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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Dungeons, Dragons, and Diversity

Dungeons & Dragons has spent the past few months pushing a new era of diversity and inclusions, but it’s still got a lot of work to do.

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How Tech Could Help Us Contemplate Our Own Mortality

Monks stared at skulls to ponder the inevitability of death. We stare at our phones.

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Yes to Masks. No to Parties. 2021 Will Be a Lot Like 2020

Sorry, folks: Thanks to Covid, next year won’t be much more fun than this one, at least until enough vaccines arrive.

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Timnit Gebru’s Exit From Google Exposes a Crisis in AI

The situation has made clear that the field needs to change. Here’s where to start, according to a current and a former Googler.

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After 2020, Live Events Might Not Look the Same. Good!

This year radically changed what live events—at least those that weren’t canceled—look like. It also taught organizers some lessons.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2020

20 Things That Made the World a Better Place in 2020

From record-beating scientific discoveries to an elephant baby boom, this year was about much more than just a global pandemic.

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4 Ways to Make Your Home Smart and More Energy Efficient

Smart thermostats, light bulbs, and leak sensors are just a few devices that can help cut  your utility bill.

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4 Ways to Make Your Home Smart and More Energy Efficient

Smart thermostats, light bulbs, and leak sensors are just a few devices that can help cut  your utility bill.

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The Most Dangerous People on the Internet in 2020

This year saw plenty of destructive hacking and disinformation campaigns—but amid a pandemic and a historic election, the consequences have never been graver.

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How My Record Player Helped Me Feel the Music

If streaming can’t cure your stay-at-home blues, a spinning platter just might do the trick.

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30 Years Since the Human Genome Project Began, What’s Next?

Eric Green, head of the nation’s top genomics research institute, looks back on how far the field has come and shares his bold vision for the future.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

The PS5 and Xbox Series X Are Closing the PC-Console Gap

Last generation, PCs outpowered consoles by a significant margin. This time around, the game is much closer, and the software is catching up too.

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How to Get the Most Out of (or Into) Your Robot Vacuum

These simple tips will help you turn that automated little machine into your new best friend.

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Ransomware Is Headed Down a Dire Path

2020 was a great year for ransomware gangs. For hospitals, schools, municipal governments, and everyone else, it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

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Yet Another Year of Venture Capital Being Really White

After a year of protests against racial inequality and industry vows to do better, Black founders are still getting left out of Silicon Valley’s financial engine.

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In a Pandemic, Medical Illustrators Made Science Accessible

With lots of research, arrows, and an inviting color palette, artists helped transform complex research into useful information.

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Hamlet 2000 Has Never Made More Sense

Michael Almereyda’s future-minded Shakespeare adaptation (with a WIRED cameo) is 20 years old. Now it feels like an eerie premonition.

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Monday, December 28, 2020

The LG Wing's Swiveling Screen Proves Phones Can Be Fun Again

This experimental Android phone has a screen that rotates, exposing a second, smaller screen underneath.

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This Year I Found Pleasure in the Work of Looking

Among the misery and isolation of 2020, my secret Instagram became a portal to solace and a newer self.

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15 Xbox Series X/S Tips to Level Up Your New Console

From setting up remote play to automatic sign-on with your favorite controller, here’s how to get the most out of your shiny new toy.

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2020 Was a Breakout Year for Crispr

Between glimpses of a medical cure and winning science’s shiniest prize, this proved to the gene-editing technology’s biggest year yet.

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The Error of Fighting a Public Health War With Medical Weapons

It was a mistake that cost 300,000 lives.

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How Your Digital Trails Wind Up in the Police’s Hands

Phone calls. Web searches. Location tracks. Smart speaker requests. They’ve become crucial tools for law enforcement, while users often are unaware.

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Sunday, December 27, 2020

Vizio’s First OLED TV Makes Nearly Perfect Contrast Accessible

These organic LED panels, usually seen on pricier TVs, are finally dipping to more affordable prices.

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15 Tips and Hidden Tricks for the PS5 (You Lucky Dog)

If you’re one of the lucky few to score Sony’s newest game console this holiday, check these features out for the best experience.

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After Centuries, a Simple Math Problem Gets an Exact Solution

Mathematicians have long pondered a deceptively easy puzzle about the reach of a goat tied to a fence. Until now, they’ve only found approximate answers.

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Better Than Nothing: A Look at Content Moderation in 2020

The pandemic and the election forced social media platforms to police false information like never before—but we have no clue if that solved anything.

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The Worst Hacks of 2020, a Surreal Pandemic Year

From ransomware schemes to supply chain attacks, this year melded classic hacks with extraordinary circumstances.

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Saturday, December 26, 2020

Put Your Gift Cards to Use With These After-Christmas Sales

Got some new cash to spend? Some of our favorite gadgets and gizmos we've tested and recommend are still discounted.

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A ‘Bulletproof’ Criminal VPN Was Taken Down in a Global Sting

Plus: Dozens of reporters get hit by an iMessage exploit, continued fallout from the SolarWinds hack, and more of the week’s top security news.

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Chatroulette Is On the Rise Again—With Help From AI

The hottest app of early 2010 faded quickly when it was flooded with unwanted nudity. Smarter content moderation is helping to revive it.

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Can the Paris Agreement Still Avert Climate Chaos?

As the Trump era wanes, there is a sense of optimism about what the accord could achieve, five years in—but only if countries meet their targets.

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The Video Games WIRED Loved Most in 2020

These are the games, both old and new, that we relied on to blow off steam, to hang out online, or just to feel better this year.

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How to Return and Exchange Your Unwanted Holiday Gifts

You can't always get what you want. Here's how to get some cash (or store credit) instead.

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Friday, December 25, 2020

What Is a 'Role-Playing Game' Anyway?

Jon Petersen's latest book, The Elusive Shift, shows how games like Dungeons & Dragons came to be known, controversially, as RPGs.

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How to Set Up Your New Android Phone

iPhone who?

