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49

Trends That Will Shape the Very Near Future

THE NEXT LEAP FORWARD IN Cyber warfare Self-driving cars Delivery drones Creepy-smart homes Gene hacking and more!


© Cylance 2017


PREVENT CYBERATTACKS WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.

Cybersecurity that predicts, prevents and protects. cylance.com


A DV E RT I S E M E N T

THE PROS

1955–PRESENT

MARK LANDIS

&

THE CONS 1882–1949

CHARLES PONZI Ponzi came to the United States seeking to restore his insolvent family’s once vast fortune. In 1920 he founded a company that scammed customers by paying early investors profits using money from later investors. The scheme — which he didn’t invent, but ran so prominently that it still bears his name — collapsed a year later.

Prolific art forger and master con man, Mark Landis isn’t in it for the money. He may have donated hundreds of fakes to institutions across the country for the last three decades, but his mischief was never malicious. A diagnosed schizophrenic who otherwise lived in isolation, Landis conceived this elaborate ruse to cultivate community and purpose.

1912–1988

JUAN PUJOL GARCÍA

Frauds. Thieves. Cheats. Swindlers. Confidence men have been called many names over the years and are almost universally reviled. But take a deeper look and you might be surprised to find complex men possessing even more complex ethics. Just like Amazon Original’s latest show, Sneaky Pete, a saga about a con man who exists in a morally ambiguous world, there were a few hucksters throughout history whose motivations didn’t exist in black and white but, rather, shades of grey.

c.1840–1880

Known by the code name “Garbo” during WWII, García was a double agent who worked for British and American intelligence while pretending to be a pro-Nazi sympathizer. By creating a fake network of spies complete with false intel reports, he successfully embezzled the equivalent of $4 million from the German high command.

1954–2016

“CANADA” BILL JONES

LOU PEARLMAN

Jones was a gambler, confidence man, and card sharp who operated in the American South during the 19th century. His contemporaries, however, described him as “generous to a fault.” Jones would often be spotted on the street giving away as much as $50 (over $1000 in today’s currency) to Catholic charities.

The man most famous as being responsible for launching the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC was also a prolific fraudster, operating a Ponzi scheme that defrauded investors out of nearly $300 million over the course of nearly 20 years. Pearlman died in prison earlier this year due to complications from a stroke.

1986–PRESENT

MATT THE KNIFE As a teenager, Matt the Knife operated card cheating rings, pickpocket gangs, and organized complicated shoplifting schemes. Around the age of 21, he decided to reform his life of crime. He reinvented himself as a magician, mentalist, and stage performer. He now operates a consultancy that specializes in preventing fraud and cheating — crimes he himself once committed.


STARRING

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

EXECUTIVE PRODUCER

GIOVANNI RIBISI

GRAHAM YOST

BRYAN CRANSTON

STREAM NOW


25.02

FEATURES

68 Complex

Childish Gambino. Atlanta. Lando Calrissian. Welcome to the strange, emotional, industryaltering world of Donald Glover. BY ALLISON SAMUELS

46 What Lies Ahead: 49 Trends That Will Shape the Very Near Future The cyber cold war will heat up, Snapchat will actually be important, drones will blot out the sun, the climate will still change, and more. PLU S : Clive Thompson on the Facebook problem

60 John Arnold’s Next Mission After Enron, after his hedge fund, the 42-year-old billionaire has a new project: wage war on bad science. BY SAM APPLE

76 The Battle for the Soul of San Francisco

STYLING BY OLORI SWANK; GROOMING BY JADE PERRY

Well-off tech workers come face-to-face with the city’s neediest residents. BY CHRIS COLIN

86

Coat by COS

Jihadi Rehab A controversial new program aims to transform terrorists back into normal young Americans. BY BRENDAN I. KOERNER

FEB 2017

JOE PUGLIESE

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CONTENTS

25.02

23

GADGET LAB

10 This Issue

31

From the editor’s desk

ALPHA 13

Burst the Bubble

Tips for reengineering your media diet

Fetish

23 Real or Fake

Selfie-incriminating scofflaws

24 This Is a Test

It’s time for all of us to stand up for the climate—and civilization

Nike’s Air VaporMax FlyKnit is a triumph of design minimalism

32 Gearhead: Ski Season

Powder-perfect wooden skis, a helmet for your noggin, sleek gloves, and boots that won’t torture your feet

34 How to: Bicycle

BY BILL MCKIBBEN

Have fun in the saddle again with the right handlebars, pedals, and, uh, seat

18 Cool Beans

How UC Davis professor Bill Ristenpart uses coffee to teach engineering

Head Shots

The NFL must do more about concussions

19 Infoporn

Netflix and chill. And binge.

37 Level Up: Workout Headphones

Each of these sweatproof earbuds will push you a little harder

24 Jargon Watch

20 Mr. Know-It-All

The latest in the WIRED lexicon

On mourning the end of a Snapchat streak

26

FILE: // 38

22

Face Time Holy Bricks, Batman!

How to make your own stop-motion Lego action flick

27 Love Hacks

MacGyver your way to romance

Bright Idea

The ho-hum LED bulb gets a luxe makeover

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28 Get Up to Speed

Learn faster with high-velocity technology BY CLIVE THOMPSON

Why millions of kids watch videos of people putting on makeup BY JAMIE LAUREN KEILES

ASK A FLOWCHART 96 What Trend Should I Start This Year? BY ROBERT CAPPS

FEB 2017


US.KOHLER.COM

BEHOLD THE FUTURE. THE MULTI-FUNCTIONAL VEIL® INTELLIGENT TOILET. ©2016 KOHLER CO.


EDITORIAL

DEPUTY EDITOR Adam Rogers FEATURES EDITOR Maria Streshinsky EDITOR AT LARGE Jason Tanz ARTICLES EDITOR Chuck Squatriglia NEWS EDITOR Brian Barrett DEPUTY MANAGING EDITORS Erica Jewell, Joanna Pearlstein SENIOR EDITORS

Michael Calore, Richard Dorment, Emily Dreyfuss, Jon J. Eilenberg (Digital Editions), Sarah Fallon, John Gravois, Lauren Murrow, Katie M. Palmer, Peter Rubin, Marcus Wohlsen SENIOR ASSOCIATE EDITORS Alex Davies, Robbie Gonzalez, Angela Watercutter SENIOR WRITERS Andy Greenberg, Issie Lapowsky, Cade Metz, David Pierce, Brian Raftery, Jack Stewart ASSOCIATE EDITOR Jason Kehe STAFF WRITERS Davey Alba, Aarian Marshall, Tim Moynihan, Lily Hay Newman, Margaret Rhodes, Liz Stinson, Nick Stockton COPY CHIEF Brian Dustrud COPY EDITORS Lee Simmons, Pam Smith HOMEPAGE EDITOR Matt Simon SENIOR DIRECTOR, OPERATIONS Maya Seely EDITORIAL OPERATIONS MANAGER Jay Dayrit EDITORIAL BUSINESS DIRECTOR Katelyn Davies ASSISTANT RESEARCH EDITORS Jennifer Chaussee, Blanca Myers, Lexi Pandell ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, SOCIAL Natalie DiBlasio SOCIAL MEDIA EDITOR Nate Goldman ASSOCIATE EDITOR, SOCIAL Ashley Shaffer EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT TO THE EDITOR IN CHIEF Brooke Davis EDITORIAL FELLOWS Joseph Bien-Kahn, Michael Duran, Megan Molteni, Marley Walker DESIGN, PHOTO & VIDEO

CREATIVE DIRECTOR David Moretti DESIGN DIRECTOR Allie Fisher DESIGN DIRECTOR, PLATFORMS Dylan Boelte SENIOR ART DIRECTOR, PLATFORMS Olga Montserrat MANAGING ART DIRECTOR Victor Krummenacher SENIOR ART DIRECTOR Francesco Muzzi DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY Anna Goldwater Alexander SENIOR PHOTO EDITORS Maria Lokke, Sarah Silberg PHOTO EDITOR Jenna Garrett ASSISTANT PHOTO EDITOR Ruby Goldberg EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, VIDEO Paula Chowles SENIOR PRODUCER Sean Patrick Farrell PRODUCERS Junho Kim, Ryan Loughlin VIDEO ANIMATOR Joshua Lim ASSOCIATE PRODUCER Kayla LaCour POSTPRODUCTION SUPERVISOR Nurie Mohamed PROJECT MANAGER Dellea Chew CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER Dan Winters DIRECTOR, CREATIVE OPERATIONS Rosey Lakos PHOTO FELLOW Courtney G. Stack

Robert Capps

HEAD OF EDITORIAL

Scott Dadich EDITOR IN CHIEF

Billy Sorrentino

TECHNOLOGY & PRODUCTION

HEAD OF CREATIVE

INTERIM ENGINEERING MANAGER Zack Tollman PRODUCT MANAGER Sam Baldwin PROJECT MANAGER Stephen McGarrigle ENGINEERS Lo Benichou, Ben Chirlin, Layla Mandella, Jake Spurlock, Tony Vongprachanh ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, AUDIENCE DEVELOPMENT Ed Sumner ANALYTICS MANAGER Karen Zhang SENIOR PRODUCTION MANAGER Ryan Meith PRODUCTION MANAGER Myrna Chiu INFORMATION SYSTEMS & TECHNOLOGY Chris Becker, David Herscher OFFICE MANAGER Arthur Guiling

Emily Smith

HEAD OF CONTENT OPERATIONS

COMMUNICATIONS

SENIOR DIRECTOR, COMMUNICATIONS Corey Wilson ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, COMMUNICATIONS Gaia Filicori

CONTRIBUTORS

EDITOR Chris Kohler DESIGN Christy Sheppard Knell, Alvina Ng TECHNICAL DESIGNER Ambika Castle PHOTO Julia Sabot COPY EDITOR Jennifer Prior RESEARCH Gregory Barber, Timothy Lesle, Chelsea Leu PRODUCTION Theresa Thadani SOCIAL Jing Niu CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Bryan Gardiner, Brendan I. Koerner, Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Kevin Poulsen, Clive Thompson CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rhett Allain, Andy Baio, Klint Finley, Emma Grey Ellis, Laura Hudson, Erik Klemetti, Sam Lubell, Graeme McMillan, Eric Niiler, Sarah Scoles, Eric Steuer CONTRIBUTING STYLE DIRECTOR Lauren Goodman CORRESPONDENTS Stewart Brand, Mary H. K. Choi, Joshua Davis, Mark Frauenfelder, Charles Graeber, Chris

Hardwick, Jeff Howe, Steven Johnson, Jonathon Keats, Brian Lam, Bob Parks, Evan Ratliff, Frank Rose, Steve Silberman, Amy Wallace, David Wolman, Jacob Young CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS James Day, Bryan Derballa, Cait Oppermann, Platon, Joe Pugliese, Joseph Shin, Art Streiber, The Voorhes CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS Bryan Christie Design, Tavis Coburn, Carl DeTorres, Gluekit, Hugo + Marie, Zohar Lazar, Tal Leming, Christoph Niemann, Ben Wiseman, Anthony Zazzi INTERNATIONAL LUXURY DIRECTOR Chad Carr SENIOR DIRECTOR, INTEGRATED PARTNERSHIPS DIRECTOR, MEDIA INNOVATIONS Kelsey Kirsch

Andy Sonnenberg NATIONAL ADVERTISING DIRECTOR

Douglas Grinspan

HEAD OF REVENUE

Kim Kelleher

PUBLISHER & CHIEF R EV ENUE OFFICER

Maya Draisin

HEAD OF MARKETING

Janice Trichon Malka

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FINANCE & OPERATIONS

FOUNDING EDITOR

Camille Signorelli

EXECUTIVE BRA N D DIRECTOR

Robbie Sauerberg

GENERAL MANAGE R , ADVERTISING

Louis Rossetto

Piper Goodspeed SENIOR

ACCOUNT DIRECTORS Ashley Banks, Jacqueline Natz Nikovic, Matt Oehlsen PREMIUM MARKET MANAGERS Colin J. Weber, Jenna McBee UK, IRELAND, NETHERLANDS & SWITZERLAND FINANCE REPRESENTATIVE David Simpson FRANCE, GERMANY, SPAIN, PORTUGAL & SWITZERLAND LUXURY REPRESENTATIVE Laurent Bouaziz ITALY REPRESENTATIVE Elena De Giuli ASIA REPRESENTATIVE Matthew Farrar DETROIT DIRECTOR Stephanie Clement LOS ANGELES DIRECTOR Elizabeth M. Murphy LOS ANGELES ACCOUNT MANAGER Cordelia Allsopp MIDWEST ACCOUNT DIRECTOR Tim Carroll SOUTHEAST DIRECTOR Dave Hady SOUTHWEST REPRESENTATIVE Julian R. Lowin NORTHWEST SENIOR MANAGER Giovanni Dorin NORTHWEST SALES DIRECTOR Josiah Bunting ASSOCIATE TO THE PUBLISHER Melissa Jiménez SENIOR BUSINESS DIRECTOR Annie Trinh Steinhaus BUSINESS DIRECTOR Sally Lyon ADVERTISING & MARKETING ASSOCIATE Meghan McCarthy ADVERTISING SALES ASSOCIATES Clare Allen, Charles Ellis, Lydia Horne, Emily Pagoria, Alexandra Segalas, Lara Winkler SENIOR MANAGER, DIGITAL PLANNING Ashley Tabroff SENIOR DIGITAL PLANNERS Heather Kirkpatrick, Isabel Marx DIGITAL PLANNERS Matt Deane, Allison Foresi, Todd Singer SENIOR CAMPAIGN MANAGER Stephen Roach CAMPAIGN MANAGERS Harrison Hill, Michelle Lau, Diane Le, Christopher Razzano INTEGRATED MARKETING DIRECTOR Catherine Fish ASSOCIATE INTEGRATED MARKETING DIRECTOR & EDITORIAL LIAISON Katherine Kirkland ASSOCIATE INTEGRATED MARKETING DIRECTOR Christopher Cona SENIOR INTEGRATED MARKETING MANAGER Rob Gearity INTEGRATED MARKETING MANAGERS Saiba Arain, Hilary Kelley, Nicole Riccardi MARKETING DIRECTOR Caitlin Rauch ASSOCIATE MARKETING MANAGER Liza Boldrick MARKETING COORDINATOR Stefanie Lindenbaum DIRECTOR, WIRED BRAND LAB Matthew Stevenson EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, WIRED BRAND LAB Terrence Russell PRODUCTION DIRECTOR, WIRED BRAND LAB Stephen Winkler ASSOCIATE PRODUCTION DIRECTOR, WIRED BRAND LAB Francesca Cristiani SENIOR PRODUCER, WIRED BRAND LAB Ryan Aspell PRODUCER, WIRED BRAND LAB Janelle Hawthorne ASSOCIATE PRODUCER, WIRED BRAND LAB Katie McNally DESIGN DIRECTOR Florence Pak ART DIRECTOR Mark Majdanski SENIOR DESIGNER Jon Moran DESIGNER Derek Wong

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SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT | BUSINESS OPERATIONS

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SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT / MANAGING DIRECTOR | 23 STORIES

PRESIDENT & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

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SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT NETWORK SALES & PARTNERSHIPS, CONDÉ NAST / CHIEF REVENUE OFFICER, CNE Lisa Valentino SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT | FINANCIAL PLANNING & ANALYSIS

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SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT | LICENSING Cathy Hoffman Glosser SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT | RESEARCH & ANALYTICS Stephanie Fried SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT | DIGITAL OPERATIONS Larry Baach SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT | HUMAN RESOURCES Nicole Zussman GENERAL MANAGER | Matthew Starker

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THIS ISSUE

Paula Scher, Graphic Designer

Tinker Hatfield, Footwear Designer

Platon, Photographer

Christoph Niemann, Illustrator

Ilse Crawford, Interior Designer

Es Devlin, Stage Designer

Ralph Gilles, Automotive Designer

DESIGNS FOR TOMORROW

N

O ONE CAN KNOW the future. But you can chase it. That has always been one of WIRED’s central animating philosophies—that you can figure out what’s to come by a close read of the here and now. This month we’re giving you a guide to our current thinking on that, to the outbreaks of tomorrow that we’re watching and tracking. I hope you’ll like the tour. ¶ To me, the 49 trends we focus on confirm something I already suspected: We’re moving to a future of intentionality. That’s a key tenet of design thinking, the main force shaping and pushing technology and innovation of all kinds. So I want to tell you about another project of mine in that same spirit. ¶ For the past couple of years I’ve been working on a TV show called Abstract: The Art of Design. It premieres on Netflix on February 10. Now, this isn’t WIRED on Netflix. But the show shares some base code (in part because I’m the creator and an executive producer). Abstract is an eight-episode documentary series about creativity, about visionary designers who shape the world around us—from architecture to illustration, cars to typography. ¶ I can guess what you’re thinking, because I have watched a lot of design documentaries. Restrained, polished, pretty—so many of them look like a moving version of a coffee table book. You’ve got softly lit interviews, esoteric conversations, and subtle tracking shots of wide landscapes beneath unobtrusive music. Most of it is clean, minimal, and boring as hell. ¶ We’re not doing that. My partners and fellow executive producers—Morgan Neville (who won an Oscar for 20 Feet From Stardom) and RadicalMedia’s

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For the eight episodes of the Netflix documentary series Abstract, we traveled around the world, talking to designers about their vision and creative process.

Dave O’Connor—and I built a team of today’s best-known documentarians. Every episode stands as its own film, adapting the design sensibilities of our subjects. And if I may geek out for a moment, aside from the usual Steadicams and drones, we used anamorphic prime lenses—the best glass on the market—mounted on a Red Epic Dragon camera shooting 4K HDR. It looks fantastic. To verify that independently, I asked WIRED’s esteemed culture desk to review the show. They told me to bugger off—some nonsense about a “conflict of interest.” Whatever. I get this whole page every month. And I’m confident that the show will do more than just bring deeper meaning to things you can see and feel. We were all working from what, in the end, is a particularly WIRED point of view. If we’ve done it right, Abstract will help you understand the future by seeing the intent behind the objects that surround us—and the beauty in the decisions that led to them. So here is my totally nonobjective review: It’s awesome. I rate it two thumbs up, five stars, and 100 percent fresh.

SCOT T DADICH Editor in Chief @ S DAD I CH

FEB 2017

ILLUSTRATION BY STANLEY CHOW; PHOTOGRAPHS: NETFLIX

Bjarke Ingels, Architect


ACTUALLY, IT IS ROCKET SCIENCE.

INTRODUCING THE HYDROGEN FUELED TOYOTA MIRAI. CONSIDER IT ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND.

TOYOTA.COM/MIRAI ©2016 Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.


ARGUMENT

THIS IS A TEST STAND UP FOR THE CLIMATE— AND FOR CIVILIZATION.

