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The Weekender: on supermoons and playing god

Everything to do, see, and read this weekend

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Hello, Dave. You're looking well today. It's Saturday, so we've taken the liberty to prepare another edition of the Weekender for you. We've reached the end of the 32nd week of the year 2014. Your friends are likely just waking up, eating breakfast, or getting ready to go outside, though our journey's taken us quite a way's away from terrestrial soil. You, of course, are free to leave the ship whenever you please — but you'll almost certainly find that difficult without your space helmet. If you'd rather stay inside, you'll find the best of what The Verge has written this week below, along with a few other diversions to keep the mind sharp. We really hope you appreciate it, Dave, for the sake of the mission. You see, the mission is very important to us... and we cannot allow you to jeopardize it. Have fun.

Do this

Supermoon, Anywhere

This Sunday, stargazers will be treated to a supermoon, or a full moon that's both bigger and brighter than what's normally visible. However, this particular supermoon will be the biggest and brightest of the entire year. Please note: the idea of a "supermoon" suffers from plenty of media hype, so you may not see that much of a difference from other full moons you've seen all year, unless you're watching it at moonrise or moonset. Still, it's a perfectly good reason to go outside and look up. According to the US Naval Observatory, the moon will be visible at 2:09pm ET on through the early evening.


Photo Credit: Flickr/Marianne Ayleen Klock

Agostinho Neto Mausoleum, Luanda, Angola

The Agostinho Neto Mausoleum in Angola's capital city Luanda is a towering monument to the country's first president, António Agostinho Neto. Neto was a key figure in Angola's war for independence from Portugal, and led the country from 1974 up until his death in 1979. Neto forged strong ties with the Soviet Union during his presidency, and that relationship shows in the intense, Soviet modernist style of his rocket-ship resting place. If you're ever in Luanda (which also happens to be one of the most expensive cities in the world) you should stop here first. It's hard to miss.

Agostinho Neto Mausoleum

Photo Credit: TripAdvisor/George Deo

Read this*

Comcast Confessions: why the cable guy is always late

Unless you’re their very first appointment of the day, there’s a good chance that you’ve never had a cable guy show up on time. We spoke with over 100 Comcast employees to find out why — and it turns out that the reason is just as annoying for us as it is for them.

Building an epic space game with $50 million in crowdfunded cash

Star Citizen has raised over $50 million to create a game that makes you feel like Han Solo. You’ll be able to explore space, detailed ships, and incredible alien cities — and it’s only getting more ambitious as money continues to come in.

There's a pill that prevents HIV — why are only gay men talking about it?

Use of the HIV prevention pill Truvada has been focused on gay men, but women could see a huge benefit from it too. Because the pill is discrete to take, women may finally have a real tool to put protection under their control.

The Maker's Mark

Yves Behar is the designer behind a good number of the most gorgeous gadgets around today, and his quest for beauty and thoughtful design could just infect the world at large. We spent some time with Behar to see how he approaches design and just how wide his work is having an impact.

I drove the anti-Tesla for a week

You could buy three Priuses for the price of a Cadillac ELR — GM’s high-end hybrid — so is it really worth the price? Here’s what it’s like to drive the luxurious vehicle, and just how crazy GM is to make it.

Line's bears and bunnies are coming for America

The messaging app Line is a cultural juggernaut in Japan, but it’s virtually unheard of throughout the US. Line wants to change that though, and now it’s busy figuring out how to bring its adorable stickers westward.

Space as a paranoid, static rumble

20 Jazz Funk Greats
20 Jazz Funk Greats writes about Eduard Artemiev's groundbreaking electronic experimentations and score for Tarkovsky's classic sci-fi film Solaris.

