Finding the real Kurt Cobain: a conversation with documentary director Brett Morgen

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The Sundance documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck is far from a traditional biopic. Directed by Brett Morgen, the filmmaker behind movies like The Kid Stays in the Picture and the Rolling Stones documentary Crossfire Hurricane, it eschews conventional narrative in an attempt to bring audiences inside the mind of Cobain through his paintings, personal recordings, journals, and some disturbing home video footage. I saw a lot of documentaries at Sundance this year, and Montage of Heck was my favorite by far.

I sat down with Morgen during the festival to talk about the origins of the project, the absence of Dave Grohl (he appears only in archival footage), and a striking animated sequence which uses Cobain’s recorded recollection of…

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Before Uber revolutionizes labor, it’s going to have to explain these embarrassing emails

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Earlier this week, New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo predicted that Uber’s biggest impact on the world would not be in transforming transportation, but in changing the labor market and the way we think about work. He may be right. Uber’s explosion is the envy of employers everywhere. And those employers are well aware that Uber became a $40 billion company by operating as if its drivers are not Uber employees.

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You can now watch Philae’s historic descent to comet 67P in GIF form

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The Philae lander had quite the exciting end to its 10-year journey to Comet 67P last fall. Now the ESA has just released this GIF of the lander tumbling towards the comet as it left its resting place aboard the Rosetta spacecraft. The 19 images that make up the GIF were taken over the span of four hours on November 12th. Philae disappears from view just hours before the lander’s harpoons failed to fire, which sent it skipping across the comet’s surface.


Back in November, the ESA released this low-res GIF of Philae’s initial impact.

It’s unclear why the images are being released now, but the ESA has been slow to release hi-res imagery from the Rosetta mission since the landing. That reticence has stirred a broader debate in the…

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Aziz Ansari brings his newest stand-up special exclusively to Netflix

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Comedian and Parks & Rec star Aziz Ansari will join forces with Netflix to release his newest comedy special, Variety reportsAziz Ansari: Live at Madison Square Garden will be available exclusively on Netflix beginning March 6th.

Available March 6th

This isn’t the first time Ansari has teamed up with Netflix. His 2013 special Buried Alive debuted with the streaming service, but was later available as a $5 download (something Louie C.K. knows a thing or two about). According to Variety, Live At Madison Square Garden tackles topics like gender inequality and the food industry.  The 50 Cent grapefruit joke is dead.

Netflix’s current comedy selection is pretty stacked. Right now, you can stream stand-up specials from the likes of…

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Google Now for Android can now work with third-party apps

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Google Now has probably been one of the best features the company brought to Android over the last few years, and today it’s getting a big update. The company just announced that it will now allow third-party apps to generate cards in Google Now, which means the service has the potential to be a more comprehensive home what’s happening in your life than ever before.

A whole list of the 40 different apps that Google Now currently supports can be found here, but some of the most noteworthy inclusions are Airbnb, Pandora, The Guardian, Lyft, Ebay, Waze, and Ford. You’ll only see information from these third-party services if you have the app installed, and for now this third-party app integration will only work on Android.

Google gives a…

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AT&T emerges as big winner in FCC spectrum auction

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Yesterday, the Federal Communication Commission revealed that it took in a record $44.9 billion in bids for it s AWS-3 wireless spectrum auction. Today, it released more data about the winners and how much each company bid. Unsurprisingly, US wireless carriers were at the top of the heap, with AT&T alone bidding nearly $18.2 billion for 251 licenses, the largest going towards the New York City metro area. Verizon ponied up a total of $10.4 billion for 181 licenses, while T-Mobile spent just $1.7 billion. Dish Networks was the other big name in the mix, spending $13.3 billion of its money. Sprint declined to participate in this auction, noting that it would instead be putting its efforts towards the 600MHz incentive auction next year.

C…

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Chevy’s new Volt ad makes the future look boring

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The second-generation Chevrolet Volt that’s coming out later this year is probably the most technologically advanced production car that General Motors has ever announced. You wouldn’t know that from the ad it posted to YouTube this week, though — a one-minute, 11-second sequence of sensible motoring through urban and suburban landscapes interjected by finger swipes that are supposed to make it look like an iPad or something, I guess? All the while, inoffensive jams waft from your speakers. There’s no narration or graphic overlay, because you wouldn’t actually want to know anything about the car.

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Snapchat’s new original series is called Literally Can’t Even

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Snapchat will premiere its first original scripted series tomorrow, The Hollywood Reporter reports. The show, Literally Can’t Even, will star Sasha Spielberg and Emily Goldwyn.

Spielberg and Goldwyn, daughters of Steven Spielberg and John Goldwyn, also wrote the series, which is basically about their own lives: They play friends and writing partners who go through breakups, juice cleanses, and other Los Angeles-esque trials of young adulthood.

