WIRED News – Spoken Edition


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Get in-depth coverage of current and future trends in technology, and how they are shaping business, entertainment, communications, science, politics, and society. A SpokenEdition transforms written content into human-read audio you can listen to anywhere. It's perfect for times when you can't read - while driving, at the gym, doing chores, etc. Find more at www.spokenedition.com

Episode Date
VW's Electrifying Bid to Dominate the Pikes Peak Race
In 1805, Zebulon Pike, a US Army officer and explorer, explored the Louisiana territory his young country had just bought on the cheap, hunting for the source of the mighty Mississippi River. A year later, he led expeditions through the Spanish settlements of New Mexico and Texas. But in November of 1806, he and his men met their match in Colorado, while trying to scale a mountain that towers 8,000 feet above the surrounding region.
Jun 22, 2018
Batman Is Only Kinda Good at Crime Scene Investigation
You’ve seen the scene a thousand times: a cop, probably in a trench coat, shows up at the site of a brutal murder or some other crime and starts poking around, trying to figure out what went wrong. It might look like standard gumshoe stuff on TV or in the movies, but crime scene investigation is actually a science—one that Hollywood adaptations often get wrong.
Jun 22, 2018
You Can Now Live Out 'Westworld' With Your Amazon Echo
This Amazon Echo doesn't seem to understand that all I want is a whiskey. I'm seated in the Tribeca offices of marketing firm 360i and the haunting voice coming out of its little speaker just says, "Never heard of it." The problem is that me and 360i's creative director Andrew Hunter both gave the order at the same time and "Rose," our guide at the Mariposa Saloon in this audio play, couldn't make it out. Nevermind, then.
Jun 21, 2018
Sennheiser CX Sport Review: Can’t Shake ’Em
Testing workout earbuds requires an entirely different set of metrics than regular in-ear headphones. More than anything else, workout earbuds need to stay put. Running is hard enough without constantly flibberting with something in your ear canal. Other factors that might be big pluses when you're sitting at your desk are not so great when you're in motion. Excellent noise filtering is less attractive when you might get mowed down by a cyclist.
Jun 21, 2018
Autonomous Vehicles Might Drive Cities to Financial Ruin
In Ann Arbor, Michigan, last week, 125 mostly white, mostly male, business-card-bearing attendees crowded into a brightly lit ballroom to consider "mobility." That’s the buzzword for a hazy vision of how tech in all forms—including smartphones, credit cards, and autonomous vehicles— will combine with the remains of traditional public transit to get urbanites where they need to go.
Jun 20, 2018
Analysis: Zillow Shows Rising Seas Threaten Over 300,000 Homes
This storyoriginally appeared on The Guardianand is part of theClimate Deskcollaboration. Sea level rise driven by climate change is set to pose an existential crisis to many US coastal communities, with new research finding that as many as 311,000 homes face being flooded every two weeks within the next 30 years.
Jun 20, 2018
The Key to Triumphing Over Star Wars Trolls
Former Mythbusters host Kari Byron says that her young daughter was enthralled by the character Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. “She was just done with princesses when she saw Rey,” Byron says in Episode 313 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “Because it was like, OK, this is a smart badass, and I could see that it was so much more interesting to her than a helpless princess that’s locked in a tower.
Jun 19, 2018
How Square Made Its Own iPad Replacement
If you know the company Square, it's probably because you've paid in a store using a Square “stand,” a dock that supports a tablet, or you've swiped your card through Square Reader, a smartphone dongle that processes payments. These products have a simplistic, decidedly Apple-y aesthetic, from the simple dongle to the all-white stand that typically houses an iPad.
Jun 19, 2018
How Volvo's Making the Polestar 1 From an Old Concept
The great tragedy of the Concept Coupe was that it was never meant to be built. Drawing on the style of the vintage P1800 with a helping of American muscle—healthy haunches, slim windows—the two-door won much praise when Volvo brought it to the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. It was lovely, but no more than a showcase. Fans would have to settle for seeing elements of the design feed into Volvo products like the XC90 SUV and S90 sedan. Then the car world shifted.
Jun 18, 2018
Meater Wireless Meat Thermometer Review: A Recipe for Mediocrity
It's pretty easy to guess how it works: the pointy end goes in the meat and it connects via Bluetooth with an app on your phone. What's pleasantly surprising is that there's a second temperature sensor at the exposed end that tells you the air temperature just outside of whatever you're cooking.
