now act as a remote control for your entire house with HomeKit and track your medical stats with HealthKit—but this development might save some phones from getting thrown out windows at times of complete annoyance.

TIME World

These Selfies Atop Brazil’s Christ the Redeemer Statue Beat All Other Selfies

Time to pack it up and go home, everybody

Your bathroom mirror selfies are about to look even sadder than usual when you see these crazy epic selfies taken from the top of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil:

Photographer Lee Thompson managed to obtain special permission to climb to the top of the statue while in Rio covering the World Cup, he explains in a blog post on The Flash Pack. Though we doubt anyone would give him a hard time, he got a bit defensive about the whole selfie craze and offered this explanation:

To some, taking pictures of yourself is considered vain, but this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity taught me that the selfie is a powerful medium through which we can share our perspectives, inspirations and personal stories with the world at large. It’s not about funny mugshots with scenic backdrops or daredevil stunts. It’s a way to mark the moment and say, “I was here”.

Check out the video Thompson and his colleague took during the process:


TIME animals

The 8 Cutest Hedgehogs on the Internet

This list is not for people with prickly dispositions.

The video game star Sonic The Hedgehog may be the most well-known hedgehog. But today, the Associated Press published a trend piece about the growing popularity of hedgehogs as pets, specifically adult African pygmy hedgehogs, which can boast 6,000 quills and fit in the palm of your hand. Their button noses and tiny hands and feet have made them stars on the Internet, so NewsFeed has rounded up the most popular ones. Try not to overdose on squee-ing.

  • The hedgehog that plays with kittens

    This clip of Harley the hedgehog having staring contests with Loki the kitten to a cover of “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story boasts nearly 15 million YouTube views.

  • The hedgehog that likes underwear

    This Vine profile for a now-deceased hedgehog named Hufflepuff has more than 153,000 followers and boasts scenes of the animal eating worms and going through the owner’s underwear collection (as most pets do at one point or another).

  • The hedgehog known as Tokyo’s “flying hedgehog”

    Named after D’arcy Wretzky, former bassist of alt rock band The Smashing Pumpkins, Darcy belonged to Tokyo Instagrammer Shota Tsukamoto, who liked to photograph the animal inside mugs and in front of an unusual array of things like peacock feathers, a rainbow pinwheel, and a skull object. Darcy was one of the most followed pets on Instagram with 410,000 followers. In February, the account announced that Darcy had passed away, but the creature lives on in a picture book called Darcy the Flying Hedgehog.

  • The hedgehog that could be Governor of Oregon

    This three-year-old hedgehog named Biddy is the one Instagram celebrity highlighted in the AP’s piece and appears to be known for traveling all over the most scenic parts of Oregon, from Arcadia Beach on the coast to the Painted Hills, based on the photo above which was just posted over the weekend.

  • The hedgehog that makes faces

    In March, NewsFeed spotlighted Marutaro, the hedgehog with 63,000 Twitter followers that went viral for sporting cut-outs of cartoonish facial expressions. Based on the animal’s latest Vine, it seems to be gearing up for the World Cup.

  • The hedgehog that nuzzles against a dog

    In a clip that has been seen more than 1.2 million times, “Poki-Hontas” gets her head stuck in a toilet paper roll and then presumably hides in shame by curling up in the thick white fur of a dog named Nimbus.

  • The hedgehog with a snaggletooth

    Norman, a hedgehog who takes selfies with his owner Brett Jessie, can usually be found on a skateboard or in a sneaker on Instagram, where he has close to 4,000 followers.

  • The hedgehog in a superhero cape

    Rescued by the Hedgehog Welfare Society, Kayak took the web by storm in a miniature cape last fall.

TIME animals

Check Out This Bear Just Chillin’ in a Backyard Hammock

What, no picnic basket?

Thanks to Yogi Bear, visitors to Jellystone Park know to guard their lunch bags from tie-wearing hangry bears, but no one warned Florida home owners that their hammocks might be prime bear snoozing spots. Consider yourself warned, Florida.

Bears are known for hibernating throughout the winter, but even in the clement Florida weather, a black bear needed a nap after an exhausting afternoon spent ransacking trash cans, raiding bird feeders and frightening residents of a Daytona Beach neighborhood. Instead of heading home for a snooze, the enormous bear chose to clamber into homeowner Vincent James’s backyard hammock for a little siesta. “He got in the hammock like he was a tourist or something,” James told WESH, a local news station. The bear hung around for about 20 minutes until, according to James, “something spooked him and he ran.” Apparently the hammock was a very comfortable spot for a nap, though, because the bear returned half an hour later for another go-round in the hammock.

No word on whether the bear brought snacks with him.

[Via WESH]

MORE: Studies Show Cat People Are Smarter Than Dog People

MORE: Here’s How a Two-Legged Cat Gets Down the Stairs

TIME Music

Here’s Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” Performed on Beer Bottles

The King of Pop like you've never heard him before

The quintet known as the Bottle Boys are back, proving once again that beer bottles can become legitimate musical instruments when paired with skill and determination. Check out their latest endeavor: a cover of “Billie Jean” performed with a new technique they call “double bottle playing.”

If you’re thirsty for more bottle jams, check out their previous cover of Jason Derulo’s “Talk Dirty”:


TIME animals

Here’s How a Two-Legged Cat Gets Down the Stairs

With a flying handstand!

This is Boots, a double amputee cat who lives in Colorado. She gets around with the help of prosthetic “house slippers” and has re-learned to walk. She has also learned how to descend a staircase, as seen in this video uploaded by her human.

Good job, Boots. Keep on fighting the good fight.

TIME Bizarre

Man Who Stole a GPS Device Calls Police Because He’s Lost

Getty Images

Ah yes, a perfectly logical sequence of events

Last week, a Florida man called 911 to report that he was lost and being chased by wild boars. Sure, that sounds like just another day in central Florida, but here’s the thing: he was carrying a backpack stuffed with stolen items. Among them was a GPS device.

Look, I’m no street-savvy criminal here, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the best idea to call the police when you’re technically on the lam. (Police discovered that the man, Andrew Joffe, had an open warrant for driving with a suspended or revoked driver’s license, WKMG reports. Plus, you know, he had committed theft.)

Also, if you’re going to steal a GPS and then you get lost, try USING IT.

“We have had people with warrants call us to turn themselves in before, but it’s unusual for someone with an active warrant, who just burglarized a car, to get lost and call us for help,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said. “In his defense, it does get pretty dark out on Deen Still Road in the middle of the night.”

Other items police found in Joffe’s backpack included electronic equipment, cellphones and earrings. He was promptly arrested and taken to jail, because obviously.

TIME Internet

Watch Teenagers React to What the Internet Was Like in the ’90s


Fine Brothers Productions sat down a group of snarky teens wearing ironic shirts and hipster headbands to impart judgement on a 1990’s video tutorial to the Internet. (Capital “I” necessary).

Today, if you give a 3-year-old an iPad, he’ll be set for hours. Youths of the 90’s, however, approached the vortex of the web with trepidation. “Web page? What’s that? Something ducks walk on?”

In the words of our panel of modern teens, “Oy.”

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