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The complicated relationship between former First Lady Michelle Obama and current First Lady Melania Trump got another wrinkle on Monday.
Michelle Obama, during an interview with ABC to promote her upcoming memoir Becoming, talked about how Laura Bush had reached out to her before she became First Lady in 2008. Michelle extended the same offer to Melania after Donald Trump was elected, but when asked by Robin Roberts if Melania had accepted, Michelle replied only, “No, no she hasn’t.”
Obama’s little eyebrow raise at the end says all you need to know about the way the rest of that story goes.
Of course, Michelle is remembered for the legendary side-eye she delivered at Trump’s inauguration, and she admits in Becoming that, on that dreary day, “I made my own optic adjustment. I stopped even trying to smile.”
This pairs well with the other tidbit about the Trump-Obama beef that we already knew: That Michelle has understandably said she’d “never forgive” Donald Trump for his role in spreading and weaponizing his birther conspiracy theory against her husband.
What you Google in the wee hours of the morning isn’t for your eyes only. Instead, your search queries and history are logged and tracked by a host of companies who likely don’t have your best interests at heart. The web services giant Cloudflare has released a free app for iOS and Android that helps you cut out at least a few of those unwanted prying eyes.
The app, 18.104.22.168, is an extension and simplification of a service Cloudflare began offering in April of 2018: a free, fast, and private DNS resolver.
“Nearly everything on the Internet starts with a DNS request,” explains the 22.214.171.124 webpage. “DNS is the Internet’s directory. Click on a link, open an app, send an email and the first thing your device does is ask the directory: Where can I find this?”
In other words, though you may not realize it, every day you’re on the internet you’re interacting with a DNS server or resolver in some way or another. And companies are watching.
“Your ISP, and anyone else listening in on the Internet, can see every site you visit and every app you use — even if their content is encrypted,” Cloudflare adds. “Creepily, some DNS providers sell data about your Internet activity or use it to target you with ads.”
The 126.96.36.199 app does an end run around this by creating a secure connection for your phone.
“We will never log your IP address (the way other companies identify you),” notes Cloudflare. “And we’re not just saying that. We’ve retained KPMG to audit our systems annually to ensure that we’re doing what we say.”
Again, this is all offered totally free to the user. As an added bonus, the company claims that running the app on your phone will likely make internet queries faster on your device.
Importantly, downloading and running 188.8.131.52 does not mean that no one is snooping on your web browsing. It does, however, make it harder for some companies to do so.
Hey, just because a victory is small doesn’t mean it’s unimportant. A step in the right direction is better than no steps at all.
Samsung’s head of mobile, D.J. Koh, said that the company plans to release a new foldable phone every year in select markets, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News.
The report claims that the first foldable Samsung smartphone will be released in the first half of next year. Notably, it will not be part of the company’s popular Galaxy S or Galaxy Note series. Instead, the company will launch a brand new series for the foldable phones called the “Galaxy F” series.
Samsung’s foldable phones were long-rumored to be one of the company’s greatest innovations in the increasingly saturated smartphone market. The phone is rumored to be vastly different — and certainly more intentionally bendable — than anything available from chief rivals Apple and LG.
It sounds a little screwy, but this type of device might actually be really helpful if it works as intended. The device would essentially work like a tablet that folds in half. When folded, the front pane of glass will be a regular smartphone-sized display.
But, when users want to indulge or use their phones for more serious work tasks, they could then unfold their phones into a full-sized tablet. The mobile front display would become inactive to reveal the tablet-sized display in all it’s glory. Plus, it’s worth noting that the display would not have any breaks on the binding. It would, indeed, be one large display.
Koh says that Samsung’s first foldable smartphone will ship in the first half of 2019 “no matter what.” The yearly unveils, and that determination, indicates that Samsung views this new device as another flagship — not just a gimmick.
Production will reportedly start with 1 million units. That means Samsung thinks 1 million people want to walk around with a double-decker phone in their pants. And Koh reportedly insisted that that was just a start, and expects to increase production should the need arise, which it definitely, totally will.
The phone will also reportedly cost $1,770 — more expensive than the most pricey iteration of the iPhone XS Max. Smartphones really were becoming too cheap, frankly. Too many affordable, simple, and intuitive smartphones out there. Thank goodness someone has finally introduced a premium entry into the market. Since we’re all so rich, you know? Us millennials are totally down to buy a foldable phone in lieu of saving for a mortgage on a house we can’t afford.
But that price really is a steal, considering you’re getting both a phone AND a tablet in one device. Just think — you could use your phone in a vertical aspect ratio. And — then — you could use your phone on a screen that’s double the size.
Who doesn’t absolutely, positively need that?! With yearly updates to boot!
Maybe this phone will be worth bending over backwards for, after all.
Mars is hard. Hard to get to, hard to make habitable for humans, hard to tell a story about on the screen and leave the viewer with any lasting impression.
With a few shining exceptions — looking at you, The Martian — all Mars movies have bombed. From Mission to Mars with Tim Robbins in 2000 to TheLast Days on Mars with Liev Schreiber in 2012, even supernatural thrillers have failed to locate deposits of decent drama on the Red Planet. And the TV version hasn’t fared much better.
Witness Hulu’s new original series The First: ostensibly about the first Mars mission, it doesn’t even bother to make us care about the destination, focusing one entire season on sad Sean Penn and his earthbound struggles.
