Thursday, October 2, 2014

Secret Service Has ‘Elevator Manifest’ for Every Presidential Trip

Secret Service Has ‘Elevator Manifest’ for Every Presidential Trip

Secret Service Has ‘Elevator Manifest’ for Every Presidential Trip

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 11:01 AM PDT

When the President travels nothing is taken for granted, not even the co-occupants of the presidential elevator, raising new questions about how an armed man with a criminal history managed to get within arm’s length of President Barack Obama last month.

A week before every presidential trip—often longer for foreign travel—”advance” teams from the U.S. Secret Service, the White House, and other government agencies trace every step the president will take, as well as alternates for every contingency. Plans are drawn up for who will sit where on Air Force One and which vehicle in the President’s mile-long motorcade aides will occupy, according to multiple individuals familiar with presidential travel, including law enforcement personnel.

Officials said the manifests are largely logistical in nature, devised to clear up which aides will travel with the president and “the shift,” the personal detail assigned to him. “There may be 35 people with him in a freight elevator in a sporting arena, or just a few in a cramped one in an old-school Chicago high rise,” one veteran said. Other aides, members of the press, and additional Secret Service agents will be shuttled in other marked elevators or will take the stairs, depending on the site. Occasionally a space for an “elevator operator” is reserved, especially when the president is set to move in a freight elevator, but often they are not named on the manifest.

“Elevator manifests are a standard procedure,” said a law enforcement official, citing the logistical challenge of moving the president, his aides, his bodyguards, and the traveling press without a hitch. Which is another reason the Secret Service will remain in the sights of Congressional overseers even after Wednesday’s announced resignation by Julia Pierson, the agency’s beleaguered director.

A private contractor at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta boarded the presidential elevator on Sept. 16 and wouldn’t heed orders to stop photographing Obama. Agents pulled the man aside for questioning after Obama left the elevator, at which point the man’s supervisor fired him on the spot for his behavior. It was only then that officers discovered that the man, who was arrested several times, was carrying a firearm, officials said.

The security breach came days before an armed man leaped over the White House fence and charged past an agent at the North Portico door before being arrested near the Green Room, an incident that prompted renewed public scrutiny for the agency.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday that Obama was not informed of the elevator incident until minutes before it was first reported by the Washington Examiner on Tuesday afternoon. Congressional sources said outgoing Secret Service Director Julia Pierson did not mention the security lapse in her classified testimony to lawmakers Tuesday, despite being asked whether there were any undisclosed security incidents that she was aware of. Pierson tendered her resignation Wednesday after losing the support of Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson. “The President concluded that new leadership of that agency was required,” Earnest said.

Whether the still-unidentified individual was named on the manifest, was unnamed, or had simply managed to enter the elevator with the president is one subject of the ongoing internal probe into the incident. Either way, officials said, the man should not have been able to carry the weapon that close to the President. The Secret Service would not comment on the status of the ongoing investigation.

With reporting by Alex Rogers / Washington

This Is Where All of America’s Employed Bachelors Live

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 10:47 AM PDT

Roughly eight in 10 single women who want to tie the knot one day say it’s “very important” to them that their future spouses hold down a steady job, according to a recent poll by Pew Research. Less than half of the surveyed men felt the same way. In either case, Pew Research has created an interactive map of the marriage market to showcase which parts of the country tend to have a bumper crop of employed bachelors and bachelorettes:

The highest concentration of single men with jobs live in the city of Clarksville, straddling both sides of the Tennessee-Kentucky border. They outnumber the women 145 to 100.

Interestingly, there isn’t a single city in the nation where employed, single women outnumber the men. They live in the highest concentration in Lewiston-Auburn, Maine, at a roughly 1 to 1 ratio with the male population.

But the most intriguing differences emerge depending on the definition of “eligible.” If the goal is to find the highest proportion of bachelors, then large swathes of Arizona, Indiana and Louisiana offer favorable odds, but refine the goal to employed bachelors and suddenly those states appear to be wastelands. It reveals how drastically the marriage market can change depending on what you’re looking for, and how unlikely it is that a map of just one or two preferences will lead to that life-long mate.