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How to Set Up Your New Amazon Echo

Let's get that smart speaker set up and ready to place anywhere in your house.

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How to Set Up Your New Google Nest Speaker

"OK Google, help me set up my Google Nest Mini."

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How to Set Up Your New iPhone

Welcome to your new iPhone.

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How to Set Up Your New Chromebook

Welcome to Cloud City.

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How to Set Up Your New TV

You got a new TV! Brag much?

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How to Set Up Your Nest Thermostat

The future is here, and it's atmospherically superior.

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How to Set Up Your New Apple Watch

Welcome to your wearable.

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The Power of Kawaii: How Cute, Squishy Things Influence Us

Adorable puppies and baby cheeks don't just make us feel good—they change our behavior in surprising ways.

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Why HDR Looks Too Dark on Your TV, and How to Fix It

Wait, isn’t that fancy new TV supposed to deliver bright, beautiful images? If yours is a little dimmer than expected, we can help.

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Can Disaster Movies Survive a Pandemic?

Two new disaster movies, Greenland and Songbird, came out this month. Whether they succeed or not may change the genre’s fate.

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The Master Guide to Setting Up All Your New Devices

If you were just gifted a new phone, smartwatch, or home entertainment device, here's what to do with it.

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Thursday, December 24, 2020

The 20 Most Underrated Movies of the Past 20 Years

You might’ve missed them when they came out. Here’s what you should catch up on—and how to stream them.

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Sorry, Facebook. iOS Changes Aren't Bad for Small Businesses

The social media giant would have you believe that Apple’s privacy update will hurt the little guys. But Facebook’s motives aren’t so altruistic.

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No, You Don't Need a New TV for the PS5 and Xbox Series X

This round of next-gen gaming consoles comes with features that make the most of 4K and HDR. But you'll still get some benefits without shelling out.

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The Biggest Video Game Surprise Hits of 2020

Despite some big-name disappointments, this was a great year for gaming. And more than a few came out of nowhere to steal our hearts.

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The Latest Nokia Phone Is a Big, Clumsy Mess

It’s also a contender for the worst product name of 2020.

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The Year of Driving Less—but More Dangerously

Total traffic deaths fell during pandemic lockdowns. But fatalities per mile traveled rose, due to faster driving, fewer cops, and more drug use.

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A Bold Plan to Save the Last Whitebark Pines

The high-altitude tree is vital to its ecosystem, but it’s being decimated by a fungus. Its admirers are fusing old and new methods to bring it back.

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Here’s a Plan to Stop the Coronavirus From Mutating

Prioritize people who are immunocompromised for early vaccination.

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All the Gear We Fell In Love With During 2020

From turntables to smart water bottles, here are the things that brought the WIRED gear team irrational delight in this most atypical year.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

What AlphaGo Can Teach Us About How People Learn

David Silver of DeepMind, who helped create the program that defeated a Go champion, thinks rewards are central to how machines—and humans—acquire knowledge.

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The F-14 and the Secret History of the First Microprocessor

In a weird way, I’ve known Ray Holt all my life, but I never knew what he had accomplished—or how his inventions wove their way into my own family.

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The Race for a Covid Vaccine Was More About Luck Than Tech

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna's mRNA platforms are amazing—but they could easily have been overtaken by more conventional rivals.

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Everything You Need to Work From Home Like a Pro

Gear can make or break your home office setup. Here's our ultimate list of the best monitors, desks, webcams, headphones, and more.

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How Would Deadpool Jump Into a Moving Vehicle?

Our sardonic superhero needs to get the timing just right to crash through the sunroof and beat up the bad guys.

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The Death of FOMO As We Knew It

During a global pandemic, the fear of missing out was replaced by something else: dread over not experiencing what could have been.

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The Biden Administration Needs a VP of Engineering, Not a CTO

If our government wants to implement a tech-forward agenda, it needs someone who looks at broken infrastructure with a debugger’s eye.

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A Unique Alliance Could Help Warn Us of Toxic Algae

In Washington state, scientists, coastal communities, and state agencies are banding together to manage the growing threat of harmful algal blooms.

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The Best Indie Games You May Have Missed This Year

2020 wasn't just a year for big-budget blockbusters. Here are the best debuts from smaller shops—that are all worth playing into 2021.

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Amazon’s Fourth-Gen Echo Looks—and Sounds—Even Better

Thanks to a rounded design and improved drivers, the company’s newest smart speaker outshines the competition.

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2020 Shows the Danger of a Decapitated Cyber Regime

Trump's White House has long been AWOL on cybersecurity. That lack of oversight almost seemed to be working—until the SolarWinds hack.

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Yes, Cyberpunk 2077 Is Buggy. But Mostly, It Has No Heart

People misunderstand why I dislike the game. It's not the bugs—it’s that everyone in it sucks.

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Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Could Carbon Dioxide Be Turned Into Jet Fuel?

A team at Oxford University has reverse engineered fuel from the greenhouse gas—but so far just in the lab.

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5 Ways to Monitor Your Blood Pressure Wherever You Are

These portable devices can send results to your phone—and help you keep track of your health.

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The Best Kindles to Take Your Library Anywhere

Amazon has four different ebook readers. Here's how they stack up—and which may be right for you.

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My Year Watching Submarine Movies

To cope with Covid-19 lockdowns, many folks watched older films at home. Some tackled the AFI 100, or picked a favorite director. I picked a theme.

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How Much Will Data Caps Hurt Game Streaming?

Spoiler: Not too much, but watch your wallet before signing up for anyone's “unlimited” plan.

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Test Positivity Is a Bad Way to Measure Covid’s Spread

So why do policymakers keep using it?

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Uber and Lyft’s Gig Work Law Could Expand Beyond California

The companies are backing proposals in other states that would give workers the ability to form unions—but still consider them contractors, not employees.

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Video Game Hell Isn’t Nearly Agonizing Enough

Games like Hades take place, largely, in hell. What does that say about the players who happily retreat into the underworld?