ALPHA

BY BILL MCKIBBEN

DURING HIS CAMPAIGN for president, Donald Trump promised to end action on climate change and kill the climate treaty adopted in 2015 in Paris. To truly understand why that’s such a big deal—perhaps the biggest deal ever—you need to think about a few things. ¶ Yes, you need to think about the oft-repeated but nonetheless true and alarming statistics: 2014 was the hottest year ever recorded till 2015 snatched the crown—till 2016 obliterated the record. Last summer featured some of the hottest days ever reliably recorded on this planet: 128 degrees Fahrenheit in cities like Basra, Iraq—right at the edge of human endurance. Global sea ice has been at a record low in recent months. ¶ But you need to think about more than that.

FEB 2017

DAVIDE BONAZZI

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Think about the slow, difficult, centuries-long march of science that got us to the point where we could understand our peril. Think of Joseph Fourier in the 1820s, realizing that gases could trap heat in the atmosphere; John Tyndall in the middle of that century, figuring out that carbon dioxide is one of those gases; and the valiant Svante Arrhenius in the 1890s, calculating by hand how the global temperature rises in lockstep with carbon dioxide levels. Think of Hans Suess and Roger Revelle in the 1950s, fumbling toward an understanding that the oceans would not absorb excess CO2— the first modern realization that CO2 must be accumulating in the atmosphere and hence, as Revelle put it, “human beings are now carrying out a large-scale geophysical experiment of a kind that could not have happened in the past nor be reproduced in the future.” Think of Charles Keeling in 1958, installing the first real CO2 monitor on the side of Mauna Loa and for the first time watching the CO2 level steadily rise. Think of the scientists who built on that work, using satellites and ocean buoy sensors to erect a scaffolding of observations; think of the theorists who used that data and the new power of supercomputers to build models that by the 1980s had made

Bill McKibben is the Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and founder of global grassroots climate campaign 350.org. 0

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it clear we faced great danger. Think of the men and women who educated those scientists and who built the institutions in which they were educated and who organized the learned societies that supported them. And think of the forums—like the UN and its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change— that brought them together from across the planet to combine their knowledge. All this, taken together, is one part of what we call civilization. Now think of the men and women of the diplomatic corps, who over generations have learned to build bridges across nations, to sometimes reconcile disputes short of war. The Paris accord was a triumph for them, not because it solved the problem (it didn’t, not even close) but because it existed at all. Somehow 195 nations—rich and poor, those with oil beneath their sand and those that have to import it— managed to agree that we should limit the rise in temperature to 2 degrees Celsius this century and set up an intricate architecture to at least begin the process.

The Paris accord would limit the global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius— unless the incoming administration dismantles it.

That too is an aspect of what we call civilization. None of this should be taken for granted. The building blocks of our common home—science and diplomacy and also civility—are hard-won, and history would indicate that they can fade fast. In fact, we now seem likely to start tossing them away based on nothing but the politically useful whim that climate change is a hoax. When Trump announced on the campaign trail that he would “cancel” the Paris agreement, it represented an assault on civilization as surely as announcing that he would jail his political opponent represented an assault on democracy. He’s backed down from the latter plan and, under pressure, said he now has an “open mind” about Paris—though his chief of staff clarified that his “default position” is that climate change is bunk. In any event, he has packed his transition team and cabinet with a small band of climate deniers who have blocked action for years. Already they’ve announced their intention to end NASA’s climate research, which FEB 2017

PHOTOGRAPH: JONATHAN RAA /PACIFIC PRESS/LIGHTROCKET/GETTY IMAGES

GLOBAL WARMING

ALPHA


ALPHA

GLOBAL WARMING

CHARTGEIST BY J O N J . E I L E N B E R G

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we are ill prepared to handle, as the xenophobia of this election season showed. Which is why we need to rise to the occasion. Not only in our day jobs but in our roles as citizens—of city, state, country, planet. Engineers should, by all means, keep developing the next generation of batteries; but that work is merely necessary now, not sufficient. We must not watch idly as Trump takes a hammer to

WE SEEM INTENT ON BLINDING OURSELVES, RIPPING OUT THE SMOKE DETECTORS EVEN AS THE HOUSE BEGINS TO BURN. the mechanisms of our civilization, mechanisms that can’t be rebuilt in the time we have. We need to resist in all the nonviolent ways that we’ve learned over the past century and in new ones that the moment suggests. There will be marches and divestment campaigns, pressure to be put on city halls and statehouses. We will not lack for opportunity. If many join in, then civilization will not just endure but will emerge stronger for the testing, able to face our problems with renewed vigor. At best, it’s going to be a very close call. !

Phrases “OK, Google” “Hey, Siri!” “Alexa!”

POPULARITY

has been a bulwark of the scientific edifice. If they have their way, there will be no more satellites carefully measuring the mass of ice sheets so we can track their melt, no more creative and fascinating “missions to planet Earth” that the space agency has run so successfully. We seem intent on blinding ourselves, on ripping out the smoke detectors even as the house begins to burn. Trump’s team can’t, by themselves, change everything. Engineers and entrepreneurs have done their jobs magnificently over the past decade, as the price of a solar panel has fallen 80 percent. Because of that work, the potential for rapid change is finally at hand. Denmark generated nearly half its power from wind in 2015, and not because it cornered the world’s supply of breeze. Given the new economics of renewable energy, progress will continue. (See “Green Energy Will Prevail,” page 48.) But the climate question has never been about progress per se; we know that eventually we’ll move to the sun and wind. The issue has always been about pace, and now Trump will add serious friction, quite likely shifting the trajectory of our path enough that we will never catch up with the physics of climate change. Other assaults on civilization and reason eventually wore themselves out—fascism, communism, imperialism. But there’s no way to wait out climate change, because this test has a timer on it. Melt enough ice caps and you live on a very different planet. Either we solve this soon or we don’t solve it. And if we don’t, then the cascading crises that follow (massive storms, waterlogged cities, floods of migrants) will batter our societies in new ways that

“Hi, honey.”

TIME

John Wick 2 Mad Keanu

Sad Keanu

Glad Keanu

RUN TIME

Valentine’s Treats Flowers

Cards Candy hearts

FaceTime from Holiday Inn Express

AGE OF RECIPIENT

JUN 2016


YOU CAN’T BUILD THE BUSINESS OF TOMORROW ON THE NETWORK OF YESTERDAY. It’s no secret: business has changed—in every way, for every business. Modern technologies have brought new opportunities and new challenges, like BYOD and a mobile workforce, that old networks just weren’t built for. While demand on these networks has increased exponentially, networking costs have skyrocketed and IT budgets haven’t kept pace.

Comcast Business Enterprise Solutions is a new kind of network, built for a new kind of business. With $4.5 billion invested in our national IP backbone and a suite of managed solutions, Comcast Business is committed to designing, building, implementing and managing a communications network customized to the needs of today’s large, widely distributed enterprise.

Re tric Rest rict c ions ct ons apply app pp ply. Call all for fo det etails ails lss. © Comc C m ast stt 20 2017 17. Al Alll righ hts h ts res eserve ve ed. d

COMCAST BUSINESS ENTERPRISE SOLUTIONS

business.comcast.com/enterprise


ALPHA

COOL BEANS

BREWMASTER BILL INSIDE THE COFFEE LAB AS A CHEMICAL ENGINEER who studies the motion of flu-

Findings From UC Davis’ Java Studies 1. Buying the same bag of beans every week doesn’t guarantee the same flavor. Even if that roast looks just as dark as your last batch, hyperspectral imaging might reveal it’s suspiciously light.

2. Hints of cardboard, anyone? Coffee tasters tend to get pretty creative with their descriptions, so the lab built a data-driven flavor wheel to standardize they way we talk about coffee.

3. Coffee grounds could become the next hot microbiome therapy. Like breast milk, they’re loaded with oligosaccharides, sugars that promote the growth of good bacteria in your gut.

ids, Bill Ristenpart deals with a lot of spattered blood and aerosolized pathogenic mouse phlegm. But when it comes to teaching wary freshman the basics of mass transfer and thermodynamics, the UC Davis professor relies on a less messy (and more potable) liquid: coffee. Beans go through so many complex chemical changes that they can easily form the basis of a whole curriculum. ¶ Called the Design of Coffee, it has become the most popular chemical engineering course in the country, enrolling a quarter of Davis’ freshman class each year. After spending the semester deconstructing coffeemakers and determining pH levels by taste, the 500-odd students compete to engineer the tastiest brew using the least amount of energy. Which isn’t easy, Ristenpart says, because “we know very little about coffee.” Though Americans down some 400 million cups a day, nearly everything about java, from the microbial intricacies of fermentation to the molecular basis of flavor, remains a mystery. ¶ So Ristenpart is overseeing the development of a 6,000-square-foot center devoted to coffee research: sustainability, chemical makeup, and preparation protocols. One target? The industry’s sacred brewing guidelines—calibrated, as Ristenpart tells it, to the tastes of 1950s housewives. “There are all these rules of thumb out there,” he says, “but very rarely does anyone have hard data to back it up.” Hear that, coffee snobs? Time to go back to school. —Gregory Barber

ANIMAL MATING RITUALS, BY MAX DURATION OF SEX: SPONGE (NO CONTACT—MALE SQUIRTS SPERM INTO THE SEA): 0 MINUTES // BONOBO (QUICK AND DIRTY): 10 MINUTES //

FLATWORM (FIRST TO STAB SPERM INTO THE OTHER BECOMES THE FATHER): 1 HOUR // BROWN ANTECHINUS (MALE’S IMMUNE SYSTEM FAILS AND HE DIES): 14 HOURS // QUOLL (MALE EJACULATES MULTIPLE TIMES): 24 HOURS // NEOTROGLA BARKLICE (FEMALE INSERTS PENISLIKE ORGAN INTO MALE TO COLLECT SPERM CAPSULES): 70 HOUR S

CAIT OPPERMANN

FEB 2017


ALPHA

INFOPORN

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Portion of viewers who watched all of season 1 in a week.

NETFLIX AND CHILL. AND BINGE.

The Walking Dead Horror zombies gobble up human brains, humans gobble up zombie horror.

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by candlelight, and now you’ve gotten a little more comfortable, anticipating an epic “Netflix” sesh. But before you get down to business, find out what your partner likes, and be open about what you like, because it’s important that you both enjoy what’s coming. You see, some shows are meant to be savored, and you’ll want to make them last. You might be hooked after episode 2, but you take your sweet time to finish because anticipation makes the climax so much more intense. Other shows are devoured—before you know it, you’re done and left wondering if you made it last long enough. Don’t be afraid to mix things up; either way, you won’t regret it the next day. With exclusive data from Netflix, here’s how Americans like to watch. —Seth Kadish

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Savored shows (viewers watch less than two hours per day to complete the season)

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Devoured shows (viewers watch more than two hours per day to complete the season) Hooked episode (after this at least 70 percent of viewers will finish the season)

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9 Marvel’s Jessica Jones Viewers might take a little longer to fall in love, but once they do, it’s always date night.

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SOURCE: NETFLIX; PHOTOGRAPHS: AMC ( THE WALKING DEAD ); MYLES ARONOWITZ/NETFLIX ( JESSICA JONES ); PAUL SCHIRALDI/NETFLIX ( OITNB )

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Orange Is the New Black It’s the longest season of the bunch, and half of viewers still finish in a week.

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ALPHA

MR. KNOW-IT-ALL

Q:

MY BEST FRIEND DROPPED OUR SNAPCHAT STREAK, AND—LAME AS IT MAY SOUND—I’M ACTUALLY HURT. WHAT SHOULD I DO? BY JON MOOALLEM

Oof. I know how it feels. Streaks are magic; streaks are wild. There you are, you and your bestie, slinging those pictures and videos back and forth, getting that sacred pendulum of digital adorableness and hilarity moving between you, and you start to feel momentum, don’t you? A rhythmic bond—a fellowship, a closeness—taking hold. You’re in it together! And, better still, that little flaming number keeps ticking up, higher and higher. You’re watching your progress, reciprocally microdosing the endorphins. Then suddenly, all that excitement stops. You send a snap, and no snap comes back. It’s a gut punch. It’s over. You’re dropped. ¶ Like I said: Oof. I empathize. And yet I can’t claim to understand the hurt of being dropped nearly as well as Maica Folch, who has been literally dropped and literally hurt from the dropping. ¶ Folch is an aerialist in San Francisco who spent much of her adult life working as a trapeze artist. She started when she was just a teenager. Has Folch ever been dropped? Yes. Yes, she has. And, somewhere beneath the acute pain of impact, did she also feel something akin to the abandonment and resentment you’re dealing with? No, she did not. ¶ It’s 1987, Barcelona. Dress rehearsal, the day before a big aerial dance performance. Folch has been hoisted 80 feet off the ground in a meticulously engineered elastic harness. And yet not so meticulously, because there’s been a miscalculation

A:

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CHRISTOPH NIEMANN

with the rigging and, before Folch can comprehend what’s happening, she sees the floor racing toward her. She is falling, most likely to her death. And it’s just like everyone says: “I saw the movie of my life,” she tells me. She hears her gasping colleagues calling out as she speeds down at them. What happens next is unexpected, and yet it happens so naturally. “I was so peaceful,” Folch says. “And I fell down like a feather.” She hits the ground. She bounces. Bounces! Remember, she’s basically tied to an enormous rubber band, and this serene feather of a woman bounces so high that she’s able to grab a rope up there and steady herself. “If I had freaked out and come down with an intense energy,” Folch says—if she’d stiffened and steeled herself—her body would have shattered. Instead she was bruised, like a fallen apple, but “didn’t break a bone.” And here’s the most helpful part of the story: It never occurred to Folch, after being dropped, to feel jilted or angry. “When something goes wrong,” she says, “there is no one to blame.” It’s a kind of aerialist credo, really— put loyalty and trust first. You say to each other, “I love what I do, I love doing it with you, and if I start doing it with you, it’s because I trust you,” she explains. “We don’t live in a perfect world,” Folch says. Carabiners fail. People fail. Friends don’t always return your snap. And it’s probably not because they don’t love you but likely just because none of us, zipping around on our phones and in real life simultaneously, swinging like trapeze artists between these two platforms of frenetic distraction, can be expected to do it all perfectly or to recognize the many distant and private emotional burdens our little snaps might bear. We will let each other down. It’s just a fact. But we all deserve some slack, some good faith—especially from our best friends. The secret to a thriving trapeze partnership, Folch says, is not necessarily forgiveness but refusing to think of the inevitable disappointments of life as requiring forgiveness in the first place. “You create unconditional relationships. There is pain. There is guilt. But you don’t disappear from the picture.” And so my answer is: Move on. You’re fine. Learn to love more. Learn from Folch, who knew, deep down, how to handle being dropped and how to bounce back too. !

MRKNOWITALL@WIRED.COM

FEB 2017


DESIGN

ALPHA

Shade Artist Claire Norcross researched flowers and pinecones as she sketched possible designs. Arranged in tiers at gradually narrowing angles, the petals redirect light without casting shadows and are slightly curved to create a diffuse reflection, which softens the light into a glare-free glow.

INNER GLOW THIS LED BULB IS A BRIGHT IDEA

Facets

THE LIGHT BULB might be the symbol of innovation, but changes to its design over the years haven’t been very inspiring: Compact fluorescents are typically spirals of ugly, and LED bulbs tend toward a bland aesthetic. Now a startup called Plumen is sparking a shift with its latest bulb, the 003. Cofounder Nicolas Roope bills it as the Tesla of illumination—as luxurious as it is efficient. The $200 light (yes, that’s a lot of scratch, but the 003 is so stunning you should think of it as an objet d’art) houses an aluminum shade that was shaped by an artist. The anodized metal warms the light, directing bright rays downward while reflecting a glow to the side. “We’re seeing the swan song of the Edison bulb,” Roope says. “But what does the future look like?” Elegant and inviting, apparently. —joseph bien-kahn

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Bulb Norcross drew inspiration from scientific flasks and bell jars, designing a bulb that she says looks “like you’re capturing a flower or encapsulating this treasure within it.”

JAMES DAY

DIAGRAMS BY BROWN BIRD DESIGN; OPPOSITE PAGE: ILLUSTRATION BY LEON EDLER

Plumen tapped jeweler Marie Laure Giroux to luxe up the aesthetic. Her breakthrough? Adding dimples, which create localized shadows, lending an exaggerated illusion of depth and the kind of preciousness Plumen desired.


TRUE CRIME

POLITICS

REAL OR FAKE UNSMOOTH CRIMINALS Tech-enabled wrongdoers are shooting themselves in the foot— by shooting themselves on their phones, recording their misdeeds, and posting the videos for all the world (and the cops) to see. It’s so preposterous, we bet you won’t be able to tell the real crimes from the fake. — E LI S E C R A I G

Snack Attacks Two Utah teens broadcast themselves stealing tubs of frozen treats from an ice cream truck. A local saw the livestream on Periscope and called the authorities. OR A pair of ravenous Arizona stoners were caught trying (and failing) to work the fryer at a Taco Bell after hours, thanks to a giggle-filled video that went hyperlocally viral.

BURST THE BUBBLE HOW TO REENGINEER REEN DI YOUR MEDIA DIET

FEB 2017

TIMBA SMITS

A Good Samaritan called 911 after seeing a livestream of a Florida woman saying “I am super drunk in the USA and the light is red” and “Let’s see if I get a DUI.” She did. OR One drunk outside Reno, Nevada, tried to hot-wire a bulldozer at a construction site. The Instagram video captured him falling off the machine and into a pit below.

Creature Features

Companies can use your browser history and cookies to serve you all kinds of targeted content, so clear them out and select Do Not Track in your settings wherever you can. It’s no guarantee, but some sites will honor your request.

Animal activists broke into SeaWorld and filmed themselves spray-painting “Justice for Tilikum” on the whale tanks. OR Two Florida men who picked up a great horned owl and took it for a booze-fueled joyride found themselves in big trouble with Fish and Wildlife after one of them posted a video on Facebook.

Real: ice cream heist, drunk in the USA, Florida owl abduction

YOU’VE HEARD BY NOW that you’re living in a so-called s filter bubble, where everything you see online only reinforces ce your core beliefs, turning you into a superficial parody of an opinionated na person. I know, Trending liberal? Try because I’m no model netizen myself. Throughout tthe election season, podcasts from the Ricochet I muted, unfollowed, and even unfriended people who h were driving me network. More nuts. My bad: Those are the exact people I should’ve v been engaging conservative? Give Keepin’ with the whole time. Today I want to reach back out, t and you should It 1600 a shot. too. In other words: Refriend. Refol Refollow. Unmute. You also l need to do the opposite and mute a few people with hw whom you mostt agree. They tell you what you already know—which is fun un and empowering, w sure, but doesn’t energize the synapses. And don’t stop op there. Cut u back on cable talk shows, change your internet homepage, ssubscribe b to some new Check out promising (if p p and stimulating email newsletters, and spice up your podcast lineup. early-stage) bias-mitigation Finally, don’t let algorithms rule your feeds. By pushing pu back on comtech: An app panies’ ability to target you with advertising and ssearch results, you’ll called Discors and the Chrome see a less skewed mediascape. Don’t o worry! This is not about curbing extension e to the center. Nobody benefits from EscapeYourBubble your activism or driving everyone curate pointthat. It’s about knowing what other h people are saying so you can be counterpoint articles, while a fiercer, more thoughtful advocate at for your ideas—whether you’re Jigsaw’s Unfilltered happy with the election result or not. no Because a more daring media .news data viz shows the day’s diet and a commitment to challenging ng our own preconceptions will headlines—from equip us all to handle whatever’s coming next. —Emma Grey Ellis gn everywhere.

