How technology will change life in the future and more...
The robot dogs I have loved the most
I’ve never been much of a gadget blogger. My entries on The Verge’s Circuit Breaker have been met with sentiments ranging from “is this a joke?” to “I have difficulties getting your writing style” to “this is why I swiped left on you on Tinder,” which was deleted by the moderators.
But that doesn’t mean I haven’t loved any gadgets in my time. For example, I love the PneuHound, a tiny robot dog built in the Hosoda Laboratory at Osaka University in 2016. I love my co-worker Lizzie Plaugic’s description of him, which was: “It runs frantically, but without moving very much at all. It shivers constantly. It slams its little dumb body into walls.”
I also love SynDaver Labs’ anatomically correct synthetic dog, built the same year, which Lizzie...More Info...
A Case of Distrust is a minimalist noir story
It can be difficult to find time to finish a video game, especially if you only have a few hours a week to play. In our biweekly column Short Play we suggest video games that can be started and finished in a weekend.
It doesn’t take much to evoke the sense of a place. The right sound or the right look can be transportive, putting you in a location you’ve maybe never even been before, yet still intuitively understand. A Case of Distrust does this not by calling on cultural touchstones from its time period, but works by evoking a nostalgic style from the ‘50s that was used to invoke the ‘20s.
A Case of Distrust takes place in San Francisco in 1925, and puts you in the shoes of newly minted private detective, former SFPD officer Phyllis...More Info...
LeVar Burton wants to read you his favorite short stories
There are a ton of podcasts out there, but finding the right one can be difficult. In our new column Pod Hunters, we cover what we’ve been listening to that we can’t stop thinking about.
LeVar Burton made his name as an actor on shows like Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but many remember him best as the host of PBS’s Reading Rainbow, where he spent 21 seasons recommending books to children. After the show ended, he launched an iPad app and later a Kickstarter (which became one of the most popular campaigns in the company’s history) to bring his literary recommendations into the 21st century. Burton has since parted ways with the studio behind Reading Rainbow, but his commitment to literature and literacy continues with his own...More Info...
My bubble wrap phone case doubles as an audio experience
Phone Case of the Month is a monthly series in which we live with, and subsequently review, our time with a phone case. Phone cases are one of our only ways to express individuality with our smartphones, so what do our phone case choices say about us?
Most of my phones cases are a feast for the eyes. This month’s is a treat for the ears — it literally makes bubble wrap popping sounds. You’re welcome. I found this case at Urban Outfitters, and I won’t apologize for that. The company does a good job sourcing its phone cases, and if you don’t want to scour the internet for a unique case, UO’s got you.
That said, Urban Outfitters customers seem to hate this Bubble Pop case. Out of three total reviews, two are one star:More Info...
Cambridge Analytica’s use of Facebook data was a ‘grossly unethica
On Friday, Facebook announced that it had suspended Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) and its political data analytics company, Cambridge Analytica, for violating its Terms of Service, by collecting and sharing the personal information of up to 50 million users without their consent. The incident is demonstrative of ways that Facebook’s core business model — delivering individualized ads to users — can be exploited, while raising uncomfortable questions about how such data might have been used to influence the 2016 presidential campaign.More Info...
Oculus Go standalone VR headset rumored to launch at F8 developer conf
Facebook is reportedly planning to launch its Oculus Go standalone virtual reality (VR) headset at the company’s F8 developer conference this year. Variety reports that the VR headset is likely to make its debut at F8 in May, alongside Facebook’s promise of “the biggest AR / VR news from Facebook to date.”
Oculus first unveiled its new standalone VR headset back in October, which will be priced at $199 once it ships. The Go is designed to be a standalone headset that will sit in-between the $129 Gear VR and the $499, without inside-out tracking or fully tracked motion controllers. The Oculus Go will be built by Xiaomi and has a Snapdragon 821 processor inside. Recent leaks suggest the base $199 model will include 32GB of storage, while a...More Info...
AR company Avegant has replaced its CEO and laid off more than half it
Light-field display and “mixed reality” startup Avegant laid off a significant portion of its staff in recent weeks, and also replaced its CEO with one of the company founders, according to people familiar with the company’s operations.
Avegant’s headcount was reduced last month to fewer than 20 people, and those who remain work largely in R&D or on the technology partnership side. Prior to the layoffs, there had been somewhere between 40 and 50 employees, one person said.
Former chief executive officer Jeorg Tewes was also replaced by company founder Ed Tang in February, these people said, a change that also appears in both executives’ LinkedIn profiles.
When reached by phone, Tang declined to comment on the company’s organizational...More Info...
Nnedi Okorafor is writing a comic series about Black Panther’s Dora
One of the major highlights of Marvel’s Black Panther was the Dora Milaje, the all-female special forces team that protects the secretive African country Wakanda. This week, Marvel announced that the characters will get their own arc in a three-part comic series, Wakanda Forever, which will be written by Black Panther: Long Live the King and Binti trilogy author Nnedi Okorafor.
The group is a team of special forces soldiers dedicated to protecting Wakanda led by General Okoye (played by The Walking Dead’s Danai Gurira), who in the film helps rescue Wakandan spy Nakia when an undercover assignment goes bad, aids T’Challa in the capture of Ulysses Klaue, and later plays a pivotal role in helping him reclaim the throne.
Since the film’s...More Info...
Jakub Rozalski’s Howling at the Moon is a beautiful art book that me
Late last year, concept art website ArtStation unveiled its first print book: Martin Deschambault’s Project 77, a neat collection that blends science fiction concept art and storytelling. The site announced its next book earlier this week: Howling at the Moon by Jakub Rozalski, the artist behind the acclaimed board game Scythe.
The book is a beautiful collection of fantastical art that reminds me of the style of Simon Stålenhag’s Tales from the Loop, which depicts an alternate, futuristic Sweden. Rozalski’s art features menacing robots and machines dotting the countryside of his native Poland, but rather than looking at the future, he draws his inspiration from the country’s rich past, using its history, wars, and folklore as the basis...More Info...
Dozens of states are now considering plans to keep net neutrality rule
When California proposed a bill this week to preserve net neutrality rules in the state, it was the most comprehensive effort in the nation. The bill would even move beyond the protections that the FCC recently moved to roll back.
But the bill is only one way states are moving to keep the rules after last year’s FCC decision. The activist group Fight for the Future has listed efforts in 35 states and the District of Columbia, including legislation under consideration and executive orders.
Those attempts to keep the rules come in an array of forms. A major part of the list includes a national attempt that kicked off in January, when 22 attorneys general signed on to a lawsuit challenging the rules. The suit,...More Info...