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The Weekender: revealing Russia, regulating robots, and riding the Ryno

The best of the week gone by

weekender art
weekender art

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

    Should a robot decide when to kill?

    Robots are being built for war, and humans will have to decide what they're capable of, how they're controlled, and if we really want them on the battlefield. We spoke with ethicists and engineers about the robot's autonomous future, and just how dangerous it might be.

  • Report

    Spy games: behind Russia's massive Olympic surveillance program

    With concerns of terrorism abound, Russia has set up a blanket of surveillance around the Sochi Olympics that's so capable one expert is calling it "PRISM on steroids." We took a look at everything Russia is doing to prepare for the games, and whether it's enough for safety or far more than necessary.

  • Review

    Pebble Steel review: business class

    Pebble's new smartwatch doesn't look much like a smartwatch. And that's a very, very good thing. Pebble has finally taken the smartwatch from techy to tasteful — now it just needs to make sure it makes the best one there can be.

  • Report

    Oculus Rift at Sundance: games are just the beginning

    We've already seen what Oculus' virtual reality headset can do for games, but at Sundance, Oculus is starting to show how the Rift might be able to change movies, music, and just about any other type of art too.

  • Report

    The Ryno one-wheeled motorcycle is a 'Dragon Ball' fantasy brought to life

    The Ryno is a self-balancing electric unicycle ripped straight from the lore of Dragon Ball. It may not be the most convenient way to get around, but it's certainly among the most fun.

  • Review

    Sony Xperia Z1 Compact review: when smaller is better

    The best Android phones have always been among the biggest, but Sony may have finally changed the story. The Z1 Compact takes everything great about its bigger sibling and puts it in a smaller — but just as stylish — device. Could this be the phone to make a name for small Android handsets?

  • Report

    Will connected cars cause more accidents?

    Hooking our cars up to the web could make them a whole lot smarter, but only if all their new features don't distract us from driving. Now automakers are trying to figure out what the perfect connected car looks like, and how it can augment driving without getting in the way.

  • Report

    The new retro: how Motorola brought wood back, literally

    Wood used to be everywhere in consumer electronics, but with the switch to mass production came the switch away to plastic and metal. Motorola's wood-backed Moto X is a bet that wood can be big again — but actually making and shaping those backs turned out to be much harder than Motorola expected.

  • Report

    When an Uber driver kills someone, who is responsible?

    Taxi-hailing apps and ride-sharing services are still up and coming, and laws and regulations will have to come up with them. Now Uber is being put to the test as a lawsuit pushes for it to be held accountable for a contract employee who struck and killed a child between fares.

  • Report

    Counting minutes with Durr, the watch without a face

    Rather than telling the exact time, the Durr watch lets you know when every five minutes has passed with a brief buzz, quietly informing you that the day is toiling away. We spent a month wearing one to see if it would increase productivity or irritability.