The best of the Verge longreads
By The Verge | Essential features, reports, and original reporting from The Verge.
PLASTIC, STYROFOAM, ELECTRONICS, METAL CANS, RUBBER TIRES, EXPLOSIVES, HUMAN FECES, ANIMAL CARCASSES, ASBESTOS INSULATION, AND HUMAN BODY PARTS
Fierce dust storms in Iraq and Afghanistan frequently swept through bases, littering everything in their wake with fine particulate matter. This …
Do you remember Second Life? Set up by developer Linden Lab in 2003, it was the faithful replication of our modern world where whoring, drinking, and fighting were acceptable. It was the place where big brands moved in as neighbors and hawked you their wares online. For many, it was the future — our …Second Life
GM Voices is nestled on a rolling, leafy road in Alpharetta, Georgia, an affluent suburb of Atlanta. A recording studio specializing in voice-over work, it produces narration for corporate training videos, voicemail system prompts, and the like — not exactly sexy stuff, but steady, and for the best …Speech Recognition
How internet abuse works: she displeases him and he tries to punish her. He posts doctored photos of her to the web. In one, a noose is near her head. In another, her children appear to be performing sex acts. He emails graphic threats about violating her with a chainsaw. He sneers that she is too …Heartbleed Bug
Kansas City, a metropolitan area of about 2 million that straddles the border between Kansas state and Missouri, seems an unlikely place to see what the future of internet connectivity could look like. But nearly three years after Google announced that this midwestern metropolis best known for jazz …Google
I reached the breaking point, as many parents do, about two and a half months in. My newborn son, Oliver, was hitting a phase where his five senses were really coming online. The mere act of being awake was often overstimulating; sometimes he would start to cry when we turned on a bright light or …The Brain
The Enlightenment sages who wrote the First Amendment into the US Constitution in 1791 created the most secure legal foundation for a real democracy in history thus far. By refusing to grant government the power to shut anyone up, no matter how obnoxious, the authors of the Bill of Rights ensured …Censorship
Her parents were running out of hope. Their teenage daughter, Mary, had been diagnosed with a severe case of obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD), as well as ADHD. They had dragged her to clinics around the country in an effort to thwart the scary, intrusive thoughts and the repetitive behaviors …Psychology
Ever since he was 18, when Omar Danoun started med school, they’ve called him “doctor.” Friends and family, cousins and neighbors — everyone in Rantis, the West Bank village he’s lived in his whole life. It’s a close-knit population of around 3,000, belonging to six clans and spread over a little …Depression
Like an ancient bottle of bourbon or a good abstract painting, the modern Snoop Lion (née Dogg) contains multitudes. But it wasn’t always that way.
In 1994, Snoop was a simpler creature: a gangster with a knack for showbiz. But then a crew of Bloods crashed the set of the "Gin and Juice" video, and …Louis Farrakhan
“Jesus,” Molly said, her own plate empty, “gimme that. You know what this costs?” She took his plate. “They gotta raise a whole animal for years and then they kill it. This isn’t vat stuff.” She forked a mouthful up and chewed.” – William Gibson, Neuromancer (1984)
On Monday, August 5th, 2013, at a …Meat
A murdered president. A fleeing assassin. A dead man’s vertebrae. A deathbed confession and a ghastly suicide. A family’s disgrace. Conspiracy theories and courtroom battles. Secret burials and an unmarked grave. An aborted exhumation and a hopeful DNA analysis. Oh, and then there’s the riddle of …John Wilkes Booth
Last Saturday Ben Adair and Jenny Price had a party to celebrate the launch of their new app, Our Malibu Beaches. Fittingly, it was on the beach in Malibu — a nice canopy to sit under, kids building sand castles, Doritos and Coke for everyone. But it was kind of hard to chat because Mudvayne’s The …iPhone
Since September 11th, 2001, the United States government has dramatically increased the ability of its intelligence agencies to collect and investigate information on both foreign subjects and US citizens. Some of these surveillance programs, including a secret program called PRISM, capture the …Privacy
