TIME Appreciation

Teen Celebrates Beating Cancer With Triumphant Climb Up Rocky Steps

"This was one of the first things that came to mind"

A Pennsylvania teenager ran up the Rocky Steps in Philadelphia on Sunday to celebrate a victory bigger than Rocky’s over Apollo Creed—beating cancer.

Sean Bartolucci, 13, spent the past 18 months doing chemotherapy and radiation after he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, which created a softball-sized tumor in his abdomen. The eighth-grader said his victory lap up the world-famous steps outside the Philadelphia Museum of Art, featured in the Rocky films, was only fitting.

“This was one of the first things that came to mind,” he said.

 

Flanked by friends and family wearing T-shirts reading “Sean’s A Fighter,” Sean clambered up the steps two at a time.

After five rounds of chemotherapy, 20 rounds of radiation and a stem cell transplant, the ascent was a walk in the park, Sean said.

“It just further proves that I have such an amazing community, such an amazing family, and so many amazing friends to lean back on if I ever need to,” he said.

[ABC News]

TIME Television

You Will Soon Be Able to Play a Game of Thrones Version of Risk

It was just a matter of time

HBO will be coming out with a special Game of Thrones edition of the world conquest board game Risk later this summer, Speakeasy reported this morning. Our only question is: what took them so long?

There is already a Game of Thrones Monopoly out there, in which we can only assume it’s good to be a Lannister (except for always paying those debts), but Risk seems like a very natural fit for the world domination–oriented series.

You can play on a map of Westeros as Houses Stark, Baratheon, Lannister, Martell, and Tyrell, or take gameplay across the narrow sea to Essos and play on a second map as houses Targaryen and Ghiscari. For a real Known World–wide showdown, combine the two boards for a full map and battle it out between all seven houses. Valar Morghulis, indeed.

The game comes with more than 650 pieces, including seven sculpted 45-piece Noble House armies, and it will retail for $74.95 starting in August—be sure to get yours before winter comes.

risk-game-of-thrones2
Speakeasy

Head to Speakeasy for all the gory details.

This article originally appeared on EW.com

TIME Appreciation

Find Out What Your Favorite Fireworks Are Called

A video taxonomy for the Fourth of July

Fourth of July means hot dogs, beer and beaches—and above all else, fireworks. The tradition actually began as early as Benjamin Franklin and has only picked up steam since.

In honor of families across America gathering to watch the colorful displays, here’s a guide to six of your favorite fireworks–so you don’t have to keep referring to them as “the one that looks like a dandelion.”

And if you’re trying to capture the perfect Fourth of July Instagram, check out 6 Secret Tips For Photographing Fireworks With Your Phone.

  • Aerial Shells

    The archetypical fireworks, aerial shells climb up to the sky without much fanfare before exploding. The explosion, however, is magnificent, with colors radiating from a central point, making for a vibrant circle that lights up the sky. It’s no wonder these are often used in the finale of Fourth of July festivities.

  • Aerial Repeaters

    Aerial repeaters are those fireworks that that explode into a few lines of color, before rapidly disappearing. They’re usually emitted rapid fire.

  • Cones

    Unlike aerial shells and repeaters, cones emit fireworks from the ground up, spraying out displays of color that grow taller as the fuse continues to burn.

  • Fountains

    Fountains are quite similar to cones, but are usually accompanied by a series of whistles, crackles and other sound effects, and, unlike cones, remain at a similar height the entire time they’re burning.

  • Roman Candle

    Roman candles are those fireworks that remind you of popcorn, spraying little balls of flame every second or so. Once in the air, the flames bounce around in a whirly frenzy before disappearing.

  • Skyrocket

    Skyrockets aren’t known for one particular type of explosion. Many of the explosions they emit are similar to aerial shells, but they’re also responsible for the explosions that resemble, yup, dandelions.

TIME Appreciation

Man Bought $30K Lottery Ticket by Accident

CT Lottery Bob Sabo becomes a “30X Cash 2nd Edition” instant game top prize winner.

He meant to buy a different ticket but didn't have his glasses on

A Connecticut man won $30,000 last week when he accidentally bought the wrong lottery ticket.

Bob Sabo didn’t want to wait in line at the Super Stop & Shop in Fairfield, Conn. to buy his lottery ticket, so he decided to purchase one from the lottery vending machine. He intended to buy two $20 tickets, but since he didn’t have his glasses on, he accidentally purchased one $30 ticket.

“When I got home and scratched the 30X ticket, I couldn’t believe it—we won $30,000. Winning the way we did was a very freaky thing!” Sabo told the CT Lottery.

Don’t we all wish we made mistakes like that.

TIME Appreciation

Husband Plans Second Wedding for Wife After She Loses Her Memory

After a serious car accident, Justice Stamper can't remember her wedding

Justice and Jeremy Stamper are planning their second wedding, since Justice can’t remember their first.

