TIME viral

Watch an Unbelievable Dust Storm Turn Belarus Into Tatooine

This is terrifying

An incredible video has surfaced of a bizarre weather phenomenon that, within a matter of minutes, transformed day into night in the Belarus city of Soligorsk on Monday.

Thankfully, while property damage was reported in the region, nobody was injured during the storm, says the Russian news outlet RT.

A cold front near the border with Ukraine created the epic dust storm called a “haboob,” which is rare in the region at this time of year. What’s more, the storm also included heavy rain.

It appears Mother Nature reminded us that science fiction may not be so outlandish after all.

Read next: How a Dust Storm Inspired a Mass Exodus and a Great Novel

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TIME Exercise/Fitness

Fitness Guru Jillian Michaels Files $10 Million Lawsuit

The Dave Thomas Foundation For Adoption's Kickball For A Home Celebrity Kickball Game
Getty Images

The trainer says she has not been compensated for videos used by Lionsgate

Fitness star and trainer Jillian Michaels has filed a $10 million lawsuit against Lionsgate over YouTube videos posted to its channel.

Michaels—a former The Biggest Loser host—claims Lionsgate has not compensated her for her workout videos that are used on the Lionsgate BeFit YouTube channel, Variety reports. Michaels says she was not consulted about Lionsgate’s use of her brand and image and that the amount of videos used by the studio has exceeded their contract so she should receive royalties.

Michaels says her videos make up nearly half of the 350 million views gained by the channel.

Michaels and Lionsgate did not respond to requests for comment at publication.

TIME Technology & Media

An Ad-Free Paid Version of YouTube Is Definitely Coming

An employee at the Google Inc.'s YouTube Space studio in Tokyo, Japan.
Bloomberg via Getty Images An employee holding recording equipment walks past Google Inc.'s YouTube logo displayed at the company's YouTube Space studio in Tokyo, Japan, on Saturday, March 30, 2013. In Japan, YouTube's biggest regional success story in Asia, the company is recruiting online stars to bolster its local-language channels with more-targeted original programming and higher production values. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The service is expected to launch by the end of the year

YouTube said Wednesday it will soon launch a new subscription-based service that will let users watch videos on the website without annoying ads interrupting the clips.

The streaming video website, which is owned by Google, reportedly disclosed the planned paid service in an e-mail sent to producers of top video content and obtained by various media outlets. The e-mail did not say how much the subscription would cost or when it would become available. However, Bloomberg cited an anonymous source who said the paid service would be available before the end of this year.

YouTube also reportedly plans to update its terms of service for video partners, effective in June, to give them a 55% cut of subscription revenues, according to TechCrunch. Current YouTube content creators — including social media stars like Michelle Phan — already get a similar share of ad revenues.

Last fall, reports surfaced claiming YouTube was considering an ad-free, paid service as part of its effort to boost revenue (and, eventually, turn a profit), but the company had offered no confirmation until now.

The subscription will be Google and YouTube’s latest attempt to diversify beyond the ad-based business model for the more than a billion users who visit the streaming video site monthly. In November, YouTube introduced a test version of Music Key, the website’s ad-free, subscription music service that will cost $9.99 a month. YouTube already offers top-flight videos on certain paid channels and users can also rent or buy moves through the site.

Wednesday’s disclosure comes at a time when Google and YouTube are facing stiffer competition than ever from rival online streaming services, such as Netflix and Hulu. Netflix, in particular, has been adding original content including television series and movie deals with big names like Adam Sandler to better compete with more traditional media outlets. Amazon has followed suit, adding critically acclaimed original content to its own Prime Instant Video service.

Meanwhile, traditional media outlets like HBO and CBS are also building their own subscription-based services, while startups such as Vessel — a paid video site created by former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar — are taking aim directly at YouTube’s users.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

 

TIME National Security

Social Media Ban Lifted on Muslim Preacher Who Inspired Syrian Fighters

Cleric is a particular favorite of foreign jihadists in Syria

Ahmad Musa Jebril, a Michigan-based Muslim cleric, is free to return to social media after the lifting of a ban imposed upon him because his sermons were inspiring foreign jihadists to join the conflict in Syria, Reuters reports.

Last summer, a federal judge ordered restrictions on the imam after he was identified as an English-speaking preacher particularly admired by fighters traveling to Syria to join groups like ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.

Jebril’s access to the Internet was severely restricted and he had to regularly report to probation officials.

