WIRED October 2019

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.

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12 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
totally wired

I am not one for conspiracies—foil hats flatter few—but squirreled inside the word obsolescence you’ll find a stowaway. There it is, atomized and sprinkled to avoid detection: obscene. What adjective better characterizes the passing of our beloved boxes of bits? A filthy fate indeed, and nothing deserved it less than Microsoft’s Kinect. It wasn’t the menacing red lights of the bygone peripheral that intrigued me, nor the unremarkable games it birthed, but its mandate of manumission. When paired with an Xbox, it urged us all to leave the controller on the couch and physicalize our intentions instead, whirligigging the console into subservience. Alas, the gap between action and reaction proved insurmountable, and the Kinect slunk away to the world of enterprise, never to sully a living room again. Yet its promise…

1 min.
“what curveballs did you face for this issue?”

“We had four photo shoots in four days: two in New York state, one in Boston, and one in Davis, California. Before photographing Elizabeth Carlen, a biologist in New York who’s studying how pigeons are evolving, I’d hoped to build a small set and work in a somewhat controlled environment. But the location was a busy intersection in the Bronx on a Friday afternoon. Between the foot traffic and wild pigeons, managing the scene was quite an obstacle.”—Victor Llorente, photographer, “Street Life,” page 72 “I didn’t have to travel far to help catch feral pigeons in the Bronx, since I live just a borough away. But after a lifetime of hearing about the filthiness of ‘rats with wings,’ I had serious qualms about holding the birds in my bare hands. That…

8 min.
all hail the low iq

Because my mother firmly believed that IQ tests torpedo motivation—“If it’s low, you won’t try; if it’s high, you won’t try”—I’ve refused to let my children take them. So a certain mystique has attached itself, for my son anyway, to the beguilingly false empiricism of an “intelligence quotient.” At some point, he revved up my Quora account to read answers to questions about what he imagined was the exhilarating experience of having a high IQ, and for months I was notified every time the cream of the cognitive crop on Quora was perseverating on the burdens of lofty intelligence—or whatever it is that those woolly tests measure. Heavy are the heads, it seems, that tote around the brains: “Others can’t keep up with me.” “I get bored easily.” “Sometimes I…

4 min.
in praise of one-trick ponies

I recently decided to purchase a phone that had more of what I wanted (battery life!) and less of what I didn’t (news alerts, social media notifications, emails). I used to have a device exactly like this—a flip phone that could last a week on a single charge, and that didn’t act like a supercomputer that trained all its gigaflops on distracting me. So I marched into my carrier’s storefront and was disappointed to learn that I had exactly one option. It wasn’t that cheap. It included a clunky browser and was cluttered with all sorts of other apps I didn’t want. It also had terrible reviews; people said it broke down quickly and often. Not that any of that mattered, because I had no choice. I bought it—and it…

1 min.
a smarter way to balance your work & life

Today, technology is making it easier to be more productive in every aspect of your life. Leveraging a plethora of apps and tools can help you focus on wellness, both mind and body, allowing you to become the best version of yourself, personally and professionally. The Takeaway: + Use your calendar app to segment your day. Making a concerted effort to schedule time—whether for focusing on specific work projects, checking emails, or taking personal breaks—will help put your mind at ease in trying to remember to accomplish it all. + Commit to using a wellness app during the work week. These apps have been reported to improve attention span, alertness, and personal calmness—ultimately, making you more productive. + Use auto-transcription. It can be a useful tool to get your thoughts down and send messages…

4 min.
power plants

Last year, Adam Banzhoff was living in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, working an IT job at a bank and feeling morose. “I was in a downswing, a little bit of a depression,” he tells me. Then one day, on a whim, he signed up for Horti, a new subscription service that ships members a plant every month. Soon a crispy wave fern arrived, a frisky-looking thing with rippling tendrils. When the first new leaf appeared, it gave Banzhoff an electric thrill. He was hooked. A year later, between Horti’s regular shipments and pots he bought on his own, Banzhoff had transformed his house into a riot of green, with more than 120 plants. Crucially, it lifted his mood. “It really taps into a different part of your personality. That sounds kind of…