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The Best Cheap Phones for (Almost) Every Budget

There’s little reason to pay top dollar for a phone these days. These are our favorite Android devices and iPhones for $200 to $500.

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Super Last-Minute Gift Ideas—and Excuses—for Procrastinators

If your Christmas tree is missing a present, or you can't celebrate IRL, these gifts will keep you on the nice list.

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The Newest Weapon Against Covid-19: AI That Speed-Reads Faxes

Local health departments rely on the old-fangled tech to track cases. A hastily developed machine-learning program gives it an assist.

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25 of the Best Longreads of 2020

It was a brutal year. Take a breath and enjoy some of our favorite in-depth stories.

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Apple Fitness+ Is Either Right on Time or Much Too Late

Apple invites users to sweat along with prerecorded classes on its new streaming workout platform—but the experience lags behind the competition.

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Monday, December 21, 2020

Cyberpunk 2077 and the Meaning of Its Deadly Dildos

In lots of video games, sex toys are repurposed for violence. What's the deal?

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The Oldest Crewed Deep Sea Submarine Just Got a Big Makeover

The 60-year-old sub is preparing to take its deepest plunge yet. But in the age of autonomous machines, why are humans exploring the ocean floor at all?

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The Best Chef's Knives to Level Up Your Home Cooking

It's the indispensable multi-tool of the kitchen. We sliced and diced our way through meats and veggies to find today's best blades.

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Move Over Peloton. Myx Plus Is the Better Bargain

The $1,499 package includes a stationary bike with a tablet, a set of weights, and hours of streaming video workouts to shake off those 2020 blues.

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Pet Prosthetics Get a Boost From 3D Printing

New modeling software is helping animal health experts develop more customizable prosthetics for pets with missing limbs. Still, not all legs are created equal.

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2020: The Year of Cancel(l)ed Culture

This year, monoculture floundered, but microculture flourished. Everyone found a niche—and learned what they could live without.

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This Was Supposed to Be the Year of the Female Movie Hero

From Wonder Woman 1984 to Black Widow, heroines were going to bust the box office in 2020. Then, they didn't.

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Sunday, December 20, 2020

Some UK Stores Are Using Facial Recognition to Track Shoppers

Branches of the British grocer Southern Co-op are using surveillance technology to look for potential shoplifters.

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Want to Start a Podcast or Livestream? Here's What You Need

Now is the time to create your own content. This gear can help you get great audio and video quality from the start.

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A Massive Fraud Operation Stole Millions From Online Accounts

The crooks used emulators to mimic the phones of more than 16,000 customers whose mobile bank accounts had been compromised.

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The Universe Is Expanding Faster Than Expected

Astronomers get their wish—new ultra-precise distance measurements between Earth and the stars—but that only intensifies a cosmic crisis.

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12 Face Masks Your Kids May Actually Wear

Whether your kids are going to school or playing outside, you'll need comfortable face coverings. These are the ones my little monsters will tolerate.

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How to Tame Those Distracting Notifications on Your Computer

Stop the chatter and find your quiet place.

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I Took a Zoom Cooking Class With a Roman Chef. It Was Awesome

In a Covid-inspired pivot, chefs around the world are offering interactive cooking classes online that help groups of disparate strangers learn some new tricks.

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Facial Hair Is Biologically Useless. Why Do Humans Have It?

Pubes protect you; head hair keeps you warm. But beards and mustaches seem to exist for mainly ornamental reasons.

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Saturday, December 19, 2020

15 Gifts for PlayStation Lovers

Or for yourself, because we all deserve a little treat.

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Russia's SolarWinds Hack Is the Big One

All the most important stories about the biggest hack in years.

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Unlock Your Cycling Fitness Goals by Upgrading Your Bike

Don't blow your savings on a new bicycle. Instead, learn how to better maintain the one you've already got and swap out some key components along the way.

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Will Rising Temperatures Make Superweeds Even Stronger?

Widely used herbicides are struggling to kill some weeds. Some experts think heat could be part of the problem.

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The Right Way Hook Your Laptop Up to a TV

You have to do more than just plug and go. Let us help you pick the best cable for your device, and adjust your laptop and your TV settings for the best picture.

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Gear to Safely Make It Through a Pandemic Winter

We've collected all the latest advice, equipment, and up-to-date information to help you navigate the cold months ahead.

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18 Eleventh-Hour Holiday Deals on Games, Headphones, and More

Have you always wanted an advent calendar with Baby Yoda socks? Today's your lucky day.

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19 Last-Minute Gift Ideas for the Truly Desperate

Breathe. This year is almost over, and you still have time to find gifts for your loved ones.

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How to Understand the Russia Hack Fallout

Not all SolarWinds victims are created equal.

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Friday, December 18, 2020

The Into the Impossible Podcast Honors Arthur C. Clarke

Physicist Brian Keating, codirector of the Arthur C. Clarke Center for the Human Imagination, started the show to continue the center's mission of bringing together the world's top thinkers.

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Google’s Antitrust Cases: A Guide for the Perplexed

The company is facing multiple lawsuits from the Department of Justice and three dozen states. Here’s what you need to know.

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The Best Theragun to Buy (and the Best Alternatives)

Therabody's percussive therapy devices help soothe achy muscles. Here's our guide to its lineup, and a cheaper alternative.

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Check Out These Awesome Objects in the Night Sky

Get your binoculars (or not) and let’s explore the reaches of our galaxy and the craters of the moon.

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The Best Chromebooks for Every Budget

All in on Google services? Then check out our favorite Chrome OS laptops and 2-in-1 tablets for school, work, or home.

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Why Did the NSA Go (Virtually) MIA?

Plus: A visit to the agency’s headquarters, a license for engineers, and a holiday reprieve.

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HBO Max Is Now on Roku. Thanks, Wonder Woman!

After a long wait—and a lot of frustration—the streaming service is finally available on Roku devices. Just in time to watch Wonder Woman 1984.

