The EU Copyright Directive, Starforce, Ray-Tracing and Apple: Best Gizmodo Posts of the Week

Photo: Getty/Maria Baratova, Illustration: Angelica Alzona, Photo: Warner Bros.

The European Union passed its disastrous Copyright Directive this week, including amended versions of its onerous Articles 11 and 13 (the so-called “link tax” and “upload filter,” respectively). There’s still time to make sure it never passes into law by defeating a final ratification vote in January, though given the 438-226 vote on Wednesday it seems all but certain the bill will get through in something resembling its current form.

We’ve got your primer on what exactly this bill entails and how it will affect the internet—as well as everything from Apple’s biggest announcements of the week to how recently-downgraded Tropical Depression Florence could wreak havoc on the environment—below.


The EU’s Disastrous Copyright Bill Is Back to Break the Internet

Photo: Getty

In July, a committee for the European Parliament voted to move forward with new copyright legislation that would totally overhaul the way the internet works and threaten the existence of everything from encyclopedias to memes. On Wednesday, amendments will come up for a vote, and the future of the world wide web is at stake.

The EU Copyright Directive was originally a much more timid set of reforms, said Julia Reda, a member of European Parliament from Germany. This past spring, the legislation became extremely controversial when Articles 11 and 13 were introduced. Critics say these two misguided proposals would stifle innovation, give more power to big monopolies, harm the flow of information, and generally turn the web into a pretty boring place. Over 70 of the most prominent tech experts in the world (including Tim-Berners Lee, the inventor of the world wide web) condemned the copyright directive in a group statement in June. It will apply to so many countries and be so complicated that there’s reason to believe it would simply become the de facto standard for the world.


Bravest Warriors Is Coming Back to Help With Your Adventure Time Withdrawal

The Bravest Warriors.
Image: Nelvana (VRV)

Like all good things, Adventure Time has come to an end. As sad as that may be, there’s another story from series creator Pendleton Ward’s imagination worth your attention, and it’s about to make it triumphant return.

Bravest Warriors tells the story of four teens who become the newest generation of spacefaring, dimension-hopping heroes responsible for protecting the universe from all manner of mayhem-loving ne’er-do-wells. Outfitted with technology that transforms their emotions into weapons made of hard light, Chris, Beth, Danny, and Wallow, travel from crisis to crisis as they try to maintain the peace and discover their places in the world.


A Guide to Starforce, Captain Marvel’s Kree Superteam

Carol and the Starforce as we will see them in Captain Marvel.
Photo: Chuck Zlotnik/Marvel Studios ( Entertainment Weekly)

Carol Danvers is stepping into the spotlight for the long-awaited Captain Marvel next year. But as part of her revamped origins, she won’t be alone at first—because she’s heading to the stars and meeting up with faces familiar and new to form an old-school comics team: Starforce. Here’s what you need to know.

The Strange, Beautiful, and Now Tumblr-Friendly History of Sci-Fi Musicals

A scene from Be More Chill, now headed to Broadway.
Photo: Maria Baratova

Science fiction has a complicated history in musical theater. Much like the Academy Awards, which usually reward stories about “real people” over sci-fi and fantasy (with 2017's Best Oscar win for The Shape of Water being a notable exception), musical theater audiences tend to scoff at spacey sagas. However, some sci-fi musicals have managed to break through the snobbery and make a lasting impact. Some are brilliant, like The Rocky Horror Show. Others are about Thomas the Tank Engine in space. It’s a mixed bag.

A Convenient Guide Through DC’s Wild and Uncertain Film Universe

The gathered heroes, villains, and potentially exiting stars of the DC movieverse.
Photo: Warner Bros.

It should tell you something that we have run multiple versions of these reminder guides for the state of Warner Bros.’s DC Entertainment movie universe. But it’s not every week that your whole understanding of the fragile state of a movie universe gets turned upside down by talk of one of its biggest stars exiting, is it?

Do Kids Feel Stronger Emotions Than Adults?

