The future has arrived
March 12, 2014
Flickr CC By: Tsuh

Starbucks customers who pay for their grande skinny vanilla lattes using the company's app will soon be able to add a tip to their purchase. The new feature, which will roll out March 19, comes at a time when one out every 10 purchases are made using a mobile device. Customers will be able to leave tips of 50 cents, $1, or $2 within two hours of purchase.

As CBS News notes, tipping has been a "sensitive topic" for Starbucks' customers and workers. Some customers don't want to pay an additional fee since the drinks are already pricey, while others don't mind leaving some spare change for exceptional service. Zee Lemke, a Starbucks barista in Wisconsin, said she hopes the move persuades people to tip more since her hourly wage is low. She added that it's up to the store's management to decide how to divvy up the tips, although Starbucks said tips on its mobile app will be paid out to employees directly in cash. Jordan Valinsky

nice tries
9:12 a.m. ET

Ohio governor and Republican presidential hopeful John Kasich pushed the limits of social media advertising Wednesday, unveiling the first ever location-specific Snapchat campaign ad. It's got a rather porky theme:

The ad is a geofilter — a location-specific "sticker" that users can put on their photos — and Kasich's ad is also the first of its kind to be offered only during a specific time of day (in this case, the morning hours, to go along with the bacon theme).

"Budget pork isn't our taste but who doesn't love bacon and, of course, who doesn't love Snapchat?" Scott Milburn, a Kasich campaign spokesman, told Time. "You've got to have some fun with it all, right?"

Snapchat users in the early primary state of New Hampshire will have access to the bacon from 6 a.m. to noon on Wednesday. Jeva Lange

Under the sea
9:12 a.m. ET
Andy Buchanan/AFP/Getty Images

Roughly 8,000 years ago, Doggerland was swallowed up by the rising North Sea — researchers believe a 5-meter-tall tsunami may be to blame — never to be seen again. Now, archaeologists are working to resurrect the long-buried landmass, which was "once the home to thousands of stone age settlers and was an important land bridge between Britain and Northern Europe," The Telegraph reports. Doggerland was inhabited by humans from around 10,000 BC until some 8,000 years ago, when it was flooded in what is described as a "single titanic event" at the end of the last ice age.

In a reconstruction project of unprecedented scale, archaeologists at the University of Bradford are using seabed mapping data to create a 3D chart showing the country's landscape, including its rivers, hills, and coastlines. Ships are collecting sediment samples from the submerged Doggerland to discern what plants and animals once lived there. "This is the first time that this type of reconstruction has been attempted at this detail and scale in any marine environment," David Smith from the University of Birmingham told The Telegraph.

Although University of Bradford professor Vince Gaffney says that archaeologists "have known for a long time" that Doggerland could hold valuable insights into how an ancient society reacted to climate change, he says that archaeologists "have lacked the tools to investigate this area properly." But now, archaeologists may finally be able to unearth what Gaffney says could be Doggerland's "unique and important information about early human life in Europe." Becca Stanek

This just in
8:45 a.m. ET
Abid Katib/Getty Images

There could soon be no more Gaza Strip if conditions don't turn around very quickly. A recent U.N. report has found that economic conditions in Gaza are so bad that the entire region could be "uninhabitable" by 2020.

A stretch of Palestine wedged between Israel, Egypt, and the Mediterranean Sea, the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated regions of the world with 1.8 million residents living in a mere 225 square miles of land. But after three conflicts with Israel and an almost decade-long blockade, Gaza now has an almost post-apocalyptic feel.

Its unemployment rate is 44 percent and its GDP dropped below 15 percent last year. Seventy-two percent of households are food insecure and over 95 percent of its main source of water is said to be non-potable. Its electricity production can't cover even 40 percent of demand.