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Our Tech Predictions for 2021

This week, we try to guess what the year ahead has in store. We also look back in shock at how wrong we were about 2020. Can't win em all.

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A New Field Guide for Earth’s Wild Microbes

The most massive database of microbial gene sequences so far shows that the tree of life is much larger than we knew.

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Cyberpunk 2077 Revives the Dystopian Fears of the 1980s

Putting aside the game's bugs and issues, the underlying themes speak to the fears and worries of a time gone by—not that we've moved past them all.

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The Future of Work: ‘ars longa’ by Tade Thompson

“It’s all well and good for an android to take a position and shut down motor functions. There’s no art in that. I want the old ways. That’s why I’m on Earth.”

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Discord Gaming Parties Are Better Than Zoom Meetings

You're probably using it to chat with friends, but if you're not using it to stream, play games, and chat with friends too, it's time to start.

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Airlines’ Pandemic-Driven Cargo Business Will Keep Flying

As Covid-19 shut down air travel, the industry quickly pivoted to hauling more stuff. It won’t be pivoting away anytime soon.

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Thursday, December 17, 2020

Wildfire Smoke Is Loaded With Microbes. Is That Dangerous?

Researchers are putting out a call to study the potential effects of bacteria- and fungi-filled haze on human health.

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Russia's Hack Wasn't Cyberwar. That Complicates US Strategy

To evaluate whether cyber security tactics are working, you need to first establish what the SolarWinds hack really was.

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Wildfire Smoke Is Loaded With Microbes. Is That Dangerous?

Researchers are putting out a call to study the potential effects of bacteria- and fungi-filled haze on human health.

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Uber Faces a Fine for Refusing to Give Details on Assaults

The California Public Utility Commission demanded details on sexual assault cases involving drivers. But Uber says complying would compromise victims’ identities.

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Our Fave Smartwatches Do Much More Than Just Tell Time

These little wearables reduce your reliance on a phone—all while helping you stay connected.

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These Are the Gifts Teens Actually Want

Teenagers can be scary, but these adolescent-approved gifts are sweet.

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A Clever Strategy to Distribute Covid Aid—With Satellite Data

The small nation of Togo used image analysis algorithms to target economic support for its most vulnerable residents.

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The Best TikToks of 2020

The social media platform, which gained enormous popularity this year, served as a mirror of these often dystopian times.

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18 Passive-Aggressive Gifts for Your Terrible Roommate

If you're obligated to give a present, you may as well send a thinly veiled message behind it.

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Vaccines Are Here. We Have to Talk About Side Effects

Disinformation could thwart distribution before government messages have a chance to push back. Debunking might turn out to be everyone’s job.

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How Restaurants Retooled for Takeout—and Survival

Chefs tinkered with food chemistry, while dining apps reengineered logistics. Those changes will endure even after the pandemic is over.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Texas Accuses Google and Facebook of an Illegal Conspiracy

A new antitrust case against Google alleges that the two companies made a deal to reduce competition in online advertising.

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Russia's Hacking Frenzy Is a Reckoning

Despite years of warning, the US still has no good answer for the sort of “supply chain” attack that let Russia run wild.

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How to Pick the Right Roku for Your TV

The company has a dizzying array of streaming sticks, boxes, TVs, and speakers to choose from, but don’t worry—these are the ones to buy.

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How NASA Scrambled to Save OSIRIS-REx From Leaky Disaster

The $800 million craft successfully collected precious asteroid material from a near-Earth asteroid. Then it started spilling regolith into space.

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14 Gifts to Cheer Up Your Favorite Cinephile

Theaters may be mostly shut down, but you can still roll out the red carpet for that special movie buff.

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Orwell's Animal Farm Sticks a Bit Too Close to the Book

Kudos to developer The Dairymen for tackling the classic parable, but a narrative focus means that players suffer the same lack of freedom as the game's characters.

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Cops Are Getting a New Tool For Family-Tree Sleuthing

Verogen’s push into public crime labs with genetic genealogy may help solve more cold cases, but it raises concerns about DNA data collection.

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Trick Out Your iPhone 12 With These Cases and Accessories

Whichever new model you get, we’ve rounded up the cases, chargers, and other extras you’ll want to snag.

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Trump Could Torpedo a Bill to Boost Funding for AI

The National Defense Authorization Act would increase US investment by $6.4 billion over 5 years. But the president could veto it over other provisions.

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The Future of Social Media Is All Talk

From Clubhouse to Discord to Twitter, 2020 was all about giving people a voice online. Literally.

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The Best Pop Culture That Got Us Through 2020

These 48 movies, TV shows, albums, Twitter feeds, songs, podcasts, and books helped us get through this wildly unprecedented year.

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24 Gifts We Love From BIPOC-Owned Businesses

These household gifts are perfect for anyone on your list.

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The First Americans Are Being Vaccinated. Now, the Hard Part

State and local officials are scrambling to figure out how to inoculate millions—after health care workers and the elderly—against the novel coronavirus.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2020

How Cyberpunk 2077 Sold a Promise—and Rigged the System

Video game companies are increasingly putting restrictions on what reviewers can show, widening the gap between expectations and reality.

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14 Excellent Gifts for Xbox Gamers

Whether your giftee has the Series X, S, or Xbox One, here are a few extras they might like.

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Need a Cheap Laptop? These Are Our Favorites

You don't have to spend a fortune to get a good notebook.

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The 8 Best Books About Artificial Intelligence to Read Now

Algorithms have crept into our feeds, streets, and workplaces. Here’s what WIRED staff are reading to understand what that means for the future.

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The New Surface Pro X Has Improved—a Bit

Microsoft has updated its ARM-powered portable, giving it a faster chip and a new keyboard. It still struggles to compete.

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22 Gift Ideas for People Working From Home

Upgrade your loved one’s home office with these picks that make every day a little easier—and a little more fun.

