TIME weather

East Coasters Share Amazing Storm Photos on Social Media

People across the northeast took to Instagram to post their #Snowmageddon2015 photos

TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: Northeast Hit By Massive Storm

This could be an historic storm

A massive snowstorm hit much of the Northeast Monday and Tuesday, with some areas receiving more than 2 ft of snow, airlines canceling thousands of flights and trains and busses in major cities stopped.

Watch today’s Know Right Now to find out more about what happened after the storm, and read more here.

TIME olympics

Boston May Be the Next Olympic Sucker

Boston Is Fifth Ranked U.S. City In Value Of Commercial Real Estate Transactions
Buildings stand in the city skyline in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., on Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Boston will bid for the 2024 Olympics. According to many economists, Beantown will regret it if it wins

Boston wins! Boston wins!

But Boston may lose, big time.

On Thursday the U.S. Olympic Committee chose Boston as America’s bidding city for the 2024 Olympics. Beantown beat out San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles in the Olympic sweepstakes. The latter’s loss is a mild surprise, considering LA’s Olympic experience: the city has hosted the Games twice, and has plenty of venues already built. Not that Boston has no Olympic attractions. Beach volleyball in Boston Common and field hockey at Harvard Stadium sound cool. The city is pretty compact. Hopefully they’ll find some use for Fenway Park. (Equestrian events? Yankees fans might appreciate horses crapping all over the outfield).

The host city won’t be named until 2017, and Boston’s rival bidders potentially include Rome, Casablanca, Paris, Nairobi, Doha and Berlin. While many Bostonians are excited about the the prestige and emotional lift that an Olympic win would provide, critics — like members of the No Boston Olympics opposition group — worry about the price tag. For good reason: academic research has consistently shown that for the host city, the Olympics aren’t the economic boon they’re cracked up to be. In fact, they do long-term harm.

Cities consistently spend more than the original budget projections: before the London Olympics, Will Jennings, a professor of political science and public policy at the University of Southampton, found that the average cost overrun for staging the Olympics was 200% since 1976. Boston has estimated that its bid would cost some $4.5 billion in private funding plus an additional $5 billion in regional infrastructure improvements. “That’s farcical,” says Andrew Zimbalist, a sports economist at Smith College, which is located some 80 miles west of Boston, and the author of the new book Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting the Olympics and the World Cup. Organizers in London, for example, initially said the Games would cost $4 billion. The final bill came out to to $15 to $20 billion.

Zimbalist was surprised that Boston got the right to bid. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) just passed reforms seeking to control the spiraling costs of hosting the Games: he’s convinced that Los Angeles, with its existing Olympic infrastructure, made the most economic sense. Boston’s biggest challenge will be building an Olympic stadium to host the opening and closing ceremonies, as well as track and field. Zimbalist is also skeptical of Boston’s plan to utilize its many universities to host events and athletes in an Olympics village. It’s one thing for MIT to have fields for archery, and for other universities to have pools. It’s another to convert these places into full-fledged Olympic venues, with seating and infrastructure to support a flood of spectators.

In his book, Zimbalist cites stacks of research showing that the Games aren’t worth it. The Olympics, cities are often told, will boost tourism. One econometric study, however, showed that when other factors were controlled for, Atlanta saw no statistically significant change in retail sales, hotel occupancy, or airport traffic during the 1996 Olympics. During the Beijing Olympics in August of 2008, hotel bed nights dropped 39% compared to the prior year. For the 2000 Sydney Olympics, two researchers concluded that “in terms of purely measurable economic variables the [Games] had a negative effect on New South Wales and Australia as a whole.”

During the Olympics, athletes, officials, media and fans often replace traditional tourists who are more likely to explore the city and spread the word about its virtues. Olympic tourists may brag about their swimming tickets in Boston. But jealous friends can’t then replicate that experience, cause the Olympics are over. So why go to Boston? The idea that the Olympics puts a city on a “world stage,” which will subsequently attract new investment and tourist dollars, in largely bunk.

