TIME Food

McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson to Retire

Key Speakers At The Year Ahead: 2014 Conference
Don Thompson, president and chief executive officer of McDonald's Corp., speaks at the Bloomberg Year Ahead: 2014 conference in Chicago on Nov. 21, 2013. Daniel Acker—Bloomberg/Getty Images

"It's tough to say goodbye to the McFamily"

The president and CEO of McDonald’s will retire effective March 1, the company’s board announced Wednesday, after 25 years with the world’s largest restaurant chain.

Don Thompson will be replaced by Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Steve Easterbrook, who was elected by the board to take his place. McDonald’s still sits atop the fast food throne, with more than 36,000 locations worldwide and some 69 million customers in more than 100 countries per day.

“It’s tough to say goodbye to the McFamily, but there is a time and season for everything,” Thompson said in a statement. “I am truly confident as I pass the reins over to Steve, that he will continue to move our business and brand forward.”

TIME global health

What the Gates Foundation Has Achieved, 15 Years On

Sunny days: Melinda and Bill Gates in 2014, one year before their self-imposed deadline arrived
Sunny days: Melinda and Bill Gates in 2014, one year before their self-imposed deadline arrived Scott Olson; Getty Images

Jeffrey Kluger is Editor at Large for TIME.

Much has been done over the foundation's first decade and a half — with more still to do

There are a whole lot of things you may or may not get to do in the next 15 years, but a few of them you can take for granted: eating, for one. Having access to a bank, for another. And then there’s the simple business of not dying of a preventable or treatable disease. Good for you—and good for most of us in the developed world. But the developed world isn’t the whole story.

The bad—and familiar—news is that developing nations lag far behind in income, public health, food production, education and more. The much, much better news is that all of that is changing—and fast. The just-released Annual Letter from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation makes a good case for hoping there is still more to come.

The 2015 letter represents something of a threshold moment for the Foundation. It was in 2000 that the Gateses began their work and set themselves a very public 15-year deadline: show meaningful progress in narrowing the health, income and resource gap between the world’s privileged and underprivileged people, or be prepared to explain why not. So far, nobody—neither the Gates Foundation nor the numerous other global health groups like the World Health Organization and UNICEF—have much explaining to do.

The number of children under five who die each year worldwide has been nearly cut in half, from a high of nearly 13 million to 6.5 million today. Polio has been chased to the very brink of extinction, and elephantiasis, river blindness and Guinea worm are close behind. Drought-tolerant seeds are dramatically increasing agricultural yields; economies in the once-desperate countries in sub-Saharan Africa are now matching the developed world in rate of annual growth. Up to 70% of people across the developing world now have access to wireless service, making mobile banking possible—a luxury in the West but a necessity in places there is no other banking infrastructure.

The trick of course is that progress isn’t the same as success. The 13 million babies who were dying a year in the years before the Foundation began, for example, factored out to a horrific 35,000 every single day. Slashing that in half leaves you with 17,500—still an intolerable figure. For that reason and others, the Gateses are turning the 15-year chronometer back to zero, setting targets—and framing ways to achieve them—for 2030.

The most pressing concern involves those 17,500 kids. The overwhelming share of the recent reduction in mortality is due to better delivery of vaccines and treatments for diseases that are vastly less common or even nonexistent in much of the developed world—measles, pneumonia, malaria, cholera and other diarrheal ills. Those are still the cause of 60% of the remaining deaths. But the other 40%—or 2.6 million children—involve neonates, babies who die in the first 30 days of life and often on the very first day. The interventions in these cases can be remarkably simple.

“The baby must be kept warm immediately after birth, which too often doesn’t happen,” Melinda Gates told TIME. “This is basic skin-to-skin contact. Breast-feeding exclusively is the next big thing, as is basic cord care. The umbilical cord must be cut cleanly and kept clean to prevent infections.”

HIV may similarly be brought to heel, if not as easily as neonate mortality. A vaccine or a complete cure—one that would simply eliminate the virus from the body the way an antibiotic can eliminate a bacterium—remain the gold standards. But in much of the world, anti-retrovirals (ARVs) have served as what is known as a functional cure, allowing an infected person to live healthily and indefinitely while always carrying a bit of the pathogen. Gates looks forward to making ARVs more widely available, as well as to the development of other treatment protocols that we may not even be considering now.

