Amazon Is Invading Your Home With Micro-Convenience

The company’s new line of voice-automated products, including a wall clock and a microwave, could help it amass an enormous database of consumer behavior.

Almost every day I make a pot of tea. Strong, black tea, the kind you have to steep properly in a ritual that involves a kettle, a tea tin, tea lights, a tea cozy. It’s a four-minute brew, so I set a timer. I used to do it on the microwave, but some time ago I just started asking Alexa,… read more

Alex Jones and Marco Rubio Explain the Internet

The encounter between the Infowars host and the Florida senator offers a perfect summary of why life online is so terrible.

Senator Marco Rubio was holding court with reporters outside a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing when Infowars publisher Alex Jones confronted him. The committee had been grilling the Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and the Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on their companies’ role in spreading disinformation to impact elections. Jones had been in the audience, and he wanted to know… read more

The Irony of the Jacksonville Mass Shooting

Two former athletes were killed playing a supposedly safer, video-game alternative to football.

On Sunday afternoon, a man shot and killed three people, including himself, and injured at least 11 others at a Madden NFL video-game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida. The Jacksonville police impounded the shooter’s car, suggesting that he drove down from his home in Baltimore (which the FBI has since raided). It’s not yet known whether he planned to commit the… read more

Welcome to the Age of Privacy Nihilism

Google and Facebook are easy scapegoats, but companies have been collecting, selling, and reusing your personal data for decades, and now that the public has finally noticed, it’s too late. The personal-data privacy war is long over, and you lost.

A barista gets burned at work, buys first-aid cream at Target, and later that day sees a Facebook ad for the same product. In another Target, someone shouts down the aisle to a companion to pick up some Red Bull; on the ride home, Instagram serves a sponsored post for the beverage. A home baker wishes aloud for a KitchenAid… read more

Why It Feels So Terrible to Drop Your Kid at College

The freedom of adulthood makes parents lose touch with dread, and emptying the nest offers a certain, and sometimes unwelcome, return to it.

For an adult who is no longer young but not yet old, there is perhaps no better preparation for death than sending a child to college. That’s not because it’s a reminder of the ceaseless march of age, though it is. It’s not because it unleashes a stampede of wild memories, though it does. And it’s not because it’s a… read more

More Bridges Will Collapse

Two disasters in Europe are the latest examples of the decline of infrastructure—as an idea as much as a physical thing.

There’s an old chestnut about infrastructure that goes, Infrastructure is everything you don’t notice—until it fails. It’s a definition that works for any kind of infrastructure, too: big or small, visible or invisible, bridges and garage doors, electric grids and Wi-Fi routers. Infrastructure is everything you take for granted. And you only notice that you take it for granted when… read more

The Mopeds Are Coming

Shared, electric motor scooters are racing to catch up with Bird, Lime, and other kick-scooter brands, as tech companies attempt to reinvent urban mobility. But can these vehicles ever find a place in America?

When King Carlos III commissioned the Puerta de Alcalá in the 1770s, the city of Madrid was already almost a thousand years old. The gate, designed in the neoclassical style popular during that era, predates more well-known triumphal arches in Europe, like the Arc de Triomphe and the Brandenburg Gate. At the time, the gate connected to the city’s medieval… read more

Apple Is Worth One Trillion Dollars

This is what it really looks like to “change the world.”

Apple, a company founded 42 years ago in a Santa Clara Valley garage to make personal computers, is now worth $1 trillion. It becomes the first American company to achieve that feat. A trillion is an unimaginably big number no matter what you’re counting—but especially when it’s money. It’s the kind of number usually reserved for measures of aggregated national… read more

Facebook’s Big Disinformation Bust Is Cold Comfort

The company found, and removed, possible election interference on its platforms. But the government, and the world, is too reliant on the company to protect democracy.

Facebook announced today that it has removed pages, events, and accounts involved in “coordinated inauthentic behavior” on its social-media platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. The posts and accounts in question appeared to have been created to sow discord in advance of a second “Unite the Right” rally in Washington D.C., meant to memorialize last year’s deadly white supremacist protest in… read more

Something Is Wrong at Facebook

But that doesn’t mean the company is doomed.

Facebook stock was down over 20 percent in after-hours trading yesterday after the company announced earnings that missed expectations, along with expectations of slower growth in the future. The drop, which was the largest single decline in the firm’s history as a public company, wiped more than $100 billion from the company’s market value. It wasn’t the first time Facebook’s… read more