Do Not Operate


SPORTS

ALPHA

HIT PIECE HOW TO TACKLE THE NFL’S CONCUSSION MESS

WHEN THE 2016 NFL SEASON opened with a rematch of the previous Super Bowl, it made headlines for the wrong reasons: Carolina Panthers quarterback and reigning MVP Cam Newton suffered a barrage of shots to the head yet was never checked for a concussion. It was a bruising reminder that, despite efforts to boost safety, dangerous collisions happen all too often. And when the season ends with Super Bowl LI in February, the league will still have failed to face its concussion epidemic head-on. ¶ The link between concussions and chronic traumatic encephalopathy is strong enough for the NFL to have settled an estimated $1 billion class action with retired players in 2015. The league has since strengthened its concussion protocol, which calls for any player showing symptoms to be benched until they pass a battery of tests. Trouble is, the athlete’s own feedback remains essential for diagnosis—and players can be reluctant to self-report. “You’re at the mercy of the answer they give you,” says Robert Cantu, cofounder of Boston University’s CTE Center. And even the most thorough sideline test would fail to identify subconcussive events. Though less dramatic, these impacts still destroy neurons and can occur many times per game—piling on long-term damage with each hit. ¶ So what to do? Cantu argues the league should eliminate not just helmet-to-helmet hits but all targeted head hits. Timothy Gay, a physicist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has advocated adding accelerometers to each helmet, so researchers can collect real data to work with. But Gay, an ex-lineman, knows change must start with the sport’s gladiatorial mindset. “The thing I loved as a player, and that we all love as fans, is the inherent violence in the game,” he says. Changing that culture may be the most brutal battle yet. —Joseph Bien-Kahn

JARGON WATCH

groupalization n. / grüp- -lī-'zā-sh n / Yahoo’s idea for taking the personalization of online ads to ' the street. Billboards and signs outfitted with cameras, mics, and scanners would profile passing groups of pedestrians or motorists—inferring demographics from car models, say—to serve up targeted ads. vertical walking v. / v r-ti-k l 'w -kiŋ / Scooting from floor to floor in a building with ' a new arm-and-leg-powered lift. The effect is a little funny (picture shimmying up a utility pole— without the pole), but it uses no electricity, takes up minimal space, and is actually easier than climbing stairs. Asgardia n. / as-'gär-dē- / The first nation-state in space. Named for Asgard, home of ' the Norse gods, it’ll initially be located on a satellite to be launched this fall, at which time the founder plans to seek UN recognition. More than half a million Earthlings have registered as citizens. —J O N AT H O N K E ATS

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ISRAEL G. VARGAS

FEB 2017


©2016 Volvo Car USA, LLC


DIY

HOLY BRICKS, BATMAN! HOW TO MAKE A STOP-MOTION LEGO FLICK 0

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JOSEPH SHIN

DESPITE THE BLOCKY, herky-jerky quality of the visuals, 2014’s The Lego Movie and this February’s spinoff, The Lego Batman Movie, were not actually filmed in stop-motion. It would have cost tens of thousands of dollars to buy the bricks alone. But Lego Batman’s director, Chris McKay, labored to replicate the analog effect digitally, drawing on his work for TV shows like Robot Chicken. So we asked him for some tips on how to make a (legitimately stop-motion) Lego movie of our own. Low-budget, of course—we don’t have tens of thousands either. —signe brewster

PHOTOGRAPHS: STYLING BY SCOTT STONE; ILLUSTRATION BY MARLY GALLARDO

ALPHA


HOOKUPS

LOVE— THERE’S A HACK FOR THAT I’m huge in Japan. I learned this after a breakup, when a spiral of depression led me to the conclusion that I needed to relocate to a part of New York where my chances for a rebound—I mean love!— were high. First, I downloaded the dating app Happn, which tells you when other singles are in a one-block radius. Unfortunately, an experimental jaunt indicated that the critical mass of available women lived in my ex’s new neighborhood. I now had to get out of the city entirely. I lacked the funds to Eat, Pray, Love around the world in person. But thanks to location-spoofing apps—I used FakeGPSFree—now you can globe-trot on Tinder, toggling from Spain to Sweden in two taps. After hours of testing, I determined that I am the Ryan Gosling of Asia. Vietnam, Korea, Hong Kong—turns out they all love a blond, 140-pound nerd. Eventually, though, the prospect of giving up good pizza made me bring the search closer to home. I attempted one final hack in uncharted dating territory: Venmo. It turns out two out of five cute strangers will respond to an out-of-the-blue $1.35 payment “for being sexy.” (Who knew you can chat in Venmo?) Unorthodox? Sure. But if you stand out, some people can’t help falling in love with you. I learned that from the King. —S H A NE S NOW

LIKE ELVIS,

Anchor Everything Getting that perfect stop-motion feel requires keeping both your camera and the set nice and stable. McKay recommends a GorillaPod, a flexible tripod that can anchor a phone to most surfaces. Securing the Legos is easier, since the pieces are designed to stick together. Just weigh down the sides of the set to make sure you don’t accidentally move it between frames.

FEB 2017

Light It Up

Pick Your App

Good illumination is essential to achieving a professional look, but the small scale of the Lego pieces makes it tricky to use traditional stage lighting. Craft and hobby stores— especially those selling trains and holiday figurines—usually stock mini LEDs. McKay says they give Lego sets a cinematic sheen that makes the bricks look larger and more alive.

And ... action! Apps like Stop Motion Studio save you from having to manually stitch hundreds or thousands of images into a video. Simply open the app, take a photo, move your character a tiny bit, and then repeat. “You have to build or find everything you need on set. You can’t draw your way out of a problem,” McKay says. “It’s a lot more like live-action filmmaking than it is like animation.” Except you can bend surly actors to your will.

Embrace Imperfection As you’re manipulating figurines through a scene, don’t try to create hyperrealistic movements. It’s OK to have your Lego star’s hand go from up in the air to down on a table in one frame. As McKay says: “I think that is beautiful in its own charming way.”


ALPHA

people dealt with the original info boom, the Gutenberg press. It produced such a flood of books and pamphlets that readers learned to vary their reading speed—sometimes zipping through pages, sometimes lingering to absorb. (“Some books should be tasted, others swallowed,” noted 16th-century intellectual Francis Bacon.) I can feel my mind trying the same trick with video. If I’m learning a new coding technique on Lynda.com and I hit a section that puzzles me, I’ll slow down to 1X and loop difficult moments over and over. But if I’m in my comfort zone, I’ll race along at 1.5X. Some people are even pushing the limits of endurance: Programmer Max Deutsch recently created a speed-listening app that allows paces as lunatic as 10X. (Beyond even 5X, he admits, “it’s past the point of enjoyable.”) Most of his 10,000 users, a hard-core crowd, listen at 3X to 4X. Frankly, I doubt I could make sense of speech at that pace. But research suggests that moderate acceleration doesn’t hurt comprehension. Studies by educational-tech researchers Ray Pastore, of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and Albert Ritzhaupt, of the University of Florida, found that people listening to scientific info at 1.5X understood just as much as those listening at 1X. Video, Pastore says, is even more amenable to speedup, because the visual and audio cues reinforce one another. Now, you might argue that this hummingbirdpace sipping of culture deforms the aesthetic experience. Maybe so. But people seem to make nuanced distinctions about which genres can withstand acceleration. Audible has found that its listeners race along with just-the-facts info—like newspapers and business books—but play classic novels at regular speed, to savor the performance. We’re creating cultural norms in a world of speed. Yet our current tech and strategies for parsing audio and video are crude, barely Gutenberg-level. Speed isn’t enough. We need tools that nimbly parse multimedia. Imagine—as Overcast creator Marco Arment does—voice dictation so good that every podcast comes with an autogenerated transcript. You could zip forward by clicking on the text you want to hear or, he says, “share an interesting clip just by selecting the text you want.” If we’re going to speed up, we should make sure we don’t lose control. !

GET UP TO SPEED LEARN FASTER WITH HIGH-VELOCITY TECH BY CLIVE THOMPSON

TIKITU DE JAGER, a coder living in Greece, wanted to learn to program

in iOS. So, like a lot of us do when we want to pick up a new skill, he started watching lessons online. At the outset everything was new, so he’d watch carefully and take notes. But as De Jager’s knowledge grew, he wanted to zip past familiar material. That’s when he started speeding up the videos. ¶ Now De Jager races along at 2X speed, slowing down only when he hits challenging stuff. “You go, ‘OK, OK, OK, I get the point’—until something new comes along,” he says. ¶ Power consumers of podcasts already know that 1.5X speed is their friend. About half the people who use podcast app Overcast listen on Smart Speed, which gooses the audio by eliminating moments of silence. Ten percent of Audible listeners crank up the speed dial. And as online videos become an increasingly important platform for acquiring new skills, speedup behavior is edging into the mainstream. Nearly 10 percent of people watching Khan Academy videos view them faster than normal. ¶ Sure, we could bemoan this trend as another bleak marker of our hypermetabolized world: We’re racing through life, grimly optimizing every waking moment! (Overcast actually tells you how many hours of your life it has saved you.) But me, I’m in favor of overclocking video and audio. It’s a clever adaptation. In an age where more and more information arrives as multimedia, we’re reinventing the noble art of skimming. ¶ Skimming, after all, was how

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ZOHAR LAZAR

CLIVE@CLIVETHOMPSON.NET

FEB 2017


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Healthy-ish A NEW SITE FROM BON APPÉTIT

LAUNCHING

1-24-17

good food. good health. good vibes. B O N A P P E T I T . C OM /H E A LT H Y I S H


NIKE AIR VAPORMAX FLYKNIT

FITNESS

STYLING BY AMY TAYLOR

FETISH GAS SLIPPER FEB 2017

NIKE’S SHINY-NEW power-lacing HyperAdapt may be hogging the limelight these days, but the latest addition to the company’s iconic Air line also deserves some applause. A triumph of minimalism, the VaporMax uses less air than usual in its pressurized sole. But don’t be deflated: Nike’s designers used sensor-laden shoes to determine where their athlete-testers needed the most support, then placed air chambers only where necessary. The shoe contains less of most everything else too. Gone is the foam midsole, the rubber outsole, and three layers of glue, leaving just the sole and the FlyKnit body—breathable, nearly weightless polyester yarn that tightens along with the laces. At just 8.8 ounces, the VaporMax is strides ahead of the bulky Air Max shoes of yesteryear but still delivers the legendary bounce. Kicks this buoyant might even get a certain writer outside for a run—or at least down to the corner store. —JOSEPH BIEN-KAHN

$200

NIK MIRUS

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SKI SEASON

FITNESS

GEARHEAD FINELY SHRED When it’s steep and deep on the back side, strap on this mountain-crushing outfit. —MADISON KOTACK 1

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Igneous Skis Dreamweaver

Atomic Hawx Ultra 130 Boots

The Igneous workshop in Jackson, Wyoming, custom designs its bigmountain skis for each rider’s style and builds them by hand with the ultimate materials: highenergy maple and white ash cores, sintered graphite bases for speed, and rock-proof Kevlar. All you need is a heli-lift to the peak.

These slippers put the stiff action and snow-feel of a 130flex racing boot in an incredibly light package—an ideal mix of power and agility for ripping lines off-piste. With Atomic’s Memory Fit tech, the ski shop can mold them to hug your feet like a comfy pair of socks.

$1,600

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$700

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Pow Royal Gore-Tex Glove Gloves this warm usually have the dexterity of a catcher’s mitt, but these skipatrol favorites are different. Layers of Gore-Tex and Thinsulate inside keep the bulk down, while the goatskin-andnylon shell provides toughness and pliancy. There’s even a soft panel for wiping your runny nose.

$100 4

Giro Zone MIPS Helmet Giro’s sleek freeride helmet combines a hard-shell dome and lighter molded materials below, giving you added protection without added weight. Use the rear dial to shape it snugly to your noggin. An easy-touse slider lets you open or close air vents on the fly. Look cool, stay cool.

$200 5

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Oakley Line Miner Goggle Backcountry pow on a bluebird day? Oh yeah. But you better be able to see where you’re going. The Line Miner’s cylindrical profile delivers awesome peripheral vision, so you can carve that glade with confidence. Pair it with a heated Prizm Inferno lens (shown) to keep your windshield fog-free.

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FEB 2017


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WIRED Recommended Gear

CYCLING

FITNESS

HOW TO RIDE AGAIN

1. Odyssey

Twisted PC A broad doublesided pedal like this is all you need for pushing.

$14–18

2. Brooks Cambium C17 Your cheap foam seat is fine, but one of these comfy, versatile saddles made from rubber and cotton is better.

You were practically attached to your bike as a kid. Get back in the saddle—and back to some fun—with these tips. —GRANT PETERSEN

3. Chrome Box Canvas Mirko Sneaker The forged rubber soles on these durable sneaks won’t go clickclack on the office floor. $85 4. Origin8 CitiClassic Roadster bars keep your hands well above the saddle height. $51

$160

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Grant Petersen is the founder of Rivendell Bicycle Works and the author of Just Ride: A Radically Practical Guide to Riding Your Bike.

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Keep It Casual Pros wear bodyhugging dance wear for the slight aerodynamic advantage at race speeds. For you, no measurable benefit. Most of the casual clothing in your wardrobe will do—just dress for the weather. It’s how most of the world does it, and if you have to costume up to take a spin, you’ll look dorky and ride less often.

Find Your Sole The most satisfying pedaling technology is a rubber-soled shoe on a flat, semigrippy pedal. Kids start out like that, but racer worship kicks in with age and steers 0

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them astray. Resist. Wear shoes you like and can walk in. Sandals and sneakers work great.

3

Don’t Break Your Heart The bike industry and media glorify long, fast rides that, over 20 years or so, can lead to atrial fibrillation and increased risk of heart attacks. The “training zone,” where your heart rate is high but sustainable for a few hours, is also the “death zone.” It’s much healthier to keep a pace you could continue all day. Rely on burpees and weights for workouts instead.

Use Your Head

Get a Bike-ofAll-Trades Your cycling enthusiast friends probably have a 16-pound road racer, a dualsuspension mountain beast, and maybe even an electric commuter. Bike culture gravitates to the extremes. But most

Ride Like You’re 11 situations are best handled by a boring bike with practicalwidth tires, fenders, racks for gear, and upright (not drop!) handlebars. You don’t walk leaning forward 45 degrees, so why pedal that way?

Kids use bikes to get places and have fun. Adult bikes are marketed as fitness equipment because that’s how you market bikes to adults. Don’t let that be the boss of you. Ride for joy and transport— like you used to.

Wear a helmet, but don’t count on it to save you. First, 9 ounces of Styrofoam and plastic may pass low-bar impact tests, but they’re no match for hard, fast smacks. And second, protective gear encourages you to take risks you might not take without it. Not a winning combination. Ride sensibly—your wits are your best guardian. FEB 2017


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FITNESS

WORKOUT HEADPHONES

LEVEL UP PACE YOURSELF Each of these sweatproof buds will push you—and your budget— a little harder. —MICHAEL DURAN

AWESOME

Jaybird X3 Wireless Sport Headphones Step up to the Jaybirds and you get similar battery life with more fit options. If the silicone or foam ear tips feel loose, snap on a pair of the fins (choose from three sizes) to secure the earphones in place and keep your Drake distraction-free. The sound is better too, with more clarity and dynamic range.

$130

AMAZEBALLS

GREAT

Sol Republic Relays Sport Wireless The soft plastic wheels around the Relays’ earpieces keep the buds in your ears and give these headphones the best fit in the sub-$100 club. An outdoor mode boosts the bass so you can hear Traffic instead of traffic. There’s an eighthour battery, but if you forget to juice them up before a run, a 10-minute quick charge gives you an hour of go time.

Beats PowerBeats3 Wireless The latest from Beats uses Apple’s W1 chip, the same processor in Cupertino’s futurefreaky AirPods. It makes for quick pairing with iPhones and runs efficiently enough to stretch battery life to 12 hours. Dual drivers in each ear serve up crystal clear sonics, and those hooks loop around your lobes to snug everything up.

$200

$79

FEB 2017

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Beauty vlogger Alan Macias (@alannized) at Beautycon LA last year.

Face Time Why millions of kids watch videos of people putting on makeup. (Hint: It’s not about makeup.) BY JAMIE LAUREN KEILES

TAYLOR IS 14 but a young 14, with the poreless face of an American Girl doll. Her hair is sandy blond and parted down the middle. She is smart but not savvy beyond her years, with the quiet confidence that educators seek when they speak of getting girls into soccer or STEM. She talks like someone who is certain of what she knows but who hasn’t yet realized the vastness of what she doesn’t. For this reason, I trust Taylor entirely as she lays out the details of the online beauty scene, a teen subculture as sprawling as it is potentially valuable. ¶ “I’m into singers—Selena Gomez,

FEB 2017

ANGIE SMITH


FILE://CELEBRITY

Taylor Swift—but YouTube is a different category. It’s not something you were hired for, it’s not something you were born into—it’s something you do for a passion.” Taylor’s own passion, at least for now, is YouTube star Tana Mongeau. I first came into contact with Taylor on Twitter last summer when I was looking for teens who could help unpack Tana’s appeal. Tana is 18, lives in Las Vegas, has produced more than 130 videos about everything from how she does her makeup in the morning to boyfriends to pumpkin spice to racism—and has 2.1 million subscribers on YouTube. The only thing Taylor might love more than Tana is God. Her timeline is one half retweets from The Gospel Daily, the other half pleas for Tana’s attention:

scene, where Tana would soon appear alongside other beautyscene YouTube stars. These stars respond to myriad names—creators, influencers, beauty gurus, “the talent”—titles that convey their indeterminate fame, as well their receptiveness to both marketing and being marketed. Most of them produce extensive and often mesmerizing

Tana meetup, she looks shellshocked with joy—and wears hardly any makeup. “I’m going to put the pictures from today on my wall,” she explains. “So I want to look more like my actual self.” I’ve heard similar logic applied to weddings, graduations, and other milestones to be photographed for posterity. For teens

and the same as fans. As growth and legitimacy began separating the groups, the event caught the eye of investor Moj Mahdara, who took a stake in the company in 2013. A year later she transitioned to the role of CEO and saw potential for something bigger than a trade show. In a 2015 interview with Fast Company, she imagined a far-reaching

Cpation tktk Ximod que eos quas eatempo ratemque praepel experovit voluptae andi ut quaerore nimi, ut eici officiam quatiis.

RT @The_Gospels: May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, & the love of God, & the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. -2Cor 13:14 #ISupportTanaBecause she supports us. everyday. in everything we do. we are family and always got each others back. <3 When I first talked to Taylor she was preparing to start high school near her home in Washington state, though that was hardly the biggest event in her near future. Her mom had booked a trip to Beautycon LA, an event for the online beauty

Jamie Lauren Keiles (@jamiekeiles) is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles.

