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

Secrecy Is Dead. Here’s What Happens Next.

“Hey Don, we have an unusual idea. Leak us one or more of your father’s tax returns.”

WikiLeaks slid that message into Donald Trump Jr’s Twitter DMs—an unusual request for the son of a then-presidential candidate. Since its founding, WikiLeaks had portrayed itself as the ultimate fourth estate—a digital drop-box where secrets could be deposited and released as public information. But in the runup to the presidential election, WikiLeaks’ dispatches began to show a partisan slant. There was an email trove from a hack of the DNC; a searchable database of Hillary Clinton’s emails. A release from Trump “will dramatically improve the perception of our impartiality,” the message continued. “This is the real kicker.”

The exchange happened last year, but it came to light this year, in 2017: a moment when all of our secrets began bursting into the open. Hack after ginormous hack compromised our health read more

Silicon Valley’s Immortalists Will Help Us All Stay Healthy

In early 1954, Pope Pius XII summoned a venerable Swiss quack named Paul Niehans to the papal retreat at Castel Gandolfo. The pontiff was nauseated with gastritis, fatigued by his 77 years, and loath to meet his maker. So he had Niehans administer an anti­aging treatment called cell therapy, which would become sought after by midcentury celebrities, artists, and politicians.

Fetal cells were taken from a pregnant sheep and injected into the scrawny pope. Over time, Pius received a series of shots. The Holy Patient felt rejuvenated; Niehans was appointed to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in thanks. But if the treatments worked at all, it wasn’t for long: Pius died four years later.

Niehans’ Clinique La Prairie is still in business, charging tens of thousands of dollars for its weeklong “revitalization program.” But today the death-­phobic elite demand more scientifically sound approaches. Investor Peter Thiel is reportedly “really interested” in the blood of the young. Based on an old idea called parabiosis, the therapy excited new enthusiasm after a 2013 paper showed that a protein richly abundant in young blood made old mice stronger. For $8,000, a company named Ambrosia will now infuse older patients with the blood serum of donors aged 16 to 25.

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The Whirl Is Not Enough: Hundred-Dollar Fidget Spinners

By the time Trevor Hirschi decided to make a fidget spinner, the market was already saturated with $2 plastic devices that covered the shelves of toy stores and bodegas. So Hirschi, a machine tool technology instructor at Bridgerland Technical College and men’s jewelry designer, got to work on something a little more exciting.

After shuffling through a couple different concepts, he settled on an airplane propellor. He’d kept a World War II airplane model in his room as a child that would later inspire his first fidget spinner, the TiSpin Prop. To make it, he assembled a 3-D model and used a computer numeric control machine to carve grade 5 titanium into the shape of a propellor. That machine runs at up to 30,000 rotations per minute, which Hirschi says is necessary to create precise blades for his propellers.

You could call the TiSpin Prop a fidget spinner, but it’s not the kind you’re used to seeing in mall kiosks and convenience stores. The meticulously crafted device, read more

How Ford Build a New Kind of Engine for Its GT Supercar

When the Ford GT won its class in the famously grueling 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race last year, it wasn’t just a celebration for the team which developed the all new supercar. It was a relief. The victory in the GTE Pro class came 50 years after Ford’s historic 1966 win with the GT40, when the American automaker proved (mostly to spite Ferrari) that it could dominate the track in Europe as well as the US. Marking the golden anniversary of that defining moment with anything less than first place would have been a letdown.

But engineers took a huge gamble in the development of the all new GT: They threw out the V8 engine, the kind of engine it rode to victory in the 1960s, which many believed essential to producing the kind of power necessary to win a race like Le Mans. Instead, they opted for the turbocharged V6 EcoBoost, best known for powering the company’s F-150 pickup truck—not exactly the same use case.

That choice sent them on a mission to double the horsepower read more

After FCC Abandons Net Neutrality, States Take Up the Fight

The Federal Communications Commission will no longer protect net neutrality. Now, officials in more than a dozen states are trying to take on the job.

Within minutes after the FCC voted to jettison its Obama-era rules that prohibit internet providers from blocking or discriminating against lawful content, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he would lead a multistate lawsuit against the agency to preserve the regulations. Ars Technica reported that that so far attorneys general in Illinois, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Washington have also announced suits. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office tweeted that he will consult with other attorneys general about a suit. Others are likely to join as well—18 state attorneys general signed a letter encouraging the agency to delay the vote.

