My brief, intense love affair with Destiny

     I still remember when I made that fateful decision. It was a summer night, and I’d had a couple of drinks, prowling around Los Angeles with some coworkers after a week of E3 tomfoolery. As we chattered along in the back of an Uber, we decided it was time for one more drink. (It’s always “just one more,” though of course it never really is.) We walked down the hallway of the hotel toward the bar in the back, and that’s when my colleague Sam Byford said the magic words. “Plante’s going to start it, too. I’ll get up early to play with you; I don’t care.”
That’s when I decided to try Destiny. I’d heard all the stories: it was a narrative mess; a mash-up of first-person shooters and role-playing games, armed with a fistful of bad sci-fi...
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New trailers: Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Suffragette, American Horror Story, and more

     It's Friday! Unless you're reading this in the future, in which case I have like a 6 in 7 chance of being wrong. Anyway, as a human on this Earth you probably enjoy killing time by watching cool new movies and TV shows, and it just so happens that many, many, many of those are released each year. Here, in this very column, we round up the best previews that come out each week. This week, there's a ton from Netflix, a few documentaries, some dramas, and some comedies. It's all over the place in the best way possible. You can check out this week's 13 best trailers below.

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What I learned this week about Tim Cook’s Apple

This is the debut installment of a new, weekly commentary and reviews column on The Verge, also available on Re/code, by veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg, now an Executive Editor at The Verge and Editor at Large of Re/code.

No winning streak goes on forever. But it would be hard to tell that from this week’s announcements from Apple. Even though the latest iteration of the company’s main product, the iPhone, didn’t change much externally, its gigantic annual fall product intro event seemed jammed with new products, features, and clever ideas. From a gargantuan iPad to a new Apple TV, to the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, there was plenty of hardware. But, perhaps even more interesting, at least to me, were some small, clever...
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Hands on with Nest’s latest thermostat

     Nest's smart thermostat has been around for three years and was one of the first smart home devices to really gain mainstream attention. Since its original launch, the Nest Thermostat has undergone two hardware revisions, with the most recent coming out just a couple of weeks ago.
The third-generation Nest Thermostat is very similar to its predecessors, though it now has 40 percent larger display with 25 percent more resolution. It's still a round, hockey puck-like device that mounts in the same location as a traditional thermostat and connects to your Wi-Fi network. It still monitors your activity and adjusts itself accordingly, ostensibly saving money on wasted energy for heating and cooling when you're not home. And of course, you...
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Google and Twitter team up to offer their own ‘Instant Articles’ — with a twist

Google and Twitter are working together to help publishers show “instant articles” to people who use their services on mobile phones. The plan, which is supposed to launch with a small group of publishers this fall, is an effort to make it easier for publishers to distribute their stuff on mobile devices. It is also a response to similar pushes from Facebook, Apple and Snapchat.
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First Click: That time my thermostat began talking to the lights

     The goal of the Internet of Things (IoT) is to integrate all the dumb objects around us in meaningful and intelligent ways. But that requires a lot more thought than simply putting a chip in something and calling it "smart." Yet for all its <a href="http://www.theverge.com/2015/8/18/9172883/nternet-of-things-hype-generator">excess</a>, sometimes the Internet of Things gets it right.
I’ve accumulated a number of smart objects over the years. Some with the explicit intent of solving a problem, others out of professional curiosity. My Toon LCD thermostat from Dutch energy provider Eneco fits in the first category, acquired a few years ago to give me real-time insight into my daily energy consumption. My Philips Hue lights fit into the latter, weirdly popular bulbs I bought because it’s fun to automatically turn your lights...
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After Snowden, filmmaker Laura Poitras takes on Julian Assange

Laura Poitras, the award-winning director behind Edward Snowden feature Citizenfour, has launched a new project dedicated to "journalistic filmmaking." The documentary unit, named Field of Vision, will produce 40 to 50 "episodic and individual short-form nonfiction films" across three seasons every year, with 2015's inaugural season set to begin on September 29th. The first series of shorts, made by Poitras herself, will look at the story of Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange, chronicling his publication of diplomatic cables and his time spent in political asylum in London's Ecuadorian embassy.
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Watch legendary Disney animator Glen Keane draw in virtual reality