“More often that not, Olympics wind up as a public burden,” says Zimbalist. “I have no reason to believe that Boston will be an exception rather than the rule.”

TIME language

Actually, That Boston Time Capsule Isn’t Technically a Time Capsule

The Century Safe
The Century Safe assembled and buried in Philadelphia on the occasion of the American centennial, to be opened in 100 years time, 1876 Archive Photos / Getty Images

Time capsules weren't invented until the 19th century. So what do you call the copper box found in the Massachusetts State House cornerstone?

The news that a copper box from the Revolutionary era had been unearthed in Boston drew excitement from history buffs eager to see what Paul Revere and Samuel Adams had chosen to preserve. Examination by x-ray suggested that it contains coins and documents from the 18th-century Massachusites, and its unveiling on Tuesday evening will provide a window into their world — which is exactly the purpose of burying a time capsule.

However, though countless news outlets (TIME included) have heralded the discovery of the time capsule, the copper box that Revere and Adams buried in 1795 isn’t technically a time capsule.

As time-capsule expert William E. Jarvis explained in his 2002 book Time Capsules: A Cultural History, one of the defining characteristics of a time capsule is that it must have an end date. A box placed in a building foundation — as the Boston box was in the cornerstone of the State House there — without specific instructions as to when it should be opened is instead, Jarvis writes, a “foundation deposit.”

But why put a box in a cornerstone if the point isn’t that someone in the future will find it? (Unless it contains a singing frog, which is an entirely different situation.)

It turns out that repositories in foundations and cornerstones have an ancient history, which Jarvis traces back thousands of years, to ancient Mesopotamia. The origins of these rituals are presumed to be connected to the sanctification of the building in question; then, as with some 13th-century European churches and cathedrals, holy objects might be placed in the foundation of a building that would be used for religious purposes.

“People have been putting things in the foundations of buildings for millennia,” says Knute Berger, another expert on the topic. (Berger and Jarvis are two of the founders of the International Time Capsule Society.) The reasons why, he says, are “spotty but interesting.” Some groups, he says, did intend to leave knowledge for the future — for example, a fraternal order called the Rosicrucians believed their founder had done so with his tomb — and some were making offerings, while others were merely doing the equivalent of signing a painting, as medieval workers did when they chiseled their initials into buildings.

Ceremonial cornerstones, often associated with rituals of Freemasonry, were common in early American history. In 1793, George Washington himself conducted just such a ceremony at the U.S. Capitol; it remains unfound and its contents are a mystery. The cornerstone deposit in Boston was likewise laid as part of a grand Masonic ceremony, on July 4th, 1795; at the time, Paul Revere was Grand Master of the state’s Freemason fraternity. On the day in question, the participants started at the old State House and processed to the location where the new one would be. Fifteen white horses drew the stone to its new home — one horse for each of the states in the union at the time, according to the current Secretary of the Commonwealth’s office — and Revere then delivered a speech congratulating those gathered on having been part of the establishment of a country where liberty and laws would prevail. “May we my Brethren, so Square our Actions thro life as to shew to the World of Mankind, that we mean to live within the Compass of Good Citizens that we wish to Stand upon a Level with them that when we part we may be admitted into that Temple where Reigns Silence & peace,” he said.

Revere’s remarks don’t mention the contents of the cornerstone being unearthed in the future, or whether the contents would indicate anything about the world of 1795. And when the box was found in 1855, during State House repairs, and resealed with added contents, it still wasn’t technically a time capsule.

But if that’s not a time capsule, what is?

Jarvis’ book identifies the first-ever true time capsule as the Century Safe (pictured above) created for the 1876 Philadelphia World’s Fair and designed to be opened a century later, but the idea didn’t really take off until the 1930s or so. Perhaps interest in science around the turn of the 20th century sparked the birth of the fixed-end-date time capsule, guesses Berger: a true time capsule is like an experiment conducted with the scientific method, in that it has a set beginning and end.