Court documents reveal that Jebril, a U.S. citizen, has had a long involvement in hardline Islamist ideology along with his father.

Although the bans have now been lifted for a few days, it appears that Jebril has not yet been active on Twitter, YouTube or his own website.

[Reuters]

MONEY Kids and Money

YouTube Kids App Accused of Sneaky Advertising

Consumer groups want the FTC to investigate Google over what they consider deceptive advertising toward kids.

TIME Advertising

YouTube Is Targeting Kids With ‘Deceptive’ Ads, Advocates Say

Groups have filed an FTC complaint over ads on new video app

Google’s new child-friendly version of YouTube has too many ads that target kids, consumer advocates say.

The new app, YouTube Kids, offers a streamlined version of the massive video site with a focus on kids’ content. But consumer advocates say the large number of ads and ad-like programming in the app run afoul of rules that regulate how advertisers can market to children on television.

In a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission, advocates say YouTube Kids ignores television advertising safeguards that prevent businesses from jamming kids’ television shows full of marketing messages. For example, YouTube Kids hosts branded channels for corporations such as McDonald’s and Fisher-Price that feature programming that could be thought of as commercials, which is a practice that is limited on traditional TV, according to the complaint. Advertising and programming are too intermixed within the app for developing children to distinguish between the two, the complaint says. “There is nothing ‘child friendly’ about an app that obliterates long-standing principles designed to protect kids from commercialism,” Josh Golin, associate director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said in a press release that calls YouTube Kids “deceptive.”

YouTube has pushed back against the complaint, arguing that an ad-supported, free platform is a great offering for kids. “We worked with numerous partners and child advocacy groups when developing YouTube Kids. While we are always open to feedback on ways to improve the app, we were not contacted directly by the signers of this letter and strongly disagree with their contentions,” a YouTube spokesperson said in an email.

Signatories of the complaint included the Center for Digital Democracy, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

TIME viral

Watch Driving Instructors Get Pranked by a Pro Racer

They think she doesn't know how to drive

Driving tests are supposed to be nerve-racking for new students, but one Malaysian driving school flipped the script and absolutely terrified their rookie instructors.

To prank employees on their first day of work, the school hired Leona Chin, a professional rally-racing driver, to be the unlucky tutors’ first pupil.

Chin, dressed up in a nerdy-looking outfit, spends the first half of the video pretending she’s a hopeless learner. Then, just as instructors are getting frustrated, Chin reveals her true talents—and the reactions are priceless.

“The 3 employees you saw at the end loved it and laughed it off, but the guy in the blue shirt was not too happy. That’s why we didn’t have footage of him smiling,” Izmir Mujab, CEO of the media company behind the video, told TIME.

Read next: Watch Mariah Carey Kill at Car Karaoke on The Late Late Show

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TIME viral

Watch Four Pranksters Try to Sell Microsoft Products in an Apple Store

"Have you ever tried the Microsoft tablets?"

A surefire way to get fired from an Apple Genius position would be to start recommending Microsoft products to customers. These four guys did just that — good thing they don’t actually work for Apple.

Well known YouTube pranksters NelkFilmz dressed-up in Apple uniforms, walked into a what appears to be an Apple store, and began making unhelpful suggestions to shoppers like “An iPhone? Honestly, like, I wouldn’t get an iPhone.”

Inevitably, managers and staff discovered them — but not before plenty of hilarious awkwardness took place.

Read next: The Next Windows Is Coming Way Sooner Than We Thought

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TIME Appreciation

Watch The Matrix Lobby-Fight Scene Re-Enacted With Legos

A Redditor spent at least 160 hours re-creating this scene

Matrix franchise aficionados and Lego geeks can revel in a new YouTube re-enactment of the famous lobby-fight sequence from the original 1999 sci-fi action film. Shot scene-for-scene with Legos plastic toys, Reddit user Snooperking animated every minute detail from Trinity running up walls and Neo cartwheeling while volleys of plastic bullets knock cubic chunks out of the walls.

On Reddit, Snooperking said he toiled for approximately 160 hours to re-enact the iconic scene over three months. “I could only do like up to two hours a day before I got sick of it and had to play Battlefield,” Snooperking said. He selected the complex fight sequence to challenge himself to improve his animation skills, after creating a Star Wars Lego video in 2014.

To get a sense of the sheer patience required to reconstruct the Matrix scene with plastic Legos, Snooperking also offers a behind-the-scene video.

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