Gadget Lab Podcast: Your Right to Repair Your Gadgets

What happens when your drop your phone and shatter the screen? Or when its battery starts to grow noticeably weaker? These common technological woes are things that you should be able to remedy yourself—just buy some parts, get some tools, and fix your device. But it’s not that simple. Gadget manufacturers have been increasingly restricting access to the parts, tools, and knowledge required for regular consumers to fix their broken tech. Instead, consumers have to turn to authorized repair technicians, and often pay a lot more, to get something fixed.

Our guest this week, Nathan Proctor, is the national director of the Right to Repair Campaign for US PIRG. Proctor and his team advocate for state and federal legislation that secures consumer access to hardware and software so they can handle these repairs themselves.

Also this week, Peter Rubin tells us about what to expect from the new PlayStation console Sony plans to release next year, and we discuss the problems [...]  read more

An Insane ‘Jeopardy!’ Run, How to Prep for 4/20, and More

Jeopardy! record-holder Ken Jennings has been waiting to be toppled, and soon he might actually be.

Ben Hider/Getty Images

Tech news you can use, in two minutes or less:

Jeopardy! legend Ken Jennings on James Holzhauer’s record run: ‘It’s absolutely insane’

Last week, James Holzhauer set a new record on ‘Jeopardy!’ for the most winnings in a single game. This week, he smashed his own record and now holds the four highest-scoring games in the show’s history. He now only trails one contestant in overall winnings: Ken Jennings. You may remember Jennings as the record holder for the longest win streak (and a slew of other records). But lest you thought he was jealous of Holzhauer, Jennings is actually loving it, and offered his advice, and his excitement, about the potential of more record-shattering to come.

How to cook your meal for tomorrow’s … celebrations

Tomorrow is 4/20. For some it will just be another day, but for others who plan on “celebrating” with tasty treats, here’s how to make them as delicious (and effective) as possible. You’re welcome.

Cocktail Conversation

You may often [...]  read more’s Racist Ad Tumbles Into a Cultural Minefield

On Thursday, the world’s largest DNA testing company,, pulled a video advertisement amid a cascade of criticism on social media. The ad, titled “Inseparable” and cinematically shot to portray a gauzy, gothic moment on the streets of the antebellum South, depicted a white man offering a black woman a ring and imploring her to “escape to the North” with him. In the captions, they are referred to as “lovers.” As the video ends, a stylized Canadian marriage certificate for the two characters dated 1857 appears and the voiceover urges the viewer to “uncover the lost chapters of your family history with Ancestry.”

The ad appeared online earlier this month, but as BuzzFeed first reported, it didn’t draw much attention until critics on social media began sharing it in outrage this week. They decried it as a whitewashed, revisionist account of the traumas that stamped interracial sexual relations during America’s centuries of violent chattel slavery.


p class=”paywall”>In [...]  read more

Uber Recruits Some Rich Friends to Drive Its Autonomous Cars

When Uber publicly filed for initial public offering last week, it cemented its reputation as a technology behemoth with more than a few liabilities. One particularly weighty albatross: its Autonomous Technology Group, which since 2015 has poured hundreds of millions into building self-driving car tech it has yet to commercialize. Make that at least $1 billion. According to the filing, Uber spent $457 million in 2018 on research and development for autonomous vehicles (and its other tech moonshots, like “flying taxis”)—up 19 percent from 2017.

So it was good news for Uber—not to mention the potential shareholders circling its IPO—when it announced Thursday a major investment into its Autonomous Technology Group from a Japanese consortium. The $1 billion infusion comes from Toyota, the automotive supplier Denso, and the Softbank Vision Fund, which is aggressively bankrolling ambitious [...]  read more

‘Jeopardy!’ Legend Ken Jennings on James Holzhauer: ‘It’s Absolutely Insane’

In his 11-game run, James Holzhauer has dominated Jeopardy! like no one before. That’s no exaggeration. He already holds the four highest-scoring games in the show’s history, and his $771,920 regular-season winnings surpass all but one player in the Jeopardy! firmament: Ken Jennings.

You remember Jennings. In 2004, he went on a 74-game, $2,520,700 romp, shattering Jeopardy! records along the way. No one since has lasted more than 20 games, and no one has come anywhere near as close to the money record, especially not this quickly. In fact, at this same point in his own streak, Jennings had accumulated less than half of Holzhauer’s haul so far. At this rate, Holzhauer will surpass Jennings by the end of May.

