Amazon Warns Customers: Those Supplements Might Be Fake

On the second evening of Prime Day, Amazon’s annual sales bonanza, Anne Marie Bressler received an email from Amazon that had nothing to do with the latest deals. The message, sent from an automated email address Tuesday, informed her that the Align nutritional supplements she ordered two weeks earlier were probably counterfeit. “If you still have this product, we recommend that you stop using it immediately and dispose of the item,” the email reads, and says she would be receiving a full refund. It’s not clear how many other customers may have purchased the fake supplements. Amazon confirmed that it had sent out the email but declined to specify the number of customers impacted.

For years, Amazon has battled third-party sellers who list knockoffs of everything from iPhone charging cables to soccer jerseys on its site. [...]  read more

This App Lets Your Instagram Followers Track Your Location

A new app knows what your Instagram-loving friends did last summer. Called Who’s in Town, the iOS and Android app is ostensibly designed to show you, well … who’s in town. But it does much more than that.

Users who download the app and grant it access to their Instagram account are presented with an eerie interactive map of every place the people they follow have visited and shared online since they created their profile. The map updates in real time and is sourced from the wealth of location data the average Instagram user willingly uploads to the platform each time they opt to use its popular geotag feature in a story or post.

This information is nominally public already, as Instagram users must choose to share it with their followers. But by collecting them all in one place over time, Who’s in Town transforms data points seemingly meaningless in isolation into a comprehensive chronology of the habits and haunts of anyone with a public Instagram account.

It can [...]  read more

Congress Is Pissed at Facebook and the FTC

Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike are furious over reports that the Federal Trade Commission is prepared to settle with Facebook over widespread privacy violations for just $5 billion. But that doesn’t mean there’s currently an acceptable bipartisan solution floating around the marble halls of the Capitol.

“The terrible message sent by this tap on the wrist is that enforcement of privacy protections is a hollow paper tiger in our nation,” senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) told WIRED Wednesday. “It has to be structural and behavioral and not just monetary, and this amount of money is way too low.”

Blumenthal teamed up with senators Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) and Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) in penning a strongly worded exploratory letter to the FTC earlier this week, after the Wall Street Journal first reported that the commission voted along party lines, three Republicans to two Democrats, to approve the Facebook settlement.

“It is clear that [...]  read more

High tech bikes that could win the Tour de France

A bike is a bike, right? Wrong. Especially if you’re a professional bike team. With margins for the winner of a stage of the Tour de France often down to less than a hundredth of a second (a tire width), and with the overall winning divide being under two minutes on last year’s Tour de France across the entire 3,351 kilometers, every marginal gain the teams can eke out of their riders and bikes is absolutely essential.

Wired UK

This story originally appeared on WIRED UK.

Design innovation and material science in bike design is on a par with sports such as F1, and Grand Tour bikes are built with pure performance in mind. But a bike that excels at “climbing” on steep mountain stages will lose valuable time in a time-trial where aerodynamics are everything and even bike handling is compromised for pure speed. Take that same time-trial bike on a mountain or a flat stage with a big group of riders jostling for position and its twitchy handling would make it at best [...]  read more

About That ‘Cats’ Trailer: A Feline Anatomy Expert Weighs In

As a veterinarian, anatomist, and physiologist, Leslie Sprunger has taught small animal anatomy at Washington State University for nearly two decades. After the release of the trailer for the upcoming film musical Cats, based on the Broadway musical Cats, itself based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, WIRED spoke with Dr. Sprunger for a sense of what exactly was going on with… all of that.

If you haven’t watched the trailer yet, you can do so right here. It features an unlikely concoction of Jennifer Hudson, Taylor Swift, Dame Judy Dench, Jason Derulo, and familiar show tune weepers. As with the stage production, the movie’s not trying particularly hard for feline fidelity. But the ways in which it actually does hit the mark—and doesn’t—still might surprise you.

WIRED: Thanks so much for talking with us about this. Does anything here actually resemble cat physiology or behavior?

