On the internet, a week is a lifetime—especially when it’s the opening week of Avengers: Infinity War. Unlike seemingly everyone else, I’ve yet to see the Marvel blockbuster, an admission that is likely enough to inspire my colleagues at io9 to greet me at my desk in the morning with pitchforks. It also means running from anything that even smells like a spoiler. So I can tell you right now—nothing in this post is an Infinity War spoiler. If, instead, the drama you’re still getting caught up on is the Cambridge Analytica scandal, well, I have some bad news.
Cambridge Analytica Is Shutting Down
On Wednesday, Cambridge Analytica employees learned that its parent company, the SCL Group, was shuttering the business, with American-based workers directed to return their keycards immediately, according to documentation reviewed by Gizmodo.
The news was announced during a conference call led by Julian Wheatland, the current chairman of the SCL Group who was reportedly tapped to take over as Cambridge Analytica’s next CEO. Both Cambridge Analytica and SCL Elections (the SCL Group subsidiary connected to Cambridge Analytica) will now close their doors.
iPhone X: Six Months Later
It’s been six months since the iPhone X release, and one thing holds true: It’s still expensive. However, as much as I hated myself for buying a $1,000 phone, and as much as I hated myself for loving it, spending half a year with the iPhone X has revealed some new truths. One, Jony Ive is right when he says Face ID is more important than it seems. Two, Apple’s grasp on excellent quality control is slipping. Three, once you’ve fallen in love with the iPhone X, there’s no turning back.
After Avengers: Infinity War, We’re Dying to Have These Questions Answered
Dread it. Run from it. Avengers: Infinity War is finally here, bringing with it all sorts of questions about just what comes next for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the wake of Thanos’ true arrival. Need some answers? Well, we have a few, as well as some extra questions about what happens now…
I DNA Tested My Cat and She Was Not Happy About It
I was crawling around on the floor, chasing my cat, Avalanche, as she artfully wriggled away from me over and over again to gnaw at the piece of tape I had stuck to her gray and white fur. Avalanche had unwittingly become a victim of journalistic inquiry: I wanted to explore the latest fad in consumer DNA testing, genetic analysis for pets. But rather than somehow coax my cat to spit in a tube, Basepaws required that I stick a piece of tape to Avalanche’s body, then “gently” pull it off. Except it turns out that there is no way to gently rip tape off of an animal completely covered in two-inch-long fur. My cat was furious with me for hours.
I Knew Buying a Newly Redesigned MacBook Pro Was Stupid And I Did It Anyway
Do not be me. I was desperate for a new Apple laptop to replace my dying 2012 one and as soon as the 2016 Macbook Pro with Touch Bar was available to buy I ordered it. This was a major redesign for Apple, and experience with other products told me that buying the first generation of a new laptop would be a very bumpy ride. I did it anyways.
There was regret.
Infinity War Puts Adam West’s Batman in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Just Hear Me Out
With the recent worldwide release of Avengers: Infinity War, many comic book fans spent the weekend processing the movie’s grand implications on the larger Marvel universe. Perhaps the most surprising revelation of all, however, isn’t being discussed in forum posts or on social media. Hidden among the movie’s numerous crossover characters is one passing cameo that connects to Adam West’s Batman, suggesting he’s the canonical Dark Knight of the Marvel movies. I know it sounds nuts, but just hear me out. Some Infinity War and St. Elsewhere spoilers follow.
Facebook Vows to Fix Its Biggest Problems, but It’s Clearly Ready to Move on
Mark Zuckerberg may have ditched the dark suit he wore during his congressional appearances last month, but the serious data-privacy and election-security issues raised during his testimony are still very much on his mind.
Zuckerberg said it to members of the House and Senate in mid-April and repeated it to a convention center packed with developers this week: Facebook can—and must—do better. “What I’ve learned this year is that we need to take a broader view of our responsibility. It’s not enough to just build powerful tools, we need to make sure that they’re used for good. And we will,” Zuckerberg said. He highlighted user privacy repeatedly during a keynote address at the social media giant’s F8 developers conference, working it into his discussion of Facebook’s new dating platform, cookie-clearing tool, and video chat features.
But it’s obvious that Zuckerberg wants to move beyond his company’s scandals—even though, with the midterm elections on the horizon, it’s more important than ever that Facebook prepare itself for an onslaught of misinformation and data harvesting.
I Spent a Weekend With Cyborgs, and Now I Have an RFID Implant I Have No Idea What to Do With
Every year, the bold and the brave make a pilgrimage here to California’s remote Tehachapi Mountains for Grindfest, a weekend dedicated to the merger of man and machine.
Grinders are hackers, but the hardware they aim to hack is the human body. They are transhumanist in the most literal sense. Grinders want to transcend human form. For many grinders, that means augmenting their bodies with cybernetic components—becoming cyborgs.
I came to Grindfest curious about how those on the extreme fringes of body hacking were incorporating technology into their lives and bodies. By the time the weekend was over, I had my own RFID chip implant—a small, potentially powerful electronic lump under the skin of my right hand.
From Metropolis to Dirty Computer: A Guide to Janelle Monáe’s Time-Traveling Musical Odyssey
When you play one of Janelle Monáe’s albums, you aren’t just taking a winding tour through the musical influences that have shaped the artist’s intoxicating, soul-piercing voice. You’re tapping into a part of an expansive Afrofuturist saga about identity, revolution, time travel, and (of course) androids.
Lenovo Made a Souped Up Oculus Go That’s Missing Just One Key Feature
Less than a week has passed since the first standalone VR headset was released, and already we have another. Except this one is made by Lenovo in partnership with Google and uses the Daydream VR platform. Like the Oculus Go, Lenovo’s Mirage Solo don’t need no phone or a wire connected to a nearby PC to transport you to other worlds. Everything you need comes built into the goggles.
But Lenovo didn’t stop there because in addition to having a highest resolution display, the Mirage Solo supports Google’s WorldSense tech, so you can bob-and-weave through VR at speed, without a hint of lag, something that’s much more difficult for the Oculus Go to do. And then, Lenovo even went and made a dedicated VR camera to help people create VR-ready content more easily. All together, this is a big play to make new kind of VR stand out, so did it actually work?
What Scientists Saw When They Put a Crocodile in an MRI Scanner and Played Classical Music
In a scientific first, researchers have used an MRI scanner to study the brains of Nile crocodiles. Sounds weird—and even a bit dangerous—but the experiment is revealing new insights into the evolution of brains and how mammals and birds acquired the capacity to comprehend complex sounds.
Our brains are the product of millions of years of evolution. Scientists would very much like to know how some of the most ancient brains functioned and evolved over time, but that’s obviously not possible, owing to the complete lack of primordial brains to work with. As a good consolation prize, however, scientists can work with crocodiles—an animal that originated more than 200 million years ago, barely changing over the eons. Accordingly, scientists can study crocodiles to understand at which point certain brain structures and behaviors first emerged.