Paradise at the Crypto Arcade: Inside the Web3 Revolution

I know, I know: another story set at a gathering of brotastic crypto-utopians. But this one is no scene piece. Instead, it manages to stake out a thoughtful middle ground between the wonkiness of a blockchain white paper and the rolled eyes of “Web3 Is Going Just Great” — smart, incisive, and informative enough for you to finish the piece feeling like you actually know what you’re talking about. Not to mention the poop metaphor holding it all together.

It’s easy to find brilliant, idealistic, experienced technology experts who think Web3 is pure nonsense. But it’s almost as easy to find ones who think it’s the real deal—humanity’s best chance of redeeming the entire promise of the internet.

Source: Wired
Published: May 10, 2022
Length: 29 minutes (7,481 words)

Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control: Inside Shein’s Sudden Rise

Online fast-fashion giant Shein has grown dramatically and sells a massive volume of super-cheap, disposable clothing for budget-conscious teenagers. But the Chinese company has disclosed very little about its production, reports Vauhini Vara, that it’s hard to measure its environmental footprint.

Lu, the University of Delaware professor, found that in a recent 12-month period, the Gap listed roughly 12,000 different items on its website, H&M had about 25,000, and Zara had some 35,000. Shein, in that period, had 1.3 million.

Source: Wired
Published: May 4, 2022
Length: 25 minutes (6,326 words)

Of Course We’re Living in a Simulation

The weirder things get in the world, the easier it is to believe that what we know as reality is in fact happening within the confines of some sort of program. Physicists, despite their love of ideas like quantum entanglement, tend not to agree. But in this shaggy, personable essay, Jason Kehe — under the auspices of reviewing David Chalmers’ recent book, Reality+ — begs any doubters to loosen the hell up. You might, too.

It’s been said that the simulation hypothesis is the best argument we moderns have for the existence of a godlike being. Chalmers agrees: “I’ve considered myself an atheist for as long as I can remember,” he writes. “Still, the simulation hypothesis has made me take the existence of a god more seriously than I ever had before.” He even suggests Reality+ is his version of Pascal’s wager, proof that he’s at least entertained the idea of a simulator. Not that he’s sure such a being deserves to be worshipped. For all we know, it’s some little xeno-kid banging away at their parents’ keyboard, putting us through catastrophes the way we might the citizens of SimCity.

Author: Jason Kehe
Source: Wired
Published: Mar 9, 2022
Length: 14 minutes (3,518 words)

Trapped in Silicon Valley’s Hidden Caste System

Sonia Paul explores the cloying nature of caste: proving it can follow you wherever you go and whoever you become.

“Anonymous, self-identified Dalit tech workers kept their videos off as they described how they had lost jobs and faced casteist slurs. Residents from dominant-caste backgrounds spoke of witnessing bias in their communities and in the region’s tech companies.”

Author: Sonia Paul
Source: Wired
Published: Mar 1, 2022
Length: 24 minutes (6,000 words)

Driving While Baked? Inside the High-Tech Quest to Find Out

“Once stoned, the study participants find the 10-minute Cognivue test overwhelming, to say the least. ‘I kept questioning my sanity,’ one guy tells me. The clusters of vibrating dots confuse and frustrate almost everyone. ‘Are there dots? There are not dots,’ one person says. ‘All the dots, they turned into an amorphous borb,’ adds another. A guy with long hair sums up the experience: ‘I hate them dots.'”

Source: Wired
Published: Feb 15, 2022
Length: 23 minutes (5,932 words)

North Korea Hacked Him. So He Took Down Its Internet

“Disappointed with the lack of US response to the Hermit Kingdom’s attacks against US security researchers, one hacker took matters into his own hands.”

Source: Wired
Published: Feb 2, 2022
Length: 8 minutes (2,135 words)

David Attenborough’s Unending Mission to Save Our Planet

“The ethos Attenborough established of working with research scientists, modifying technology, taking time to capture nature, and placing our world in context has grown from amateur naturalists discussing woodpeckers to a technical, creative, and scientific endeavor that’s making programs for the entire world.”

Source: Wired
Published: Dec 2, 2021
Length: 22 minutes (5,535 words)

Boom’s Quest to Make Supersonic Flights a Reality (Again)

“Supersonic is not—as of yet—actually here, despite the seductive geometry and messaging of the advertisement by United, which has signed on to buy 15 planes that have not yet been built (but have generated a fair amount of positive media attention in an otherwise disastrous year). Where it is, at least putatively, is propped up on a platform inside the headquarters of Boom Supersonic, a low-slung building adjacent to Centennial Airport in the suburbs of Denver, Colorado.”

Source: Wired
Published: Dec 20, 2021
Length: 15 minutes (3,758 words)

4 Dead Infants, a Convicted Mother, and a Genetic Mystery

“Kathleen Folbigg was found guilty of killing her babies. One scientist suspected the real culprit was mutant DNA—and went on a tireless quest to prove it.”

Source: Wired
Published: Dec 9, 2021
Length: 29 minutes (7,416 words)

At the End of the World, It’s Hyperobjects All the Way Down

“The message some readers heard in the arrival of these phenomena was a frightening one: Look upon our works, ye mighty, and despair. But there’s another message in Morton’s book, one that Morton is increasingly extolling as hopelessness threatens to paralyze so many: Our sense of ‘the world’ might be ending, but humans are not doomed. In fact, the end of this limited notion of the world may also be the only thing that can save us from ourselves.”

Source: Wired
Published: Nov 16, 2021
Length: 15 minutes (3,925 words)