Full-time rapper and part-time headphone brand Dr. Dre likes to say that “people aren’t hearing all the music.” A more accurate assessment: people aren’t buying the right headphones.
Today, the audio industry is saturated with marketing. Clueless consumers snap up name-brands at $300+ price points while merrily scrolling past better, cheaper pairs. The problem? We’re conditioned to shop by brand, rather than by true audio experience.
It’s time for change. We set out to separate the sound from the unsound. Which brands deserve our attention, and which should customers avoid?
After gathering the specs, review scores, and features for nearly 3,000 headphones—from budget earbuds to full-featured DJ pairs—we scored every product out of 100, based on the following factors:
- 75% – expert reviews (CNET, Wired, TechCrunch, What HiFi, Good Gear Guide, PC Mag)
- 25% – specs and features (frequency, sensitivity, noise canceling, etc.)
The results might surprise you. In the words of Dr. Dre, “Sit back, relax, and strap on your seatbelt—you never been on a ride like this before.”The Rankings Blown Out
(average score in parentheses)
18. Plantronics (57)
17. Beats by Dre (58)
16. Skullcandy (62)
With apologies to celebrities, NBA players, and extreme sports athletes around the globe, our analysis was not kind to Beats by Dre or Skullcandy. Yes, each brand has a handful of decent products (ex: Beats’ Solo HDs, Skullcandy’s Navigators), but the average, mid-range product from either company likely isn’t worth your money.Tone Deaf
15. Koss (68)
14. Creative (68)
13. Philips (72)
If you know exactly what to look for, all three of these brands offer solid, reasonably-priced options (ex: some of Philips’ Fidelio line; Creative’s Aurvana, over-ear headphones). The problem: they also offer dozens and dozens of less solid, less reasonably-priced products. If you’re a gambler, you might get a cheap thrill when you scoop one of these off the shelf—like ordering rare fish at a back-alley restaurant or betting on the Dallas Cowboys. For the rest of us, it’s not worth the risk.Unsound
12. Bose (73)
11. Apple (74)
10. Panasonic (74)
Unlike Philips and Creative, Bose and Apple have a “less is more” headphone strategy, marketing just three or four flagship products at inflated prices. If you want a comfortable fit with top-tier noise canceling, Bose’s QuietComfort 15s actually stand up to most of the hype. Unfortunately, many of their other products have received mixed reviews, and regardless, you’ll end up paying a premium on anything that comes in a box labeled “Bose.”
Then there’s Apple. They’ve been something of a joke in the headphone industry until recently, when experts gave the new EarPods a polite nod and some decent review scores. While it doesn’t quite make up for years of blown out iPod buds, it was enough for a middle-of-the-pack finish.Sounds Good
9. Audio-Technica (74)
8. JVC (75)
7. Sennheiser (78)
If buying Philips or Creative is a reckless gamble, then snapping up one of these brands is a responsible risk, like investing in an index fund or predicting another Justin Bieber arrest. Though none of these brands are a sure-thing, each has a distinct strength. Audio-Technica produces some of the best studio headphones on the market, and often at sub-$150 prices. Meanwhile, JVC makes many of the best cheap earbuds available: good for couch potatoes and loose change scavengers. Finally, Sennheiser’s best products are universally praised by audiophiles and DJs alike.Sounds Great
6. AKG (79)
5. Sony (80)
4. Pioneer (83)
Both AKG and Pioneer make consistently stellar headphones for DJs and audio technicians. Even better, they don’t charge a superfluous $100 just because the box says “studio” on the side.
That leaves Sony, perhaps the most surprising high-performer, especially next to all these headphone industry stalwarts. With hundreds of products in almost any price range, color, and style, Sony’s biggest accomplishment is consistency of quality.Super Sonic
3. Klipsch (84)
2. Grado (89)
1. Shure (90)
They’re three of the pricier brands, but Klipsch, Grado and Shure headphones are the most reliable buys on this list, with outstanding performance and consistently glowing reviews from experts. If you’re cash-strapped, a cheap pair from Sony or JVC will be fine, but those looking to take a new step in audio enjoyment should start here.
This article was written for TIME by Ben Taylor of FindTheBest.
Up to five pro-Russian separatists were killed in an operation against rebels in eastern Ukraine, Ukraine’s Internior Ministry said Thursday.
