Our Blog

Stuff We Find Interesting.

'Game of Thrones': Who's Died So Far in Season 8

'Game of Thrones': Who's Died So Far in Season 8

As Game of Thrones approaches the series finale, airing Sunday, May 19, at 9pm EST on HBO, we've taken stock of all the major deaths so far in Season 8. For some, it hasn't been enough, for others, there's dissatisfaction with how certain characters met their end. But if past is prologue, more death will come, possibly for some of the most beloved characters.

Related Stories

Laura Hudson

Game of Thrones Recap: How to Ruin Every Beloved Character

Emily Dreyfuss

The Case Against Watching the Rest of Game of Thrones

Peter Rubin

Calculating the Ecological Impact of Game of Thrones' Dragons

Ned Umber: The littlest lord ended up being the first casualty in Season 8. When the White Walker Army breached Eastwatch-by-the-Sea, Sansa Stark ordered Ned Umber home to Last Hearth, the castle closest to the area, to bring his men back to Winterfell. The next time viewers see Ned, he's tacked to a wall at Last Hearth, surrounded by severed limbs arranged in a strange pattern typical of the Night King.

Melisandre: Before the Battle of Winterfell began, she lit the arakhs of the Dothraki on fire, as fire kills wights. She then took off her magical necklace to reveal her true ancient self, walked off into the cold abyss, and died.

Most of the Dothraki: The Dothraki always feared crossing the Narrow Sea, ultimately, it would seem, for good reason. After their Khaleesi, Daenerys, ferried them across to Westeros in "wooden horses," the bulk of the horselords were killed in the Battle of Winterfell as they rushed headlong to fight an army of White Walkers.

Helen Sloan/HBO

Lyanna Mormont: True to her fiery character, Lady Mormont did not go gently. As a giant wight squeezed her to death like a little human Go-gurt, she managed to stab him through the eye with a dragonglass dagger, killing him as he killed her.

Jorah Mormont: Ser Jorah died as he would have wanted: protecting his beloved Khaleesi during the Battle of Winterfell.

Beric Dondarrion: The Lord of Light couldn't save the leader of the Brotherhood Without Banners another time. Beric fought a horde of White Walkers to allow Arya enough time to escape. But eventually, they overcame him.

Theon Greyjoy: The tortured youngest Greyjoy stood by Bran's side at Winterfell's weirwood, protecting the Three-Eyed Raven-slash-young-Stark from the Night King's inevitable encroachment. For Theon, guarding Bran was also a way to finally slough off the guilt he had for killing two young farm boys in place of Bran and Rickon.

Fans have been waiting years for the living to confront the Night King on Game of Thrones. Now what?

HBO

The Night King: Arya stabbed him through his cold, dead heart with her Valerian steel dagger, using a fighting trick we saw her employ in practice sessions with Brienne.

Missandei: Daenerys' translator and trusted confidante unceremoniously had her head lopped off by Ser Gregor Clegane at Cersei's order, seemingly only to give us a plot point to reference for why Dany went mad.

Varys: After enlisting the help of his little birds to possibly spread the message of Jon Snow's true lineage, Daenerys dracarys'ed him for treason.

Qyburn: Cersei's hand met his end by being slammed into a wall by The Mountain. Surely it was a quicker death than Qyburn, practitioner of morally dubious black arts, deserved.

Much of King's Landing: After Daenerys "goes mad," she rides Drogon over King's Landing, ravaging the city she came to liberate from Cersei Lannister's cruel rule. Arya serves as our woman-on-the-ground, running through the streets and ducking into alleys, ashed bodies around each corner.

Helen Sloan/HBO

The Cleganes: Fans finally had their Cleganebowl in which the brothers, mortal enemies, fought to their deaths. Sandor (which Arya called him oh, so sweetly, in their last interaction, humanizing a man referred to as The Hound for much of his existence) battled his older brother, Ser Gregor, aka The Mountain. The epic match seemed it would end with The Mountain, a pseudo-zombie, never dying. The Hound lanced him through the eyeball, penetrating through his entire skull, a wound that, for The Mountain, seemed to have all the effect of being bitten by a horsefly. But eventually, Sandor was able to hurl both himself and his brother off of the stairs of the crumbling Red Keep, plummeting the duo to the fiery pit below. Though, perhaps parts of Ser Gregor are still writhing about, still animated by blood magic.

Euron Greyjoy: This guy. All season, he happens to be at the right place at the right time. First, in the fourth episode, "The Last of the Starks," Euron and the Iron Fleet hid in the bay of Dragonstone, ambushing Daenerys and her dragons. The Iron Fleet fires off several scorpions, the enormous dragon-killing crossbows, ultimately killing Rhaegal, one of the two remaining dragons. But Dany later has her revenge. In the fifth episode, "The Bells," the Iron Fleet waits in Blackwater Bay, its ships weighed down by more scorpions, ready to kill Daenerys' final and most powerful dragon, Drogon. Alas, Dany and Drogon blast Euron's ship. He jumps into the sea for cover (so much for a captain going down with the ship) and then washes up to the shore near the Red Keep—exactly where Jaime Lannister is clambering to get to Cersei. An intense scramble between the two ensues, but Jaime ultimately bests Euron, ramming a sword through the eldest Greyjoy's gut and twisting—hard. Euron, ever the blowhard, believes he delivered fatal blows to Jaime and utters a few self-satisfied final words: "I'm the man who killed Jaime Lannister."

Jaime and Cersei Lannister: Except Euron is not the man who killed Jaime Lannister! Jaime runs through the rubble of the Red Keep, finding Cersei in the same room where they last saw each other at the end of Season 7. Together, they descend further down into the bowels of the Red Keep, trying to make it to the beach where their brother, Tyrion, had promised a boat would be waiting to shuttle them to safety. But the crumbled Keep blocked all the exits. As the place they called home for years collapsed around them, they clasped each other tight, Cersei pleading for a different fate and Jaime assuring her, "Nothing else matters, only us."

Listen to our Game of Thrones podcast on iTunes and Spotify

More Great WIRED Stories

Original author: Andrea Valdez
Continue reading
  4 Hits
  0 Comments
4 Hits
0 Comments

Sony Alpha A7II Mirrorless Camera Deal: $600 Off Right Now

Sony Alpha A7II Mirrorless Camera Deal: $600 Off Right Now

Sony's full-frame, mirrorless cameras are among the best you can buy, whether you're a pro or a curious enthusiast looking to upgrade your photo gear. Sony's high-end Alpha A7III even scored top marks from WIRED reviewers, standing toe-to-toe with offerings from Canon and Nikon. That venerable camera's predecessor, the Alpha A7II, is no slouch either, and it's discounted right now.

The Alpha A7II has been my companion for years as a jobbing photographer. It's small enough to carry in a messenger bag and robust enough to serve as a primary camera in just about any lighting environment—including street shoots during a Portland-signature downpour (with a weather-sealed lens, of course), or ground-level coverage of contentious political protests. It is a solid workhorse of a camera that I wholeheartedly recommend any chance I get. That's why it's so exciting to see the plucky A7II this cheap.

The Sony Alpha A7II with a 28–70mm lens costs $998 ($600 off) at Amazon

B&H Photo and Best Buy also have the discount.

For $998, the A7II is a steal. I should note that it may not be on sale so much as its discounted. The price has bobbed up and down this spring as various retailers start making room for the A7III and other products, which is why it's a great time to buy. The A7II is still a killer camera; it's just four and a half years old. With many of the same flagship features that made the A7III such a hit—in-camera image stabilization, eye autofocus, incredible low-light sensitivity—the A7II still holds its own against its newer, more expensive sibling, even as it starts to show its age. Also know that this bundle comes with both the camera body and a versatile starter lens you can mount to it.

(Note: When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Much like subscribing to WIRED, these contributions help fund the journalism we put out every day. Read more about how this works.)

Pros and Cons of the Sony Alpha A7II

I love this little guy, but let's take a step back so you can see the full picture.

WIRED: With a 24.3-megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor, shutter speeds topping out at 1/8000 of a second, and ISO that dips down to 100 for the brightest day, or all the way up to 25,600 for the darkest night, the Alpha A7II is still a very capable camera body. It produces crisp, luscious images even in very low light. The autofocus is snappy and quick, with 142 phase- and contrast-detection points to pick out edges and ensure your subject is in focus, along with support for a portrait-shooter’s best friend: eye autofocus. With the press of a button, the A7II can find an eyeball and focus right on it, creating sharp and lively portraits. It’s essential for capturing candid moments during a photo shoot.

The Sony Alpha A7II also sports many of the features that made the newer, more expensive A7III such a hit. Most notably, it has onboard, five-axis stabilization right on the image sensor. So you get best-in-class stability—and fewer shaky shots—without having to pick up lenses with built-in stabilization systems. That means Sony E-mount lenses for your A7II can be smaller, lighter, and have fewer moving parts. The A7II also features the NFC pairing and Wi-Fi capabilities we've come to expect from modern cameras.

TIRED: It's not all good news for the A7II. There's just no getting around its age; it debuted in December 2014. That's not too long ago, but it is something to consider since that means you're missing out on a couple of flagship features that could be deal-breakers. The Alpha A7II absolutely devours batteries. On a single charge, a Sony-branded battery is going to last only for about two hours of continuous shooting, or about 300 still photos. That might sound like a lot, but the A7III has enough power efficiency to double those figures. If you're buying for work, that's the difference between carrying two batteries for a big event or carrying four to six.

Additionally, the A7II only has one onboard SD card slot compared to the two slots you usually see on professional-grade cameras. With an extra SD card slot, you get a built-in backup that's a necessity for working professionals, especially if you've ever experienced the existential dread of losing an entire card's worth of photos to corrupted data. Finally, the A7II can't shoot 4K video, which is likely a stopping point for you videographers out there.

More Great WIRED Stories

Original author: Jess Grey
Continue reading
  6 Hits
  0 Comments
6 Hits
0 Comments

In Alabama, 'The Handmaid's Tale' Is a Haunting Metaphor

In Alabama, 'The Handmaid's Tale' Is a Haunting Metaphor

The year is 2019. It is a time of chasmic divides. Republican rule has taken hold in America. The land aches from unrest. In the Deep South, once a province of notorious racial and social subjugation, history again flirts with twisted judgement. On Tuesday, 25 state senators—all of whom were white men, and who, like clowns at the circus, bear names like Del Marsh, Shay Shelnutt, and James "Jabo" Waggoner with mischievous, cowardly grins—voted to all but ban abortion in Alabama. Their bill makes no exceptions for rape or incest, and it punishes doctors who perform the procedure with life in prison. Governor Kay Ivey signed it into law the very next day, and effectively transformed the Heart of Dixie into a Republican theocracy.