FEB 2017

Women sample e ma akeup at Beautycon L LA in a space set up to o look like a classroom.

makeup tutorials on YouTube, plus brand-sponsored posts across other social platforms. Taylor was looking forward to meeting Tana face-to-face after months of following her online. On the morning of Beautycon, Taylor texts me a photo so I will know who to look for in the sea of other teens. When I find her in line for the official

YouTuber Tana Mongeau and Taylor, at Tana’s first meetup; beauty swag for the stars.

like Taylor who’ve made it to Beautycon, it isn’t a stretch to say today feels as momentous.

IN THE BEGINNING,

like 2011, Beautycon was launched as a trade show for YouTube creators, though creators back then were mostly one

brand—“Vice Media for a 16to 24-year-old girl.” That target market has since stretched to include boys who can contour, gender-fluid teens, women of a certain age, and, as she puts it, “anyone who loves to feel great about themselves.” Beautycon Media today is one part Coachella, one part Sephora, and one part (or more)


BEAUTYCON

a consulting firm for brands that are thirsty for access to this slippery generation. The enterprise now includes Beautycon Box (a cosmetics service), Beautycon Digital (a social-first editorial platform), and one-day festivals in LA, London, New York, Dallas, and Dubai. These festivals boast pop-up shops and live tutorials but

Despite such inscrutability to even an interested adult, Beautycon LA claimed 15,000 guests this year. That’s 8,000 more than in 2015, and 10,000 more than the year before that. In the morning before Beautycon opens to the public, my ride drops me off at the foot of the LA Convention Center. Through the doors, a blush-colored banner

advertise the “creators” as the main event. Few of the YouTubers headlining Beautycon LA lay claim to their own Wikipedia page nor a single piece of coverage in a mainstream publication. The only real way to crack their biographies is by stalking their posts across social media or watching hundreds of hours of YouTube.

portends the tone for the day: you don’t need lipstick, lipstick needs you. This year’s festival is taking place in West Halls A and B—around 200,000 square feet in all. Admission starts at $19.99 and scales quickly to the VIP Total Package—a $299.99 extravaganza with early-entry brunch and professional hair and makeup.

Already the premium ticketholders are milling. All across the halls vendors are running schemes to goad guests into online engagement. The simplest offers a small bribe, like a lip gloss, in exchange for a like or follow. Other brands have arranged Instagrammable backdrops in the hope that fans might pose and post. The booth for Conscious Period organic tampons is decked with pink toilet tissue, a golden toilet, and pink mock graffiti that reads: don’t go with the flow. On a long pink carpet at the front of the hall, the talent are arriving and granting interviews to YouTube-only outlets like CelebSecretsTV. If they have anything in common, it’s flawless contour makeup. Diversity happened naturally at Beautycon from the start. YouTube, as a platform, has low barriers to entry, which benefits groups long shunned by old media. Success on the site doesn’t demand a certain look or a vast network of well-connected friends. The day before, at Beautycon headquarters in Hollywood, Mahdara had made it clear: “I’m not trying to change anything. I’m just trying to reflect the time in which we live.” The gay daughter of Iranian immigrants, she explained, “I can relate to feeling like I don’t fit in. Not marketed to, written off for being a certain size, shape, gender preference—a million things.” Soon after the festival opens to the public, the lines on the floor grow so knotted that I eventually lose sight of where each ends. Through periodic polling of queued-up teens, I catch wind of free lotion at QVC, free hand massages at the booth for Yes to Carrots, and a meetand-greet event with Justin Bieber’s ex-girlfriend hosted by a cotton-ball brand. Bored and lost moms mill about hold-

Tana talks to fans like they’re up late at a sleepover, swapping racy stories.

ing skewers, licked clean of the mock chicken being proffered by Gardein. I pause for a moment at the edge of the music stage to watch the Vine-famous Nebraskan pop-rap duo Jack & Jack. The pit is packed, but the crowd stands still, shooting steady footage with phones in the air. Beautycon plays out on a digital stage as much as it does inside the convention center. When I spoke to Taylor before the festival, she outlined her social media strategy for the day—a cross-platform plan of nearprofessional caliber. Beautycon is not an IRL event with an incidental web presence, nor is it the offline extension of an online community; it’s both, though the fans seem unbothered by such distinctions. Leaving the stage, I spot musician Courtney Love walking casually across the floor, unnoticed. Many Beautycon fans were born not only after Kurt died but after the 2002 break-up of Hole. What eludes them isn’t just the context of her fame but possibly her category of celebrity in general.

YOUTUBE CREATOR

meetups are scheduled in hourlong blocks throughout the day. Tana is one of the few with two solo meetups, and the line for her first is overflowing its corral. A girl holds a glue-sticked poster: yo u r s u p e r h e r o wears a cape, mine wears mac honey love lipstick.

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Taylor is close to the front, feet from the chair where Tana will sit. As we wait, she shows me a framed poem she wrote— entitled “An Influence”—that includes sweet (if dystopian) couplets like: “An environment which provides a positive escape / Through a false world that reality shaped.” The poem is signed, “God Bless, Taylor.” The online beauty scene, for Taylor, is less about the makeup than following creators as one might General Hospital. Perhaps this is why she loves Tana Mongeau. Tana doesn’t claim any beauty expertise (and sometimes she actively rejects it). Her videos take the form of ebullient monologues, looping from silly into serious back to crass. Taylor calls Tana a storytime YouTuber. She communicates with fans like they’re up late at a sleepover, giddy from sugar, swapping racy stories. In “I Talk About Drinking and Smoking,” for instance, she faces the camera in an oversize T-shirt, mocking the squeaky-clean tone of beauty YouTube, before mocking herself for a former crush on Lil Wayne. She delivers an update on “I Dated a Fuckboy”— an earlier tale of a duplicitous suitor, which unfortunately was

TEENAGE FAN CLUB

0 YouTube Beauty Star Traditional Celebrity

FEB 2017

SELENA GOMEZ

AR IA NA G R AND E

G RAV 3YAR DG I R L

5M

B ET HANY M OTA

10M

TAYLOR SWIFT

15M

YUYA

YouTube Subscribers (as of Dec. 2016)

20M

shared with the fuckboy himself. She reassures her fans: “I’m never gonna not tell rawass stories from my life.” What comes next is an exegesis on the Kylie Jenner Lip Kit, which segues naturally into heartfelt reflection on mass shootings. (“Don’t you see this pattern?”) Over the course of 10 and a half minutes, she’s funny and rude and confused and compassionate and the hundred other feelings that tangle the teen brain. She presents herself as wise but still flawed, ever reminding viewers to Like and Subscribe. Together, day by day, they’ll untangle adolescence. “She’s created such a positive environment on the internet,” Taylor tells me. “To the point where the amount of interaction with her following has really made it feel like more of a family.”

TO KEEP TABS ON the movement of creators around the festival, I’ve switched on Twitter alerts, per Taylor’s advice. My phone flickers constantly, annotating reality. Phone charging stations, scattered about the hall, overflow with Medusas of commonly used cords. I stop to plug in beside two older women, markedly out of place for their lack of a teen. They tell me they work in high-end cosmetics and have come to Beautycon on an espionage mission to solve their own issues reaching Generation Z. With a good deal of eyerolling, they recount their brand’s failed attempt at a meetup with a YouTube star at a shopping center. They’d booked the creator for a Friday afternoon, a time when parents were still at work. Without rides or cash, the teens didn’t show. According to the pair of industry spies, the lesson to be learned

was that creators can’t sell. In the backstage lounge, some brand reps still have hope as they dump free product on whoever will accept. Creators load up on five brands of mascara; hair extensions and blow-dryers overflow from free totes. An overwhelmed bag-check guy struggles to stow it all, wading through what must be a cool million in makeup. The hope of the reps is free exposure, though a likelier outcome is a deal for sponsored content—paying a creator to film an endorsement. The past half decade has seen a Wild West of spon-con, with brands throwing money at anyone with followers, a desperate plea to reach the youngest consumers. As this strategy has begun to bear middling returns, the metric of choice has shifted to engagement—a creator’s ability to move fans to interact. What’s called family on the main floor is a target market backstage. According to Tana’s manager, Jordan Worona, an entry-level full-time influencer with a few million followers can expect to be paid like a “low-level teacher”—between $20,000 and $40,000 a year. Worona lost interest in managing “Hollywood talent” when he realized the extent to which YouTube was still in flux. “The trajectory of the career is still being developed,” he says. Everyone is making the rules up as they go. “You could work, right now, with the top influencers in the world. If you were an acting agent, you would have to wait 10, 15, 20 years before you would have some of the top talent.” On YouTube, the top is often still fleeting. Creators rise to fame under viral conditions, then fade into obscurity in the span of a year. Creators who stick around are well poised for big payouts, though hard stats are mythic and can often

be misleading. There’s a rumor that PewDiePie, who had the highest number of YouTube subscribers last year, made $12 million in 2015. “That’s like Tana times 100,” Worona says wistfully (though he won’t say specifically what she makes). He watched Tana from afar for two months, waiting for the growth of her audience to slow. It hasn’t yet. As her manager, his goal is to prolong that growth and assemble a career path that’s sustainable, like personalized merchandise and touring. Besides, Tana isn’t exactly what he calls “brand-safe.” She swears a lot. Her most-viewed videos have titles like “Crazy Bitch in Target” and “I Got Banged With a Toothbrush.” She goes eagerly on record in support of Black Lives Matter and other touchy issues that make brands run in fear. In a world of vetted and sanitized teen content, she is frank and plainspoken and what fans always call “real.” Taylor says it isn’t the edgy content that keeps her watching, but Tana’s openness and willingness to speak what’s on her mind. She’s a role model, for sure, but she isn’t a Role Model. When Worona solicits new opportunities, he most often compares her to Chelsea Handler or Joan Rivers. When all else fails, he talks in marketing hyperbole: “I mean, this is the girl who, on a monthly basis, is getting views that American Idol got.”

THE FANS IN TANA’S

m e e t u p l i n e a re p e e k i n g through the curtain, hoping to glimpse her backstage. A security guard asks me who everyone is here for, and I struggle to explain how and why she is famous. Taylor smooths and resmooths her hair in anticipation, whispering to nobody,


BEAUTYCON

“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh.” After a few beats Tana emerges, her minidress laced all the way down the front. The effect is somehow more wholesome than it sounds—think cool best friend of your older sister. It’s easy to imagine her climbing out a window to go drink light beer at a party. She waves to the crowd with exuberance, and I’m extra-journalistically overcome with a desire for her to like me. As the meetup begins, fans approach one by one, presenting their gifts and posing for photos. You might imagine this as stilted or formal, but Tana makes bracefaced middle schoolers seem positively carefree. She sings “Happy Birthday” to the camera for their friends, promises to follow them back on Twitter, and ends many of the meetups with an outright “I love you.” It does not sound like promospeak when Worona tells me she could do this every day. Taylor directs her mom on how to shoot video. When its her turn, she rushes Tana with a hug, then carefully steps back to present her with the poem. They establish the fast intimacy of two women in a bar bathroom, all drawn-out vowels and overemphatic gestures. Tana takes the framed poem in her hands, studies the text, and seems authentically touched. “Do you want to be in my vlog?” she asks. They squeeze into the frame of the camera, and Tana speaks naturally to an invisible audience. “Hi, I’m here with Taylor and she came all the way from Washington.” Taylor, less practiced, compliments Tana in the third person. “She’s so amazing!” The two say “I love you,” and Taylor exits the stall, retrieving her phone from her mom on the way out. Tana greets her next fan with a familiar “Yaaaaas!”

THE CHEAPEST READ

on Tana Mongeau’s success is that she’s famous for being famous. She doesn’t sing or act or dance or otherwise exhibit any nameable skill we traditionally expect to justify stardom. She’s not even all that focused on makeup. In the case of a Hol-

ing up interest through scarcity of information. But even if Pitt did want to get closer, it’s unlikely he’d be able to actually pull it off. He’s busy shooting movies, getting divorced, whatever else. YouTube stars, by contrast, aren’t busy with anything. They have little real work outside of fan relations, which isn’t

BEFORE LEAVING the festival I visit the main stage to watch Tana appear on the #True2You panel. The YouTube creators strut onstage in a burst of confetti, filming the crowd with their phones as they walk. Taylor is sitting in the very first row, still beaming. The stars discuss everything from ignoring the haters to the importance of love and the best Snapchat filters. The message, in the end, is to always stay positive, live with love, and be true to yourself. I’ve forgotten the festival was ever about makeup. Taylor would later tell me that the best part of Beautycon was during the panel, when Tana mouthed “I love you” from the stage. In the week after the festival, as she waited to start high school, Taylor would tweet at Tana 570 times. She would also retweet The Gospel Daily:

RT @The_Gospels: Hear my prayer, God. Don’t hide from my request. Pay attention to me and respond to me. –Psalm 55:1-2

Top: CEO Moj Mahdara (left) with Tyra Banks (center). Bottom: YouTube star Jenn Im backstage at Beautycon.

lywood star, fans accumulate as the byproduct of work; fan relations necessarily come second. You and I won’t likely meet Brad Pitt, and even if we do, we can’t ever truly meet him. Tabloid reputation, casting, PR spin, and velvet rope all help ensure the relationship stays distant. Such distance is likely to improve Pitt’s career, driv-

nal touchstone. Tana’s talent is cultivating an online sense of closeness and managing the flow of interaction to sustain it. Too much interaction and she floods her market; too little and she risks seeming distant.

to suggest that they are without talent. Famous for being famous is a constellation of soft skills not easily described by a single-word title. By offering their lives up for constant consumption, and closing the gap between fandom and stardom, a creator attracts and earns trust from their fans, who rally around them as a commu-

Tana, in the end, would fave two of the tweets. !

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A Bigger Splash

FEATURES | 25.02

CHRISTOPH NIEMANN

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YOUR CAR WILL NO LONGER NEED YOU.

TELECOMS AND CONTENT C R E ATO R S WILL GET C O Z Y.

> >

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N O, YO U WON’T GET A VR H E A D S E T. >

>

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49 Trends That Will Shape the Very Near Future

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BOOM! SUPERSONIC FLIGHT WILL RETURN.

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WE’LL GET SMART ABOUT THE WAR ON DRUGS.

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MICROBIOMES WILL SAVE FA R M I N G . > P.50

ALL YOUR JOBS WILL BELONG TO ROBOTS. > P.52


YOUâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;LL LEARN TO TRUST C H AT B O T S .

YOUR HOUSE WILL A N T I C I PAT E YOUR EVERY MOVE.

> P.49

> P.54

HOVERBOARDS WILL STILL BE A THING (SORRY).

TINY S AT E LLITES WILL BE HUGE.

THE CYBER COLD WAR W I L L H E AT U P.

> P.53

>

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P.48

+ PLUS: W H AT A R E WE GOING TO DO ABOUT FAC E B O O K ? BY CLIVE THOMPSON > P.56

S C I E N T I ST S WILL GET SCARY G O O D AT EDITING DNA.

> P.55

EMAIL WILL DIE. ZOMBIE EMAIL WILL LIVE ON.

S O F T WA R E WILL FIX ITS OWN BUGS.

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WHAT LIES AHEAD

Green Energy Will Prevail

the purposes of influencing elections,” says Dmitri Alperovitch, CTO of security firm Crowdstrike, which was the first to link the Russian government to the DNC hack, months before US intelligence agencies confirmed Russia’s involvement. “They’re going to absolutely attempt to do it again.” Unlike in that other cold war, the security world has yet to settle on a form of mutual deterrence. So expect escalation: not only outright hacking and social media disinformation in countries like Germany, France, and

03

Snapchat Will Matter First your parents learned how to text, because you stopped picking up the phone. Then they got on Facebook so they could see what you were up to at school. And they’re about to find you on Snapchat. For hyperconnected #teens, snapping is like talking—only with videos, doodles, and filters. Sure, everyone’s on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger and Instagram too. But Snapchat is where people share what’s happening in their lives in real time. Meanwhile, Snap Inc., the company, is growing: Last year it released Spectacles, the camera-glasses that have become the season’s must-have millennial accessory. They capture the world the way people see it—which is thrilling to watch. And as of this writing, Snap was rumored to be going public, so we can expect it to push for more users and revenue. This once adorably inscrutable app is suddenly poised for global domination. So get ready for your parents to complain that if you really loved them, you’d keep the snap streak going. —David Pierce

tavis coburn

the Netherlands that have approaching elections, but also subtler data sabotage and maybe even attacks on physical infrastructure. (The mayhem of a few leaked emails looks tame in comparison to the kind of hackerinduced shutdown that hit a Ukrainian power plant in late 2015.) The Obama administration promised to keep Russia in check. Donald Trump’s friendly approach to Putin and dismissal of promises to defend NATO allies have practically dared Russia to press its luck. — A N DY G RE E N B E RG

02

RUSSIAN CYBERTRICKS WILL E S C A L AT E

RUS S I A H AC K E D OU R election and got what it wanted: The spies believed to have stolen and leaked thousands of emails from the Democratic National Committee last year injected chaos and distraction into Hillary Clinton’s campaign and doubt into the minds of American voters about the legitimacy of the US electoral process. And the victory of Putin’s preferred presidential candidate means the Kremlin’s information warfare tactics will only get more aggressive. “They’re weaponizing information for

01

Acts of God are on the rise. Insurers now pay nearly four times as much to policyholders hit by natural disasters than they did in 1980. That’s because God has had a major assist from fossil-fueled industrialization. With the Paris climate agreement, the world’s emitters sought to slash carbon across the public and private sectors. (See Bill McKibben’s essay, page 13.) The US Clean Power Plan targets coal; China is enacting a capand-trade system; India is betting big on solar. The deal sends a clear signal to companies: Invest in green business models. After Donald Trump was elected, more than 360 companies signed a letter urging him to uphold the agreement. Many are hewing to it anyway. Google will reach 100 percent renewable energy in 2017; Facebook and Amazon are following suit. Business leaders will aim to sway Trump from his anti-green stance with economic calculations. Investing in clean energy isn’t just imperative for the environment—it’s essential for US competitiveness. —Nick Stockton


25.02

Telecoms and Content Creators Will Get Cozy

Underrepresented minority graduates in computer science vs. minorities using those degrees in tech: RECENT PAST

18% / 5%

04

W hat w e wan t : to watch anything on any device at any time. Why we might not get it: Last fall, AT&T signed a deal to buy Time Warner for $85.4 billion. That’s a problem, because AT&T previously just owned “dumb pipes.” The company’s business was to simply transmit TV channels and streaming content to our screens without regard to where it came from. But the merger means that AT&T will own CNN, HBO, and others. As a result, those channels may get easier and cheaper to watch for AT&T customers, while other stuff might get more difficult to access. “A combined entity could lock consumers into a system that has dedicated content,” says Aija Leiponen, a Cornell University professor who specializes in the effects of technological change on the economy. “This deal is not geared toward creating more choice for consumers.” (And the new administration seems pretty friendly with the big telecoms.) But the kings of the internet will fight back: Amazon, Facebook, and Google are building their own broadband pipes and streaming media empires. Via its Fiber service, and by buying other providers, Google is offering internet access in some US cities; Facebook is testing mobile internet service in the developing world; and Amazon may start offering home internet connections in Europe. As the old guard tries to build a wall around our eyeballs, the new media masters will chip it away, giving us what we want, when we want it. —Cade Metz