Then again, it doesn’t hurt to look.

Why Pregnant Women Who Smoke Might Have Kids With Worse Sperm

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 10:47 AM PDT

Add diminished fertility to the long list of reasons why women should avoid smoking while pregnant or breast feeding. The mice sons—called pups—of mothers exposed to the smoke equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day during that time wind up with sperm that struggle in the reproduction process, according to a new study in mice published in the journal Human Reproduction.

“Our results show that male pups of ‘smoking’ mothers have fewer sperm, which swim poorly, are abnormally shaped and fail to bind to eggs during in vitro fertilisation studies,” said study leader Eileen McLaughlin, a chemical biology professor at the University of Newcastle in Australia, in a press release. “Consequently, when these pups reach adulthood they are sub fertile or infertile.”

Unlike previous research, the new study looked at pregnancy in mice to try to determine not just the consequences of smoking during pregnancy but also the mechanism behind it. Cigarette toxins affect the stem cells in the testes, McLaughlin says, which results in permanently lowered sperm production—and these results likely apply to humans, she adds. “We also know that oxidative stress induced by these toxins causes damage to the nuclei and mitochondria (the cell’s ‘power’ supply) of cells in the testes and this results in sperm with abnormal heads and tails, that are unable to swim properly or successfully bind and fuse with eggs.”

The knowledge that smoking has devastating long-term implications for the health of children is nothing new. Previous studies have suggested that smoking stems fetus growth, leads to premature delivery and causes birth defects. Nonetheless, 20% of women in the United States continue to smoke during pregnancy. The number is higher in Australia, where the study was conducted.

“We would ask that smoking cessation programmes continue to emphasise that women should avoid smoking in pregnancy and while breast feeding as the male germ line is very susceptible to damage during early development and the resulting sub fertility will not be apparent for several decades,” said McLaughlin.

Luke Wilson: How I Made My Award-Winning Short Film Satellite Beach

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 10:45 AM PDT

In the fall of 2012, the actor Luke Wilson and a small film crew trailed the Space Shuttle Endeavor as it moved through the Los Angeles streets to the California Science Center. Wilson, along with his brother Andrew, shot largely improvised footage of a character named Warren Flowers (played by Wilson) who believes he is in charge of the shuttle’s journey; the footage became a 20-minute evocative short film called Satellite Beach (now available to purchase online). For Wilson, the experience allowed him the chance to make a film in a different way and to explore space travel, a subject he says he finds compelling.

A hit at festivals, where it’s snapped up a string of awards, Satellite Beach is an unusual film, and one that deftly twists the viewer’s expectations while showcasing what it was like to drive a space shuttle through LA’s busy streets.

Wilson spoke with TIME about how this project materialized, how it challenged him as an actor, and why it’s set him and Andrew up to direct an upcoming feature film.

TIME: Where did you get the inspiration for this short film?

Luke Wilson: There was an article on Sunday in the LA Times about the man who was in charge of the moving of the Space Shuttle Endeavor. He said a couple of interesting things, like that he went to bed thinking about it and he woke up thinking about it. He drove the route almost daily. He was obsessed with it. I thought it would be interesting to do a guy that thought he was in charge of it, but turns out not to be.

So did the people moving the shuttle know you were making this movie around them?

We just filmed here and there. There would be people that didn’t notice me; there would people who thought I was an official. And then there would be people that recognized me. If I was going to ask guys to move on a roof or something, I’d say, “We’re doing a little movie. Do you guys mind if I ask you to get down from there?” Everybody was into it. It reminded me of going to the Rose Bowl Parade as a kid, where we were in these parts of the city, and everyone was in a good mood, and there was a going-with-the-flow attitude.

Did you write the story beforehand, or just improvise as you went?

I worked it out all as I did it. I had the idea for a few scenes, and had the idea of how it would start and what would going on — knowing that gradually this guy would unravel, and people would see him unravel. Initially, the ending was supposed to be a gala at the California Science Center, and you think this guy is in charge until the end, when he can’t get into the gala. And then the transporter that moved the space shuttle broke down the first night, and they had to fix it. I always knew there were would be voiceover, and the voiceover would be dictated by the shots that we got.