Jason Parham is a senior writer for WIRED. Depth of Field is his weekly dispatch about culture's most searing current images.

Protesters flooded the streets outside the Alabama State House in Montgomery as news of the bill began to spread. Signs colored the cool spring, exclaiming "Protect Women's Health" and "Get Out of My Uterus." By midweek, the national temperature had grown into a violent heat. The women of Alabama no longer possessed authority over their bodies. The newly-minted law—which forbids termination at every stage of pregnancy—read like a grim portent of a larger evil that is slowly brewing to a crippling boil: the nullification of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that established the essential liberty of a woman's right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.

As metaphors go, Margaret Atwood's dystopian saga The Handmaid's Tale found a frightful resonance. A cabal of women appeared before the state house in long red dresses and pristine white bonnets. Mirroring the likeness of Atwood's tortured Handmaids, they regarded themselves as emblems of conquest, a collective harmony with no song. "My body is an argument I did not start," the poet Morgan Parker once wrote, conjuring the peculiar bind—though battleground, too, seems appropriate here—of history, race, and gender. Cogent and layered, photographer Mickey Welsh would also capture this particularly American bind in an image of the chaos in the streets of Montgomery. In it, a woman stands, looking forward. Her stare is a puncture. It stings, stirs.

Flanked by a chorus of protesters, the woman is dressed in Handmaid's red—stoic, unmoved. She is sustained by those who join her in the ongoing fight to return autonomy to all women. Amid the roar, though, a quiet calm seems to have overtaken her. She is the lone figure awash in sunlight. These characteristics have the effect of 3D. It's as if the woman stands outside the photo—or, rather, in front of it. She has exited the fray, as warning and perhaps martyr, to inform us of a very possible future ruled by divine law and enforced by senseless, Gilead-like political brutes. But the image wants her back. Notice how a sharp shadow eclipses her face, attempting to pull her in, to encase her in time. Therein, I believe, lies the magic of Welsh's photograph: It's got length, breadth, depth. It propels and pulls inward, it moves with time. It moves like time. And, like history, it flows in every direction.

More Great WIRED Stories

Original author: Jason Parham
Continue reading
  5 Hits
  0 Comments
5 Hits
0 Comments

Gadget Lab Podcast: YouTube’s Latest Makeup Drama, Explained

Gadget Lab Podcast: YouTube’s Latest Makeup Drama, Explained

Beauty product reviews on YouTube aren’t just about beauty products and internet capitalism. They’re a conduit for drama, loyalty politics, and “cancel culture," as WIRED’s Emma Grey Ellis has learned throughout her reporting on some of YouTube’s biggest names. This week’s drama is on James Charles, a hugely popular 19-year-old beauty influencer, and Tati Westbrook, an OG YouTube beauty guru and a mentor of Charles. Coachella and hair vitamins were involved. Charles was cancelled (again).

But as Ellis writes, “The real victims of cancel culture might be the rest of us, perpetually required to join the angry mob lest ye be taken for a collaborator.” We talk about this and more on this week’s Gadget Lab podcast.

Show Notes: Read Emma’s story here. Read all about the WhatsApp vulnerability here. Read Casey Newton’s newsletter here on the White House’s call for supposedly politically biased social media content.

Recommendations:
Emma recommends the Canadian television series Schitt’s Creek, which is available on Netflix. Arielle recommends a Tamagotchi. Yes, that Tamagotchi. Lauren recommends Knock Down the House, also streaming on Netflix. Mike recommends this New York Times profile of Evan Dando, and has the audacity to recommend you listen to the Lemonheads.

Arielle Pardes can be found at @pardesoteric. Lauren Goode is @laurengoode. Emma Ellis is @emmagreyellis. Michael Calore is on vacation this week, but can be found at @snackfight. Bling the main hotline at @GadgetLab. Our theme song is by Solar Keys.

How to Listen
You can always listen to this week's podcast through the audio player on this page, but if you want to subscribe for free to get every episode, here's how:

If you're on an iPhone or iPad, open the app called Podcasts, or just tap this link. You can also download an app like Overcast or Pocket Casts, and search for Gadget Lab. If you use Android, you can find us in the Google Play Music app just by tapping here. You can also download an app like Pocket Casts or Radio Public, and search for Gadget Lab. And in case you really need it, here's the RSS feed.
https://www.wired.com/feed/podcast/gadget-lab

We're also on Soundcloud, and every episode gets posted to WIRED.com as soon as it's released. If you still can't figure it out, or there's another platform you use that we're not on, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Original author: WIRED Staff
Continue reading
  4 Hits
  0 Comments
4 Hits
0 Comments

Amazon Is Building Special Warehouses for Hazardous Items

Amazon Is Building Special Warehouses for Hazardous Items

Just before 8 am one Wednesday last December, a can of bear repellent exploded in an Amazon warehouse in New Jersey, sending two dozen workers to the hospital. It wasn’t the first time the product had caused problems inside Amazon. The retail giant now believes it knows what happened: The aerosol can popped out of its faulty clamshell packaging, fell to the ground, and hit another object—probably the chain link fence that divides Amazon’s human employees from their robot colleagues. Irritating capsaicin fumes then began polluting the air, causing workers to cough and their eyes to burn.

The accident was bizarre, but it also demonstrated the unique challenges that come with running the largest online retail operation in the world, where nearly every product is for sale. In the aftermath, Amazon says it tracked down and removed thousands of bear and pepper spray items from 30 fulfillment centers across the country. It then stapled their packaging shut, “to help protect against any accidental discharge,” says Carletta Ooton, the vice president of health, safety, sustainability, security, and compliance at Amazon. Among other changes, Amazon now classifies bear repellent according to a higher safety standard, no longer allowing it to be handled by robots.

"We recognized there was a need for specially engineered buildings."

Carletta Ooton, Amazon

In the future, Amazon plans to store bear repellent and similarly hazardous items in a new kind of warehouse designed specifically for that sort of merchandise. It began developing the facilities last year—before the New Jersey incident—with an 80,000 square foot site test site in Virginia, which it retrofitted to accommodate controlled goods. This summer, Amazon will open the first of these warehouses built from the ground up, a 500,000 square foot fulfillment center in Mississippi. That’s slightly less than nine football fields—and far smaller than other new Amazon warehouses—for items ranging from glitter hair spray and nail polish to household cleaners.

“We recognized there was a need for specially engineered buildings to help safely store some types of products,” says Ooton. These new warehouses will “better use technology to handle consumer goods that could be a health hazard to our employees.”

The buildings will be equipped with upgrades like special sprinkler systems, and different designated storage areas for flammable goods, aerosols, and oxidizers. Amazon will specially train the staff who work there in how to handle spills and other mishaps. When a customer orders something from one of these fulfillment centers, it will always be delivered by ground, not by air. The entire facility is engineered with the kind of precautions in mind that you don’t need to consider when shipping, say, DVDs or dog toys.

The everything store's existing fulfillment centers already have some precautionary measures in place. Amazon stows many items in special safety rooms or areas within warehouses, some of which have features like fire-rated walls. The new warehouses won't replace those existing solutions. But given the retail giant's size, it now serves up enough of these hazardous listings to merit dedicated buildings.

The decision may be overdue. The company has been criticized repeatedly for allegedly prioritizing productivity over the safety of its employees. And in December, CNBC reported that Amazon had received dozens of reports from the Office of Hazardous Materials Safety in 2018 alleging its packages violated regulations required by the US Department of Transportation. Building centralized facilities designed to follow these rules will likely cut down on the number of unsafe deliveries and accidents in the future.

Despite Amazon's push to deliver Prime orders in a single day, storing different items in separate locations could slow things down. It might make it harder to ship stuff like cleaning supplies and T-shirts in the same package, for example. The retail giant also has long favored an organized chaos approach inside its fulfillment centers, where merchandise is mixed together—toothpaste with coffee mugs, greeting cards alongside nail clippers, and cat food next to foot cream.

But Amazon has seen some benefits from keeping certain items separate. The company already has specialized fulfillment centers for clothing, which needs to be hung or folded. And programs like Amazon Prime Pantry and Prime Wardrobe both encourage customers to order multiple items from single categories at the same time, making it convenient for the retail giant to store them in close proximity in a warehouse.

Amazon is also forcing manufacturers to change how stuff is made and what it looks like, so that it’s easier for the retail giant to store and deliver safely. Vendors and third-party sellers are often happy to abide by Amazon’s rules, because they can’t afford not to succeed on its site, where between one third and one half of all e-commerce sales are made. For example, Amazon is requiring manufacturers who sell items like bear spray pass its “Overbox Test,” which ensures their items can withstand bumps and falls inside Amazon warehouses. And it’s now fining vendors whose goods don’t abide by its packaging safety requirements.

Instead of getting manufacturers to change their packaging, Amazon could, of course, simply stop selling some items. After the accident in New Jersey, one Amazon warehouse associate told WIRED they wondered whether the company should stop carrying bear mace altogether, since it’s sometimes used as a weapon. Amazon has long banned other weapons like firearms and ammunition.

If Amazon "couldn’t do it safely, we would consider that,” says Ooton. For now though, Amazon will continue to strive to be the website where you can buy almost anything, including spray for warding off bears. It just won’t store it in the same way.

Have a tip about Amazon? Contact the author at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via Signal at 347-966-3806.

More Great WIRED Stories

Original author: Louise Matsakis
Continue reading
  5 Hits
  0 Comments
5 Hits
0 Comments

Grumpy Cat's Death Marks the End of the Joyful Internet

Grumpy Cat's Death Marks the End of the Joyful Internet

In 2012, America was halfway through President Obama's time in office. The first Avengers movie came out, and Hunger Games premiered. Hope was high, and Reddit—the web's "front page"—was where anyone with a cute pet could get thousands of upvotes. Cats were the most popular, but occasionally a dog or two would slip in. Then, in September of that year, Bryan Bundesen posted a picture of his sister Tabatha's cat, Tardar Sauce, an 11-month old tabby with feline dwarfism that perpetually looked annoyed. The internet was enraptured with Grumpy Cat.