A Ministry statement said that “up to five terrorists were eliminated” as Ukrainian forces removed three rebel checkpoints in the separatist-held city of Slavyansk, Reuters reports. The statement said one member of the government’s forces was wounded in the fighting.
However, a rebel spokesperson said earlier that only two fighters were killed in the clashes.
The deaths are the first since interim Ukrainian President Oleksandr Turchynov ordered Tuesday the resumption of operations against separatist forces in eastern Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened unspecified consequences as the result of those renewed operations. Russian soldiers amassed on the Ukrainian border conducted military exercises Thursday.
International parties agreed last week to a joint roadmap to ease tensions in eastern Ukraine. However, pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine have so far defied the agreement’s stipulation that they disarm. U.S. President Barack Obama said Thursday Russia was failing to live up to “the spirit or the letter” of the agreement.
I took a look at The Weather Channel’s free mobile app for iOS back in May 2012, just after the company overhauled and streamlined its interface, adding visual elegance to functionality and helpful swipe gestures to complement button tapping. The only ad-related concession was to a strip that ran along the top, though the ads tended to clash with the app’s often pastel sky hues and picturesque weather-related phenomena.More18 Headphone Brands Ranked from Worst to FirstHTC One (M8) Review: Pushing Forward with Everything but HardwareMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostThe Dresses! The Jewels! Behind the Scenes of Lupita's 'Most Beautiful' Cover Shoot People
I liked it a lot — enough to make it my primary mobile weather-checking tool. But at the same time, speaking as a guy who likes to commit cross-platform, I’ve been a little less than satisfied with the company’s web approach. Visit it these days and you’re as liable to encounter stories like “Your Kids May Never See THIS,” or “World’s Scariest Airport Runways (PHOTOS),” or “How I Lost 115 Pounds!” or “Don’t Miss Out on THIS” (with a shot of a giant potato on a flatbed) as genuine weather news. It’s obviously the company trying to pay the bills, if at the expense of offering a focused, informationally consistent experience.
You may also have heard about The Weather Channel’s shift toward infotainment if you watch the cable channel, and non-weather-related shows like Prospectors or Loaded or Reel Rivals. That, and in recent years, The Weather Channel’s taken to giving moderate to large winter storms names like “Athena,” “Brutus,” “Gandolf,” “Iago,” “Khan” and so forth. Even the National Weather Service took umbrage with that, refusing to recognize the channel’s questionable dubbing. You could argue The Weather Channel’s been following in MTV’s footsteps, gradually diversifying its content to broaden its viewership, but to the point that the channel’s name becomes a misnomer.
The way to avoid most of that is to use The Weather Channel’s mobile app, which the company overhauled significantly last night, trading its left-right, tab-based interface for a seamless scrolling column of information packed with visually polished meteorological data. Now, instead of one screen sporting multiple levels of left-right tabbed information you’d have to shuffle through like a deck of cards, you simply scroll down from the default temperature view through a parade of features: hourly weather, the 10-day forecast, a radar square (The Weather Channel claims radar is “faster than ever” now), a carousel of video stories, a feature called “social weather” (more on this below), a news carousel, a pollen index, another story carousel called “Our Favorite Things,” current airport conditions for your area and a flu report. The column’s intercut by a few tastefully unobstrusive banner ads, and that’s it: as I’m looking this morning, there’s one for a show on The Weather Channel, one for Microsoft Cloud, and a repeat of the show ad at bottom — so just three in all.The Weather Channel Popular Among Subscribers Barbara Brown Taylor Faces the Darkness Subscribe Shinzo Abe: The PatriotThe Blindness of Bigotry
A few of the subsections offer “more” links, which slide you over one page to an expanded view, say you want to see hourly predictions — accuracy notwithstanding — that run out three full days instead of just five or six hours. Other subsections, like the 10-day forecast, let you slide those days left or right to see further ahead without leaving the up/down column interface. And instead of waiting for the app to update at intervals, as so many apps force you to, you can get this version to refresh by gently tug-swiping downward (from the default view). It’s all very slick and beautifully designed — leaps and bounds better than the last version, which was already headed in the right direction.
By default, The Weather Channel’s app uses your phone’s location-tracking capabilities to provide forecasts, taking its best guess at a street address and displaying it up top (as I sit here in my home office, the app shows the address for the home next door, which is close enough for me). This can be disabled, of course, and the app still supports adding locations manually, after which you just have to swipe left or right to view them. And if severe weather’s occurring nearby, the app now displays a prominent banner along the top, whereas before, alerts were tiny icons you had to slide out for details.
