Gizmodo was all about examining the past and future this week.
Thinking about what our world will look like far, far in the future can be tricky, especially when we consider what humans will be leaving behind. Earther looked at the future of fossils to explore what might remain long after humans have vanished.
On the flip side, Gizmodo also reported on a 1,500-year-old Pumapunku temple that scientists were able to virtually reconstruct using historical data, architectural software, and 3D-printed tools.
Of course, there’s still much happening in our present. And 2018 draws to a close and we set our sights on a new year, it seems as good a time as any to consider overhauling your privacy and security — which means giving some serious thought to how your data is used and monitored.
First, if you use any one of these 25 popular passwords, that should be your first order of business. I might also suggest considering who you want to see your stuff online, which we can walk you through right here.
Don’t miss these and the rest of Gizmodo’s best stories of the week down below.
The 1,500-year-old Pumapunku temple in western Bolivia is considered a crowning achievement of Mesoamerican architecture, yet no one knows what the original structure actually looked like. Until now.
The universe began with a bang—and things immediately got weird.
In 100 million years, human civilisation will have bit the dust. Perhaps a nuclear war scorched the planet, or a last-ditch bid to solve climate change backfired horribly. Or, more optimistically, we overcame the myriad challenges of the 21st century, took to the stars and evolved into new species on alien worlds.
Either way, what you and I consider humans will have long since vanished, our memories lost to the grinding colossus of time.
The first teaser trailer for Avengers: Endgame dropped last week, featuring a universe devoid of 50 per cent of all living things thanks to Thanos’ extremely poorly thought-through ecological genocide.
The Big Bad was inspired to wipe out half of all life after watching his home world of Titan descend into chaos when it couldn’t feed its populace anymore.
All told, 2018 was a great year to be a Star Wars fan, with a new movie, a new TV show, big surprises, huge news, and answers to old questions. There’s been a lot going on in the galaxy, far, far away. Here are our favourite moments of the year — barring a last-minute trailer and title reveal for Episode IX.
In 2018, we’ve seen some good things, some bad things, and many that were somewhere in between. As we get ready to celebrate the year with our official rankings of everything that was good and terrible in movies, TV, comics, and beyond, we thought we’d start by fixing some of those things!
Surveying the whole scope of human history vis-à-vis food, a couple of themes emerge. One is that humans like their food to taste good. Another is that they like it to not kill them. These two qualities often cohere in the same foodstuff—apples, for instance, taste great, and are not to my knowledge toxic — but inevitably the tastes-good/won’t-kill-you ratio’s sometimes less than ideal.
For some foods, this is a selling point — fugu, say, the poisonous fish you need a certificate to properly prepare. For others, lethality’s just an unfortunate byproduct—as with the alloy in early tin cans, which sometimes gave people lead poisoning.
The tech world told a lot of lies in 2018, and it was caught in those lies at what feels like an unprecedented rate. Some Silicon Valley players even began to wake up to the lies they told themselves over the years. With such a flurry of falsehoods, it’s worth taking a look back to see who went big in the year that public trust in tech really started to tank.
Nearly two years before the U.S. government’s first known inquiry into the activities of Reddit co-founder and famed digital activist Aaron Swartz, the FBI swept up his email data in a counterterrorism investigation that also ensnared students at an American university, according to a once-secret document first published by Gizmodo.
Autonomous vehicles were supposed to make driving safer, and they may yet—some of the more optimistic research indicates self-driving cars could save tens of thousands of lives a year in the U.S. alone. But so far, a recklessness has defined the culture of the largest companies pursuing the technology—Uber, Google, and arguably even Tesla—and has led directly to unnecessary crashes, injury, even death.
Last year, I was trying to solve a mystery. Facebook’s “People You May Know” tool was outing sex workers’ real identities to their clients, and vice versa, and I was trying to figure out how. A sex worker using the pseudonym Leila told me she had gone to great lengths to hide her identity from clients by using an alternate name, alternate email address, and burner phone number—contact information she didn’t provide to Facebook—yet Facebook was still inextricably linking her with her clients, suggesting them to her real-name account as people she might want to friend.
All of a sudden, it seems like almost no one is making laptops like Alienware makes laptops: beefy, loud, and fast. Most of the top gaming laptop makers have embraced the design style popularised by Razer and supported by Nvidia’s Max-Q design ethos: thin and sacrificing a little power for portability. But not Alienware man. This company is still making laptops that are lap in name only, and the Alienware m15, in particular, stands out, because it’s really big, it’s really powerful. And as it turns out, it’s surprisingly portable.
Courtesy of the New York Times, we just got another reminder of how invasive location tracking through apps can be—which might have caused you to turn off this particular permission for a bunch of apps on your smartphone. But location tracking goes a lot deeper than that.
It now seems to be a truth universally acknowledged that social media is bad—bad for our well-being and privacy, too much of a time-sink, and so on. But does it have to be? Can it be made good? Or, slightly less bad? Shaking up who you follow and share with can do wonders for your social media life, and here’s how to go about it.
The Amazon Fire TV Recast is a wacky gadget. It’s not wacky in that it looks weird. (It’s just a simple black box.) It’s also not wacky because it does wacky stuff. (It’s a DVR for over-the-air TV.) The Recast is wacky because it does this one hyper-specific thing really well. I’m not sure why Amazon even wanted to make it, but serious cord cutters will be glad the company did.