“We’re already moving toward an HIV tipping point,” she says, “when the number of HIV-positive people in sub-Saharan Africa who are in treatment will exceed the number of people becoming newly infected.”

Food security is another achievable goal. Even as Africa remains heavily agrarian—70% of people in the sub-Saharan region are farmers compared to 2% in the U.S.—yields remain low. An acre of farmland here in America may produce 150 bushels of corn; in Africa it’s just 30. The problem is largely rooted in our increasingly unstable climate, with severe droughts burning out harvests or heavy rainstorms destroying them.

“Millions of people eat rice in Africa,” says Gates, “and rice has to be kept much wetter than other crops. At the equator it’s staying drier longer, but when the rains do come, they hit harder.”

In the case of rice and corn and all other crops, the answer is seeds engineered for the conditions in which they will have to grow, not for the more forgiving farmlands of the West. In Tanzania, site-specific seed corn has been made available and is already changing lives. “That seed,” one farmer told Gates when she visited in 2012, “made the difference between hunger and prosperity.”

Finally comes banking. Across Africa, only 37% of people are part of the formal banking system, but up to 90%, depending on the area, are part of the M-Pesa network—a mobile banking link accessible via cellphone. The Pesa part of the name is Swahili for money and the M is simply for mobile.

“Today too many people put their money in a cow or in jewelry,” Gates says. “But it’s impossible to take just a little of that money out. If someone gets sick or you have another emergency, you simply sell the cow.” Mobile banking changes all of that, making it much easier to save—and in a part of the world where even $1 set aside a day can mean economic security, that’s a very big deal.

Nothing about the past 15 years guarantees that the next 15 will see as much progress. The doctrine of low-hanging fruit means that in almost all enterprises, the early successes come easier. But 15 years is a smart timeframe. It’s far enough away that it creates room for different strategies to be tried and fail before one succeeds, but it’s close enough that you still can’t afford to waste the time you have. Wasting time, clearly, is not something the folks at the Gates Foundation have been doing so far, and they likely won’t in the 15 years to come either.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Diet/Nutrition

There’s Now Coffee to Help You Fall Asleep

coffee
Getty Images

A new product mixes coffee with a sleep-inducing herb

Imagine brewing coffee as a nightcap. That’s what Deland Jessop says he and his wife have begun to do with Counting Sheep Coffee—a new product designed to allow coffee lovers to drink a cup before bed without being kept awake for hours.

“Instead of a glass of wine, we’ll brew up a cup of coffee instead,” said Jessop, who launched the company in 2013.

When his wife complained that she couldn’t enjoy coffee after 3 p.m., Jessop turned his home into a makeshift lab to search for a possible solution. After experimenting with a variety of herbs and supplements, he says he stumbled upon valerian—a plant that has been used as a mild sedative in Europe for centuries. He mixed it with decaf to mask the pungent smell, and sleep coffee was born.

Jessop notes that Counting Sheep Coffee is a food product, not a drug to help with sleep. Valerian is approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a food ingredient.

Experts don’t know exactly why the plant such a potent sleep-inducer, but there’s little known risk of side effects (other than the obvious drowsiness), says University of California San Francisco associate professor Stephen Bent. “In the studies that have been done, it’s been show to be safe,” he says. “It has a long traditional history of being used to induce sleep.”

The product first appeared at Bed, Bath & Beyond in 2013, and is now sold in several regional supermarkets.

MONEY Super Bowl

The 5 Best Deals If You’re Not Watching the Super Bowl

"The Book of Mormon" on Broadway at Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York City
"The Book of Mormon" on Broadway at Eugene O'Neill Theatre in New York City Stephen Lovekin—Getty Images

Lower prices and shorter lines await those who skip watching football on February 1 in favor of other attractions.

If the only hawks you care about seeing Super Bowl Sunday have wings and feathers, there’s a good chance your wish can come true—for cheap, no less.

Thanks to the one-third of the U.S. population that will be parked in front of their TVs watching football on February 1, it will be easier for the rest to snag discounts at zoos, ski resorts, spas, and other attractions—not to mention score seats at otherwise unavailable shows and restaurants.