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The Longing Is a Video Game of Transcendent Slowness

Set in a virtual cave, this Tamagotchi-like waiting simulator is a riff on a German folktale that captures 2020’s sad and surreal lockdown energy.

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All the Stuff Humans Make Now Outweighs Earth’s Organisms

Anthropogenic mass—concrete, metal, and other human creations—has grown to be heavier than plants, animals, and microbes combined. Planet Earth is not happy.

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The Race to Get a PlayStation 5 Is the Year’s Best Game

This is what a holiday-shopping craze looks like when everyone’s in lockdown.

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The ‘Healthy Building’ Surge Will Outlast the Pandemic

Because of Covid-19, developers are realizing that incorporating health concerns in a building's design isn’t just a luxury—it’s a necessity.

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The 7th Jackbox Party Pack Is the First Perfect Pack

It took a couple swings (most of them good, some of them okay at best) but the most recent release is a crowd-pleaser.

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The Steampunk Rover Concept That Could Help Explore Venus

50 years after the first spacecraft touched down on our super hot neighbor (and promptly died), NASA has a plan for a tougher mechanical lander.

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The Zodiac Killer's Cipher Is Finally Cracked After 51 Years

Amateur and professional cryptographers, including those at the FBI, had been trying to decode the infamous serial killer's message to the media for decades.

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Why Do Many Self-Driving Cars Look Like Toasters on Wheels?

Without any need for steering wheels or pedals, the cubes give passengers room to maneuver inside. The latest entrant, from Zoox, can hold 4.

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The Mustang Mach-E Delivers a Jolt—If You Can Find a Charge

The electric version of Ford’s legendary sports car is a lot of fun to drive. But road trips can be derailed by an underpowered charging network.

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Monday, December 14, 2020

No One Knows How Deep Russia's Hacking Rampage Goes

A supply chain attack against IT company SolarWinds has exposed as many as 18,000 companies to Cozy Bear's attacks.

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A Letter to My Pandemic Baby

On this week's Get WIRED podcast, an editor captures the bizarre world of 2020 for his unborn daughter.

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How to Use ProRAW on Your iPhone 12 Pro

Apple’s update that enables RAW camera capture—and makes your photos more editable—is now available.

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The Streaming Wars Could Finally End in 2021

With Disney's announcement of 22 new series, and Warner Bros. teaming up with HBO Max, the battle for every last subscriber will come to a head next year.

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Apple's App 'Privacy Labels' Are Here—and a Big Step Forward

It remains unclear how effective the warnings will be, but the attempt alone is a promising development.

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The Best Fantasy Books of an Unfantastic Year

In the midst of a global pandemic, the genre got a lot more real.

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An AI Used Facebook Data to Predict Mental Illness

Volunteers let an AI scan their messages from more than a year before they received a psychiatric diagnosis. It was able to flag signs of their conditions.

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Conferences After Covid Will Be Shorter—and Smarter

In-person gatherings will resume eventually, but innovations born during the pandemic will remain.

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Switching to Windows? These Are the Best Mac Alternatives

If you're tired of Apple's desktops or laptops, consider these Windows and Linux-powered options.

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20 Great Green Monday Deals on Apple, Bose, Sonos, and More

Whether you've heard of this retail holiday or not, you should check out these tech deals.

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26 of the Best Books WIRED Read in 2020

From pig poop to sunscreen to poker to hackers, the books we love dive deep to tell smart stories about how the world works.

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This ‘Invisible’ Charger Juices Your Phone Through Your Desk

Kew Labs’ unique charger installs under your desk, where it sends electrons to your phone wirelessly through the tabletop.

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Mass Transit Is in Jeopardy—and So Are Cities

Subways and buses are the lifeblood of dense cities like New York. If the system withers, the region becomes a less attractive place to live and work.

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A Bolivian 'Cloud Forest' Reveals a Bonanza of New Species

An expedition into a steep, remote mountain area unveils discoveries of strange frogs, snakes, and plants—and the return of species thought to be extinct.

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Sunday, December 13, 2020

Breathe Easy—We Found the Best Air Purifiers

We tested standard and HEPA models to find the right one for your home.

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17 Gifts for People Who Just Need a Good Night's Sleep

Sweet dreams are made of these.

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Super Slow Computer Programs Reveal Math's Fundamental Limits

The goal of the “busy beaver” game is to find the longest-running computer program. Its pursuit has surprising connections to profound questions in math.

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6 Gaming Laptops That Pwned the Competition

We tested the latest and greatest gaming notebooks to sort the god-rolls from the vendor fodder.

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Ditch Your Data-Hungry Apps for These Privacy-Focused Swaps

From messaging to maps, many popular apps slurp up your data to sell you ads. There’s a better way.

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AI Algorithms Are Slimming Down to Fit in Your Fridge

Artificial intelligence programs typically are power guzzlers. New research shows how to generate computer vision from a simple, low-power chip.

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My Highly Unexpected Heterosexual Pandemic Zoom Wedding

Love caught me by surprise, but we were continents apart.

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The Biden Administration Will Have Its Hands Full With Russia

After four years of Trump kowtowing to Putin, the US has its work cut out for it.

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Saturday, December 12, 2020

The 14 Best Google Assistant Speakers for Your Home

From smart displays to portable boomboxes, Google's smart voice assistant comes in all shapes and sizes. Here are our favorites.

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2021 Will Launch the Platinum Age of Piracy

And Disney, with its rich in-person experience offerings, is poised to be the biggest winner of all.

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A Delivery Service for Dental Night Guards? I Wouldn't Bite

The newest trend in oral care lets you skip the dentist's office by taking molds of your teeth at home and having a protective night guard mailed to you.

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15 Table-Ready Gifts for Board Game Lovers

Even picky players will love these holiday picks and accessories.

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An Atlas Shows Climate Change Is Pushing Birds Further North

Data from 120,000 birdwatchers in 48 countries shows forest birds have expanded their range while area occupied by farmland birds has shrunk.