Jun 18, 2018
The Physics of the One Goal You *Won't* See at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
On my first attempt at a corner kick in decades, the soccer ball peels up and away, well behind the goal and clear over the fence surrounding Stanton Field, the practice pitch at Santa Clara University. "Not bad," says Brandi Chastain, generously. "You've got good bend, now we just have to make sure we get you in the right direction.
Jun 15, 2018
Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Swimrun Review: Wear Anywhere
Finding the perfect summer travel shoe can be an overwhelming task. No one wants to tote around a suitcase full of sneakers and sandals, but it's hard to have fun on vacation with blisters or a limp.
Jun 15, 2018
Inside the Mad Lab That's Getting Robots to Walk and Jump Like Us
I stand in front of a lanky two-legged robot stomping along a treadmill. I watch, all impressed, until the researcher next to me tells me to trip it. The thing looks expensive, so I hesitate. Really, he tells me, it’s OK. And he probably knows better than I do, so I drag my boot along its shin like a good soccer trip. The robot stammers, yet recovers. And then again, and again. No matter how much I pester it, the thing just keeps stomping. I keep feeling guilty.
Jun 14, 2018
Self-Driving Cars Likely Won’t Steal Your Job (Until 2040)
The self-driving robots are coming to transform your job. Kind of. Also, very slowly. That’s the not-quite-exclamatory upshot of a new report from the Washington, DC-based Securing America’s Future Energy. The group advocates for a countrywide pivot away from oil dependency, one it hopes will be aided by the speedy adoption of electric, self-driving vehicles.
Jun 14, 2018
The Brilliant Vigilance of Seattle's Huge New SR-99 Tunnel
Say there’s a fire. A fire caused by a car crash, inside a 2.5-mile tunnel under a major American city. It’s a terrifying idea, but if you want that kind of problem to ignite anywhere, it’s in the stretch of State Route 99 that, later this year, will start whisking traffic underneath downtown Seattle.
Jun 13, 2018
Furbo Dog Camera Review: Remotely Amuse Your Pets
Dog owners will go to crazy lengths to make sure that their fur-babies are entertained during the long, boring workday. I’ve frozen wet dog food in red rubber Kongs, or stuffed them full of peanut butter. I’ve hired dog walkers and pet sitters. I’ve turned on DogTV on my Roku. But my dogs were bred to herd cattle or sheep all day, and they still get bored. It’s not like they can read a magazine.
Jun 13, 2018
LA Is Doing Water Better Than Your City. Yes, That LA
"People were in dire straights. They were desperate," says Ryan Jensen of the Central Valley's Community Water Center. "Elderly people or people battling chronic illnesses that need water to be able to deal with their health issues had no access to it. There was just absolute desperation." In total, the wells at 300 properties had failed. So a local nonprofit distributed 275-gallon tanks and officials trucked in water. That didn't cut it.
Jun 12, 2018
How Pharma Hides Data About Farm Antibiotic Use
On Wednesday last week, the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council revealed that pig herds in the United States receive almost as many antibiotics as people in this country do. That’s bad news, especially since most of the pigs receiving antibiotics aren’t sick, but instead are getting the drugs to prevent infections in intensive farming.
Jun 12, 2018
A Single Drone Helped Mexican Police Drop Crime 10 Percent
In Ensenada, a Mexican city about two hours south of Tijuana, a new crime fighter has taken to the skies. It’s not a bird, or a plane, or Superman. It’s a drone. And over a few months on patrol, it’s had quite the impact. The city’s police department claims the solitary DJI Inspire 1 Quadcopter led to more than 500 arrests and a 10 percent drop in overall crime rates, with a 30 percent drop in home robberies.
Jun 11, 2018
Inside the Arctic Circle, Golden Hour Has Nothing on Golden Day
This self-portrait depicts Wu standing before one of the domes at the Svalbard Satellite Station. A fogbow arcs above the dome, and Wu's headlamp casts an eerie pink light on the ground. A fogbow appears above the road on the way to the Svalbard Satellite Station. The station sits above the Arctic Circle at 78 degrees north. When Wu visited Svalbard in October, the sun moved in a shallow arc, kissing the horizon most of the day. The city of Longyearbyen glows in the distance.
