TIME movies

See 13 Times World Leaders Were Depicted in Movies

The cancelled release of The Interview, the movie that sparked a devastating cyberattack on Sony Pictures, shows how controversial depicting the assassination of a current world leader can be. Sure, Inglourious Basterds imagined the assassination of Hitler, but this was, of course, several decades after Hitler’s actual death.

It’s also pretty rare for films to have depictions of current or still-living heads of state at all (at the time the movie is made), even without the assassination plots. From Queen Elizabeth II to Ayatollah Khomeini, here are a few examples of world leaders being shown in movies.

TIME animals

Nature’s Top 10 Cute Critters for 2014

A serious science journal allows itself some cuddles

If you read science journals (and really, who doesn’t?) you know that it’s not easy to top Nature—and Nature itself surely knows it. They’re the major leagues, the senior circuit, the place the serious stuff goes to get seen. Nature doesn’t do small—and it definitely doesn’t do cute.

At least, it didn’t.

But every now and then, even the folks on the peer review panels start to feel cuddly. Spend your days vetting new studies about the Dumbo octopus or the toupee monkey or the robot baby penguins that can fool real penguins, and you have to admit that sometimes nature can be pretty adorable—even if Nature can’t.

So in a nod to the sweetness that hides in the science, the journal just released an uncharacteristically precious video–the Top 10 Cutest Animals in 2014. You can go back to being Mr. Grumpypants tomorrow, Nature. But for now, give us a great big hug.

TIME viral

Watch Tom Hanks Wannabe Nick Jonas Play the Giant Keyboard at FAO Schwartz

Kind of a 'Big' deal

Singer Nick Jonas had a pretty Big moment at the FAO Schwartz in New York City on Tuesday.

Jonas went to the iconic toy store to sing his hit Jealous while playing the giant keyboard:

“I had to pay homage to the man Tom Hanks,” Jonas wrote on Facebook. Hanks made the keyboard famous in the 1988 movie Big:

There were no reports that Jonas played Heart and Soul as an encore.

TIME Advertising

How Facebook Is Going to Battle With YouTube

Facebook Said to Plan IPO Filing for as Early as Coming Week
In this file photo the Facebook Inc. logo is reflected in the eyeglasses of a user in this arranged photo in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook is suddenly a serious player in video

Facebook is well on its way to developing its next big cash cow, and it has nothing to do with the social network’s splashy billion-dollar purchases of messaging and virtual reality startups.

This year, the company dusted off its oft-neglected video feature and quickly made auto-playing clips ubiquitous in users’ News Feeds (with a big assist from the wildly viral ALS Ice Bucket Challenge). People are now watching videos uploaded directly to Facebook one billion times per day — and that big number is starting to whet marketers’ appetites. As the social network ratchets up its plan to lure brands to place video ads on the site, its efforts could eventually threaten YouTube, which has dominated the online video space for nearly a decade.

This holiday season, Facebook is partnering with brands such as fashion design house Kate Spade and retailer Gap to develop targeted video ads that play automatically in users’ feeds. The Kate Spade spot, a two-and-half minute short starring Anna Kendrick, has managed to rack up 1.8 million views and 49,000 likes, comments and shares since launching in November. A YouTube version of the commercial released the same day has about 150,000 views. (Facebook’s view metrics automatically lean in the social network’s favor because videos auto-play by default and only have to be seen for three seconds to register as a view; a Google spokesperson says a YouTube video must be watched “many times longer” to count as a view).

Kate Spade’s new spot was the first time the brand used Facebook’s native video player instead just posting a YouTube link onto Facebook. Chief Marketing Officer Mary Beech says the company is happy with the results, which came from a mix of paid promotion and organic sharing by users. Kate Spade now intends to launch another video ad on Facebook in the spring. “Facebook has been wonderful in terms of the shares,” Beech says.

Facebook’s video pitch to marketers is much the same as it’s always been: thanks to the social network’s massive trove of user data, Facebook believes it can show video ads to precisely those people who will be most receptive to them. “[Marketers] are looking at Facebook to deliver very personalized messages,” says Nicolas Franchet, head of retail and e-commerce on Facebook’s global vertical marketing team. “Video is now one of the ways they can do that.”