0

Underrepresented minority graduates in computer science vs. minorities using those degrees in tech: NEAR FUTURE

19% / 6%

THINGS YOU WILL LEARN TO LOVE

CHATBOTS

FECAL TRANSPLANTS

BIKE SHARING

EDIBLES

, WHOEVER S REPLACING BEAU WILLIMON

4

9

johnny cobalto


WHAT LIES AHEAD

Drones Will Black Out the Sun

DIE

THE HOME BUTTON

14

THAT WILL

THE MICROBIOME ISN’T JUST ABOUT YOU ANYMORE

FREE BIRTH CONTROL

EMAIL FROM YOUR FRIENDS

15

Concerts Will Be Our Soap Operas In recent years, the tightly choreographed, super-expensive stadium shows that have long been a music industry staple have morphed into multicity soap operas. Will Drake ignite (or defuse) a new beef? Will Taylor Swift strut out (and/or show off) one of her superfamous surprise-guest pals? What will Adele talk about during her off-the-cuff midset monologues? Will Bruce Springsteen try to set yet another live-show run-time record? All of these outings featured story lines that were played out between songs and then broadcast worldwide via social media, where they kept the artist in the news cycle long after the last encore had faded. And they were likely inspired by perpetual tour-de-forcer Kanye West: The confrontational/inspirational midshow spiels that were a staple of his 2013–2014 Yeezus tour proved that even the most prefab spectacle could find time for moments of unforced, unpredictable storytelling, not to mention moments of actual suspense. And while West’s Saint Pablo tour was cut short by decidedly more pressing dramas, we hope his next outing has a happier ending—and we expect more artists will take his cue in 2017, turning the stage into a place not just for noise but for narratives. —Brian Raftery

tavis coburn

0

16

YOU A LRE A DY K N OW that you have a microbiome: the bacteria that live in and on your body, subtly (and not so subtly) influencing your health. But while you’d probably love to know what germs are going to make you thinner/healthier/more regular, human microbiome therapies are going to be slow to work their way through the FDA’s approval process. Don’t hold your breath for a magic germ pill. And don’t be so self-centered. See, everything has a microbiome, whether it’s a subway platform or a cornfield. Luckily, research that can help us understand those communities will hit the market a helluva lot faster. One company, Indigo, has been analyzing the bacterial composition of agricultural staples to see how pesticides and fertilizers may have changed the balance of the plants’ symbiotic bugs over time. Indigo then concocted new combinations of germs intended to help crops grow faster or in harsher conditions (it harvested its first crop last fall: 50,000 acres of droughtresistant cotton). Meanwhile, scientists at the Argonne National Laboratory are applying similar research to create healthier, more robust bug populations in hospitals and homes. Call it community immunity. — K ATI E M . PA LM E R

ICONS: MARCO GORAN ROMANO

THINGS

Drones are here, and they promise to change the world: beaming the internet everywhere, accelerating warfare, transforming televised sports, and, yes, shuttling impulse buys to our doorsteps. They’re already delivering packages to online shoppers in China and blood to hospitals in rural Rwanda. But in the US, the prospect of terrorists using UAVs to launch bombs or wireless malware attacks has spurred strict rules: no flying beyond the operator’s line of sight, at night, or over people. Now regulators are slowly giving commercial drones more liberty. In the past six months, the FAA has granted over 200 waivers exempting pilots from restrictions. CNN can glide over crowds; BNSF Railway can fly out of the pilot’s view; HBO can film at night; Disney World can choreograph a drone light show. Pilots for Project Wing, the forthcoming drone delivery service from Google parent Alphabet, can fly up to 20 drones at once in a designated area. (Last fall, it teamed up with Chipotle to test burrito delivery at Virginia Tech.) And this year, the FAA is expected to reassess the rule barring flight over people, portending a future of drone utility inspections and Amazon deliveries from above. —Alex Davies


25.02

5

1 Self-driving

cars will be everywhere

There are honestto-goodness selfdriving Ubers ferrying passengers in Pittsburgh; Baidu’s fleet of autonomous electric taxis is zipping around Wuzhen, China; and commuters in England and Sweden will start whizzing along the highways in Volvo carbots.

2 You will be

tracked

Insurance companies will use smart dashcams and tracking devices to adjust your rates. And now that electric vehicles pose an existential threat to gas taxes, state governments will experiment with mileage-based taxation.

4

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3 Power trains

get a power-up

Expect 15 pure electric models to hit the US market this year, including the modestly priced and longer-ranged Chevy Bolt and Tesla Model 3. But petrolbased propulsion isn’t going away. It’s getting better. Nissan Infiniti’s insane (and insanely complex) variable-compression engine—which wrings diesel-level oomph and efficiency out of a 2-liter turbo gas power plant—goes into production this year.

1

4 Public transit

will team up with startups

Last fall, the bedroom community of Summit, New Jersey, launched an Uber pilot program offering parkingpass holders free rides to a nearby train station. We’ll see more partnerships between ride-sharing services and public transportation.

5 Robotrucks hit

the highway

Self-driving trucks outfitted by Otto—a startup Uber acquired last year—are making deliveries. The first? Fifty thousand cans of Budweiser. But truckers won’t be totally out of work yet; Otto’s rigs can selfdrive only on the highway. Ten-four, good botty.

The American Way of Driving Is Over 17

For decades, the car has been the all-American signifier of who you are, a declaration of independence, a place where you are master. Now American innovation is leaving this tradition in the dust. Ride hailing, self driving, data mining: Technology is taking the wheel. Enjoy the ride. —Aarian Marshall

julian glander

5

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WHAT LIES AHEAD

GIGS WILL GO TO THE ROBOTS

Likelihood human

NURSE

A I R LI N E P I LOT

C O M P U TE R PROGRAMMER

CON STR U C TI O N

TA X I DRIVER

TE LE M A R K E TE R

Likelihood automated

SOURCE: THE FUTURE OF EMPLOYMENT , BY CARL BENEDIKT FREY AND MICHAEL A. OSBORNE

SOFTWARE WILL PROTECT ITSELF

F O R A LL TH E B IT S and bytes involved, cybersecurity is a human endeavor. To protect our networks and email and banking apps, we need flesh-and-blood programmers. The trouble is, humans can’t possibly find and patch every single hole—or even find them fast enough. So online services continue to get hacked. But last summer, Darpa, the research arm of the US Department of Defense, ran the first hacking contest open only to security bots (submitted by their human handlers) that can patch holes on their own. Turns out, the bots can find simple bugs faster than human engineers—and in some cases they can pinpoint the most complex of security holes, bugs that shape-shift every second. The contest included one of these tranformers, and a bot built by researchers in Southern California managed to both find and patch it. That means bots will be able to fix security holes with a speed that was never before possible. And the security industry is now putting its weight behind the idea. This will eventually make online services safer. And your data will be safer too. —CADE METZ

24

For years tech giants have designed products and services for connected Westerners and then adapted them for the rest of the planet. But that’s changing, because the users coming online around the world—Silicon Valley calls them the Next Billion—are not like you. And their relationship with technology is fundamentally different from yours. Consider India. In 2015 the country surpassed a billion mobile phone subscriptions, but most users still endure download speeds hundreds of times slower than connections in the US. To Google, this problem looked like an opportunity, so it sent a team to India to reimagine YouTube with simple menus, large video thumbnails, and lively and responsive sharing functions that work even without a connection. Last September, in Delhi, it launched YouTube Go, a nimble app with a dead-simple interface that lets users view and share videos phone-tophone, sans internet. “I call it reverse innovation—designing specifically for the developing world and doing it there first,” says business strategy expert Vijay Govindarajan. “The way automobiles changed America 100 years ago, the mobile revolution is going to change India.” Eventually these better, smarter projects will find their way back to the West, making them good for the Next Billion—and good for you too. —Robbie Gonzalez

I N 1 0 TO 2 0 Y E A R S

22

Design Won’t Be So White

No, You Won’t Get Your Own VR Rig

tavis coburn

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Plunking down a grand or more on a high-end headset and PC might seem tempting, but given all the kludges and cables still involved, this won’t be the year for your Personal Immersion Cave. Instead, you’ll be piggybacking on other people’s R&D budgets—and planning VR date night. At places like Salt Lake City’s “hyper-reality” theme park, the Void, visitors will be able to battle ghosts or roam temple ruins that are mapped perfectly to their real-world stage. Imax is planning a handful of VR theaters, and HTC is pushing to put its Vive headset in cafés and arcades all over the globe. Eventually the tech will have a place alongside—or in lieu of—your home theater. Until then, though, the biggest investment you’ll be making in VR is a babysitter and tickets to leave real reality behind on a Friday night. —Brian Barrett


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Microsatellite launches from 2008 to 2016:

Microsatellite launches expected from 2017 to 2025:

730

2,460

We’ll Fight a New Drug War

THINGS THAT WILL REFUSE TO DIE

MOSQUITOES

HOVERBOARDS

ICONS: MARCO GORAN ROMANO; CHART: MICROSATS ARE LESS THAN 50 KG; SOURCE: EURO CONSULT

FITNESS TRACKERS

BATHROOMMIRROR SELFIES

THE WHITE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT

EMAIL FROM POTTERY BARN

Body parts people will stimulate: FAKE NEWS ON FACEBOOK

Their back (for pain) Their brain (for depression) Their vagus nerve (for everything!)

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johnny cobalto

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35

Criminalizing drugs is as American as doing them. But the days of outright prohibition are over, as the prescription opioid crisis has burned through the suburbs and drastically shifted the public’s notion of addiction. “Opioid addiction is more relatable than the past perception of heroin junkies lying in the street,” says Katharine Neill, a drug policy expert at Rice University. Reframing drug abuse as a public health problem rather than a criminal one has prompted reform-minded legislation from both parties. And while prescription meds are now being held at arm’s length, recreational drugs are being embraced. Eight states voted to legalize weed in some form in the last election, bringing the total to 29, and researchers are studying the drug’s medicinal applications for everything from migraines to multiple sclerosis. Loosening attitudes toward illicit drugs aren’t limited to weed: Researchers are also testing psychedelics for treating mental disorders like PTSD. While Donald Trump has pledged to combat the opioid crisis by improving access to treatment and abuse-deterrent painkillers, his appointees have also called for stricter marijuana enforcement and drug sentencing. Good luck with that: Such a hard-line stance would run counter to state reforms—and the $6 billion marijuana industry. —Nick Stockton


WHAT LIES AHEAD

3

1 The Bluedouches will take over

Your headphones will be wireless. And you’ll never stop wearing them, because they’ll connect to your voice assistant, your fitness tracker, and your universal translator. Last time we tried the “wear something in your ears all the time” thing, we got the Bluedouches. Guess that’s all of us now.

1

2 Your clothes will be gadgets

Thanks to tiny batteries and tinier sensors, your Under Armour shoes will tell you how many steps you took, and you’ll change the song by swiping your hand across the sleeve of your Levi’s jacket. Because fitness bands will refuse to die.

2

3 Your house will be smart …

4

Telling Alexa to turn off the lights is just a first step toward Alexa knowing when to turn them off without you even asking—right before starting the popcorn and loading the next episode of The Man in the High Castle.

4 … But your smart home will be weaponized

Connectivity opens smart home devices to cyberattacks. While your Nest is likely safe (you’re receiving automatic security updates, right?), most internetof-things things can be vulnerable. Hackers have used exploits to cut heat to entire apartment buildings during freezing conditions, mess with fire alarms, and conscript IoT devices into malicious botnets.

Devices Will Always Be Listening We had computers on our desks, then our laps, then in our pockets. Starting now, computers aren’t a thing anymore. They’re everything. And everything will be listening, from your phone to your speakers to your TV. All those devices will get smarter and more personal too: Order “the usual” and they’ll know you mean a large Hawaiian, side of breadsticks. You won’t even have to know which device you’re talking to. Just shout your wishes into the air and wait for them to come true. —David Pierce and Lily Hay Newman

Cruising speed (mph)

Flight time NYC–London (hours)

THE N ( CON COR DE)

1,341

3 1/2

N OW ( BOEIN G 7 7 7 )

562

6 1/5

FLIGHT WILL RETURN

SOON ( BOOM XB-1)

1,451

3 1/4

SUPERSONIC

0

400

800

julian glander

1,200

1,600


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Congress Will Screw Up Privacy

THINGS

41

Across the country, evidence lockers are filling up with smartphones that contain potentially critical crime-solving information. But they’re locked, and at the moment it’s not clear whether the government has the right to require built-in access channels. True, the Apple-FBI showdown over the passcode-protected iPhone of one of the San Bernardino shooters ended with the agency backing down. But the transition to a Trump White House and a Republican-dominated Congress all but guarantees new legislation. (Remember, Trump is serious about “the cyber.”) And that’s worrisome: Congress seems unable to account for the nuance of tech evolution—last April it proposed legislation that would essentially make personal encryption illegal. But as pressure from law enforcement and intelligence agencies mounts, legislators will be more likely than ever to construct laws that bulldoze protections, whether that’s forcing companies to break their own security protocols or putting back doors in the encryption standards adopted by your favorite messaging apps. This is the year everyone—not just techno-libertarians in tinfoil hats—becomes a privacy advocate. —Lily Hay Newman

THAT WILL GET UGLY

WEBSITES

42

GENDER BARRIERS WILL BREAK DOWN

OU R N E W V I C E president has spent much of his career fighting gay rights. And the pain of his election for LGBTQ people is irrefutable. But here’s the thing: Culture is marching on. From modes of dress to pronoun use to gender roles, the world is breaking out of rigid binaries. We have a new crop of icons—trans rocker Laura Jane Grace of the band Against Me!; CoverGirl’s first cover

boy, James Charles; Transparent’s Hari Nef—whose stars will continue to rise. (And we can’t wait to watch Laverne Cox play an Ivy-educated lawyer on the CBS drama Doubt.) What people can do is no longer tied to the sex they’re assigned at birth. Gender may not be over, but its limitations soon will be— no matter what Mike Pence tries to do. —ANGELA WATE RCUT TE R

U.S.–CHINA RELATIONS

GADGETS

FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

We’ll Have Genetic Superpowers

CONFIRMATION HEARINGS

ICONS: MARCO GORAN ROMANO

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Biologists worldwide have fallen in love with Crispr for its rapid, efficient gene-editing powers. Now they can swiftly engineer mouse strains with certain defects, letting them study diseases (and explore potential treatments) more easily than ever before. Cures for humans are next. The Crispr startup Editas Medicine expects to launch its first clinical trial, for a congenital eye disease that causes blindness, this year. They’ll load up a virus with tools to snip out the mutated gene, then inject it into a person’s retina. And the US National Institutes of Health has already approved the first wide-scale trial of a Crispr-based cancer treatment: Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania will remove T cells from cancer patients, make three edits, then reintroduce these immune responders back into the body to detect and attack cancer cells. In China, researchers have already made similar tweaks to white blood cells to tackle cancer. But they’re also pushing into dicier territory, using the technique to modify human embryos—and thus potentially future generations. Scientists in the US may be fiddling with similar sorts of heritable modifications in mice but have no plans to do so in people. For now. —Katie M. Palmer

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tavis coburn

>

5

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Facebook and Twitter wield huge influence over how people understand the world around them. This is the year we confront that.

THE SOCIAL MEDIUM IS THE

MESSAGE shifts. But his thinking could vibrate with anxiety at the coming impact of electronic media. He suspected we could have too much contact with each other—that we’d become fearful and angry by incessant exposure to the world at large. He might have looked at the rise of Donald Trump on Twitter and nodded in recognition; a young McLuhan had watched charismatic European fascists in the 1940s use radio to inject hypernationalism directly into the souls of their supporters. When Trump won last year, to widespread shock, liberal critics attacked the major social networks for enabling several unsettling trends. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter were viral hotbeds for conspiracy theories and disinformation. Memes that reared to life on image boards and fringe political sites—jittery with misogyny and white nationalism and hatred of Hillary Clinton—made the leap to the mainstream on social networks. Dangerous falsehoods, like the idea that Clinton ran a childtrafficking ring out of a pizzeria, spread widely; indeed, on Facebook the top 20 fabricated stories netted more engagement than real stories from news sources that actually did factual reporting, as BuzzFeed found. (This isn’t a problem only in the US: AntiMuslim conspiracy stories are avidly circulated on Facebook in

Social networks have been exposed. No one can pretend that they are simply neutral platforms—mere tubes and pathways, like phone lines, that allow us to share snippets of our lives. That fiction was laid bare on November 8. Over the next year the mainstream culture will grapple, for real, with the civic and political effects of our lives online. Plenty of intellectuals, with eyebrows cocked, have warned that this reckoning was coming. But it took the US election— and the ascent of Donald Trump, the insult-hurling, falsehoodcirculating tweeter-in-chief—to shine a blinding arc light onto the role of technology on the political stage. We are thus heading into a very McLuhan-esque year. Marshall McLuhan—the Patron Saint of wired—made his name in the 1960s, studying how pivotal technologies produced widespread, nonobvious changes. The Gutenberg press, he argued, created a spirit of “detachment” that propelled science while giving a new sense of agency to individuals. Electricity had a “tactile” effect, keeping us in constant contact with the world via the telegraph, telephone, and TV. The photocopier imposed a “reign of terror” on publishers by letting everyday folks copy documents. People assume McLuhan was always a cheerleader for these