Related Stories

Taylor Glascock

The Adventure Cats of Instagram

Alex Baker-Whitcomb

Memes Are in Danger, but This Chat App Is Saving Lives

Signe Brewster

Higgs Boson Outdraws Internet Cats, Kim Kardashian

That's how life on social media used to be. The biggest memes were funny looking cats like Tardar and Lil Bub, or Mohawk Guy, and "Call Me Maybe." Memes weren't yet weapons of mass disruption (at least not on the scale that they came to be in 2016) and we still knew what a troll was. Now, Grumpy Cat is dead—the feline's owners announced her passing today on Twitter—and with her goes an era in which the internet was more a place of joy than hate, uplift rather than harassment.

Obviously, this isn't all about Grumpy Cat. Scores of other memes and videos and animals were a part of the early-2000s internet. But, just like many pop stars before her, Grumpy Cat is an avatar for her generation, a time when a cat could have a wildly successful online presence and be the hottest photo op at South by Southwest. Sure, 4chan was a little dicey back then, but for the most part, the lulz were harmless. (Or at least they seemed to be.) Back in 2012, and the years before, one of the internet's central themes was that it was a place we all went to watch stupid videos and read Texts from Hillary. The most sexist thing presidential candidates said back then were blundered statements like "binders full of women." Years later, the videos are largely sponcon and the memes about Clinton are no longer funny—and might have cost her a presidential election.

LEARN MORE

The WIRED Guide to Memes

It's (sadly) fitting that Grumpy Cat's death comes so close to the shuttering of the website YTMND. You're the Man Now Dog, like Reddit or Know Your Meme, was a place where, not too long ago, people went online for collective amusement. You could share a laugh and leave. The "Don't Read the Comments" rule applied, but the comments didn't automatically show up in your Twitter mentions. The challenges were about ice buckets and "Gangnam Style"—things far less dangerous than eating Tide Pods. Yes, we still have Drake and Beyoncé to give us challenges—some stars will always burn bright—but even their presence online only feels like small shafts of light in an otherwise shadowy, and shady, abyss.

Was Grumpy Cat the most important figure on the internet ever? No. But her passing is a reminder of a time that already feels like decades ago, even though it's only been the length of most people's college education. There was an era when a lethargic cat—or a dance, or Ecce Homo-ing a painting—could be a token of collective happiness for months. Nostalgia can be dangerous, and I know this might make me a curmudgeon, but I believe those days are gone.

More Great WIRED Stories

Original author: Angela Watercutter
Continue reading
  4 Hits
  0 Comments
4 Hits
0 Comments

Now Ocean Plastics Could Be Killing Oxygen-Making Bacteria

Now Ocean Plastics Could Be Killing Oxygen-Making Bacteria

This planet has a problem with plastic. Not just the big masses of it accumulating in the Pacific, but with the tiny bits that are blowing into pristine mountaintop habitats. The flecks showing up in a range of sea creatures. The specks materializing even in human feces.

Now scientists have exposed a potential new consequence of the plastic menace: The toxins the material leaches into seawater inhibit the growth and photosynthetic efficiency of the bacteria Prochlorococcus, which is responsible for producing an estimated 20 percent of the oxygen we breathe. That means Prochlorococcus is also responsible for 20 percent of carbon capture on this planet (one molecule of carbon goes in, one molecule of oxygen goes out), theoretically spelling trouble for humanity’s quest to keep CO2 out of the atmosphere. This is early research that comes with several big caveats, and also exposes the challenges of studying a threat as new and omnipresent as plastic pollution.

Prochlorococcus is a kind of cyanobacteria (taking their name from their blue color) that floats in oceans the world over. We’re talking a lot of single-celled organisms, with an estimated global population of 1027. Like a plant, Prochlorococcus uses photosynthesis to manufacture its own food, taking in carbon and spitting out oxygen, making it a lead actor in the carbon cycle that humans have spun so out of control.

Unfortunately, the researchers found that in addition to carbon, the bacteria are taking in plastic toxins leached into the water, known as leachates. They did this in the lab by mixing different amounts of plastic into an artificial seawater base, in which they grew Prochlorococcus. They compared the results with a control of Prochlorococcus grown in untainted artificial seawater.

Matt Simon covers cannabis, robots, and climate science for WIRED.

The researchers found clear reactions that varied based on the concentration of leachate, which is indicative of a toxicological response. At low concentrations, there was no difference with the control. But as they increased the concentration of the leachate, they saw the bacteria’s physiological response going progressively haywire. “When the plastic leachates increase in concentration, you see that the cells don't grow as well, and in fact at the highest concentrations they are dying,” says microbial oceanographer Lisa Moore of Macquarie University in Australia, a coauthor on the paper.

Moore and her colleagues were also able to measure photosynthetic activity at these different concentrations with an instrument that looks at the intensity of the cells’ fluorescence. “We saw parallels to what we saw with the growth: a decrease in photosynthetic efficiency, and in fact a pretty dramatic decrease with the higher concentrations,” says Moore.

Going further, the researchers looked at the genes of these bacterial populations, whether they were being expressed more or less in the presence of leachate. A large portion of those being expressed less were associated with photosynthesis, “which was absolutely consistent with what we were seeing in terms of the photosynthetic efficiency being decreased, and then the growth being decreased,” says Moore.

At fault could be any number of things in the plastics. Flame retardants, for one, and other additives that give plastic its flexibility. Zinc in particular might be having an outsized effect on the bacteria—it’s used in plastic components ranging from colorants to heat stabilizers.

Now, we’ve got some caveats to this study. The biggest is that the work was done in the lab, not out in the ocean, and necessarily so. To do an experiment like this, the researchers had to carefully control the samples of artificial seawater so they wouldn’t be tainted with other contaminants that could throw off the results.

“That's a limitation, trying to equate what concentrations we did in the lab versus what's in the oceans,” says Moore. “So what we were at least trying to estimate in the article were the number of particles that are found in the ocean, relative to the number of cells that are found in the ocean.”

Did plastic leachates have a startling effect on Prochlorococcus in the lab? Yes, absolutely. But that doesn’t mean the effect necessarily happens out in nature. “We know plastic is bad,” says Luiz Rocha, the curator of fishes at the California Academy of Sciences, who studies ocean plastic. “This paper shows it can negatively affect one of the most abundant photosynthetic organisms on Earth, but we don't know if the concentrations of these chemicals ever get this high in the ocean.”

“I have the exact same problem with sunscreens,” Rocha adds. “All of the studies that analyzed their effects on corals were done in aquaria using very high concentrations only possibly found in beaches visited by thousands of people per day. So in reality, banning sunscreen is doing little to nothing to save coral reefs.”

None of this is to say that plastic isn’t terrible for the planet. Big pieces, known as macroplastics, are ending up in the stomachs of all manner of sea creatures. And while microplastics (bits under 5 millimeters long) are everywhere, science isn’t sure yet what their effects might be. “I'm the first to say our problem with plastics is the macroplastics,” says University of Michigan eco-toxicologist Allen Burton, who studies plastics. The bits that are strangling sea birds and clogging beaches and even sinking to the very bottom of the ocean. “We all know how horrible the impacts have been with so many species due to macroplastics. Microplastics, not so much. Leachates, probably even less.”

The core of the problem is that plastic pollution is a very new science. Researchers are still feeling their way through an environmental threat whose epicness is likely only second to climate change. Some 8 million metric tons of plastic enters the sea every year. And between 2015 and 2025, the amount of plastic pouring into the ocean could increase tenfold. That is objectively, monumentally terrible, but in exactly what ways it will be so, science isn’t yet sure.

“Everyone acknowledges we need more research, but the sky isn't falling because of leachates or microplastics,” says Burton.

At least not yet. This is humanity we’re talking about—just give us some time to make things worse.

More Great WIRED Stories

Original author: Matt Simon
Continue reading
  3 Hits
  0 Comments
3 Hits
0 Comments

You Can Now Play 'Fortnite' as John Wick

You Can Now Play 'Fortnite' as John Wick

Greetings and welcome to a new edition of Replay, WIRED's videogame news roundup. What's happening this week? For one, John Wick is now a playable character in Fortnite, so that's pretty cool. Also, in the world of esports, Riot Games is backing former NBA star Rick Fox in his dispute with the organization he founded. Let's get started.

Hey, You Got John Wick in My Fortnite! Well You Got Fortnite in My John Wick!

Oh, this tastes pretty good.

Listen, I'm going to take a brief moment here, before I introduce the story, to talk about how much I love John Wick. Keanu Reeves is awesome; and long-haired, bearded Keanu breaking stuff is possibly my favorite genre of film. The world is a messy, chaotic place. Keanu Reeves is peace, and he's relief, and oh God he's got a gun.

Anyway, yes, John Wick's brand of anti-villainous shootouts is making its way to Fortnite, launching alongside the third Wick film, Parabellum, which opens this weekend. The mode, called "Wick's Bounty," will let players fight over gold coins, the assassin currency of the films, while other players will be notified of the location of high-earners to, y'know, assassinate them. There will also be cosmetics available, presumably in the form of really nice suits.

Geguri, Overwatch's Most Prominent Lady Competitor, Named One of Time's Next Generation Leaders

Kim Se-yeon, just 19 years old, is one of the most prominent women in gaming. Better known by her handle, Geguri, she's a member of the Shanghai Dragons, an Overwatch League team that regularly plays for an audience of thousands, putting her at the center of the massive esports scene and at the center of the scene's serious problem with women.

Recognizing that, Time has named her one of 2019's Next Generation Leaders, spotlighting her contributions to the field and writing a short but striking profile on the athlete, who is aware of her role as a symbol for lady gamers but would, honestly, just prefer to win some Overwatch. And who can blame her?

Riot Games Backs NBA Star Rick Fox

Echo Fox is one of the biggest names in esports. The organization owns a bunch of teams, sponsors athletes in several games, and is involved in pretty much every corner of the esports scene. But lately things at Echo Fox haven't been so great. A few weeks ago, the organization's founder, former NBA athlete Rick Fox, said he intended to leave the company if one of its investors, who had allegedly made threatening and bigoted statements, did not step down. (The investor has denied the allegations.)

Since then, Riot Games' League of Legends Championship Series commissioner, Chris Greeley, and his staff have been investigating Echo Fox and agree with Fox himself. As Kotaku reports, Greeley issued a statement saying that if Echo Fox does not remove the investor accused of making racist statements within 60 days, Riot may be forced to take action that could "adversely impact the future of Echo Fox in the LCS."

Recommendation of the Week: Superhot on PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One

If John Wick doesn't give you enough gunfighting action this week, check out Superhot, a brief, elegant, modern classic developed by the aptly named Superhot Team. The premise is simple: Time in Superhot only moves when you do. With that conceit in place, the game's shootouts become carefully choreographed action scenes where you plan out each move with care. Try it out in VR, too, if you're brave enough. You'll feel like a friggin' action hero.

