TAGS: Silk Road | Cybercrime | Movies | Fraud | Gaming | dark web | Facebook | Crowdfunding | Space | Porn | Phones | Tablets | BBQ | robot | planned obsolescence | sex | Oculus Rift | VR | 3-D printing | Carbon3D | Biology | crispr | franchise | Lucasfilm | star wars | astrophysics | Interstellar | Star Citizen | videogames | ILM | Special effects | online dating | redbook | sex work
WIRED’s Eric Steuer chronicled the rise and fall of the site, and just what the Bay Area’s community of sex workers lost with its closure.
We waited 10 years for the latest installment in the Star Wars saga. And with Star Wars: The Force Awakens finally here, the next two chapters are already underway. There’s word of a Han Solo prequel. And Rogue One. If you’re old enough to have seen the original Star Wars in theaters in 1977, chances are you won’t live to see the last Star Wars movie.
Except McGregor wasn’t a Scottish oil worker. He wasn’t even real.
The team behind Upsilon Circuit hopes the unconventional realism will invite players to treat their lives more carefully—their lives within the videogame, at least. “The only way we can go a step up from this is if we actually start killing the contestants in real life,” says codeveloper Calvin Goble. We’ll keep the perma-perma-death in the game world, please.
Screw promiscuity and free love—the sexual revolution has passed from freedom of sexuality to freedom from sexuality. It’s a lifestyle embraced by the 80,000 registered users of the Asexual Visibility and Education Network.
Crispr promises solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems: Genetically modified food could solve the hunger crisis. Altered yeast could excrete ethanol and end our dependency to petrochemicals. But Crispr also hints at a darker future, seemingly out of an apocalyptic sci-fi novel: Designer babies. Bioweapons. Mutant species. And there are not, at the moment, any rules regulating how to use it.
“I don’t think we’ve diluted the artistic component with this,” says Parker, a professor of engineering at Harvard. “I think we’ve mitigated the risk of the artistic component so that other people can participate.”
This is the idea that prompted WIRED’s Adam Rogers to go deep inside Lucasfilm to explain how the forever franchise fits together, talking to the masterminds behind it (Kathleen Kennedy, John Knoll, Laurence Kasdan) to learn how all these pieces fit together (from “anthology” movies, like Rogue One, to “saga” movies, like The Force Awakens).
Of course the worm hole and black hole behave that way in the film, because that’s how they behave in real life. Director Christopher Nolan knew this, because Kip Thorne made sure of it. The famous astrophysicist helped design Interstellar’s black hole, working with a team of 30 people and thousands of computers.
By day, Matt Malone is a security specialist for Slait Consulting. By night, he earns even bigger money as a dumpster diver.
As Christmas approached in 2012, Audrey Elaine Elrod was in a bad spot financially. The 45-year-old junior-college dropout was scraping by on $344 in weekly unemployment benefits and whatever she earned selling prescription drugs and toilet paper. Elrod was engaged to a Scottish oil worker named Duke McGregor, whose son had been in a terrible automobile accident. To help cover the mounting medical expenses, Elrod made complicated money transfers to McGregor, moving vast sums overseas even as she struggled to make ends meet.
The answers are no less fascinating than the film.
MyRedBook.com provided an invaluable service, allowing sex workers to filter out violent, dangerous, or just creepy potential customers. “We lost a critical resource for building community,” says Siouxsie Q, a sex worker in Oakland. “And building community is already tough enough when you’ve been marginalized and your work is criminalized.”
The menacing, mercurial T-1000 bot in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, being made of liquid metal, shapeshifts. It’s a pretty cool trick, one that Joseph DeSimone transferred from the stuff of science fiction to the real world.
That’s where the conversation broadening the sexual spectrum started, back in 2001. Since then, it has sprawled across message boards and Tumblrs, as a way for people to identify themselves—and find each other—outside of the traditional sexual confines.
But given that the Star Citizen may not be released for years, buyers of the Destroyers—and all those other fans who have collectively donated $100 million on the game’s crowdfunding page—are just supporting a dream. Each donation, whether $96 (the average amount) or $22,500 from superfans like Wulf Knight, allows for new facets of a game world that doesn’t exist yet: a hangar for the imaginary spaceships, distinct alien languages, an interstellar public transit system.
Creating the most accurate film simulation of a black hole yet required Nolan and Thorne to answer some tricky questions. How do you depict a wormhole onscreen? How can a black hole allow for time to pass differently for different characters? How did a big-budget Hollywood movie become observational data in astrophysics?
RedBook, created in 1999, offered a few services: message boards, naughty classifieds, and, most notably, a reviews section. When the feds shut it down, buyers lost a convenient way of finding a good time. But sex workers lost a measure of safety.
DeSimone, a professor at University of North Carolina, used a 1970s printing technology called stereolithography to 3-D print objects out of liquid.