BY

Clive Thompson WHAT LIES AHEAD 0


TW ITTER

The optimistic view is that there’s good precedent for fighting crap online. Back in the ’00s, internet giants waged a war against spam and content farms. To cut down on spam entreaties from Nigerian princes and the like, email providers used machine learning to detect spammish content; they also created shared blacklists. To quash content farms—low-quality insta-websites designed to game Google’s number one slot—the search engine rolled out an ambitious new ranking scheme called Panda, which down-ranked sites that used tricks like keyword stuffing (putting oodles of invisible, unrelated phrases on a page). Remarkably, it worked: Content farms vanished, and bulk spam is now mostly a marginal problem. Social networks could use similar strategies to solve their current civic dilemmas. Consider fake news, an area where, as scholars have shown, algorithmic analysis could help identify crap. Soft-

ware created by Kate Starbird, a professor of design and engineering, was able to distinguish with 88 percent accuracy whether a tweet was spreading a rumor or correcting it when analyzing chatter about a 2014 hostage crisis in Sydney. And Filippo Menczer, a professor of informatics at Indiana University, has found that Twitter accounts posting political fakery have a heat signature: They tweet relentlessly and rarely reply to others. Social networks sit atop piles of data that can help identify bogus memes—and they can rely on their users’ eagerness to help too. Sure enough, Facebook has already begun to develop tools along these lines. In December it unveiled a system that makes it easier for anyone to flag a post if it seems like deliberate misinformation. If a link that purports to be a news story gets flagged by lots of users, it’s sent to a human Facebook team. That team posts it to a queue, where a group of external fact-checking organizations, including Snopes and Politifact, can check to see if they think the story is suspect. If they do, Facebook slaps a warning on OUTLETS it (“Disputed by 3rd-Party Fact Checkers”) and offers YO U T U B E links to rebuttals by Snopes or the other checking sites. If a user tries to share that 48% story later on, Facebook warns them before they post 10% that it’s disputed. The goal isn’t to catch all falsehoods; the system targets the most blatant and viral posts. 4% There are plenty of other tweaks platforms could 2% make. Craig Silverman, a BuzzFeed editor who has closely studied fake news, R ED D I T argues that Facebook and Twitter ought to make it easier to see the provenance of a link; right now, those from carefully reported sources like The Wall Street Journal look the same as ones from conspiracy sites. The platforms could instead emphasize logos and names so a user might realize, “Wait a minute, this domain name is HillaryClintonStartedAids.com,” Silverman says. Now let’s look at the filter-bubble phenomenon. If they wanted to, Facebook or Twitter could compose algorithms that expose us to people, ideas, or posts that aren’t in such lockstep with our views. As when Facebook suggests related content, “you could use these mechanisms to surface ideas that are ideologically challenging,” Pariser notes. Or as Tufekci argues: “Show more crosscutting stuff! I’m not saying drown the users in it. But the default shouldn’t be we’re just gonna feed you candy.” Let your imagination go wild and you can concoct even more SOURCE: PEW RESEARCH CENTER, 2016

Myanmar, while Germans trade Facebook posts claiming Angela Merkel is Adolf Hitler’s daughter.) The same was true on Twitter, which turned out to be an efficient tool for small numbers of people to widely propagate abuse and hate speech. Meanwhile, the “filter-bubble” effect, which writer Eli Pariser had pinpointed years before, arrived in full force. As my friend Zeynep Tufekci, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina and author of an upcoming book about political organizing in the digital age, tells me, “I’m Facebook friends with some people who support Trump, but I don’t recall seeing their Facebook updates— it appears the algorithms assumed I wouldn’t be interested.” We can’t indict social media alone, or even primarily, for the rise of disinformation and politically abusive behavior. Traditional media— cable TV, radio, newspapers—recklessly amplified nonsense this political season (and were played shamelessly by Russia’s email hacking). They need their own reckoning. But social networks increasingly influence how people learn about THE NEW NEWS the world. According to the Percentage of US adults who … Pew Research Center, about FACEBOOK 44 percent of Americans Use cite Facebook as a source of platform 67% news. It is a crucial part of “where we put the cursor of our attention all day long,” Get 44% says Tim Wu, author of The news there Attention Merchants. So here’s the question lin16% gering in the air: How should social networks grapple 9% with their civic impact? As we will discover, these issues will be devilishly hard to resolve.

Contributing editor Clive Thompson (@pomeranian99) is the author of Smarter Than You Think.

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WHAT LIES AHEAD

“Look, fake news is a real problem,” he says. “But do liberals really want to hand the decisions over to a single large corporation?” Asking the platforms to be granular arbiters of truth would endow them with even more power than they already wield.

aggressive, more ambitious reforms. Imagine if you got rid of all the markers of virality: no counts of likes on Facebook, retweets on Twitter, or upvotes on Reddit! Artist Ben Grosser created a playful browser plug-in called the Facebook Demetricator that does precisely this . It’s fascinating to try: Suddenly social media stops being a popularity contest. You start assessing posts based on what they say instead of because they racked up 23,000 reposts. Some scholars argue Facebook should go whole hog on editing and hire human teams to more comprehensively review trending stories, deleting ones built on lies. In fact, Facebook did just that last year until a conservative outcry ended the practice. The biggest impediment to all this change, though, is economic. Traditional media organizations publish and broadcast nonsense because it attracts eyeballs for ads. New media have inherited this problem in spades: Facebook and Twitter and YouTube know— in vivid, quantitative detail—just how much their users prefer to see posts they agree with ideologically, seductive falsehoods included. Spam got on people’s nerves, so companies were eager to stamp it out; on some level, any attempts by social platforms to fight fake news and confirmation bias will come into conflict with their users’ appetite for them.

Whatever one can say about Donald Trump, he understands— and masterfully plays—the media, old and new. He uses Twitter to perform an end run around journalism, to utter falsehoods that are repeated by his followers and circulated further by mainstream news. When he attacks someone in a tweet, his supporters harass the target. Like other merchants of disinformation online, Trump exhales such a cloud of half-baked assertions that it leaves people mistrustful of everything. If you can do that, hey: What does it matter if social networks slap a “Disputed” label on your post? As Jon Favreau, one of President Obama’s former speechwriters, puts it: “Trump doesn’t care if we think he’s telling the truth—he just wants his supporters to doubt that anyone’s telling the truth.” And yet Trump has millions of followers, eager ones. This is what gives pause to Jay Rosen, a professor of journalism at New York University. “You have to think about the demand side,” he says. It’s not enough to ask why people spread political disinformation, he says. You also have to ask, “Why do people want to consume this stuff so much?” Ponder that and you begin to realize: There are limits to what technological fixes can achieve in civic life. Though social networks amplify American partisanship and distrust of institutions, those problems have been rising for years. There are plenty of drivers: say, two decades of right-wing messaging about how mainstream institutions—media, universities, scientists—cannot be trusted (a “retreat from empiricism,” as Rosen notes). And as my friend Danah Boyd, head of the Data and Society think tank, points out, we’ve lost many mechanisms that used to bridge cultural gaps between Americans from different walks of life: widespread military service, affordable colleges, mixed neighborhoods. The old order was flawed and elitist and locked out too many voices; it produced seeming consensus by preventing many from being heard. We’re still fumbling around for new mechanisms that can replace that order and improve upon it, Pariser tells me. “It reminds me of how the secular world hasn’t found a replacement for some of the uses and tools that religions served. And the new media world hasn’t found a replacement for some of the ways that consensus was manufactured in the old world.” This is the year we need to begin rebuilding those connections—on our platforms and in ourselves. !

Nonetheless, public pressure did, in fact, prod Facebook to action after the election. Imagine if still greater pressure were to impel social networks to make even stronger moves against falsehoods and filter bubbles. Would we like the result? It’s unclear. Waging war on disinformation isn’t easy, because not everyone agrees on what disinformation is. It’s unambiguous that “the pope endorses Donald Trump” isn’t true. But how about “Hillary Clinton lied about having pneumonia, so she’s a lying snake”? The most effective disinformation usually begins with an actual fact then amplifies, distorts, or elides; ban the distortion and you risk looking like you’re banning the nugget of truth too. Online interactions are conversation, and conversation has always been filled with bluster, jokes, and canards. “The idea that only truth should be allowed on social networks is antithetical to how people socially interact,” says Karen North, a professor of digital social media at the University of Southern California. Or consider this example raised by New York University media theorist Clay Shirky: Activists last winter who supported the Dakota Pipeline protests were encouraged to use Facebook to “check in” at that location, as a show of support and to confuse police. Those false check-ins “are fake news,” Shirky notes. Any policy aimed at enforcing truth on Facebook could easily be used to quash that activity.

THE MOST EFFECTIVE DISINFORMATION HIDES AMID ACTUAL FACTS. 25.02 0

eddie guy

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At 14, he started his first business. At 23, he began making millions for Enron. At 28, he launched his own hedge fund. At 33, he became the youngest billionaire in America. At 38, he retired. John Arnoldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s next mission?

BRENT HUMPHREYS

by Sam Apple

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WAGING WAR ON BAD SCIENCE.

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Brian Nosek had pretty much given up on finding a funder. For two years he had sent out grant proposals for his software project. And for two years they had been rejected again and again—which was, by 2011, discouraging but not all that surprising to the 38-year-old scientist. An associate professor at the University of Virginia, Nosek had made a name for himself in a hot subfield of social psychology, studying people’s unconscious biases. But that’s not what this project was about. At least, not exactly. Like a number of up-and-coming researchers in his generation, Nosek was troubled by mounting evidence that science itself— through its systems of publication, funding, and advancement—had become biased toward generating a certain kind of finding: novel, attention grabbing, but ultimately unreliable. The incentives to produce positive results were so great, Nosek and others worried, that some scientists were simply locking their inconvenient data away. The problem even had a name: the file drawer effect. And Nosek’s project was an attempt to head it off at the pass. He and a graduate student were developing an online system that would allow researchers to keep a public log of the experiments they were running, where they could register their hypotheses, methods, workflows, and data as they worked. That way, it would be

harder for them to go back and cherry-pick their sexiest data after the fact—and easier for other researchers to come in and replicate the experiment later. Nosek was so taken with the importance of redoing old experiments that he had also rallied more than 50 like-minded researchers across the country to participate in something he called the Reproducibility Project. The aim was to redo about 50 studies from three prominent psychology journals, to establish an estimate of how often modern psychology turns up false positive results. It was little wonder, then, that funders didn’t come running to support Nosek: He wasn’t promising novel findings, he was promising to question them. So he ran his projects on a shoestring budget, self-financing them with his own earnings from corporate speaking engagements on his research about bias. But in July 2012, Nosek received an email from an institution whose name he didn’t recognize: the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. A Google search told him that the Arnolds were a young billionaire couple in Houston. John, Nosek learned, had made his

PREVIOUS SPREAD: GROOMING BY KRISTIN DANIELL

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first millions as a wunderkind natural gas trader at Enron, the infamous energy company, and he’d managed to walk away from Enron’s 2001 collapse with a seven-figure bonus and no accusations of wrongdoing attached to his name. After that Arnold started his own hedge fund, Centaurus Energy, where he became, in the words of one hedge fund competitor, “the best trader that ever lived, full stop.” Then Arnold had abruptly retired at the ripe age of 38 to focus full time on philanthropy. As Nosek tells it, John Arnold had read about the Reproducibility Project in The Chronicle of Higher Education and wanted to talk. By the following year, Nosek was cofounding an institution called the Center for Open Science with an initial $5.25 million grant from the Arnold Foundation. More than $10 million more in Arnold Foundation grants have come since. “It completely transformed what we could imagine doing,” Nosek says. Projects that Nosek had once envisioned as modest efforts carried out in his lab were now being conducted on an entirely different scale at the center’s startup-like offices in downtown Charlottesville, with some 70 employees and interns churning out code and poring over research. The skeletal software behind the data-sharing project became a slick cloud-based platform, which has now been used by more than 30,000 researchers. The Reproducibility Project, meanwhile, swelled to include more than 270 researchers working to reproduce 100 psychology experiments—and in August 2015, Nosek revealed its results. Ultimately his army of volunteers could verify the findings of only about 40 percent of the studies. Media reports declared the field of psychology, if not all of science, to be in a state of crisis. It became one of the biggest science stories of the year. But as it happens, Nosek is just one of many researchers who have received unsolicited emails from the Arnold Foundation in the past few years—researchers involved in similar rounds of soul-searching and critique in their own fields, who have loosely amounted to a movement to fix science. John Ioannidis was put in touch with the Arnolds in 2013. A childhood math prodigy turned medical researcher, Ioannidis became a kind of godfather to the science reform crowd in 2005, when he published two devastating papers—one of them titled simply “Why Most Published Research


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Findings Are False.” Now, with a $6 million initial grant from the Arnold Foundation, Ioannidis and his colleague Steven Goodman are setting out to turn the study of scientific practice—known as meta-research—into a full-fledged field in its own right, with a new research center at Stanford. British doctor Ben Goldacre also got an email from the Arnold Foundation in 2013. Famous in England as a sharp-witted scourge of “bad science,” Goldacre spent years building up a case that pharmaceutical companies, by refusing to reveal all their data, have essentially deceived the public into paying for worthless therapies. Now, with multiple grants from the Arnolds, he is leading an effort to build an open, searchable database that will link all publicly available information on every clinical trial in the world. A number of the Arnolds’ reform efforts have focused on fixing nutrition science. In 2011 the science journalist Gary Taubes received an email from Arnold himself. Having spent more than a decade picking apart nutrition science, Taubes soon found himself cofounding an organization with a substantial grant from the Arnold Foundation, to rebuild the study of obesity from the ground up. And in 2015 the Arnold Foundation paid journalist Nina Teicholz to investigate the scientific review process that informs the US Dietary Guidelines. Just weeks before the federal guidelines were due for an update, Teicholz’s blistering report appeared in the prominent medical journal The BMJ, charging that the government’s panel of scientists had failed to consider evidence that would have done away with long-held worries about eating saturated fat. And those are just a few of the people who are calling out iffy science with Arnold funding. Laura and John Arnold didn’t start the movement to reform science, but they have done more than anyone else to amplify its capabilities—typically by approaching researchers out of the blue and asking whether they might be able to do more with more money. “The Arnold Foundation has been the Medici of meta-research,” Ioannidis says. All told, the foundation’s Research Integrity initiative has given more than $80 million to science critics and reformers in the past five years alone. Not surprisingly, researchers who don’t see a crisis in science have started to fight back. In a 2014 tweet, Harvard psychologist

Daniel Gilbert referred to researchers who had tried and failed to replicate the findings of a senior lecturer at the University of Cambridge as “shameless little bullies.” After Nosek published the results of his reproducibility initiative, four social scientists, including Gilbert, published a critique of the project, claiming, among other things, that it had failed to accurately replicate many of the original studies. The BMJ investigation, in turn, met with angry denunciations from nutrition experts who had worked on the US Dietary Guidelines; a petition asking the journal to retract Teicholz’s work was signed by more than 180 credentialed professionals. (After an external and internal review, The BMJ published a correction but chose not to retract the investigation.) The backlash against Teicholz also furnished one of the few occasions when anyone has raised an eyebrow at the Arnolds’ funding of science critics. On the morning of October 7, 2015, the US House Agriculture Committee convened a hearing on the controversy surrounding the dietary guidelines, fueled by the BMJ article. For two and a half hours, a roomful of testy representatives asked why certain nutrition studies had been privileged over others. But about an hour in, Massachusetts representative Jim McGovern leaned into his microphone. Aiming to defend the science behind the guidelines, McGovern suggested that the doubts that had been cast over America’s nutrition science were being driven by a “former Enron executive.” “I don’t know what Enron knows about dietary guidelines,” McGovern said. But “powerful special interests” are “trying to question science.” McGovern’s quip about Enron, a company that hasn’t existed in 15 years, was a

,, “ IF ARNOLD DECIDED HE WANTED TO BEAT HUNGER ,, I WOULDN T WANT TO BET ,, ON HUNGER.

bit of a potshot. But given the long history of deep-pocketed business interests sowing doubt in research, his underlying question was a fair one: Who is John Arnold, and why is he spending so much money to raise questions about science?

2 FORTUNE MAGAZINE once dubbed Arnold “one of the least-known billionaires in the US.” His profile in the public consciousness is almost nonexistent, and he rarely gives interviews. But among hedge funders and energy traders, Arnold is a legend. John D’Agostino, former head of strategy of the New York Mercantile Exchange, says that in Arnold’s heyday, people in the industry would discuss him in “hushed and reverent tones.” In 2006, Centaurus reportedly saw returns of over 300 percent; the next year Arnold became the youngest billionaire in the country. “If Arnold decided he wanted to beat hunger,” D’Agostino says, “I wouldn’t want to bet on hunger.” For all the swagger of that description, Arnold himself has virtually none. He is universally described as quiet and introspective. At Enron, a company famous for its brash, testosterone-laced cowboy culture, the perennially boyish-looking trader was reportedly so soft-spoken that his colleagues had to gather in close to hear him at restaurants. “People would read into it, and they would say he’s just being cagey,” D’Agostino says. “And then, after a couple of years, people were like, oh, no, he’s actually like that.” Arnold is still quiet. “Usually the division of labor in most of our work is that I talk,” Laura Arnold says in a phone interview. By all accounts, Laura, who attended Harvard College and Yale Law School and worked as an oil executive, has been equally influential in setting the direction for the foundation. But when I visit the Arnold Foundation’s Houston headquarters in June, Laura has been called away on a family emergency, leaving John to do the talking. Arnold is 5' 10", trim, and blandly handsome, his unusually youthful appearance now somewhat concealed by a salt-and-pepper beard. Arnold grew up in Dallas. His mother was


BURN BRIGHT

an accountant (she would later help manage the books at his hedge fund). His father, who died when Arnold was 18, was a lawyer. By kindergarten, Arnold’s talent for math was apparent. “I think I was just born with a natural gift for seeing numbers in a special way,” he says. Gregg Fleisher, who taught him calculus in high school, recalls an occasion when Arnold instantly solved a math puzzle that had been known to stump PhDs. But he also stood out for his skepticism. “He questioned everything,” Fleisher says. By the time he was 14, Arnold was running his first company, selling collectible sports cards across state lines. Those were the early days of the Internet, and he managed to gain access to an online bulletin board intended only for card dealers. The listings let him see that the same cards were sold at different prices in different parts of the country—which presented an opportunity for arbitrage. “Hockey cards didn’t have much of a market in Texas,” he tells me. “I would buy up all the premium hockey cards and send them to Canada or upstate New York.” He called the company Blue Chip Cards. Arnold estimates that he made $50,000 before he finished high school. Arnold graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1995, taking only three years to finish his degree. He started working at Enron four days later. A year after that, at age 22, he was overseeing Enron’s Texas natural gas trading desk, one of the company’s core businesses. Arnold’s work at Enron—seeking to capitalize on seasonal price differences in natural gas—wasn’t all that different from what he’d done as a teenager selling sports cards. In Hedge Hogs, a 2013 book about hedge fund traders, Jeff Shankman, another star trader at Enron, is quoted describing Arnold as “the most thoughtful, deliberate, and inquisitive person” he worked with on the gas floor. But Shankman recognized that he and Arnold were different in one key respect: Arnold had a greater appetite for risk, a quality that seemed at odds with his quiet demeanor. On some days at Enron, Arnold would trade more than a billion dollars’ worth of gas contracts. In 2001, even as Enron was collapsing amid an accounting scandal that covered up billions in debt, he was reported to have SAM APPLE (@samuelapple) teaches

science writing at the University of Pennsylvania.