The International Time Capsule Society is particularly concerned with the Crypt of Civilization, a time capsule conceived in 1936 and sealed in 1940, designed to be opened on May 28, 8113. It was meant to contain a complete record of civilization, including English lessons so that its eventual finders could read that record. The publicity surrounding the idea for the Crypt (which was first mentioned in an article by Thornwell Jacobs in Scientific American) also set off a fad, which prompted the Westinghouse Company’s decision to include a similar project in their exhibition for the 1938 World’s Fair. They called the project, meant to be opened 5,000 years later, a “time capsule” — widely seen as the first usage of the term. As TIME wrote when that project was announced, it was going to be buried 50 ft. underground and contain missives to the future from luminaries of the present. “Anyone who thinks about the future must live in fear and terror,” read Einstein’s.

When the capsule was buried in its steel-lined, concrete-stoppered tube in 1940, TIME reported that it contained much else as well:

Among the objects which went into it were a woman’s hat, razor, can opener, fountain pen, pencil, tobacco pouch with zipper, pipe, tobacco, cigarets, camera, eyeglasses, toothbrush; cosmetics, textiles, metals and alloys, coal, building materials, synthetic plastics, seeds; dictionaries, language texts, magazines (TIME among them), other written records on microfilm.

Still, whether or not the Boston box is a time capsule, we people of the present can learn from it. Though the capsule may include gold or silver, burying such treasure is more interesting than digging it up.

“The ritual is almost more important that the substance,” says Berger. And when it comes to that, it doesn’t even really make a difference whether the Massachusetts State House cornerstone technically fits into Jarvis’ definition of a time capsule. “What matters is that you were there.”

Read TIME’s original story about the 1940 burial of the World’s Fair time capsule, here in the TIME Vault: 5,000-Year Journey


Boston to Unveil Contents of Paul Revere and Samuel Adams’ 1795 Time Capsule

It's the oldest American time capsule

On Tuesday at 6 p.m., Americans will get to peak inside the country’s oldest time capsule.

American Revolutionaries Paul Revere, Samuel Adams and William Scollay buried the then-cowhide covered capsule under Boston’s State House cornerstone in 1795, when Adams was governor of Massachusetts.

Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, which will host the unveiling, says that the capsule was then discovered in 1855, when its contents were cleaned, documented, and added onto. The AP reports that the capsule was also transferred from a rawhide casing to a copper box and placed under the Statehouse again.

The box was again unearthed in December due to a water leak.

Although the contents — which X-Rays indicate include coins, documents, newspapers, and a plate owned by Paul Revere — aren’t a mystery, their condition will be the true revelation.

TIME Crime

See the Final Moments Before Boston Bombing Suspect Was Arrested

Cops cornered suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose trial began this week, on April 19, 2013

Sgt. Sean Murphy visited TIME in December 2013 to discuss the photographs he made during the dramatic capture of suspected Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on April 19, 2013, in one of the first interviews since he retired from the force. As the bombing suspect’s trial on 30 criminal counts begins in Boston this week, relive the final moments of the manhunt that led to his arrest. The full interview can be read on TIME LightBox.

TIME Courts

Everything You Should Know About the Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

Jury selection begins Monday

The trial of one of the accused Boston Marathon bombers started Monday, nearly two years after the attack that killed three people and injured more than 260 others, with the beginning of the selection of the jury that will ultimately decide the fate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Here’s what to know as the trial gets underway.

What happened in April 2013?

Tsarnaev and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, are suspected of building and detonating pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the marathon on April 15, 2013. The brothers escaped initial capture but were later identified as suspects and confronted in a days-long manhunt that shut down much of the Boston area and transfixed the country. Tamerlan died after a shootout with authorities that followed the death of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer; he was also said to have been run over by a vehicle driven by his brother, Dzhokhar, who was later found in a boat parked on a driveway in nearby Watertown.