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10 Laptops We've Tested—and Loved

These are our favorite Windows notebooks, MacBooks, and Chromebooks.

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Give Ice the Cold Shoulder With an Electric Cooler

These devices work like a portable refrigerator, drawing power from AC or DC power (like the 12-volt plug in your car) to keep your food cool and dry.

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Friday, December 11, 2020

The First Shots, Grim Milestones, and More Coronavirus News

Catch up on the most important updates from this week.

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The Hollow Earth Theory Isn't So Funny Anymore

Owen Egerton's 2017 book Hollow used the theory to tell its story. Now that conspiracies are everywhere, he's reconsidering that move.

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Everything You Need to Make Beer, Wine, Cider, and Mead

Indoor plants and sewing projects don't always make you forget how terrible everything is right now. Here's what you need to make booze at home.

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The 14 Best Electric Bikes for Every Kind of Ride

A battery-powered motor lets you enjoy most of the benefits of biking, without all the sweat.

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Looking for the Best Smart Scale? Step On Up

If you're ready to start tracking your weight, BMI, and other critical health data on your phone, we've weighed in on some great options.

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Mark Zuckerberg’s Blue Christmas

Plus: A WhatsApp cofounder’s regrets, the rules of chip hoarding, and a failed attempt at influencer marketing.

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Charlize Theron and the Best Movie Never Made

As with so many things in 2020, it all started with a tweet.

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Copyright Law Is Bricking Your Game Console. Time to Fix That

Repairing your own console is either impossible or illegal. An exemption to Section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act could change that.

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Hackers Accessed Covid Vaccine Data Through the EU Regulator

The European Medicines Agency has released limited details about the cyberattack.

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Severe Wildfires Are Devastating the California Condor

This year’s aggressive fire season wiped out a record number of the endangered birds, as well as a facility wildlife biologists use to track and care for them.

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This Season’s Most In-Demand Gifts

This week, we discuss how holiday gift-giving has been influenced by the pandemic. Also, we list the things we’ll be giving, and offer some gift suggestions.

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Republicans Are P-Hacking the Supreme Court

Texas is seeking to overturn the 2020 election based on a shoddy statistical analysis. It's just what you would expect from medical researchers.

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I Tested Positive for Covid-19. What Does That Really Mean?

We reduce test results to “positive” or “negative.” Some experts think patients, and the community, would be better served by a more nuanced approach.

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The FDA's Green Light for a Vaccine Might Tank Ongoing Trials

The agency is close to authorizing Pfizer's Covid-19 shot. That raises questions about the fate of study volunteers and lost opportunities to collect their data.

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‘Beyond These Stars Other Tribulations of Love’

“The trick was to lift consciousness into a superposition and help it lock into distinct space-time coordinates.”

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Looking for a Tablet? These Are Our Absolute Favorites

We’ve tested all the top slates around, from Apple’s iPads to Android and Windows devices.

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Thursday, December 10, 2020

These Are Our 7 Favorite Robot Vacuums

From no-frills cleaners to high-end automation, we have the perfect pick for you.

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Antitrust Litigation Isn't Enough. Biden Needs to Go Further

Antitrust suits, like the one filed against Facebook, are long, costly, and often ineffective. The next president can fix the system—without Congress.

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The Best High-Tech Socks to Tackle Your Next Run or Workout

Leave the cotton behind in favor of technical fabrics and constructions that help you pile on the miles.

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A Rocket From 1966 Has Found Its Way Back to Earth’s Orbit

More than 50 years after its course correction failure, Surveyor 2’s rocket booster seems to have reappeared.

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Something Was Wrong. My Nightgown Was in Flames

When a body is reduced, all at once, to a crude dichotomy of hot and cold, what happens to your soul?

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Gaming on a Budget? Try Your Local Library

While you may have to wait to check out the most popular releases, libraries across the country are increasingly adding video games to their collections.

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14 Gifts for People Who Are Perpetually Cold

From smart coffee mugs to a weighted blanket, these picks will make your loved ones feel warm and fuzzy—inside and out.

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There Are No Real Rules for Repairing Satellites in Space—Yet

Fixing, refueling, and upgrading satellites in orbit is about to become more common. A group is pushing for international standards to keep these missions safe.

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The Dark Side of Big Tech’s Funding for AI Research

Timnit Gebru’s exit from Google is a powerful reminder of how thoroughly companies dominate the field, with the biggest computers and the most resources.

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Hello, World! It Is ‘I,’ the Internet

When did “the Internet” become “the internet?” Why did that happen, and how has it changed us?

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Get Rich Selling Used Fashion Online—or Cry Trying

The social shopping app Poshmark promises women the chance to spin gold out of secondhand threads. The reality is a lot of spinning, and little gold.

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A Cyberpunk Founding Father Isn't Surprised By Its Comeback

Mike Pondsmith, who wrote the tabletop RPG that inspired Cyberpunk 2077, explains why the genre feels vital in 2020.

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Apple's HomePod Mini Falls Short As a Smart Speaker

Apple’s small spherical speaker is a convenient satellite for Siri-loving Apple users, but it doesn't score many points beyond that.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2020

The Smoking Gun in the Facebook Antitrust Case

The government wants to break up the world’s biggest social network. Internal company emails show why.

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SpaceX Launches—and Crashes—Its Starship Mars Rocket

The test flight didn’t come close to the edge of space, but the prototype was a big step toward the rocket’s first orbital mission.

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Bees Paint Animal Poo on Their Homes to Repel Giant Hornets

What at first seems like terrible housekeeping turns out to be a clever ploy to fend off huge predators, which can otherwise easily destroy a hive.

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In 'The Mandalorian,' Stormtroopers Have Finally Discovered Tactics

Imperial troops have finally figured out how to do more than charge straight ahead.

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Out of the Box: 10 Fun Gift Subscriptions for Kids

Stressed about shopping for a young’un? This present keeps on giving.

