TIME viral

Guy Attempting to Take a Selfie in Front of a Speeding Train Gets Kicked in Head by Conductor

This is the world we now live in

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A guy attempting to take a selfie in front of an oncoming train has learned an important lesson. That lesson is: maybe don’t attempt to take a selfie in front of an oncoming train.

He’s got his serious selfie face all ready when all of a sudden the train’s conductor lets out a yell and then sticks out his leg, kicking the guy square in the head.

This would-be selfie-taker, Jared Michael, posted a video of these action-packed 10 seconds on YouTube, explaining, “I tried to take a selfie while a train passed a ‘safe’ distance behind. I guess I was still too close and got kicked in the head. I messed up.”

“Messed up.” Yes, that about sums it up.

(h/t Business Insider)

TIME society

This Interactive Map Shows The Most Popular Music in America

The latest data visualization of Americans’ music preferences is a heat map that plays different types of music as it shows which parts of the country like particular genres the most.

The rock and oldies, blues, folk, rock, punk, metal and rap & hip-hop genres seem to have the most universal appeal, according to “The All-American Music Map”, which is based on data from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis through the Martin Prosperity Institute, and state level music preferences from Wikipedia. There’s a full breakdown of city preferences on the website for Movoto, a national online real estate brokerage firm in the Bay Area.

TIME society

No Salary, No Benefits, No Sleep: This Is The World’s Toughest Job

Only the strong survive

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A company placed this classified ad looking to fill a Director of Operations position.

The job had a mandatory 135+ hours a week of work and required the job holder to be on call at all times, day or night. Qualified candidates should have a knowledge of psychology, medicine, personal finance, culinary arts and basic technology skills. The job also had physical requirements: the ability to stand for hours, lift up to 75 pounds, be constantly moving and operate on little to no sleep.

While the nation’s jobless claims may have dropped to the lowest levels since 2007, 24 people responded to the job posting at Rehtom, Inc., even though the position offered no medical or dental benefits, no pension and no paid holidays, but did offer “infinite opportunities for personal growth and rewards.”

The 24 applicants were interviewed via webcam. That’s when they got the surprise of their life. The video is worth watching all the way to the end.

[Via Adweek]

MORE: It Doesn’t Matter Where You Go to College

MORE: Here Are the Absolute Best (and Worst) Jobs of the Future

TIME society

This Sketch Hilariously Skewers the Way Women Food-Shame Themselves

The clip from 'Inside Amy Schumer' is very funny, but it also has a message

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Inside Amy Schumer
Get More: Comedy Central,Funny Videos,Funny TV Shows

On this week’s episode of Inside Amy Schumer, the comedian took on the topic of female food-shaming in a sketch reminiscent of last season’s brilliant “Compliments.”

A group of women are out to a seemingly normal lunch when the conversation takes a dark turn. The friends all begin to shame themselves for unhealthy eating choices — “I ate a ball of mozzarella like it was a peach” — followed by the familiar lament, “I’m so bad.” Meanwhile, they pepper in stories about things they did that are actually reprehensible — “I took a smoke machine to the burn unit to see how they’d react” and “I knelt on my gerbil to see what sound it would make” — without a trace of concern.

As Paste magazine points out, there’s a deeper message here, which is that “conversations like these are a natural byproduct of the beauty-first onslaught we get from the media—women’s magazines in particular—and the ways women can’t help falling victim to it.”

The sketch takes an unfortunate gory turn at the end, but otherwise, Amy Schumer gets two very enthusiastic thumbs up for this one. We’d suggest she celebrate the success with a big piece of chocolate cake, but that would be so bad.

TIME society

Dove’s New Ad Makes Women Look Gullible and Kind of Dumb in the Name of ‘Real Beauty’

How Dove's newest Real Beauty ad fails

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Dove’s empowerment-as-advertising Real Beauty campaign has taken a recent turn towards deception—and it’s a deception that is so obvious to viewers, it’s become almost insulting to watch.

The concept of the four minute spot above is simple and only unpredictable to anyone completely unfamiliar with psychology: Unilever’s Dove has created a “revolutionary” magical beauty patch (RB-X) that will pump bursts of self-confidence into what you’ll soon start seeing as Michelle Obama-quality arms. After two weeks, it will enhance women’s perception of self-beauty.

Suspect as the product sounds, real-life women tell a real-life psychologist their very real-life insecurities—”If I was more confident I would have the ability to like approach a guy maybe”; “I almost kind of avoid marriage lately because I, you know, feel bad about myself”— and then join a “trial” to test the product and keep a video diary to track the change. Just as marketers predicted, while at first the women saw no difference (because it was a placebo?), in a couple days they were getting called pretty by coworkers (placebo effect?), smiling at strangers (placebo effect?), and confidently dress shopping. (Dare I say placebo effect?)

Dove then has the beaming, beautifully confident women women gush about RB-X and how this has “definitely been a life altering experience” only to reveal that the patch was, in fact, a placebo. It contained nothing all along. The music swells, tears fall, we were beautiful all along.