What about the brothers’ background?

Tamerlan and Dzhokhar came to the U.S. from Kyrgyzstan when they were aged 15 and 8, respectively. The older brother became a solid boxer while in Cambridge, Mass., and his younger sibling would become a popular wrestler at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School before enrolling at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. Dzhokhar was said to have adjusted to life in the U.S. easier than Tamerlan, who authorities painted as having become disillusioned and who they said would later align with radical Islam.

MORE The Horror. The Heroism.

What charges does Tsarnaev face?

He faces 30 federal counts including the bombing of a public place, malicious destruction of public property, carjacking, disruption of commerce and possession and use of a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death. Here’s the full list.

How long is the trial expected to last?

That’s unclear, but it could be several months. Selecting a fit jury from a pool of more than 1,200 could take a few weeks, according to the Boston Globe, and the trial will be split into two phases. The first will involve determining his innocence or guilt; if the jury finds Tsarnaev guilty, the second phase will revolve around his sentencing.

Where will the trial take place?

The trial is set to be held at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston. Tsarnaev’s defense team repeatedly tried to have it moved, arguing it would be too difficult to find an impartial jury where the attack took place. But the district court wouldn’t budge, writing in a newly released decision that it would be capable of finding 12 jurors and six alternates in the “large and diverse” population that resides in the district’s Eastern Division.

Who are the lawyers on both sides?

Legendary defense attorney Judy Clarke quickly joined Tsarnaev’s defense team, bringing her experience of representing the likes of unabomber Ted Kaczynski and Jared Lee Loughner, whose 2011 shooting rampage in Arizona left six people dead and 13 injured, including former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Many of her clients are convicted and imprisoned while having avoided capital punishment, which Clarke opposes. Two other members of Tsarnaev’s defense team are Miriam Conrad, the chief public defender for Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island, and David Bruck, a Washington and Lee University School of Law professor and the director of its death penalty defense clinic.

The prosecution is largely composed of Assistant U.S. Attorneys with strong background in terrorism cases. William Weinreb and Aloke Chakravarty both played key roles in the handling of the arrest of failed Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad in 2010. Nadine Pellegrini formerly led Boston’s major crimes unit.

Both legal teams will be presided over by U.S. District Judge George O’Toole Jr.

Who will likely be called as witnesses?

The court was recently handed a list of 590 law enforcement personnel, 142 civilians and 1,238 exhibits that they might make use of during the trial, the Times reports. That group includes some of the officers who were involved in the response to the attack, in addition Tsarnaev’s arrest and questioning.

Does Tsarnaev face the death penalty?

Yes. Even though the crime was committed in Massachusetts, where capital punishment has been illegal since the early 1980s, prosecutors charged Tsarnaev in the federal court system, which allows it. (A poll by the Globe in July found that 62% of respondents supported the decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to seek the death penalty, but 29% opposed his choice.)

What is the defense expected to argue?

Legal observers agree that the defense attorneys will try to protect their client from the death penalty rather than prove his innocence. Among the issues at play will be how Tsarnaev may have been influenced by his older brother, which would involve cooperation from close friends and family. The defense team had previously said it had difficulties researching his relatives overseas.

How do people in Massachusetts feel about the trial?

Interviews with local residents and survivors, conducted by the Boston Globe and New York Times, suggest they are ready to bring the tragic saga to a close. How exactly they hope to do that varies, as some say they don’t want to rehash the attack while others are eager to learn more about what happened.

Why has the case taken so long to come to trial?

The trial was originally scheduled to begin last fall but the defense team asked for it to be pushed back to September 2015 or later, claiming it didn’t provide enough time to prepare due to an overwhelming amount of material from prosecutors. The new date then became Jan. 5.

