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
Waze Lights the Beacons to Guide Drivers Through Chicago’s Tangled Streets
In downtown Chicago, near where the river meets the lake, the city gets a bad case of Escheritis. The streets double—sometimes triple!—into three dimensions, dropping below each other and folding around the basements and sub-basements of skyscrapers, cutting across the river on bridges hanging below other bridges, and eliding into drivable strata in ways that cities generally promise not to do. In Chicago, the multi-level streets of Wacker, Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Ave.
Sep 19, 2018
How Zipline Helps Remote Regions Get Blood From a Drone
WIRED ICON Anne Wojcicki, cofounder and CEO of 23andMe NOMINATES Keller Rinaudo, cofounder and CEO of Zipline Keller Rinaudo began his career as the cocreator of Romo, a tiny toy robot. But for the past five years his work has been, well, bloodier. His company, Zipline, uses autonomous planes to deliver medical supplies—vaccines, pharmaceuticals, and blood—to hard-to-reach places.
Sep 19, 2018
Mr. Know-It-All on Honesty and Social Media
How true does my online persona have to be? I like to be really curated. But my significant other is very honest. Too honest if you ask me. Who’s right? Should we be our raw authentic selves, or strike a pose? This feels like a quintessential dilemma of the digital age, but artists and philosophers have been grappling over this one for centuries, really.
Sep 18, 2018
BMW's Tech-Stuffed Concept SUV Heralds a Fancy, Electric Future
Changing notions of what customers want from cars have pushed automakers to do plenty of weird things. They’ve unmoored the driver’s seat from the left side of the car, revived the rotary engine, and turned windshields into screens. BMW, though, is most likely the first to put down carpeting in the cabin of a cargo jet.
Sep 18, 2018
How Fitbit Started the Wearables Craze That Got Us All Moving
As Japan entered the 1960s, everything seemed to be in motion. Construction swept through Tokyo as the city prepared to host its first Olympic Games. The Tōkaidō Shinkansen, the original bullet train, sped along the southern coast of Honshu. More cars filled the roads. The only thing not moving, it seemed, were people’s legs. Prosperity fostered convenience, which encouraged inactivity—or so a doctor reportedly told the founder of Yamasa Tokei Keiki.
Sep 17, 2018
When It's Time to Evacuate, Cities Struggle to Help Those Who Can't Drive
Every hurricane season, news reports divide the country’s coast into two camps. You’ve got the leavers, who brave miles-long traffic jams as they make for higher ground. And the stayers, defiantly boarding up windows, stockpiling provisions, and kicking back on their couches—that’s how their parents and grandparents did it, anyway. Like most dichotomies, it’s a false one. It ignores a third group: Those who want out and can’t.
Sep 17, 2018
To Solve Flying Cars' Biggest Problem, Tie Them to Power Lines
Of the many challenges facing the nascent flying car industry, few turn more hairs gray than power. A heavier aircraft needs more power, which requires a bigger battery, which weighs more, thus making a heavier aircraft. You see the dilemma.
Sep 14, 2018
There Are No More Small Phones
On Wednesday, Apple introduced not one but three new phone models to the world: the iPhone Xs, Xs Max, and Xr. They all seem fine. But take note of what Apple took away. As of this week, it no longer sells the iPhone SE. Which in turn means the age of small smartphones has officially come to an end. When Apple debuted the iPhone SE in 2016, it was remarkable not just for its diminutive 4-inch screen size, but for its amped-up capabilities even given those constraints.
Sep 14, 2018
Lyft's Bid to Rule the Streets Now Includes Public Transit
In today’s transportation landscape, opening the Lyft app on your phone is a sign of intent. It means that wherever you’re going, you’ve decided you won’t be biking, or walking, or taking the bus. Maybe you’ll share the ride with a stranger, but you’re definitely making the trip in a car. Lyft cofounder and president John Zimmer is trying to rejigger that timeline.
Sep 13, 2018
North Carolina Chose to Ignore Its Dangerous Sea Levels Years Before Hurricane Florence Hit
In 2012, North Carolina legislators passed a bill that barred policymakers and developers from using up-to-date climate science to plan for rising sea levels on the state’s coast. Now Hurricane Florence threatens to cause a devastating storm surge that could put thousands of lives in danger and cost the state billions of dollars worth of damage. The hurricane, which is expected to make landfall on Friday, is shaping up to be one of the worst storms to hit the East Coast.
