Company says it’s created the world’s blackest black with carbon nanotubes

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Black may not be, it turns out, the darkest shade — at least not black as we know it. British tech company Surrey Nanosystems says it’s developed the world’s blackest material: made of carbon nanotubes, it can absorb 99.96 percent of light that hits it. Its developers say that to the human eye, the material — called Vantablack — completely erases any features on a surface, becoming simply a void. “It’s like black, like a hole, like there’s nothing there. It just looks so strange,” chief technical officer Ben Jensen tells The Independent. That’s because the dense coating of carbon nanotubes, rolled sheets of carbon atoms like the one seen above, are used to create a lattice that absorbs virtually all light as it’s refracted around the…

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Google, Netflix, and Facebook ask FCC to intervene in fight over internet ‘congestion’

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The Internet Association, a trade group composed of some of the biggest tech companies in the world, has filed comment with the FCC asking it to intervene in the conflict over payments being demanded by big ISPs. According to a report in The Hill, companies like Comcast and Verizon are charging Netflix and others for direct interconnection to their networks, a move which allows these companies to bypass congestion and avoid service issues like video buffering. The group wrote in its letter that “interconnection should not be used as a choke point to artificially slow traffic or extract unreasonable tolls.”

This is the latest volley in a war of words between big internet companies and the ISPs that carry their data into customers’ homes….

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This is the world’s collective view of the World Cup

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A good portion of sports fans across the globe found themselves sitting in front of a TV yesterday to watch Germany and Argentina duke it out in the World Cup, and artists Teju Cole, Jer Thorp, and Mario Klingemann wanted to make something out of that rare worldwide connection. “Simultaneous spectatorship has been possible for decades,” Cole writes on Twitter, “but global social networks have now made it highly visible.” Cole asked his followers to tweet photos of their television or computer as they watched the game, tagging the photos with their location, the minute on the game clock, and the hashtag “thetimeofthegame.”

The result is the website Time of the Game, a collection of photos from people watching the World Cup across the…

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Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 review: instant photos in the Instagram age

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Of all the forms of photography you’d expect to have been sidelined by the smartphone onslaught, instant film would have to top the list. Sure, the unique (and useless) ritual of shaking your pictures to speed up development has a special place in the hearts of many. But the traditional advantages of instant cameras — ease of use, shareability, and the ability to see your photo straight away — are matched point-for-point by the tiny shooter embedded in your phone. Instagram didn’t base its…

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World Cup Final breaks Facebook and Twitter records

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Both Twitter and Facebook say they’ve hit new usage records thanks to last night’s World Cup Final. Facebook reveals that 88 million people left more than 280 million posts, comments, and likes about the Germany vs. Argentina game, surpassing the previous engagement record for a single sporting event set during Superbowl XLVII (245 million interactions). The most active country during the game was the US, while males aged 18 to 24 were the most engaged. Facebook previously announced that the World Cup as a whole is its most-talked about event ever: the social network reached over a billion interactions just two weeks into the tournament.

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Google Glass pioneer moves to Amazon

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Babak Parviz, the man who founded and led the Google X project that gave rise to Google Glass, has moved to work at Amazon. Revealing the news on his Google+ page, the Iranian-American scientist describes himself as “super excited” but doesn’t disclose any details about what he’ll be developing next. The focus of Parviz’s research so far has been the pursuit of an intelligent contact lens that would both obtain readings about its wearer through sensors and provide information via augmented reality visual overlays. In many ways, Google Glass is the compromise solution on the way to that goal.

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Samsung suspends business with China supplier after accusation of child labor

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Last week watchdog China Labor Watch published an investigation into Samsung’s supply chain that found evidence of child labor at the Shinyang Electronics factory in Dongguan, China. The discovery contradicted Samsung’s own self-audit, and now the Korean company has suspended business with the supplier after beginning a follow-up investigation. Samsung says Chinese authorities are also looking into the allegations.