That’s an interesting way to make a movie.

Yeah, it is. Not that it hasn’t been done, but I certainly hadn’t done it. And I’d always been interested in certain filmmakers or actors like Dennis Hopper, making experimental films. Or even Andy Warhol. I liked the idea of doing something off-the-cuff. When you’ve worked on a bunch of projects that have been stuck in development or waiting you think, “Gosh, someday I’d really like to make a movie my way” — which I still haven’t gotten to do, but we did get to make this short in this way. But it definitely came about from trying to emulate people I’d read about over the years.

You had directed previously, right?

Yeah, I had directed The Wendell Baker Story. It was this movie I’d written about ten years ago. My brother Andrew and I directed it together like we did with Satellite Beach. I’m not one of those actors who’s hell-bent on directing. It just seemed like a way to cut out the middle man. It’s hard enough to make a movie and we had a limited amount of time, so I didn’t want to have to be explaining to a director what I was trying to do.

As an actor, what’s exciting about being in a short film that’s largely improvised?

I found it really nerve-wracking! And I’m surprised we didn’t get arrested, frankly, as close as we were to the shuttle. We were asking people to move and going up to police and jumping over barricades. When they moved it across the Manchester Bridge they were filming a Super Bowl commercial, and I walked right into the middle of that. I went up to the mayor dressed as the character. I was definitely on edge the whole time, which I think helped. I was waiting to be put in the back of a squad car.

Did it feel like you were playing out some childhood fantasy about space travel at all?

It did. Just growing up, The Right Stuff was a big book and then a big movie. For me and the few friends who made [the movie], it was a huge deal to be around the space shuttle. Everybody was incredibly excited to see it and to be that close to it. It was the kind of thing where we were all elbowing each other and high-fiving each other. Also, getting to get to go Kennedy Space Center in Florida. That, too, was incredible. Just getting to be on that land that is so historic and iconic. We saw the Apollo launch pad. It kept changing the project — to think it just started with an idea from the newspaper and then it became this movie.

You’re also in The Skeleton Twins right now. What compelled you about that role?

I was a big fan of both Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader. It was one of those particularly strong SNL classes. I really liked their characters and I knew, having worked with Will Ferrell, that I love working with SNL actors. I watched SNL every Saturday night growing up. My dad would get us revved up when it was coming on in the ‘70s. So I still feel that way about the show and the people on it.

How does that role play into where you want to be in your career overall?

I always admire people that have a set plan. I really don’t. I like to work because I always feel like I’m learning something and I always feel like I’m meeting somebody, whether it’s an actor or a crew member, who I want to work with again. I don’t really have a set plan and I don’t know that you can have a set plan unless you’re Brad Pitt, where you can pick and do exactly what you want.

Do you have more movies upcoming?

I have this movie called Ride, which Helen Hunt directed. And then I have this movie called Prison Love that I wrote. We’re going to be doing it in the next few months, that Owen [Wilson] is going to be in. I will be directing it with Andrew, my brother. That will be fun to try and do that again, obviously on a larger scale than Satellite Beach — although I feel like Satellite Beach was helpful in terms of directing.

Is there a director you’ve worked with who has inspired how you want to do it?

Wes Anderson, for sure. I’ve also always liked what I’ve read about Clint Eastwood as a director. He’s not walking around shouting into a megaphone and wearing an ascot. I like the idea of it being a workmanlike job, and that you are a part of a team. Even though you’re in charge, you want people to feel free to contribute.

Wait — have you worked with a director who wore an ascot on set?

I don’t think so, but I’ve definitely worked with a few directors where I’ve found myself not listening to their direction. I was just imagining them wearing the ascot.

Watch the First Trailer for Pixar’s Inside Out

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 10:39 AM PDT

Pixar movies have ventured under the sea, into the air and through outer space. Now, they’re turning inward.