Sep 13, 2018
Digital DJs Have New Ways to 'Spin' Their Tracks
If you've been to a club, festival, pool party, or bar mitzvah in the past few years and taken a peek at the DJ booth, you've seen somebody using Traktor. The widely beloved app, made by the Berlin company Native Instruments, lets a performer seamlessly mix together tracks from their MP3 library to make a non-stop, fluidly changing DJ set.
Sep 12, 2018
Eyeing the Future, Snap Debuts Two New Styles of Spectacles
Snap's camera-enabled Spectacles get an update today with two new styles of frames. The new sunnies look less like the circular Spectacles of yore, and more like something a knock-off Anna Wintour might wear, were she interested in being on the other side of the paparazzo's lens. They come with all the capabilities of Snap’s second generation Spectacles: improved image quality, dual microphones, and water-resistant frames. A button on the left side controls video and still photo capture.
Sep 12, 2018
Chevy's Beefy ZR2 Bison Is the Pickup Truck You Bring to Armageddon
Of the growing numbers of US car buyers who go for SUVs and pickups, most do it because they look good, they have a nice high seating position, and they’re handy for that odd weekend they hit up Home Depot. Their cars will never get really dirty, or make use of their improved ground clearance, and off-road capabilities. There exists, however, a smaller class of buyers who really need those capabilities—and then some.
Sep 11, 2018
Elon Musk’s Blunt-Toking Goodwill Tour Isn't Enough to Save Tesla
The thing to remember about Elon Musk smoking a blunt with Joe Rogan is not that he took just one hit, or that he didn’t seem to know what a blunt was, or that he whiffed on an opportunity to show off just how useful his “not a flamethrower” can be. It’s that it came 130 minutes into his two-and-a-half-hour interview with Rogan, for the former Fear Factor host’s podcast, livestreamed on YouTube.
Sep 11, 2018
The 19th Century Argument for a 21st Century Space Force
Government sclerosis is no match for the hot take industrial complex. Since President Trump ordered the Department of Defense to prepare for a sixth military branch in June—an order that has stalled, since it requires congressional approval—the debate over this proposed Space Force has become so clouded by partially-informed, mostly-partisan rhetoric, there’s barely enough light for an honest appraisal.
Sep 10, 2018
Why Science Fiction Is the Most Important Genre
Yuval Noah Harari, author of the best-selling books Sapiens and Homo Deus, is a big fan of science fiction, and includes an entire chapter about it in his new book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. “Today science fiction is the most important artistic genre,” Harari says in Episode 325 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast.
Sep 10, 2018
Bump-Canceling Bunk Beds Promise Super Smooth Bus Rides
If you are, say, over the age of three, chances are someone has told you not to climb into a van, parked in an alley, with a bunch of strangers. But this was for science, mom, and the very nice trio that beckoned a reporter within turned out to be rather entrepreneurial spirits, who just want to create a good night’s sleep. A good night’s sleep in any context, really, but especially for the 23 passengers they hope to pack into bus rollicking down a California freeway.
Sep 07, 2018
Kelly Slater's Artificial Surf Pool Is Really Making Waves
Adam Fincham is trying to make waves with a Tupperware full of agave and an avocado. Internal waves, specifically—the kind that exist in stratified fluid. Fincham is standing at a metal chef’s table in the kitchen at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch, in toasty Lemoore, California. A chef is in the kitchen preparing salmon grain bowls for the assemblage of pro surfers hanging around outside, but Fincham is intent on his own concoction.
Sep 07, 2018
Nike, Colin Kaepernick, and the Changing Role of the Athlete
To commemorate Nike’s 30th anniversary of its iconic “Just do it” campaign, the sportswear goliath on Monday released a series of striking black-and-white ads featuring tennis champion Serena Williams, pro-skateboarder Lacey Baker, and NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Its most controversial placard, though, was a close-up image of former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick overlaid with the message: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.
Sep 06, 2018
Review: Whistle 3 Pet Tracker
Because I work from home, and because my dogs are the best dogs, we are in contact all day, every day. We're a three-headed, ten-legged Hydra, rotating around each other as we move from my office to the living room to the kitchen. Whatever I do, they're usually there too—whether that's sleeping at night, pacing around my living room, or feeding my kids. And unfortunately, whatever happens to me, usually happens to them too. Last night, a friend saw my dogs after a long absence.