In a statement, Samsung said it discovered that instances of “illegal hiring process” may have taken place at the Dongguan factory on June 29th, despite conducting audits at the location three times since 2013 and most recently on June 25th this year. “If the investigations conclude that the supplier indeed hired children…

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US charges Chinese hackers for obtaining military data from Boeing, Lockheed Martin

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The US government is continuing its efforts to put pressure on Chinese cyber-espionage activities. According to The Wall Street Journal, the US Justice Department filed charges against a Chinese national living in Canada named Su Bin. The business owner is charged with working with two anonymous hackers to illegally obtain information on military aircraft produced by US defense contractors.

The three conspirators allegedly worked from 2009 to 2013 on obtaining the information, and they were apparently successful in stealing some sensitive documents related to the Lockheed Martin-built F-22 and F-35 fighter jets, as well as Boeing’s C-17 military transport aircraft. The complaint additionally alleges that the conspirators provided Bin…

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The first full trailer for ‘Doctor Who’ series 8 is here

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After weeks and weeks of teasers, the first full trailer for the next season of Doctor Who has finally landed. In this new spot, Capaldi really gets to stretch his legs a bit in his new role as the Twelfth Doctor. But more than anything, there’s a bit more gravitas to this incarnation, as he tells his companion Clara Oswald that he’s taking them “into darkness.” We can’t wait for the premiere on August 23rd.

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Rough cut of ‘Doctor Who’ series 8 premiere leaks online

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The BBC is struggling to keep its new Doctor under wraps. Series 8 of the legendary sci-fi series is returning to BBC on August 23rd with new star Peter Capaldi, but the premiere has leaked online just days after scripts for the first five episodes were posted on torrent sites. According to The Mary Sue, the episode isn’t final — it’s a rough draft and the video file is entirely in black and white. In addition, the frame is covered with watermarks and warnings.

In a statement released to RadioTimes, the BBC says that “This is part of BBC Worldwide’s ongoing security investigation into leaked unfinished Doctor Who materials. This content is currently being removed and originates from the same Miami server we disabled last week, it is not…

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A close look at Michael Bay’s explosive visual style

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We all know that “epic” Michael Bay look and feel with lots of hugely impressive imagery. But how does the director achieve this? Perceptive film blogger Tony Zhou has put together another wonderfully intelligent and comprehensible breakdown, this time focusing of Bay’s style — often called “Bayhem” for obvious reasons. Zhou shows how complex camera movements and the coordination of multiple different elements produces incredibly busy frames that brim with action. Ultimately, Zhou believes it’s Bay’s choices of when to deploy his signature moves that makes so many of his films devoid of substance.

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Watch how the Wachowskis changed the ending to ‘The Matrix’ trilogy for this 2005 video game

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There usually isn’t much to say about mediocre tie-in video games, but the ending to 2005’s The Matrix: Path of Neo is so spectacularly odd that it’s worthy of discussion nearly a decade after its release. The Wachowskis wrote and directed the game, which sees players take control of Neo through many of the battle sequences in the film trilogy, but the siblings made a few changes to the story to accommodate the demands of a video game. Most notably, the two scrapped Neo’s role as a martyr in the final film, instead having “The One” smash and bash his way through a gigantic version of Agent Smith made from cars, wreckage, and thousands of his clones.

It’s certainly surreal (especially when the giant dons a pair of massive sunglasses),…

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Plans show tallest residential building on earth coming to Manhattan

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One World Trade Center is just settling into New York’s skyline, but a number of competing supertall structures — including the tallest residential building in the world — will soon pop up in midtown. One of those skyscrapers, Nordstrom Tower, will top out at 1,775 feet (541m), according to plans leaked to New York development blog YIMBY. That’s just one foot shorter than One World Trade, if you count the spire. Without the spires, Nordstrom Tower will beat the symbolic office building: according to the plans, its roof (including the parapet) will reach 1,479 feet, 78 feet higher than 1 WTC.