Read next: Summary of Counts Facing Boston Marathon Bombing Suspect

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Crime

Uber Driver Accused of Raping Passenger in Boston

The alleged rape comes as Uber navigates intense scrutiny at home and abroad

An Uber driver in Boston was charged with kidnapping and raping a customer of the ride-sharing service, in another potentially damaging case for the rapidly expanding company.

Alejandro Done, 46, allegedly drove a woman he picked up to a secluded area and then assaulted her in the back seat earlier this month. He pleaded not guilty at an arraignment on Wednesday, the Boston Globe reports.

Uber says Done had passed a background check. “This is a despicable crime and our thoughts and prayers are with the victim during her recovery,” Uber spokesperson Kaitlin Durkosh said in a statement to CBS Boston. “Uber has been working closely with law enforcement and will continue to do everything we can to assist their investigation.”

The ride-sharing company is coming under increasing scrutiny in the U.S. and abroad over regulatory and safety concerns as it expands to more than 50 countries. Several countries have moved to outlaw Uber services, and New Delhi banned Uber earlier this month days after a female passenger accused her Uber driver of rape.

The ride-sharing service said yesterday that it was boosting safety measures and revamping its background checks abroad.

[Boston Globe]

TIME politics

Then as Now, the Tea Party Proved Divisive

Boston Tea Party
Artist's rendering of the Boston Tea Party of Dec. 16, 1773. MPI / Getty Images

Dec. 16, 1773: Colonial activists dump 45 tons of tea into Boston Harbor to protest the Tea Act

Members of today’s Tea Party movement embrace as kindred spirits the colonists who turned Boston Harbor into a teapot 241 years ago. And while it’s true that both groups formed around a robust opposition to the government in power and an equally vigorous objection to the taxes it levied, it would be a mistake to say that the Boston Tea Party was triggered by a tax hike.

On this evening, Dec. 16, in 1773, dozens of colonists boarded three ships laden with East India Company tea and dumped the entire stock — 45 tons of tea, worth roughly $1 million in today’s economy — into the harbor to protest Parliament’s recent Tea Act. The act, however, didn’t increase taxes: It lowered the price of tea by allowing the struggling East India Company to sell directly to colonists without first stopping in England. This cut out colonial middlemen and essentially gave the company a monopoly on tea sales.

So, although organizers of the original tea party echoed the popular refrain of “No taxation without representation,” many were motivated by a personal interest that continues to motivate 241 years later: profit. Boston’s wealthy merchants, some of whom made a fortune smuggling Dutch tea, stood to lose big when the Tea Act was passed. John Hancock, one of the main agitators behind the tea party, was among them.

Ahough the Boston Tea Party has become synonymous with patriotism, not all of early America’s top patriots were on board. The protest appalled many colonists with its destructiveness and waste, according to Harlow Unger, the author of American Tempest: How the Boston Tea Party Sparked a Revolution. “Far from uniting colonists, the Tea Party had alienated many property owners, who held private property to be sacrosanct and did not tolerate its destruction or violation,” Unger wrote.

Ben Franklin suggested to Hancock and co-agitator Samuel Adams that they reimburse the East India Company for the lost tea. He wrote, in a letter from London shortly after the protest, “I am truly concern’d, as I believe all considerate Men are with you, that there should seem to any a Necessity for carrying Matters to such Extremity, as, in a Dispute about Publick Rights, to destroy private Property.”

George Washington was similarly disapproving. His take on the Boston Tea Party clashes with the modern-day tea party’s more reverent view — and with their claim to channel the beliefs of the Founding Fathers.

When a contemporary Tea Partier, on a visit to Colonial Williamsburg, brought up the topic with a historical interpreter dressed as Washington, he was surprised by the answer, according to a 2010 Washington Post story. “…Asked whether the Boston Tea Party had helped rally the patriots, Washington disagreed with force,” the Post reported. “The tea party ‘should never have occurred,’ he said. ‘It’s hurt our cause, sir.’”

Read more about the modern Tea Party here, in TIME’s archives: Why the Tea Party Movement Matters

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