November 2020

The Wired mission is to tell the world something they've never heard before in a way they've never seen before. It's about turning new ideas into everyday reality. It's about seeding our community of influencers with the ideas that will shape and transform our collective future. Wired readers want to know how technology is changing the world, and they're interested in big, relevant ideas, even if those ideas challenge their assumptions—or blow their minds.

United States
Conde Nast US
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$11.20(Incl. tax)
$42.06(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
totally wired

“You earn public confidence in small drops,” warned former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb in August, when the agency overstated the effects of convalescent plasma as a treatment for Covid-19. “And you lose it in buckets.” Others share his sense that people’s faith in scientific leadership may be foundering. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, sees widespread suspicion of the process as “a looming problem” for the release of a vaccine. Bioethicist Zeke Emanuel worries that we’ve fallen into a “fever of distrust.” I’m not so sure they’re right. Most data point the other way, toward the opposite problem: Public trust in science has been so unwavering in recent decades, so impervious to scandal or discredit, that it seems more apt to worry about whether members…

4 min.
your course catalog

Welcome back to the e-Portal, [STUDENT]! We hope you enjoyed the summer protests and return ready to continue your learning journey under the guidance of our nine tenured professors and their 70,000 adjunctbots. We’ve used your current facial expression to select classes to match your mood. As always, we believe that education is key to an enlightened life and affirm that an advanced degree is critical to winning one of the non-inherited spots in the annual job assignment lottery and avoiding the National Service kelp camp draft. Good luck! Millennial Gerontology. Caring for senescent members of the millennial generation carries special challenges. To gain empathy for this cohort, we will divide into “hives” and use Facebook simulators. We will also review critical texts such as Vox explainers and the poetry of…

3 min.
twitch perfect

Prep Your PC You’ll need a computer that can handle the games and the streaming software you choose. OBS Studio is the most popular utility for Twitch broadcasting, and it’s free for Mac and Windows, so start there. The strain on your PC can get intense if you’re streaming high-resolution, high-detail games, so we’d recommend a machine with a modern quad-core processor, at least 8 GB of RAM, and an up-to-date video card like an Nvidia GTX 2060 or newer. If you’re starting from scratch, plenty of manufacturers will sell you a gaming PC designed for streaming, with high-end components and specs to spare. If you’re strictly a console gamer, you could stream directly through the Twitch app on Xbox or the Share menu on PlayStation. Sharpen Your Image You don’t need a…

31 min.
the fires next time

42,000-FOOT-TALL PLUMES OF ASH AND SMOKE 143-MPH FIRENADOES 1,500-DEGREE BLASTS OF HEAT ON THE WINDY, HOT DAY OF JULY 26, 2018, AS RECORD 113-degree temperatures baked Redding, California, in the northern Sacramento Valley, Eric Knapp toiled in an air-conditioned government office. After work, he planned to meet his wife and 3-year-old daughter, and some family friends, for dinner. Slender and fair-skinned with a gentle smile, Knapp is a research ecologist for the US Forest Service. He was well aware that, three days earlier, in coastal mountains west of town, a wildfire had started when a trailer got a flat tire and the metal wheel rim scraped the asphalt, sending sparks into dry brush. Like the vast majority of wildfires, this one, called the Carr Fire, burned initially as a wide but shallow band of…

42 min.
“they look sketchy as shit”

In a calmer spring—when facts weren’t so slippery, social media so noxious, the country so ready to combust—what happened in Forks, Washington, on June 3 might have been a perfect plot for a farce. A giant white school bus known as Big Bertha puttered into a two-stoplight town far north on the Olympic Peninsula, in desperate need of a new battery, on the very day the town was on alert for a different bus, one full of violent antifa activists ready to riot. But this was not a calmer spring. A week had passed since a Black man named George Floyd died while a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck. People who had been trapped at home during a tense pandemic spilled into the streets, first in Minneapolis and…

21 min.
o, robot!

ON A SUNNY MORNING LAST JANUARY, a box truck with see-through walls drove down the Las Vegas Strip, showing off a set of sex toys. The company behind the truck, Lora DiCarlo, had come to town for CES, the Consumer Technology Association’s annual showcase. This was the same event from which it had been disinvited just the year before, when its female-pleasure-focused products were labeled “obscene.” This time, Lora DiCarlo would get the royal treatment: prime positioning for its booth, panel-speaking slots for members of its team, nonstop party invitations, and scads of glowing press for its groundbreaking debut device—the very one that had been the source of scandal 12 months earlier, a sensual massager called the Osé. CES itself had changed to make this possible. There would be no more booth…