Monthly Archives: March 2015

Home »  2015 »  March

Young, Attractive, and Totally Not Into Having Sex Click to Open Overlay Gallery James Day It’s Friday afternoon during finals week, and two undergrads at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville are lounging together on a battered couch in the student center, watching cartoons. They’ve only met twice before, but they’re all over each other. Rae, a tiny pixie of a sophomore wearing a newsboy cap, nuzzles up against Sean, a handsome freshman. He’s got his arm draped across her. They giggle and tease each other, and she sprawls into his lap. Their friend Genevieve, perched on the arm of the couch, smiles and rolls her eyes. It looks like a standard collegiate prelude to a one-night stand. But there will be no kissing, no fondling, and definitely no Saturday morning walk of shame. Sean and Rae do not have the hots for each other—or anyone else, for that matter. […]

The Galaxy S6 Edge Is Totally Beautiful—And Pointless Click to Open Overlay GalleryThe Galaxy S6 Edge Maurizio Pesce/WIRED On Wednesday morning, Samsung’s two new phones arrived at my desk. The Galaxy S6 and S6 edge are two of the most anticipated, most important devices of the year. They represent an entirely new design direction from Samsung, with glass and carefully machined aluminum where there was once dimpled plastic that looked a lot like a Band-Aid. They’re Samsung’s attempt to keep up with the iPhone, which has entered the big-phone market with no subtlety and lots of success. They’re almost certainly going to be enormously popular. The two S6 models go on sale on April 10th, and they’ll be available on all four major carriers in the US—and many more besides. Off-contract pricing isn’t available yet, but a 32GB version of the S6 will cost you $22.84 per month over two […]

Billion Dollar Bully: The Plot Thickens As previously reported, last week,  a new documentary project called Billion Dollar Bully, which dives into the infamous Yelp “extortion” allegations that have persisted for at least six years. The basic story that we’ve seen brought up in numerous press reports and internet comments over the years is that Yelp salespeople call businesses who are listed on Yelp and try to get them to advertise. The business declines to advertise, and Yelp responds by burying positive reviews and letting negative ones rise to the top. There are variations on the story, but that’s general gist. Billion Dollar Bully is already half shot, but Prost Productions is raising funds on Kickstarter to get it finished. This was announced last week, and Yelp now finds itself in the media spotlight once again, defending itself against familiar claims. It will probably be doing so again in the […]

Earth’s Most Powerful Physics Machine Gets Back in Action Click to Open Overlay GalleryLHC tunnel sector 3-4. CERN In the fall of 2008, CERN’s high-energy physicists ran into a problem. A faulty electronic connection at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland—the biggest, baddest, most powerful particle accelerator ever built—caused a couple of magnets to overheat and melt, triggering an explosion of pressurized helium gas. The accident, which happened just nine days after the LHC turned on for the first time, led to months of delays. “It was pretty depressing when we broke the accelerator,” says Aaron Dominguez, a physicist at the University of Nebraska. “That was not a good day.” Eventually, engineers fixed the LHC, and in 2012, physicists used it to do what the accelerator was always supposed to: Find the elusive subatomic particle called the Higgs boson. It worked, earning much fanfare and a Nobel Prize. But to […]

SXSW Are About to Blow Up Click to Open Overlay Gallery   South By Southwest has three distinct threads, but none are as overwhelming as the Music program: Thousands of performers descend on Austin to play a seemingly unending onslaught of concerts, showcases, and unofficial shows all over the city. It’s a scheduling nightmare that only becomes worse as the week goes on and the perma-hangover settles in. In recent years, NPR music critic Steven Thompson has whittled down the terrifyingly packed event schedule to a thorough but still just-about-manageable 100 acts. But sometimes even taking six hours to listen to it all is just too much. So with that in mind, we pulled together the 10 as-yet-unknown bands and performers playing at SXSW that you’ll want to keep an ear out for—and if you’re in Austin, be sure to seek them out. (A quick note on methodology: all but […]

The Dark Web’s Top Drug Market, Evolution, Just Vanished In the 18 months since the Silk Road online black market for narcotics was taken down by a swarm of three-letter agencies, a site known as Evolution has taken its place at the top of the dark web drug trade. Now Evolution, too, has suddenly dropped off the face of the internet. But unlike its Silk Road predecessor, there’s no indication that law enforcement took down the newer black market. Instead, it’s simply, mysteriously vanished—with rumors swirling that its own administrators may have run off with many millions of dollars of its users’ drug money. Over the past weekend, the massive anonymous market known as Evolution halted withdrawals of bitcoin from its website, telling users that it was dealing with technical difficulties. Then on Tuesday evening, both its market and user forum went offline, with no opportunity for drug buyers and […]

Are ‘Smart’ Clothes the Wearables of the Future? He handed me a pair of black, capri-style women’s athletic pants. These were a prototype version of the product that Athos has been working on for over four years: “Smart” workout clothes. They were heavier than the black stretch pants I already had on, due to the many sensors embedded in the Athos fabric. “Just make sure the sensors are touching your skin here,” he said, pointing to his back hip area. “They really have to be touching the skin. Sometimes we tell people … well …” I realized he was suggesting that I remove my undergarments. Getting the pants on was a workout in itself; they’re terribly constrictive, especially around the top. I felt like I was yanking on an already-wet wetsuit, or trying to squeeze into too-small skinny jeans. A few minutes later I emerged from the ladies room, wearing […]