More Great WIRED Stories

Original author: Julie Muncy
Continue reading
  5 Hits
  0 Comments
5 Hits
0 Comments

Minecraft Earth Wants to Be the Next Pokémon Go—But Bigger

Minecraft Earth Wants to Be the Next Pokémon Go—But Bigger

The gaming world may seem like it’s ruled by Fortnite, but Minecraft continues to be a phenomenon. In the 10 years since the very first Java edition went public, it’s sold 176 million copies. More than 90 million people play it every month, and that number has gone up every year, boosted most recently by 200 million Chinese users. Between PCs, game consoles, mobile, and VR devices, you can buy it for 20 different platforms. Videos of people playing the open-ended sandbox game still get tens of billions of views every year on YouTube.

Of course, it’s also a decade old. While Microsoft has made significant updates nearly every year since acquiring the game from original developer Mojang in 2012, there’s never been a new Minecraft. (There was episodic point-and-click title Minecraft: Story Mode, sure, and dungeon-crawling adventure game Minecraft: Dungeons is coming to PC later this year, but neither of those delivers the core building experience that defines the game.) So how do you do something new that the whole world can play? You put it out in the world.

Peter Rubin writes about media, culture, and virtual reality for WIRED.

Minecraft Earth, which Microsoft announces today, is an augmented-reality-driven mobile game that blockifies the planet. When it comes out later this summer, iOS and Android users will be able to construct a “build,” as the block-based environments are known, anywhere they want—on a tabletop, on their couch, on the floor—and even invite their friends to help. When they’re done, they can make that build life-size and walk around inside it. Out in the world, in parks and at other landmarks, players can take part in short adventures by themselves or with anyone else in the area, then use the spoils to level up their character and make their build even more impressive. It’s a massive undertaking that quite literally covers the entire globe in Minecraft—and is the biggest step yet taken toward the two-ply world of shared, persistent augmented reality.

As soon as Saxs Persson joined the Minecraft team in 2015, he started thinking about AR possibilities. At the time, Microsoft’s HoloLens headset was in development, and Persson and some of his colleagues helped create a demonstration in which he plopped a Minecraft village onto a table, poking his head inside houses and even looking underground.

What the demo didn’t show was that the team also had a similar experience scaled up to life-size. Back in the Minecraft offices in Redmond, Washington, where they shared a building with Halo studio 343 Industries, the team would put people in the HoloLens and then send AR sheep walking down the hallway toward them—“slowly, certainly not threateningly,” Persson says now, sitting in a conference room right next to that hallway. Invariably, every single person was so immersed that they would move out of the way to let the blocky Minecraft sheep pass.

Something clicked for Persson (who bears no relation to Minecraft creator and Mojang co-founder Markus “Notch” Persson). The HoloLens obviously wasn’t a perfect device—it was an enterprise device, it was expensive, and its pinchy-wavey gestural controls didn’t really map well to Minecraft—but it accomplished something magical. It made Minecraft come to life. Still, technical obstacles abounded, so the team put the idea aside until July 2017, when a discussion with the United Nations about using Minecraft to help people visualize community development made Persson realize that smartphones might be ready to deliver a true AR experience. He began discussing the idea with Mojang chief creative officer Jens Bergensten, even flying to Stockholm the next month and dragging him around the city for hours while they waved their phones and brainstormed.

They knew what they wanted; they just didn’t know how to make it happen. In order for multiple people to be able to see the same thing in the same place—say, a Minecraft pig standing in front of a fountain—you need to be able to permanently establish the pig’s location in the real world, what’s called an anchor. At the time, there simply wasn’t a way to create a permanent anchor that could then be triggered by anyone visiting that particular spot. “Name a Fortune 500 tech company,” Persson says. “I probably asked them, ‘Hey, are you working on this?’” Nobody was.

Until they were. Just before Christmas 2017, Minecraft director of engineering Michael Weilbacher went to Persson about a rumor he’d heard. Apparently, some researchers working with Alex Kipman—the person who had headed up the HoloLens development and who oversees some of the company’s leading-edge work in AI—were setting out to solve exactly the problem Persson had. In January 2018, Persson and Kipman made a handshake deal: Each of them would form a team to tackle the issue, and they’d see what they could do.

Persson, by now creative director of Minecraft, took a handful of folks to a separate office in a different building. “Very undisclosed,” says game director Torfi Olafsson, who joined the project in February after 18 years at EVE Online. “Windowless room, no markings, double layer of security.” They called it The Dungeon. For the first six or eight months of 2018, no one outside the two teams knew about the existence of The Dungeon, let alone what its purpose was. The purpose, of course, is now known as Minecraft Earth.

Smartphones have come a long way since 2015—both in price (boo) and in their ability to deliver a compelling AR experience (yay). By now, Android and iOS offer robust AR development tools, and ever-improving sensors and computer vision algorithms deliver a higher frame rate without draining your battery quite so enthusiastically. Minecraft Earth wrings every last bit out of all those things. I was able to try out a few different aspects of the game, which is still in its pre-beta stages, and each delivered AR experiences I have yet to see outside of a dedicated headset like HoloLens or Magic Leap.

In the game’s Create mode, I collaborated with Olafsson and others on a test build. After Olafsson placed the build on a table, I could walk around the table to examine it from any angle, adding materials from my own inventory or even re-mining what had already been added to the construction. Multiplayer building is only possible if your friends are in your real-world location, and you’ll have to give them permission to access your build.

Placing a block in your build. (Magical vapor trail not included.)

Mojang

Once you’re done building, you can scale your build up to life-size, put it anywhere you want, and invite people to enjoy it in Play mode. Elsewhere in the studio offices, I maneuvered through a multilevel build, opening doors and setting off traps while blocky villagers rolled by on mine carts, even launching fireworks that had been left there for me—all through my phone while I crouched and spun my way through the room. It all looked exactly like Minecraft, and it all behaved exactly like Minecraft. “Everything you know about Minecraft applies here,” says Jesse Merriam, the game’s executive producer. “With redstone and pistons, you can make anything your heart desires.” While changes made in Create mode are permanent, those in Play mode aren’t; it’s one of a few ways the team is hoping to head off griefing or willful sabotage, which isn’t exactly a rare thing in regular Minecraft. (Of course, that means friends you’ve invited to Create mode can sneak into your build. “It’s like vampires,” Olafsson says. “If you invited me in, it’s kind of on you.”)

The other primary gameplay component is shared far more widely. Pull up Minecraft Earth on your phone, as I did walking around downtown Redmond with some of the developers, and you’ll see a map of your surroundings, rendered in friendly abstractions and dotted with various tappable icons. Anything you tap, from common materials to rare precious gems, gets added to your inventory—and you’re gonna need it. You don’t start Minecraft Earth with a bag full of resources; you collect them yourself.

If you see multiple icons in a location, that signals an “adventure,” a six- to eight-minute vignette you can play, along with whoever else happens to be there with you. These spawn dynamically and are procedurally generated, so you’ll likely never do the same adventure twice. (They also reset, so if you don’t feel like playing with anyone, wait ’em out until you can do it yourself.) Some are dungeons, some are peaceful. Maybe you need to shoot some skeletons with a bow and arrow to find some treasure, maybe you need to collaborate to build something. When you’re doing it months before the game comes out, though, you need to be subtle. “We like to pretend we’re playing Pokémon Go,” says Jessica Zahn, principal program manager on the game.

Which brings us to the 800-pound Pikachu in the room. The obvious comparison here is Niantic’s Pokémon Go, as well as the forthcoming game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Both turn the real world into a treasure map for you to explore, and both are able to bring virtual creatures into your non-virtual surroundings. However, the AR functionality in both is optional. If you turn it off, you’ve essentially got two location-based collecting games. Minecraft Earth makes AR its very essence, and not just AR—shared, persistent AR. In other words, it might just be the first wide-scale mass experience with one foot planted squarely in the Mirrorworld.

“We started with the basic idea of Minecraft in real life,” Persson says. “We don't want a flavor of it. We don't want some of it. We don't want a compromise. We want everything you've ever learned in Minecraft to be in real life. There's no other way. There's no desktop mode. It’s about people being together. Whenever we limit it, make it smaller, the whole team pushes against it.”

Moreover, Minecraft Earth doesn’t use GPS. Instead, it uses something called Azure Spatial Anchors, which leverage Open Street Map and Microsoft’s massive Azure cloud system to generate hundreds of millions of locations around the planet where players can interact with the game. (Seattle alone has more than 100,000.) Not only are these “feature points” more precise than GPS, which has a sizable error radius, but they’re able to include data like altitude, which enables the game to distinguish between a location at sidewalk level and something that might be on an upper floor of a building. Over time, as more people visit feature points, their specific anonymized locations—and the angles from which they view the feature points—help refine the data even further.

This is all still a work in progress, of course. A closed beta will launch this summer, with the full game coming later this year. I saw nothing concrete about how your character might level up, though Olafsson says that specialization will be part of it, and while the game is free to play, the team isn’t talking about exactly how they’ll monetize it—other than to vow there will be absolutely no loot boxes. Even if the topic had come up at some point, this is Minecraft, so there was only one thing to do with the idea: Block it.

More Great WIRED Stories

Original author: Peter Rubin
Continue reading
  3 Hits
  0 Comments
3 Hits
0 Comments

Climate Adaptation Isn’t Surrender. It’s Survival

Climate Adaptation Isn’t Surrender. It’s Survival

Author’s note: On my show, Marketplace Tech, we’ve launched a series on the technology behind climate change adaptation. It’s called How We Survive. You can find the first week’s worth of special coverage here, and stories will be ongoing as this conversation and technology evolve.

Here’s an unpopular opinion in some circles: We are going to have to use technology to adapt to the worst effects of climate change.

For far too many years, the world has been talking about slowing down climate change. With some success: The state of California now uses 30 percent renewables to power its grid. For the past two years, the UK has gotten more than half its energy from renewables instead of coal. The 2015 Paris Climate Accord was an actual, unironically gigantic accomplishment in terms of global cooperation on this existential issue.

But that’s not enough. The level of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere is now at its highest level in human history, at 415 parts per million. Scientists say the last time this was likely the case was 3 million years ago, when seas were at least 50 to 60 feet higher and major ice sheets didn’t even exist.