The report faults the Israeli blockade for impoverishing the population. It also cited the 2014 war with Israel that left 73 Israelis and 2,200 Palestinians dead for wrecking Gaza's economy and destroying much of its infrastructure. More than 20,000 Palestinian homes and numerous schools, hospitals, and factories were ruined in the conflict.

"The humanitarian catastrophe is man-made," the deputy director of the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights told Al Jazeera. "The answer is only through our man-made policies." Jeva Lange

A reason to hug trees
8:27 a.m. ET

When a forest fire ravaged 20,000 hectares of forest in the Spanish province of Valencia in 2012, scientists made an amazing discovery: a patch of green. A group of cypresses stood seemingly untouched in a forest that was otherwise completely charred. Turns out, Mediterranean cypress trees have a natural resistance to fire. So much so, that in a forest where "all the common oaks, holm oaks, pines, and junipers had completely burnt," the BBC reports that only "1.27 percent of the Mediterranean cypresses had ignited."

This discovery sparked a three-year investigation into whether the tree could be strategically planted to create a buffer zone and effectively stop or slow the spread of wildfires. This month, scientists' findings were published in the Journal of Environmental Management. They found that "because of the particular structure of its leaves, [the Mediterranean cypress] is able to maintain a high water content even in situations of extreme heat and drought."

In even better news, the trees have a "great plasticity in terms of soil, climate and altitude," meaning that the tree could very well grow in parts of the world other than the Mediterranean — including California. Becca Stanek

planned parenthood
7:46 a.m. ET
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Some Republicans in Congress are vowing to force another government shutdown unless the fiscal 2016 federal budget defunds Planned Parenthood. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) isn't among them, Reuters reports. On Tuesday, McConnell told Kentucky TV station WYMT that conservatives "just don’t have the votes to get the outcome that we'd like," and he's not willing to shut down the government. "The president has made it very clear he's not going to sign any bill that includes defunding of Planned Parenthood," McConnell said, "so that's another issue that awaits a new president hopefully with a different point of view about Planned Parenthood." Peter Weber

This just in
7:29 a.m. ET
Win McNamee/Getty Images

On Tuesday, CNN changed the criteria for its upcoming Republican presidential debate on September 16, making room for former HP CEO Carly Fiorina to squeeze onto the big stage. The original criteria would have used an average of poll numbers from between July 16 and September 10 to narrow the field of candidates at the prime-time debate, reducing the impact of Fiorina's widely praised performance at the "kid's table" on Fox News in August. CNN will now accept any candidate who ranks in the top 10 in polling between August 6 and September 10, giving Fiorina a much healthier shot at the main show. According to RCP's polling average, Fiorina comes in seventh among GOP presidential hopefuls, with 5.8 percent of the vote.

Fiorina's presence will likely make for a better debate too, The Washington Post points out. In addition to being the only woman on stage, she is also a counterpoint to Donald Trump — another political outsider from the business world. Of course, Trump isn't one to tread lightly — a "you're fired" jab might be in the works, seeing as Fiorina was removed as CEO of HP in 2005. That being said, if Fiorina can out-debate her fellow business-minded competition on live TV, it will likely be her best shot at making a lasting mark in the race. Jeva Lange

police shootings
6:57 a.m. ET

More than 100 police, using dogs and helicopters, searched northern Illinois overnight for three suspects in the killing of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz, a veteran police officer in Fox Lake, Illinois, who was shot on Tuesday and later died of his wounds. Gliniewicz had radioed Tuesday morning to say he was pursuing three "suspicious subjects" on foot, and then he stopped responding to police dispatch. Schools in the Fox Lake area were on lockdown Tuesday and closed Wednesday, and police ordered a no-fly zone in the area and asked people to stay locked indoors and report any suspicious activity. The FBI is helping state and local police in the hunt.

Fox Lake is a town of 10,500 about halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee. "I've lived here for 30 years and never had to lock my door until now," resident Dan Christensen, 64, told Reuters. For more information, watch the Associated Press article below. Peter Weber

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