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Thursday’s top tech news: leaving, on an @ElonJet plane

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After saying he wouldn’t ban an account that tracks the movement of his private jet, Elon Musk’s Twitter has done exactly that, suspending the @ElonJet account alongside its creator and several other accounts that he operates. Obviously Twitter is a private company that’s free to moderate its platform however it wants, but the case highlights how even a “free speech absolutist” like Musk can come around pretty quickly on content moderation when his personal safety is involved.

Over on the tech news side, Google Docs is getting some cool new features for anyone that wants to show code in their documents. It’s part of a pretty significant transformation Google Workspace has been going through, and overall I’m a big fan. Pageless formatting! Markdown support! Damn it’s a great time to be a Google Docs user.

And now, here’s a silly tweet:

Stay tuned, as we continue to update this list with the most important news of today: Thursday, December 15th, 2022.
  • Dec 15, 2022

    Tim Stevens

    Lucid Air Grand Touring review: a dream made real

    Lucid Air Grand Touring electric vehicle
    The Lucid Air is the first product from the California-based company.

    When you’re an automotive journalist, sometimes you spend a few hours testing a car and are left with such a negative impression that you wonder for days whether you were maybe just in a bad mood. Then, sometimes you drive a car and it leaves such an overwhelmingly positive impression that you can’t help thinking you must have been blissed out of your mind, that the car can’t have really been that good.

    I was left with those sorts of doubts after getting some seat time in a Lucid Air sedan earlier this year. It was a short demo a few hours from my home, early spring on roads still torn up from the winter’s worst. I couldn’t believe how well that car handled all the frost heaves and potholes while still hustling and turning in ways that no 5,200-pound sedan should. Later, on the drive home in my humble Subaru, I was already questioning myself. It couldn’t have been that good.

    Read Article >
  • Justine Calma

    Dec 15, 2022

    Justine Calma

    What in the world is nuclear fusion — and when will we harness it?

    An artist rendering lasers beams shot at a fuel capsule
    To create fusion ignition, the National Ignition Facility’s laser energy is converted into X-rays inside the hohlraum, which then compress a fuel capsule until it implodes, creating a high-temperature, high-pressure plasma.
    Image: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

    Nuclear fusion is back in the news. This week, the US Department of Energy announced what it called a “major scientific breakthrough” in fusion power research: for the first time, a fusion experiment had produced more energy than the energy used to kick off the reaction. It’s not the first time we’ve heard about fusion progress. There have been decades of headlines touting breakthroughs large and small, usually implying that we’re closer than ever to generating all the clean energy we’ll ever need from nuclear fusion.

    It’s a lot to take in, so The Verge put together this guide to fusion power with the help of some experts. Below, we’ve summarized scientists’ dreams for fusion, as well as the harsh realities the technology faces to bring the power of fusion from scientific ambition to commercial reality.

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  • Tom Warren

    Dec 15, 2022

    Tom Warren

    Grand Theft Auto 5’s new ray tracing on PS5 and Xbox Series X / S looks fantastic

    Grand Theft Auto V now has ray-traced reflections on PS5 and Xbox Series X / S consoles. A new patch, spotted by Eurogamer, brings ray-traced reflections to the game’s fidelity mode (30fps), adding a lot more realistic detail to vehicles, characters, windows, and basically any glossy surfaces. The results are truly impressive.

    Now if you walk up to a window your character’s reflection will appear, or if you venture into areas where there is water or puddles you’ll see reflections of the objects nearby. Much like the ray tracing we’ve seen in Cyberpunk 2077, it makes the game feel more immersive.

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  • Elizabeth Lopatto

    Dec 15, 2022

    Elizabeth Lopatto

    Elon Musk sells yet another $3.58 billion of Tesla shares

    Illustration showing Elon Musk in profile, in front of Twitter logos with a dollar sign inserted in place of the bird’s eye.
    Money pit
    Illustration by Laura Normand / The Verge

    Elon Musk has sold another $3.5 billion in Tesla shares, according to a form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission today. Since November 2021, the high point of Tesla’s share price, Musk has sold more than $39 billion of shares, The Wall Street Journal reports.

    Musk, who recently lost the title of being the world’s richest man, last filed with the SEC about Tesla share sales in November, when he sold $3.4 billion. Before that, he sold $8.4 billion in April and $6.9 billion (nice) in August. He said he was done selling twice, once in April and once in August.

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  • Jay Peters

    Dec 15, 2022

    Jay Peters

    Twitter banned the @ElonJet account tracking Musk’s flights, reinstated it, then banned it again

    A black Twitter logo over a red and white background
    Twitter doesn’t seem to like the jet-tracker’s creator.
    Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

    Hours after suspending @ElonJet, an account that tracked the trips taken by Elon Musk’s private plane, Twitter banned the account’s creator, Jack Sweeney, and dozens of other accounts he operates. Twitter then un-suspended @ElonJet, which was briefly tweeting to try and get its account back before Twitter banned it again.

    If you try and visit @ElonJet or Sweeney’s account, you’ll see a message that the account has been suspended. Twitter has also been blocking links to versions of the Elon Jet tracker on other platforms, like Instagram and Facebook. Attempting to tweet certain links to Sweeney’s Elon Musk jet tracker on other platforms will display a message that the link is “potentially harmful,” as spotted by Tony Webster.

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  • Mitchell Clark

    Dec 14, 2022

    Mitchell Clark

    Google’s making code formatting a breeze in Docs

    Google logo with colorful shapes
    Code blocks in Docs.
    Illustration: The Verge

    Google Docs is getting a new feature that will make it easier to show code in an easy-to-understand way. The company announced that it’s adding code blocks to its “smart canvas” system, which will automatically add the proper spacing and color-coding for a variety of programming languages, such as Python, C, and Javascript.

    Before this, getting code to look nice in Google Docs required workarounds or add-ons, which weren’t necessarily the most convenient. While that wasn’t the end of the world, making sure code displays properly is important for documentation, and having different parts of the code display in different colors makes it much easier to read if there’s more than a single line or two.

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  • Alex Cranz

    Dec 14, 2022

    Alex Cranz

    The golden age of the streaming wars has ended

    A person examines the big wall of content.
    Image: Getty Images

    It’s over. For the last half-decade, we’ve enjoyed a golden age in entertainment. The rise of the streaming service has brought more TV and film into our homes than ever before. It’s been a joy — and sometimes a chore — to keep up with every new offering Netflix, HBO Max, Disney Plus, and the rest put before us. But over the last few months, we’ve seen a reorientation of how many of these services do business, and it’s clear that this glut of content we’ve enjoyed, for the mere cost of a monthly subscription, is about to end. Some of us are going to keenly feel the pain of that more than others.

    Before streaming changed the landscape of Hollywood, it was a very different place. It could take writers years to become showrunners, and the number of plum roles for a new star was few and far between. There was a lot of reality TV — particularly on cable — but scripted television was limited to just a handful of channels. The owners of those channels were in a brutal competition for your eyeballs, crafting prestige show after prestige show to arrest our attention. From 1999, with the premiere of The Sopranos, to somewhere in the mid-2010s, there was a Golden Age of TV.

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