If you live in a major metropolitan area, say New York City, the default screen will display a shot of downtown Manhattan that’s also indicative of the weather (sunny, cloudy, raining, etc.). If, on the other hand, you live in a tiny Michigan village like me, you’ll see a nondescript photo that matches the local weather conditions. All that’s missing at this point is a mechanism that’d let you take your own photos of various local weather conditions and map them to local weather states that the app would know to display (in lieu of the generic ones) for the relevant location. Now that would be cool.
One of the more intriguing new features is something The Weather Channel calls “Social Weather,” which eschews the prior version’s social networking hooks to platforms like Facebook and iWitness in favor of a native, Waze-like weather reporting service. Click a checkmark icon that hovers above the temperature circle in the default view and you’re taken to Apple’s Maps app overlaid by a tagging interface: a row of icons at bottom reflecting general weather conditions, e.g. sunny, cloudy, partly cloudy and so forth. Tap the one that best represents what you see outside and you’ll automatically submit your report to The Weather Channel, then have the option to take a photo and submit that as well, after which an icon appears on the map over the submission location above a timer that counts down from 15 minutes before allowing you to report in again.The Weather Channel
I expected to be able to see my photo by tapping the map icon, but if that’s the intention, it wasn’t working when I tested it, and tapping other nearby icons failed to conjure pictures as well, so perhaps the photos are just for your benefit (you can email them on, or attach them to a text message). In any event, the social weather report interface could be huge if enough people use it and do so accurately, potentially offering a far more immediately accurate survey of local weather conditions than The Weather Channel’s own sometimes-delayed reports (in a promotional video for the new app, The Weather Channel says it intends to use the data “to identify hard to predict spots, to help improve the forecasts”).
If you’re looking for the what might be the prettiest weather app on the market, as well as one that wisely keeps ads and non-weather-related stories to a minimum — speaking as someone who routinely uses or keeps tabs on apps ranging from Apple’s own iOS Weather to Intellicast, NOAA Hi-Def Radar, WeatherBug, Weather Underground, AccuWeather, MyRadar and Weather Radar — The Weather Channel’s latest is my new favorite, and it’ll even work with slightly older devices: while it’s designed with iOS 7 in mind, The Weather Channel says it’ll load on anything running iOS 6 and above.
It’s finally happened: The President has gone head-to-head with a robot.
President Barack Obama played soccer against a ASIMO, a very lifelike robot created by Honda, at the Natural Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo on Thursday.
Despite sharing some friendly conversation and bowing to one other out of respect, Obama later confessed to the Associated Press that “the robots were a little scary. They were too life-like.”
What if experimenting with electronics was more like playing with Lego? That’s the idea behind LittleBits, a system of modules such as motors, displays, sensors and buzzers. They’re color-coded, snap together magnetically and come with instructions for projects, letting young and not-so-young amateur engineers build stuff without ever getting near a soldering gun.
Today, LittleBits is introducing a new package called the Space Kit. And it’s doing it in collaboration with the ultimate expert on its theme of space exploration: NASA. The space agency collaborated with the company on the projects supplied with the kit, which provides build-it-yourself desktop versions of some of the devices and technologies used by real astronauts.
The $189 collection includes modules such as a DC motor, an LED display, a microphone, a speaker and a doohickey that can accept input from a standard remote control. You combine these parts with household items of your own–bowls, aluminum foil, string, craft sticks–to create projects such as a robotic grappler, satellite dish, star chart and energy meter.
As with Lego, it’s all very well to piece together LittleBits projects using the supplied plans, but the same parts can be mixed and matched for a more inspiring purpose: inventing your own items from scratch. You can share your creations on LittleBits’ site, where you’ll find an array of gizmos designed by teachers, students and other enthusiasts, from a space helmet to the baby stroller of the future.
See LittleBits’ video about the Space Kit below.
The Time 100 has featured its fair share of tech world disruptors, from Bill Gates to Steve Jobs to Mark Zuckerberg. This year is no different, with an impressive array of tech CEOs that range from a couple of Chinese mega-moguls to a pair of fresh-faced innovators fresh out of Stanford University. Here’s a breakdown of the people on this year’s list who are doing the most to change the world of technology:Evan Spiegel and Bobby Murphy MoreBill and Melinda Gates Applaud the Good Works of 2 Very Good PeopleThe 2014 TIME 100: Asia On the RiseMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostMeg Ryan Joins Cast of How I Met Your Mother Spin-Off People
Ages: 23 and 25
What they did: Launched the messaging app Snapchat, through which users send each other pictures that disappear after a few seconds. The app is changing the way we communicate—or at least, the way your kids communicate. The rapid growth of the app, which processes 400 million photos per day, is the latest sign that people are craving ways to connect through private networks online instead of broadcasting all their thoughts to their Facebook friends.