Dazzling Photo Shows the Destructive Birth of Stars This image, taken by OmegaCAM on the VLT Survey Telescope at Paranal Observatory, shows a section of the Ara OB1 stellar association. In the centre of the image is the young open cluster NGC 6193, and to the right is the emission nebula NGC 6188, illuminated by the ionizing radiation emitted by the brightest nearby stars.  European Southern Observatory Four thousand light years from Earth, in the constellation Ara, big, bright stars are illuminating an incredible scene of creation and destruction. This is a stellar nursery, a place where stars are born, nurtured by the hydrogen in its glowing clouds of gas. Captured in visible light by the VLT Survey Telescope in Chile, this is the most detailed photo yet of this patch of sky, showing young stars so bright and energetic that they’re destroying the environment that gave birth to them—and giving rise to yet […]

Formula One Begins This Weekend. Here’s What to Watch For Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton’s steering wheel is ready to go in Australia. Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team Formula One is the pinnacle of motor racing. It’s glitz and glamour, money and speed packed into 20 races in 20 countries across five continents, and the 2015 campaign begins this weekend in Melbourne, Australia. Last year’s season was the most exciting in years, thanks to a great intra-team battle at Mercedes, between drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, and the fact that the championship was won by someone not named Sebastian. And so far, things are shaping up nicely for 2015. A rule change even got rid of the horrendously ugly noses that made last year’s crop of cars look like aardvarks on the track. This year, noses taper more smoothly back to the main body of the car and […]

Self-Driving Cars Will Make Us Want Fewer Cars Mercedes is preparing customers for a future in which self-driving car design will be fundamentally different from what they’re used to. The companies developing self-driving cars say handing control over to the machines will make the future a far better place. Once robot chauffeurs are here, they say, the number of car crashes will plummet. Liberated from the need to keep our hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, drivers will become riders with more time for working, leisure, and staying in touch with loved ones. We’ll free ourselves from the archaic model of the multi-car household. And we won’t waste so much space parking the damn things. Even the NHTSA, hardly a starry-eyed cheerleader for technological progress, says the advent of vehicles that drive themselves will provide “completely new possibilities for improving highway safety, increasing environmental benefits, expanding mobility, […]

 Apple Introduces the Thinnest, Lightest MacBook Yet Brian Barrett03-09-2015 | 18:18:34 UTC — Yeah I get the sense that finding the right tiny bubble to press at the right time might take about as much time as pulling my phone out? Which doesn’t discount all of the messaging/connectivity/health-tracking benefit, just seems as though the app proposition is a little tougher sell. WIRED Staff03-09-2015 | 18:18:03 UTC David Pierce03-09-2015 | 18:17:38 UTC — Every app so far — SPG, Uber, all of ‘em — is beautiful. Simple, elegant, not too dense with information. There’s going to be a pretty great selection of apps right away. David Pierce03-09-2015 | 18:16:53 UTC — This live demo is impressive — the interface is super smooth, everything works really easily. But there’s a lot of going in and out of apps, and doing stuff; the Watch seems like it ought to be about not doing […]

This Week in TV: Bunnies in Utah Have a Weed Problem We try our best every week to bring you the best of what you missed on late night TV, but if you think we left anything out … well, groupsie daisy! Saturday Night Live—Say What You Wanna Say Your snarky rejoinders in the comments section aren’t even five percent as funny as you think they are. Sorry, just sayin’ what we wanna say! Conan—Conan Joins a Cuban Salsa Band Conan O’Brien’s Cuban adventures are either going to be a miracle goodwill tour or ruin five more decades of international relations with the island. Let’s find out! Last Week Tonight with John Oliver—Infrastructure If America hasn’t turned into the movie 2012 by the time this video ends we’ve dodged a bullet. Late Night With Seth Meyers—Seth Explains Teen Slang As an aside, according to Urban Dictionary, Shirley is: “Very unique […]

Is There Another Reason For Toyota to Make a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car? US Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Recently, Toyota announced production of the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car to be sold in California. But what is a hydrogen fuel cell? Without going into all the details, the basic idea is that you can get an electrical current when you combine hydrogen with oxygen (you also get water). But why would you make a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle? I think Elon Musk said it best: “I think that they’re extremely silly”. He’s right. Hydrogen fuel cells work great. However, you have to have hydrogen first. You can’t just go to the store and get hydrogen, you have to make it by breaking apart water. This takes a bunch of energy to accomplish. Oh, that’s not the only place you can get hydrogen. You can also produce hydrogen […]

How Google’s New Wireless Service Will Change the Internet Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of Android, Chrome and Apps at Google.  Google says its new wireless service will operate on a much smaller scale than the Verizons and the AT&Ts of the world, providing a new way for relatively few people to make calls, trade texts, and access the good old internet via their smartphones. But the implications are still enormous. Google revealed on Monday it will soon start “experimenting” with wireless services and the ways we use them—and that’s no small thing. Such Google experiments have a way of morphing into something far bigger, particularly when they involve tinkering with the infrastructure that drives the internet. As time goes on, the company may expand the scope of its ambitions as a wireless carrier, much as it had done with its super-high-speed landline internet service, Google Fiber. But the larger […]

The Sex Talk You Never Had With Your Parents It’s time for a talk. The talk. Yep, S-E-X. Sure, your parents probably busted out the anatomy books when you were a kid. That goes there, those do that, etc. (Yuck!) And you may have taken some sex ed classes in school, or had frank discussions with your doctor. But here’s a dirty secret: When it comes to human sexual anatomy—the wellspring of civilization—there’s a shocking amount people don’t know. Not just civilians. Scientists! Part of it’s practical: Sex is really hard to study. Even today, with sensors and MRIs showing us what goes on when we’re getting it on, sterile labs aren’t exactly the coziest places in the world to examine our bodies. But much of the problem is also cultural: Until the Kinsey Institute, broaching the subject of sex at all was almost universally taboo. In other words, we […]