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The Weekender: the week we killed Facebook

Everything to do, see, and read this weekend: the #Weekender

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Another week has come and gone. The 31st week of the year 2014. We on this planet are nearly two-thirds of the way in transit around the life-giving star we call "the Sun," a star that will swell and envelope our world in several billion years — quite soon, in cosmic time. But fear not, summer remains. The best days of the year are still to come. It is now August, the month of corn on the cob, carnivals, and last-minute road trips. If the weather is gentle where you are this weekend, you should stop reading this now and go outside. But in the event it is not, and you do not, here we have assembled a list of online diversions. We hope you enjoy them. Thanks for sharing your weekend with The Weekender. Come back soon!

Do this

The Saatchi Gallery, London

It's a good thing Franz Kafka isn't around to see this exhibit from Colombian sculptor Rafael Gómezbarros, which features giant (20 inch/50cm) ants blanketing a room wall-to-ceiling. It's hardly the first time the artist has turned to the insects for inspiration, as our photo essay reveals, but if you're in London between now and November when the exhibit ends, it's worth crawling into.

Read this*

This is why I had to kill my Facebook page

Lots of people have quit Facebook over the years, and our own TC Sottek just joined the club. Read his thoughts about why a decade after it launched, Facebook's problems run much deeper than the astonishing growth numbers lead you to believe.

I went to Comic Con and all I got was this lousy sense of ennui and a sneak preview of 'Penguins of Madagascar'

Comic-Con is a nightmare. It’s also the most amazing few days that a geek can have. This year was Casey Newton’s first time attending the convention, and he describes just what it’s like to suffer through madness for sneak peaks at a movie and a sighting of your favorite celebrity.

Cyborg conversion incomplete: my life with finger implants

These days, you can hack your body to make it sense microwaves or open up a website on someone else’s phone, but these hacks are far from as cool as a wanna-be cyborg might hope. Our own Adi Robertson describes life with two tiny implants, and why we’re still a ways away from doing something truly useful with them.

Comcast Confessions: when every call is a sales call

Why is your Comcast representative always trying to sell you something? We spoke with over 100 employees to find out, and the picture it paints isn’t a pretty one. Forget about tech support and customer service — Comcast’s phone support is there for one thing.

'Guardians of the Galaxy' review: Marvel aims for the stars

You’ve heard of Iron Man and Thor and Captain America, but who are the Guardians of the Galaxy? For once, Marvel is trying out some of its lesser-known material on the big screen, and it turns out that can make for a whole lot of fun.

Fears can be inherited through smell

How is it that children can sometimes inherit fears from their parents? A study on mice suggests that it could be happening through smell — even without any genetic influence. But while picking up fears can be a useful learning tool for animals, that isn’t always the case for humans.

Comedians in factories making coffee

The Atlantic
Alexis Madrigal reports on Blue Bottle's efforts to scale its iced coffee production at industrial levels

There is something chimerical about any industrial-scale food process: the delicacy of an individual’s process grated onto the grandeur of our civilization’s technical progress. Even the gross ones—like dragging turkeys through ice baths, or grinding shrimp into powder—can seem thrillingly fantastical. We don’t know what it’s like to make one pencil, so the ability to make a thousand or a million of them is not that impressive. But we do know how to make one cup of coffee, so it is possible to understand the insanity of producing 10,000.

A pocket-sized fortune

Nitasha Tiku struggles with how the new Kim Kardashian: Hollywood game and a new generation of apps have an uncanny ability to effortlessly bleed us of our money.

Between June and December of last year, I squandered more than $76 buying extra lives in Candy Crush, which is still holding steady as the third top grossing app on iOS. If I had waited the length of one episode of Keeping Up with Kardashians, I could have gotten a life for free. At the time, however, 99 cents felt like a small fee for instant gratification. A cheap salve for twitchy fingers. The game was most appealing when I was on deadline. For Candy Crush to work as a procrastination tool, I needed to keep the distraction going. I only registered the total damage this week, when I added up iTunes email receipts.

And you may find yourself in a beautiful house...

The Message/Medium
Paul Ford observes America through its collective webcams.

You could judge those rooms and say that America has a paucity of visual imagination, that we live in a kind of wasteland. Or you could draw another conclusion, and note that America might be a little more broke than it wants to show. The painfully expensive 2,000-square foot home is furnished with cheap big sofas and junk from Target. Maybe these video stars don’t hang pictures because they are renters. Maybe they know they are going to move soon, to another part of the state or country; suburbs are the temporary worker housing for America.

An unsavory business?

Modern Luxury
Rebecca Flint Marx talks to chefs about the emotional tolls taken by years of praise and punishment from Yelp reviewers.

"Someone will just say something, and it’s like a knife all the way through," Bililies says. "One that gets me especially is when they’re talking about the fact that the owner doesn’t care. I’ve put everything I have into this, and then to read that—I’m getting emotional now just relaying this—it just crushes you." He takes a deep breath. "I’m now at a point where I try not to read Yelp anymore because it’s starting to affect my overall mental state."

Look alive

Jeanne Marie Laskas writes about one man's recovery from a whole face transplant.

The surgery started at dawn on March 19, 2012. The face of a recently deceased 21-year-old man came off as one solid flap, skin, muscle, bone, nerves, blood vessels, tongue—everything as one piece. Rodriguez removed what was left of Richard's disfigured face, dissected down to the skull. He attached the new face midway back on Richard's scalp. He stabilized it with screws, tapped the jaw together, and finally draped the skin and sewed it down like a patch on a coat or a pair of jeans.

Listen to this

Mirror Kisses - Bleed

There is a musician by the name of George Clanton, who hails from Richmond, Virginia, and who is better known by his moniker Mirror Kisses. He makes what Stereogum aptly describes as "glammed-out synth music," a spacey, New Wavey, soulful sound. This is the first single off an upcoming, yet-to-be titled EP. If you like the this single, you should check out his first EP, Heartbeats, especially the single "Shut Me Out."

French Horn Rebellion - You're All Right feat. St. Lucia

You know how every '80s teen movie seems to have a scene at a school dance where the hero or heroine looks across the room at his/her crush and they both are dressed in their outdated, yet somehow cool again, John Hughes-era formalwear. And their eyes lock and all of the regret and longing and teen angst they've been feeling the whole movie suddenly fills the room, and that song comes on — that song! The one that shimmers and sighs and perfectly encapsulates their feelings and the feelings of all lovesick teens of time immemorial? This is that song.

Play this

80 Days

Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days, is a classic adventure novel. It's also been adapted many times into many bizarre forms, including a particularly forgettable film with Jackie Chan. But one of the better forms the story has taken in memory, and one that Verne himself as a sci-fi pioneer would surely enjoy, is this iOS game from Inkle Studios. At $4.99, we can guarantee it's a better deal than the Jackie Chan movie.

Watch this

A Hamster And His Tiny House

We don't post a whole lot of cute animal videos on The Verge and we plan to keep it that way. However, this short film of a hamster in his appropriately-sized home warranted inclusion if simply for the proportional Vans t-shirt alone.