After Nuremberg, human radiation experiments were banned. After the Asilomar summit in 1977, cloning became off-limits. But with the gene-editing of Crispr, biologists are scrambling to come up with how to regulate our newfound ability to alter DNA.
The taxonomy can be confusing, and seemingly neverending: There are gray-asexuals, who identify somewhere between asexuality and more conventional interest; demisexuals, who only feel attraction in a close relationship; heteroromantics, for those who develop nonsexual feelings for members of the opposite sex; panromantics, who can feel a nonsexual crush for someone of any gender identity… Take a look at the sexual spectrum, and you’ll see that wanting sex at all—regardless of with whom—is just one part of it.
After years of hype, VR is here. The Oculus Rift headsets arrive in early 2016. And when it does, porn undoubtedly will embrace it first, just as pioneered the adoption of the VCR and the CD-ROM and streaming video.
Entertainment isn’t about finite series anymore—just look to Marvel, with Captain America and The Avengers, or DC, with Suicide Squad and Batman v. Superman. But if comic books introduced the extended universe model, Lucasfilm is standardizing it.
The Force will be with us. Always.
Uh, not so fast if you’re playing Upsilon Circuit, where death is eternal. (Its development team, RobotLovesKitty, describes it as “perma-perma-death.”) In the game, eight people play at a time, as an endless audience of spectators support or thwart them with aid or obstacles. After one character dies, a random viewer takes his or her place.
OK, maybe that last one won’t actually happen…
So, is Roberts, who pioneered the space sim genre with Wing Commander in 1990, a snake-oil salesman or the savior of real PC gaming? Is the crowdfunding strategy a viable alternative to the restrictions of big studio productions, or a long con? WIRED’s Chris Baker investigates.
Take a dive into the lives of scavengers like Malone—and learn the history behind our disavowal of the perfectly functional in favor of the immediately new, looking back to J. Gordon Lippincott, the marketer behind the Coca-Cola logo in the 1940s and the father of planned obsolescence.
Usually, 3-D printing forms layers from the bottom up, printing in the same spot again and again. DeSimone’s company, Carbon3D, takes a top-down approach, printing in one continuous motion. This enables the device to create models up to 100 times faster than other 3-D printers. This opens many new applications for the technology, as shown in the company’s prototypes at the Ford factory and a special-effects house. Some of the cool things DeSimone envisions include mechanics printing parts for vintage cars. Doctors creating bespoke emergency stents within minutes. Shape-shifting robots traveling back from the future to kill us all.
Way back in 1975, a band of college grads and recent dropouts got together in an industrial warehouse behind the airport in Van Nuys, California, to build some spaceships and random aliens for a movie they were working on. That movie became Star Wars, and the company those kids started became Industrial Light & Magic.
Next time your phone breaks, don’t buy a new one—there’s a cheaper, equally useful option. Mat Honan makes the argument that as the role of the phone has changed, it’s progressed from landline, to cell phone, to smart phone, to basically using a small tablet.
In Engineering Problem Solving and Design, an undergraduate course at Harvard, 16 students took on the challenge of creating scientifically superior brisket, developed for Williams-Sonoma. Their device weighs 300 pounds, boasts a refueling chute and proportional-integral-derivative controller, regulates its own temperature, and looks a little like V.I.N.CENT from The Black Hole. Come along as Parker and his 16 students lead WIRED’s own Tim Moynihan into the challenges, pitfalls, and smoky rewards of the world of meat science.
When 200 decommissioned Javelin Destroyers went up for sale for $2,500 each, they sold out in less than a minute. For interstellar mercenaries in the United Empire of Earth Navy—or for the avid users roleplaying as them in Star Citizen, the space sim video game created by Chris Roberts—that deal was hard to resist.
How did Ulbricht become the “Dread Pirate Roberts,” a man who oversaw a global marketplace that used Tor and bitcoin to ensure users’ anonymity? Joshuah Bearman lays it all out in the amazing untold story of Ulbricht and his Silk Road. It’s the stuff of a blockbuster, a story so bit WIRED had to tell it in two installments.
Although he doesn’t object to the term “dumpster diving,” Malone prefers the term “for-profit archaeologist.” One man’s trash is this man’s treasure—because we’re conditioned to see it that way. “We can only do what we do here because we live in a society where most people have been conditioned to look past what’s right in front of them,” says Malone.
But unlike previous technologies, VR doesn’t operate within a frame: It erases it. VR’s promise of existing within the environment has particularly high-stakes problems and potential in pornography. If you feel vertigo when you peer out of an airplane in VR, imagine what that kind of physical response to porn could be. On the other hand, nobody wants to get kinky in the Uncanny Valley.
So your avatar died in a videogame. No big deal—at the click of a button, you can begin anew.
Amy Maxmen takes you through the story of how Crispr’s capabilities were discovered, from a Danish yogurt company to big pharma to a fight at the U.S. patent office between a geomicrobiologist at UC Berkeley and a molecular biologist at MIT—and where the gene-editing tool could take us next.