Its upcoming film Inside Out will delve inside the head of an 11-year-old girl who struggles to understand her emotions as she navigates a new school. Her personified emotions — Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) — operate a mission control center inside her mind.

Inside Out is set to hit theaters on June 19, 2015, almost two years after Pixar’s last film, Monsters University.

From Eleanor to Michelle: The Inside Scoop on First Lady Fashion

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 10:28 AM PDT

It’s hard to imagine a job in which the clothes you wear to work are more closely scrutinized than that of the First Lady of the United States. Not even the President is so meticulously judged. And in any event, choosing between a dark suit or a tan suit (gasp!) doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for error.

The First Lady’s fashion choices are — and always have been — imbued with political power and laden with controversy, as I learned the National Archives’ event “Style and Influence: First Ladies’ Fashions,” a raucous panel discussion—not an oxymoron, turns out—moderated by Project Runway’s Tim Gunn. Fashionistas present included Valerie Steele, museum curator at the Fashion Institute of Technology, Lisa Kathleen Graddy, curator at the Smithsonian’s First Ladies Collection and designer Tracy Reese.

Admirers have praised Michelle Obama’s elegance — Gunn called her “divine” — while her critics have lambasted her informality (remember Shortsgate?). But striking the delicate balance between the need of the First Lady to meet high fashion standards while appealing to America’s populist inclinations has always preoccupied the women who’ve held the office.

Dolly Madison (in the White House 1809 to 1817) was derided for being too flashy for American tastes, even though her most well-known dress, a red, high-waisted, no-corset, “empire style” gown, evokes the republican values of ancient Rome. Dolly’s famous red dress is rumored to have been made out of White House curtains she rescued from British arsonists during the War of 1812 — a legend that is, tragically, almost certainly just that.

By the latter half of the century, Dolly’s sleek gowns were old news and American men were all about that bass, no treble. That fuller look was reflected in the wardrobe of the Harriet Lane, the niece of lifelong bachelor President James Buchanan and the first person to be called “First Lady” by the press (they simply didn’t know what else to call her).

According to one writer in the 1880s, “No man would stay long with a woman whose skinny buttocks he could hold in the palm of one hand,” said FIT’s Valerie Steele. And as Tracy Reese noted, we may have come full circle on the big-bottomed style of the era. “Sounds like Nicki Minaj,” she said.

Through the end of the turn of the century, the Roaring Twenties and into the Depression, some First Ladies wore the fashions of their era better than others. Edith Wilson, wife to President Woodrow Wilson, liked to do her own alterations to her clothes with mixed success—Gunn guessed she’d be the first jettisoned from Project Runway. And the image of Eleanor Roosevelt as intrepid if somewhat unfashionable is not altogether true. The Smithsonian’s Lisa Graddy told of a dress that looks conservative on a mannequin but that Mrs. Roosevelt wore with the sleeves removed and unclasped, giving the gown a “nice, draped, low back.”

“She was a bit of a minx,” added Gunn.

The First Lady’s fashion decisions have always had political impact but never more so than in the era of mass visual media, beginning roughly with Jackie Kennedy’s gilded tenure. Jackie’s famously expensive, quasi-aristocratic taste in clothes was such that GOP politicos deliberately tailored the styles of the next Republican woman to inhabit the White House, Pat Nixon, to strike an everywoman note meant to appeal to the supposedly average Americans in President Nixon’s “silent majority.”

Then in the 1980’s, Valerie Steele from FIT notes that Nancy Reagan “almost single handedly, transformed red from the color of Communist revolution to the color of Republicans.” Not a bad scalp for the better half of Mr. “tear down that wall.”

Not all First Ladies are particularly interested in fashion. Hillary Clinton was surprised by the amount of attention her clothes attracted, Steele said. And Laura Bush was largely uninterested in the kind of high-concept fashion thinking that preoccupied someone like Nancy Reagan, who, we’re told, meticulously labeled every dress with the last occasion on which it was worn.