Leslie Sprunger: I watched the [...]  read more

How It Feels to Drive—and Crash—the First-Ever Mid-Engine Corvette

“Just drive through that fence,” the voice says into my headset. I’m a bit rattled, having spun off the track and straight to the wrong side of said fence, just moments into my first drive of the 2020 Chevrolet Stingray. I’m fine, though. Not because of the five-point harness seat belt I tightened before hitting the accelerator, but because the car, the track, and my crash are all the work of a computer.

Alex Davies covers autonomous vehicles and other transportation machines for WIRED.

My view is of the Virginia International Raceway, but I’m in Milford, Michigan. I’m sitting in one of General Motors’ fanciest new toys and most helpful new tools, the high-fidelity simulator the automaker’s engineers used to create the Chevy that the motoring world has talked about for decades and that I just crashed: the first mid-engine Corvette.

Apart from the incorporeal fence through which my virtual car glides, the experience is a compelling facsimile of the world. Through my headset, the 6.2-liter V-8 engine hums and whines as I click the steering-wheel-mounted [...]  read more

Comic-Con Trailers: ‘It Chapter 2,’ ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’ and ‘His Dark Materials’

It’s only day one of Comic-Con International, but the conference has already given fans a lot of early looks at upcoming films—and a few trailers. Below are some of the best, from It Chapter 2 to Top Gun: Maverick.

It Chapter 2 (September 6)

“Something happens to you when you leave this town,” the voice of Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) says over footage of bucolic Derry, Maine. “The farther away, the hazier it all gets. But me? I never left. I remember all of it.” So do fans of the first It, which turned one of Stephen King’s most terrifying books into one of 2017’s biggest hits. While the first half of the two-part adaptation gave more setup than scare, this one very much does not: Demon clown Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) is even more hallucinatorily unhinged, and while I have no idea if the freaky buzzing siren sounds are going to stick around for the movie, they’re goddamn disquieting here. (There’s a reason William Friedkin buried audio [...]  read more

The FaceApp Privacy Panic, a Mysterious Satellite Outage, and More News

FaceApp isn’t alone in the land of privacy concerns, a curious week-long satellite outage for Europe has finally ended, and WIRED did the math on what it would take to bike to the moon. Here’s the news you need to know, in two minutes or less.

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Today’s Headlines

Think FaceApp is scary? Wait until you hear about Facebook

Everyone is talking about FaceApp, the app that uses AI to turn your friends into much, much older versions of themselves in photos. Yes, it’s run by a Russian company that sends your photos to its servers, retains rights to use them in perpetuity, and performs AI black magic on them. But before you shake your fist too hard, you should also know a lot of your favorite apps also do that already.

Europe’s week-long satellite outage is over—but serves as a warning

A week of Europe’s Galileo satellite navigation system mysteriously [...]  read more

While Washington Talks Antitrust, Europe Takes Action

It’s been a strange, conflicted week for antitrust in Washington, DC. In one set of congressional hearings, tech leaders, facing possible far-reaching regulation, fended off accusations that they are strangling competition. In another, Facebook’s David Marcus explained why the social media giant should be given a green light to expand ambitiously into global finance with its Libra cryptocurrency. You’d be forgiven, watching the dueling livestreams, for thinking you’d stumbled across portals into a pair of parallel universes.

Gregory Barber covers cryptocurrency, blockchain, and artificial intelligence for WIRED.

For now, it’s Europe leading the antitrust charge. European Union regulators have recently revealed a flurry of actions against US tech companies, starting last month with an investigation into chipmaker Broadcom over whether it used exclusivity agreements to fend off competitors. Then, this week, Margrethe Vestager, [...]  read more

Depth of Field: The Hollow Poetry of the Eric Garner Decision

Is America morally asphyxiating? Each week I look on in a snowballing state of disbelief and semi-shock (it’s hard to be completely surprised anew by how bad the situation continues to get), anxiously seesawing with emotions, as the country is further imperiled.

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p class=”paywall”>Over the weekend, in response to criticism, President Trump urged four progressive members of Congress—US Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and Alexiandria Ocasio-Cortez, all of whom are women of color—to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Almost unilaterally, the tweet was flagged as racist by everyone except conservatives, who have either offered a mute response or denied cries of racism altogether. The twisted serendipity of our national project is that sometimes moments align in tragic concert but still point to hulking truths. This was one such week.

On Tuesday,  [...]  read more