Here are five suggestions for Super Bowl-skippers in search of good deals.

1. Take in a show

Super Bowl Sunday is a great time to see musicals and other popular shows that are normally hard to get into. For example, as of January 21, $99 evening tickets to perennially sold-out Broadway show “Book of Mormon” were still available for February 1 directly through Telecharge. And even if tickets to a hit show are all sold out at the box office, you’re still likely to get a discount on the resale market: Tickets on Stubhub for the same February 1 “Book of Mormon” performance are $40 cheaper than those for the following Sunday.

To look for theater performances near you, check Ticketmaster.com.

2. Finally eat at that restaurant you’ve been wanting to try

While everyone else has to settle for mediocre tailgate snacks, you have a much better shot than usual at scoring an enviable meal at some of your city’s hottest eateries. Restaurant reservation site OpenTable.com typically seats only about half the number of bookings on Super Bowl Sunday as on the Sunday before or after.

Some cities offer even better odds. In Philadelphia, reservations are typically down 60%, OpenTable found. But even major markets like New York City and Boston experience a pronounced dip: 30-40% fewer people will dine out in those cities on February 1.

A word to the wise: Even though your chances improve dramatically on game day, “some of the hottest and most acclaimed restaurants can still be tough to get into,” says Tiffany Fox, a spokeswoman for OpenTable. “So people shouldn’t wait to the last minute to book if there’s a special spot they’ve been dying to get into.”

3. Enjoy zoos and theme parks without the crowds

While Disney World spokespeople claim the event has no impact on park attendance, Disney vacation planning sites like EasyWDW.com and TheMouseForLess.com recommend visiting the parks on Super Bowl Sunday because you can expect far less company.

The game “keeps many locals away and is usually a great time to tour the parks,” notes TheMouseForLess.com, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios was “virtually dead on Super Bowl Sunday each of the last three years,” according to EasyWDW.com.

If you’re not going to be in sunny California or Florida come game day, try your local zoo or wildlife park. The Nashville Zoo, for example, is offering a “Zooperbowl Deal” this year that cuts admission by half. And last year the Virginia Zoo offered 50% off to anyone wearing merchandise from a Super Bowl participating team.

4. Hit the slopes

Skiers and snowboarders hitting the slopes instead of the sofa over Super Bowl weekend are in for a treat: Lift lines will be scant, and many ski resorts plan to roll out deep discounts that day.

The average booked savings on Liftopia.com during last year’s game day was 29% off window rates, making it the best value of any Sunday during the regular ski season. Prices are expected to drop similarly this year, but you will need to book in advance to take advantage.

The Arapahoe Basin Ski Area in Colorado, for example, has cut lift tickets to $57 this year, or 33% off, according to Liftopia. Utah’s Snowbasin slashed rates by 29% to $63. And in Vermont, Okemo Mountain is offering tickets for $73, or a 21% discount.

5. Have a spa day

If you’d literally rather stare at the ceiling than watch football, you can do exactly that—while getting a discounted massage or facial. You’ll find deals all across the country as spas promote their services for so-called Super Bowl widows (and widowers).

“If you don’t see a special at your favorite spa, just ask,” says Beth McGroarty, research director at spa directory site Spafinder.com. “Bookings may be lighter, and under-the-radar deals may be available—especially group discounts.”

If you don’t have a particular spa in mind, browse ratings on sites like Spafinder and Yelp and make calls to compare prices. Some examples of Super Bowl spa deals currently available include 15% off regular services at Clay Health Club + Spa in New York City; 25% off services at Kohler Waters Spa in Kohler, Wisconsin; and $50 off massages at The Palms Spa in Miami Beach, Florida.

TIME Food & Drink

Here Are the 2 Places Left Where You Can Find That Taste of the ’90s, McDonald’s Pizza

Two locations in Ohio and West Virginia serve the item you thought was extinct

Millennial diners, want to sink your teeth into a round cheezy slab of ’90s nostalgia? McDonald’s Pizza has been found living on at two locations in Ohio and West Virginia, according to Canada.com

The two restaurants, out of over 14,000 McDonald’s locations in America, are owned by a man named Greg Mills and located 90 miles apart from one another, the site reports.