Jun 11, 2018
12 Killer Deals on Google Devices, Amazon Echo, and Headphones We Love
Most of the best Memorial Day tech sales have slowly trickled to an end, but with summer in full swing and new products coming out all the time, there are a surprising number of killer deals this week, including a rare sale on some excellent Google gadgets. With the help of our friends at TechBargains, below are some of our favorite deals going on this week. Google discounts some of its products now and then, but this week four of them have had their prices slashed.
Jun 08, 2018
Lyft Redesigns Its App—and Strategy—for the Age of Sharing
Before Lyft was Lyft, it was a struggling California startup called Zimride. Cofounder and CEO Logan Green launched it in 2007 (the name was an ode to Zimbabwe’s carpooling culture), aiming to connect college kids who needed rides with those who had cars. John Zimmer, now Lyft’s president, signed on with the idea that putting more people into existing cars could help cities fight emissions and traffic, all at once. In 2012, Zimride spawned Lyft, after Green and Co.
Jun 08, 2018
The Dawn of Mobile Convenience Stores—and (Maybe) Free Car Rides
Six years after a startup called Uber made it easier than ever for anyone to make money driving their car, a startup called Cargo is making it easier than ever for anyone who makes money driving their car to also make money running a convenience store.
Jun 07, 2018
Star Wars and the Battle of the Ever-More Toxic Fan Culture
So, I was at Comic-Con International in San Diego in 2008, the year of Twilight and True Blood. I’d never heard of either then—a blind spot, I admit—but that year something changed. Women have always attended SDCC, of course, but this year the lines switchbacking outside Hall H, the high altar of the annual nerd pilgrimage, were majority female for the first time I'd ever seen.
Jun 07, 2018
How Apple Programmer Sal Soghoian Got Apps Talking to Each Other
Just six months after joining Apple, Sal Soghoian's job was already on the line. In July of 1997, then-CEO Gil Amelio had just been ousted and the company's stock was plummeting. To right the ship, Apple brought Steve Jobs back as the company's interim CEO. When Jobs took over, he went on a campaign to salvage Apple's remaining resources by hacking and slashing under-performing departments. The problem, Jobs said, was that Apple had lost its focus.
Jun 06, 2018
Elon Musk and the Unnerving Influence of Twitter's Power Users
Elon Musk is tweeting up a storm, and he’s loving every minute of it. With 21 million followers, Musk has emerged as one of the defining Twitter voices of 2018, someone who will happily and democratically engage with anybody who @s him. Like other gazillionaires before him—Rupert Murdoch, Marc Andreessen—he’s found in Twitter a fun and unfiltered platform for self-expression. Unlike Murdoch and Andreessen, however, he’s still at it. And he needs to be stopped.
Jun 06, 2018
Bringing on Self-Driving Cars Means Knowing How Humans Ride
What do you look like when you’re excited? How about a little nervous? Bored? Full-on freaked out? If you happen to hop on one of the two very special shuttles that are now running one-mile loops around the University of Michigan’s North Campus, a bunch of people with fancy degrees may very soon find out. Those shuttles, you see, will drive themselves.
Jun 05, 2018
The Trailblazing Women Who Fight California’s Fires
Christie Hemm Klok’s 3-year-old son couldn't get enough of firefighters. He had a toy engine truck, a plastic helmet he wore all the time, and a collection of books showing firefighters dousing fires and saving lives. But most of them were men, and the lack of women bugged Hemm Klok. "There was maybe one female in any of the books," she says, "and she had short hair and maybe a pink shirt on." Hemm Klok wanted to show her son a more inclusive vision of the world.
Jun 05, 2018
Weekend Tech Deals: Cheap iPads, Graphics Cards, and Laptops
Ready for the summer? We are! Whether you have road trips, camping, or other outdoor activities coming up, it's a great idea to bring a computer or tablet with you. Throw your itinerary in a doc, use it for editing photos on the go, and post your latest brilliant missive to your blog once you get to the hotel. We have discounts on a Lenovo notebook and an awesome Apple iPad that are worth looking at. But, then again, maybe you're more of an indoor person.
Jun 04, 2018
4Chan Is Turning 15—And Remains the Internet's Teenager
The internet makes sense in metaphors. Superhighways, clouds, pages, links. Facebook is a town square. Wikipedia, a kind of brain. So what about 4chan, the imageboard site where users post just about anything, with anonymity and impunity? If you trust 4channers themselves, it’s the internet’s soul. 4chan has never been a nice place. Most people don’t spend time there, but most people feel its effects, everything from fake news to doxing. Outsiders prefer different metaphors: Cesspool.
Jun 04, 2018