Molly Wood (@mollywood) is an Ideas contributor at WIRED and the host and senior editor of Marketplace Tech, a daily national radio broadcast covering the business of technology. She has covered the tech industry at CNET, The New York Times, and in various print, television, digital, and audio formats for nearly 20 years. (Ouch.)

A United Nations report from early May said fully a million plant and animal species face imminent extinction, and their loss could threaten human health and safety. Then, of course, there was the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report last year, which said we basically have 12 years to avert warming levels that will collapse society.

Combine that almost familiar-sounding horror with increasingly extreme weather all over the globe, geopolitical instability because of climate refugees and food scarcity, disappearing shorelines, and so much more, and you can see why the conversation about climate is starting to shift from slowdown to survival. I mean, guys. Bill Nye said the f-word.

Mitigation is the word the climate community uses for the set of solutions and technologies and policies that might help reduce overall carbon emissions, slow warming, and maybe even draw down carbon from the atmosphere and reverse the effects of global warming.

The word we use to talk about surviving the effects that are already here? Adaptation.

Adaptation isn’t a new part of the climate conversation, but it is tiny, in terms of global funding and action. In recent years, even months, though, it has taken on increased urgency. One noted climate scientist told me she thinks her role in studying and predicting and warning about climate change is essentially over—the point has, in fact, tipped, she said, and the way forward now is engineering and technology. William Collins, a climate scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, has been an author on multiple IPCC reports about climate change. He said he could write six more, but they’d all say the same thing. So, instead, he founded an accelerator at the national lab, so he can get in the trenches and work.

The Paris agreement actually included language about adaptation, and the UN has developed a climate change adaptation unit. Cities, states, and countries are working on adaptation, too—sometimes also called resilience. They’re developing strategies based on the predicted changes to their local weather patterns.

But adaptation has, in climate circles, been a taboo topic for many years, because some see it as surrender. Al Gore, in 1992, called adaptation “a kind of laziness.” It’s like saying we’ve lost, and the best we can do now is hunker down and hope to save as many as we can. And I can see why that’s depressing—but it’s also true. By 2013, in fact, in his book Earth in the Balance, Gore said pursuing adaptation alongside mitigation is “a moral imperative.”

Those of us who read and watch a lot of sci-fi, it could be argued, instinctively understand the argument for using technology to adapt to the worst effects of climate change—and we actually draw some hope from it.

For one thing, science fiction fans are not new to post-apocalyptic scenarios, whether it’s robot uprisings, mysterious unnamed disasters that leave the planet uninhabitable, total Wall-E style environmental collapse, or actual climate-change-inspired disaster, as in Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140, which imagines a mostly drowned Earth after 100 feet of sea level rise over just a few decades.

Nor are we new to the idea that technology has allowed us to adapt to, survive, or even conquer such disasters. Life is humming along in New York 2140, thanks in part to technologies like diamond coating around submerged buildings that keeps the water out so people can continue to live in flooded Manhattan. Science fiction is full of both apocalypse and recovery, and specifically tales of defeating climate change.

In The Peripheral, William Gibson imagines a future in which some 80 percent of humanity has died of a combination of war, pandemic, and environmental collapse, and at one point a character laments how close people had been to developing the technologies that might have saved them.

The survivors have created buildings out of nanotechnology that removes carbon dioxide from the air. They generate power and light from fully restored rivers. They’ve essentially defeated climate change—but it’s too late. What if it didn’t have to be too late?

Now investors, academics, and entrepreneurs are taking baby steps toward a nanotech-enabled, climate-proof future. At the moment, this looks like precision drip irrigation that preserves water in newly drought-stricken farms; sophisticated algorithms for trying to understand massive data models of climate change, which can be used to precisely target risk for building owners and real estate developers; a startup that makes solar-powered, internet-connected panels that distill clean drinking water out of water vapor, so any home or school or building can be independent of a water utility.

And so adaptation, once referred to as the “poor cousin” of climate efforts, starts to look real, and hopeful, and feasible, and even logical. Not science fiction, just science.

But you can imagine my sorrow and surprise when I called Robinson, of whom I am quite a fan, to talk about his long history of writing about environmental disaster—on Earth (Forty Signs of Rain, New York 2140, and his Science in the Capital trilogy ) and on Mars (the Mars trilogy)—and he got quite heated over the idea of adaptation versus mitigation.

“I think it might represent a kind of cultural fantasy,” he said. “I want to insist on mitigation, because you can’t adapt to a planet that has an average temperature that is four or five degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it is now. We’ll get hammered. There’ll be crashing civilization. The people that survive, they will have adapted. Is that really something that we want to see happen?”

We need to reverse climate change, Robinson argued. We need to draw carbon out of the air to slow or even halt warming, focusing laserlike on tech that does that, like a cowboy sucking the toxins out of a rattlesnake bite. Only then, he argues, we can maintain Earth as a habitable place, and perhaps even undo the damage we’ve already done.

So far, that seems unlikely. Venture capital investment in carbon mitigation tech has been on the decline for the past decade or so, and investors have shied away from the next generation of “clean tech” after apparently not making enough money during the first go-around of solar and battery technology. The tech itself has progressed, but the up-and-to-the-right returns didn’t appear.

These days, Silicon Valley (with the notable exception of Elon Musk) has yet to engage meaningfully on the question of climate change at all, to be honest, which is interesting given that even modest sea-level-rise scenarios threaten to flood Facebook and Google, and possibly other campuses.

But venture capital firms and private investors are starting to notice that climate adaptation is both an opportunity and an imperative. Although only about 5 to 6 percent of total climate-related investment is in adaptation, that number must grow. One investor called climate adaptation “the greatest entrepreneurial challenge of our time.”

Other money is coming. In October, a Global Commission on Adaptation was formed, led by Bill Gates, former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, and World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva; the World Bank pledged $200 billion to support it. Like climate change, adaptation is here.

I’m not deaf to what Robinson says, or to anyone who fears that technology that lets us adapt to a changed climate will also let us keep doing what we’re doing, in terms of pollution, plastics, emissions, and fossil fuels. I get that “offsets” don’t actually offset much of anything.

SUBSCRIBE

Subscribe to WIRED and stay smart with more of your favorite Ideas writers.

And I’m rightfully wary of what Meredith Broussard calls “technochauvinism”—the idea that a little technology can solve anything.

And then there’s the inequality—what William Gibson means when he says “The future is already here. It’s just not very evenly distributed.” There’s no guarantee that lifesaving technologies will be evenly distributed, or affordable.

Those who invest in climate adaptation technology with the dream of scaling companies for massive returns will have to be wary that they don’t worsen the social and political problems that underlie so much of the climate conversation already: The rich spew pollution, the poor are suffering as a result, and a fancy new tech solution might only be available to the rich polluters anyway.

But that doesn’t mean tech can’t make a huge difference, or that adaptation shouldn’t be done. The change is here, the need is real, and the solutions can come from any entrepreneur, any investor, any scientists or would-be startup CEO. It’s time for tech to get in the game. There’s no more time to waste.

More Great WIRED Stories

Original author: Molly Wood
Continue reading
  4 Hits
  0 Comments
4 Hits
0 Comments

Valve’s Steam Link app finally appears on the App Store almost a year after Apple's rejection

Last May, Apple caused some controversy in the gaming community when it rejected Valve’s Steam Link app from the App Store merely a day after Valve announced it. Steam Link is now back for the iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV, though, and you can download it through this link for iOS.

Steam Link is a free app lets you stream games from your PC or Mac to your iOS device or Apple TV, so long as you’re on the same network. (You also don’t need the physical Steam Link hardware to do this.) You can do this over Wi-Fi, but Valve itself says you’ll be best served if your computer is hooked up to an ethernet cable. You should also keep your iOS device close to your router for the best performance.

To use it, you'll need a iPhone or iPad running at least iOS 10 or higher, an MFi controller or a Steam Controller, and a host machine running macOS, Windows, or Linux. For the controller, we recommend the Rotor Riot as it's the only MFi controller that currently supports the "L3" and "R3" thumbstick buttons. 

Android users have been able to enjoy Steam Link for their devices for all this time, as that version didn’t have to deal with any such ban. When Macworld asked Valve last year why Apple pulled the app, it told us that “Apple revoked its approval [of Steam Link] citing business conflicts with app guidelines that had allegedly not been realized by the original review team.”

Further details emerged in an email from Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller that was posted on Reddit.

“Unfortunately, the review team found that Valve’s Steam iOS app, as currently submitted, violates a number of guidelines around user-generated content, in-app purchases, content codes, etc.,” Schiller said.

The basic idea seemed to be that, since Steam Link essentially mirrored what you were seeing on your PC to your iOS device, you could buy games from Steam without letting Apple get its infamous cut. Apple reportedly wouldn’t approve the Steam Link app even after Valve disabled this possibility on the iOS version of the app. Tragic, but it definitely sounds like an Apple move.

But lately the winds have shifted. Last March, Apple released its PS4 Remote Play app for iOS, which essentially did the same thing as Steam Link, but for a PlayStation 4—right down to letting you buy games from the PlayStation Store without Apple getting its cut. Its appearance was welcome but contradictory, and it suggested that a turnaround for Steam Link could be in the works. In fact, remote game streaming in general has been getting a lot of attention lately, especially after the announcement of Google’s Stadia service at this year’s GDC.

I’ll try it out (although I suspect it won’t be too great on my subpar home connection). I see it as a smart move on Apple's part, though, particularly when it’s trying to make itself a big name in gaming with the introduction of Apple Arcade. As with PS4 Remote Play, this comes off as a gesture of goodwill.

It’s a pity that it would have been an even smarter move last May.

To comment on this article and other Macworld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.
Original author: Leif Johnson
Continue reading
  3 Hits
  0 Comments
3 Hits
0 Comments

Like *Game of Thrones* Languages? Here's How to Make Your Own

Like *Game of Thrones* Languages? Here's How to Make Your Own

Dothraki. High Valyrian. Those languages on Game of Thrones sound so, so cool. If you're ambitious, you can learn to speak them on your own—and some fans have—but if you really, really want to go for the gold, you create your own tongue.

Yes, you read that correctly. Latin may be dead, but that doesn't mean the Lord of Light doesn't want you to bring a language all your own to life. But how do you do it? We're here to help.

WIRED asked David J. Peterson, the man behind the languages on Game of Thrones just how he does it. In the video above, he explains how to create new tongues, from mapping consonants to tongue placement to how to build all of your nouns and verbs. Have fun, and gundertark! (That’s our new word for "get going"—it’s a work-in-progress.)