Airports trigger anxiety. Subway systems cause paranoia. We all know the statistics: it’s riskier to get in your car than it is to board an aircraft or take a train. But our collective memories of bombings, hijackings, and poison gas attacks often turn public spaces of transport into psychic mine …New York City
For Carmen Tarleton, the day started out normally enough. Tarleton, 45, had errands to run, a piano lesson to get to, a house to tidy. Tomorrow was Valentine’s Day, and for the first time in a long time — the first time since the attack five years earlier — she looked forward to spending it with a …Medicine
The future of higher education online is, at present, clear as mud. Do Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs — college-level classes offered online through a number of corporate providers — offer students better tools for study, increased opportunities at lower cost? Can they provide access to …Education
In January of 2010, Kesha Sebert, known as ‘Ke$ha’ debuted at number one on Billboard with her album, Animal. Her style is electro pop-y dance music: she alternates between rapping and singing, the choruses of her songs are typically melodic party hooks that bore deep into your brain: “Your love, …Auto-Tune
By Jesse Hicks and Andrew Thompson
From a distance it looked like a typical New Orleans street party: a tree-lined, brick walkway just blocks from the Mississippi River, thronged with people enjoying the late-March weather. The air crackled with excitement, a sense of common purpose. Large speakers …New Orleans
Additional reporting by Jesse Hicks and Joshua Kopstein
In the 1960s there was a saying: "Suppose they gave a war, and nobody came?" We'll probably never know the answer to that particular American koan, but a recent book and documentary film sets out to answer a more important question: "What if …Jeremy Scahill
Yesterday I chronicled a skeptical vision quest through the realm of high-end audio appreciation. It brought me to one of the darkest corners of the High End hi-fi trade show in Munich. I found myself in a room surrounded by silver-haired purists in front of a bespoke rig by Pioneer subsidiary TAD …Psychedelia
I am a professional commercial photographer. I have been for the last 25 years.
Throughout most of my career, I’ve had a hard time taking personal pictures — and for years I thought that shooting film was to blame.
I’ve always found shooting film nerve-wracking. The joy of the “latent image” isn’t …Photographers
By Ellis Hamburger and Dieter Bohn
Skydivers equipped with futuristic glasses live-broadcasted their descent into the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco during last year’s Google I/O. Developers lined up to receive not one, but four free devices costing $300 or more. Google announced the Nexus …Google
2003 was an important year for American culture: Baghdad fell, the Human Genome Project was completed, Britney and Madonna French-kissed at the MTV Music Video Awards. And no less significantly, at least as far as internet culture is concerned, it was also the year of the “GI Joe PSAs”: 25 weird, …Viral Videos
In March nearly 7,000 people traveled to the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, to spend the weekend at RootsTech, a yearly technology-focused genealogy conference sponsored by FamilySearch and a few other big names in the family history industry. Genealogy — the search for and …Genealogy
All day Sunday, police directed traffic around a blocked-off section of Boylston Street in downtown Boston where bombs had gone off nearly a week earlier, killing three and wounding hundreds. A makeshift memorial had been set up to honor the dead with personal messages and flowers, and old running …Surveillance
On January 20, 2013, sometime before 7:45PM, Lauren McCarthy sat down at a table. She was early. She always arrived early. Once she had a spot, she checked her setup. She kept the iPhone in her purse, its camera poking out and angled to capture the whole scene. The iPod touch was kept close at …Google
“When we explain it to people we get a lot of doubt,” Matt Parker says of Lumarca, his volumetric display installation, which renders graphics in 3D and has been in the works for several years. What puts that doubt in people’s heads is not necessarily how brilliant it looks, but instead how it …Sculpture
In early May Trent Wolbe traveled to the High End trade show in Munich, Germany. This is part one of a two part series exploring the cutting edge of audiophile technology.
Every American should be required to tour the eight distilleries on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail before they are allowed to die. …Rock Music