Videos also give Facebook another key data point it can use to try to ferret out its users’ intent. For example, Kate Spade was able to serve ads for certain products featured in the Anna Kendrick commercial specifically to users who saw the video. “If you’ve viewed a video, you’ve certainly formed some sort of interest in the brand and so the brand can capitalize on that,” Franchet says.

While Facebook has found fast success with video, YouTube continues to lead in the space by many metrics. An analysis of 10 holiday ad campaigns by the advertising research firm Unruly found that that the commercials earned 13 million views on Facebook, but about 32 million on YouTube. The YouTube versions of the videos were also shared more across the Internet, gaining 630,000 shares compared to 530,000 shares for the Facebook versions. And in terms of raw usage, YouTube is still king—the video site had 4 billion views per day way back in 2012, compared to Facebook’s current 1 billion (YouTube no longer regularly discloses overall viewcounts, but the amount of content being uploaded per minute to the site has quintupled since 2012). Compared to Facebook’s videos, YouTube videos are easier to find weeks or months after they’ve been posted, and they’re easier to embed on websites or competing social networks.

“With YouTube watch time up 50% [year-over-year] and data showing that people are watching more ads than ever, advertisers are finding that their campaigns have staying power on YouTube,” a Google spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

But Facebook’s video ambitions are still young, and the company has some key advantages that previous YouTube competitors lacked. With more than 1 billion monthly users each, Facebook and YouTube already boast similar scale globally. Facebook also drives some portion of YouTube’s traffic and could use its control of the News Feed to give its own videos preference over YouTube ones (Facebook videos are already the only ones that auto-play, and they appear as larger posts within the News Feed). And Facebook has reportedly been trying to use its substantial amount of cash (its annual revenue now exceeds $11 billion) to poach YouTube stars to get them to make Facebook-exclusive content.

Still, experts say the two sites currently offer different video viewing experiences. “If you go to YouTube, you’re kind of in a serach mode. You kind of want to sit back and watch something,” says Debra Aho Williamson, a social media analyst at eMarketer “On Facebook, it’s all about discovery–almost serendipity. It’s kind of a different mindset.”

Brands will likely continue to experiment on both platforms. Kate Spade, for instance, used portions of that Anna Kendrick ad to create pre-roll spots to place on YouTube. But with finite ad dollars available, companies will have to make a conscious decision about where they spend their online video ad money. And for the first time in a long time, the answer isn’t necessarily YouTube by default.

TIME viral

Watch Adorable Little Girls Cuss Out a ‘Sexist’ Santa

The Potty-Mouth Princesses are back

Remember those “potty-mouth princesses” who drop F-bombs in the name of feminism? Well, they’re back and have a bone to pick with Santa. Yes, that Santa.

The left-leaning advocacy group FCKH8 has raised eyebrows with its shock tactic advertising (swearing little girls wearing princess gear) to raise awareness on issues — like violence against women, gender inequality, and now the gender wage gap. Grade school girls holding up fractions of soccer balls and skate boards say, “How sh**** would it be if Santa were sexist as society?” … followed by a series of expletives.

There are few things more disarming than little girls in party dresses cussing out Santa Claus. Except maybe the fact that women make 78% of their male counterparts’ salaries should be.

 

TIME technology

YouTube Reportedly Paying Big Money to Keep Top Stars

YouTube

Pitched effort to stop competitors from poaching talent

YouTube is offering its celebrities bonuses in exchange for multi-year exclusivity contracts, according to a new report, amid fears that some of its biggest stars will be lured away by competing video platforms.

The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reports that YouTube has “been in a fire drill” in recent weeks to prevent its stars from defecting to competitors like Facebook and Vessel. YouTube stars say competing offers have been “incredibly attractive.”

Read more at the Wall Street Journal

TIME space

Orion Successfully Completes Space Mission

After three postponements Thursday

The Orion spacecraft successfully touched down in the Pacific Ocean Friday morning, 4.5 hours after launching into space.

NASA had called off three successive countdowns on Thursday in the wake of wind gusts and valve problems with the vessel, but the mission went off as planned Friday.

“There’s your new spacecraft, America,” Mission Control commentator Rob Navias said moments before the Orion capsule landed in the water, the AP reports.

The experimental craft orbited the Earth twice and traveled a distance of 3,600 miles into space before the landing. The Orion project is a Lockheed Martin and Boeing joint venture that undertakes commercial and U.S. government launches.