More Great WIRED Stories

Original author: Angela Watercutter
Continue reading
  7 Hits
  0 Comments
7 Hits
0 Comments

Space Photos of the Week: The Shrinky, Wrinkly, Seismic Moon

Space Photos of the Week: The Shrinky, Wrinkly, Seismic Moon

During NASA’s final mission to the moon in 1972, better known as Apollo 17, astronauts explored a region of the moon called Taurus-Littrow Valley. In this image from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been taking photos since 2009, you can see ridged hills called scarps and the valley floor on what we’ve now learned is a seismically active moon. When astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt drove across these on their Lunar Roving Vehicle to collect samples, they didn’t know at the time that moonquakes created these geologic features.

Zooming out, we can view the moon face more broadly, including a highlighted region in the north called Mare Frigoris. Mare (pronounce it like you’re at an Italian restaurant ordering frutti di mar-eh) are the moon’s darker areas, and on clear nights you can often even see them from Earth. Scientists used to think these once-volcanic mare were dormant, but new research indicates they’re as geologically active as the rest of the moon. The only constants in this universe are change and Dean Martin’s “That’s Amor-eh.”

We hear so much about exploring Mars, but there are other interesting worlds out there, too. Take Venus. You’d think that our other neighbor would receive some attention, but maybe Venus needs a makeover: Its surface averages some 864 degrees Fahrenheit (hot enough to melt lead, not to mention spacecraft) and gets blasted with acid rain. Rough neighborhood! The European Space Agency’s Venus Express spacecraft studied the planet for several years and took this ultraviolet-light photo of the dense cloud cover that permanently envelops Venus.

You’ve likely had a few looks at Orion, the constellation with the row of three large stars that make up the mythical hunter’s belt. You might not have seen the reflection nebula hidden within, called NGC 2023 and captured here by the ESO’s Very Large Telescope. Located just 1,500 light years from Earth, this reflection nebula works sort of like fog around the headlights of a car, except instead of fog this light show is made of interstellar dust surrounding a young and extremely hot star. This means that in several million years there could be a new addition to Orion’s belt.

Come together: Here is galaxy cluster SPT0615 in the constellation Pictor, as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope and one of the first such clusters in which astronomers observed gravitational lensing. These galactic gatherings are so massive they actually warp the light that travels near them. Scientists rely on gravitational lensing to study the components of the cluster and figure out how far they are from the Earth.

Venus may be unwelcoming, but Mars is no picnic either. The HiRISE camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captured this bizarre landscape. The orbiter had imaged this area in 2017, but it ended up looking rather different in this photo from 2018 after a dust storm engulfed the entire planet. But the wind ultimately blew away a lot of the dust, leaving behind this jagged, cratered scene.

To keep our personal and mortal concerns about aging in perspective, it helps to know we’re not alone. Turns out that the moon also shrinks and wrinkles as it gets older, just like the rest of us.

A new paper published this week reveals that there’s more going on with the moon, seismically speaking, than we thought. The Earth has earthquakes, Mars has Marsquakes, and yes, the moon has moonquakes. Using data from seismometers placed on the lunar surface during several Apollo missions, along with contemporary observations, scientists have been able to locate regions on the moon where quakes are taking place. These aren’t tiny temblors either: They measure up to 5 on the Richter scale, and if you’ve been through an earthquake you know that’s enough shaking to send you diving under a table or desk.

See, during the formation of the solar system, as material clumped together, the Earth and moon became hot. They cooled down over the next billion years, and on the moon this drawn-out cool down caused it to contract. Because the moon’s mantle is so brittle, the shrinking creates cracks and sets off quakes—geologic activity that many scientists didn’t think was still affecting our natural satellite. Those fault lines are even visible in photographs. (No cheese has been spotted yet.)

So while the moon might have a reputation for being an ashy, dormant, and lifeless orb, it’s actually shaking things up!

Looking for major adventure? Grab protein pills and put a helmet on and hit play on WIRED’s full space collection, here.

More Great WIRED Stories

Original author: Shannon Stirone
Continue reading
  7 Hits
  0 Comments
7 Hits
0 Comments

The Satanic Temple Is No Laughing Matter

The Satanic Temple Is No Laughing Matter
It's often presented as a joke religion, but that's a misconception.
Original author: Geek's Guide to the Galaxy
Continue reading
  5 Hits
  0 Comments
5 Hits
0 Comments

Google Tracks What You Buy Online With Gmail

Google Tracks What You Buy Online With Gmail

The week started out with a bang, or several of them really. Remember Meltdown and Spectre, the vulnerabilities that affected basically every Intel processor from the last decade? There’s a related attack called ZombieLoad—yes, ZombieLoad—with similarly broad and bad impact. Serious stuff! But honestly not even the worst disclosure of the week.

That distinction probably goes to Cisco. Researchers at security firm Red Balloon found that they could hack the company’s ubiquitous enterprise router, meaning they could listen in on whatever traffic goes to and from those networks. Cisco then acknowledged that dozens of its products were susceptible to the attack, likely comprising millions of devices, and that a fix would require an on-site visit.

And that’s before you even get to the week’s big actual hack: Israeli hacking company NSO Group apparently found a way to break into phones simply by placing a phone call through WhatsApp. The recipient didn’t even have to pick up. There’s also Microsoft, which released its first Windows XP patch since the months before the WannaCry ransomware strain swept to globe—and we all know how that turned out.

I can’t stress enough that all of these things had happened by Tuesday.

Things calmed down a bit from there. The FCC rolled out a new robocall-stopping plan, which is pretty much the same as the old robocall-stopping plan. Google recalled its multi-factor authentication Titan Security Key over a Bluetooth flaw. The feds and Europol took down a sophisticated international cybercrime ring. And we took a look at how technology aided the National Security Council’s ascendency in wartime matters.

And there’s more! Each week we round up the news that we didn’t break or cover in depth but that you should know about. As always, click on the headlines to read the full stories. And stay safe out there.

Google Tracks Your Online Purchases Through Gmail

Google has been on a big ol’ privacy PR push lately, including a fancy New York Times op-ed from CEO Sundar Pichai extolling the importance of protecting your data. Which is a great sentiment that doesn’t quite jibe with the revelation this week that Google also raids your Gmail account for signs of transactions, and collects them all on a separate webpage for your account. You can find yours here. It includes Amazon purchases, subscriptions, tickets, really anything for which you got an emailed receipt. Google says it doesn’t use the information to serve ads, and that the page exists “to help you easily view and keep track of your purchases, bookings and subscriptions in one place.” Honestly, it’s no surprise that Google’s machines can read your email. But it’s hard to understand on what planet the company thought maintaining a hidden away page that catalogs your retail activity there would read as anything but creepy and invasive. There’s no easy way to delete that history, other than deleting receipts from your email or ticking through them one at a time on your Purchase page. To get at least a little control back over how Google tracks you, head to this preferences page and click “Do not use private results.” Because naturally, Google chose to make the use of private results the default, instead of opt-in.

A New Executive Order Bans Foreign Telecom Gear

As trade tensions between the US and China remain unresolved, president Donald Trump this week struck a blow to a favorite target: Huawei, the Chinese tech company that the US has accused of posing a national security threat. In an executive order Wednesday, Trump banned transactions that pose “an unacceptable risk;” the Commerce Department followed by placing Huawei on its so-called Entity List, which severely limits the extent to which US companies can do business with it.

A Ransomware Recovery Firm Apparently Just… Paid the Hackers

In a lengthy investigative report this week, ProPublica reports that multiple data recovery companies that promised to beat ransomware with the “latest technology” called Proven Data Recovery simply paid off the hackers behind the SamSam ransomware instead. Paying isn’t the worst idea when you’re in that situation, but to lying to customers and charging them fees on top of it kind of is.

Adobe Patches 84—Yes, 84—Vulnerabilities

Adobe Flash is finally going to die off next year, but it’s not the only security-challenged product in the software company’s stable. This week, Adobe released patches for dozens upon dozens of bugs, most of which relate to Adobe Acrobat and Reader. Don’t worry, though; one still applied to Flash.

More Great WIRED Stories

Original author: Brian Barrett
Continue reading
  4 Hits
  0 Comments
4 Hits
0 Comments

5 Best Keyboards for 2019 (Cheap, Gaming, Mechanical)

5 Best Keyboards for 2019 (Cheap, Gaming, Mechanical)

Whether you're looking to boost your productivity or your kill-death battle royale stats, these are the best keyboards for the job.

There are few things as polarizing as PC keyboards. There are message boards and subreddits filled to the brim with opinions about the virtues and vices of different switch mechanisms, picking apart every aspect and component right down to the plastic used in the keycaps. There's good reason for that. Whether we're using a laptop or desktop PC, we spend more time than ever with our hands on or near a keyboard. We might as well make those hours as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. With that in mind, here are our five picks for the best computer keyboards. We hope they'll make your home row feel a little more like home.

Note: When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Read more about how this works.

image

Logitech

image

Das Keyboard

image

Roccat

image

Aukey

image

Logitech

image

Ariel Zambelich

Original author: Jess Grey
Continue reading
  7 Hits
  0 Comments
7 Hits
0 Comments

Building a Bus Map When There Are No Fixed Routes—or Stops

Building a Bus Map When There Are No Fixed Routes—or Stops

To ride a bus, you first must know where the bus is going and where it stops. But in Beirut, and in as many as 60 percent of the world’s urban places, there’s no transportation map. The Lebanese capital’s bus system, run by a constellation of private operators and drivers who change by the day, has no assigned stops.

Aarian Marshall covers autonomous vehicles, transportation policy, and urban planning for WIRED.

So in 2017, students at the American University of Beirut formed a startup, funded by grants and sponsorships, called Yalla Bus. Its goal is to prod more students like them onto the city’s opaque and sometimes diresputable bus system. (Yalla means “Let’s go” in Arabic.) At first, the group wanted to create an app that might transmit real-time bus schedules straight to users’ phones. But they realized they needed something simpler first—a map.

“We wanted to do something to help reduce traffic, help the environment, help people get around in something cheaper than taxis or than having a car, because some people can't afford one,” says Yara Nassar, now a former AUB student with Yalla Bus.

To pull off their map, the group did the logical thing: They started by taking the bus and routing paths by hand. Then they talked to drivers about their routes. They visited the owners of the bus fleets that operate in the city, and convinced them to allow the startup to mount GPS trackers on their vehicles. Last month, after two years of work, Yalla Bus rolled out its bus map online. It also went analog, printing and distributing around 3,000 paper copies at the city’s universities.