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Want a More Equitable Future? Empower Citizen Developers

To drive innovation, we need to put technology in the hands of every worker, organization, and public-sector agency around the world.

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Anova's $600 Countertop Oven Is a Steam-Powered Dream

Move over, air fryers. The use of steam is an exciting and approachable new direction for the home kitchen, and this oven is pointing the way.

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Toxicity in Gaming Is Dangerous. Here's How to Stand Up to It

Players often rationalize behaviors like harassment as a part of video game culture. But new research shows it has long-term negative effects.

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25 Face Masks We Actually Like to Wear

Here are the WIRED staff’s favorite face coverings for running, walking the dog, going to work, or looking stylish.

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Marvel Puzzle Quest Might Just Be My Forever Game

Despite the raft of new games now available on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, a free-to-play mobile puzzler still has the bulk of my attention.

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Brawn on a Budget: The New Mac Mini With Apple Silicon

The tiny desktop PC has been relaunched with an Apple-made chip, and boy does it rip.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Russia's FireEye Hack Is a Statement—but Not a Catastrophe

The fallout from the attack may not be as dire as it first sounds.

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The Christchurch Shooter and YouTube's Radicalization Trap

The platform has gotten better about stamping out extremist content. But researchers say its policies and algorithms are still too opaque.

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Orientalism, Cyberpunk 2077, and Yellow Peril in Science Fiction

Cyberpunk as a genre, and Cyberpunk 2077 the game are both rooted in a type of otherization that can't be ignored—but it can be examined.

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Chuck Yeager's 1947 Flight Inspired Our Supersonic Ambitions

Yeager was the prototype of the American hero, a decorated fighter pilot immortalized in Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff. He died Monday at age 97.

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Behind the Paper That Led to a Google Researcher's Firing

Timnit Gebru was one of seven authors on a study that examined prior research on training artificial intelligence models to understand language.

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Apple’s ‘One More Thing’ for 2020: A $549 Pair of Headphones

The future of audio is spatial.

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The 8 Best Science Books to Read or Gift This Holiday Season

Here are the WIRED science team's top new picks for this winter.

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This Guy Is Taking Viewers Along for His Driverless Rides

Joel Johnson, who has taken more than 60 rides in Waymo's Arizona taxis, has posted over a dozen videos and says it's been "rock solid."

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The 22 Best Bike Accessories to Kit Out Your Ride

You got a bicycle! Here’s our favorite gear, from bells to helmets, to make your ride safer and more pleasant.

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VR Meetings Are Weird, but They Beat Our Current Reality

A new VR app called Arthur allows you and your distant colleagues to collaborate within a 3D meeting space—as long as you all have headsets handy.

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New Vaccine Data Is Coming: Watch Out for These 3 Claims

Tips on how to read the full results from BNT-Pfizer and Moderna, from an expert in evaluating medical evidence.

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The Galaxy S20 Fan Edition Is Samsung’s Best Phone of 2020

By trimming the fat from its highest-end Galaxy handset, Samsung inadvertently made one of the year’s top Android phones.

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The Perfect Strategy to Fight Covid-19 Is … Everything?

It’d be great to know which public health interventions against the coronavirus have the biggest bang for the buck. But nobody does.

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Did QuantumScape Just Solve a 40-Year-Old Battery Problem?

Earlier this year, the startup claimed to have a revolutionary solid-state lithium-ion cell that could change EVs forever. Now it has data to prove it.

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Get a Better Picture With Our Favorite Webcams

Videoconferencing cameras have been in high demand since the pandemic began. We’ve narrowed down our favorites.

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Friends, Fleetwood Mac, and the Viral Comfort of Nostalgia

If there’s one thing that brings people together now, it’s old shows, old songs, and drinking Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice to a 1977 hit.

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Monday, December 7, 2020

Critical Flaws in Millions of IoT Devices May Never Get Fixed

Amnesia:33 is the latest in a long line of vulnerabilities that affect countless embedded devices.

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Uber Gives Up on the Self-Driving Dream

The ride-hail giant invested more than $1 billion in autonomous vehicles. Now, it's selling the unit to Aurora, which makes self-driving tech.

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The NSA Warns That Russia Is Attacking Remote Work Platforms

A vulnerability in VMWare has prompted a warning that companies—and government agencies—need to patch as soon as possible.

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Let’s Unpack the Pendulum Rocket Fallacy

And explore how it relates to Iron Man’s flight strategy.

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Which Google Pixel Phone (and Gear) Should You Buy?

If you’re going to get an Android phone, these are the best. Here’s a guide to all the models, along with case recommendations and software tips.

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Paywalls, Newsletters, and the New Echo Chamber

When everything is subscription-based, how many news sources will any one person actually read?

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When Sex Toys Get the Tech-Startup Treatment

On this week's Get WIRED podcast, writer Lux Alptraum tackles the messy tale of Lora DiCarlo's allegedly game-changing vibrator.

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The Vaccines Are Coming. It’s Time to Call Your Mom

The next, crucial step in beating the pandemic? Having conversations with our vaccine-shy loved ones.

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Who Will We Be When This Is All Over?

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought incalculable suffering and trauma. But it also offers ways for people—and even societies—to change for the better.

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These 7 Pots and Pans Are All You Need in the Kitchen

Picking the right cookware can be a soul-sucking research project, but don’t give in to temptation and buy a set. Here’s a short list of unique essentials.

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Sunday, December 6, 2020

14 Boozy Gift Ideas for the Amateur Bartender

From growlers to glassware, these are our favorite picks for beer, wine, or cocktail connoisseurs.

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High-Energy X-Rays Reveal the Secrets of Ancient Egyptian Ink

Analysis of 12 papyrus fragments from the Tebtunis Temple suggests that certain paint techniques were developed and used well before the 15th Century.

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The Ultimate Quarantine Self-Care Guide

Here's how to take care of your nails, hair, and skin at home—because if there was ever a time to be kind to yourself, it's now.