Who’s scared of them: Facebook, which offered to buy Snapchat for $3 billion last fall and got turned down. The company also launched a Snapchat clone called Poke, which flopped.Pony Ma
What he did: Founded Tencent, the giant Chinese Internet company that runs everything from social networks to massive multiplayer online games. At more than $150 billion, its market capitalization eclipses large American tech firms like Intel and Hewlett-Packard.
Who’s scared of him: The Chinese government, whose strict censorship laws are harder to enforce on private messaging services like Tencent’s WeChat app. The government has forced WeChat to restrict certain words, but users can still communicate through images and audio in ways that are tough to regulate.Tony Fadell
What he did: Known as the “father of the iPod,” Fadell spearheaded the development of Apple’s disruptive music device. Later, he launched the smart smoke detector company Nest, which was bought by Google for $3.2 billion at the start of the year.
Who’s scared of him: Well, smoke alarm manufacturers, obviously. More broadly, though, Nest and other companies that are developing products tied to the “Internet of Things” could threaten the manufacturers of all sorts of traditional appliances, from televisions to refrigerators to automobiles.Jeff Bezos
What he did: What didn’t he do? Bezos’s Amazon began as an online book store and is now a grocery store, a music retailer, an entertainment company, a fashion outlet, and a web hosting service that keeps much of the Internet online. Most recently he entered the journalism business by buying the Washington Post for $250 million.
Who’s scared of him: Physical retailers like Wal-Mart, of course, but also a growing a number of his tech peers. Next on his list of targets may be Apple—Amazon is rumored to be launching a smartphone to compete with the iPhone later this year.Jack Ma
What he did: Created the Chinese giant Alibaba, the biggest e-commerce company in the world. The company runs a merchant marketplace like eBay and an online payments service like PayPal, as well as a cloud computing service and other businesses. Its public offering in the U.S. later this year could be bigger than Facebook’s and bring an onslaught of Chinese tech firms to American shores.
Who’s scared of him: Probably everyone. Like Amazon, Alibaba has its hand in a lot of different businesses, and it’s increasingly making big investments that operate outside of China. For example, the company invested $215 million in a messaging app called Tango that is competing in the same sector as WhatsApp.Travis Kalanick
What he did: Launched the upscale, on-demand taxi service called Uber, then expanded its appeal to the masses with a cheaper ride-sharing program.
Who’s scared of him: Traditional taxi companies, which have tried to claim that Uber’s service is illegal. Soon it may be FedEx or the U.S. Postal Service complaining—Uber is testing a new courier service in New York right now.
Google, Amazon, and Microsoft are among a collection of technology giants backing a $3.6 million effort to support open source projects that are notoriously underfunded despite serving as a cornerstone of Internet security.
The non-profit tech firm Linux Foundation announced that at least twelve companies will contribute $100,000 or more annually over the next three years to the Core Infrastructure Initiative. That fund will support open source projects including OpenSSL, which will be the first project to receive funds through the new project.
The funding announcement comes just weeks after the Heartbleed security bug, which exploits a vulnerability in the OpenSSL data protection protocol, was first revealed. OpenSSL is open-source and free to use, making it a popular choice for many top companies around the world looking to keep their data transmissions secure. However, it has long suffered from funding deficiencies.
Internet security experts and other activists have called for additional funding and support for the OpenSSL project in the aftermath of the Heartbleed crisis.
