Graphic: Amazon training video / Illustrations: Chelsea Beck / Photo: Brian Kahn (Gizmodo)

It’s September 30th, 2018, and the theme of the last week was memory. Not just at Gizmodo, where we wrapped up Memory Week, our series on nostalgia, neuroscience, and all that data tightly locked up in our brains. No, you should additionally be trying to remember everything you’ve put into the sprawling Facebook information ecosystem, which has apparently suffered a hack that could have given attackers control of reams of the data linked to an estimated 50 million profiles. Whoops!

If remembering all the dumb messages you sent a while ago—something soon-to-be-former Tesla chairman Elon Musk might have some insight about—strikes you as too terrifying a task, we’ve got you covered. Sooth your panicked brain with a more peaceful stroll down a Memory Week lane, along with all the other best content from Gizmodo this week.

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The iPhone XS Is Forever

Photo: Raul Marrero (  Gizmodo)

I’m sick of buying iPhones. For the past decade, I’ve been buying them and loving them and breaking them and losing them and replacing them and, when September comes along, upgrading them. Last year, it cost me over $1,200 to get an iPhone X, and against my better judgment, I’m very seriously considering spending even more money to get the iPhone XS.

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But it’s not because the iPhone XS is wildly better. It’s not. I want to buy the iPhone XS (prices start at $1,000) so that I can stop buying iPhones for a while. This thing feels future-proof, and yes, I’m aware of how dumb that sounds.

Facebook Is Giving Advertisers Access to Your Shadow Contact Information

Illustration: Angelica Alzona (Gizmodo Media Group)

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Last week, I ran an ad on Facebook that was targeted at a computer science professor named Alan Mislove. Mislove studies how privacy works on social networks and had a theory that Facebook is letting advertisers reach users with contact information collected in surprising ways. I was helping him test the theory by targeting him in a way Facebook had previously told me wouldn’t work. I directed the ad to display to a Facebook account connected to the landline number for Alan Mislove’s office, a number Mislove has never provided to Facebook. He saw the ad within hours.

One of the many ways that ads get in front of your eyeballs on Facebook and Instagram is that the social networking giant lets an advertiser upload a list of phone numbers or email addresses it has on file; it will then put an ad in front of accounts associated with that contact information. A clothing retailer can put an ad for a dress in the Instagram feeds of women who have purchased from them before, a politician can place Facebook ads in front of anyone on his mailing list, or a casino can offer deals to the email addresses of people suspected of having a gambling addiction. Facebook calls this a “custom audience.”

Amazon’s Aggressive Anti-Union Tactics Revealed in Leaked 45-Minute Video

Screenshot: Amazon training video (Amazon)

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Amazon, the country’s second-largest employer, has so far remained immune to any attempts by U.S. workers to form a union. With rumblings of employee organization at Whole Foods—which Amazon bought for $13.7 billion last year—a 45-minute union-busting training video produced by the company was sent to Team Leaders of the grocery chain last week, according to sources with knowledge of the store’s activities. Recordings of that video, obtained by Gizmodo, provide valuable insight into the company’s thinking and tactics.

Each of the video’s six sections, which the narrator states are “specifically designed to give you the tools that you need for success when it comes to labor organizing,” take place in an animated simulacrum of a Fulfillment Center. The video’s narrators are clad in the reflective vests typical of the real-world setting. “We are not anti-union, but we are not neutral either,” the video states, drawing a distinction that would likely be largely academic to potential organizers. To expound on what non-neutrality might look like, the video adds in plain language (emphasis ours):

We do not believe unions are in the best interest of our customers, our shareholders, or most importantly, our associates. Our business model is built upon speed, innovation, and customer obsession—things that are generally not associated with union. When we lose sight of those critical focus areas we jeopardize everyone’s job security: yours, mine, and the associates’.”

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Let’s Make the World Wide Web a National Monument

Illustration: Chelsea Beck (Gizmodo)

We’re at a critical inflection point for the World Wide Web. Everything is changing, disappearing, splintering, expanding, and being remade. It’s time we provide legal protection to what’s left of this moment in history. And one way to do that is to make it a national monument.

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It’s difficult to overstate what a unique moment this is in terms of historical progress and opportunity. The world has bifurcated into online and IRL experience, and the two are intrinsically feeding off of each other. But unlike any other turning point in human history, the technology that’s upending how civilization functions is also memorializing its own impact on the world through the input of the 3.2 billion people who currently use it. We are constantly creating records and telling each other stories about what life was like around the turn of the millennium, and we’re doing most of it online.

My Grudge Against Iomega and the Click of Death

GIF: Angelica Alzona (GMG)

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There are companies I dislike, companies I disagree with, even companies that have occasionally angered me with disappointing gadgets that underdeliver. But to date there’s only one company that I hold a genuine, deep-rooted grudge against. It’s the reason I don’t have copies of most of the work I did in college, and I will never forgive.

There are companies I dislike, companies I disagree with, even companies that have occasionally angered me with disappointing gadgets that underdeliver. But to date there’s only one company that I hold a genuine, deep-rooted grudge against. It’s the reason I don’t have copies of most of the work I did in college, and I will never forgive.

In the late 90s, I studied Radio and Television Arts (a fancy term for broadcasting), at a time when floppy disks were still the most common way to transfer data between computers. Their paltry 1.4MB capacity was more than enough to store essays or the occasional photo, but useless for moving big multimedia files like audio clips, videos, or massive Photoshop creations. Today you can squeeze half-a-terabyte of data onto a memory card the size of a fingernail, but 20 years ago that much storage was inconceivable.

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Did My First Memory Make Me Who I Am Today?