It was the explosion in popularity of drive-through restaurants that brought about the demise of the pizza. The ovens were said to have slowed down sales and restaurants weren’t pushing enough pizzas out to justify the expense.

But Judy Norman, an employee at the West Virginia location, told Canada.com that their pizza still sells and she has “days when everyone wants pizza and there are days where every so often you get a pizza [order].”

For now, millennials can delight that they now have two places they can take their Teenie Beanie Babies, discuss Hey Arnold! and have a slice of the past.

[Canada.com]

TIME Sports

Seattle Suburb Banishes Cheese from City Hall Ahead of Packers Game

Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers reacts after completing a pass during the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff game on Jan. 11, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers reacts after completing a pass during the 2015 NFC Divisional Playoff game on Jan. 11, 2015 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Al Bello—2015 Getty Images

"Due to the relationship between the Green Bay Packers, their fans, and cheese, the possession of and/or consumption of cheese or cheese flavored products shall be banned in Bainbridge Island City Hall "

The city manager of the Seattle suburb of Bainbridge Island is taking drastic measures to make sure city hall is giving the Seahawks its full support for the NFC Championship game against the Packers by banning cheese from the building.

According to executive order 121212, a nod to the team’s fans “12th man” moniker, cheese shall be neither consumed nor possessed in city hall on the Friday before the game, and workers are encouraged to wear their Seahawks jersey and enjoy a tailgating inspired lunch.

Section 1. All executive branch departments and divisions of the Local Government shall authorize employees to celebrate Blue Friday on each Friday prior to any games of the Seattle Seahawks by wearing Seahawks jerseys, logo gear, team colors and gathering at lunch or breaks for tailgating type foods and non-alcoholic beverages.

Section 2. On Sunday, January 18, 2015, the Seattle Seahawks opponent in the NFC Championship game will be the Green Bay Packers, a.k.a. Cheeseheads. Fans of the Green Bay Packers are frequently seen wearing obnoxious wedge-shaped foam hats painted yellow.

Section 3. Due to the relationship between the Green Bay Packers, their fans, and cheese, the possession of and/or consumption of cheese or cheese flavored products shall be banned in Bainbridge Island City Hall on Friday, January 16, 2015.

Showing support for your local team is always a shrewd move for a politician, but taking delicious cheese away from constituents could easily backfire.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Food & Drink

The Evolution of Girl Scout Cookies, From Grandma’s Kitchen to Your iPhone

A 1940's Girl Scouts Cookies box Girl Scouts of the USA

Plus, why you shouldn't be upset if your favorite cookie's name gets changed

Kelly Parisi, chief communications executive for the Girl Scouts of the USA, is in shock. “I can’t even talk to you anymore!” she squeals after hearing that I, a self-proclaimed Thin Mints loyalist, prefer my cookies to be room temperature rather than frozen. “I mean, it’s the only way to eat them,” she proclaims.

The cult of the Girl Scouts Cookie is very real, and allegiances to specific cookies — and eating methods — can prove die-hard. As Girl Scout Cookie season kicks off, that’s clearer than ever. “If your favorite cookie gets retired, you’re not happy,” Parisi says. “Just ask one of our colleagues about ‘Thank You Berry Munch’ getting retired — he still has complete hysteria about that.”

But those who want their cookies to be the same every year need to work toward their Girl Scout history badges. The cookies have been evolving since the beginning—and when Girl Scout Cookies got their start, there was no such thing as the Thin Mint, Samoa and Tagalong.

According to the organization, the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Okla., baked and sold the first-ever batch of Girl Scout Cookies in their high school cafeteria in 1917. A July 1922 American Girl magazine feature provided a simple sugar cookie recipe, suggesting that they be sold door-to-door for 25 to 30 cents per dozen.

Girl Scouts selling cookies in 1928 Girl Scouts of the USA

But not every Girl Scout was doing the baking herself.

“Grandma used to bake the cookies,” 83-year-old former Girl Scout Selma Rutledge tells TIME. “I was never the kitchen cooker, I stayed outside.”