Virtual reality is a potent tool for art and storytelling, but we're still exploring the best ways to use it. One route in might be looking to the past — as this short film featuring Disney animator Glen Keane shows. You might not know Keane's name, but you'll almost certainly have come into contact with his work as an animator for Disney classics such as Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty and the Beast. Keane is a master in using line and form to express emotion, and watching him work in 3D space with a HTV Vive VR headset and what looks like the fantastic Tllt Brush app is spellbinding.
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The one thing the Star Wars prequel trilogy did very, very right

The contrasts between the original Star Wars trilogy and its prequels were stark. Where Episodes IV to VI were told economically, the prequels felt bloated. Where the originals used practical effects, puppets, and people to build its galaxy, the prequels leaned on computer effects to make a universe that felt fake. Where A New Hope introduced characters we wanted to root for, The Phantom Menace featured a cast of punchable irritants, led by a character so annoying his name is shorthand for "the worst." But now, less than a hundred days from the premiere of The Force Awakens, fans are finally finding some parellels between the two Star Wars trilogies — particularly in the way they are shot, with the prequels echoing scenes first put on...
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Killing off wild predators is a stupid idea

The headline looked like a joke: "To truly end animal suffering, the most ethical choice is to kill wild predators (especially Cecil the lion)." Instead, it was an apparently serious opinion piece published earlier today on the news site Quartz. Walter Palmer — the infamous dentist who shot and killed Cecil the Lion — actually did the world a favor, the article says, since Cecil would have killed many more animals before he died. The authors argue that humans should hunt and kill predators in order to save prey animals from dying horrible deaths.
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Jony Ive soundboard brings soothing British narration to the haze of our mundane existences

One of Apple's core strengths as a technology company is filling the hole punched in our hearts by the all-consuming monolith that is corporate capitalism with a warm, fuzzy, intimate feeling of connection. Profundity, simplicity, humanity, fanaticism — these are among the traits that define Apple and its products. And they are often articulated best by the lulling accented voice of Chief Design Officer Jony Ive, who has uttered those words and many more throughout the company's many quasi-erotic product videos. Now, there's a Jony Ive soundboard so that his snipped up-musings can make our lives sound as polished, pure, and precise as the iPhone. Designed by software engineers Amy Hoy and Thomas Fuchs, the Jony Ive soundboard lets you...
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Watch a Soyuz rocket launch two Galileo satellites into space

Tonight, a Soyuz rocket will launch from French Guiana, carrying two satellites into space. Though the Soyuz is a Russian-made rocket, this flight will be operated by European spaceflight company Arianespace, which frequently launches rockets from the Guiana Space Center. Liftoff is scheduled for 10:08PM ET — with the satellites set to deploy more than three and a half hours afterward.
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This Japanese live-action Destiny trailer is the best live-action Destiny trailer

Earlier today Bungie posted an expensive-looking live-action trailer for Destiny: The Taken King. We called it "pure sci-fi hype," which I would not disagree with. But I submit to you that this wonderful Japanese commercial, set in the modest confines of a coin laundry, does a better job of capturing the Destiny spirit. It doesn't matter if the fight against the Darkness is overwrought, melodramatic, and more than a little silly — we are all Guardians. For better or worse.
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Protestor disrupts Uber CEO interview on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show

During the taping for tonight's Late Show with Stephen Colbert, a protestor reportedly interrupted Colbert's interview with Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. The person began shouting about Uber "ruining" the New York City taxi industry, according to BuzzFeed News reporter Rachel Zarrell. Rather than hush the disruption or ignore the man protesting, Colbert allowed him to speak freely — at least briefly. Another account from the set suggests the protestor is affiliated with the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission, an agency that has routinely butted heads with Uber and its business model.
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SpaceX releases first interior photos of its astronaut-carrying spacecraft

