Verge Longreads

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

The billion dollar widget steering the driverless car industry

The billion-dollar widget steering the driverless car industry<p>No matter what it took, David Hall was going to kill that clown. He maneuvered Drillzilla for another ramming run. The robot was squat and heavy, with serrated blades coming off one end and a sharp drill whirling on the other. Across the …

Steve Wozniak

How an inmate hacker hid computers in the ceiling and turned his prison upside down

In the summer of 2015, Stan Transkiy was 16 years into a life sentence, and he had finally found a way to occupy his time. Inside the Marion Correctional Institution, which sits on green farmland off a series of quiet roads in rural Ohio, he had carved out a job running a recycling program, a gig …

Crime

Inside India’s race to cool 1.3 billion people in a warming world

How do you cool 7.5 billion people on a warming planet?<p>When Rutam Vora was growing up in Vadodara, a city of about 2 million people near the western coast of India, his parents kept cool each summer by drenching bedsheets in water and hanging them in the windows of their house. When the scorching …

Climate Change

How disreputable rehabs game Google to profit off patients

She turned to Google for help getting sober. Then she had to escape a nightmare.<p>Leasha Ali had been drunk for the last two days, but she didn’t want to be anymore. The 39-year-old math teacher and mother of two was in a spiral familiar to anyone who’s struggled with addiction. A difficult event — a …

Addiction

Meet the streamers using Twitch to pay for college

As she neared 24 straight hours of playing <i>Dead Space</i>, Kaitlyn Richelle watched in shock as a $250 donation flashed across her screen. “That’s the goal,” she shouted. “That’s the tuition.” She paused her Twitch stream, struggling to get a full sentence out. She had just raised $5,000 to help pay for …

Stressed Out

I went to Pokémon Go Fest, and it was a disaster

The inaugural festival turned into a costly mess for Niantic<p>With phones in hand, a herd of humans pummeled the damp grass of Chicago’s Grant Park. Despite the inviting green scenery and thump of peppy music, their eyes remain glued to their screens, which dictated their every movement. “Unown!” …

Pokémon

Teens are flocking to a summer camp that trains them to be internet stars

As viral fame becomes more attainable, summer camps may be the next classroom for kids<p>Jettzen Shea has a mop of pale blond hair and a voice that rings out like a little bell as he chimes in from the middle rows of Claremont McKenna College’s Pickford Auditorium. “I’m on Twitter,” he says. He’s just …

Social Media

How Artsy finally convinced galleries to sell art online

How Artsy finally convinced galleries to sell fine art online<p>For 13 years, the Mike Weiss Gallery was a thriving member of the Chelsea art world, hosting over 100 exhibitions and participating in local group shows. But in October of last year, Weiss and his wife Virginia Martinsen decided to …

Artists

The secret origin story of the iPhone

An exclusive excerpt from The One Device<p><i>This month marks 10 years since Apple launched the first iPhone, a device that would fundamentally transform how we interact with technology, culture, and each other. Ahead of that anniversary,</i> Motherboard <i>editor Brian Merchant embarked on an investigation to</i> …

Steve Jobs

Agent Cooper in Twin Peaks is the audience: once delighted, now disintegrating

And never more so than in Showtime’s new series revival<p><i>Some spoilers ahead through episode</i> <i>4</i> <i>of season</i> <i>3</i> <i>of</i> <b>Twin Peaks</b><i>.</i><p>On May 21st, Showtime brought back David Lynch’s groundbreaking TV series <i>Twin Peaks</i>, and fulfilled a prophecy in the process. In the second season finale, back in 1991, the spirit of …

TV

AI, the humanity!

AlphaGo’s victory isn’t a defeat for humans — it’s an opportunity<p>A loss for humanity! Man succumbs to machine!<p>If you heard about AlphaGo’s latest exploits last week — crushing the world’s best Go player and confirming that artificial intelligence had mastered the ancient Chinese board game — you …

Artificial Intelligence

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 …

Best Buy

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 …

Encryption

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>; …

Michelle Obama

The secret rules of the internet

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 …

Recycling

Inside the test flight of Facebook’s first internet drone

Drones

The secret history of Cincinnati's ghost subway

Cincinnati

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

California