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Why Silicon Valley May Warm to Trump

The technology industry has resisted him, but a Trump presidency is compatible with its business goals.

A memorable image from Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign showed the future president, reclined on a couch. His chief campaign strategist David Axelrod appears in the foreground, and “Change we can believe in” signs rest casually in the back. In then-Senator Obama’s left hand, he holds a sheet of paper. In his right, a BlackBerry. Obama was famously attached to… read more

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Home Monitoring Will Soon Monitor You

When the Internet of Things begins to track electrical usage, houses could become more measured—and scrutinized—than ever.

I worry. About my family. My house. My dumb possessions, and my treasured ones. Doesn’t everyone? “Happiness,” Don Draper opines in Mad Men’s pilot, “is the freedom from fear.” Companies sell people solutions to those fears—even if they are contrived ones. Listerine, invented to cure a made-up condition called halitosis. Nike, whose kicks are used for sloth more than athleticism.… read more

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A Pocket Guide to the Robot Revolution

Sorting the good from the bad, the creepy from the adorable

For formatting reasons, it’s best to read this one in print, or else over at The Atlantic online

The McLaren P1 car is pictured during the second media day of the 83rd Geneva Car Show at the Palexpo Arena in Geneva March 6, 2013. The Geneva Motor Show will take place from March 7 to 17, 2013. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse (SWITZERLAND - Tags: TRANSPORT BUSINESS) - RTR3EMV3

More Evidence Cars Will Never Be Sexy Again

Apple’s rumored takeover of McLaren is a symbolic final breath in the life of automotive desire.

The automobile has become the enemy of progress. It’s an unlikely outcome, from the vantage point of the 20th century. Not that long ago, cars were still unequivocal symbols of personal power—especially in America, where basic mobility is often impossible without one. But now cars are increasingly uncool. For one part, they’re a major source of carbon emissions, and thereby… read more

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The Designer’s Job is to Make Things More What They Already Are

Ideas on design, adapted from Play Anything

As a game designer, I’m often asked what designers of all stripes can learn from games. Games, after all, appear to be magical objects. Dark ones, even. From Tetris to World of Warcraft, games have an uncanny ability to lure players in. Once hooked on a game, people will spend nearly endless time pursuing bizarre and arbitrary goals—like navigating configurations of four squares… read more

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Russian Invasion

A review of Dan Ackerman’s The Tetris Effect

In an official photo from April 6, 1993, Hillary Clinton smirks slightly while playing a Nintendo Game Boy aboard a flight back to Washington, DC. The record doesn’t note what game she was playing, but surely it was Tetris, the cartridge that shipped with the popular Nintendo handheld upon release in 1989. When the photo was released last year, Clinton was already… read more

Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey displays an Oculus Touch input during an event in San Francisco, California June 11, 2015. Virtual reality company Oculus held the news conference ahead of the release of its consumer version of its head-mounted display.  REUTERS/Robert Galbraith      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX1G4QX

Why a Silicon Valley Founder Is Funding a Factory for Trump Memes

For wealthy geeks like Palmer Luckey who seek vengeance against the institutions they perceive to exclude them, “The Donald” is an obvious ally.

The classic battle between nerds and brutes is one of brains versus brawn. In the geek films of the 1980s that introduced and immortalized this conflict—Revenge of the Nerds, Weird Science, Ghostbusters, Sixteen Candles—the nerds are always outcasts and misfits. And these fables all end the same way. Through a combination of smarts and good fortune, the nerds demonstrate some… read more

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How to Turn Life’s Challenges Into Play

Even as an adult (though also for kids)

One of the great psychological tricks of parenting is the false choice. “Do you want to wear the blue shirt or the red shirt?” you might ask in the morning, or “Do you want broccoli or green beans?” before dinner. In the face of panic, indecision or tantrum, winnowing down options can force Junior to focus, decide and move forward.… read more

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How Apple Sells its Controlling Ways as Futurism

The company’s controversial design choices make it hard to imagine the alternatives they preclude.

“Our lightest product ever,” the page announces. Lithe and sleek like all Apple’s wares, the Apple Plug is a small, aluminum stopper meant to seal up the “archaic headphone connector” in your iPhone 6 or 6s. Machine-rounded at the end to match the device’s curve, it comes in gold, rose gold, and space gray to match every iPhone finish. Once… read more