How Bossip Smashed Headline Conventions to Smithereens

Out of the typhoon that was Alabama’s special Senate election, it was black women in particular who showed up in force for Doug Jones, the Democratic challenger. According to exit polls, an overwhelming 98 percent of black women voted for Jones, with 93 percent of black men backing the former US attorney—ultimately propelling him to a bone-thin upset over scandal-plagued Republican nominee Roy Moore. The numbers were especially surprising given how much pre-election punditry focused on the lack of mobilization among black Alabamians.

Yet, amid the ensuing flood of news and analysis, it was a headline from Bossip—a website known to exalt and skewer black celebrities with equal fervor—that cut against the collective jubilation with bulls-eye precision, grounding the moment in an easily overlooked reality: “Black Women Saved Your Lil Wack A$$ Country Again. You’re Welcome. Now Where’s Our Money?” The headline teemed with flair and lacked any morsel of subtlety; it was pure read more

Disney’s Acquisition of Fox Could Change Streaming Forever

Well, it’s finally happening. After weeks, if not years, of speculation, the Walt Disney Company announced this morning that it is acquiring nearly all of 21st Century Fox. The $52.4 billion (yes, with a ) acquisition is one of the largest in media history and brings Fox—which controls everything from The Simpsons to the X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Deadpool—into the same house as Pixar, Star Wars, and most of the non-X-Men parts of the Marvel universe. It’s also a deal that will reshape the entertainment landscape—and streaming, in particular.

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As it stands now, the properties managed by Disney and Fox are scattered across a slew of services, from Amazon to Netflix to Hulu—the last of which Disney now holds Fox’s 30 percent stake in, meaning it now owns most of the service (it already had a chunk read more

‘Okami’: Capcom Revives the Watercolor Masterpiece For Modern Consoles

More than a decade later, the thing I most remember about Okami is how color follows you wherever you go. Released in 2006, by the now-defunct Clover Studios, the game starred a wolf-god named Amaterasu in a vibrant world inspired by Japanese ink wash painting. The folkoric Japanese landscape Ameratsu finds herself in, though, is dying—empty and colorless. The eight-headed demon Orochi has been unsealed to wreak havoc, and in doing so he has turned everything literally black and white; the world is effectively a painting with its hues all gone.

That color comes flooding back when you help the people of Japan fight Orochi. It bursts forth from Amaterasu—an incarnation of the Shinto goddess of the sun, an avatar of life and light—and fills the landscape outward. Flowers erupt from the ground. Okami‘s pastoral landscape sings and becomes new with each victory, each step made against the malingering darkness. It’s as potent an image of renewal and redemption as read more

The Only Place You Can Legally Climb a Redwood

Dangling like a piñata from a polyester rope, I’m inching up a 1,000-year-old tree named Grand­father. This forest in Northern California’s Santa Cruz Mountains is said to be the only place where one can legally climb a redwood. I’ve covered about 100 feet in 30 minutes, halfway to the top. Suspended in my saddle—a sort of swing-meets-­diaper—I try to maneuver around a thick branch and accidentally send myself careening away from the craggy trunk. I panic and make the mistake of looking down at the tiny people below. But it’s too late to turn back. Tree Climbing Planet founder Tim Kovar, who organized the excursion, glides over. Though the master climber has scaled more than 5,000 trees, this undertaking is exceedingly rare, he says. “More people have been to the top of Mount Everest than to the top of an old-growth redwood.” I take a deep breath, focus my gaze on a few sapsucker read more

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Is a Near-Perfect Reinvention of the Franchise

Toward the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, one of our heroes stares out toward a vast, bleached-out vista that’s peppered with low-slung space-junk (I wouldn’t dare say which character it is, or even what planet they’re on; such info would rankle most Force-fans, and a death mark’s not an easy thing to live with). It’s a shot that could have been lifted directly from the original Star Wars trilogy, and thus one of the few moments of pure franchise-fealty in writer-director Rian Johnson’s otherwise rebellious new film, which is the springiest, most assured Star Wars entry in years—and a movie that drops a proton torpedo into our beloved galaxy far, far away. In Last Jedi, old allegiances are frayed, family bonds are lightsaber’d in half, and even an ex-farmboy like Luke Skywalker must contend with a deep, depressive existential crisis. It’s the gazillion-dollared, 152-minute equivalent setting fire to read more

‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’: Building a Better Snoke

Star Wars fans met Snoke in The Force Awakens—kinda sorta. The withered baddie was just a fuzzy projection tele-conspiring with his First Order goons. But in December’s sequel, The Last Jedi, the Supreme Leader gets his close-up. “Snoke’s face is no longer a soapy, gelatinous hologram,” says Industrial Light & Magic creative director Ben Morris. “He’s going to be real.” Well, as real as Andy Serkis covered in motion-capture sensors can be (with help from new rendering tech and purpose-built skin software). Which is to say: extremely, frighteningly alive.