For better than a decade, myRedBook.com was the go-to for anyone buying or selling sex in the San Francisco Bay Area. That ended on June 25, 2014, when the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the IRS shut down the site, insisting that RedBook engaged in “money laundering derived from racketeering based on prostitution.” The site’s founder, Eric “Red” Omuro, and operations manager, Annmarie Lanoce, both pled guilty.
In Interstellar, NASA pilot Joe Cooper travels through a worm hole in an attempt to find a new home for the people of Earth. As he does, his experience of time shifts, moving far more slowly than it does on his home planet. A black hole is bending light, and pulling space with it.
He’s not diving in just any dumpster. By targeting electronics stores, like Office Depot or Best Buy, he makes away with like-new vacuums, computers, surveillance systems—you name it. If he pursued this secondary career full-time, Malone estimates he’d make more than $250,000 a year.
WIRED’s Peter Rubin takes a look at what early VR—as guided by the inevitable power of the porn industry—will look like, and how it might introduce a dimension that’s all too devoid from 2-D porn: intimacy.
Ross William Ulbricht was an idealistic Eagle Scout who earned a full scholarship to the University of Texas, where he studied physics, before pursuing a graduate degree. Not exactly the type of guy you picture being the kingpin of a $1.2 billion drug marketplace. But that’s exactly what he was.
Ulbricht created the Silk Road, the anonymous online marketplace where where anything was available for a price. It took the feds two years to bring it down, and when they did, a jury in February convicted the 29-year-old on charges of money laundering, computer hacking, and conspiracy to traffic narcotics.
But don’t take our word for it. Ask Steven Spielberg, Dennis Muren, Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, John Knoll, Ron Howard, John Dykstra, Colin Trevorrow, James Cameron, Guillermo del Toro, George Lucas himself, and 31 others. That’s exactly what WIRED did in the definitive oral history of ILM.
It would be difficult to overstate the impact Star Wars and ILM have had on filmmaking and popular culture. Both revolutionized how movies are made, and ILM pioneered many of the special effects we take for granted. Its wizards are made us oooh and aaah through 317 films, including Raiders of the Lost Ark and E.T. and Jurassic Park and, of course, all of Star Wars.
Elrod’s messages—and many thousands of dollars—were going to a con artist. And by completing his wire transfers for him, she participated in a wide-reaching fraud. In this fascinating true crime story, Brendan I. Koerner examines how these scams, operated by “Yahoo Boys” in Nigeria, rely on idealized romantic love to financially and emotionally devastate their victims.
Yes, we still use our phones to make calls—but predominantly, we rely on them to move data. That means the 4G wireless tech of LTE, which means bigger batteries, which means smart phones the size of small tablets. If you do the math—and can put up with a couple inconveniences, like using Skype and WhatsApp instead of built-in apps like Phone and Messages—a tablet might just be the cheapest phone around.
You won’t find the best brisket in St. Louis or Memphis or even Texas, but behind the ivied walls of Harvard University. This may get the best pitmasters grinding their teeth and cursing your name, but Kevin “Kit” Parker and his students don’t care. They didn’t designed their smoker for BBQ snobs anyway.
Momentum Is Building to Block Ethereum ASICs
Several ethereum miners and developers have come forward with the goal of stopping specialized mining hardware from effectively operating on the network.
Underway since April, the controversy surro
Brazil's Largest Independent Broker Is Launching a Crypto Exchange
The parent company of Brazil's largest independent broker is setting up a cryptocurrency exchange, Bloomberg reported Thursday.
Grupo XP, which owns brokerage firm XP Investimentos, plans to launch
XRP Shot Up 75% During Friday's Bullish Trading Session
The price of XRP spiked as high as 75 percent above its opening price at one point during Friday's trading session amidst a broader market bull parade.
At roughly 14:45 UTC, the price of XRP rose
US Congressman Drafts Bills to Aid Blockchain Development
U.S. Representative Tom Emmer wants to support the development and use of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
To that end, the lawmaker announced a trio of blockchain-focused bills Friday,
Report Finds Cryptojacking Instances Jumped 400% In A Year
Instances of cryptojacking malware have jumped more than 400 percent since last year, a new report finds.
A collaborative group of cybersecurity researchers called the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA) p
Bitmain CEO Announces New 7nm Bitcoin Mining Chip
The bitcoin mining industry is having an exciting couple of days.
Just a day after Bitfury revealed a new 14nm mining chip called the Bitfury Clarke, Bitmain has upped the ante with the announcemen
Brave Browser Is Using Civic's Blockchain Platform to Verify Publishers
Privacy-focused internet browser Brave will begin using blockchain identity startup Civic's verification services to ensure publishers are paid for their content with Brave's Basic Attention Token (BA
US Navy Launches Blockchain Research in Mission to Improve Tracking System
A U.S. Navy command is exploring the potential of blockchain technology in tracking aircraft parts.
The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) – which provides material support for aircraft and airborn