The fashion pendulum has swung back again with Michelle Obama, who, notwithstanding her taste for affordable middle-brow threads (she’s a J. Crew fan), seems to have a personal stake in the statements she makes with her formal wear. Tracy Reese designed the dress Obama wore to the 2012 Democratic National Convention, a dress that was delivered with sleeves attached, Reese said. Obama, who has a well-known fondness for going sleeveless, personally had the sleeves removed.

Photographer ‘Harassing’ Prince George, Royals Say

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 10:20 AM PDT

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge began taking legal action against an unnamed photographer they claim is stalking their son Prince George and his nanny, the Kensington Palace office said in a statement Thursday.

According to the announcement, the royal couple has “taken legal steps to ask that an individual ceases harassing and following both Prince George and his nanny as they go about their ordinary daily lives.”

William and Kate are expecting their second child.

According to a royal spokesperson:

An incident last week has prompted Their Royal Highnesses to seek reasonable assurances from the individual about his behaviour. The individual was spotted at a central London Park in the vicinity of Prince George, who was removed from the Park immediately. There is reason to suspect that the individual may have been placing Prince George under surveillance and monitoring his daily routines for a period of time.

The Duke and Duchess understand the particular public role that Prince George will one day inherit but while he is young, he must be permitted to lead as ordinary a life as possible. No parent would tolerate the suspicion of someone pursuing and harassing their child and carer whilst their child is playing in a public park or going about their daily activities

The 1997 death of Princess Diana, William’s mother, occurred after her automobile crashed while trying to escape pursuit by the paparazzi.

Turkey Approves Military Operations in Iraq, Syria

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 10:16 AM PDT

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey’s parliament has approved a motion that gives the government new powers to launch military incursions into Syria and Iraq and to allow foreign forces to use its territory for possible operations against the Islamic State group.

Parliament voted 298-98 in favor of the motion which sets the legal framework for any Turkish military involvement in Iraq or Syria, and for the potential use of Turkish bases by foreign troops.

Turkey has joined a U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group but has yet to define what role it intends to play.

How to Get Away With Hashtags: When Viewers and Networks Collide on Twitter

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 10:09 AM PDT

While viewers watched the twisty and turny premiere of How to Get Away With Murder last Thursday, iPhones in hand, they had many important thoughts to share with the Twitterverse about the newest Shonda Rhimes-produced show to hit primetime. (Like puns, and the realization that a familiar looking actor was Dean Thomas in Harry Potter). But while carefully crafting 140-character commentary, a wave of social media panic came billowing in:

In case you’re counting, which every live tweeter is, #HowToGetAwayWithMurder is a whopping 23 characters long — leaving significantly less room for commentary. And while the acronym #HTGAWM is less cumbersome, “it looks like a mouthful of gobbledygook,” as author and prolific TV tweeter Jennifer Weiner tells TIME.

Twitter has reinvigorated the act of watching live television, and active social viewers want to make sure they are seeing relevant tweets (and that their relevant tweets are being seen) under one, consistent hashtag conversation. But when multiple hashtags are trending: What do you use? Shonda Rhimes tweeted #HowToGetAwayWithMurder; her production company ShondaLand tweeted #HTGAWM; and writer/creator Peter Nowalk sometimes used both! (31 characters!)

“The official hashtag is #HowToGetAwayWithMurder,” ABC Entertainment executive director of digital strategy Ben Blatt says, clarifying confusion for those tuning in to Thursday’s second episode. “Even knowing that it was on the longer side, we felt that it served the purpose of getting people to understand that this was a new show, and we wanted to brand the actual title.”

And it makes sense. Viewers aren’t familiar enough with the product to have a nickname or abbreviation resonate. While HTGAWM is reminiscent of How I Met Your Mother’s now nostalgic HIMYM — that show’s ascent to popularity predated Twitter, so the acronym was getting typed into text messages long before Twitter text boxes.

Blatt notes that even though promo material touts the longer hashtag, ABC went into its marketing decision with the knowledge that it will “probably end up with an abbreviated version” based on online habits.

ABC gave TIME statistics from Twitter showing that while 141,139 tweets employed #HowToGetAwayWithMurder, almost 50,000 used #HTGAWM — without any official promotion.