Schneiderman didn’t explain his legal case against the FCC, but cited the flood of fake comments read more

In China, a Three-Digit Score Could Dictate Your Place in Society

In 2015, when Lazarus Liu moved home to China after studying logistics in the United Kingdom for three years, he quickly noticed that something had changed: Everyone paid for everything with their phones. At McDonald’s, the convenience store, even at mom-and-pop restaurants, his friends in Shanghai used mobile payments. Cash, Liu could see, had been largely replaced by two smartphone apps: Alipay and WeChat Pay. One day, at a vegetable market, he watched a woman his mother’s age pull out her phone to pay for her groceries. He decided to sign up.

To get an Alipay ID, Liu had to enter his cell phone number and scan his national ID card. He did so reflexively. Alipay had built a reputation for reliability, and compared to going to a bank managed with slothlike indifference and zero attention to customer service, signing up for Alipay was almost fun. With just a few clicks he was in. Alipay’s slogan summed up the experience: “Trust makes it simple.”

Alipay turned out to be so convenient that Liu began using it multiple times a day, starting first thing in the morning, when he ordered breakfast through a food delivery app. He realized that he could pay for parking through Alipay’s My Car feature, so he added his driver’s license and license plate numbers, as well as the engine number of his Audi. He started making his car insurance payments with the app. He booked doctors’ appointments there, skipping the chaotic lines for which Chinese hospitals are famous. He added friends in Alipay’s built-in social network. When read more

The Best 2017 Holiday Tech Deals: Audio, Gaming, TVs, Cameras

Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Green Monday … they’re over and done, but the holiday deals continue. If you’re still on the hunt for affordable gift ideas, or just want to treat yo’ self to some new gear, look no further. We’ve gathered our favorite deals from around the web.

Also be sure to read our many Holiday Gift Guides.


1 Year of PlayStation Plus – $40 ($20 off)

Buy on Amazon

If you own a PS4, you need PS Plus to play online. It also gives you access to a few free games each month. This is an easy way to save a Jackson on a service you’re going to have to pay for anyway.

Xbox One S Console Bundle – $190 ($60 off)

Buy on B&H Photo, $190 on Amazon

Buy the Choose Your Own Edition model on Amazon

Anything under $250 is a great price for the Xbox One S, which is still the mainstream Microsoft console that’ll play all Xbox One games—just not in 4K.

PlayStation 4 Pro 1TB – $350 ($50 off)

Buy on Walmart, Amazon

The PS4 Pro is normally $400, and is Sony’s newest, most powerful PlayStation. If you own a 4K TV, this is the PS4 you’ll want to buy.

Blackout Yeti USB Microphone and Assassin’s Creed Origins Bundle – $85 ($55 off)

Buy on Amazon

If you’re hoping to get into Twitch read more

Math Says You’re Driving Wrong and It’s Slowing Us All Down

Ah, the phantom traffic jam. You know, that thing where the flow suddenly slows to a halt and you inch forward for a half hour and then things pick up again and you look around for an accident or construction or anything at all for Pete’s sake that might justify the time you just wasted. But no, nothing. It’s as if the fates chose this particular time and place to screw with you.

The question is, why? People tailgating and bunching up, maybe. But a new study in IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems mathematically models the implications of the larger problem: You’re not keeping the right distance from the car behind you.

That may seem counterintuitive, since you don’t have much control over how far you are from the car behind you—especially when that person is a tailgater. But the math says that if everyone kept an equal distance between the cars ahead and behind, all spaced out in a more orderly fashion, traffic would move almost twice as quickly. Now read more

Gift Ideas for Artists, Writers, Musicians, and Photographers: iPad Pro, Roli, GoPro, Fujifilm

Apple’s most powerful tablet is made for any creative digital task: writing the next Great American Novel, sketching up something pretty, or making sick beats. There’s no shortage of apps to suit any artistic passion. If they love to draw, get them the $100 Pencil accessory, and if they are a writer, get them an add-on keyboard—Apple’s gets the job done, but Logitech’s is better.
social experiment by Livio Acerbo #greengroundit #wired