Welcome back to The Weekender. Every Saturday morning, The Verge will give you something to do. This is where you'll get the best of what we’ve written this week, but also a reason to get up and actually do something with your life — even if that something is dreaming of the far off places you might go.
Here's a collection of some of our favorite pieces that you may have missed, along with a snapshot of the things you should be doing with your days off. Take some time this Fourth of July weekend and have a look.
Our esteemed design aficionado Aaron Souppouris recently visited Digital Revolution at London's Barbican Centre. It's a major new exhibition that explores the impact of technology on art over the past four decades. The show runs from now until September 14th, so you have more than enough time to take in the exhibit's impressive visuals.
After spending the better part of last night watching fireworks and eating burgers, you're now officially ready for the three-day weekend. Depending on the weather in your area, you should go swimming. If you happen to live near a beach, then lucky you. But for Americans who live in land-locked states, visit Swimmingholes.org. A relic of the old web, the site offers location data for swimming holes wherever you might live, along with safety guidelines so you don't accidentally hurt yourself, hurt a deer, or break the law. (Photo Credit: Emil Hadad / Flickr)
EDM is everywhere, and that’s good news for fans, brands, and producers. In a genre where the term "sellout" has no meaning, the only result is more music. Our own Trent Wolbe explored this year's EDMBiz Conference to get to the bottom of this new $6.2 billion industry.
Forget levels and quests and bosses. No Man’s Sky places you in an enormous and beautiful sci-fi world and leaves you off to your own devices. We caught up with the tiny team behind it to find out just what it’ll be like to explore its vast universe of alien worlds.
Want to know what it’s like to use an Android Wear smartwatch? We tried out the very first two that are coming to market, and it turns out that they’re actually a pretty smart start. Don’t miss our review on Android Wear itself, too.
Keurig’s coffee pods have changed the way that a whole lot of people drink coffee, but Keurig itself is starting to lose its grip on the market. Now, Keurig has a plan to reverse that, and it involves locking its customers out of brewing anyone else’s coffee by using a secretive new scanner.
Looking for something to see this weekend? The director behind The Exorcism of Emily Rose is returning with a new film that turns some standard scary movie parts into something far smarter and scarier.
Social media scholar danah boyd breaks down the ethical problems surrounding Facebook's recent "emotional contagion" study.
For better or worse, people imagine Facebook is run by a benevolent dictator, that the site is there to enable people to better connect with others. In some senses, this is true. But Facebook is also a company. And a public company for that matter. It has to find ways to become more profitable with each passing quarter. This means it designs its algorithms not just to market to you directly but to convince you to keep coming back over and over again. People have an abstract notion of how that operates, but they don’t really know, or even want to know. They just want the hot dog to taste good.
Drake Bennett takes a deep dive into Monsanto and the company's ongoing battle against GMO haters.
The company has not, in fact, merged with Blackwater. It has never brought a Terminator seed to market and has pledged not to try. It is, however, extremely profitable. Today’s Monsanto was spun off in 2000 after a merger with the drugmaker Pharmacia & Upjohn. That year the new company’s net income was $149 million; last year it was $2.5 billion. Since 2000, Monsanto’s stock market value has grown from $7 billion to more than $66 billion.
Columbia Journalism Review
Michael Meyer maps out the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post's newfound ambitions.
Listen to what Bezos says, or watch where he puts his money and directs his focus, and you can see how he’s starting to overlay the brilliance of Amazon onto the scaffolding of The Washington Post. The journalism isn’t what he plans to revamp, or necessarily invest significant new funds in—the new hires notwithstanding—at least initially. His main focus is the pipeline: reaching the maximum number of customers by putting the Post’s journalism in a package (a tablet, a mobile site) that will draw the greatest number of readers. As it has been with Amazon, his obsession at the Post is finding a way to integrate a product into millions of people’s lives in a way they haven’t yet experienced.
Craig Mod muses on what he calls the ephemerality of apps.
"Apps mirror life in their unfairness. Time spent making an app in no way guarantees successes, financial or spiritual. Grizzled developers toil for years and ‘lose’ to the ‘chain-smoking geek’ in Vietnam with the twitchy bird. Guy doesn’t even want the money."
Clive Thompson on the media practices that predate our obsession with posting to social media.
We don’t often think of the 19th century as a frazzled period, but it had its own explosion of media. When the one-cent newspaper debuted in 1833, daily print suddenly became a mass phenomenon—and in barely a few decades, large cities like New York hosted up to dozens of daily newspapers. Meanwhile, this crazy new technology called "photography" emerged, producing its own blizzard of curious new forms—such as cartes de visite, pictorial calling cards.
And we panicked.
*Grab the entire list as a Readlist.
Listen to this
British electronic group The Black Dog's Music for Real Airports is a great listen, and all too appropriate for those traveling in the next few days. Making use of audio recorded at actual airports over a three-year period, the album is a commentary on the anxiety and dread felt at airports, even as airlines try to cover those feelings up in glossy futurism.
Radio Juicy specializes in releasing a particular brand of chilled out hip-hop strictly from the underground scene. Their latest mix is a collection of beats from around the world, all from soundcloud producers you might never have heard of. Wake up and vibe to this.
Fallen London may be a text-based game, but it manages to be the best of its breed based on sheer style. The game is set within a London that has, quite literally, fallen through the cracks of the world and is now sitting next to Hell. There are demons, church-goers, talking cats, clay men, and bandaged tomb-colonists running amok, and death is a nuisance, not a definite. Amazingly well-written and dripping atmosphere, this is a standout title you need to play.
Already one of our favorite films from this year's Sundance Film Festival, Life Itself opens in theaters this weekend and is an absolute must-see. Hoop Dreams director Steve James guides us along Roger Ebert's unlikely rise from lonely Illinois know-it-all to Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic and social commentator. Alternately funny and powerful, it stands with Deliver Us from Evil as one of the best films coming out this holiday weekend.