The Verge - October Surprise: a roundup of the biggest stories from a crazy month 2012-10-31T10:20:04-04:00 2012-10-31T10:20:04-04:00 2012-10-31T10:20:04-04:00 Chasing ghosts: the weird science of tracking the dead <img alt="" src="" /> <p>On a warm night in the winemaking town of Sonoma, California, the slightly moldy smell of eucalyptus trees hangs heavy in the air. Amidst the rustic stone buildings and tidy gravel pathways of the historic Buena Vista Winery, five middle-aged paranormal investigators from the San Francisco Bay Area gather in matching black t-shirts. There have been reports of hauntings here. One of the tasting room employees saw a &ldquo;guy in a white t-shirt&rdquo; climb the stairs then vanish. Could it be the...</p> <p> <a href="">Continue reading&hellip;</a> </p> Lessley Anderson 2012-10-30T21:01:00-04:00 2012-10-30T21:01:00-04:00 iPad mini review <img alt="" src="" /> <p>The iPad mini has arrived &mdash; and so has our review. Just last week, Apple <a href="">introduced the world</a> to the newest member of its wildly successful tablet line, an adorable, diminutive slate with a 7.9-inch display. It even had an adorable ad<a href=""> to show along with it</a>: an iPad mini joining in with a full-sized iPad to play "Heart and Soul" on the piano.</p> <p>But to think of the iPad mini as a companion to the 3rd or 4th generation iPad &mdash; some kind of secondary player to the bigger version &mdash; would...</p> <p> <a href="">Continue reading&hellip;</a> </p> Joshua Topolsky 2012-10-30T17:28:46-04:00 2012-10-30T17:28:46-04:00 During Hurricane Sandy, misinformation and fact-checking clash on Twitter <img alt="" src="" /> <p>When Hurricane Sandy drew near the East Coast, Twitter and Instagram came alive with pictures of the storm. One showed ominous clouds gathering over Midtown Manhattan. In another, soldiers guarded Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier under a haze of rain. A third showed a massive wave crashing around the Statue of Liberty. They were stunning images, capturing the scale of the disaster as well as its human impact. There was just one problem: none of them were actually pictures of Sandy.</p> <p><q class="right">"I was absolutely sure that everybody knew that was a fake. It was on the poster of the film, for goodness&rsquo; sake."</q></p> <p>"I was absolutely sure that everybody knew that was a fake," says Tom Phillips, an MSN editor and author of the "<a target="_blank" href="">Is...</a></p> <p> <a href="">Continue reading&hellip;</a> </p> Adi Robertson 2012-10-30T16:04:37-04:00 2012-10-30T16:04:37-04:00 Disney buys Lucasfilm, plans to release 'Star Wars: Episode 7' in 2015 (update) <img alt="" src="" /> <p><i>Star Wars</i> fans, you might want to sit down for this one &mdash; The Walt Disney Company just announced its plans to purchase Lucasfilm Ltd from George Lucas, with plans to release <i>Star Wars: Episode 7</i> sometime during 2015. While there aren't any release dates yet for Episodes 8 and 9, those films will be coming as well &mdash; and the studio has even more beyond a new trilogy planned for the future.</p> <p>The deal is a stock and cash transaction, with Lucas receiving about half of the $4.05 billion value of the deal in cash plus some 40 million stock shares. "It's now time for me to pass <i>Star Wars</i> on to a new generation of filmmakers," Lucas said in a statement. "I've always believed that <i>Star Wars</i> could live beyond me, and I thought it was important...</p> <p> <a href="">Continue reading&hellip;</a> </p> Nathan Ingraham 2012-10-29T21:12:26-04:00 2012-10-29T21:12:26-04:00 Apple's Scott Forstall's fatal mistake was not signing iOS 6 Maps apology letter: sources <img alt="" src="" /> <p>Scott Forstall &mdash; the <a href="">departing Apple executive</a> who'd become the public face of iOS in his role as head of mobile software &mdash; may have met his demise when he refused to put his name on the <a href="">apology letter</a> Apple released several weeks ago, a rare show of contrition from Cupertino when its revamped (and Google-free) Maps product <a href="">fell short of expectations</a> at the release of iOS 6. <a href="" target="_blank"><i>The New York Times</i></a> and <a href="" target="_blank"><i>CNNMoney</i></a> are both reporting the story this evening; we've heard similar from sources as well.</p> <p><q class="right">Forstall had his enemies inside the executive ranks, sources say</q></p> <p>The exact circumstances of Forstall's refusal are unclear, but not entirely unexpected: it's widely understood that the hard-charging, ambitious Forstall is abrasive and disliked by...</p> <p> <a href="">Continue reading&hellip;</a> </p> Chris Ziegler 2012-10-29T14:10:37-04:00 2012-10-29T14:10:37-04:00 Windows Phone 8 review <img alt="" src="" /> <p></p> <div style="font-size:0.8em;line-height:18px"><em>By Dieter Bohn and Chris Ziegler</em></div> <p>&ldquo;<em>This</em> is Windows Phone. No, for real this time.&rdquo; That&rsquo;s what I thought when I started hearing about <a href="">Windows Phone 8</a> a few months ago. Just like Windows Phone 7, it represents yet another clean break for Microsoft&rsquo;s mobile ambitions &mdash; but unlike 7, now it&rsquo;s got the hardware to match.</p> <p>The truth is a little more complicated: this clean break isn&rsquo;t as nearly as obvious as Windows Phone 7&rsquo;s split from Windows Mobile was back in 2010. A quick...</p> <p> <a href="">Continue reading&hellip;</a> </p> Verge Staff 2012-10-29T12:38:38-04:00 2012-10-29T12:38:38-04:00 Slow lane: why Google's new Nexus 4 doesn't have LTE <img alt="" src="" /> <p><i>By Dieter Bohn and Nilay Patel</i></p> <p>The <a href="">Nexus 4</a> is an impressive smartphone that ticks off every modern spec checkbox you could ask for, save one: LTE. Instead, the Nexus 4 <a href="">will only come unlocked with HSPA+ radios</a>. It is a disappointing omission, driven by both Google's complex philosophical desire to build open devices as well as the fairly simple economics of building a halo product for a small niche of early adopters.</p> <p>For Google, Nexus is a flagship brand that represents the best of Android, with Google leading by example to show other hardware manufacturers what Android can be. And though partners build the hardware, Google wants direct control of the software on Nexus devices with no carrier intervention. That alone means Google can't...</p> <p> <a href="">Continue reading&hellip;</a> </p> Dieter Bohn 2012-10-29T12:16:38-04:00 2012-10-29T12:16:38-04:00 Inside Android's next wave: Building the Nexus 4, Nexus 10, and Android 4.2 <img alt="" src="" /> <p>Google's campus in Mountain View is a weird place &mdash; a sprawling, flat expanse dotted with angular, gray buildings. And lots of colorful bikes. It feels like an island, a place with its own set of rules, and it's easy to feel out of joint if you don't know the handshake. In some ways it's like a corporate realization of Hakim Bey's Temporary Autonomous Zones... save for, you know, the corporation. It's the kind of place where the uniquely Silicon Valley meshing of childish whimsy and a...</p> <p> <a href="">Continue reading&hellip;</a> </p> Joshua Topolsky