Statistically speaking, Jennings and Holzhauer are near mirrors. Jeopardy! home players keep tabs on what’s known as their Coryat score, named after two-day champion Karl Coryat. In a  [...]  read more

How to Cook With Weed—and a Dash of Tasty, Tasty Science

Mac and cheese. Peanut butter and jelly. Asparagus and … cannabis oil with a citrusy terpene profile? Welcome to food pairings in the heady era of cannabis legalization.

A new breed of chef is thriving, experimenting with how to infuse dishes with weed, whose various strains might smell and taste of lemon or mushroom or grain. And, of course, they can complement that taste with the intoxicating experience of THC, like traditional chefs might pair foods with particular wines. It’s all nerdy as hell, and it just so happens that one of the top cannabis chefs in America, Michael Magallanes, is also a chef in WIRED’s San Francisco office. (To be clear, the food he cooks for us is great, but decidedly weed-free.) So on this 420, come with us on a science-packed journey into the frontier of cannabis cuisine.

First, we need to talk about what cannabis does to the human body. When you inhale cannabis vapor from a distilled oil, or you smoke pure flower, THC travels along an [...]  read more

‘Ramy’ Is an Essential Voice for Millennial TV

I was born in 1986 into the “unluckiest generation.” As a millennial, I belong to a distinct group of offspring that faced some of the most difficult pathways to success: a collapsed economy, devastating unemployment, mountains of student loan debt. A 2013 report from The Atlantic described my generational cohort—those born between the early 1980s and mid-to-late 1990s—as being “stranded in the worst economy in 80 years.” It’s true, too. The Great Recession forced us into a state of financial and professional paralysis. As a result, Derek Thompson wrote, we were “scorned as perma-children, forever postponing adulthood, or labeled with that most un-American of character flaws: helplessness.”

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‘Game of Thrones’ Breaks Viewership Records

Howdy! Once again, it’s time for The Monitor, WIRED’s roundup of all things pop culture. Today’s helping is heaping and includes news about Game of Thrones, Netflix, and Star Wars. Sound overwhelming? It is—but you should read it anyway.

Game of Thrones Breaks Viewership Records

If it seemed like everyone was watching Game of Thrones on Sunday night, that’s probably because they were. According to HBO, 17.4 million people watched the Season 8 premiere. That number, which includes viewers who watched on HBO Go, HBO Now, and cable, exceeds the 16.9 million people who watched last season’s finale. Jon Snow may not know much, but he definitely knows how to make people watch.

Podcast: Listen to our Game of Thrones podcast on iTunes and Spotify

Kit Harington Doesn’t Care What Critics Think

Speaking of things Jon Snow knows, Kit Harington doesn’t know how to GAF about what critics write about the Game of Thrones’ final season. The actor, who plays Snow, recently  [...]  read more

A Mystery Agent Is Doxing Iran’s Hackers and Dumping Their Code

Nearly three years after the mysterious group called the Shadow Brokers began disemboweling the NSA’s hackers and leaking their hacking tools onto the open web, Iran’s hackers are getting their own taste of that unnerving experience. For the last month, a mystery person or group has been targeting a top Iranian hacker team, dumping their secret data, tools, and even identities onto a public Telegram channel—and the leak shows no signs of stopping.

Since March 25, a Telegram channel called Read My Lips or Lab Dookhtegan—which translates from Farsi as “sewn lips”—has been systematically spilling the secrets of a hacker group known as APT34 or OilRig, which researchers have long believed to be working in service of the Iranian government. So far, the leaker or leakers have published a collection of the hackers’ tools, evidence of their intrusion points for 66 victim organizations across the world, the IP addresses of servers used by Iranian intelligence, [...]  read more

The Mueller Report Is Much Worse For Trump Than Barr Let On

If Donald Trump isn’t guilty of obstruction of justice, who ever could be?

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s 448-page report, made public Thursday in redacted form (on CD, natch), outlined over nearly half of those pages how the president reacted to and fumed over the Russia probe, seeking to undermine it, curtail it, and even fire the special counsel himself.

The first section of the Mueller report details Russia’s efforts to upend the 2016 presidential campaign, and scrutinizes the many interactions between Trump associates and Russia. But it’s in the second half, which provides a litany of instances in which Trump may have obstructed justice, that the real bombshells await.

‘I’m fucked’

According to the report, Trump reacted to Mueller’s appointment as special counsel in May 2017 as follows: “Oh my God, this is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked.”

And then, as Mueller lays out in sometimes lurid detail, in at least 10 episodes over the ensuing months [...]  read more