Rutledge joined Troop 254 in the small town of Blakely, Ga., in the 1940’s. “They wanted us to be something,” she says. “Selling cookies taught me how to meet people and how to present myself. It gave me the courage to stand up and speak up.”

And so she would wrap five, maybe six, of Grandma’s oatmeal cookies in a small paper bag, “with a little ribbon around it.”

But when did the Thin Mint emerge? Although Rutledge sold homemade cookies, the Girl Scouts began standardizing their cookies in 1936, when the organization licensed its first baker. (There was a cookie hiatus during WWII due to sugar, flour and butter rationing. They sold less-delicious calendars instead.)

The year 1939 brought the first-ever iteration of the Thin Mint, then called “Cooky-Mints.”

“Thin Mint has had more names than you could imagine,” Parisi says. The different iterations were made by different licensed bakers. (There were 29 different licensed bakers in 1948). According to the Girl Scouts’ historian, the Cooky-Mints name changed to Chocolate Mint to Thin Mint to Cookie Mint to Chocolate Mint to Thin Mints to Thin Mint and finally, back to the plural Thin Mints.

Vintage Thin Mints and Cookie Mints boxes from the 1970’s Girl Scouts of the USA

Wanting more continuity in cookies, Girl Scouts whittled down its licensed bakers to 14 during the 1960s — also when cookies began getting wrapped in aluminum foil to keep them fresh — to four in 1978 to two in the 1990s. A mere two different bakers currently make all of the Girl Scout Cookies in the United States, though there’s still some difference between their products. While Thin Mints are offered by both bakers, consumers will either get Do-si-dos or Peanut Butter Sandwiches, and Trefoils or Shortbread depending on which baker their local troop uses.

Sometimes Girl Scout Cookies fanatics have been known to go crazy when their favorite cookie names have changed, which can happen when their troops change bakers. “The cookies sold by my daughter’s Girl Scout troop are now called ‘Caramel deLites’ instead of ‘Samoas.’ Why?” Carrie Stetler wrote in the Star Ledger in 2008. “I’m outaged — yes, outraged – that Girl Scout Cookies have new names.”

That cookie loyalty is legendary, and not so hard to instill. In fact, Parisi says that the organization has found that the top reason people don’t buy Girl Scout Cookies is that they’re not asked — perhaps why the Girl Scouts went to CES this year to teach people how they can buy their cookies online or on their smart phones via an app.

They’ve certainly come a long way since selling cookies from Grandma’s kitchen. But 83-year-old Rutledge isn’t surprised with the innovation. “Things are always changing,” she notes.

And besides, the Girl Scouts have always prided themselves in being ahead of their time.

“We had our first badge in Electrical Engineering in 1913,” Parisi says. “It was for showing girls show to rewire things. We have been innovative from the beginning.”

TIME health

The Science of Why We Learn to Love Foods We Used to Hate

pepper
Getty Images

Repeated exposure and social pressure both have an effect

Not to be mean, but you’re a “benign masochist.” We all are to some extent. It’s a natural human trait, and it helps explain why we learn to love foods we initially hated.

Coffee, beer and chilies are all examples of food that little kids hate, but many adults can’t seem to get enough of. Alison Bruzek of NPR’s The Salt blog interviewed Paul Rozin, a cultural psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, who has researched this specific phenomenon.

“Benign masochism” is a term Rozin uses to express this human characteristic. Whether food or amusement park rides or going to see a sad movie, people learn to want what our body rejects. And yet these things don’t hurt us; they’re benign.

What causes us to act this way, however, is harder to pin down. Rozin believes that most of these behaviors are the result of social pressures. “I don’t know the answer,” he admitted in the interview. “Some part of it is social. Social forces affect what we like, and the advertising industry knows that — that’s why they have endorsements by famous people.”

Repeated exposure is also important. Rozin discussed how children in Mexico didn’t inherently love spicy chilies, but grew to appreciate them around the age of 4 or 5. “The experience of eating it a lot somehow converts what was an aversion to a preference.”

Another term Rozin used was “hedonistic reversal” – the ability of our brain to tell our senses we’re going to turn something we should avoid into a preference. That certainly explains why the guy who can eat the spiciest Buffalo wings really is revered as a badass.

This article originally appeared on FWx.com.

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