This month, Yalla Bus published its map of Beirut's informal bus system.

Yalla Bus

The AUB students are not the only ones mapping informal bus systems. A civic tech group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says more than half of the world’s big cities lack transportation maps. In the past five years, volunteer mapping enthusiasts in cities including Cairo; [Managua], Nicaragua (https://www.mapanica.net/); Amman, Jordan; Nairobi, Kenya; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia have taken to routes all over their cities to put what already exists onto paper, or into computer data, to be crunched or analyzed. (Lebanon even has another, earlier volunteer mapping group, BusMap.me.) Many of these groups hope to one day use the information they glean to get the attention of local or national authorities—and to use their data to improve the overall transportation systems.

Creating a map doesn’t impose order on the system. Quite the opposite, the volunteer cartographers say. Sarah Williams, a professor of technology and urban planning at MIT, started working in 2012 with local groups and universities in Nairobi to map the city’s popular but privatized minibus “matatu” system. She now works to create digital tools to help other grassroots organizations pull off similar projects across the world. “These bus systems are sometimes considered so informal and rogue, but the maps show that there is an order,” she says. “There is, in fact, a system, and the system could be used to help plan new transportation initiatives.”

The maps and data have allowed some of these informal bus systems to tap into government resources—and private ones. That’s exactly what’s happened in Nairobi, where since 2014 the Kenya National Highways Authority has collaborated with NGOs like the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy and UN-Habitat to use the matatu mapping project’s data to create plans and recommendations for a bus rapid transit system in the nation’s capital. The Nairobi project also worked to ensure that its data was in the right format to slot into other digital tools, like Google Maps. Today, riders in the city can use the app to track bus times the same way they might in cities with formalized transit systems like New York, Berlin, or Tokyo.

Something similar happened in Amman, after a coalition of progressive groups in 2014 created an initiative called Maan Nasel (“Together, we will arrive”). The goal was to get more people to ride the 75 or so bus, minibus, or routed taxi lines in the city and its suburbs, and also to make the system more navigable to the roughly 14 percent of city residents who already used it, according to the group. “We found that even regular users would use public transport only for their regular trips, like going to work. If they wanted to make a different trip, they wouldn't know which routes to take, so they would just take a taxi,” says Hazem Zureiqat, a volunteer with Maan Nasel who is also a full-time transportation consultant.

Jordanian volunteer mapping group Maan Nasal published a schematic map of Amman's informal bus routes in 2016.

Maan Nasel

The group knew that the Amman government had limited data on the services that operated in the city. (It was, after all, the body handing out official operating licences.) But the group was unable to get hold of that information. So Maan Nasel volunteers grabbed their smartphones, hopped on the buses, and used tracking apps to map their trips. Amman’s system also has no bus stops, so after uploading the data the group had to create some, outlining where riders might stand to hail a ride. The group also created its own route numbering system, to help riders differentiate between buses.

By 2016, Maan Nasel had rolled out its first map of the transit system, a colorful spaghetti schematic that sprawls beyond the capital and into other parts of Jordan. The visualization has surprised many residents. “I’ve shown our map to so many people, and they look at it and say, ‘This is great. Is this going to be implemented?’” says Zureiqat. “They think it’s some futuristic system, but it actually exists today.”

Today, the group works closely with the Jordanian government, which has taken a new interest in public transport and adopted the informal bus mapping project as its own. The next step, to begin this summer: The group will start mounting trackers on the buses, to stream real-time routing information. It wants to build an app.

In Beirut, the government so far has been happy to let volunteer mapping organizations do the work of collecting and maintaining data, says Nassar, of Yalla Bus. And the bus system still has its problems. It can be slow and unpredictable, and the vehicles are not always well maintained. Many students would still rather use their phones to hail a ride through Uber or Careem, or drive themselves. By the end of this year, Yalla Bus would also like to roll out its own bus app, so students can use their phones to find another way around the city.

More Great WIRED Stories

Original author: Aarian Marshall
Continue reading
  3 Hits
  0 Comments
3 Hits
0 Comments

REI Anniversary Sale: 26 Best Summer Outdoor Deals for 2019

REI Anniversary Sale: 26 Best Summer Outdoor Deals for 2019

This year, REI's Anniversary Sale is running from May 17 to May 27. Whether you've been eying a big-ticket item like a paddleboard, or need to pick up another knife or replace a popped sleeping pad, it's the best time of the year to pick up outdoor equipment at a huge discount. Conveniently, the Anniversary Sale also starts before Memorial Day, so you have time to pick up a new cooler before you show up at the campground.

We don't highlight individual store sales all that often, but we really like REI. Recreational Equipment Inc was founded in 1938, and are one of the biggest customer cooperatives in the country. For many outdoor enthusiasts, REI is where they pick up their first piece of gear, along with expert advice, and top-quality rental service. We also like their policies on sustainability and environmental stewardship.

Note: When you buy something using the retail links in our stories, we may earn a small affiliate commission. Much like subscribing to WIRED, these contributions help fund the journalism we put out every day. Read more about how this works.

Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1 Bike Is 15 Percent Off

Co-op Cycles

Are you curious about mountain biking? $424 is an astonishing price for a mountain bike that has front fork suspension and hydraulic disc brakes, and it's pretty easy to upgrade the plastic pedals. It also comes with REI's free tune-up within six months of purchase. You won't find a better price for an entry-level trail bike.

Buy Co-op Cycles DRT 1.1 Bike for $424

Camping Deals

Solo Stove

Solo Stove Bonfire Pit for $225 ($75 off): Fire restrictions in dry areas are getting stiff. But you don't have to do without a fire pit with this easy-to-use, easy-to-clean, portable pit. It also minimizes smoke.

Black Diamond Color Electric Lantern for $19 ($6 off): Black Diamond's adorable colored camping light is water-resistant and can run on low light for up to 100 hours. You can also hang it on a backpack or stroller while walking at night.

Goal Zero Nomad 7 Plus Solar Panel for $75 ($25 off): We're huge fans of Goal Zero's rugged, portable solar panels and chargers. This one has a 7-watt output that can charge cell phones, satellite messengers, and portable speakers.

Yeti Hopper Flip 18 Soft Cooler for $225 ($75 off): We said that Yeti coolers are the most durable soft-sided coolers in the world.

Yeti Bottle Key for $7 ($3 off): You can throw this corrosion-resistant steel bottle opener in the bottom of your new cooler without worrying that it will rust.

Big Agnes Big House 6-Person Tent for $300 ($100 off): I like Big Agnes's backpacking tents, but this standup tent is ridiculously wonderful for the price. It has a 6.5-foot high ceiling, so many interior storage pockets and gear loops, and a welcome mat, for goodness's sake.

Nemo Riff 30 Men's Sleeping Bag for $280 ($70 off): Use code ANNV19 at checkout for the discount. As a restless side sleeper, I am a huge fan of Nemo's sleeping bags. Their unique shape has extra room at the knees and elbows for wriggling around, and gills for temperature regulation. A bunch of the women's versions are on sale too.

Good To-Go Pad Thai for $10 ($3 off): Now is a good time to stock up on dried food for backpacking this summer. Good To-Go meals were created by an award-winning chef and use real, dehydrated ingredients and recognizable flavors.

Apparel and Footwear Deals

Arc'teryx

Arc'teryx Trail Running Shoes for $120 ($40 off): I'm testing these right now, and so far, I love them. They are incredibly light, low-profile, and breathable.

Smartwool Merino 150 Men's T-Shirt for $52 ($23 off): There are a lot of great men's and women's technical apparel on sale right now. I'm just warning you: If you sweat a lot and you're not wearing merino wool, you definitely stink to high heaven.

Patagonia Light Fjord Flannel Shirt for $59 ($20 off): I stan Patagonia, its environmental conservation efforts, and its in-house childcare. Oh, and their shirts last forever.

Smith ChromaPop Sunglasses for $183 ($46 off): Smith Guide's Choice ChromaPop lenses reduce color confusion, which is especially great when skiing or fly-fishing and it's really important that you be able to distinguish very similar color shades at a glance.

Arc'teryx Men's Fleece Hoodie for $149 ($50 off): I have a very similar women's hoodie. Arc'teryx's anatomical shaping may make their clothes comfortable for climbing, but it also looks very good as casual wear.

Merrell Waterproof Mid Hikers for $104 ($26 off): This particular Moab 2 style is one of the most popular hiking boots on the market. They're light, waterproof, and have contoured footbeds with arch and heel support for greater comfort.

NRS Sandal Socks for $19 ($6 off): Today in "Things I never knew I needed": NRS' wetsuit socks have a hydrocuff seal and a fleece lining to keep your feet warm and dry while paddling or surfing.

Keen Kids Newport H2 Sandals for $40 ($10 off): REI has a big selection of child gear, and these are the wee version of the adult-sized water shoes. The elastic laces make it easy for kids to pull them on and off themselves.

Bags and Travel Accessories Deals

Osprey

Osprey Aether 85 AG Pack for $247 ($83 off): Osprey and Gregory have lots of men's and women's backpacks on sale. Osprey is known for their excellent frames and weight distribution, and this pack has an enormous capacity for the weight. It also has a heat-molded hip belt, and you can take the top off if you want to reduce weight.

Yakima 3-Bike Bike Rack for $199 ($50 off): This is a great time to pick up bike racks, roof boxes, or other transportation accessories if you don't have them. Yakima's rack has cushy, anti-sway cradles for bikes that weigh up to 35 pounds.

Eagle Creek Tarmac Carry-On Luggage for $217 ($38 off): Eagle Creek's luggage might not be the most stylish, but they're durable and come packed with features. This carry-on has padded laptop and tablet sleeves, add-a-bag straps, and oversized, treaded, heavy-duty wheels.

Patagonia Black Hole Duffel 45L for $89 ($30 off): This is the most useful bag I own. Backpack straps and a durable DWR finish mean that it can go with me on both work trips and two-week-long backpacking trips in Southeast Asia. It has been tossed into canoes and tied on to the backs of motorcycles. When I wipe it off, it looks as good as new.

Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag for $67 ($22 off): Timbuk2's beloved classic messengers are also on sale. They have weatherproofing features like a waterproof thermoplastic urethane liner, lots of internal storage pockets, and a removable cross-body strap.

Cycling and Paddling Deals

Co-op Cycles

Co-op Cycles Rev 20 Kid's Bike for $169 ($30 off): This kid's bike lets kids start using hand brakes, as well as pedal brakes. It also has comfy BMX-style handlebars.

