Massive Greatness

By M.G. Siegler | What M.G. Siegler is reading.

On the Trail of Nabokov in the American West

For the last 1 5 years my wife, Sarah, and I have driven every summer with our golden retriever from New Jersey to the Northern Rockies. I used to say that I felt like Humbert Humbert, the notoriously unreliable narrator of “Lolita,” who made a similar trip, but instead of traveling with a …

Vladimir Nabokov

A Word With: Steven Spielberg

CANNES, France — “The BFG,” the latest from Steven Spielberg, is based on the 1982 book of the same title by Roald Dahl. It’s the story of young Sophie (the newcomer Ruby Barnhill), who one night is plucked from her bed by a giant hand. She soon discovers that the hand belongs to the BFG — voiced …

Steven Spielberg

Beer Purity Law, a German Tradition (and Marketing Tool), Turns 500

INGOLSTADT, Germany — A pair of Bavarian dukes came to this pretty town on the Danube River 500 years ago and laid down what Germans claim as their source of beer-brewing prowess: the purity law.<p>Only hops, water and barley should go into beer, decreed the dukes. Wheat, above all, should be spared …

Beer

Find a Better Way

<i>I was honored to be asked to speak at my alma mater, the University of Illinois. My message for this year’s graduates? Find a better way.</i><p><b>University</b> …

University of Illinois

Electronic Ink Is Bigger Than Just Kindles. The Tech Is Getting Ready to Take Over the World

The Amazon Kindle is probably the least gadget-y gadget ever created. No one ever exclaims about its remarkable specs. It doesn’t need upgrading …

E Ink

Darren Aronofsky's Rock Star Composer Thinks of Himself as Film's 'Ugly Duckling'

Clint Mansell's latest dizzying and unsettling score is for Ben Wheatley's dystopian thriller High-Rise.<p>Ben Wheatley's latest film, <i>High-Rise</i>, opens with a record player. Dr. Laing, played by Tom Hiddleston, gently lays down its needle and sets the tone for this dystopian take on urban living. As …

Darren Aronofsky

Podcasts Surge, but Producers Fear Apple Isn’t Listening

Steven P. Jobs put his talent as a master salesman to the test when, in 2005, he introduced new Apple software for downloading digital audio shows. The format was so incipient that he struggled to describe it.<p>“It’s sort of like TiVo, for radio, for your iPod,” he said. “It’s not just the ‘Wayne’s …

iPod

Apple Surprises

<b>by Jean-Louis Gassée</b><p><i>Apple’s big surprise in its quarterly numbers isn’t the end of 13 years of go-go growth but the emergence of Services as a very</i> …

Apple News

Atari co-founder: mobile games make me want to throw my phone

The video game arcade is the cathedral of the games industry. Veteran players see these increasingly endangered places as shrines to design purity, difficulty and player skill, bathed in the glow of flickering monitors. They were, after all, the places where the conventions of the medium were …

Mobile

In an Era of Streaming, Cinema Is Under Attack

Seen any good movies lately? Seen <i>any</i> movies? Chances are you have — but maybe not in an actual theater. Americans used to adore going out to the movies, but that love has been on the rocks for decades. Once, the rival was television. Maybe it still is given that so much more of what’s produced …

Movies

The $2 Trillion Project to Get Saudi Arabia’s Economy Off Oil

Early last year, at a royal encampment in the oasis of Rawdat Khuraim, Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia visited his uncle, King Abdullah, …

Economics

Browns lead way in draft trade winners (so far)

One year after the first 14 picks came off the board without a single draft-day swap, order was restored and trade winds reappeared in Chicago on …

Cleveland Browns

And Now, I Unfollow Thee

Noah Masterson, a web marketing manager in Austin, Tex., is like the Marie Kondo of Twitter. He keeps it tidy. “I just unfollowed about 20 people to get down to an even 400,” he said. “It felt really good.”<p>For Mr. Masterson, 43, the value of social media is that it brings together all sorts of …

