Verge Longreads

By The Verge | Essential features, reports, and original reporting from The Verge.

The Viral Machine

Super Deluxe built a weird internet empire. Can it succeed on TV?<p>When Wolfgang Hammer talks about the future of entertainment, people listen. Hammer is the mastermind behind the American reboot of <i>House of Cards,</i> the guy with the unlikely idea of bringing together David Fincher and a forgotten BBC …

TV

How Anker is beating Apple and Samsung at their own accessory game

Steven Yang quit his job at Google in the summer of 2011 to build the products he felt the world needed: a line of reasonably priced accessories that would be better than the ones you could buy from Apple and other big-name brands. These accessories — batteries, cables, chargers — would solve our …

Pokémon Go

Facebook's Instant Articles promised to transform journalism — but now big publishers are fleeing

Inside Facebook's Menlo Park headquarters, the arrival of Instant Articles in the spring of 2015 was presented as a cause for celebration. Talking with reporters, executives described the fast-loading, natively hosted articles as a promising new creative format. A suite of publishing tools …

Digital Media

Massive Attack: How a weapon against war became a weapon against the web

How a weapon against war became a weapon against the web<p>Every year, artists and technology enthusiasts meet in Linz, Austria, for the Ars Electronica Festival, a meetup in the city’s downtown, located just off the Danube River. The festival is a haven for those with an eye toward the future — …

Stock Markets

The Future Agency: Inside the big business of imagining the future

Inside the big business of imagining the future<p>In the Dubai of 2050, the world looks both instantly familiar and utterly strange. Here, urban planning is driven by an omniscient AI installed at the top of a skyscraper; your smart bathroom mirror tracks your physical health; and you interface with …

Innovation

Legal threats and disgruntled clients: inside the ‘Uber for private jets’

Tim Martz made his fortune in broadcast radio, but even as a wealthy man, the price of chartering a private jet always stung a bit. So when Martz joined JetSmarter in February 2015, the service seemed like a steal. In return for a $7,000 annual membership fee, plus a $2,000 initiation charge, he …

Airplanes

Can Genius beat the rap?

Genius quietly laid off a bunch of its engineers — now can it survive as a media company?<p>Genius, which raised $56.9 million on the promise that it would one day annotate the entire internet, has been losing its minds. In January, the company quietly laid off a quarter of its staff, with the bulk of …

Journalism

This year’s Daytona 500 was a beta test for the future of NASCAR

A new format, new tech, and — if everything goes right — new fans<p>Go fast. Turn left. Win.<p>For decades, you could boil NASCAR down to this simple set of rules. The ethos is so concise that it’s often the main source of derision for the sport. (“All they do is turn left,” you might cry.) But that …

Motorsport

The empathy layer

Can an app that lets strangers — and bots — become amateur therapists create a safer internet?<p>In January 2016, police in Blacksburg, Virginia, began looking into the disappearance of a 13-year-old girl named Nicole Lovell. Her parents had discovered her bedroom door barricaded with a dresser, her …

Mental Health

Demand for secret messaging apps is rising as Trump takes office

Two weeks after the US presidential election, Reverend Rebecca Bryan stepped up to her pulpit in the Boston suburb of Brookline and looked out on her congregation. The liberal Unitarian Universalists at First Parish were already gearing up for political action, a central tenet of the church’s …

How Silicon Valley helps spread the same sterile aesthetic across the world

Silicon Valley

@MichelleObama

An exclusive look at how the First Lady mastered social media<p>The First Lady needed a turnip.<p>By the fall of 2014, "Turn Down for What," Lil Jon and DJ Snake’s triple-platinum trap-meets-EDM single, had swallowed pop culture whole. Jimmy Fallon and Robin Wright were dancing to it on <i>The Tonight Show</i>; …

The secret rules of the internet

A Bitter Pill

Josiah Zayner’s gut was making his life hell — so he embarked on an extreme DIY fecal transplant<p><b>Human feces floated</b> in saline solution in a mortar, on a marbled countertop, in a dimly lit kitchen in Burlingame, California. A bottle of ethyl alcohol, an electronic scale, test tubes, and a stack of …

Microbiome

E-Waste Empire

New York City discards millions of pounds of dead electronics each year. We follow its path from shelf to shredder<p>Gadget shopping? Chances are that as soon as you plunk down cash for a new smartphone or 9.7-inch tablet or 4K / 3D / LED flatscreen television, a tiny part of your brain is already …

Dystopia

Inside the test flight of Facebook’s first internet drone

Drones

The secret history of Cincinnati's ghost subway

On Santa Cruz Island, they killed the cows, sheep, and bees. Now it’s time to finish the job

Uber wants to take over public transit, one small town at a time

Rise of the RoboMasters

We went to China's Silicon Valley to see the front lines of the robot wars<p><b>The lights dimmed</b> inside the Shenzhen Bay Sports Stadium as the countdown to the match began. "Wu, si, san, er, yi!" A chime sounded and two teams of robots sprang into action across an intricately constructed battlefield. In …

We're bad at tracking deadly storms, but New York has a new way to see them coming

On the evening of Saturday, August 27th, 2011, the volunteer fire department in Prattsville, New York held its annual clambake. The event has not historically been associated with temperance, but that year, the festivities broke up early. Prattsville is a sleepy town of fewer than 1,000 residents …

Cracking the elaborate code: why body language holds the key to virtual reality

Why body language holds the key to virtual reality<p>To get to the Panoptic Studio at Carnegie Mellon University, you take an elevator down four flights to a dingy sub-basement. Inside room B510, a series of metal cross beams enclose a massive, otherworldly structure: a geodesic dome. Each of the …

Out of thin air: is this the world's newest type of cloud?

Ten years ago, Gavin Pretor-Pinney decided to rebrand clouds, or what he likes to refer to as the “patron goddesses of idle fellows.” For too long, clouds had been co-opted by bleak expressions like “head in the clouds” and “under a cloud”; dismissed as stains on otherwise beautiful blue skies; and …

Ring of fire: why our military's toxic burn pits are making soldiers sick

Second Life's strange second life

Do you remember <i>Second Life</i>? 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 …

Machine language: how Siri found its voice

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 …

The end of kindness: weev and the cult of the angry young man

<i>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</i> …

Broadband gap: Google Fiber isn't the only revolution in Kansas City

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 …

Is technology scrambling my baby's brain?

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 …