John Arnold’s brief but legendary career in finance. —M A R L E Y WA L K E R

1995 Starts a job at Enron four days after graduating from college.

1996 At age 22, begins overseeing Enron’s Texas natural gas trading desk.

2002 Starts his own hedge fund, Centaurus Energy.

earned $750 million for the company. A former executive at Salomon Brothers later told The New York Times that there were very few incidents in the history of Wall Street comparable to Arnold’s success that year. As Enron neared bankruptcy, executives scrambled to hold its operation together, offering bonuses to keep traders on board. Arnold was given $8 million, the biggest payout of all, just days before Enron filed for bankruptcy. He started Centaurus the next year, bringing along a small group of former Enron traders, who worked out of a single large room. Arnold says he wasn’t sure if he could match the success he’d enjoyed as a futures trader at Enron. As a pipeline company, Enron had a direct view onto many of the factors that influence gas prices. Now he’d have to rely purely on his prowess with data. By law, natural gas pipelines had to make much of their information public, and around the time Centaurus was forming, more of that information began to appear online. “A lot of people didn’t know it was out there,” Arnold says. “People who did, didn’t know how to clean it up and analyze it as well as we did.” It wasn’t long before Arnold had the answer to his doubts. In 2006, Centaurus reportedly generated a 317 percent return

overall, after taking the opposite side of a risky bet that another hedge fund, Amaranth, had made on fluctuations in natural gas prices. Amaranth, which was gambling with money from large pension funds, suffered a $6 billion loss and collapsed. By 2009, Centaurus was managing over $5 billion and had more than 70 employees. In its first seven years, according to Fortune, the fund never returned less than 50 percent. But Arnold had to come down to earth eventually. In 2010, Centaurus experienced its first annual loss. And though the fund bounced back the next year, tighter regulations on trading and a far less volatile market—thanks to a growing supply of natural gas from shale rock—made it unlikely that Arnold would again see the astonishing returns of only a few years earlier. And so, at age 38, Arnold walked away from it all. He announced that he was closing Centaurus in a letter to investors: “After 17 years as an energy trader, I feel that it is time to pursue other interests.”


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1988 Starts his first company at the age of 14, selling collectible sports cards across state lines.

2001 Pulls in a reported $750 million for Enron even as the company goes down in flames.

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Arnold tells me that he had lost some of his passion for trading. At the time, his net worth was estimated to be around $3 billion. In 2010 the Arnolds had signed the Giving Pledge, promising to give away at least half their wealth—and he wanted to be as strategic about that goal as he had once been about trading. Arnold has said that the first phase of his life was “100 percent trying to make money” and that it’s now “100 percent trying to do good.” As The Wall Street Journal noted, in “US history, there may have never been a self-made individual with so much money who devoted himself to philanthropy at such a young age.”

3 THE ARNOLDS had been dabbling in philanthropy

2006 Goes head-to-head with a rival hedge fund, which loses and collapses; Centaurus boasts a 317 percent annual return.

$

2007 Becomes the youngest billionaire in the country at 33.

2010 After seven years of reportedly yielding 50 percent returns or higher, Centaurus experiences its first annual loss.

for years, supporting a few handpicked programs in education, criminal justice reform, and other areas that were important to them. But now, with their stepped-up ambitions, the couple entered a new realm. Arnold had always been ready to make huge bets, but it was ultimately his hunger for reliable data that made him a brilliant trader. That same hunger would make large-scale philanthropy far more challenging than he had anticipated. In a glass conference room at the Arnold Foundation’s offices—which occupy the same space as the old Centaurus trading floor, a 15-minute drive from the glass tower whose entrance was once adorned with Enron’s famous E—Arnold explains that his and Laura’s initial plan had been to simply locate the most effective organizations and write them checks. But figuring out which organizations were most effective turned out to be vexing. Nonprofits are very good at reporting their success rates and citing the science behind their interventions, but dig into their claims—as the Arnolds would try to do—and you find that they often omit relevant context or confuse correlation with causation. “The more you read the research, the less you know,” Arnold says.

“It became extraordinarily frustrating.” Then, one day in November 2011, he was listening to the podcast EconTalk, hosted by libertarian economist Russ Roberts. The guest that day was science journalist Gary Taubes, and he was talking about how the prevailing dietary wisdom of the past 40 years—that eating too much fat leads to obesity and heart disease—arose from the flimsiest of scientific evidence. The foundational studies, Taubes said, looked at the diets and disease rates in various countries, then essentially guessed at which items in the diet were responsible for the country’s good or bad health statistics. Worse yet, whenever evidence came along that contradicted the consensus about the dangers of eating fat—often evidence that was much stronger than the evidence for the dangers— it was ignored or not even published. Hardly anyone in the world of nutrition science seemed willing to question the science behind the low-fat diet, even after Americans grew fat and diabetic in record numbers. The picture Taubes painted wasn’t of a flawed study here or there but of a fundamentally broken scientific culture. During the podcast, he mentioned that he was raising money in the hope of funding experiments that might deepen our understanding of the root causes of obesity. Not long after the podcast went online, he received a five-line email from Arnold. “From the little I know about the science of nutrition, your study makes a lot of sense,” Arnold wrote. Like Nosek, Taubes had to Google Arnold to learn who he was. Six months later the Arnold Foundation made a $4.7 million seed grant to the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI), the nonprofit Taubes cofounded to support fundamental research on diet and health. The next year the Arnolds promised $35.5 million more. (wired wrote about NuSI in issue 22.09). Arnold is careful not to lump all researchers together when he talks about the problems in science. But he tells me that listening to Taubes and reading his book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, had been an “aha moment” for him. “Science is built like a building,” Arnold says. “One floor on top of the next.” In nutrition, “the whole foundation of the research

2012 Arnold closes shop and retires from Centaurus at age 38, dedicating himself to strategic philanthropy.


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had been flawed. All these things that we thought we knew—when we step back and look at the evidence base—it’s just not there.” Arnold says that now, unless he trusts a researcher’s work, he no longer believes the findings of any scientific study until he or someone on the staff carefully vets the paper. “A new study shows …” are “the four most dangerous words,” Arnold wrote on Twitter. Together with Taubes’ work, Arnold was also reading Ioannidis’ and Goldacre’s equally devastating analyses. These critiques of science amounted to a deep philosophical quandary for the Arnolds, philanthropists who had dedicated their lives to a data-based approach to giving. “In everything they do, they want to be evidence-driven,” says Stuart Buck, vice president of research integrity at the Arnold

Foundation. But if you look at the studies that can’t be reproduced and other issues facing science, “you start to think: What is evidence? What do we actually know?” The Arnolds had already decided that, with decades of life ahead of them and almost unlimited resources, they had the time and money to evaluate charitable programs properly, even when that meant paying for expensive randomized controlled trials that could take years to complete. But now they were widening their scope. If they wanted to embark on truly “transformational change,” as their foundation literature states, it wouldn’t be enough to properly evaluate this or that education or criminal justice program. They would also have to take on a far more ambitious project: The Arnolds would have to try and fix science itself.

JOHN AND LAURA ARNOLD’S ARMY OF SCIENCE REFORMERS Science is broken. Here are some of the prominent people trying to fix it—with funding from the Arnold Foundation. —M .W.

John Ioannidis and Steven Goodman Medical professors Launched a new Stanford center dedicated to metaresearch—the study of the practice of science. Arnold funding: $6 million

Gary Taubes Journalist Helped set up and run a research center called the Nutrition Science Initiative to investigate the causes of obesity. Arnold funding: $29 million

Ben Goldacre Doctor Creating a searchable online repository of data from all the world’s clinical trials. Center for Open Science funding: $590,000

Tim Errington Cancer biologist Starting a project to redo a large number of cancer studies and see how many hold up to replication. Center for Open Science funding: $1.9 million

Brian Nosek Psychologist Runs the Center for Open Science, a major hub of the science-reform movement, which pushes for transparency and mounts efforts to replicate studies. Arnold funding: $17.6 million

Nina Teicholz Journalist Investigated the science behind the US Dietary Guidelines for a report published in The BMJ. Arnold funding: $15,000

4 IN THEIR PHILANTHROPY, the Arnolds like to say, they follow data where it leads rather than let themselves be guided by ideology. And it’s true that, when it comes to political leanings, they are somewhat hard to pin down. The Arnolds identify as Democrats and were major financial supporters of President Barack Obama. In 2013 they donated $10 million to keep Head Start, the early-childhood education program for low-income kids, running through the federal government shutdown, and many of the issues they’ve taken on, from criminal justice reform to making prescription drugs more affordable, are decidedly progressive. Yet the foundation is also focused on reforming what the Arnolds see as a broken public pension system—a project that, in practice, usually means cutting payments to retirees, raising retirement ages, and switching new workers to 401(k)-style plans. That focus led Rolling Stone to call Arnold a “young right-wing kingmaker with clear designs on becoming the next generation’s Koch brothers.” (In 2015, Bloomberg suggested that Arnold may have somehow managed to become less popular as a philanthropist than he was as a billionaire trader.) If John Arnold does have an identifiable ideology, it is that of a lifelong trader and quant: unsentimental, metrics-focused, interventionist. He is unapologetic about having worked at Enron, and he can be defensive about the moral standing of Wall Street in the public mind. In 2015, after a cancer researcher was found to have falsified research data and defrauded the government out of millions of dollars, Arnold complained on Twitter that the penalty, a five-year funding restriction, was too light. Had something similar happened on Wall Street, he tweeted, the perpetrator would have been sentenced to 10 years in jail and the bank would have been fined a billion dollars. “Is there something special about frauds in the securities biz that they should be penalized infinitely more harshly than other business frauds?” he went on. “Or is Wall Street just an easy target while cancer researchers and universities are not?”


So it’s no surprise that, in practice, the Arnolds’ approach to giving has a lot in common with John Arnold’s approach to investing. Laura tells me she sees her husband’s appetite for risk—an appetite she says she shares—as the most obvious link between his approach to trading and philanthropy. Once the foundation has identified areas where they believe they can make the biggest difference, they go all in. “We’re not looking to create an organization of safe success,” she says. “We’re looking to create an organization of thoughtful failure and fantastic success.” Arnold is, in at least one respect, trying to make science a little more like finance. In recent decades, math and science whizzes like Arnold have invaded Wall Street, bringing a level of scientific precision to trading and often making fortunes in the process. And good traders, as Arnold sees it, naturally come to appreciate something that researchers too often miss: It’s very easy to be fooled by your own data. They internalize the risk of mistaking correlation for causation—not because they’re smarter than scientists but because they have money riding on the outcome. “As a general rule, the incentives related to quantitative research are very different in the social sciences and in financial practice,” says James Owen Weatherall, author of The Physics of Wall Street. “In the sciences, one is mostly incentivized to publish journal articles, and especially to publish the sorts of attention-grabbing and controversial articles that get widely cited and picked up by the popular media. The articles have to appear methodologically sound, but this is generally a lower standard than being completely convincing. In finance, meanwhile, at least when one is trading with one’s own money, there are strong incentives to work to that stronger standard. One is literally betting on one’s research.” In my conversations with Arnold and his grantees, the word incentives seems to come up more than any other. The problem, they claim, isn’t that scientists don’t want to do the right thing. On the contrary, Arnold says he believes that most researchers go into their work with the best of intentions, only to be led astray by a system that rewards the wrong behaviors. Says Goodman, “Scientists really do want to discover things that make a difference in people’s lives. In a sense, that’s the strongest weapon that we have. We can feed

RESEARCHERS HAVE THE BEST OF INTENTIONS, BUT THE SYSTEM REWARDS BAD BEHAVIORS.

off that.” Figuring out exactly which rewards work best and how to simultaneously change the incentives for researchers, institutions, journals, and funders is now a key area of interest for Goodman and Ioannidis. At the Center for Open Science, Nosek has already begun to experiment with new incentives for scientists. Because investigating and replicating research begins with having the data and materials necessary to do so, he is particularly focused on making science more transparent. In 2014 he partnered with the journal Psychological Science to offer colorful “Open Data” and “Open Materials” badges for papers that met specific criteria for sharing. A 2016 study to determine the effectiveness of the badges showed that the number of articles that reported publicly available data had increased tenfold. “It’s a stupid little badge,” Nosek says, but it works. Nosek is also still campaigning to convince researchers to preregister what they plan to analyze and report in a study, so that they can’t adjust their experiment on the fly or hide less-than-dazzling results—a problem that Goldacre is also tackling. To promote preregistration, the Center for Open Science offered the first 1,000 scientists who preregister their studies with the organization $1,000 each. Nosek says that the cash offers were Arnold’s idea. Denis Calabrese, the Arnold Foundation’s president, says they don’t expect immediate results. The Arnolds have a “multipledecade timeline to work on problems.” Yet the most remarkable thing about the Arnold Foundation’s research integrity projects is that they already appear to be paying off. For one thing, the problems plaguing scientific research are now increasingly well known. Of 1,576 researchers who responded

to a recent online survey from Nature, more than half agreed there is “a significant crisis” of reproducibility. The comedian John Oliver spent 20 prime-time minutes on HBO last May mocking the reign of terrible science on TV news shows and in public debate: “After a certain point, all that ridiculous information can make you wonder: Is science bullshit? To which the answer is clearly no, but there’s a lot of bullshit masquerading as science.” (Some of the background footage in the segment came from the Arnold Foundation.) Ioannidis, whose name is almost synonymous with scientific skepticism, says he has seen immense progress in recent years. The journals Science and Nature have started bringing in statisticians to review their papers. The National Institutes of Health is moving forward with new requirements for data sharing; starting as early as this year, all NIH-funded training programs must include plans for teaching researchers the principles of reproducibility. “Now everybody says we need replication; we need reproducibility,” Ioannidis tells me. “Otherwise our field is built on thin air.” The Center for Open Science’s next big undertaking is another reproducibility project—this one for cancer studies. In 2012 the former head of cancer research at the biotech firm Amgen revealed the results of the company’s effort to replicate 53 “landmark” papers in hematology and oncology; only six studies’ findings could be confirmed. So there is already widespread concern about reproducibility in the field. The center’s replication efforts, in turn, have inspired economists and even tropical ecologists to plan reproducibility projects of their own. Whether all this momentum will lead to transformational change decades from now is impossible to know. Arnold figures that some of his specific grants might not work out as planned. (The foundation’s funding of the Nutrition Science Initiative is now scheduled to end in November.) More generally, it may not be possible to truly reform a system where the incentives are already so deeply embedded. “It’s probably too big a lift for us to expect we’re going to change researchers who have been around for decades,” he says. Plus, systems of prestige and advancement die hard. “You don’t shift a culture overnight,” Nosek says. But as many Wall Street veterans can testify, betting against John Arnold is usually a bad idea. !


cOM LE P by Allison Samuels

photographs by Joe Pugliese

Childish Gambino.

Atlanta.

Lando Calrissian.

Welcome To the strange, emotional, industryaltering world of

Donald Glover. 0 6 8


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would clap more. Not that they should applaud—he gets enough applause when he performs stand-up or when he gets recognized from Atlanta, the TV show he both writes and stars in. No, Glover’s talking about clapping to a beat. “I was listening to Donny Hathaway’s album Live at the Troubadour,” he says. “You hear the crowd harmonizing with every song and clapping to the beat on time. You don’t hear that at concerts anymore.” It’s an odd thing to notice, maybe, but Glover has been listening to a lot of Hathaway lately, and to Bill Withers too—another soulful ballad singer. This may be part of the reason his onstage persona, Childish Gambino, has drifted from hip hop to something else. His latest album, Awaken, My Love!, sounds more like James Brown or Sly and the Family Stone. Possibly with a little Pink Floyd. But more than that, Glover has been thinking a lot about performance and the different ways a performer can interact with an audience. Maybe it’s like church, he says, like gospel music. In many African American churches, clapping hands and tapping feet were requirements for attendance. “I don’t think black people go to church like that anymore,” Glover says. Glover’s giving audiences someplace new where they can clap along. Lots of new places, actually. There’s the Burning Man–ish three-day concert in the desert that teed up his new album. Or, if you didn’t make it there, you can grab the virtual reality experience that goes along with it. Or just stream the album itself. He has, in other words, a lot going on. There’s his TV show Atlanta, the stand-up comedy, and the weird supporting roles in giant movies (Glover was a rocket scientist who came up with the plan to save Matt Damon in The Martian). Oh, and he’s going to play Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo prequel Star Wars movie, set to begin filming in early 2017. How does a young hyphenate put together a career like that in a time of entertainment-industry turmoil? A team of creative advisers and managers helps, but Glover was early to the multiplatform artist party. All of his projects intersect in strange, intertextual ways. So amid all the different platforms, there’s also world-building going on (both metaphorically and, with his new project, virtually). Glover may not be as mass-culture as some of the other artists experimenting in this territory—Beyoncé, Drake—but his ambition is to create something entirely new. people

Glover

UP

in Stone Mountain, Georgia, about 20 miles east of Atlanta; his mother ran a day care center and didn’t much care for music, but his father, a Postal Service worker, played everything from Hall & Oates to Funkadelic to the Police. “I remember listening to some of my dad’s music as a kid, like Parliament. I’d hear a woman moaning and groaning, and it was so scary because she sounded terrified,” Glover says. “That music was filled with so many different real emotions and feelings that you could listen to it again and again.” By day, Glover lived in his imagination. His Jehovah’s Witness upbringing meant no television. He’d listen to bootleg audio of Simpsons episodes in bed at night, though he did manage to sneak into a viewing of Star Wars: Episode I and catch the occasional Muppet movie. It was a little weird, and he translated that weirdness into his own puppet shows, perALLISON SAMUELS writes frequently about popular cul-

ture. This is her first article for wired.

DONALD GLOVER, A Man for all PLATFORMs

From music to TV to Star Wars, Glover has just about every performance space covered. —GREGORY BARBER Sick Boi 30 Rock

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Debuts his first mixtape, performing as Childish Gambino.

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PHOTOGRAPHS: CHARLES CHRISTOPHER/NBC/GETTY IMAGES (COMMUNITY); IBRA AKE/WOLF & ROTHSTEIN (CAMP, JOSHUA TREE); PETER MOUNTAIN/EVERETT COLLECTION ( THE MARTIAN)

GREW GLOVER


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forming for the foster kids his parents took care of. “Being a Jehovah’s Witness amplified my own alienness,” he says. “Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t celebrate Christmas. You don’t pledge allegiance to the flag. People don’t understand that.” But Glover understands people. He has an almost preternatural emotional intelligence; when we meet for the second time I give him a hug, and he calls me out on it: “What’s up with that hug? That didn’t have any feeling! Where’s my hug?” I try again. Glover is happily missing much of the stifling bravado that weighed down far too many male African American performers in, say, the 1990s. He’s in touch with all his feelings, and he seems to think everyone else should be too. Combine youth, empathy, alienation, and love of performance and you get a drama major. Glover went to college at New York’s Tisch School of the Arts, where he joined an improv comedy group. When Tina Fey saw some of the short videos Glover made there, she hired him to write for her popular TV show 30 Rock. He had never written for television; he was 23 years old. “I decided I wanted to write for television because of Tina,” Glover says. “She was always so happy, and I was like, I want to be happy like that too.” It worked. He was happy. He did stand-up, made funny sketch comedy videos on YouTube, wrote for 30 Rock for three seasons, and eventually joined the cast of the cult-hit sitcom Community, playing the young, earnest, deeply nerdy Troy—the only mostly normal person (a plumber messiah, but still). It was starting to seem like Glover could make a career out of that kind of code switch, an African American cast before a mostly white audience. In 2011 Glover donned the Childish Gambino identity he’d worn in a few comedy videos and mixtapes and released a rap album. It was more hipster than hip hop, to be honest, and earned mixed reviews, but it got him a whole new audience—and his second album got two Grammy nominations. Small but significant parts in The Martian and Magic Mike XXL did even more. Whatever Glover did, more and more people were starting to clap along to the beat.

managers, TEAM OF artists, and technologists—Glover calls them Royalty—has had a say in almost every move in his career since 2012. At the core are Glover’s younger brother Steve and Glover’s tour manager, Chad Taylor. Fam Udeorji joined when Taylor met him on the road with Childish Gambino. They formed a management company, Wolf and Rothstein—Wolf is Taylor’s nickname, and Udeorji named himself after Ace Rothstein, Robert De Niro’s character in Casino. Taylor and Udeorji manage a few other musicians who often hang out with Royalty and offer input. Ibra Ake, a photographer and art director, is the visual and creative expert. Glover’s artist buddy Swank rounds out the group. Hiro Murai, who directed a bunch of Childish Gambino videos, and producer Ludwig Göransson often hang out too. Gathered together for drinks in a Beverly Hills café, the subset of Glover’s team who join us look a little like fraternity brothers—not the jerk kind, the cute, smart, and nerdy kind. They used to meet every day, before the responsibilities of fatherhood started to rule Glover’s time, in a house he rented from Chris Bosh of the Miami Heat. “We’d just roll out ideas while making a sandwich or talking about life,” Udeorji says. That’s how the idea for Atlanta began to come together. It was Glover’s hometown region, of course, but he had more in mind than just depicting a city that has become a cultural A

Awaken, My Love! Community

Stars as Troy Barnes, an earnest jock/ nerd/plumbing messiah, for five seasons.