In August 2014, just weeks after the duo were married, Justice was in a severe car accident that resulted in some memory loss, PEOPLE reports. Even though Justice has looked at photos and watched videos of the event, nothing has come back to her.

“She said to me, ‘I don’t want you to be mad, but I do not remember the wedding,'” Jeremy told PEOPLE. “I, of course, was very upset, but I told her right then and there, ‘We will do it again.'”

The couple, who live in Bristol, Tenn., are now planning the celebration, but this time they are asking for donations on a GoFundMe page so it can be even more spectacular.

Read the full story at PEOPLE Magazine.

TIME Appreciation

This Comic-Con-Only Avengers Lego Set Is Too Good

Lego

The set will consist of 203 pieces

It’s just mere weeks before Comic-Con and that means one thing. No, not Hall H panels. It means exclusive Con-only toys! Hasbro and Mattel, and of course Lego, will be among those unveiling cool playthings for kids and more importantly, the serious collector.

One thing that will draw long lines of eager fans will be a new Comic-Con-only Marvel Lego set tied to The Avengers: Age of Ultron, the movie that has grossed over $1.3 billion.

Below is the exclusive, first-look at Throne of Ultron, which will consist of 203 pieces, feature the Ultron minifigure and sell for $39.99.

Once again, Lego will have minifig exclusives as well as some sets. And there’s also the Star WarsStormtrooper Buildable Figure that will be shown, although it won’t be available until early next year.

Lego is one of the dominant forces at Comic Con in terms of product exclusives and the size of its actual footprint in the convention center. With popularity at an all-time high, thanks to licenses from Star Wars, Marvel and DC and, of course, last year’s movie, Lego is one of the top destinations for those attending the Con and its exclusives, carefully doled out on a per-day basis, generate lines of hundreds.

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.

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TIME language

7 Things You Should Know About the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee

TIME's guide to the B-E-S-T week of the year

In the first on-stage round of the 2015 Scripps National Spelling Bee, only four of 283 kids heard the dreaded ring of the elimination bell. Most breezed through words like ubiquitous, flamenco, autopsy, howitzer and oregano at the front of a giant ballroom outside Washington, D.C. But when the spellers returned for the second on-stage round Wednesday afternoon, some adjustments had clearly been made to thin the flock.

Wearing giant placards and nervous grins, some 13-year-olds navigated the likes of panophthalmitis (inflammation involving tissues of the eyeball) and triumphantly threw their thin limbs in the air. Others held back tears after missing a vowel in the likes of guayabi (a highly valued hard tough wood from South America) and were politely sent off the stage with the same sound used to summon bellhops in fancy hotels.

By Thursday evening, when ESPN broadcasts the finals at 8 p.m. ET, there will be just a dozen spellers left. Here are seven things that will help viewers fully appreciate this harrowing, inspiring American ritual.

Americans are about three times more likely to be struck by lightning in their lifetime than to make it to the national finals. The odds of being zapped by lightning in one’s life are about one in 12,000, according to the National Weather Service. Of the 11 million kids who compete in the bee on some level, only 283 made it to the competition in National Harbor, Md., this year. That’s roughly 0.000026%, or one in 38,869.

There’s an app for that. Scripps, the sponsor of the bee, debuted an app called Buzzworthy this year. When you sign up, you’re automatically assigned five spellers that are essentially your fantasy football team for the competition. They spell words right, you get points. And each has an endearing bio so there’s no way to remain unattached. (Dear Jeffery “Eager to Embrace Tropical Flavors” Thompson: I’m counting on you.)

The process for picking the spelling words is top secret. The officials at Scripps who put on the bee guard their process for developing the word list like nuclear launch codes. There is a word committee, whose members are secret. The sources they use are secret. The qualities they look for are secret. “The nature of how that comes to be is something that needs to be protected,” says Scripps spokesperson Valerie Miller. There are whispers that some word committee members are dictionary officials, while others are former spelling champions themselves.

It is known that words get harder as the competition goes on. Words in the preliminary rounds come from study guides of about 1,500 words that are given to the spellers when they advance to the national finals. But once spellers get to the semi-finals and finals, the words they face could be any of the roughly 472,000 that are in Merriam-Webster’s Third Edition. When the contest comes down to three or fewer spellers in the final, officials advance to a special “championship list.”

There can be up to three co-champions of the bee. Once the spellers have advanced to the championship list of 25 words, there’s no other place to go. If everyone still in the game at that point spells all the words correctly as the officials go through the list, then everyone wins. That’s why there were two co-champions in 2014.

Spellers of South Asian descent have long dominated the bee. For the first time, bee director Paige Kimble recently talked about an obvious but sensitive trend: the spelling domination of Indian-American students. They’ve won the last seven years and all but four of the past 15 years, which led to some ugly comments on social media last year about “real Americans.” Miller says some research into the trend—by academics like Northwestern’s Shalini Shankar—has found that “grit” is the winners’ key attribute. Accomplishment, competition and early literacy are also important in South Asian cultures, Miller says: “When you pair up that love of competition with encouragement and emphasis on education, [spelling bees] are a natural fit.”