Thule Coaster XT Bike Trailer for $344 ($86 off): This light, convenient trailer fits two children in five-point harnesses. The front wheel easily flips up to convert to and from a stroller to a trailer, and it has a quick, two-button fold.

Old Town Discovery 119 Canoe for $595 ($105 off): Canoes aren't as sexy as kayaks or paddleboards, but they're pretty handy for transporting your camping gear across a lake or river to that backcountry site. I've paddled this one before and it's agile enough for one person to use a kayak paddle. It also has an astonishing 450-pound capacity.

NRS 2.0 Men's Shorty Wetsuit for $67 ($23 off): This 2-mm-thick wetsuit has ToughTex on the tuckus for greater durability, and titanium laminate adhesive to reflect body heat back to you.

More Great WIRED Stories

Original author: Adrienne So
Continue reading
  3 Hits
  0 Comments
3 Hits
0 Comments

A 'Game of Thrones'-Themed Menu for Your Sunday Viewing Party

A 'Game of Thrones'-Themed Menu for Your Sunday Viewing Party

Indulgence is at the core of Game of Thrones. Snakes crackle over an open flame as the Sand Snakes plot their revenge in Dorne. Oysters glisten in baskets as Arya runs through the streets of Braavos to evade her assassin. Blood-red wine shivers in goblets and pine nuts leap off roasted beets as Cersei pounds her fists in the Red Keep. Meat pies steam on pewter dishes as soldiers sit at the Inn at the Crossroads for one last hot meal before their deaths.

Related Stories

Andrea Valdez

Game of Thrones: Who's Died So Far in Season 8

WIRED Staff

What We Need From the Game of Thrones Finale

Daniel Silvermint

Why the Writing in Game of Thrones' Season 8 Feels Off

Like sex, food in George R.R. Martin's universe is a way to laugh at the Many-Faced God. Yes, winter is always coming, but there is cheese to eat, and oranges, and fish stew to sop up with crusty bread. (If you're a dragon, there are sheep to fry.) When food is scarce or unappetizing in this world, you know the stakes could not be higher—at the Red Wedding, the first clue something was wrong came in the form of a thin leek soup. As the Night King approaches in season 8, nothing is more portentous than the low granaries at Winterfell.

Now, it is not the Night King who comes but the end of Game of Thrones itself. For eight long years we've waited for the finale that airs Sunday, and it's our duty to send it off dripping in honey, stuffed with the fruits of our labor. Here we present a last-ever Game of Thrones viewing party menu: eight dishes in hedonistic honor of the eight seasons, with fare celebrating the most important places in Westeros and Essos. There's nothing on the menu to represent the Citadel because, gross, all Samwell ate there was slop. Nor is there anything from the Iron Islands, since they proudly produce nothing of their own. To honor Theon and Yara, just snatch what's yours off someone else’s plate—enough to fill your mouth so no one hears you cry as the credits roll.

Meat Pies (Every Region of Westeros and Essos)

You cannot send off Game of Thrones without a meat pie. Quintessentially Thronesian, they're cooked in many of the kingdoms, including Essos. The Dothraki version is filled with (horse) blood, of course. A grand pigeon pie is the centerpiece of Joffrey and Margaery's wedding in King's Landing. After Arya murders Walder Frey's sons, she does her best Mrs. Lovett and bakes their flesh into a pie she feeds to their father.

If you want to get serious about this, go for one of the recipes in the official Game of Thrones cookbook, A Feast of Ice and Fire, for which Martin wrote the foreword. (It's almost as though he has time on his hands to write things!) You can pick from: medieval pork, beef and bacon, and pigeon pie, which calls for "five pigeons, cleaned and dressed" and is only available in the cookbook itself. (Bon Appetit helpfully offers an alternative recipe subbing in squab.)

I suggest instead picking a hand pie more conducive to eating on couches in the dark without silverware. You're like a soldier heading up the King's Road to battle—you need something portable and comforting to get you through this night. The modern Cornish or Jamaican beef pasty is ideal, but every cuisine has a meat pie variety, and they'd all do: samosas, knishes, empanadas, piroshki, xian bing, etc. Pick one and make (or buy) a lot. (I'm making these, and adding currants.) Make a gravy to dip it in, a hot sauce to douse it in. This is the most crucial dish of your party, a buttery bundle of death and fat.

Bread, Cheese, and Fruit (Essos and Dorne)

You must have a cheese platter, and this is your chance to salute the world across the Narrow Sea, as well as the hot southern Dornish lands. Scatter fresh herbs, rich cheeses, pomegranate seeds, cubed watermelon, and olives on your prettiest serving tray. (Extra points for tarnished silver.) Slice crusty bread for dipping, and pretend this isn't the end.

Wine, Wine, Wine (Everywhere)

You also need wine. Obviously. To drown your sorrows and, Tyrion-like, wish on the "god of tits and wine." (The Hand of the Queen may have grown dumb, but he drinks just the same. We can't betray him now.) Pick a skin-contact orange, like the sour wines of Dorne; a fine red served in some kind of carafe; and a good white or grape juice in honor of the best Arbor Golds in Westeros. Also consider pouring a mulled wine: red, hot, spiced, and full of dried-up fruit, like the Old Bear Jeor Mormont likes it. Pull out that Instant Pot you said you'd use and fill it with two bottles of red, two cinnamon sticks, a handful of raisins, some sliced oranges, a few cloves, a heaping of honey, a tablespoon of fresh ginger, a dash or two of nutmeg, and hey, maybe some black pepper. You could throw some bourbon or cognac or rum in there, too. Cheers!

Milk (The Vale)

Look, there's probably a lot of great food in the Vale. But the most iconic is breast milk, suckled for far too long by not-so-little Lord Robin Arryn. Serve a probiotic fermented yogurt drink, like Yakult or shots of kefir with lime zest. Your sober guests will appreciate it, at least—and just for funsies, ask them how long they were breast-fed.

Fish (The Riverlands and Eastern Westeros)

The land that gave Westeros Lady Catelyn Stark—and took her away—is known for its rivers and fish. You could make a seafood Sister's stew, but that's a bit messy in front of a TV. Instead, dish up boquerones, small white anchovies marinated in vinegar; they'll pair well with your olives and crackers. You can make them yourself or pick them up at any higher-end market.

Beet and Grain Salad (The North)

As Lady of Winterfell, Sansa has been obsessed with filling her granaries. Rightfully so—the long winter is here and she's got mouths to feed (even after the Night King's rampage). Honor her with a farro salad with roasted beets, the kind of hearty root vegetable that grows well in frigid northern climes.

Listen to our Game of Thrones podcast on iTunes and Spotify

Tarts (The Reach)

Don't forget about the wisest character to ever murder a king, the Queen of Thorns, Lady Olena of House Tyrell. In her memory, craft a finger food that embodies plenty. Highgarden is like the California Central Valley of Westeros; it's the fertile bread basket that feeds all the other regions. Pears poached in wine, or a fig tart with blue cheese and honey, should do nicely. "I always take figs mid afternoon; they help move the bowels," Lady Olena once said, wisely. The ingredients of Arya's favorite "Snitched" tarts are pure Highgarden, too: nuts, figs, currants, wine, honey. You could combine your love of two badass women by making these. Shell out for fancy ingredients here—remember how offended Lady Olenna was when Tyrion wasn't willing to pay for fancy catering for Margaery's wedding? Don't offend the Queen of Thorns. Her words (and goblets) can kill.

Lemon Cakes (King's Landing)

Sansa's fixation on dried foodstuffs may be practical, but her enduring love is for a trifle far more indulgent. As a second dessert, make Sansa's favorite food, the dish she and Margaery ate together in King's Landing back when the show was more Mean Girls than genocidal blood bath: lemon cakes. As the books explain, Sansa is obsessed with them because they represent a food she never got to have growing up (citrus can't grow in the cold). Trader Joe's has frozen bars, if you want to make like the show's creators and cut corners on your way to the inevitable end. Maybe that's the truest way to go out: a little drunk, a little lazy, staring at a black screen with a belly full of ersatz medieval grub. The hangover awaits.

More Great WIRED Stories

Original author: Emily Dreyfuss
Continue reading
  4 Hits
  0 Comments
4 Hits
0 Comments

So Long to Grumpy Cat, Amazon’s Special Warehouses, and More News

So Long to Grumpy Cat, Amazon’s Special Warehouses, and More News

We're pouring one out for Grumpy Cat, Amazon is doing damage control after some bear-spray incidents, and ocean plastics are choking us out. Here's the news you need to know, in two minutes or less.

Today's Headlines

Grumpy Cat is headed to cat heaven

The viral sensation Grumpy Cat passed away at 7 years old today, and with her a time where the internet was a joyful and united place. Let us all honor her memory by remembering the time when our memes were all as pure and fluffy as she was.

Amazon is building special warehouses for hazardous items

Last year, an incident involving bear spray exploding in a warehouse hospitalized over twenty of Amazon's workers. It wasn't even the first time the company had had a bear spray incident. So now Amazon is investing in specially-engineered buildings, equipped with sprinkler systems, designated storage areas, and special training for employees.

Plastics aren't just strangling animals, but us too

Scientists have revealed that the toxins from plastics in the ocean can leach into seawater and inhibit the growth and efficiency of the bacteria Prochlorococcus. What's Prochlorococcus, you ask? Oh, it's only the bacteria responsible for producing an estimated 20 percent of the oxygen we breathe.

Cocktail Conversation

Everyone seems to have an opinion on how the final season of Game of Thrones has been going. So our writers got together to consider what they will need from the finale in order to feel good about the series.

WIRED Recommends: Sony Alpha A7 II

If you're looking to upgrade your photography game, a mirrorless camera is the way to do it. And if you're going to get a mirrorless camera, one of the best ones is $600 off right now.

More News You Can Use

Minecraft Earth wants to be the next Pokémon Go, but bigger.

COMING SOON: This daily roundup will soon be available via newsletter. You can sign up right here to make sure you get the very first one when it's available!

Original author: Alex Baker-Whitcomb
Continue reading
  4 Hits
  0 Comments
4 Hits
0 Comments

About Terminal Madness

Terminal Madness started out as a Computer Bulletin Board, ( BBS ) back in the early 90's. Fascinated that one could get all the information they ever wanted "on line", for FREE, the "BBS" was named Terminal Madness.

Now, about 22 years later, that fascination with computers and information continues.

From the USA, to the Dominican Republic, to Curacao and back to the USA.

© 2016 Terminal Madness. All Rights Reserved. Designed By Terminal Madness

Search