That mighty height will make Nordstrom Tower the tallest residential building in the world, beating out Mumbai’s One World Tower (1,450 feet) and…

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Special Vampires Unit: Guillermo del Toro’s ‘The Strain’ is ‘CSI’ with the undead

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It’s taken almost a decade, but Guillermo del Toro finally has his chance to call a mulligan on the civilized millennial vampire. In the prolific monster maker’s first TV show, The Strain, vampires don’t look like pop stars and sip blood from champagne flutes; they rip your throat out, and probably your dog’s throat too. They secrete weird ooze and grow reptilian body parts. It feels like one long rebuttal to most every vampire to appear on-screen, from Bill Compton to Edward Cullen to Dracula himself. The show, which airs on Sunday, is a hyper-pulpy attempt to merge crime drama and body horror — sometimes too pulpy, if you have a low tolerance for things like literal vampire-zombie-Nazis.

The Strain‘s debut is the culmination of a long…

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Post-apocalyptic thriller ‘Snowpiercer’ available for download just two weeks after release

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You can now watch acclaimed South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s slick, post-apocalyptic sci-fi film Snowpiercer right at home — just two weeks after it hit US theaters for the first time. That’s an extremely rare move for a film such as this, which has a sizable budget ($80 million), rave reviews (such as our own), and buzz at the theaters.

But Snowpiercer, which follows a band of impoverished underclass survivors led by Chris Evans (Captain America) as they fight their way to the front of a train that houses the remnants of humanity after an ice age, at first opened in just eight screens in the US. Before that, the film was a hit internationally, according to The Los Angeles Times; it’s drawn over $80 million overseas, with most…

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Lyft’s failure-to-launch party

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Lyft, the app that connects anyone with a car to people willing to pay for a ride, was supposed to go live in New York City Friday night, hours before a massive Brooklyn launch party. The launch was highly publicized, and Lyft promised two weeks of free rides to introduce New Yorkers to the service.

Unfortunately for the San Francisco-based company, the city’s Taxi and Limousine Commission and the state Attorney General immediately dragged Lyft into court and put the kibosh on the launch….

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The Weekender: Captain Picard goes to Manhattanhenge

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Welcome back to The Weekender. Every Saturday morning, The Verge will give you something to do. This is where you’ll get the best of what we’ve written this week, but also a reason to get up and actually do something with your life — even if that something is dreaming of the far off places you might go.

Here’s a collection of some of our favorite pieces that you may have missed, along with a snapshot of the things you should be doing with your days off. Have a look.

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@CongressEdits tells you when Congress is changing Wikipedia

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The US Congress has made enough anonymous, occasionally controversial edits to Wikipedia that the changes have warranted their own Wikipedia page. Now a new automated Twitter tattletale, @congressedits, is posting every one of the edits made from the Senate and House.

Wikipedia allows you to view edits by IP address; the congressional IP addresses are public. Inspired by a similar bot set up for the UK Parliament, web developer Ed Summers created @congressedits, which automatically searches for edits made by the IP addresses and tweets a link to the changes.

The account launched this week, and so far it’s turned up more inexplicable edits than political impropriety. Following an encounter between President Barack Obama and a man…

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Lyft accuses New York attorney general of lying about launch holdup

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Lyft was set to launch in two parts of New York City today, a plan that was derailed following a court battle with state’s attorney general that’s now stretched into next week, and possibly beyond. Now the two sides have begun a public war of words against one another about why the ridesharing service didn’t launch, with Lyft going so far as to say the New York official is lying.

According to the New York attorney general, the State Supreme Court granted an injunction that kept Lyft from launching as planned. Now Lyft is saying that’s a “deliberate misstatement,” and that it’s the one that put the launch on hold in order to make changes to its service that will comply with local regulations.

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That time Elaine threatened to kill herself with a gun on ‘Seinfeld’

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Seinfeld is not without its share of controversial episodes, chiefly by design. But one episode that was conceived in late 1990 was deemed too dark to even film by the show’s cast, leading to it being scrapped at the last minute. The story behind that never-made episode, “The Bet,” was first recounted by the cast and writers on the DVD commentary for season two. More recently, the writer of the episode, Larry Charles, and its would-be director, Tom Cherones, reminisced about what went wrong to ScreenCrush.

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