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category_outlined / Vetenskap
WIREDWIRED

WIRED September 2018

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.

Land:
United States
Språk:
English
Utgivare:
Conde Nast US
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12 Nummer

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access_time2 min.
power broker

Daniel Alarcón in San Francisco in 2013.When Daniel Alarcón, a New York–based writer and the executive producer of NPR’s Radio Ambulante podcast, began reporting on Hurricane Maria’s aftermath in Puerto Rico (page 84), one name kept surfacing: Jorge Bracero. The electrical utility worker had become a one-man news outlet, providing updates on the (painfully slow) progress in restoring power at a time when local distrust in government and media ran high. Alarcón even heard Bracero’s name in a comedy show in San Juan and marveled at the audience’s knowing reaction. “He was this cultural touchstone for people,” he says. “After that I was like, I’ve got to talk to this guy.”When Adrienne So joined WIRED as an editorial fellow more than a decade ago, part of her job was to…

access_time5 min.
upper limits the last thing we need is speed

SPEED HAS TRIPPED the light fantastic in America for more than 85 years. From Ritalin and Adderall to the twice-methylated Breaking Bad stuff, speed seduces both overbright founders and scurvy garage-dwellers. But it’s not the drug for right now. Speed is not only deadly; it’s defeatist.It’s been two sobering years. We’d do well to take stock of what we were blind to in the raciest days of Silicon Valley and the government-as-usual Obama years. When the writer Casey Schwartz gave up Adderall after having it define her youth, she identified deep regrets: “I had spent years of my life in a state of false intensity, always wondering if I should be somewhere else, working harder, achieving more.” America is plenty intense—and it requires more freethinking from its citizens now than…

access_time1 min.
home-selling apps offer quick cash

IF YOU PUT your house up for sale, know that it’ll typically be on the market for about a month before you get an offer—an eternity when you’re hosting revolving-door showings, paying two mortgages, or trying to move in a hurry. Now a new category of companies called iBuyers wants to slash that time span to three days or less. ¶ Think of them as house-flippers that work for you. Sellers fill out an online questionnaire, and an iBuyer uses proprietary modeling to assess the home’s value. The company then makes an all-cash offer within 72 hours, sight unseen. (The iBuyer keeps a 6 to 10 percent commission off the price.) They make light renovations and relist the house at a markup. Home buyers can browse and make an offer…

access_time5 min.
human parasites how social media zombifies you

YOU’VE HEARD THAT social media is screwing with your brain. Maybe you even read about it on social media. (So meta; so messed up.) The neurochemical culprit, dopamine, spikes when you like and get liked, share and are shared. You’ve probably also heard scientists compare the affiction to drug or alcohol addiction. That’s fair. The same part of the brain lights up.Scroll, scroll, scroll. It’s a phenomenon now so pervasive that it’s got a name: zombie scrolling syndrome. (The security company McAfee coined the phrase in 2016.) We are the undead of lore, shambling through the world, moaning and groaning with half-closed eyes. I’d like to be able to tell you this is a fantastical bit of exaggeration, that we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. I can do no…

access_time1 min.
ipu

(JARGON WATCH ILLUSTRATION BY LEONEDLER)Way back in the early 2000s, when the first Xbox came out, researchers discovered they could hack videogame consoles for scientific uses. It seems the devices’ graphic processing units, or GPUs, designed to render flying gore and mayhem, also ran physics simulations faster than the CPUs in ordinary computers. ¶ Today, researchers still use GPU chips, not just for modeling but for artificial intelligence. Since each one contains lots of mini brains that crowdsource the work in parallel, they’re good at big-data jobs like image recognition. Good, but not awesome. So companies are taking that idea and racing to create a new generation of chips just for AI. A startup called Graphcore (which just recently built a 2,000-teraflop AI supercomputer the size of a gaming PC)…

access_time1 min.
wave points a spiky space simulator

THE ELECTRIC-BLUE CHAMBER looks like a crowd of punk mohawks or the Night King’s jagged skull. In fact, this 4,306-square-foot room is where antennas are torture-tested before being launched into space. ¶ Called the Hybrid European Radio Frequency and Antenna Test Zone, or HERTZ, it’s located in Noordwijk, Netherlands. The 33-foot-high steel walls are studded with 18-inch foam pyramids that block external electromagnetic interference. Two tests are performed here: One measures radio waves from omnidirectional antennas, like the type rovers use to communicate with orbiters; another calibrates highly directional antennas, which spacecraft use to send data to Earth. Engineers bounce radio waves between an antenna and giant carbon reflectors to simulate signals hurtling at light speed through 500 million miles of space. ¶ Next up, HERTZ will test a radar…

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