Pope Francis

Ford and Google Team Up to Support Driverless Cars

DETROIT — In an unusual alliance between a traditional automaker and a technology company, Ford Motor and Google on Wednesday joined to lead a coalition of companies that advocate federal approval of driverless cars in the near future.<p>By teaming up to promote regulations that favor fully-autonomous …

Google

Inside “Emojigeddon”: The Fight Over The Future Of The Unicode Consortium

Internal emails offer a peek behind the scenes of the peculiar and little-known organization that oversees the development of a weird new universal language.<p>There’s trouble afoot inside the Emoji Council of Elders, or, at the very least, signs of a low-simmering schism that’s being referred to by …

Unicode

Amazon’s Echo is the New Vaudeville — Backchannel

In <b>the entryway to Hollywood’s Magic Castle,</b> if you speak a secret password into a small sculpture of an owl, a bookcase will revolve and reveal a …

Amazon

Thrones of Blood

Binge-watching the most addictive show on television.<p>Binge-watching is a night out, even when you spend the whole day in. It’s a way of being. We begin to esteem this way of being at its true worth when we realize that the creators of the brain food that we’re wolfing down are at least as involved …

George R. R. Martin

Game of Loans

As Queen-Mother Cersei undertook her walk of shame through the streets of the capital at the end of the last season of “Game of Thrones”, she was …

Bots won't replace apps. Better apps will replace apps.

<b>TRANSLATIONS:</b> 中文 (品玩)<p>Lately, everyone’s talking about “conversational UI.” It’s the next big thing. But the more articles I read on the topic, the …

WeChat

Trending at Halftime: Players Checking Their Phones

The professional sports locker room is a sanctuary, a place that is supposed to be free of outside distractions. At halftime of an N.B.A. game, for instance, players sit attentively, absorbing the coach’s instructions. They rehydrate, and maybe even change into a fresh uniform. Their focus for …

Phones

The Future of Technology Is In Your Ear — Backchannel

What if the Future of Technology is in Your Ear?<p>My experiment with a $13 device convinced me that the next major platform will replace text with …

The Secret History of Tiger Woods

The death of his father set a battle raging inside the world's greatest golfer. How he waged that war -- through an obsession with the Navy SEALs -- …

Tiger Woods

A New Dark Age Looms

Boulder, Colo. — IMAGINE a future in which humanity’s accumulated wisdom about Earth — our vast experience with weather trends, fish spawning and migration patterns, plant pollination and much more — turns increasingly obsolete. As each decade passes, knowledge of Earth’s past becomes progressively …

Science

Foxes That Endure Despite a Lack of Genetic Diversity

The Channel Islands, off the coast of Southern California, are a natural laboratory for a particularly adorable experiment in evolution.<p>A unique species called the island fox has lived there for several thousand years, shrinking over the generations until now each is smaller than a house cat. Adult …

Chernobyl: The 30-Year Rescue

Thirty years ago, on April 26, 1986, Reactor No. 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant malfunctioned and exploded during a routine test. The blast …

Ukraine

Groove Masters of the Vinyl Revival

You don’t hear this very often anymore in Salina, Kan., but business is booming—for one company at least. Amid the blue-collar town’s shuttered …

Vinyl Records

MTV Plans First Regular Live Music Series in Almost 20 Years

MTV is trying to put the music back in music television.<p>The cable network that popularized the music video plans to air its first weekly live music …

Live Music

The Internet Really Has Changed Everything. Here’s the Proof. — Backchannel

<b>Netflix and Ch-Ch-Chilly</b><p>How have decades of mass media and technology changed us? <b>A writer returns to his remote hometown — once isolated, now</b> …

Napoleon

Physicists Hunt for the Big Bang’s Triangles

Once upon a time, about 13.8 billion years ago, our universe sprang from a quantum speck, ballooning to one million trillion trillion trillion …