For ten years, Dove’s Real Beauty campaign has used female empowerment as an advertising tactic, wooing female customers by proving they are more beautiful than they think they are and that their bodies should be a source of pride rather than anxiety.

And Dove has used said feel-good strategy with great success. Real Beauty Sketches, in which a forensic artist was employed to draw sketches of women who underestimated their looks, became the eighth most-watched (says Visible Measures) and fourth most shared (says Unruly Media) video ad of all time. With a success like that, it’s no wonder that Dove has tried to replicate and replicate the model with hopes that women will share branded video content not because it’s for a beauty product, but because it exposes the fault of their own insecurities and make them feel beautiful.

As someone who tears up during emotionally fraught pet food commercials, I’m overall okay with some degree of emotional manipulation in the name of marketing. Even though there is an argument to be made that the ads problematically show beauty is paramount when evaluating self-worth, I kind of liked Real Beauty Sketches because I could identify with the insecurities and believed the concept of the ad.

And that’s why I think Dove has failed in its latest Real Beauty iteration. While I believe that I would hide from a camera on a bad hair day, and I believe that I would accentuate the size of my nose to a forensic artist who asked me to describe myself, I just can’t believe the thinly-veiled marketing ruse that there is a patch that can make us more beautiful. It makes women seem too gullible, too desperate, and overall helpless against the all-knowing master manipulators at Unilever.

TIME society

Hear the Los Angeles Philharmonic Play Through a 5.1 Earthquake

Now this is dedication to art

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The Los Angeles Philharmonic was six minutes into a performance of Ravel’s Daphnis and Chloe on March 28 when a 5.1 earthquake shook Southern California. While lights flickered and patrons ran for the exits inside Walt Disney Concert Hall, the musicians played on.

(h/t: @JimmyOrr)

TIME society

Father Banned From Naming His Son ‘WikiLeaks’

Crying baby
Getty Images

We're assuming "Pentagon Papers" is also a no-go

A new father in Germany hoped to honor Julian Assange’s whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks by naming their baby… WikiLeaks. Not Julian. But WikiLeaks.

But Hajar Hamalaw, an Iraqi journalist now living in Bavaria, said that an official at his local registry office rejected the name, citing concerns about the baby’s welfare, NBC News reports.

Hamalaw said the name had “big meaning” for him and is “a synonym with transparent truth.” The official who rejected the name, however, didn’t initially know what it meant, he said.

“She thought I was presenting the name of a television show,” Hamalaw told NBC News. “We were very disappointed after the rejection. Hundreds of people across the globe were allowed to use the name of Barack Obama’s dog for their child, but I can’t use WikiLeaks?”

Eventually, Hamalaw and his wife settled on the name Dako for the baby’s birth certificate, but they totally plan on having his friends and family continue to call him WikiLeaks.

 

TIME Crime

Mother’s April Fools’ Day Prank On Her Daughter Backfires Very, Very Badly

Woman using a smartphone
Getty Images

School shootings are never a joke

File this under bad ideas.

Angela Timmons thought it would be a great April Fools’ Day prank to text her daughter in New York that she could hear gunfire from inside her office at Virginia College in South Carolina and was “hiding for her own safety.”

When the 54-year old woman failed to respond to any of her daughter’s text messages, the young woman called the police to report the incident.

According to The Smoking Gun, police raced to the Spartanburg, SC., college campus to investigate the school shooting, only to discover that it was all a very bad joke and no shooting had occurred.

Timmons told Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office deputies that she “sent the text as an April Fools joke and that she has done such jokes on April Fools in the past.”

The punchline of her “joke”? Timmons was arrested and booked into the county jail, where she is being held on several charges, including aggravated breach of the peace and disturbing a school.

[Via The Smoking Gun]

MORE: The Best April Fools’ Pranks of 2014

MORE: 7 April Fools’ Pranks We Wish We Saw Today

TIME Tech

The Class War Is Back On in San Francisco

San Francisco Google bus
Residents protests rising evictions and rents in San Francisco by blocking two private shuttles transporting tech workers from their homes in San Francisco to their jobs in Silicon Valley on Jan. 21 2014. Katy Steinmetz—TIME

A City Hall hearing on a transportation pilot program quickly devolved into heated arguments about buses that shuttle Google employees to work, and whether they symbolize efficiency or inequality

On Tuesday the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, an 11-member outfit that runs the city, sat through a marathon, eight-hour hearing in a high-ceilinged room at City Hall. The central issue of that hearing—an appeal for an environmental review of a transportation pilot program—was soporific on the surface. But the pilot program at issue was the city’s regulation of private shuttles, known colloquially as “Google buses,” and discussions of air quality quickly gave way to heated arguments about class warfare.

