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The Weekender: shocking euphemisms, speaking computers, and top-secret fashions

The Weekender: shocking euphemisms, speaking computers, and top-secret fashions


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.

This week, we had three huge Apple reviews: the iPhone 5S, the iPhone 5C, and iOS 7. There's a good chance you've already caught them so they won't be included below, but if you haven't, any one of them is a great place to start your weekend reading.

  • Feature

    Machine language: how Siri found its voice

    Today's computerized voices begin with an actor sitting in a sound booth for months on end as they read through tongue twisters. But the text-to-speech industry has come a long, long way to get from clunky synthesis to nearly natural speech.

  • Detours

    Shinola is bringing watchmaking to Detroit

    Of all the industries to head to Detroit as it struggles with bankruptcy, watchmaking doesn’t seem like it should be the one. But Shinola is hoping the auto capital will be the perfect place to put together 500,000 Swiss-style watches each year for years to come.

  • Report

    The power of failure: making 'The Last of Us'

    The Last of Us was released earlier this year to wide critical acclaim, but its creator faced a steep battle to even get it started. This is the story of how the game came to be, and how the entire process shaped the title's controversial conclusion.

  • Interview

    When science and food collide: a conversation with Wylie Dufresne

    Award-winning chef Wylie Dufresne has been mixing molecular gastronomy and American cuisine at his New York restaurant for a decade now. We sat down with him to chat about how tech and cooking have collided, the narrative of a meal, and the importance of always learning in the kitchen.

  • Review

    LG G2 review

    LG wants to take down Samsung's titan, the Galaxy S4. LG's new smartphone, the G2, is bigger, stronger, and matches the Galaxy S4 feature-for-feature. But specs aren’t all it takes to make a phone that people enjoy using.

  • Gallery

    The declassified fashions of East German spies

    The Stasi spied on East Germans for 40 years — but they may have had a surprisingly tough time blending in. We spoke with German photographer Simon Menner, who’s been collecting the once-classified styles of the spy agency for a new book.

  • Feature

    How Atari box art turned 8-bit games into virtual wonderlands

    Atari didn’t exactly have the graphics to convince viewers of the fantastical worlds its games were meant to depict. Instead, a roster of incredible artists drew up covers that didn’t just sell the games, but helped define them.

  • Report

    Can you die from excitement? Taser International says yes

    Deaths from "excited delirium" are on the rise, and some have noticed a surprisingly strong correlation between the odd diagnosis and Taser shocks. Now some civil rights advocates are wondering if the diagnosis isn’t just a euphemism for "death by Taser."

  • Feature

    Simplenote reborn: the first great notes app is back

    A few years ago, Simplenote fell by the wayside. Now, its creator is bringing the simple note-taking app back, and on top of being cross platform, it’s now better than ever.

  • Report

    Is ethanol starving Africa?

    Sierra Leone is already short on food, and now foreign companies are moving in and grabbing up large swathes of potential farmland to use for fuel production, which may be making the situation even worse.