When you’re busy saving the world—you know, reducing childhood mortality, improving maternal health, getting schools built and getting the water flowing in rural communities—you don’t have a lot of time to brag about what you’re doing. That’s why it was so gratifying that both Bill and Melinda Gates volunteered to contribute stories to this year’s TIME 100 issue. But make no mistake, they were writing not to celebrate themselves for the good works of their Foundation, but to applaud instead two unlikely people—Aliko Dangote and Christy Turlington Burns—neither of whom is usually associated with the business of saving lives.MoreMeet the Disruptors of the TIME 100The 2014 TIME 100: Asia On the RiseMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostMeg Ryan Joins Cast of How I Met Your Mother Spin-Off People
Dangote is Africa’s richest man, with interests in a diverse range of enterprises including shipping, food processing and construction materials. Burns is, of course, a supermodel. And there the descriptions of the two TIME 100 honorees used to end. But Dangote has turned his considerable attention, wealth and energy to increasing access to health care for all people—especially children—across Africa, and is guiding his multiple businesses so they grow in ways that can increase wealth across class lines. The rising tide that too often lifts only selected boats in developed countries like the U.S. and elsewhere will, if Dangote has anything to say about it, lift them all in Africa.
Burns, for her part, is working to improve maternal health and reduce maternal mortality around the world. That’s a mission she embraced after suffering a hemorrhage during childbirth — she realized that while such an incident is a manageable emergency in the West, it is often a death sentence for mother and baby in other places. She has since founded the advocacy and fundraising group “Every Mother Counts,” which provides supplies, transportation and health education to women in the developing world as well as here in the U.S.
Taking a page from the way the Gates Foundation does its work, Burns is a demon when it comes to efficiency and accountability. Every $1 raised by her group must translate into $1 in the hands of the people in the field directly providing aid—none of this thirty cents on the dollar business with the rest going to overhead and staff salaries.
Efforts like hers and Dangotes’ and, of course, the Gateses’, are paying off. Childhood mortality has been slashed by about 40% since 2007, polio has been pushed to the brink of eradication, mothers and families are getting a fighting chance that they never would have had in the past. A problem as vast as global health requires solutions that are just as broad. It’s not just about doctors and nurses and community clinics. It’s about smart, compassionate people like Aliko Dangote and Christy Turlington Burns who could easily be spending their time on less challenging, more indulgent things, but instead leverage their particular skills to give back to others.
That’s why both Bill and Melinda Gates took the time to write about Dangote and Burns. And that’s why TIME made sure to honor work that easily places them among the 100 most influential people in the world.
The killing of three U.S. doctors Thursday, allegedly by an Afghan policeman guarding their hospital, raises anew questions about the wisdom of a continued U.S. presence there, in uniform, scrubs or any other kind of garb. While U.S. troops may have increased protection after a spate of so-called blue-on-green attacks in recent years, the lifesavers working at Kabul’s Cure International Hospital apparently were slain by a policeman dedicated to their protection.
The murders come as two veteran reporters file on what life is like in Iraq, where the last U.S. troops left in 2011; and Afghanistan, where the U.S. troop presence has shrunk to 33,000, on the way to removing all U.S. combat troops by year’s end.
“Two years after the last American soldiers departed, it’s hard to find any evidence that they were ever there,” Dexter Filkins writes of Iraq in the latest New Yorker. Bombings are a deadly, and everyday, occurrence. Filkins notes that the U.S. started pushing for the election of Nouri al-Maliki as Iraq’s prime minister in 2006, after a Central Intelligence Agency officer recommended him to U.S. ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad. “Among many Iraqis, the concern is that their country is falling again into civil war,” he writes, “and that it is Maliki who has driven it to the edge.”
A total of 4,486 U.S. troops died in Iraq.
Meanwhile, 1,800 miles away in Afghanistan, a unit from the 82nd Airborne Division recently returned and came “looking for a fight.” But it hasn’t happened. “Although they’re still preparing for the worse, the soldiers are discovering that the Afghanistan they left in 2012 isn’t the same country they returned to,” Drew Brooks of the Fayetteville Observer wrote Tuesday. “The job of fighting off insurgents now falls to Afghan national security forces.”
It was a member of those forces who killed the three doctors earlier today.
A total of 2,317 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan.
Two countries, one lesson: there is more than one way to win, or lose, a war.
