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The Weekender: studying psychopaths, stopping sinkholes, and reforming surveillance

The Weekender: studying psychopaths, stopping sinkholes, and reforming surveillance


The best of the week gone by

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Welcome to The Verge: Weekender edition. Every Saturday, we'll bring you some of the best and most important reads of the past seven days, from original reports, to in-depth features, to reviews and interviews. Think of it as a collection of some of our favorite pieces that you may have missed — or that you may just want to read again. You can follow along below, or keep up to date on Flipboard.

  • Feature

    Ring of fire: why our military's toxic burn pits are making soldiers sick

    Thousands of servicemembers are returning to the US sick from a cause the government isn’t eager to talk about. But advocates are pushing back, and they know it all revolves around one problem: pits of burning garbage used to dispose of waste at war.

  • Detours

    The sinkhole that swallowed a swamp

    Verge Detours’ first stop in Louisiana is the site of a 25-acre pit that’s swallowing up the trees around it. Scientists have been brought in to examine the sinkhole, but stopping it will be no easy task.

  • Review

    ‘Ender’s Game’ review: virtual reality

    After almost 30 years, Orson Scott Card’s famous sci-fi novel has made it to the big screen. Was it warped into a flashy Hollywood blockbuster, or can the film carry over all of Card’s moral complexity?

  • Report

    Spycraft: how do we fix a broken NSA?

    The breadth of the NSA’s surveillance only continues to widen as more details of its operations leak out. We spoke with a number of reformers, from senators to writers, to see what they think it would take to constrain the agency’s powers.

  • Report

    Here comes a special boy: 'Achewood' is back, but TV isn't ready

    The web comic Achewood gathered a cult-following for its careful, absurdist humor, but it slowly died off back in 2010. Now the strip is back, and it’s looking to make a new home for itself on TV.

  • Review

    13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display review (2013)

    Apple has made the nearest thing yet to a MacBook Air with a high-resolution Retina display. The 13-inch Pro isn’t quite as slim, or quite as light, but for only $200 more than an Air, Apple may be giving consumers one very difficult choice.

  • Interview

    The devil you know: inside the world of a psychopathic scientist

    After studying the brain scans of psychopathic killers for decades, neuroscientist James Fallon discovered that his own brain had the same exact makeup. We spoke with Fallon about how that’s changed his perception of genetics, what it really means to be a psychopath, and how he’s dealt with the discovery.

  • Report

    Gaming in darkness: 'Papa Sangre II' is a terrifying world made entirely of sound

    How can you navigate a game that has no visible world? Papa Sangre’s developer worked with gyroscopes, a 3D sound engine, and even Game of Thrones actor Sean Bean to make a fun, scary, and compelling world out of darkness.

  • Report

    Dead meat: how to raise livestock in a post-antibiotic era

    Overusing antibiotics to keep farm animals healthy could have dangerous consequences, and researchers have begun looking for alternatives. Some options? Probiotics, garlic, and green tea.

  • Review

    Mac OS X 10.9 Mavericks review

    With OS X Mavericks, Apple is bringing more of iOS over to the Mac while polishing up some of its existing rough spots. Is there any reason to ignore this free upgrade?

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed Sep 25 Not just you

Emma RothSep 25
Rihanna’s headlining the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Apple Music’s set to sponsor the Halftime Show next February, and it’s starting out strong with a performance from Rihanna. I honestly can’t remember which company sponsored the Halftime Show before Pepsi, so it’ll be nice to see how Apple handles the show for Super Bowl LVII.

Emma RothSep 25
Starlink is growing.

The Elon Musk-owned satellite internet service, which covers all seven continents including Antarctica, has now made over 1 million user terminals. Musk has big plans for the service, which he hopes to expand to cruise ships, planes, and even school buses.

Musk recently said he’ll sidestep sanctions to activate the service in Iran, where the government put restrictions on communications due to mass protests. He followed through on his promise to bring Starlink to Ukraine at the start of Russia’s invasion, so we’ll have to wait and see if he manages to bring the service to Iran as well.

External Link
Emma RothSep 25
We might not get another Apple event this year.

While Apple was initially expected to hold an event to launch its rumored M2-equipped Macs and iPads in October, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman predicts Apple will announce its new devices in a series of press releases, website updates, and media briefings instead.

I know that it probably takes a lot of work to put these polished events together, but if Apple does pass on it this year, I will kind of miss vibing to the livestream’s music and seeing all the new products get presented.

External Link
Emma RothSep 24
California Governor Gavin Newsom vetoes the state’s “BitLicense” law.

The bill, called the Digital Financial Assets Law, would establish a regulatory framework for companies that transact with cryptocurrency in the state, similar to New York’s BitLicense system. In a statement, Newsom says it’s “premature to lock a licensing structure” and that implementing such a program is a “costly undertaking:”

A more flexible approach is needed to ensure regulatory oversight can keep up with rapidly evolving technology and use cases, and is tailored with the proper tools to address trends and mitigate consumer harm.

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Andrew WebsterSep 24
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.

Andrew WebsterSep 24
Looking for something to do this weekend?

Why not hang out on the couch playing video games and watching TV. It’s a good time for it, with intriguing recent releases like Return to Monkey Island, Session: Skate Sim, and the Star Wars spinoff Andor. Or you could check out some of the new anime on Netflix, including Thermae Romae Novae (pictured below), which is my personal favorite time-traveling story about bathing.

A screenshot from the Netflix anime Thermae Romae Novae.
Thermae Romae Novae.
Image: Netflix
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.

Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.