The real killer at the bee isn’t nerves; it’s the schwa. There are some obvious characteristics that make words tough to spell, like silent letters (mnemonic), double letters (braggadocio) or single letters where you might expect double letters (sassafras). But the true nemesis of spellers is the schwa, the vowel sound that we hear in words like America, belief and history. The schwa can be rendered as any vowel and even be silent in words like rhyth(ə)m. “The schwa is the richest source of guesses in the final rounds, the most common source of confusion,” says Merriam-Webster’s Peter Sokolowski. “These are championship spellers and that’s the most common error at highest, highest level.”

TIME natural disaster

Texas Woman Rescues 7 People from Flood

"Fear wasn't going to serve anyone in that moment"

Malaika Muhammad was home alone on Monday night when the flood that killed at least three people struck her neighborhood of South Houston, Texas.

“I was looking outside at the weather in astonishment,” she says, when she noticed a car stopped on the freeway exit ramp near her home.

“When I looked back again the car was flashing its lights and that’s when I realized there was somebody in it,” she tells PEOPLE. As Muhammad watched the water level around the car rise, she noticed someone in the car waving. Then, she says, “I could tell this is someone who really needs help.”

Read the rest at at People.com

TIME Appreciation

Ron Howard: The Beauty of John Nash

The Academy Award-winning director of A Beautiful Mind reflects on genius, madness and profound courage

From the moment I heard about John and Alicia Nash’s tragic accident on the New Jersey Turnpike, I immediately flashed to that first remarkable day I met them. I had committed to directing A Beautiful Mind, which was based on Sylvia Nasar’s biography. My longtime partner at Imagine Entertainment, producer Brian Grazer, was already passionate about the project and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman had written a remarkable adaptation of Nasar’s book. Now it was time for me to begin my own research, with a morning meeting at Professor Nash’s office on the Princeton campus and then a lunch with him and his wife nearby.

My purpose that day was to learn—and learn I did. In fact, my entire approach to the project shifted radically in those few hours, all based on first impressions that proved accurate and will echo with me forever.

First, I was surprised and fascinated by John Forbes Nash and his enduring passion for his subject, theoretical math. I’d been told that math geniuses were assumed to be beyond their prime in their late twenties, but the 70-something year-old I was encountering, while willing to patiently explain the concepts behind his Nobel Prize-winning work to this math simpleton, was thrilled when he saw I was also willing to hear about the new challenge he was currently tackling.

I couldn’t understand much about the Nash Equilibrium or anything else he was explaining that day, but I could recognize a spark of creative energy and vision that I could recognize and relate to. That day I began to see John as an artist.

A couple of weeks later, mathematician Sylvain Cappell of New York University explained John to me in a way I’d like to share. He posited that each generation offers a small group of true geniuses who commit their lives to pushing the boundaries of what is illuminated by knowledge into the darkness of what is yet-be-known—and there are three types of people doing the toiling on that boundary.

One is the scientist who mines the edges, finding nuggets, polishing them into proofs with little care as to their application. They toss them over their shoulders to the next group of innovators who immediately take the breakthroughs and find ingenious ways to use them.

Nash, Cappell said, belongs to a third group.

“Think of them as paratroopers,” he said, “dropped behind the lines, into the darkness with orders to fight their way back into the light and share what they had learned. Not all of them could survive intact. Nash was one of these courageous geniuses. Fearless and willing to risk everything to hurl himself into the unknown in search of elegant new discoveries.”

At my lunch with John and Alicia, I came to understand another very important component of our screenplay of this story: their story. It was a love story about two extraordinary individuals. It was unique, with a history both idealistically romantic and painfully harsh—a love tested and forged by the hellish adversity that is acute mental illness, and a love story to be therefore respected.

Our movie, of course, could convey but a fraction of the events of their entire lives as individuals and as a couple, but it was that truly remarkable relationship that I will always remember them by above all.

TIME Appreciation

What to Know About Geek Pride Day

Get your geek on

Geek Pride Day is May 25, and here’s what you need to know about the celebration for nerds worldwide.

The date was reportedly chosen to coincide with the first Star Wars film, Episode IV: A New Hope, which was released on May 25, 1977. The day also marks “Towel Day,” which is celebrated by fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams. Fans carry a towel in his honor. Lastly, the day also marks The Glorious 25th of May, which fans of author Terry Pratchett’s Discworld celebrate, often with a sprig of lilac.

On Geek Pride Day, which is a worldwide celebration of nerdom, there may be meet-ups or parties to celebrate anything and everything worth geeking-out over. Of course, tech brands are excited:

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