“We are going to start testing that more, and if we see that fans are using it, we’re going to pivot,” Blatt says. “That’s going to inform what we start doing for weeks two and three.”

Networks have learned to be malleable when it comes to official hashtags. According to Adam Zeller, VP of social media for Bravo and Oxygen Media, while the social, marketing, and editorial team decide based on consensus what official hashtag “feels right” before a new show airs: “Immediately after the premiere we will look at data and decide if it worked — and if not, we will change it to what the fans want to use.”

One of Zeller’s most surprising hashtag changes was for the show The People’s Couch, a reality show where viewers literally watch strangers watching television. (Yes, really). While Bravo decided to use #PeoplesCouch as a hashtag, displaying it on the screen throughout the broadcast, 95% of the audience independently decided to tweet using #ThePeoplesCouch — foregoing three precious characters.

Obviously, the official hashtag on-air and in promotions changed accordingly. A similar shift occurred when fans preferred #RHOM to the original suggested #RHOMIA for Real Housewives of Miami. With Oxygen’s Tuesday premiere of Nail’d It, a show about nail art, Zeller says, the team has flipped between using the branded #NaildIt versus #NailedIt.

“The pros for #NailedIt is that it’s already a huge hashtag on Twitter,” he says, and so the show might get greater discovery by people who happened to stumble on the popular hashtag. For that reason, Oxygen decided to go with the “e” version, reserving the right to change it when people gain more familiarity with the program.

But even though, according to ABC and Bravo/Oxygen, networks want to work with viewers for consistency, hashtags frequently cause chaos online.

During the SyFy’s premiere of Sharknado 2: The Second One — a television event literally created for Twitter — live tweeters were confused because while the the movie itself touted the #Sharknado2 hashtag onscreen during the broadcast, Sharknado’s official twitter account tweeted using #SharknadoTheSecondOne, creating a conflicting trending topic.

As TIME writer Nolan Feeney sarcastically gripes: “It really hurts my #brand.” But seriously, the warring hashtags do prove problematic.

“You want your tweets to be accessible, you want them to be read by people, you want to feel like we’re all watching this together — that’s the whole point,” says Weiner. “But then when you find out that there’s more than one hashtag going on, it’s like, you’re in the club, and you’re having a good time and then you realize that there’s another party going on. And maybe they’re having more fun with it and maybe they’re not. Maybe you should be at that party.”

Weiner primarily faces this dilemma when deciding whether or not to use “The” while livetweeting The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. Although ABC officially pushes #TheBachelor — that’s what’s tweeted by Chris Harrison and written in translucent letters intermittently through broadcasts — a large contingent of #BachelorNation tweets under #Bachelor.

“It’s three characters,” says Weiner, who switches between the two hashtags in spite of the resulting whiplash. “If Michelle Money shows up in a really terrible outfit, you have no room. Sometimes you need every single one of those characters to describe what’s going on and how crazy it is.”

“I think that we do succumb to the reality that fans will sometimes go off on their own,” Blatt says. But even though networks are open to change sometimes, ABC won’t budge on #TheBachelor brand, which has proven successful in spite of discrepancies.

Even if #HowToGetAwayWithMurder shifts to #HTGAWM or something else entirely (ABC probably doesn’t want the #Murder brand), viewers may still face warring trending topics. Official hashtags do not always dictate trends.

“I think that we need to appeal to Twitter,” Weiner says. “Because there is pain going on. People are suffering. People are confused. Let’s fix this. Let’s make it better.”

3 Categories Where the iPhone 6 Falls Short

Posted: 02 Oct 2014 10:04 AM PDT

Last week, we crowned the iPhone 6 the best smartphone on the market…at least for now. With a mix of strong expert reviews, solid benchmark scores and a host of new features, Apple’s latest handset just nudged its way past the LG G3, HTC One (M8) and Galaxy S5 to claim smartphone supremacy.

But the iPhone’s success comes more from the sum of its parts than from any individual category. The phone doesn’t have the best display. It’s not as light as some competitors. And it certainly doesn’t have the best battery life.