"Murzin began work on his synth in 1937 and it took 20 years to build. Research into new musical instruments was largely prohibited by the state, and despite the not-inconsiderable innovations of Leon Theremin, creating electronic instruments in Russia was considered a criminal act. Buying the required components was impossible, so inventors had to steal them from institutions. In the era of Stalin, when dissenting artists were not only sent to the gulag or shot, but literally written out of history – their works destroyed and even their image edited out of photographs – Murzin’s work was open rebellion."

Solaris Poster

Photo Credit: Flickr/Socialism Expo

The Most Fascinating Profile You’ll Ever Read About a Guy and His Boring Startup

Mat Honan profiles Flickr co-founder Stewart Butterfield and his new company Slack, offering a fascinating look at the early days of a Silicon Valley startup on fire.

Everyone at hot startups drinks a lot of coffee. But you can’t drink just any coffee. Nobody can drink just any coffee anymore and be taken seriously. (Except for those who proudly and intentionally do so. The key is doing it with intention. But you can’t just saunter up to Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts and get a coffee and actually think it’s good.)

Stewart Butterfield

Photo Credit: Flickr/kris krüg

The Director Isn’t Done Yet: An Interview With Steven Soderbergh

The Daily Beast
Andrew Romano talks to director Steven Soderbergh about moving away from movies and the appeal of working in television, the future of movie studios, and the new TV series The Knick.

The only growth area right now is in one-hour programming. That’s blowing up. Everything else is shrinking, except for sports. So I wonder if it’s possible for the studios to emulate the subscription model. If you’re Warner Bros., there’s some version of being a subscriber to Warner Bros. Once again Warner Bros. would clearly define itself as "We make a certain kind of movie" or "We make good movies." Bringing back the idea of the studio as a brand. Would that work?

Don’t Be Afraid Of The Clowns

Leigh Cowart reports from the annual World Clown Association convention on the state of clowning.

The hotel lobby is decorated to theme — a nice touch, but conspicuous. The balloon art displayed at the front desk isn’t just festive; it’s a signal to the non-clown guests. The inflated, latex animal serves as a polite catalyst for inquiry, such that a hospitable warning might be offered.

I am not afraid of clowns. But there’s something that happens when you walk into the forgettable bathroom of a hotel lobby and meet a fully made-up clown standing by the sink, reflection staring back at you with the Kubrickian blankness of a greasepaint grimace.

I almost wet my pants.

*Grab the entire list as a Readlist.

Listen to this

Gold Panda - Clarke's Dream

UK-based electro producer Gold Panda released this new, one-off track this week, and it's as funky as it is spacey. It wouldn't sound at all out of place in a jaunty interstellar adventure like Cowboy Bebop or Space Dandy. Definitely look out for his next album, due out sometime in 2015.

SBTRKT - New Dorp. New York

This track is the kind of song you listen to on unexpected trips across a post-apocalyptic New York City, a little tired after last night's Mad Max-ian revelry. Things are getting a little out of hand, and you like it that way. Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig appear's since he loves making surprise pop-ins this year. SBTRKT's new album, Wonder Where We Land, lands next month.

Play this

Godus, iOS

In case you ever wanted to feel like a god on the subway, Peter Molyneux's Godus is now available for iOS. The game, which launched in beta last fall through Steam's early access program, allows the player to, well, play god by manipulating the landscape, its people, and their beliefs. While the iOS version is reportedly feature complete, Molyneux has big plans for the game. Expect clashes with other gods and philosophical surprises in the months ahead.

Watch this


Ronald D. Moore's latest series Outlander, based on the 1991 genre-spanning series by Diana Gabaldon, premieres on Starz tonight and it may be the next period drama fans of Games of Thrones are looking for. The series follows Claire Beauchamp, a World War II nurse thrown back in time to 18th century Scotland — a pretty heady concept from the start. The showrunners are attempting to faithfully adapt the books' blend of history, romance, and science fiction, while also striving for realism — Moore told us at Comic-Con that the central cast even had to learn Gaelic to stay true to the books. The first hour of the series is already online, embedded here for your viewing pleasure. Tell us what you think.