National Geographic’s Mars, which returns for a second season of six episodes starting Monday, would seem to have everything going for it in its bid to be the one Mars drama you should actually watch.
Like The Martian, it focuses on the problems of Red Planet living and the need for humans to “science the shit” out of them (even if this PG production would never use the salty language of Martian’s Mark Watney, which is a pity).
National Geographic dubs this “hybrid drama.” I call it the death of drama.
Unlike The First, Mars doesn’t put its baby planet in the corner. The rust-and-dust landscape was front and center from Mars Season 1 episode 1 (which was, so far as I can find, the first serious on-screen portrayal of humans reaching Mars for the first time; even The Martian shied away from showing the actual historic arrival).
So why do all 12 episodes so far (including Season 2, which I’ve seen) seem a struggle to get through? Why does the drama feel so oxygen-deprived? Why do I, a space nerd and very much the target audience, feel like I’m being forced to eat Mark Watney’s Mars-grown potatoes?
Ron Howard produces. Neil deGrasse Tyson, Elon Musk and a host of other luminaries pop up throughout to talk about what a real mission to Mars might be like. Nick Cave wrote a theme so bleak and ominous, you half expect a police procedural set on the slopes of Olympus Mons.
On paper, what you get for Season 2 should be no less thrilling. Having established a base, suffered deadly sandstorms and found bacterial life, our scientist-colonists now must share the planet with new arrivals from a SpaceX-esque private corporation. Hello, timely analogy for Earth’s struggle between scientific truth and corporate greed!
The first and most obvious problem is the show’s insistence on intercutting between Mars in the 2040s and interviews on Earth today every 5 to 10 minutes. National Geographic dubs this “hybrid drama.” I call it the death of drama.
Not even the most riveting epics on television could survive such a back-and-forth.
Imagine Game of Thrones if the action stopped every few scenes while talking heads discuss, say, dragons actually being a metaphor for nuclear weapons in modern warfare. Even if it was George R.R. Martin himself holding forth on the topic, you’d probably prefer he wait until after the episode.
By squeezing what is essentially two programs into every 45-minute episode, Mars manages to massively short-change both of them.
On the documentary side, NatGeo has assembled a dream team of authors, from Andy Weir (The Martian) to Jared Diamond (Guns, Germs, and Steel) to Kim Stanley Robinson (The Mars Trilogy), but we rarely get to hear more than a sentence from them. Nor do we really get to know the scientist in Greenland or the Greenpeace activist that are too briefly profiled.
Instead, for the most part, we get crisis cliché: dramatic montages of a kind you’ve seen a thousand times. News footage of people fighting; streets flooding; headlines saying STUFF IS BAD; CNN anchors saying STUFF IS BAD; cut to expert saying “could it be better on Mars, or would we make the same mistakes?”
By squeezing what is essentially two programs into every 45-minute episode, Mars manages to massively short-change both of them.
(Also, a personal plea to NatGeo on behalf of those of us who assumed a show called Mars would help us escape his shadow: Please, no more soundbites of Trump denying climate change in this show ever again.)
On the 22-minute drama side, likewise, no character in this too-big ensemble feels at all fleshed out. The script prefers moody close-ups and flat voice-over to character depth. It’s practically crying out for some snappy one-liners to relieve the grimness; why would we go to Mars and leave our sense of humor behind?
Also, despite the background-level arrival of a Chinese space station that is said to be broadcasting 24-7 as a kind of reality show, there’s no sense that the characters exist in a social media near-future. Where are all the smartphones and tablets? If they can communicate with Earth, can’t they also get Facebook? Shouldn’t the colonists all be on a local version of Slack, at least?
Given no scenes they can really sink their teeth into, the actors mostly chew the Martian scenery. If a future Mars civilization has telenovelas, they might look like this. Just with fewer documentary breaks.
Take the most promising new character, Commander Kurt Hurrelle, the man in charge of the Lukrum corporation’s on-planet operation. He’s played by Jeff Hephner (Chicago Fire) with sheer bro-ish assholery. Hurrelle would be an interesting villain — if you ever learned a single complex detail about him like, say, his motivations for coming to Mars, or what happened in his past to make him such a jerk to scientists.
There are stupid decisions aplenty, plus brief brawls and romances between the scientists and the corporates. But these aren’t really woven into the fabric of the show, which hits the reset button in relations between the two camps every episode, and hits a giant reset button at the end of the season.
That said, we also end with a heartwarming development for the colonists that cracks open the first real signs of life for this show. No spoilers, but given that the show isn’t afraid of jumping forward in time, I’m optimistic that Season 3 can find its footing.
That is, if Mars can separate the two sides of its hybrid. I experimented by watching just the dramatic scenes in an episode, then rewinding and watching the documentary bits. It felt like an improvement. Showrunner Dee Johnson told me she would be open to the idea of National Geographic “remixing” the show this way.
I hope so. Because like those dear two-dimensional colonist characters who narrowly escaped being called home at the end of Season 1, I stubbornly refuse to believe we’ve come this far and struggled this much and eaten this many potatoes to fail.
I really hope we’re on Mars to stay.
‘Mars’ Season 2 premieres on Monday at 9 p.m. ET/8 p.m. CT on the National Geographic Channel.
Louisville has fired coach Bobby Petrino as the Cardinals have stumbled to a 2-8 record this season, a source confirmed to ESPN. Petrino is owed a $14.1 million buyout by the university, the source said. Read More