So if you care most about a beautiful screen or a full charge, you can do a lot better than the latest iPhone. We looked at three key categories to see how the iPhone 6 stacks up to its closest competitors stat by stat, feature by feature. Let’s take a look, starting with the iPhone’s biggest weakness.

Battery Life

Battery life has always been tricky to measure objectively, particularly in smartphones. The most popular metric is talk time, but these figures are often fudged by the manufacturers, who can manipulate testing conditions to produce the numbers they want for marketing materials.

And even when you consider third-party reviews—which often feature practical battery comparisons based on day-to-day use—they still rely on the reviewer’s hometown cell towers and personal use habits.

A better metric for a fair comparison is battery capacity. Measured in milliamp hours (mAh), it’s the amount of electric charge the device can deliver—or in consumer terms, it defines how much “juice” there is to go around.

There’s just one problem with this measurement: It doesn’t account for screen size. A smartphone’s screen is a giant power hog: the bigger the screen, the more battery capacity it’ll need to get through the day. This means that a 5.5-inch phablet will die a lot faster than a 4-inch iPhone, even if they have an identical battery capacity.

With this in mind, we’ve plotted screen size against battery capacity to account for differences in smartphone screen size. In the plot below, handsets above the blue line will tend to have worse batteries than average, while phones below the blue line will tend to have better batteries than average.

Predictably, the iPhone 6 sits above the line in the worse battery zone: that 1,810 mAh of capacity simply isn’t enough for its 4.7-inch screen. Despite incremental improvements over the 5s, the iPhone 6 still holds less juice than a glass of Sunny D.

The comparison in the chart isn’t perfect. Specifically, a phone’s pixel density will affect battery life as well, where a more crisp display will drain battery faster. Still, using the above plot, we can see that the DROID MAXX, HTC Butterfly S and several Sony phones—not the iPhone 6—have the industry’s best screen size to battery capacity ratio.


In 2010, Apple set the new standard for display sharpness with the “Retina” iPhone 4. For its time, 326 pixels per inch (PPI) was one small step for screen sharpness and one giant leap for blood-shot eyes.

Four years later, Apple hasn’t budged. The iPhone 6’s display is no crisper than its 4-year-old predecessor, while Samsung, HTC and LG have jumped ahead, pushing their PPIs into the 400s and 500s. You might argue that the human eye can’t discern anything over 300 PPI anyway, but take one look at the LG G3 and you might just change your mind. Apple apologists have also pointed to battery life—more pixels means faster battery drain—but it’s a tough argument to buy when phones like the HTC One (M8) both looks sharper and runs longer than the iPhone on a single charge.

The chart below lists the sharpest screens in 2014. Note that the iPhone 6 is on the far right, at #33 overall for the year.

To its credit, the iPhone 6 Plus fares a bit better than its smaller brother in both display sharpness and battery life—it’s tied for the 23rd sharpest display in 2014. Regardless, if you want a world-class display, grab an LG G3 or a Galaxy Note 4 instead.


So even if the iPhone 6 remains a stubborn 326 PPI and blows through battery life, it’s at least the thinnest, lightest device for its size, right? Not quite. At 129 grams, the iPhone 6 is quite light, but it’s only the 9th lightest 2014 phone (in the 4.6- to 5-inch range), trailing handsets like the LG G2 Mini, LG Optimus L90 and Huawei Ascend P7.

For a fair weight comparison of all 2014 phones, however, we’d want to factor in screen size, just like we did with battery life—in other words, ounces of weight per inch of screen real estate. Using this measurement, the iPhone 6 is only the 22nd lightest phone in 2014, at 27 ounces per inch (the BLU Life Play S leads all 2014 phones, at 23 ounces per inch).

And even if you look at only the best-reviewed phones of the year (i.e. the ones you’d really consider buying), the iPhone 6 is heavier, by the inch, than five other handsets, including the Huawei Ascend P7, LG Optimus L90, LG Lucid 3, Sony Xperia T3 and LG’s latest flagship, the G3. The iPhone 6 may be light, but for now, LG’s top devices are lighter.

This article was written for TIME by Ben Taylor of FindTheBest.


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