Sep 06, 2018
How Self-Driving Supergroup Aurora Plans to Make Robocars Real
The Traveling Wilburys were a short-lived phenomenon. From 1988 to 1991, Bob Dylan, George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty—each a star in their own right and with a robust catalog to their name—combined their talents and experiences to produce two albums. That’s 21 songs in 112 delightful minutes of music, a testament to the power of collaboration.
Sep 05, 2018
I Invented the iPhone's Autocorrect. Sorry About That, and You're Welcome
I have a confection to make. Ugh! No, I don’t want to bake a cake. Let me type that again. I have aconfessionto make. I worked for many years as a software developer at Apple and I invented touchscreen keyboard autocorrection for the original iPhone. WIRED OPINION ABOUT Ken Kocienda (@kocienda) was a software engineer and designer at Apple for more than 15 years.
Sep 05, 2018
Lenovo’s New Yoga Book Stretches Laptop Design
Two years ago, when Lenovo first unveiled the futuristic Yoga Book, the company held it up alongside a hardcover Dr. Seuss book to demonstrate how thin and light it was. It had a “Halo” keyboard: a bottom half that lit up to create a digital keyboard. You could write directly on this keyless keyboard, too, as though it was a notepad. It was a whole lot of new tech packed into a tiny, $500, fold-over tablet, but not all of that tech was fully-baked.
Sep 04, 2018
A New Ejection Seat Makes Rocketing out of a B-2 Bomber Surprisingly Safe
The American military has a funny way of thinking about size. Some ground vehicles are sized not necessarily for battlefield functionality, but rather to fit inside the cargo airplanes that will take them to said battlefield. And pilot size and weight restrictions aren’t written to limit who can stuff themselves inside a tight cockpit, but who can be blasted out of one.
Sep 03, 2018
Jaguar’s New Electric SUV Demands a New Kind of Car Review
I’m 40 feet from the Jaguar, mint chocolate chip ice cream dripping down the cone onto my fingers, when I hear the purring from under the hood. Strange, I think. First off, the car is parked. Second, it doesn’t have an engine. It’s only after a moment that I realize the sound is the car defending itself against the brutality of a summer day in Southern California’s Coachella Valley.
Sep 03, 2018
Is It Possible to Find Love Without Dating Apps?
Dating in 2018 can be a challenge. I'm sorry, let me rephrase: It suuuuuuuuccckkkkksssss. Apps like Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, Grindr, and others are the dater's tools of choice , and yet hating them is the one thing we can all agree on these days. They're often more hazard than help, and the forced psychoanalysis of every picture and witty answer can shake even the most durable of confidences loose.
Aug 31, 2018
Review: Ultimate Ears Boom 3 & Megaboom 3
If you're a consumer electronics brand, what do you do when your hit product—a best-seller and a critical darling since its debut—turns five years old? You buy it a new suit, of course. Ultimate Ears has updated both of its cylindrical Bluetooth speakers. The Boom 3 and Megaboom 3 have a refreshed look, slightly updated capabilities, and a new lower price. The Boom 3 is $150, which is a $30 price drop from the $180 Boom 3.
Aug 31, 2018
How To Use Twitter: Critical Tips For New Users
So you wanna tweet? Great—you're gonna (mostly) love it. Everyone from the President to Malala is tweeting it up these days, but it may take some getting used to if you're a new kid on the block. Twitter is where news is broken, links are shared, and memes are born. It's also a place for chatting with friends. Yet unlike Facebook, Twitter is public by default. And that's not a bad thing.
Aug 30, 2018
How to Get the Most Out of Gmail’s New Features
Change is hard. Changes to a beloved website's interface can be downright loathsome. So maybe your stomach lurched when you logged into Gmail recently and saw the merry news that your email now “has a fresh new look.” “Oh god,” a colleague messaged me when our personal accounts were automatically migrated to the redesigned Gmail last week. “I feel so uncomfortable.
Aug 30, 2018
The Pleasure and Promise of the Sci-Fi Romance
Among the scant books in my tiny rented room in San Francisco, I’ve kept a spine-worn copy of Romeo and Juliet. It’s the one I read in my high school English class, the pages yellowed, the margins filled with scribbled notes. Since the play was written in the 1590s, Shakespeare’s portrayal of the nature of love—irrational, all-consuming—has been told and retold in countless movie adaptations.
Aug 29, 2018