TIME celebrities

5 Things to Expect at This Year’s Comic-Con

The convention begins this Thursday, causing rumors to spread about what fans have to look forward to.

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Thursday marks the start of the 44th annual San Diego International Comic-Con, and fans are lining up to be a part of the highly-anticipated action.

The panel for the final installment of The Hobbit trilogy will be held on Saturday, and it is rumored that director Peter Jackson will release a trailer for the film.

The Marvel panel will be covering details on the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron. The sequel to the wildly successful Avengers film is expected to get some reveal during the panel.

A large number of the Game of Thrones cast, along with George R. R. Martin, have the show’s panel on Friday, where it is rumored they will discuss the show’s overlap with the novels.

MONEY Estate Planning

What Parents Can Learn From Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Will

When it comes to deciding who inherits what, the law gives the dead wide latitude to impose a number of conditions.

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On Tuesday, the will of Oscar-winning actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman was released to the public. In addition to dictating who would receive various parts of his estate, the document also contained a more esoteric request: that his son, Cooper, be raised in one of three cities—New York, Chicago, or San Francisco—to ensure that he would grow up in a rich cultural environment.

It’s an understandable request (and as a New Yorker, I’m flattered we made the list), but is it really legal to dictate where your children grow up after you’ve already passed on? And, more broadly, to what extent can one control their descendants’ actions post-mortem?

By law, Hoffman could not have ordered his child’s guardian to keep Cooper in a particular place. Gerry W. Beyer, a professor at Texas Tech University School of Law, explains that wills can do no more than transfer property from the deceased to their survivors. That said, there there are plenty of ways the dead can use property to encourage (or, some might say, coerce) descendants into living a certain kind of life.

If you want to influence your survivors to do something—finish college, go to mass, take good care of Fido, etc.—the best way to do it is to promise them money on the condition they fulfill your request. For example, if you want to make sure your son takes his education seriously, you can leave him $10,000 on the condition he is admitted to a top-ranked college. If Junior knows too many late homework assignments could mean missing out on a huge payday, he’s probably going to hit the books.

Because the deceased have no obligation to give away anything after death, courts tend to give them wide latitude in how their wealth is distributed. The only clear restriction is that inheritance cannot be conditioned on an illegal act (kill the neighbor and you’ll get my car). Otherwise, the condition must simply avoid acting against “public policy”—it can’t encourage something the state doesn’t like—and defining what that includes is almost entirely up to an individual judge.

Ample room for interpretation can sometimes lead to controversial results. In a landmark 2009 ruling, a judge upheld the will of a Chicago dentist that denied funds to any of his grandchildren who married a non-Jew. Various family members sued, arguing the clause provided monetary incentive towards racism. “It is at war with society’s interest in eliminating bigotry and prejudice, and conflicts with modern moral standards of religious tolerance,” one (disinherited) granddaughter wrote in a brief to the Illinois Supreme Court. The verdict? Too bad. The judge found no reason why her grandfather could not choose to favor those descendants who followed his religious traditions.

According to Beyer, this type of decision isn’t uncommon. “This is something the court is doing in its equitable powers,” says the professor. “You can even find similar cases in the same state that go different ways.”

Highlighting this issue, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania had previously ruled against a different will that also attempted to mandate religious observance. In that case, the document required a son to “remain faithful” to his father’s religion in order to receive any money. Unlike the Illinois case, this court found that the will contradicted the state’s Bill of Rights, which declared no human authority could interfere with acts of conscience. Does that sound inconsistent? Now you’re getting the hang of it.

Luckily, there are some relatively standard limits to what strings one can attach to their will. Beyer advises that courts will often use public policy arguments to deny provisions that are “manifestly unfair or unreasonable.” For example, a provision that would grant a person money for divorcing their spouse would be ruled invalid.

However, when it comes to the more contentious issues, there’s no telling how a case will turn out. Hoffman graciously chose to merely suggest that Cooper be raised in a cultural center, leaving the final decision completely up to Mimi O’Donnell, the mother of his children and inheritor of his estate. However, had Hoffman chosen to stake O’Donnell’s inheritance on keeping his son in a major city, Beyer says, the outcome would rest on the relevant court’s prerogative.

“Where you draw the line can be kind of fuzzy,” Beyer says. “People have done a lot of strange things.”

MONEY Estate Planning

WATCH: Why Philip Seymour Hoffman Didn’t Leave Money to His Children

Hoffman is just one of many wealthy celebrities and businesspeople who have decided against leaving trust funds for their children.

TIME Music

Watch Monty Python Sing Their Last Song Ever

Always look on the bright side of life, even if there's no more Monty Python

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After almost 50 years together, Monty Python bid farewell in appropriate fashion: with a sing-along of their decidedly tongue-in-cheek song, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

The song, which was originally performed during the final crucifixion scene from their hilarious (if heretical) film, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, was a fitting end to a long career for the influential and iconic comedy troupe.

The surviving members of the group — which included Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Graham Chapman, who passed away in 1989 — reunited for a 10-night series of performances billed as a “pre-posthumous memorial service” with the tag line “Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go.” The Python members said that this would be the final time they performed together, a pronouncement that helped the wildly-popular and well-respected troupe sell out London’s 20,000-seat capacity O2 Arena in a staggering 43.5 seconds. Another nine dates were added, which also quickly sold out.

Their final performance, which took place on July 20th, was recorded for a live, worldwide theatrical telecast, which more than 700,000 tuned in to watch, according to a statement by UK comedy channel Gold, which hosted the broadcast. A DVD of the performance is reportedly in the works.