- Obama to Japan, yes we will defend you [TIME]
- Overseas, Obama projects a whole lot of nothing [Washington Post]
- “The Federal Communications Commission said on Wednesday that it would propose new rules that allow companies like Disney, Google or Netflix to pay Internet service providers like Comcast and Verizon for special, faster lanes to send video and other content to their customers.” [NYT]
- From The Wall Street Journal: “This latest plan is likely to be viewed as an effort to find a middle ground, as the FCC has been caught between its promise to keep the Internet open and broadband providers’ desire to explore new business models in a fast-changing marketplace. It likely won’t satisfy everyone, however. Some advocates of an open Internet argue that preferential treatment for some content companies inevitably will result in discriminatory treatment for others.” [WSJ]
- A defiant rancher savors the audience that rallied his side [NYT]
- Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that sanctions against Russia need to be “widened and tightened” to prevent the crisis in Ukraine from escalating further on Wednesday [The Hill]
- Caroline Kennedy says she would ‘absolutely’ back Hillary Clinton if she decided to run for president [ABC News]
- Georgia governor signs expansive new gun law: “House Bill 60, or the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014 — which opponents have nicknamed the “guns everywhere bill” — specifies where Georgia residents can carry weapons. Included are provisions that allow residents who have concealed carry permits to take guns into some bars, churches, school zones, government buildings and certain parts of airports.” [CNN]
- The left’s secret club [Politico]
- LA Times reports: “The IRS handed out a total of nearly $1.1 million in bonuses in a 27-month period to more than 1,146 employees who had been disciplined for failing to pay taxes, according to an inspector general’s report.”
- How Sarah Palin threw the Alaska Senate race [Politico Magazine]
- “Sen. Elizabeth Warren claims she’s not running for president in two years. Of course, President Obama and many others said the same thing before running. But even if she does seek the Oval Office, the Massachusetts Democrat wouldn’t be 2016′s version of Barack Obama in 2008. Still, Warren may be able to transform the policy debate in the way John Edwards did in 2008.” [FiveThirtyEight]
What’s prettier in print: TIME 100 2014MoreMorning Must Reads: April 23Morning Must Reads: April 22Men Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostMeg Ryan Joins Cast of How I Met Your Mother Spin-Off People
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sen. Rand Paul
Former Sen. Alfonse D’Amato on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand
Congressman John Lewis on Attorney General Eric Holder
Gov. Chris Christie on Gov. Scott Walker
41 women made the 2014 TIME 100 list
General Motors said Thursday its first quarter profits dropped approximately 86% from the same period last year after a series of massive recalls cost the automaker $1.3 billion.
The company’s profits in the first three months of the year fell to $125 million, compared to $865 million for the first quarter of 2013. This year’s first quarterly earnings report marks the company’s worst showing since it reported a loss after going through bankruptcy in 2009, the New York Times reports.
But the company’s first quarter profits still trounced analyst estimates. Excluding one-time items, GM’s profit was 29 cents a share, well above the Bloomberg estimate of 4 cents a share.
GM has recently recalled 7 million vehicles worldwide, 2.6 million of which because of faulty ignition switches that have been linked to at least 13 deaths. The company was also hit with $300 million in restructuring costs and $419 million because of a valuation change in Venezuelan currency.
Asia boasts half the planet’s landmass and two-thirds of its population, a peerless mishmash of boundless energy and manifold cultures. For better or worse, here is our pick of the most influential figures from across the world’s largest continent.MoreMeet the Disruptors of the TIME 100Bill and Melinda Gates Applaud the Good Works of 2 Very Good PeopleMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostMeg Ryan Joins Cast of How I Met Your Mother Spin-Off People
As the world’s most populous nation, China was always likely to feature strongly in TIME 100, and this year’s list features a true pair of tech titans.
Pony Ma founded Tencent Inc., one of China’s largest Internet companies, and is lauded by Arianna Huffington for tapping “into something timeless and universal: a longing for connection.”
Jack Ma (no relation) displays a similar flair for radical thinking. The former English teacher helped launched Alibaba, the world’s largest Internet marketplace, from an apartment in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou. The company is now worth anywhere from $80 to $150 billion. His is the new China Dream.
In the middle of the Indian general elections — which, with over 840 million voters, is the largest democratic exercise on the planet — the world’s gaze falls on the country’s politicians as never before, and Arvind Kejriwal stands out more than most. A former civil servant, “his role as the driving force behind a grassroots anticorruption movement in 2011 … catapulted him onto the national stage,” writes Indian journalist and news presenter Rajdeep Sardesai. Kejriwal is also the winner of the Time 100 Readers’ Poll.
Up against Kejriwal in the polls is prime ministerial frontrunner Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat state. Despite his popularity, he remains a deeply divisive figure, with a “reputation for autocratic rule and a dark Hindu-nationalist streak,” writes CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.
