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Verge Favorites: Greg Sandoval

Verge Favorites: Greg Sandoval

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The Verge staffers aren't just people who love technology. They're people who love stuff. We spend as much time talking and thinking about our favorite books, music, and movies as we do debating the best smartphone to buy or what point-and-shoot has the tightest macro. We thought it would make sense to share our latest obsessions with Verge readers, and we hope you're encouraged to share your favorites with us. Thus a long, healthy debate will ensue where we all end up with new things to read, listen to, or try on.

Fear and Loathing On The Campaign Trail '72


Sure, nobody wrote more entertainingly about debauchery than Hunter Thompson, but what often gets overlooked was the man's eagle eye. The 1972 US Presidential campaign, eventually won by Richard Nixon, was the perfect showcase for Thompson's ability to spot subterfuge. Here, he outs the narcissistic buffoons, public relations sleight of hand, and general double dealing that plagues the American political system. I came away, however, feeling sorry for the author. Despite all the cynicism, it's obvious Thompson loved America and wished the electoral process would evolve into something beyond cheap theater.

AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED


On a cost / benefit basis, my Nikkor 24-70mm, 2.8G-ED lens is the best purchase I've ever made. Nearly everything I ask of it; portraits, action shots, speakers on stage at tech conferences, low light — the lens consistently gives me sharp photos. Need shallow depth of field? This bad boy is bokeh-licious. High performance comes at a price though. The Nikkor set me back $1700. It's also a bit clunky. When attached to my D-7000, the rig only takes a couple of hours on my shoulder to leave me sore. Alas, I'll consider that my cross to bear for quality photos.

Caetano Veloso, Fina Estampa


The Brazilian woman behind the counter told me Caetano Veloso "is our Frank Sinatra." To an American, that's a big statement, but one listen to the album Fina Estampa and it's obvious Veloso can back it up. This is Veloso live, when the timbre and tone of a master vocalist are at their best. Contemporary music fans may hear a little of Radiohead's Thom Yorke in Veloso. Both singers are comfortable in falsetto, but can also drop into a cavernous growl.

The films of director Luc Besson


Some of my friends who are film fans, as well as those friends who are French, sneer when I say how much I love the films of director Luc Besson: The Fifth Element, The Professional and the now classic Nikita. Besson was born in Paris but my friend Seraphine calls him "The American!" To critics, Besson is all pretty pictures and no narrative, a style they associate with Hollywood. I've recently watched a string of Besson movies starting with The Big Blue. His best films typically feature strong but vulnerable female characters besieged by powerful and evil forces. I don't know that there's much to be learned from Besson films. I just know they're fun and beautiful to look at.

The photographs of Francesca Woodman


Francesca Woodman was a prodigy. Raised by two artists, Woodman took up photography in her early teens. By the time of her suicide at the age of 22, she left a huge body of work — mostly black-and-white stills. Woodman was expert at using light and shadow as well as mundane objects to convey powerful emotion. Her work is proof that you don't need expensive backdrops, models, or equipment to create compelling photographs.

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Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 5 minutes ago The tablet didn’t call that play by itself

The Verge
Mary Beth Griggs5 minutes ago
We’re about an hour away from a space crash.

At 7:14PM ET, a NASA spacecraft is going to smash into an asteroid! Coverage of the collision — called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test — is now live.

Emma Roth58 minutes ago
There’s a surprise in the sky tonight.

Jupiter will be about 367 million miles away from Earth this evening. While that may seem like a long way, it’s the closest it’s been to our home planet since 1963.

During this time, Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye (but binoculars can help). You can check where and when you can get a glimpse of the gas giant from this website.

Asian America learns how to hit back

The desperate, confused, righteous campaign to stop Asian hate

Esther Wang12:00 PM UTC
Emma Roth7:16 PM UTC
Missing classic Mario?

One fan, who goes by the name Metroid Mike 64 on Twitter, just built a full-on 2D Mario game inside Super Mario Maker 2 complete with 40 levels and eight worlds.

