The Massive, Overlooked Potential of African DNA

When evening falls on a solar-panel-clad building outside the Nigerian city of Lagos, its generators roar to life. The electrical grid here is unpredictable, and the company that works out of the building, 54gene, isn’t taking any chances. Losing power, even for a few hours, isn’t an option when you’re housing thousands of tubes of […]

An Open Source License That Requires Users to Do No Harm

China uses facial recognition technology to track Uyghur Muslims. The US military uses drones to kill suspected terrorists—any nearby civilians. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement—which has locked children in cages near the Mexican border—relies on software for communications and coordination, like all modern organizations. Someone had to write the code that makes all of that […]

PG&E’s Power Shutoffs Can’t Save California From Wildfire Hell

If the conditions align, PG&E initiates what it calls public safety power shutoffs, and they’re tortured decisions. “It is sort of unprecedented for such a large utility doing this preemptively,” says Swain. “They are probably an unfortunately necessary stopgap fire-prevention measure right now, but they come with serious risks as well.” A utility like PG&E […]

An Artist Takes an Unflinching Look at Her Own Hysterectomy

Carucci—an Israeli American photographer whose award-winning editorial work has appeared in WIRED—isn’t one to shut her eyes. Like photographers Nan Goldin and Sally Mann, she often reaches for the camera at moments others might set it down. Her parents’ divorce, her marital infidelity, and other family dramas figured into her earlier autobiographical works. The last, Mother […]

What Is a Dimension? The Answer Will Bend Your Mind

One of my favorite books as a child was called Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions. Written by a grade-school teacher in 1884, it’s a novel narrated by a square who lives in a two-dimensional world, called Flatland, populated by lines and shapes. In the story, the square encounters a sphere from a three-dimensional universe […]

Angry Nerd: Enough With Technology That ‘Democratizes’ Things!

The operations overlords of WIRED make me use Airtable. It’s a hip workflow tracker, with pretty color coding and copious tabs and a “robust” API that syncs with Slack. It’s also, apparently, a superhero. The Captain America of spreadsheets. Airtable isn’t just a shinier version of Excel—it’s on a self-professed mission to “democratize software creation […]

Your Secret Uber Tipping Behavior, Exposed

After the Uber ride is over, it’s just you and your phone. And your choice: Do you tip? New research published by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests the answer has more to do with you than your driver’s performance. And the researchers behind the work believe that the conclusion might have implications for […]

Warren Targets ‘Revolving Door’ Between Government and Tech

Elizabeth Warren announced a new plan to fight corruption in Washington on Tuesday: The Democratic presidential candidate wants to ban giant corporations from hiring senior government officials until they have been out of public office for at least four years. “Today, it is standard practice in Republican and Democratic administrations for giant mega businesses like […]

One Free Press Coalition Spotlights Journalists Under Attack

5. Miroslava Breach Velducea (Mexico) Trial idling in murder case of Mexico City correspondent. Trial is ongoing—with the next court date undetermined—for the suspected killer of La Jornada correspondent Miroslava Breach Velducea, who was murdered in March 2017 in connection to her reporting on links between politicians and organized crime. The Mexico City newspaper reported […]