Verge Longreads

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

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

@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

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 …

Bacteria

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

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 …

Drones

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 …

Tornadoes

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 …

Virtual Reality

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 …

Curses! The birth of the bleep and modern American censorship

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 …

Gut feelings: the future of psychiatry may be inside your stomach

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 …

The War Inside: fighting depression in Palestine

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 …

Snoop contains multitudes: testing every product in the Dogg empire

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.<p>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 …

Your meat addiction is destroying the planet

<i>“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</i>, Neuromancer <i>(1984)</i><p>On Monday, August 5th, 2013, at a …

John Wilkes Booth killed Lincoln… but who killed John Wilkes Booth?

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 …

David Geffen's beach is yours: crash Malibu's secret oceanside hotspots with your iPhone

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 <i>The</i> …

Everything you need to know about PRISM

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 …

The Speakers: how two people became the voice of 110 airports and the NYC subway

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 …

Beyond recognition: the incredible story of a face transplant

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 …