Looking at the gameplay shared on Twitter is enough to make me want to break out my SNES, or at least buy Super Mario Maker 2 so I can play this epic retro revamp.

External Link
Russell Brandom7:13 PM UTC
The US might still force TikTok into a data security deal with Oracle.

The New York Times says the White House is still working on TikTok’s Trump-era data security deal, which has been in a weird limbo for nearly two years now. The terms are basically the same: Oracle plays babysitter but the app doesn’t get banned. Maybe it will happen now, though?

Richard Lawler6:54 PM UTC
Don’t miss this dive into Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion Pinocchio flick.

Andrew Webster and Charles Pulliam-Moore covered Netflix’s Tudum reveals (yes, it’s going to keep using that brand name) over the weekend as the streamer showed off things that haven’t been canceled yet.

Beyond The Way of the Househusband season two news and timing information about two The Witcher projects, you should make time for this incredible behind-the-scenes video showing the process of making Pinocchio.

External Link
Russell Brandom4:29 PM UTC
Edward Snowden has been granted Russian citizenship.

The NSA whistleblower has been living in Russia for the 9 years — first as a refugee, then on a series of temporary residency permits. He applied for Russian citizenship in November 2020, but has said he won’t renounce his status as a U.S. citizen.

External Link
Emma Roth4:13 PM UTC
Netflix’s gaming bet gets even bigger.

Even though fewer than one percent of Netflix subscribers have tried its mobile games, Netflix just opened up another studio in Finland after acquiring the Helsinki-based Next Games earlier this year.

The former vice president of Zynga Games, Marko Lastikka, will serve as the studio director. His track record includes working on SimCity BuildIt for EA and FarmVille 3.

External Link
Andrew J. Hawkins3:37 PM UTC
Vietnam’s EV aspirant is giving big Potemkin village vibes

Idle equipment, absent workers, deserted villages, an empty swimming pool. VinFast is Vietnam’s answer to Tesla, with the goal of making 1 million EVs in the next 5-6 years to sell to customers US, Canada and Europe. With these lofty goals, the company invited a bunch of social media influencers, as well as some auto journalists, on a “a four-day, multicity extravaganza” that seemed more weird than convincing, according to Bloomberg.

James Vincent3:17 PM UTC
Today, 39 years ago, the world didn’t end.

And it’s thanks to one man: Stanislav Petrov, a USSR military officer who, on September 26th, 1983, took the decision not to launch a retaliatory nuclear attack against the US. Petrov correctly guessed that satellite readings showing inbound nukes were faulty, and so likely saved the world from nuclear war. As journalist Tom Chivers put it on Twitter, “Happy Stanislav Petrov Day to those who celebrate!” Read more about Petrov’s life here.

Soviet Colonel who prevented 1983 nuclear response
Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images
The Verge
James Vincent3:03 PM UTC
Deepfakes were made for Disney.

You might have seen the news this weekend that the voice of James Earl Jones is being cloned using AI so his performance as Darth Vader in Star Wars can live on forever.

Reading the story, it struck me how perfect deepfakes are for Disney — a company that profits from original characters, fans' nostalgia, and an uncanny ability to twist copyright law to its liking. And now, with deepfakes, Disney’s most iconic performances will live on forever, ensuring the magic never dies.

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Elizabeth Lopatto2:41 PM UTC
Hurricane Fiona ratcheted up tensions about crypto bros in Puerto Rico.

“An official emergency has been declared, which means in the tax program, your physical presence time is suspended,” a crypto investor posted on TikTok. “So I am headed out of the island.” Perhaps predictably, locals are furious.

The Verge
Richard Lawler2:09 PM UTC
Teen hacking suspect linked to GTA 6 leak and Uber security breach charged in London.

City of London police tweeted Saturday that the teenager arrested on suspicion of hacking has been charged with “two counts of breach of bail conditions and two counts of computer misuse.”

They haven’t confirmed any connection with the GTA 6 leak or Uber hack, but the details line up with those incidents, as well as a suspect arrested this spring for the Lapsus$ breaches.