1. Map
Morris and team positioned 50-plus high-res cameras everywhere— from high above to directly on Andy Serkis’ face—to create a digital clone of the sensor-speckled actor in real time. “As Andy gives his performance,” Morris says, “we’re automatically building animation curves for his top lip curling, the amount of smile, his brow creasing.”

2. Render
It would take up to 24 hours read more

Justice Democrat Candidates Have Been Denied Access to DNC Voter Data

In the early days of Anthony Clark’s campaign for Congress, the special education teacher and military veteran spent most of his free time knocking on doors in Illinois’ 7th Congressional district. Unlike most Democratic candidates who canvass in the age of data-driven everything, Clark didn’t know whether the people in those houses leaned Clinton or Sanders in 2016, or even if they were Democrats or Republicans. He had no idea, in fact, whether they’d ever cast a vote in their entire lives.

That information and more—down to who put up lawn signs for which candidate in the primary—lives in VoteBuilder, a database managed by the Democratic National Committee. VoteBuilder has become the central nervous system of every Democratic campaign, housing years of information on just about every contact the party has ever made with every voter. Developed through a partnership between the DNC and a company called NGP VAN, the tool gives campaigns the inside track on potential donors, read more

‘Star Wars’ Surprise: Jedi Are Celibate!

Despite seven (going on eight) movies and myriad books, comics, and animated series, there are still a lot of unknown mysteries when it comes to the Jedi of the Star Wars universe. The Force-sensitive folks are so fascinatingly unknowable that people are constantly asking the internet for explanations for their many secrets.

We here at WIRED spend a lot of time Googling for answers, but when we have access to an actual Jedi, we’re always going to go straight to the source for our answers. So when the opportunity presented itself to ask Mark Hamill (aka Luke Skywalker) some Jedi questions, we consulted the internet and brought the best to his attention. What did he say? Well, for one, Jedi are celibate. “I think so,” he said. “Otherwise I’d have a girlfriend by now.”

Was he kidding? Perhaps. The rules around what Jedi are allowed to do in this regard have always been murky. Anakin and Padmé’s relationship got them in trouble, but that was more because the future Darth read more

Am I The Worst For Looking at Other People’s Texts on the Subway?

Q: I Catch Myself Peeking at Other People’s Texts on the Subway. Am I the Worst?

A: Imagine being eaten by a cave bear. Or a saber-toothed cat. Imagine, with that first gash of claw or incisor, instantaneously transitioning from being a person to being food. Imagine what it feels like, the first, dangling bits of you being rent apart, ground up and ingested, while the rest of you watches.

Very unpleasant stuff. And yet for much of human history we lived acutely under such a threat. Just think how hard it must have been to relax! If prehistoric humans were anything like modern animals, one way they fended off predators was by vigilantly monitoring the creatures around them for signs of danger, in case they saw the terror coming a split-second sooner.

There were subtler benefits to watching other people too—particularly when they didn’t expect us to be watching. Keeping tabs on private behavior helped enforce social norms; food hoarding or sexual transgressions could be read more

Patagonia Going After President Trump Tops This Week’s Internet News Roundup

Who can even manage to get into the holiday spirit considering the whirlwind week that just passed? Not only was Southern California on fire, but several politicians resigned amidst sexual harassment claims while others continued to run for office despite facing their own sexual abuse allegations. Yes, time continued to speed up last week, but what else happened? Just a few small things. Keep reading.

This Land Is My Land, Apparently

What Happened: The President of the United States wants Americans to own America. As long as it’s only some Americans, and in a manner he’s OK with.

What Really Happened: In the latest phase of The Plan to Make America Great Again, last week President Trump announced moves read more