This image from The Last Starfighter is one of the first things I remember.
Photo: Universal Pictures

My first memory begins with popcorn. I’m sitting in the back seat of a station wagon and there, lodged between the passenger’s seat and the middle armrest, is a kernel of popcorn. We’re at the drive-in watching a movie and I’m four-years-old. I know this not because I remembered my age, but because the drive-in was showing The Last Starfighter.

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As far as memories go, outside of the fact that this is my first one, it’s not particularly interesting. Everyone has a first memory, people remember seeing movies, the connection makes sense. However, it becomes curious when you fast-forward to today. I write about movies for a living. Specifically, on io9, I write about science fiction movies for a living. It seems very coincidental that my very first memory is watching a science fiction movie, something so intrinsically linked to the person I am today almost 40 years later. I guess movies have been my passion for as long as I can remember, literally.

That got me wondering, is it possible this memory made me who I am? Or did who I am dictate the memory?

The Earth’s Memory Is Locked in Ancient Seafloor Muck

One of the 19,800 sediment cores stored at the Lamont-Dohertty Earth Observatory Core Repository.
Photo: Brian Kahn (Gizmodo)

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The Earth does not forget. Meteor impacts, nuclear detonations, Ice Ages, earthquakes: The memories of them all are imprinted in the muck at the bottom of the ocean.

Digging through the sediment layer by layer reveals nearly everything the planet has ever experienced, a veritable history book of life and death on Earth. You just have to learn how to speak in the language of shells, dust, and chemical compounds, which is exactly what Earth scientists probing the muck have learned to do. The memories they translate into English are ones we can all learn from.

Would Perfect Memory Be a Burden or a Superpower?

Illustration: Elena Scotti (Photos: Getty Images)

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The ability to remember every moment of your life sounds like an amazing proposition, but for the very few people who actually have this ability, it comes at a cost.

Known as Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (HSAM), or hyperthymesia, the condition—such that it is—was first chronicled by University of California-Irvine neurobiologist James McGaugh in 2006. In his seminal Neurocase study, McGaugh described “AJ,” a 42-year-old woman “whose remembering dominates her life.”

12 Unforgettable Sci-Fi Movies About Memory

“Secret agent. How much is that?” Quaid fine-tunes his Rekall getaway in Total Recall.
Image: TriStar

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Filmmakers love to explore memory problems—in the form of amnesia, dementia, manipulation, conflicting recollections of the past, you name it. And this thematic fascination isn’t limited to any one movie genre; it’s the one thing Overboard, Memento, and Rashomon all have in common.

But for our purposes today, we’re specifically looking at science fiction movies—so, sorry, fans of the Bourne movies, Shutter Island, Angel Heart, Spellbound, Desperately Seeking Susan, The Notebook, The Manchurian Candidate, and on and on. And while there are tons of sci-fi movies that use memory as a plot device, here are 12 of our favorites.

Do Dogs Forget Their People?

Illustration: Chelsea Beck (Gizmodo)

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Let’s say your long-term relationship totally implodes. Browsing for a new apartment, or a therapist that takes your insurance, you hear your dog bark in the other room—and realize, with a start, that it’s not actually your dog. Once you’re all moved out, the dog will be out of your life, too. Stewing in self-pity you think—and subsequently become convinced—that this dog, who you’ve fed and bathed who knows how many times, and coined several adorable nicknames for, will forget you ever existed by the start of next spring.

Who Are the Eternals, the Cosmic Superheroes Who Could Be the Future of the MCU?

Ikaris goes toe-to-toe with the Hulk on the cover of Eternals #15.
Image: Jack Kirby (Marvel Comics)

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We still don’t know a lot about Marvel’s movie plans after Avengers 4, but one teased project in particular got a huge boost last Friday: the Eternals, a quirky ‘70s group of characters created by the legendary Jack Kirby, are getting a movie from director Chloé Zhao. Unfamiliar with what could be the new faces of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? We’re here to help.

Understanding The Eternals requires a bit of a leap back to before their creation—and even to another comics publisher.

Hidden Pyramid Among Thousands of Ancient Maya Structures Revealed by New Aerial Survey

Lidar image of El Zotz, the closest city to Tikal.
Image: Thomas Garrison/PACUNAM

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Using an airborne laser mapping technique called lidar, an international team of archaeologists has uncovered an astounding number of previously undetected structures belonging to the ancient Maya civilization—a discovery that’s changing what we know of this remarkable society.

As difficult as it is to believe, this mapping effort, which is now the single largest lidar survey in the history of Mesoamerican archaeology, revealed the presence of 61,480 distinct ancient structures hidden within the dense tropical rainforests of Guatemala.

6 Mistakes the Last Airbender Movie Made That We Pray Aren’t Repeated on the New Show

Punch-punch-kick-kick-swirl = rock
Image: Nickelodeon

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Netflix announced last week that it’s doing a live-action series based on Avatar: The Last Airbender, starting production next year. Of course, as much as we’d like to forget, this isn’t the first live-action adaptation of Nickelodeon’s iconic animated series. And the previous version made a lot of mistakes. Bad ones.

The showrunners for the new Avatar series have already said they’re focused on casting culturally appropriate, non-whitewashed actors in the roles. So, that’s one major problem from the movie fixed! Here are some other things we’re hoping this new adaptation gets right—unlike M. Night Shyamalan’s previous Last Airbender catastrophe.

Okay, Facebook, You Win. I’m Done.

Illustration: Facebook / Gizmodo

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Facebook just reported a massive data breach. Nearly 50 million accounts were affected by the breach, though it remains unclear whether the accounts were misused or if personal data was accessed. My account might be one of those affected. I know this, because when I went to check, Facebook had logged me off. At which point, my face fell onto my keyboard, drooling a bit from one side or the other. I’ve been dealing with bullshit from this company for years. I’m over it.