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Showing posts from December, 2020

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Flawed Facial Recognition Leads To Arrest and Jail for New Jersey Man

A New Jersey man was accused of shoplifting and trying to hit an officer with a car. He is the third known Black man to be wrongfully arrested based on face recognition.

Life Without Amazon (Well, Almost)

For concerned customers, avoiding one of the world’s largest retailers and web service providers is proving harder than expected.

The Error of Fighting a Public Health War With Medical Weapons

It was a mistake that cost 300,000 lives.

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.

The Lasting Lessons of John Conway’s Game of Life

Fifty years on, the mathematician’s best known (and, to him, least favorite) creation confirms that “uncertainty is the only certainty.”

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.

The Worst Hacks of 2020, a Surreal Pandemic Year

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

China Orders Ant Group to Revamp Its Business

The country’s central bank made clear its displeasure with the financial technology company, adding to the growing scrutiny of Chinese internet giants.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Robinhood Recaps From a Volatile Year

And you thought your Spotify Wrapped was a bummer.

An Oscar Winner Made a Khashoggi Documentary. Streaming Services Didn’t Want It.

Bryan Fogel’s examination of the killing of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi had trouble finding a home among the companies that can be premier platforms for documentary films.

Bollywood, Reeling From the Pandemic, Shifts to Streaming

India’s film industry, which relied on theatrical releases, is experimenting with going straight to streaming services such as Amazon, Netflix and Disney’s Hotstar.

Why China Turned Against Alibaba's Jack Ma

The Alibaba chief paid for pushing back against Beijing. But the shift in attitude also speaks to a growing wealth gap and diminished opportunities for the young.

With Money, and Waste, China Fights for Chip Independence

Beijing’s drive to free itself from reliance on imported semiconductors has lifted start-ups and big firms alike. Some have flamed out. But there has been progress.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Antitrust Case Against Big Tech, Shaped by Tech Industry Exiles

Regulators are relying on insiders like Dina Srinivasan, who left her digital ad job after concluding that “Facebook and Google were going to win and everybody else is going to lose.”

Giving Billions Fast, MacKenzie Scott Upends Philanthropy

Through a streamlined operation, Ms. Scott has given away $6 billion this year, much of it to small charities and nonprofits.

Best student credit cards for December 2020 - CNET

The best cards for first-timers and students with a limited credit history.

Best travel credit cards for December 2020 - CNET

Maximize your travel and dining spending by choosing the right travel rewards credit card.

Best balance transfer credit cards for December 2020 - CNET

Get out from under that oppressive annual percentage interest rate.

12 kitchen gifts under $25 that still arrive by Christmas - CNET

Last-minute doesn't have to mean lame.

Tesla Cybertruck Hot Wheels is so realistic it's even delayed - Roadshow

The automaker has a long history of missing production dates, so it only makes sense Mattel's Hot Wheels Cybertruck has been pushed back.

Get a cordless snow blower starting at $209 - CNET

It's time to retire that noisy, gas-guzzling beast. These models will clean your driveway with clean(er) energy. Plus: Put Baby Yoda atop your tree for $25.

Xbox reveals Mandalorian, Baby Yoda controllers ahead of season 2 finale - CNET

You'll have to win the custom controllers in the Xbox sweepstakes.

Chevy SUV buyers adore RS, Midnight packages, so there will be more - Roadshow

One-third of all compact and midsize Chevy SUVs are RS trims. Yeah, people like the "sport" in "sport utility vehicle."

Walmart's latest holiday shopping event is happening on TikTok - CNET

The retailer is testing a way for people to buy without leaving TikTok.

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.

24 Gifts We Love From BIPOC-Owned Businesses

These household gifts are perfect for anyone on your list.

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.

Perez Hilton Was Banned From TikTok. Why?

The celebrity blogger was banned from TikTok on Saturday in a move he said was influenced by the app’s biggest stars.

Pinterest Settles Gender Discrimination Suit for $22.5 Million

The suit had been brought by Françoise Brougher, Pinterest’s former chief operating officer, who said she was fired after speaking up about mistreatment.