Just what we need: Los Angeles misadventures

Literally Can’t Even will be hosted on Snap Channel, part of Snapchat’s new ad-supported Discover service, which launched last week. The episodes will only be a few minutes long, and, in keeping with Snapchat’s blink-or-you’ll-miss-it style, each…

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Verizon will allow users to opt out of its ‘permacookie’

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There may be a way around Verizon’s “permacookie” after all. The New York Times is reporting that the company will soon give users the chance to opt out of the tracking method, as part of the companies larger opt-out features. Users will still have to actively turn off the recently revealed tracking code, and Verizon won’t stop using the method entirely, but providing an opt-out gives privacy-conscious users an important way to avoid what many had seen as an unnecessarily intrusive measure. “We listen to our customers and provide them the ability to opt out of our advertising programs,” a Verizon representative said in a statement. “We have begun working to expand the opt-out to include the identifier referred to as the UIDH, and expect…

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The best virtual reality from the 2015 Sundance Film Festival

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We saw some incredible films during this year’s Sundance Film Festival, but equally important was the explosion of virtual reality experiences. From soaring over San Francisco to exploring the streets of Syria, VR took us everywhere. These are our festival favorites.

Lost

Bryan Bishop: Directed by Saschka Unseld, Oculus’ first VR movie was the moment we’d been waiting for: a complete narrative experience with a story, characters we enjoyed watching, and a gorgeous, immersive world. We felt for the disembodied robot hand, hid behind virtual bushes when its owner approached, and we couldn’t stop smiling the entire time. While we’re still in the infancy of VR storytelling, this is the first project that clearly articulates how vast…

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Vine released a version of its app made just for kids

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Vine’s looping videos can be an effective way of keeping kids entertained, but giving young ones unbridled access to the regular app probably isn’t a great idea. So with that in mind, the company is today releasing Vine Kids, a version of the Vine experience that’s tailored for young children — both in terms of design and content. Instead of greeting users with the regular, scrollable feed of videos, Vine Kids has a cast of “adorable animated characters” to help guide its junior target audience through using the app.

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Watch a captivating timelapse of the Earth in infrared light

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From November 30th, 2014 to January 26th, 2015, two geostationary satellites, GOES 13 and GOES 15, captured images of the Earth in infrared light. Now James Tyrwhitt-Drake, a student of advanced microscopy, has created a timelapse of it.

Tyrwhitt-Drake downloaded the images from the satellites’ multispectral, infrared-capturing channels, pulling 700 frames from the 27-day time period. The clip shows a mind-boggling kaleidoscope of water vapor shifting in the atmosphere, shot from 35,800 km (22,300 miles) above the Earth. The animation might seem to be moving slowly, but keep in mind as you watch: the timelapse plays at a rate of 21 hours per second.

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ESPN will let you buy Cricket World Cup live stream without a cable subscription

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More and more TV networks are giving online subscription services a shot, and ESPN is about to try out one of the more interesting approaches to date: it’s selling a package specifically for one sporting event, letting viewers in the US pay $99.99 for access to its coverage of the entire Cricket World Cup. The package includes access to live broadcasts and replays of all 49 World Cup matches, in addition to condensed replays of the game’s long events and streams of ESPN’s show Match Point. The package is being sold at ESPNcricket2015.com, which says that its streams will be viewable on phones, tablets, computers, and Roku devices.

This isn’t ESPN’s first experience with internet TV, but this does appear to be the first time that it’s…

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Secret co-founder leaves company one month after its relaunch

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A month after Secret relaunched its anonymous social network with a bigger emphasis on cleaner design, chat, and one-on-one messaging, one of its co-founders is departing the company. In a note to his team (posted to Medium), Chrys Bader explained that “the next chapter of Secret is beginning in a way that will be less about the kind of creation and design that I love.”

So it hasn’t taken long after Secret 2.0 for Bader to realize the time to walk away is now. “It’s time for me to step down, let the team do what they do best, and focus on what I do best,” he said. But despite his leaving, Bader still seems very proud of — in his words — meeting Secret’s original goal. He and David Byttow set out to build “a new platform that allows…

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So what happens after the big game? Retiring from the NFL isn’t easy

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Seattle defensive tackle Kevin Williams will consider retiring after the big game on Sunday, reports azcentral. With 12 NFL seasons under his belt, the 34-year-old is quite literally an old pro now. But retiring from the NFL, or any high performance sport, isn’t easy. A lot of obstacles can come up as players transition into “normal life” — a life they’ve technically never had.

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Watch the leaked trailer for Game of Thrones Season 5

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Viewers who attended HBO’s IMAX screenings of Game of Thrones‘ Season 4 finale last night got a big bonus when it was all over: a first look at the trailer for Season 5. HBO hasn’t put the trailer online yet, but it looks like one theatergoer took the opportunity to record the trailer at their screening and publish it on YouTube. The recording quality is actually a lot better than what you’d expect for something like this, so this “leak” may be enough to hold you over until the real thing comes out — whenever that happens. The new season starts on April 12th.

Read next: Exclusive: Behind the scenes on the Game of Thrones IMAX Experience

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AOL is shutting down its Apple blog TUAW

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There goes another one. AOL is shutting down The Unofficial Apple Weblog, better known as TUAW, sources familiar with the situation tell The Verge. The company — which is also shutting down its gaming site Joystiq — is in the midst of a major reorganization, and is cutting back on media properties it deems as underperforming. TUAW’s run comes to an end on February 2nd.

TUAW comes to an end on February 2nd

Founded just over 10 years ago in December 2004, TUAW was acquired by AOL in 2005 when it purchased Weblogs, Inc., alongside other influential sites including Autoblog, Joystiq, and Engadget. TUAW currently has 11 editorial staffers, according to its about page. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong forecasted these changes during an earnings call…

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