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The Weekender: on Siri, 'Civilization,' and saving Sarah Connor

Everything to do, see, and read this weekend

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Good morning, and welcome back to the Weekender. Our weekend journey is just now starting, so thank you for choosing us for your travels. As you may recall, this was the 43rd week of the year 2014 on the planet known colloquially as Earth, otherwise known as Terra in other inhabited star systems. It was not a quiet week, as you might imagine. Below you'll find your itinerary, carefully crafted for your pleasure; stories from the week passed and recommendations for the days ahead. Now. Please sit back and relax as we take you on a journey through time and space. You might hear a slight buzzing in your ears as we get started.

Do this

Sci-Fi: Days of Fear and Wonder, UK

The British Film Institute is currently. hosting a season-long celebration of all things science fiction. Theaters across the UK. The BFI Southbank in London, for instance, is showing Metropolis and A Clockwork Orange among others this weekend. Fans who'd rather stay home can stream the likes of Flash Gordon on their computers — for a fee of course.


Rocky Horror Picture Show, NYC

In the spirit of the season, this should be the movie you want to catch at midnight. Rocky Horror boasts one of the single weirdest cult followings in cinema, and the days before Halloween are the perfect time to join them (and New York City's live cast) for a screening.

Rocky Horror

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Apple iPad Air 2 review

Apple just released its thinnest, lightest, and fastest iPad yet, but the iPad itself hasn't actually changed all that much since last year, or the year before that, or even the year before that. Is it time that the iPad changed, or are these iterative updates enough to make it great? Don't miss our iPad mini 3 review either.

Will we ever know if this widely-used contraceptive increases the risk of HIV infection?

After years of work gathering funds, researchers are finally close to beginning a study on whether Depo-Provera increases a woman's chance of contracting HIV. But even now, there's a chance that the study won't happen — funding remains short, and other researchers view it all as unethical.

I rode a hoverboard designed to save buildings from earthquakes and floods

The dream of getting around like Marty McFly is becoming a reality. In California, the company Arx Pax has built a hoverboard to prove that its levitation technology really works — and it's putting the tech up on Kickstarter so that it can accomplish some amazing new things.

Fake news sites are using Facebook to spread Ebola panic

Have you ever clicked a story on Facebook that looks true only to find out that it's satire? Some of those stories are tricking you on purpose, and now website are using the concern over Ebola to drive their traffic figures wild.

How Kevin Smith learned to love making movies again

Kevin Smith didn't have a very good last decade. After making a number of cult hits at the beginning of his career, Smith made a number of films that never quite tapped into that same eccentricity he used to imbue. But now, thanks to one totally strange walrus, Smith has figured out the key to making movies that people will love again.

The Ebola Wars

The New Yorker
Richard Preston maps the ground war against Ebola.

In the U.S. and Europe, hospitals have made fatal mistakes in protocol as they engage with Ebola for the first time—errors that no well-trained health worker in Africa would likely make. But they will learn. By now, the warriors against Ebola understand that they face a long struggle against a formidable enemy. Many of their weapons will fail, but some will begin to work. The human species carries certain advantages in this fight and has things going for it that Ebola does not. These include self-awareness, the ability to work in teams, and the willingness to sacrifice, traits that have served us well during our expansion into our environment. If Ebola can change, we can change, too, and maybe faster than Ebola.

Inside the contradictory world of Thought Catalog, one of the Internet’s most reviled sites

The Washington Post
Tim Herrera tries to understand what makes Thought Catalog tick.

That self-proclaimed void of oversight is how the site has published articles as harmless as "25 Things I’ve Learned In My 20s" — one of its many ultra-personal, first-person stories that have become major traffic cash cows for online publishers everywhere. But it has also resulted in a story blithely comparing Lance Armstrong’s steroid scandal to the fatal 2012 shooting at the Empire State Building; a story asking, "Is It OK To Make Fun Of Asians?"; and a story posing the question: "Which Black Teen Murderer Are You?" Each of those was either written by a Thought Catalog employee or selected to be published by a Thought Catalog employee, blindly or not. The site’s growth plan is one that attempts to remove the accountability of publishing while still reaping the traffic such stories bring in.


To Siri, With Love

The New York Times
Judith Newman talks about her autistic son's attachment to Siri.

This is a love letter to a machine. It’s not quite the love Joaquin Phoenix felt in "Her," last year’s Spike Jonze film about a lonely man’s romantic relationship with his intelligent operating system (played by the voice of Scarlett Johansson). But it’s close. In a world where the commonly held wisdom is that technology isolates us, it’s worth considering another side of the story.

What Kind Of Creep Sells A Celebrity’s Naked Photos On The Internet?

Charlie Warzel follows Bryan Hamade, currently (and perhaps wrongly) the primary suspect in the Celebgate hacking scandal.

Filth, bullshit, and fluff aside, the internet is uniquely built for solving mysteries. Misinformation and hoaxes propagate quickly, but are also corrected and debunked with unprecedented speed. Vetting facts has never been easier or more accessible. And yet the internet’s darkest and anonymous corners are home to very real and seemingly unsolvable mysteries — a place where the truth can elude even its most diligent pursuers. Such appears to be the case for Bryan Hamade, at least for now.

Carnivore's Dilemma

National Geographic
Robert Kunzig weighs all the sides in the ongoing beef debate..

The biggest, most mind-numbing issue of all is the global one: How do we meet demand for meat while protecting biodiversity and fighting climate change? A common argument these days is that people in developed countries need to eat less meat in general, eat chicken instead of beef, and, if they must eat beef, make it grass fed. I’ve come to doubt that the solution is that simple.

Listen to this

Run the Jewels - Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)

Killer Mike and El-P set the internet on fire when they dropped Run the Jewels 2 completely by surprise this week. (We're not even kidding.) It's good. So damn good. Listen to this track and then download the album here. Just do it.

Panda Bear - Mr Noah EP

Panda Bear's next album is due out early next year, but his just-released Mr Noah EP is a welcome dose of spacey psychedelia for his fans. The first track starts with a slow build, an almost otherworldly thrumming before it breaks into a steady beat. Listening to this is like being carried away by a warm breeze. Listen and then watch the incredibly off-its-rocker video here.

Play this

Civilization: Beyond Earth - PC

Civilization: Beyond Earth is more than yet another entry in Sid Meier's revered turn-based strategy series. It's a step into the future, where instead of fending off barbarian hordes, you're battling alien marauders and death worms. And instead of wearing the mask of an important historical figure, you're you, making your own decisions on a new world you must now call home. That freedom is enough to make Beyond Earth a must-have.

Bayonetta 2 - Wii U

Bayonetta 2 on the Wii U follows up on Sega's 2010 original with sharper, somehow even more intense gameplay that's incredibly satisfying. As the title character Bayonetta, you play a gun-toting shapeshifter with deadly magic embedded in her hair. No, there isn't much in the way of a story. Yes, the frankly sexist aesthetic does pander to a decidedly adolescent male audience. But, taken with its flaws, this is a very fun game worth picking up.

Bayonetta 2

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The Terminator

The Terminator turns 30 this weekend, so consider this your chance to rewatch this enduring classic. You, of course, know the story: the Terminator (otherwise known as the T-800) is sent back in time to 1984 to kill Sarah Connor, the mother of our future savior, John Connor. Her only protector is Kyle Reese, a soldier sent back to keep her out of harm's way. One of James Cameron's many iconic sci-fi films, it holds up as an excellent commentary on our anxiety about technology, especially when it evolves beyond our control. Terminator: Genisys comes out next year, but this is where it all began.