Good morning and welcome back. We'll be your guides through space and time on this starship we call the Weekender. It's been a long week, full of small victories and larger tragedies, so this journey is your chance to reflect. It's your chance to learn something and do something new — even if it's just riding a bike. Here's everything you need for your verse.
Built inside the Cathédrale Notre-Dame of Strasbourg, France, the Strasbourg astronomical clock (the third of its kind in its spot) was state of the art when it was freshly built in the 19th century. Utilizing a perpetual mechanical computus, it tracks the movement of the sun, moon, and planets, while 18-inch figures of Christ and the Apostles emerge everyday at 12:30pm.
Comcast has grown into giant by buying up its competitors, and that’s created quite a problem. Those individual units still aren’t unified, creating a whole host of issues for employees and customers — not to mention some big concerns as it tries to buy Time Warner Cable.
Matt Stroud and T.C. Sottek traveled down Ferguson, Missouri this week — a small town in the midst of crisis after the shooting death of 19-year-old Michael Brown. The community's citizens have since engaged in peaceful protest, in the face of a militarized police presence. But when the police finally backed off, it took discipline to keep the peace. And they pulled it off.
What’s it like to live as someone else? Artist Simon Farid adopted an undercover cop’s abandoned identity and began walking around as though he were another person. It was a surprisingly easy process — and surprisingly thrilling for Simon, too.
Bicycles haven’t changed all that much in the past hundred years, but designers are increasingly trying to change that. Now, the team behind the original Xbox’s style has plans for a smart and clever twist on what a bike can be.
How good are you at navigating the web? Most of us rely on address bars and search fields, but if you’re just clicking around it can be seriously hard to get from one place to another. Click here to find out what it takes to be a champion of surfing the web.
Some artists paint, other artist sculpt, and yet other artists Photoshop memes. We spoke with Michael M., the artist behind a surprising number of strange viral hits, to learn how he keeps the web’s attention — and why he wants to work with memes.
The New York Times
Jodi Kantor writes about how shift scheduling technology used by companies like Starbucks make life difficult for low income families.
Along with virtually every major retail and restaurant chain, Starbucks relies on software that choreographs workers in precise, intricate ballets, using sales patterns and other data to determine which of its 130,000 baristas are needed in its thousands of locations and exactly when.
Wired's Mat Honan pushed the Facebook algorithm by liking everything in his feed.
I like everything. Or at least I did, for 48 hours. Literally everything Facebook sent my way, I liked—even if I hated it. I decided to embark on a campaign of conscious liking, to see how it would affect what Facebook showed me. I know this sounds like a stunt (and it was) but it was also genuinely just an open-ended experiment. I wasn’t sure how long I’d keep it up (48 hours was all I could stand) or what I’d learn (possibly nothing.)
In a fascinating long interview, James Bamford talks to Edward Snowden in Moscow.
"It’s like the boiling frog," Snowden tells me. "You get exposed to a little bit of evil, a little bit of rule-breaking, a little bit of dishonesty, a little bit of deceptiveness, a little bit of disservice to the public interest, and you can brush it off, you can come to justify it. But if you do that, it creates a slippery slope that just increases over time, and by the time you’ve been in 15 years, 20 years, 25 years, you’ve seen it all and it doesn’t shock you."
Melinda Wenner Moyer reports on how innovations in genetic technologies are giving parents the ability to tweak a baby's features.
The baby-girl part is already a reality. Although 36 countries have outlawed sex selection, the practice is legal and booming in the U.S., despite the fact that the procedure can cost upwards of $18,000. Out of 415 reproductive clinics surveyed in 2006, nearly half said they were offering preimplantation genetic diagnosis for "nonmedical" reasons, and the percentage has gone up since. Steinberg, for instance, says that 90 percent of the couples who come to his clinic want to choose their babies’ sex.
Kevin Roose digs into wake-up science to try to become a morning person.
I’m with you, Mark. I abhor waking up. Every morning, I silence the first of my iPhone’s three alarms (set for 5:30, 5:45, and 6 a.m., thanks to the fact that I work East Coast hours from the West Coast), bend myself reluctantly out of bed, pick crud out of my eyes, and try to convince myself that today is going to be the day I become a morning person. It never works, though—in part, I suspect, because I’ve never learned the proper methods.
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According to Shock World Service creator Jon Averill, "On one hand the Shock World Service is just another mixtape. On the other it is more music and sound collage, music and spoken word interwoven with sounds and dialogue recorded around the city – best suited for long train journeys or flights, ideally late at night and played loudly on headphones." What more do you need?
The Adult Swim Singles program gets a whole host of musicians together every summer to contribute tracks every week. Each one of them is weird and wild, but "Cosplay" by Captain Murphy (an alter ego of Flying Lotus) is especially crazy, with it's retro loops and nerdy subject matter.
Hohokum is a beautiful, otherworldly game about solving puzzles and controlling a flying snake. But the best part may be that it was designed in collaboration with the electronic music label Ghostly, and playing it lets you experience a great album of music in a wonderful new way. Our own Andrew Webster weighed in and thought that it's the hottest title of the summer. You should definitely pick it up.
While The Giver can be excused for being just a little better than expected, Frank just hit theaters, is brilliant, and is much more deserving of your time. The film follows Michael Fassbender as the titular character, a musician who just happens to wear a papier-mâché head at all times. It caught our attention back at Sundance, so definitely see it if you get the chance.