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The Search for Dark Matter Is Dramatically Expanding

Physicists are checking whether dark matter tickles different types of detectors, nudges starlight, warms planetary cores, or even lodges in rocks.

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A Race Car Crash From Hell—and the Science That Saved Its Driver

Romain Grosjean’s F1 car slammed into a wall at 137 mph and burst into flames. He walked away because of decades of work by unsung scientists and engineers.

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9 Browser Extensions to Help You Search the Web Better

Search results can be cluttered with ads and other less-useful information. These add-ons strip out the junk to help you find what you're looking for.

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bc newsletter 12-6-20



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Saturday, December 5, 2020

The US Used the Patriot Act to Justify Logging Website Users

Plus: Better Twitter two-factor, a Spotify hack, and more of the week’s top security news.

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The Best Sex Toys and Tech for Every Body

Spending more time indoors? Here are our favorite gender-inclusive adult devices to give you and your partner(s) a helping hand.

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Physicists Are Closer to Knowing the Size of a Proton … Sort of

A new and potentially improved measurement of a proton’s charge radius brings scientists closer to an answer. But the issue is still unresolved.

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Another Victim of Global Warming: The Great British Bake Off

Increasing summer temperatures are proving a menace to butter, chocolates, and baked Alaska.

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This Is the Perfect Bedroom Guitar Amp

The Positive Grid Spark will inspire you to step out of your musical wheelhouse.

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20 Smart Gifts to Upgrade Your Beauty Routine

Give your loved ones the gift of feeling fabulous with these tools and sets.

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Friday, December 4, 2020

Trust in Covid Vaccines Grows, Planning Begins, and More News

Catch up on the most important updates from this week.

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Teddy Roosevelt Is Basically a Fantasy Character

Erin Lindsey's Rose Gallagher books give America's 26th president the paranormal cowboy stories he deserves.

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The Ascent of Elliot Page

The Oscar-nominated Umbrella Academy star came out as trans this week—a huge moment for the actor and everyone watching his rise.

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Apple's Covid Response Was Extremely Apple

Plus: A patented pizza box, polarization on Parler, and a sad update.

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5 Sanitizers to Blast the Feces Off Your Toothbrush

A device that cleans toothbrushes with UV light is something you probably want. Trust us.

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The Best iPad to Buy (and the Ones to Avoid)

With several new iPads on the market, choosing the right one is more complicated than ever. We’re here to help.

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How The Tumult of 2020 Will Shape the Future of Ride Sharing

This week, we talk about the new legal and social realities that Lyft, Uber, the scooter companies, and bike-share companies will face once the pandemic ends.

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13 Piping-Hot Gift Ideas for Coffee Lovers

We all know someone who puts a little too much time into their morning brew. Here's how to shop for them.

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The Future of Work: ‘Collaborative Configurations of Minds’ by Lettie Prell

“No longer were we merely the created machine called Artificial Intelligence. We became Alternative Intelligence.”

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For the Second Time Ever, an Asteroid Sample Returns to Earth

The Japanese Hayabusa2 mission to asteroid Ryugu marks a major milestone this weekend with the return of pristine space rock.

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A Member of the ‘Squad’ Takes on Cryptocurrency

US Representative Rashida Tlaib, a progressive first-term lawmaker, has cosponsored a bill requiring stablecoins like Facebook's Libra to be issued by banks.

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Among Us and a Resurgence of Narrative-Free Games

In the midst of a pandemic, we're all suffering from narrative exhaustion right now.

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Thursday, December 3, 2020

A Prominent AI Ethics Researcher Says Google Fired Her

Timnit Gebru is a leader among those examining the societal impacts of the technology. She had also criticized the company's diversity efforts.

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A ‘Magical Bug’ Exposed Any iPhone in a Hacker's Wi-Fi Range

A Google researcher found flaws in Apple's AWDL protocol that would have allowed for a complete device takeover.

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China Stakes Its Claim to Quantum Supremacy

Google trumpeted its quantum computer that outperformed a conventional supercomputer. A Chinese group says it's done the same, with different technology.

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On Section 230, It's Trump vs. Trump

The president is urging Congress to repeal a law that his own trade agreements commit the country to.

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Spoil Your Cat Over the Holidays With Our Favorite Gear

Between litter boxes, beds, scratchers, and trees, cats require a lot of supplies. These are our favorites.

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Slay Every Sauce and Soup With This $100 Stick Blender

Braun's new powerful and easy-to-use immersion blender is an essential kitchen upgrade.

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Underground Brine Could Be a Source of Oxygen on Mars

A new study tests a device that can efficiently split the resource’s water into pure oxygen and hydrogen in Martian conditions.

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The Arecibo Observatory Is More Than Just a Telescope

The world’s second largest radio telescope collapsed on Tuesday. But its legacy is indestructible.

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The Best Travel Mugs to Ward Off the Winter Chill

From classics like Yeti and Stanley to new tumblers from OtterBox and Snow Peak, these picks will keep your libations piping hot.

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Giving Gadgets As Gifts? Get Ready to Answer These Questions

Bestowing tech gifts means anticipating confusion about privacy and recurring fees. Here's how to ease the minds of loved ones this year.

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Do Diverse Corporate Boards Lead to a Fairer Workplace?

Nasdaq wants at least one woman and one underrepresented minority among directors at listed companies. The proposal goes further than most, but will it matter?

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Apple’s New iPad Air Is a Great Tablet With a Few Quirks

The 2020 edition of the iPad Air is light, powerful, convenient. It's a good buy as long as you don't mind a few small annoyances.

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Warp Speed, Atomic Structure, and the Future of Vaccines

John Mascola, who worked on the research that led to the Moderna shot, thinks Covid-19 proves we have to prep for the next virus, too.

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Hackers Are Targeting the Covid-19 Vaccine ‘Cold Chain’

As vaccines await US approval, a sophisticated global phishing campaign has tried to harvest credentials from companies involved in their distribution.

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