To end their final performance and mark their remarkable 40-plus-year career, the Pythons chose to go out with a swan song joined on stage by Mike Myers, Harry Shearer and others eager to pay their respects to the group and lift their voice in song alongside the Pythons. As “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” ended, the beloved troupe took their final bow and a screen displayed, “Monty Python, 1969 – 2014,” leaving fans the barest hope that in true Python fashion, they’re not dead yet.

MORE: Monty Python Release New Comedy Track ‘Lousy Song’

MORE: Watch Mick Jagger Prove He Can Take a Joke in Hilarious Monty Python Video

TIME Outer Space

What’s Next For NASA? Asteroids!

NASA aims to continue their space exploration with their Asteroid Redirect Mission.

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NASA has not sent astronauts to the moon since 1972. While that remains a historic event, President Barack Obama’s cancellation of the Constellation Program back in 2010 ended hopes indefinitely of the United States returning to the moon any time soon.

Still, that program’s death did not mark the end of NASA’s work and planetary exploration overall. The agency is currently working on its next target: catching an asteroid, pulling it into the moon’s orbit and sending astronauts to its location in order to study it.

The purpose of the mission, according to NASA, is for planetary defense, as the Earth has had instances of asteroid interference in very recent history. Scientists claim that in changing the orbit of an asteroid and studying its composition, Earth could protect itself from another asteroid crashing into its atmosphere.

The Asteroid Redirect Mission, should it be successful, could also be used as a testing ground for a possible mission to Mars in the near future.

TIME animals

The Purrfect Supercut of Cats in Movies

Featuring furballs from Milo and Otis to The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

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The Argentine-based filmmakerAriel Belziti has graced the Internet with “Supercats!,” a supercut of cats in movies. The clip is filled with your favorite furry Hollywood felines, like “Cat” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the protagonist of That Darn Cat!, Buttercup from The Hunger Games and the poor star of the 1903 classic The Sick Kitten. There’s even a montage of cat-stroking villains and, yes, Garfield is in the mix. To top it all off, the video is soundtracked by The Cure’s “Love Cats”.

The uber-montage of cinematic cats — kittens, furballs and CGI creations — is the perfect clip to watch when you are stuck at work on a summer Wednesday or any other time you need some feline-based escapism.

(h/t io9)

MORE: The Hottest New Exercise Equipment Is a Giant Hamster Wheel…for Cats

MORE: This Website Knows Where Your Cat Lives

TIME celebrity

Jack White Was Not Impressed by the Cubs Game Last Night

More like take me out of the ball game

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Jack White, the American musician best known as one half of the The White Stripes, was spotted looking as if he was bored and annoyed during a game between the Chicago Cubs and the San Diego Padres at Wrigley Field on July 22.

The Internet has been having a field day over his expression.

A MLB.com post described the scene in the form of his songs. (“Looking to have a baseBall and a Biscuit, Jack White was spotted at Wrigley In The Cold, Cold Night.”)

Hopefully, for his fans’ sake, he turns that frown upside down before his concerts in Chicago tonight, July 23, and tomorrow night, July 24.

TIME animals

Recycle Plastic Bottles in This Machine, and It Will Dispense Food for Stray Dogs

A recycling bin that's good for the earth and its four-legged inhabitants

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In Istanbul, Turkey, where an estimated 150,000 stray dogs and cats reportedly wander the streets, a Turkish company called Pugedon believes it has come up with a way to feed the animals: “Smart Recycling Boxes,” a machine that dispenses food and water in exchange for recycled plastic bottles, Big Think reports.

The benefits of the vending machine are supposed to be two fold: encourage recycling and feed the city’s strays. Recycling is put on top and food is dispensed out the bottom within easy reach for animals in need. There’s even a water dish attached so users can pour the remaining water from a plastic bottle before recycling it. The recycled bottles are supposed to cover the cost of the food.

The problem of managing stray dogs in international cities most recently came to light during the 2014 Winter Olympics, when stray dogs roamed the street’s of the Games’ host city, Sochi, Russia. When it was reported that some of the Sochi strays were going to be culled, animal rights activists sprung into action to rescue the homeless pups, and even some of the athletes brought them back to the United States.

MORE: 10 Stray Sochi Pups Arrive in U.S.

MORE: Mystery Photo Found In Stray Dog’s Collar Baffles County

TIME The Brief

When Fatal Arrests Are Caught on Camera

Eric Garner's death is the latest in a long line of violent police incidents filmed by amateurs.

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After Eric Garner was killed on Staten Island while being arrested July 22, the footage of the incident quickly turned into a national debate over the use of force by police.

From Rodney King in the early 1990′s to Oscar Grant in 2009, examples of excessive force by officers caught on tape may have fallen by the wayside, were it not for their being captured on video.

The world of iPhones and Twitter have furthered the exposure of such incidents, which often call police behavior into question.

TIME celebrity

Chris Pratt Gets Up During Interview to French Braid an Intern’s Hair

Further proving that he's the boyfriend of your dreams

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A few months back, actor Chris Pratt showed off his admittedly very impressive French braiding skills on Instagram. In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, the Guardians of the Galaxy star got a chance to prove that he’s really the exceptional hairstylist he claims to be. Halfway through the otherwise average interview, an intern came out to put Pratt to the test. He gamely begins to fashion her hair into a braid as he carries on with the interview — and while he says the result isn’t perfect, it looks pretty good to us.

Somehow we just can’t imagine Andy Dwyer being able to pull this off.

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