How ‘Searching’ Nails Our Online Anxieties

One of the more charming slices of ‘90s-era web-culture ephemera is Pizza.net, the fake pie-delivery site frequented by Sandra Bullock’s hacker in 1995’s The Net. Though glimpsed only briefly in the movie, Pizza.net was clearly among the chillest faux-online services of the Clinton era. Check out its easy-clicking interface, its friction-free payment plan! The experience of using Pizza.net is so mellow, it will inspire you to throw on a flannel and cue up some Annie Lennox.

The Net was released back when Hollywood was still trying to combine high drama with high baud rates, resulting in movies like Hackers, Masterminds, the still-quite-charming Sneakers. Twenty years later, these films—and the technology they employed—are amusing for all sorts of reasons: Their clunkiness, their design, their forced edginess. And while these films were supposed to be thrillers, [...]  read more

Advertisements

Brazil’s National Museum Fire Proves Cultural Memory Needs a Backup

Fire doesn’t heed history. It doesn’t care about posterity or culture or memory. Fire consumes everything and anything, even if that thing is the last of its kind. On Sunday night, it came for the National Museum of Brazil, burning for six hours and leaving behind ashes where there had been dinosaur fossils, the oldest human remains ever found in the Americas, and audio recordings and documents of indigenous languages. Many of those languages, already extinct, may now be lost forever.

It’s the kind of loss that’s almost impossible to quantify. For the researchers who worked in the museum, the conflagration sent their life’s work up in smoke.

“It is very difficult to react to reality and try to return to life,” linguist Bruna Franchetta, whose office burned down in the fire, told WIRED in an email. “At the moment we do not know the extent of the destruction of the Documentation Center of Indigenous Languages in the National Museum. We have to wait a long time for a survey of what is left in the middle of the rubble. At the moment I can say nothing about what has not turned to ashes, but I hear colleagues saying that it was all lost.”

It didn’t have to be this way. All of these artifacts could have been systematically backed up over the years with photographs, scans, audio files. The failure to do so speaks to a vital truth about the limits of technology: Just because the means to do something exists technologically doesn’t mean it will be done. And [...]  read more

How a Master Domino Artist Builds 15,000-Piece Creations

19-year-old Lily Hevesh is obsessed with dominos—in particular, seeing the last one fall. “That’s the best part,” she says. “That’s what I live for.”

In recent years, Hevesh has become one the most popular figures in the online domino art community (which, yes, is a thing). She’s spent much of her free time over the past decade building increasingly elaborate arrangements of the little tiles, then knocking them down in artistic chain reactions. She also films the entire process, from conception to destruction, and posts edited clips to her YouTube Channel, where she goes by the name Hevesh5. Her video “Insane Domino Tricks,”, a collaboration with another artist, has nearly 118 million views—several million more views than the latest Beyonce and Jay-Z music video.

To start a project, Hevesh first decides which structures or “tricks” to build around. For example, she’ll build a few pyramids or towers, and only then connect them a single line [...]  read more

How to Create a YouTube Channel and Make Money (2018)

For anyone who doesn’t work in the vast world of online videos, the idea of “YouTube stars” is baffling. What’s even more astounding is that so many of those YouTubers can make a living simply from viral videos. An entire career just based on posting funny things on the internet, where so many people do it for free? How does that work? How does someone make producing online videos their full-time job?

For the most part, the answers are straightforward. “Advertisers pay to have their ads shown in front of YouTube videos,” says Markiplier, who currently has 21 million subscribers for his gaming videos. “You get a share of that.” Determining that share, however, is a little more complex. “It’s like this: You have a fraction of an amount. There’s a bunch of factors outside of that, that have nothing to do with you, that affect whether that fraction is bigger or smaller,” adds Hannah Hart, whose longstanding channel has some 2.5 million subs. Beyond that there are merch deals, collaborations with brands, and other promotions YouTubers can use to bring in cash from their channels.

“I don’t think you get paid for subscribers [though],” says Rhett, one half of Rhett and Link, the team behind Good Mythical Morning—a fact that his cohost calls “sad.”

But that’s just one of the tricks of the trade [...]  read more

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.” Then, two days later, it released an ad expounding on that sentiment, with Kaepernick narrating a montage of athletes who had overcome daunting odds to achieve success.