Illustration: Angelica Alzona (Gizmodo)

It’s easy to feel smug around kids. You might not have it all together—you might, in fact, be rapidly disintegrating professionally and psychologically—but at least you can spill some apple juice without wailing inconsolably for six hours. Comparatively terrible things happen to you all the time, and you don’t freak out about it, or if you do, you do so quietly, not right there in the gym/office/strip-mall Popeye’s/etc. But are you really feeling any less, or have you just become more adept at deceiving others, and/or yourself?

For this week’s Giz Asks, we asked a number of psychologists whether kids really do feel stronger emotions than adults. As it turns out, this is a question that many researchers are still actively investigating. Science has as yet provided no way of reliably gauging emotions, and so while we can say with some certainty that kids seem to feel more intense emotions, we can’t know for sure—and there’s persuasive evidence out there that all of us, kids and adults, might feel some things the same way.


The Large Hadron Collider Turns 10: Here’s What’s Next for Particle Physics

The LHC inside its tunnel
Photo: CERN

September 10 marked the 10th anniversary of when the Large Hadron Collider first powered on. Since it’s already achieved its most well-known goal—to discover the Higgs boson—you might wonder what else is happening at the famous collider.

The Large Hadron Collider, located in Geneva, Switzerland, is the world’s largest scientific apparatus. It’s a pair of intersecting 16-mile-round rings of superconducting magnets that accelerate bunches of particles (usually protons, sometimes entire atomic nuclei) at high energies and collide them inside of building-sized detectors. The LHC’s most notable achievement was discovering the Higgs boson, the last particle predicted by the Standard Model, the blueprint of particle physics. Scientists have since been working on what comes next.


Archaeologists Have Found the World’s Oldest Known Drawing in a South African Cave

The red marks on this flake represent the oldest known drawing in the archaeological record, according to new research.
Image: Craig Foster

Some 73,000 years ago in what is now South Africa, an early human used a red ochre crayon to draw a cross-hatched pattern onto a smooth flake, according to new research published today. It’s now considered the earliest evidence of drawing in the archaeological record.

The drawing, which consists of three red lines intersecting with six other lines, is reminiscent of the pound symbol. What this cross-hatched pattern meant to the artist is something we may never know, but as the authors of the new Nature paper point out, it was most definitely an intentional drawing. It predates previous evidence of drawing by at least 30,000 years (though the actual figure may be closer to 9,000 years—more on that in just a bit). Humans, as this discovery makes clear, have been doodling for a very long time.


NASA’s Efforts to Contact Opportunity Rover Ramp Up as Martian Dust Storm Clears

Opportunity’s view from the summit of “Cape Tribulation.”
Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

As the planet-wide Martian dust storm clears, NASA scientists have increased their efforts to contact the nearly 15-year-old Opportunity rover, which has been silent since June 10.

Some scientists are beginning to feel apprehensive, but there’s a plan in place.. The deep-space network of NASA communications satellites began a 45-day period of “active listening” on Wednesday, during which they will send signals from Earth to Mars several times a day. Radio receivers will listen passively and continue doing so until January 2019, at the earliest.


Study Suggests BPA-Free Plastics Are Just as Harmful to Health

Photo: Drew McNew ( Getty Images)

Plastic products that boast of being “BPA-free” aren’t necessarily any safer for us, suggests a new mouse study published Thursday in Current Biology. The chemicals used to replace BPA in these plastics can still leak out and affect the sperm and eggs of both male and female mice, it found. And these same effects could be happening in people.

Bisphenol A, or BPA, is a chemical commonly used to create polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. These clear white plastics are themselves used in food and drink packaging, as well as consumer products and medical devices, while resins are used to coat metal products like canned foods. When these products degrade or are otherwise damaged (from being repeatedly heated in a microwave, for example), they can leach out BPA, exposing us to it. As a result, it’s estimated that 93 percent of Americans have some level of BPA in their system.


Everything Apple Announced Today

Image: Apple

Another iPhone day is now behind us, and even the most skeptical Apple fans might be asking themselves, “Was that it?!” We got three new iPhones and a new Apple Watch. That’s it.