Citizens have long been complaining about private shuttles that use public bus stops without paying or being ticketed, particularly the imposing, double-decker coaches that pick up tech workers in San Francisco and ferry them to jobs at big tech firms in Silicon Valley. For angry citizens whose public buses might be blocked or delayed by these vehicles, the private shuttles have become symbols of a two-tiered system in San Francisco—one in which the wealthy are given breaks and the poor are displaced. “I have a problem with the arrogance of tech companies who have captured our bus stops,” said a union worker who spoke during the hours of public comments on Tuesday. “You’re going to make cuts to programs for the poorest families in this city, and these Google people stroll in and out like they’re royalty. And I’m sick of it.”

Among the dozens who took turns in front of the microphone—some leveling disrespectful epithets at the supervisors, others giving sarcastic speeches, and many trying to find a middle ground—were some “Google people” and other tech workers who are often lumped into a stereotyped “them” by residents angry about changes Silicon Valley wealth is spurring in the city. “I don’t know how this has become an engineering or tech issue,” said an engineer, noting that many of his colleagues have lived in the city for decades. “Let’s talk about affordability, transportation. I would love to talk about all those things, but how about [people critical of tech workers] first admit that we are part of the local community as well. Until then, they can take their Tea Party tactics and go bully another minority … We pay atrocious rents just like you do.”

In an attempt to appease the public, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority recently presented a plan to start regulating the private shuttles, charging them $1 per stop to recoup their costs. (A state law limits them from charging more than their outlays for this type of program.) The pilot program, set to start this summer, was exempted from being given an environmental review but labor unions and community groups appealed that decision, arguing that the environmental impact of the shuttles—from noise pollution to the displacement effect of increasing the value of apartments near the stops—must be calculated. The city’s transit authority and planning department countered that the project isn’t introducing a fleet of shuttles; it’s gathering data on how the city might regulate shuttles that are already operating, and that regulation has negligible environmental impact.

While some supervisors quizzed city attorneys and transportation officials even-handedly, trying to work out all the legal nuances of the state law and case law, others came to the meeting with a clear line of questioning in mind. Supervisor Scott Wiener engaged in a heated back and forth with the lawyer arguing in favor of the environmental review, Richard Drury, pointing out that of the private shuttles currently operating, an estimated 80% transport riders within the city, to schools and hospitals as well as tech firms, while only 20% take riders out of town—yet their case focuses only on those 20%.

“It’s your position that it’s only the fact that tech workers are living here that is causing gentrification and it’s only the tech shuttles that are causing the noise, bike, pedestrian and cancer problems. I don’t understand that,” Wiener said, suggesting that the appeal wasn’t really about environmental issues. Drury argued that physical differences in the shuttles, like their size, and the way they use streets partly account for their focus on that 20%. Wiener also emphasized how many cars the shuttles keep off the road, before more tech workers testified to their dependence on the shuttles during public comments.

Other supervisors threw Drury softballs so he could expand on the potential damages of the “pirate private shuttles.” But as the matter came to a vote, many supervisors emphasized that the decision before them was about the environmental impact study alone, not about whether they liked the pilot program and even less about how they felt about private shuttles in general. With one supervisor absent by the time the vote finally took place around 10:30 p.m., the appeal failed 8-2, meaning the pilot program can go forward as planned.

Right before the vote, Supervisor Jane Kim—who voted against the appeal—explained that she had many doubts about the pilot program and suggested another path of recourse might have a greater impact. “It may be,” she said, “that this is an issue that is more appropriate for the ballot.” And with the appeal lost, critics of the private shuttle program are likely giving that avenue a closer look.

TIME

Teen Who Sued Her Parents Gets a $56,000 College Scholarship

High school senior Rachel Canning, 18, appears in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, N.J., on March 4, 2014.
High school senior Rachel Canning, 18, appears in Morris County Superior Court in Morristown, N.J., on March 4, 2014. Bob Karp—Daily Record/AP

College counselors, take note

Litigation might be an unconventional extracurricular activity, but that didn’t stand in Rachel Canning’s way of receiving a $56,000 college scholarship. In case that name doesn’t ring a bell, Canning is the made-for-reality-television teen who unsuccessfully sued her parents for child support after she ran away from home.

Canning, who ended up moving home after the unsuccessful lawsuit, posted on her Facebook that she would be attending Western New England University in Springfield, Massachusetts in the fall, and that she wouldn’t be going empty handed:

“Decision made. WNE U class of 2018 BME Major w/ 56,000$ scholarship,” she posted Saturday. It was removed by Tuesday.

In an email to USA Today, a WNEU spokesman said that merit scholarships run between $22,000 and $66,000 and are granted over the course of four years.

One of Canning’s main reasons for her lawsuit was that her parents were refusing to pay for her education if she didn’t abide by their rules. (She also accused her father of “inappropriate affection” and her mother of encouraging an unhealthy body image). Canning’s parents said that she moved out because she wouldn’t abide by their curfew or stop seeing a boyfriend they didn’t approve of. A judge thought that she was just “spoiled.”

College counselors, take note.

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