From the outset, the reaction to Kaepernick’s involvement with the campaign was explosive and unifying in all the ways that have come to define the parameters of reaction culture, online and off. Fissures split along ideological lines: there were people rightly fired up that a major corporation took a stand, however faintly, on such [...]  read more

From ‘Maniac’ to ‘The First,’ the 15 New Fall TV Shows We’re Most Excited About

Not all that long ago, September brought with it a year’s worth of small-screen novelty. Broadcast networks would refresh their lineups, the vast majority of which would run out their various shows’ 22-episode orders, and then the reruns would begin. Other than a few midseason replacements come January, that was it; that’s how TV worked. Change came in small ways, of course—HBO shrugged off the mantle of traditional months, more cable networks sought to emulate its success, and show orders became smaller—but September was still the coming-out party for a new TV season.

Not anymore. You know the drill: streaming; algorithms, and creator-focused programming turned TV, like tentpole movies, into a year-round prospect. We’re just as likely to look forward to a new show in April (Dear White People in 2017) as in July (Stranger Things in 2016) as in November (Homecoming [...]  read more

IPUs? These New Chips Are Minted For Marketing

IPU
. Short for intelligence processing unit, a new kind of computer chip optimized for AI.

Way back in the early 2000s, when the first Xbox came out, researchers discovered they could hack video­game consoles for scientific uses. It seems the devices’ graphic processing units, or GPUs, designed to render flying gore and mayhem, also ran physics simulations faster than the CPUs in ordinary computers.

Today, researchers still use GPU chips, not just for modeling but for artificial intelligence. Since each one contains lots of mini brains that crowdsource the work in parallel, they’re good at big-data jobs like image recognition. Good, but not awesome. So companies are taking that idea and racing to create a new generation of chips just for AI. A startup called Graphcore (which recently built a 2,000-­teraflop AI supercomputer the size of a gaming PC) calls them IPUs. Get it? I for intelligence.

As a name, IPU, unlike its bland _PU predecessors, seems minted [...]  read more

From Nicki Minaj to Blood Orange, the Best Albums of the Summer Were Exercises in Reinvention

Summer is a time of intense polarities, of feverish abandon and earned languor. There’s heat and purpose waiting to be seized in those unexpected, life-altering summer nights: on the dancefloor, at the bar, among friends. There’s equal chill, though, in the loss and grief that surface: historically, fatalities spike during hotter months.

Yet summer, at its glowing core, is a time of auspicious breakthroughs, and the best albums released across June, July, and August rattled with justifiable discovery. Excavating personal triumphs and public traumas, kindling love and sexuality, contending with struggle both emotional and economic. Discovering, ultimately, what it means, to shape yourself.

This year has been an especially promising moment in music, a reminder that the gold rush of creativity from artists as varied as Sunflower Bean, Nipsey Hussle, Young Fathers and others won’t soon let up. It’s also a year marked by pure volatility. Artists no longer hew to industry [...]  read more

How ‘Searching’ Became More Than an “Internet Movie”

It was 2016, and Aneesh Chaganty was fumbling through the most important phone call of his barely-begun career. The young filmmaker had been given 15 minutes to convince actor John Cho to star in Search, a mystery about a father trying to track down his missing teenage daughter. The characters’ ordeal—and their entire relationship—would be told via a series of screens, as its hero uses everything from Facebook to FaceTime to Reddit to solve his kid’s disappearance.

Other films have taken the same web-centered approach, like 2015’s horror hit Unfriended, but Chaganty wanted to do something different: “The Memento of screen movies,” he says. For Cho, however, the concept didn’t click. “It was the first time I’d spoken to a celebrity in my life, and I completely botched the call,” says Chaganty. “I didn’t tell him what we were trying to do something new. His hesitation was that this wouldn’t be a movie movie—that it would just be a YouTube video.”

Chaganty, [...]  read more

Fleeing White House Lawyers Top This Week’s Internet News Roundup

It’s been a week that’s seen us inch ever closer to the collapse of NAFTA, seen the White House seemingly confused about how it collectively feels about the death of John McCain, and seen the official death toll of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico raised by almost 3,000, even though the President still claims the official response was “fantastic”. (No wonder his disapproval rating has hit an all-new high.) But what else has been going on this week? I’m glad you asked! Let’s let the internet answer that question, shall we?

You’re Fired (483rd Twitter Edition)

What Happened: Of all the people the President of the United States has pushed out of the White House, perhaps the White House lawyer wasn’t the best choice.

Where It Blew Up: Twitter, media reports

What Really Happened: Elsewhere in the legal worries of the leader of the free world, the reportedly perfectly fine, nothing wrong whatsoever relationship between President Trump and White House lawyer Don McGahn [...]  read more