California's Rain Was a 'Cat 4' Atmospheric River. Wait, What?
- But all the new rainfall records highlight the fact that atmospheric rivers, while long a distinctive feature of weather in the American West, are intensifying in a climate-changed world.
- Most of those multi-day deluges are the product of atmospheric rivers, high-altitude streams of air that originate near the Equator and are packed with water vapor.
- But it’s only been in the last decade or so that scientists have learned enough about this type of weather system to tell the difference between the beneficial, run-of-the-mill storms that keep water reserves full and the disastrous ones that overwhelm dams, levees, and reservoirs, like the one that pummeled California this week.
- The AR Cat scale, which Ralph says still needs some tuning to better articulate the risks and benefits of different kinds of storms, is aimed at making those decisions for reservoir operators as easy as one, two, three, four, five.
A 7-Year Journey Across the US, One Highway at a Time
- Greer has a point: The Interstate Highway System stretches 46,876 miles, twice the length of the equator; though aging, it's still among the best road networks in the world.
- Eisenhower (inspired by Germany's autobahn) envisioned more uniform and efficient four-lane highways connecting all major American cities, making driving faster and safer, improving the economy and helping defend the country "should an atomic war come." Building it was a gargantuan undertaking; one report predicted it would require moving enough dirt to bury a small state.
- However inhumane the highways might be—built as they are for cars instead of people—Greer found them "crawling with humanity." His images reveal the unlikely poetry he encountered amid the concrete: A veteran saluting the American flag, tourists watching a bison give birth, a man charging his electric wheelchair just off the road.
'Metro Exodus' Brings the Series' Grim Atmosphere Aboveground
- Earlier games take place in the Moscow Metro system, which is treated as a giant fallout shelter for the city's survivors after a nuclear apocalypse—an entire civilization huddled in subway tunnels.
- Even in new settings, though, atmosphere rules: The story is less about the politics that led to the apocalypse or the meaning we can draw from it and more about broken train parts, water tanks running empty, and a small band of survivors trying to find hope in the creaking, rusted tracks stretching out before them.
- The earlier Metro games treated the Moscow subway society as a sort of petri dish for failed political ideas, with a Fourth Reich and a revival of the Soviet Union and more, and those ideas feel appropriate to the setting, distinct.
See All the Tools and Tricks That Make Nascar Go
- Yes, sure, Nascar racing is all about adrenaline: speedy cars, sweaty pit stops, spectacular fender benders.
- But before the flag wave comes the meticulous organization, in almost the same way your most diligent schoolmate organized her highlighters for back-to-school season.
- You know, the one at the top of her class.
- That is, the four gigantic haulers that together carry two 3,500-pound race cars and 40,000-pounds’ worth of gear to each of the 36 weekends that make up the Nasacar season.
- Observe its rows of tape, screwdrivers, hammers, bullet journals, and of course, “reciprocating saws, in case we need to cut fenders off”—then get back to racing.
- Dave Hogye spent four and a half years turning a rusted out 1959 Triumph into a beautiful race car.
- He then risked all that hard work, took it to the track and pushed it full throttle.
The Fallout of the Activision Layoffs Will Last a While
- Activision Blizzard's huge layoffs and instability in the indie gaming market aren't what anyone wants to hear about, but it's what we've got.
- Monday was a dark day in the industry as Activision Blizzard, one of the biggest companies in the business, began the process of laying off roughly 8 percent of its staff—according to Kotaku, almost 800 people.
- Blizzard, which merged with Activision in 2008, sold itself as the sort of company where people came to build long-term careers, and instead many departments—especially departments not immediately involved in what's considered core development work—were decimated.
- Unity Technologies, the company behind the incredibly popular Unity game engine, might be up for an IPO in 2020, according to rumors rounded up by Variety.
The Eye-Popping Alita: Battle Angel Never Ends—Literally
- Based on Yukito Kishiro's Gunnm manga series and directed by Robert Rodriguez, it's a zippy, if corny, hero story about a young cyborg (Alita) who is assembled from the head and shoulders of a long-lost robot and the mechanized hands and feet of the dead daughter of gifted cybersurgeon Dyson Ido (Christoph Waltz).
- It's also Hugo's goal, but his plan is to get to Zalem with the help of Vector (Mahershala Ali), a mob boss of sorts who runs Motorball and pays Hugo and his friends to steal robotic appendages to give to players.
- Cameron and Rodriguez do, of course, have a plan for what would happen in a sequel—if they didn't, man that would be an extra bummer—and it's clear from Battle Angel they know where the story is going.
Netflix's 'Umbrella Academy' Is Your New X-Men—Ugh
- The reliable satisfactions of superhero stories continue to attract an audience that proceeds to gobble them up, licking their plates clean even as they complain that it's all just so familiar.
- This season, the menu's no exception: Deadly Class, Watchmen, and today, Netflix's dessert special, The Umbrella Academy.
- Being derivative isn't enough to damn a superhero show, of course—most of the them are adaptations, The Umbrella Academy included.
- Even well-received shows like Luke Cage or Jessica Jones often play familiar beats to the point of cliche, which reviewers will inevitably point out and then mostly forgive.
- We celebrate Luke Cage and Jessica Jones for elevating people of color and women; we applaud Deadpool and Thor: Ragnarok for their knowing absurdity.
- (We meet them floundering in early adulthood.) At its core, The Umbrella Academy is a dysfunctional family drama with some superpowers layered on top—and it's not a bad one.
7 Best Cold Brew Coffee Makers (2019)
- Like other pot-style brewers, you put coarse grounds into the mesh basket, snap it into place, slowly pour water through it, and come back 24 hours later.
- Cleaning the grounds cylinder can be annoying if you let it sit for too long, and the coffee that comes out will have a lot of sediment, but it still tastes decent and takes approximately 23.5 hours less time to make than other makers.
- In my tests, the County Line produced relatively smooth cold brew coffee, though it was somewhat gritty, likely because the steel filter is a bit too porous (use coarse grounds).
- Gourmia Carafe Cold Brew Maker: This immersion brewer looks nice and does completely seal, but the steel mesh filter is too porous, resulting in gritty coffee.
Personal Data Collection: The Complete Wired Guide
- Anyone who has witnessed the same shoe advertisement follow them around the web knows they’re being tracked, but fewer people likely understand that companies may be recording not just their clicks but also the exact movements of their mouse.
- There are also few laws governing how social media companies may collect data about their users.
- In the United States, no modern federal privacy regulation exists, and the government can even legally request digital data held by companies without a warrant in many circumstances (though the Supreme Court recently expanded Fourth Amendment protections to a narrow type of location data).
- Instead, Congress passed a series of laws governing the use of personal data, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act in 1970 and the Privacy Act in 1974.
Darpa Wants to Solve Science's Replication Crisis With Robots
- To the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Pentagon’s mad-science wing, the problem demands an obvious solution: Robots.
- (Some early work has already suggested that it’s possible.) “It’ll potentially provide insight into ways we can do things better,” Russell says.
- Russell wants the Defense Department to understand problems in national security—how insurgencies form, how humanitarian aid gets distributed, how to deter enemy action.
- Watts warned that the social and behavioral sciences were having trouble reproducing scientific claims—a key test of validity—because they don’t have a unifying theoretical structure.
- That’s what Darpa wants, too: algorithms that go beyond what humans already understand.
- “We want to pick up lots of weak signals well beyond human bandwidth, and combine them to help us make better decisions,” Russell says.
- DARPA, the Department of Defense research arm, is trying to make its biggest hacking challenge into a visually exciting competition, complete with color commentary.