The Best of Gizmodo This Week

The theme this week on Gizmodo was “survival”—how to survive a natural (or unnatural) disaster, the wilderness, the apocalypse, what have you — including, of course, Apple’s new mobile OS. Here are the highlights from this week.

23 Things You Can Do in iOS 9 That You Couldn’t Do in iOS 8


It may have come to your attention that there’s a fresh version of iOS in town. But aside from a font change, what’s different about this new edition of Apple’s mobile OS? To help you navigate around iOS 9, we’ve listed all the tricks that it can do that were beyond the capabilities of iOS 8.

Why Apple Decided to Block Ads on the Same Day It Started Pushing a News App

Well that’s quite a coincidence. The very same day Apple turned its News app into a mandatory blob on your home screen, it also rolled out ad blocking capabilities in iOS 9.

Every Single Movie That Jimmy Carter Watched at the White House


Ronald Reagan is known as the movie junkie president. He was, after all, an actor before getting into politics. But do you know who watched even more movies than Reagan while in office? Jimmy Carter. And Carter only served a single term.

Google’s OnHub Is a Mysterious and Slightly Terrible Device


The OnHub is Google’s latest weird experiment. It’s a $200 router stuffed with fourteen antennas that’s being marketed as a cure-all for people who have a zillion wireless devices with different network needs. But what does that actually mean? I tore down my OnHub with the hardware hackers at iFixit to find out.

Ben Carson’s Views on Vaccines are Some Anti-Science Pandering Bullshit


In another depressing display of scientific illiteracy, several Republican candidates decided to take jabs at vaccines last night, including Ben Carson–you know, the guy with an actual medical license.

Amazon’s $50 Fire Tablet Is The Impulse Buy That Never Ends


Every product Amazon makes is designed to sell you something else. It’s an open secret. That’s why the company could lose money on the Kindle Fire—yet still reap a profit. Now, Amazon is introducing the most irresistable moneysuck yet: a $50 tablet.

The World Finally Admits Microsoft Surface Is the Shit


“It’s a machine out of its time, in a way. And a lot of us aren’t quite ready for it yet.” Those were our final thoughts on the Microsoft’s Surface Pro way back in early 2013—an impressive machine, but one that was too much future at the time. Well, the future is now, apparently.

Here’s the Exact Way That the Ice Bucket Challenge Helped ALS Research


Last year’s hugely popular “ice bucket challenge” saw celebrities pouring buckets of ice water over their heads to help fight Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS). Skeptics dismissed it as mere “slacktivism,” but researchers told us that the money led directly to a scientific breakthrough. Can slacktivism actually work?

Why Do People Take Selfies In Emergencies?


When a United Airlines flight made an emergency landing this summer due to medical situations on board, as the oxygen masks fell down, some passengers’ phone cameras went up. But psychologists say the instinct to snap a selfie in a near-death experience isn’t all narcissism—it’s also about survival and self-preservation.

How To Survive Pretty Much Anything


Survival is a mix of preparation, knowledge, tools and luck. This week we’ll be exploring the practice and, to get us started, here’s the skills you need to live through pretty much anything.

Meet the Preppers Who Are Ready for the Next Massive Solar Storm


Hurricanes and blizzards are petty trifles compared with the weather phenomenon that troubles apocalypse preppers: They’re worried about a giant electromagnetic storm wiping out all technology.

Meanwhile in the Future: We Just Made Alien Contact


Humans spend a lot of time and energy wondering if there’s anybody else out there. But what if we got unequivocal evidence that there was?

How These Structures Were Engineered to Survive a Global Catastrophe


Whether spurred by the Cold War, climate change, or just the seemingly inevitable arrival of an asteroid strike, humans have gone to extraordinary trouble to plan—and build—for the worst.

This Company Wants to Start a New Sports League with Giant Fighting Robots


It wasn’t the sound that was so shocking. It was the air itself that hit me as I stood mere feet from the polycarbonate resin wall that separated people from the 220-pound remotely controlled battling robots inside the combat arena.

Tell Us What Sex Ed in the United States Is Really Like


It’s hard to talk about sex education in the United States. Not just because conservative protesters try to prevent their local schools from teaching it, but because–as John Oliver pointed out last month in a spot-on segment of Last Week Tonight–lesson plans in US schools are wildly inconsistent, varying dramatically from one school district to the next.

Today I Kayak From Cuba to Florida (UPDATE: MADE IT)


A couple months ago a friend of mine approached me with something that sounded insane. Did I want to kayak from Cuba to Florida? I hadn’t paddled in a year, it was just a month away, and I’d just broken a rib. It was almost certainly a very, very stupid idea. So I said yes.

Recreating the Plot of Hackers Using Nothing But My Fading Memories


Hackers, a 1995 movie starring Angelina Jolie’s haircut, hit theaters exactly two decades ago. Its themes have never been more relevant or concerning to our connected society. Can you remember them? I almost can.

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