“The flight is designed to test many of the most vital elements for human spaceflight and will provide critical data needed to improve Orion’s design and reduce risks to future mission crews,” read a NASA statement.

TIME Media

Eric Garner and Why Cameras Are Not Magic Wands

People take part in a protest against the grand jury decision on the death of Eric Garner in midtown Manhattan in New York
People take part in a protest against the grand jury decision on the death of Eric Garner in midtown Manhattan in New York on Dec. 3, 2014. Eric Thayer—Reuters

Seeing may be believing, but one more case reminds us that that's not enough by itself.

“Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.” –Justice Louis Brandeis

“We had a video. How can we win? We can’t win.” –James, a protester near the site of Eric Garner’s death in Staten Island

That was the constant refrain in the reactions to yesterday’s non-indictment of a police officer in the death of Eric Garner on Staten Island: “We had a video.” We’d just gone through the divisive Michael Brown case in Ferguson, Mo., a police-shooting case involving conflicting testimony and no video of the actual killing in question. This time was supposed to be different. Millions of people saw it. The world, as they say, was watching.

This time wasn’t different.

People who write about media and technology and society–people like me–can sometimes act like cameras are some magical, democratizing force, shining sunlight everywhere and disinfecting the dark corners. Put cameras in every pocket and Google Glass on every face and someday bad actors won’t be able to hide. People won’t be able to change their stories. This optimism is the opposite of the fear of a total-surveillance state. With bottom-up surveillance, the idea goes, we’ll live in an instant replay society; we will always be able to go to the videotape.

If nothing else, the Eric Garner case is a reminder not to get too carried away with this. Images are powerful. But so are laws, so are juries, so are people’s deep-seated fears and beliefs, so is confirmation bias. Seeing is believing, to a point. But seeing is not necessarily acting. And seeing will not necessarily shake a belief that someone is deeply committed to holding.

Over two decades ago, Rodney King was brutalized on videotape; the police who beat him were still acquitted. Ray Rice was caught on video punching out his wife; he’s no longer playing football, but already there’s talk of his eventual comeback. The police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice was caught on camera, which pointed up contradictions to the original police account, but will there be consequences? We’ve just learned not to assume that.

It’s not that video is useless in any of these cases. It stokes outrage, for sure. But seeing isn’t enough; without action, the notion that millions of people saw something and still nothing changed could just lead to despair and cynicism, or numbing. The Garner video was about as unambiguous as could be, yet mostly it just meant that news stations were able to wallpaper their coverage, over and over, the video footage of a man beginning to die.

Having video is better than not having video, but this case should remind us–like with any over-optimistic embrace of technology’s social power–that it’s a tool, not a cure. Sure, put cameras on police; pull out your smartphone if you see something. But it’s not enough in itself that the whole world is watching. The whole world also needs to do something.

TIME space

NASA Orion Launch Postponed Till Friday

NASA hopes the spacecraft will make it to Mars one day

A series of problems forced NASA to delay a planned launch of its its new Orion spacecraft on Thursday.

The next launch attempt is slated for Friday at 7:05 a.m. ET.

The launch, an early step in NASA’s mission to send people to Mars, was set to begin at 7:05 a.m. ET on Thursday but was delayed multiple times for a variety of reasons, including a boat in the area and valve trouble on the core booster. Thursday’s launch window closed at 9:44 a.m. ET.

The un-crewed Orion is intended to orbit 3,600 miles above Earth before it finally crashes into the Pacific Ocean. It will measure the effects of high radiation zones on the spacecraft, which has a heat shield to withstand massive temperatures when it speeds into the atmosphere at 20,000 mph, before finally hitting the ocean.

There will be more test-runs to come for Orion, a vessel that NASA hopes will ultimately take astronauts into new places–maybe even Mars.

TIME celebrities

Tom Brady Stars as Telemarketer Named Gary in Hilarious New Ad

Tom Brady can do it all

Tom Brady can do it all. Not only is the New England Patriots quarterback having an MVP-caliber season on the field, but he is starring in a commercial for a fantasy football app as “Gary,” a telemarketer whose demeanor is eerily similar to Super Creepy Rob Lowe.

We’re also treated to the return of Brady’s glorious long hair, which he previously rocked circa 2010. As “Gary” says in the commercial, “boom shakalaka.”

This article originally appeared on SI.com

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