WIRED July/August 2021

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
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12 Issues

in this issue

3 min
rants and raves

In June, Andy Greenberg dished up a scoop about one couple’s quest to fix the notoriously broken ice cream machines at McDonald’s. Gilad Edelman revisited the rationale behind Section 230, the landmark law that shields major tech corporations from liability over defamatory content on their platforms. And on WIRED.com (and page 62 in this issue), Megan Molteni writes about a scientist and a tenacious graduate student who unearthed an old scientific error with devastating consequences for the world’s response to Covid-19. Readers complain about defamation, appliances, and siloed science: RE: “FATAL FLAW” “One of the better examples of just how pernicious confirmation bias can be.”—@Roessler, via Twitter RE: “SACRED COMMANDMENT/FALSE IDOL” Once an internet platform is aware that a posting is false and defamatory, it should immediately delete it and note the reason for doing…

6 min
“i fell in love with microphones”

THERE IS A MUSIC-TECH controversy that rivals Bob Dylan’s choice to plug in his guitar at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. A year earlier, on April 10, 1964, the pianist Glenn Gould made a radical exit from live concerts. Gould played seven pieces to a packed house at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre in Los Angeles, including four fugues. He gave no indication that the program was his swan song. Then he strolled—he never stormed—away from his Steinway CD 318 and out the door of the concert hall, into the mild California air. A year later, he boarded a train for the desolate Northwest Territories of his native Canada. He never played another concert. When Arthur Rubinstein bet him in 1971 that he’d be back, Gould took the bet; when he…

6 min
all in on the fight over crypto

THANKS TO NFTS, half of my friends now hate the other half. I know because they send me messages about each other. “Ugh, more crypto garbage,” reads one DM. “I guess we need to destroy the planet for some stupid GIF.” And then, from someone else: “I do feel, at some level, that this is the most important thing that has ever happened to digital art.” Words to that effect. Everyone is sincere. You used to have to create a product to create a marketplace. Like Google: Make a search engine first, then sell ads. But now, with crypto, you can skip straight to the marketplace and the products will follow. (They don’t really—“decentralized applications” aren’t very interesting, but everyone says they’ll be good soon.) As we all know by now, an…

1 min
crystal light

CRYSTALS ARE THE pinnacle of atomic efficiency. From a tiny seed of highly organized atoms, their structure grows as surrounding molecules repeat a pattern, building atop one another. Photographers Wenting Zhu and Yan Liang built this composite image of a copper sulfate crystal by taking 33 closeups photographed with a microscope—and layering them atop one another. The image is one of more than 300 in their new collection, The Beauty of Chemistry, which plunges readers into the minute universe of molecules. In it, Zhu and Liang also use infrared thermal imaging and highspeed and time-lapse macro techniques to capture the chemical forms in all their remarkable beauty. In the early 1910s, crystals became our first window into the atomic world. Science writer Philip Ball, the docent for the book’s visual tour of…

5 min
missing peace

MY PRETEEN SON’S laptop had been warning us for months that it was ready to quit forever. The battery had stopped charging properly, the hinge was loose, and, after years of vigorous Minecraft commands, the W key had fallen off. When it finally died on New Year’s Day, West was stricken with panic. His eyes widened as he looked up at me and whispered in horror, “Oh no.” After our schools closed last spring, online gaming became his lifeline, his sole source of peer connection. I tried to convince him the situation wasn’t so bad: He’d been saving money to build a gaming PC for a year. Now that his laptop had died, I’d help him with the cost. But West was not reassured. He explained that he could buy nearly…

5 min
money talks

STARTUP FUNDRAISING CAN be a blood sport, which also makes it great entertainment. Shark Tank first brought pitch decks to prime time in 2009, spawning an entire genre of investment-as-reality-TV. To name just a few: Meet the Drapers (hosted by venture capitalist Tim Draper), Cleveland Hustles (hosted by basketball legend LeBron James), Entrepreneur Elevator Pitch (exactly what it sounds like), The Profit (weirdly, for investing in failing businesses), Dragon’s Den (like Shark Tank but British), and Tigers of Money (like Shark Tank but Japanese). The latest shark in this tank is not on television but on the live audio app Clubhouse. Every Wednesday at 3 pm Pacific time, a new handful of startup founders looking for early-stage funding duke it out before a panel of angel investors on a show called…