Why do all these robots have cartoon eyes?

Why do all these robots have cartoon eyes?

There’s just something about craft store cuteness that doesn’t suggest the coming war against AI. If you were asked to draw an eyeball in 10 seconds or less, you would probably draw something that looks like it could be glued onto an elementary school craft project. Maybe, if you are gifted, your eyeball would look like it belonged on the face of a Pixar character. Either way, you would most likely draw an eye that…

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Jan Morris carried marmalade up Everest and came out as trans in the ’70s. Her diary is a joy.

Jan Morris carried marmalade up Everest and came out as trans in the ’70s. Her diary is a joy.

The 91-year-old journalist who covered the first ascent to Everest talks Brexit and also sheep. The most purely charming thing I have read so far in 2019 is Jan Morris’s In My Mind’s Eye. Composed of daily entries in Morris’s diary over the span of 188 days, it’s a book with no particular plot and no particular structure. It’s just rambling notes on the state of such things as politics (dismal), zoos (morally abhorrent), and…

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It isn’t just the Covington Catholic students — MAGA hats are a teen trend

It isn’t just the Covington Catholic students — MAGA hats are a teen trend

The red baseball caps are a provocative way to signify you’re on a “winning” team. One image was inescapable on social media over MLK Day weekend: the smirking face of a teenage boy in a “Make America Great Again” baseball cap, staring down a Native American elder. The boy was Nick Sandmann, a student at Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky, who along with the dozens of classmates shouting and seeming to mock…

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Sylvia Plath wrote this short story in 1952. It’s now out in print for the first time.

Sylvia Plath wrote this short story in 1952. It’s now out in print for the first time.

Plath wrote Mary Ventura and the Ninth Kingdom when she was 20, and it’s been languishing in her archives ever since. In 1952, Sylvia Plath was 20 years old. She had yet to meet Ted Hughes. She had yet to complete the guest editorship at Mademoiselle that would become the basis for her seminal 1963 novel The Bell Jar. She was bare months away from her first suicide attempt and years away from her death…

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Are 26 billionaires worth more than half the planet? The debate, explained.

Are 26 billionaires worth more than half the planet? The debate, explained.

It’s complicated! Here’s a wild statistic: The 26 richest people on earth in 2018 had the same net worth as the poorest half of the world’s population, some 3.8 billion people. That statistic, which comes from the charity group Oxfam, is a bit of an annual tradition. Every year, to mark the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland — that yearly convocation of the world’s richest and most self-important plutocrats — Oxfam puts out a…

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The $22 billion gamble: why some physicists aren’t excited about building a bigger particle collider

The $22 billion gamble: why some physicists aren’t excited about building a bigger particle collider

Particle accelerators have taught us so much about physics that the new one might have nothing to find. The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), the organization that runs the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland, is looking to build a new particle accelerator — an even bigger one. The group released its conceptual design report earlier this month; the proposed collider, called the Future Circular Collider, would be more than 60 miles in circumference,…

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Judge refuses to certify GOP victory in contested North Carolina Congress race

Judge refuses to certify GOP victory in contested North Carolina Congress race

The House remains at least one member short as a state investigation continues. A hotly contested North Carolina congressional seat, dripping in allegations of election fraud, is not yet over after a judge ruled that an investigation must continue. The campaign for Republican Mark Harris, who was at last count ahead by fewer than 1,000 votes, asked a North Carolina judge to intervene in a state investigation and certify Harris as the winner, but Wake…

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Sarah Kliff has spent the past year reporting on high ER fees. Ask her anything.

Sarah Kliff has spent the past year reporting on high ER fees. Ask her anything.

Vox Senior Policy Correspondent Sarah Kliff has spent the past year exposing the nightmare that is ER billing in the US. Vox’s Sarah Kliff has spent the past year investigating emergency room billing. She’s read more than 1,100 bills that readers have sent in. Today at 3 pm ET/12 pm PT, you can join her on Reddit to ask her anything about her work. There are 141 million visits to the emergency room each year,…

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Secret military bases, spy talks, and Trump tweets: the weekend in US-North Korea news

Secret military bases, spy talks, and Trump tweets: the weekend in US-North Korea news

Why last weekend showed Trump may struggle at his second summit with Kim Jong Un. A secret military base. Covert talks among spies. And a president who seems to be increasingly disconnected from reality. Just another remarkable weekend in the long-running nuclear stalemate between the United States and North Korea. On Sunday, President Donald Trump tweeted that his administration has made “tremendous progress” in negotiations with Pyongyang over ending its nuclear and missile programs —…

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