Growing up, I learned The Way Things Work from author David Macaulay’s incredible illustrated books.
This week, I was surprised to see Macaulay’s endorsement in my inbox for a new illustrated explainer by a different author — but the surprise didn’t last long.
Fifteen minutes after I began skimming through an advance copy of Hidden Systems, which just came out this week, I immediately ordered the book for my kids. It looks like a fantastic way to help them conceptualize the internet, the world’s water supply, and our power grid — and get them thinking about the infrastructure of the world they’ll someday inherit.
In 262 pages, author and cartoonist Dan Nott tackles each of these systems in comic panel form, piecing together the building blocks of how they work and the basics of how they were conceived, all without ignoring the societal challenges facing each one. “I began drawing about hidden systems because comics seem to have this superpower-like ability to compare how we think about something with how it works concretely,” writes Nott in the book.
Watching the copyrights on art expire still feels like a novelty. After all, the US public domain was frozen in time for 20 years, thawing only in 2019. But this weekend’s Public Domain Day will give our cultural commons a few particularly notable new works.
As outlined by Duke Law School’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, the start of 2023 will mark the end of US copyrights on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s final Sherlock Holmes stories — along with the seminal science fiction movie Metropolis, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, and the first full-length “talkie” film The Jazz Singer.
The public domain lets anyone republish, remix, or remake works without the permission of the rights holder — typically long after the original author is dead. In previous years, it’s created booms around new interpretations of works like The Great Gatsby, which entered the public domain in 2021.
More generally, you can thank it for Dracula Daily, a newsletter that creatively recontextualized the classic vampire novel, or its spiritual successor Whale Weekly about Moby Dick. And as the Duke summary points out, the public domain frees archivists to preserve and redistribute works that might otherwise be lost, like a wealth of silent films (including Metropolis) whose copyright is definitively expiring this year.
It looked like I could grab the apple. Jason Lawrence, a Google researcher, was sitting across from me, holding the fruit in his hand. I could see it, it was red and shiny, and my brain was telling me it was right there. But Lawrence and the apple were actually in another room — they were just being projected in front of me through Google’s Project Starline.
Project Starline is Google’s next-generation 3D video chat booth that it first introduced at Google I/O 2021. Slide into a booth, and your image is supposed to be projected to another booth in real time, as if you’re actually sitting with somebody else across a table.
In a heartwarming video, Google showed family and friends joyfully connecting with each other using Starline, and the virtual recreations looked remarkably lifelike. “That was mindblowing,” one person says in the video. “I’ve seen a lot, but I’ve never seen this,” said another.
After two years of being canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, San Diego Comic-Con’s coming back this year with a vengeance and a sizable stack of announcements, trailer drops, and early screenings of some of the entertainment industry’s most hyped projects.
While there’s almost no way to see absolutely everything that’s going down during this year’s SDCC, knowing where and when some of the convention’s biggest panels are taking place is a solid way to get the most out of your time if you’re on the con floor (or just following along from home).
Here are all of the biggest film and television panels happening at SDCC 2022 that news-hungry fans are going to want to keep an eye on.
Editor’s Note: My pick…
Star Trek Universe (12:45PM PT to 2:15PM PT, Saturday, Hall H)
Life these days can be very complicated, and many of us — I’d guess that most of us — are constantly looking for the best method to keep our lives in order.
What do you need on your grocery list? When is that work project due, and who is working on it with you? A friend wants to do a movie-watching session, but is that the same day you promised your parents to help clean the garage? Which bills are due, and can you afford to pay them all? Where is that article about which masks to wear? And on and on.
So we decided to start off 2022 by asking the staff of The Verge what they use to keep track of all their appointments / tasks / projects / workflows.
And it turned out that they use a variety of different apps or some fairly old-fashioned paper-and-pen solutions — or both. If you’re finding that this year is turning out to be a confusing one, and you need a way to try to keep your life and your sanity in order, here are some methods that we use. We hope they are helpful.
Microsoft is outlining its vision for the future of meetings today.
After a year that’s seen more people dialing into the office remotely, the company is once again banging the drum for hybrid work: a model that combines remote access with in-person work.
While the company has been teasing new concepts for Microsoft Teams in recent months, it’s now starting to bring to life an updated interface for the communications software that will help blend remote colleagues into physical meeting rooms.