But India has more to boast than ballot chasing, and Arundhati Roy, the acclaimed author of The God of Small Things, is included for her “nonfictional engagement with the conflicts and traumas of a heedlessly globalized world,” says award-winning novelist Pankaj Mishra. She is joined by Arunachalam Muruganantham, an inventor from rural Tamil Nadu, who pioneered an inexpensive solution to menstrual problems that were afflicting thousands of women.
Malala Yousafzai once again makes the list for her fearless championing women’s right to education in her native Pakistan and beyond, and this year is joined by Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, the 23-year-old Indonesian maid so badly beaten by her employer in Hong Kong that her plight shook the world and made her into an icon of the struggle of migrant workers everywhere for better conditions. “Erwiana could not be broken, nor could she be silenced,” writes human trafficking activist Somaly Mam.
From the often powerless to the always powerful: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Xi Xinping take their rightful places in this year’s list, along with basketball-loving despot Kim Jong Un. His “disregard for a desperately poor citizenry raises the eternal North Korean question: How much suffering can human beings tolerate?” asks Pulitzer Prize–winning author Adam Johnson.
And then there is the soft power. Yao Chen is an award-winning Chinese actress, but her true clout is drawn from the 66 million followers she boasts on Chinese Twitter-like microblog service Weibo, where she opines on everything from the environment to social justice — issues that strike at the very heart of all that is Asia.
This week’s TIME magazine is the annual TIME 100 double issue, naming 100 of the most influential people in fields from art to politics to science. And because TV is still one of the biggest means through which influencers influence, TV and media figures are all over the list.MoreMeet the Disruptors of the TIME 100Bill and Melinda Gates Applaud the Good Works of 2 Very Good PeopleMen Charged With Toppling Ancient Rock Formation Avoid Jail Time Huffington PostHere's An Updated Tally Of All The People Who Have Ever Died From A Marijuana Overdose Huffington PostStephen Fishbach's Survivor Blog: Trish Puts On a Show People
The usual caveats: I suggested some of the names on the list (and some names that did not make it), but I didn’t choose the final 100–our editors do. And before you ask why someone who scored high on on the Time 100 Reader Poll isn’t on the list: as with our Person of the Year poll, it’s a poll, not a binding vote.
On that note, these are some of the trends and currents emerging in this year’s Time 100, TV and media edition:
* Streaming media continued to be a force in TV, and this year’s list reflects that from several angles: Robin Wright, who won the Emmy and Golden Globe for Netflix’s House of Cards; Jenji Kohan, who created Netflix’s most distinctive (and best) new series, Orange Is the New Black; and Jeff Bezos, who, as Amazon’s ambitious series development and yesterday’s deal with HBO remind us, is now an online TV executive in his own right (while also, by the by, having picked up the Washington Post).
* As TV has gained equal stature to other arts media, it’s increasingly sharing talent with the movies: Benedict Cumberbatch exercised his brain on Sherlock before becoming the movies’ go-to cerebral character actor; Matthew McConaughey collected an Oscar and may well grab an Emmy for his tour de force role in True Detective; and even director Alfonso Cuaròn followed up his Gravity success with an NBC series, Believe.
* TV doesn’t only cross-pollinate with the movies, but also music: singer Carrie Underwood was made by a TV show (American Idol); Miley Cyrus by another (Hannah Montana), well before the Great Twerking Crisis of 2013 on MTV; and how is Pharrell Williams following up the year of “Get Lucky,” “Happy,” and “Blurred Lines”? By becoming a coach on The Voice! (Not to mention, Cyrus and Williams’ work has contributed to some of the year’s liveliest discussion about gender and cultural appropriation.)
* TV news continued to matter–for better or worse–in the past year, and both cable and broadcast are represented: Megyn Kelly, the Fox News star who had new primetime ratings success (and launched a debate as to whether Santa Claus is white), and Charlie Rose, the interviewer representing the old school in the early morning and late at night.
* It was a big year of turnover in late night; following Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight show, Seth Meyers’ brainy comedy has (so far) held up in the ratings competition for NBC. (And the turnover’s just starting; next year, it could be Stephen Colbert, or a player to be named later.)
* Finally, some of the Time 100 slots were simply about great performances: Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, leading the best sketch comedy on TV (and who seem to be everywhere else on TV right now, including upcoming roles on Fargo), and Kerry Washington, whose committed performance grounds the growing hit Scandal even as its plot rides a weekly express train to crazytown.
Obviously there are a lot more than 100 influential people, in TV alone, let alone the rest of human endeavor. TIME’s had its say, but I’m curious to know who you’d add to this list (or take off).