To be reasonable, 2018 is an off-year for Apple. It’s an “s” year, a time when the company bumps specs rather than completely overhauling its iPhones. Apple announced two new iPhones with an “s” after the name: the iPhone Xs and the iPhone Xs Max. The third device is called the iPhone XR, which represents a new naming scheme, and might be the most interesting of the bunch. And again, being reasonable, the Apple Watch did get its first ever redesign. Everything Apple announced this year still seems a little underwhelming, though‚ despite the fact that the sheer number of new specs seems a little bit overwhelming.


Apple iPhone Xs: The Complete Rundown


One year after the release of the iPhone X, Apple has returned in 2018 to completely revamp its entire phone lineup with multiple new handsets based on last year’s $1,000 flagship: So say hello to the iPhone Xs. But that’s not all, because this year, Apple’s flagship has a super-sized sibling in the new iPhone Xs Max.

As before, the smaller iPhone Xs features a 5.8-inch screen, while the new Xs Max gets a monstrous 6.5-inch screen that’s even bigger than what you get on a Samsung Galaxy Note 9, with both sporting OLED display tech for extra rich colors in pictures and videos. But for those afraid of what sounds like a monstrous device, fear not, because thanks to much slimmer bezels, the iPhone Xs Max is actually about the same size as last year’s iPhone 8 Plus.


Sony Continues to Drink Bose’s Milkshake

Photo: Adam Clark Estes ( Gizmodo)

If you listen to what Sony says, you could assume that the third generation of the Sony 1000X wireless headphones is all about better noise canceling. This wouldn’t be a wrong assumption. The company managed to make its famous noise-cancelling headphones cancel even more noise. But what caught my attention is how much more comfortable they are. This is a sassy upgrade, since Sony’s major competitor, Bose, put “comfort” in the name of its headphones.

Why Ray Tracing on Nvidia’s New GPUs Is so Exciting

Image: Nvidia

Nvidia recently announced new high-end graphics cards with an RTX designation attached to the model numbers—that RTX indicates the card’s enhanced ray tracing abilities, which could bring a whole new level of realism to games. Here’s what you need to know about ray tracing and how it’s going to feature on the graphics cards of the future.

The name is a giveaway as to what ray tracing actually is: Trying to determine the path of photons of light in virtual environments, so those virtual environments look as realistic as possible. Being able to work out how light should fall in a scene requires a lot of computing power, even more so as objects and light sources start moving (as they tend to do in games and movies).


Ray tracing is nothing new. Coders have been experimenting with it since the very first days of computer graphics. What has changed over time is how realistic and detailed ray tracing can be, and how fast it can be computed, and with Nvidia’s new cards the technology is taking another jump forward.

Why These Environmentalists Are Protesting Jerry Brown’s Climate Summit

Just one of the cool garments protestors wore during the Rise for Climate March in New York City Saturday.
Photo: AP

The Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), which kicked off in San Francisco Wednesday, marks a major ratcheting up of the local and state-level revolution against the Trump administration’s backslide on climate action. The way Governor Jerry Brown—who launched the event—sees it, states like California don’t need the president to save the planet. All they need is the allyship of other world leaders, businesses, and investors—like, um, Wall Street?

Hurricane Florence Could Unleash Pig Shit, Coal Ash, Industrial Waste

Photo: AP

The forecast for Hurricane Florence is about as ominous as it gets. The National Weather Service—a bastion of calm forecast language—said the storm has “the potential for unbelievable damage.” And part of what’s so disconcerting is what could be damaged as Florence plows into the Carolinas this week.

The storm is headed into the heart of an industrial wasteland festooned with pig shit lagoons, piles of toxic leftovers from burning coal, and Superfund sites. With Florence forecast to dump rain that can be measured in feet, these sites run the real risk of sending their waste into rivers, forests, and people’s yards.


That nightmarish scenario isn’t entirely hypothetical.

“We’ve been in this position before,” Frank Holleman, senior attorney at the Southern Environmental Law Center, told Earther. “We had a disaster when Hurricane Floyd flushed huge quantities of hog manure and hogs into North Carolina rivers. We’ve had two major coal ash disasters...that occurred on a good day when the sun was shining.”


"... An upperclassman who had been researching terrorist groups online." - Washington Post

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