SpaceX's new Crew Dragon capsule may be reserved for astronauts traveling to and from the International Space Station — but now you can take a virtual tour of the vehicle's insides. The company just released interior photos of the spacecraft, as well as a video showing closeups of its control panels and crew seats. The images offer our first glimpse at what the finished Crew Dragon will look like. The photos show an interior that is sleek and smooth, with mostly black and white hardware. It gives off the vibe of a luxury sports car (which makes sense, given CEO Elon Musk also runs a high-end car business). The capsule has seven seats for crew, made of carbon fiber and Alcantara cloth. Video displays in front of the seats will provide...
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Stare deeply into this beautiful summertime panorama of Mars’ south pole

NASA released some stunning new images of Pluto today, but New Horizons is far from the only spacecraft that's currently sending back incredible photos of our Solar System. Mars Express, a spacecraft that was launched by the European Space Agency in 2003, has been taking gorgeous images of the Red Planet for years. But a new one released today is one of the most impressive views of Mars yet. The epic panorama image stretches from the edge of Mars to the planet's south pole, which is covered in an ice cap made from frozen water and carbon dioxide. It was taken by Mars Express' high-resolution stereo camera on February 25th, which is technically summer on Mars. The southern ice cap recedes during this season (but doesn't fully disappear...
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A portrait of Donald Trump painted entirely from portraits of Donald Trump

Paintwithdonaldtrump.com lets visitors paint in their browser with photos of presidential hopeful, real estate mogul, and crappy board game maker Donald Trump. What would I paint, I thought upon my visit. Would it be a fruit bowl? Or perhaps my dog, would she be a good subject? No, I decided. I must paint Trump with Trump. I'm mostly positive my boss, Nilay Patel, who is busy traveling home from yesterday's big Apple event in San Francisco, would want me to publish my art on The Verge Dot Com. I also suspect he would want me to include this remix of the original piece, in which some of the Trump faces are replaced with his face.
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You’re going to go see The Visit, but I bet you didn’t even go see The Visit

The buzz around M. Night Shyamalan's comeback pet project, The Visit, is not overwhelming, but it is tangible. It is probably about a 4.0 on the Richter scale of Twitter. You can walk down the street and see it on the face of a child ghost. You may notice that your dog is acting kind of weird, like maybe it wants to watch Unbreakable again. If you listen, you can hear a blogger whispering "Shyamalanaissance." The shamed auteur who burned himself down and is rising from the ashes on his own dime is a solid marketing plan personal narrative, so I get it. What I don't get is why we as a society — full of cultural omnivores! — would let a horror movie named The Visit come out in the same year as a pretty good Tony-nominated musical named T...
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Facebook now lets journalists broadcast live video to your News Feed

Celebrities like Dwayne Johnson aren't the only people allowed to use Facebook's live streaming app anymore. The company is opening up the future, which works through a standalone app called Mentions, to journalists with verified Facebook profiles and / or pages. Previously, only high-profile public figures like actors, athletes, musicians, politicians, and other "influencers" were permitted to stream live video to users through the Mentions app. Replays are available once the initial live stream is compete, and Facebook also allows comments and likes alongside broadcasts like YouTube and Periscope. "We want to make Facebook a better experience for journalists whether it’s used for news-gathering or better connecting with their readers...
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TSA’s master luggage keys available to 3D print after photos leaked design

When The Washington Post published a photo of the TSA's set of master luggage keys, there were concerns that it had inadvertently compromised the agency's system by handing over details of the keys' cuts to intrepid lock-pickers. Now, that appears to be exactly what's happened, as 3D printing plans for the keys have been posted online. As Wired reports today, that's not a trivial security problem for the agency, or for many of the people just hoping to keep their luggage safe. The TSA asks lock-makers to use designs approved by the agency, ideally keeping the luggage out of thieves' hands while still allowing the TSA access. But with the photos — and now the 3D printing plans — readily available, anyone with a 3D printer also has...
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