2009

Atlanta

Camp

Releases his debut album.

2011

Because the

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Martian

Nominated for two Grammys for his second album.

Appears as “steely-eyed missile man” Rich Purnell.

Creates and stars in the FX comedy about two cousins making their way in the local rap scene.

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His third album previews at a three-day, cell-phone-free festival in Joshua Tree National Park.

2016

Star Wars

Will play Lando Calrissian in the Han Solo prequel.

2018


center for African Americans—Glover also wanted to explore what it’s like to be young, talented, and black in the South. He had in mind two other African American–led TV programs, from the comedians Bernie Mac and Dave Chappelle. “Those shows were so honest and so true,” Glover says. “Bernie Mac had a sister who was a crack addict on the show. It wasn’t funny, but it was real.” To the FX network, Glover pitched the idea of a black Ivy League dropout who returns to Atlanta and begins managing his drugdealing cousin’s fledging rap career. It’d have drama, comedy, and music but also deal with issues like mass incarceration, poverty, drug use, and fatherhood in the black community. “We like to sit down with artists a few times and listen to what they say about their project,” says John Landgraf, president and general manager of FX. “With Donald, he didn’t always articulate his vision in a way that we could see it, but his passions and ambition were clear. So we felt confident in the story he wanted to tell and how he wanted to tell it.” The challenge would be in getting the language and tone of the show right. Mess that up and Atlanta would be considered irrelevant or—worse—totally wack. Glover solved the problem in a way that is, in retrospect, obvious but practically unheard of in Hollywood: an all-black writing team, which included a few names that had never written a script for television before. “It wasn’t a conscious decision, really,” Glover says. “I knew I wanted people with similar experiences who understood the language and the mindset of the characters and their environment.” Still, television is an industry that has only recently begun to acknowledge the need for diversity in front of the camera, much less behind it. “Listen, even BET wouldn’t have given him that much freedom,” says one television and film executive. “An all-black writers’ room is one thing, but for me it’s the number of writers who hadn’t written on a show before at all. Most networks aren’t going to take that chance.” And it’s true, says Udeorji—one of the writers—that other networks didn’t really get the concept. But even though there were times when FX wasn’t exactly sure where Glover’s team was headed, the network let them go there. “Donald’s a rapper who has unique experience, because he worked with Tina Fey and that crew early on. That gave him a lot of clout with the network,” Udeorji says. “He showed us the ropes of character development and story structure and took the leadership role in the room, and then we just let the ideas out.” That dynamic has led to some genre-breaking storytelling. Atlanta is a half-hour comedy about black people that makes no extra effort to explain black people to its viewers. You either get it or you don’t. One episode, “Value,” spends an entire scene at a dinner with Van (ex-girlfriend of Earn, Glover’s character) and her best friend. It’s 10 minutes of the most nuanced dialog seen on television between two women of color as they land brutally honest viewpoints on each other’s complicated lives. “That scene blew me away,” said Cheo Hodari Coker, a longtime TV writer who runs the Netflix show Luke

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Coat by GUCCI; shirt by COS; chain and ring by CARTIER; jeans by KSUBI from BARNEYS NEW YORK

Cage. “You never see that amount of time given to straight dialog. It was so real, like you were eavesdropping on someone’s conversation. That’s good television.” The crew even contributed visual flair. “I like it when black people are hit with a certain light, like purple,” Glover says. So he and Murai started experimenting. “It just felt good to play around with the look of the show.”

IN 2016,

with Atlanta in production, Glover was also thinking about his next album. Roughly, he already knew what he wanted. “He came into our offices with a five-year vision of his music and the visuals that were to go with it,” says Daniel Glass, president of Glassnote Records, Glover’s label. “There aren’t a lot of artists that have that kind of clarity about where their career is headed.” But fatherhood had altered his course. Glover doesn’t live particularly publicly—he didn’t announce his son’s birth on social media, for example—but he acknowledges that being a dad changed his ideas about some things. He spent months returning to the sounds of his own childhood, listening to the music his father played, and the first single from the new album, “Me and Your Mama” is a highly charged, funkedout lullaby of sorts for his new little one. More than that, he wanted to find yet another way to connect with fans—not a traditional concert but what Glover describes as a “shared vibration.” He called Udeorji and Taylor with the concept: a three-day camping trip/performance installation in the desert to debut new songs and show off wild new visuals. Glover called it Pharos, named for the lighthouse at Alexandria, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. “We were inspired by Kanye and other artists, but the vision for most things comes from Donald,” Taylor says. “For us it became figuring out how to make it all happen.” They watched concert films and talked about imagery they liked—for example, the digital mountain from Kanye’s Yeezus tour in 2013. But bringing fans in became Miles Konstantin’s job. The 22-year-old had started a fan site for Childish EARLY


vibration. Glover wanted not a

concert traditional

but a â&#x20AC;&#x153;shared

â&#x20AC;?


Gambino in high school that so impressed Glover, he hired the kid. Konstantin studied physics in college by day, and he and his two roommates worked on Glover’s website at night. For Pharos, Konstantin designed an app with a countdown and a slowly approaching planet Earth—and the option to buy a ticket to something for $99, locked to the owner of the phone and therefore unscalpable. (Glover wanted to keep ticket prices down.) Once you bought a ticket, you got a guidebook and an app-based manifesto about the human condition during the digital age. The first shows sold out in six minutes; Glover added two more. But the concert came with a draconian rule: Members of the audience would have to surrender their phones on entry. “Today, kids’ idea of going to a concert is proving that they are there on Snapchat or Instagram,” Glover says. “We wanted to give them a complete show and have their attention.” Even that didn’t dissuade anyone. “We weren’t completely sure how fans would handle that part, but Donald’s fans are very open-minded,” Konstantin says. Step two: Build the set. The concerts would happen in a giant white dome in Joshua Tree, California. Dancing zombies and ghostlike creatures would sway to the tunes on screens and interact with sounds in their environments. Glover performed in a yellow grass skirt, long cornrows, and glow-in-the-dark tribal war paint. It was like a cross between Captain EO and Fantasia, complete with a grand finale flight through space, featuring planets moving to the beat. To get it all right, Glover went to Microsoft. “He came in with his music and a story and asked how we could accommodate his ideas,” says Fred Warren, creative director for the company. When the computer-generated characters planned for massive screens inside the performance dome weren’t moving the way Glover’s group envisioned, Warren’s team figured they had only one choice: Go to the source. “We decided the best way to showcase the moves on the screen was to have Donald create them and use Kinect sensors to capture his every dance move.” Glover spent a day at Microsoft’s New York office performing the movements of the zombies and ghosts, much like in those puppet shows he used to put on as a kid. Beyond the high tech animation, the new Childish Gambino album is pretty great. Awaken, My Love! is a chaotic mix of funk, punk, and R&B infused with a new age vibe. On more than a few tracks, Glover uses falsetto like Luther Vandross—and Withers and Hathaway. And once Microsoft had all that mo-capped performance and computer-generated set design, the next step was almost selfevident. You can buy Awaken, My Love! on old-school vinyl, but you can also watch the video in way-new-school virtual reality, optimized for an Oculus Rift headset. It’s not quite like seeing Pharos in Joshua Tree, but it’s close.

Coat by COS; shirt by

TOPMAN STORES; chain by CARTIER; tear by Glover

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WALKED DAVE

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from his wildly CHAPPELLE popular eponymous show on Comedy Central (and the $50 million that came with it) in 2005. He was arguably at the peak of his success, but the mercurial comedian had begun to feel that white audiences were laughing at his sketches and jokes about black people without absorbing them, without picking up the social message. Glover has made himself a student of Chappelle’s, including trying to understand that specific kind of disconnect with the audience. “On some level, the situation Dave faced is probably already happening,” Glover says. “But that’s why it’s so good to have a room filled with people who understand what you’re trying to do. You’ve got to have someone willing to say, ‘I don’t enjoy that.’ That makes you step back and rethink when someone says that shit doesn’t work.” The parallel to Chappelle isn’t a perfect one. Both are influential African American comedians, but their MOs aren’t equivalent. Glover is much younger and fundamentally a well-adjusted, middle-class kid. When he performs, he’s not drawing from anger or a tough childhood. He’s connecting to a wider emotional spectrum, and that seems to give him a broader performance palette. Even Chappelle—a fan of Glover’s—acknowledges the differences. “I can’t keep up with all the shit he’s doing, but it’s all damn good. That he can do it all blows me away,” Chappelle says. “But my show was a sketch show, and Donald’s is more of a regular sitcom. And then we’re in a different time. Race is more nuanced today, and that helps the message. It’s been 10 years.” A lot changes in a decade. If Chappelle and the late Bernie Mac opened up possibilities for a performer like Glover, now it’s Glover’s turn to rough out a frame for the next generation. Leveraging personal work to reach unpredictable audiences who stay loyal through unpredictable projects won’t be unusual—it’ll be the norm. And that’ll encourage more weird media, beyond live shows and VR, and even more unpredictability. Chappelle’s Show wore its politics on its sleeve—the things Chappelle wanted you to understand were text. Atlanta and the music and video work of Childish Gambino are about feelings and subtext, opening new worlds for creators to explore and audiences to experience. The worlds may be odd and their rhythms idiosyncratic— but you’re going to want to clap along. !


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FOR THE

OF

BY CHRIS COLIN

In the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tenderloin neighborhood, tension simmers between thousands of wealthy tech workers, who have recently moved in, and the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most destitute, who have lived there for decades. A controversial 87-year-old minister has the best shot at healing the divide.

I L L U S T R AT I O N S B Y A N D R E W R A E

P H O T O G R A P H S B Y DA R C Y PA D I L L A


I.

More than 10,000 tech employees now live or work in what has historically been San Francisco’s most destitute neighborhood.

As Tenderloin conflicts go, this one was relatively demure. The insults escalated—but ultimately both sides walked on. Maybe they weren’t the punching sort. Maybe they had somewhere to be. Or maybe, at some subconscious level, everyone knew things were more complex than they were letting on. Indeed, Bhakta sometimes fantasizes about conducting a more substantive conversation. But he also feels that bridging San Francisco’s two most polarized and symbolic monoliths—its growing tech community and its impoverished Tenderloin—isn’t his responsibility. “If they can read code, they can understand why gentrification is a problem in the TL,” he says. “It’s not my job to hold their hand while they get to know their own neighborhood.” On this, Bhakta is correct. That job belongs to an 87-yearold man three blocks over.

R

e v e r e n d C e c i l W i l l i a m s is large and peaceful-looking, with a bushy beard and the vaguely cosmic power to lure a dozen Zendesk employees from a perfectly nice office building. It is a bright and cold day in San Francisco, and from their glassy Market Street headquarters the crew walks toward Williams and his Glide Memorial Church, a beautiful but weathered building three grimy blocks and several galaxies away. Maybe the Zendeskers mapped their walk before they came, or maybe they just looked for the line of hungry people. The line snakes down Ellis Street, past a boarded-up lot and a single-room apartment building for the poor, then winds up Leavenworth. For nearly a half century, Williams’ church has served three squares a day to the city’s most down-andout—roughly 800,000 meals a year of late—making it one of the most ambitious soup-kitchen programs in the nation. The Zendesk team proceeds past the food line, into an elevator to a spartan conference room four floors up.

PREVIOUS SPREAD: TYPOGRAPHY BY TYPE SUPPLY

One day last summer Chirag Bhakta and a friend were walking through the Tenderloin, the San Francisco neighborhood Bhakta has called home all his life. Wedged improbably between the city’s gleaming high-rises, tony Union Square shopping zone, and affluent Nob Hill district, the Tenderloin is a sprawl of code-red despair. People shoot up openly, stagger about in various stages of undress and untreated illness; nowhere else in town is such an intricate, root-bound extremeness of poverty on display. This level of misery is one of the most striking things a person can see in San Francisco, topped only by a relatively newer sight—that of well-to-do 23-yearolds gliding blithely through this scene while playing Twilight: The Movie Game on their phones. The socioeconomic Maginot Line that long kept the TL apart from the rest of the city has in recent years been breached, as tech companies have pressed closer with their lavish midMarket offices and well-paid young employees. As a result, these 40 or so blocks have become an epicenter for one of the country’s most pitched gentrification battles—pitched, arguably, because fighting about “gentrification” is just an easy way of fighting about larger and messier things: the growing chasm between rich and poor, sure, but also technology’s place in the world and, on days like this one, which side can act more cartoonishly moronic. Bhakta and his buddy had turned onto Larkin Street when they spotted four white guys in button-down shirts. “I was like, fuck it, I’m going to do away with my filter,” Bhakta, 29, recalls. A tenant-rights-nonprofit worker by day, he watched the influx of tech companies lead to higher rents, more evictions, and a general sense of displacement in an already marginal community. When he was growing up, his parents, immigrants from India, had washed dishes and worked a cash register just blocks away. Bhakta could no longer hold back. “Fucking tech bros ruining the neighborhood,” he spat. The guys let loose too. “If you can’t afford it, get out!” one shouted.


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II.

The Reverend Cecil Williams and his wife, Janice Mirikitani, are preeminent figures in San Francisco and the powerhouses behind Glide Memorial.

The group—cheerful, mostly young—stands out among some of the tougher clients Williams, his wife and the founding president of Glide, Janice Mirikitani, and their staff welcome as one of the city’s largest providers of social services. With an operating budget of around $17 million, the church supports the city’s poorest and most disenfranchised. On top of free meals, it offers legal counseling, child care, after-school services, recovery groups, a meditation group, an acupuncture clinic, a pregnancy support group, a grief support group, a healing-through-Negro-spirituals workshop. Glide also runs three supportive housing developments nearby, where residents receive social services in addition to a roof overhead. The Zendesk employees gathering in the conference room have come at an odd moment in San Francisco history. As emissaries of the tech world, they represent the forces that have exacerbated the city’s ever-widening economic disparity—the very issue that most consumes Glide and, frankly, the whole town. From the latest gentrification skirmish to the endless Google-bus wars, the Bay Area often seems defined by tension around the tech community—tension that, in turn, echoes the growing gulf between the haves and have-nots throughout the country. Armed with cotton balls and syringes, the Zendesk team has come to effect a small, back-channel undo. A software company dedicated to providing customer support systems for more than 80,000 corporate clients, Zendesk hasn’t typically focused on helping its neighbors shoot smack. But assembling needle-exchange kits isn’t rocket science, and in this case it’s actually a Trojan horse operation: “We bring them in with the needle exchange, and from there they learn about our other services,” explains Jorge Vieto, Glide’s health services navigator. Incidentally, the program also works on its own merits: San Francisco has about 22,000 IV drug users, CHRIS COLIN (@chriscolin3000) wrote about the

Yelpification of everything in issue 19.08.

and before endeavors like Glide’s, hundreds of those users contracted HIV each year through dirty needles. In 2015 all of two new drug-related HIV cases were documented. Among San Franciscans, Glide is a little like Burning Man, the annual art fest in the Nevada desert: You go or you resign yourself to hearing about it year after year. A typical entry point to the church is the famed Sunday service, a raucous event that’s one part Occupy rally, two parts Prince concert, and zero parts brimstone. Williams arrived in 1963, straight from the March on Washington, and one of his first moves was to take down the crosses. His view on running a church was: Open the place to everyone. If the idea sounds nice, that’s 2016 talking. He welcomed Black Panthers and hippies and drug dealers and prostitutes when that constituted full-on heresy. Ditto the same-sex covenants he performed in the ’70s, decades before the world caught up. He called for the city’s schools to be picketed in 1965 for what amounted to segregation, he threw “Free Angela Davis” rallies and waded into the debate after Native Americans took over Alcatraz in 1969. The finger waggers went insane every time. “Most of the city’s widely recognized historical events over the past four decades involved Glide,” reporter Jenny Strasburg once wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle. All that history has left Williams less young than he once was; these days the charismatic pastor takes a lift to the stage on Sundays and increasingly shares it with other speakers. But his magnetism is undiminished, and he’s at his fieriest on the subject of radical inclusion. Whoever you are and wherever you come from, there’s always a place for you in this corner of the Tenderloin. In a way, that inclusive ethos is being tested more now than it was when Glide welcomed the hippies and Panthers and drug dealers. The arrival of Twitter, Salesforce, Spotify, Zendesk, and other companies in the Tenderloin and adjacent mid-Market corridor has ironically amounted to one of tech’s biggest dis-


ruptions, depositing more than 10,000 comparatively wealthy, generally white employees into the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s poorest, most diverse neighborhood. Of course, the sudden appearance of pour-over coffee and artisanal cocktails in once-funky neighborhoods is nothing new in the city. But over at Glide, Williams and others started to notice something else. At an institutional level and an individual level, tech was showing up at their door with a specific if unspoken agenda: They wanted an intro. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Many of them have chosen to live here and just donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know how to make a connection,â&#x20AC;? James Lin, Glideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s senior director of mission and social justice, tells meâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;they have a neighborhood, in other words, but scarcely know their neighbors. Enter Glide. The church had both the cred and the networks to facilitate an introduction between its oldest and newest residents. As cofounder and minister of liberation, Williams has stood astride poverty and fame for half a century; he marched in Selma, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s counted the Mandelas and Obamas and Oprahs and Bonos of the world as friends. A newly arrived company looking for an ally on these blocks, or perhaps a broker, could do far worse. To Felicia Horowitz, wife of tech luminary Ben Horowitz and a devoted Glide supporter, the tech industry has to work extra hard for community acceptanceâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;even as far more insidious local industries mostly escape public reprobation. Chirag Bhakta didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mutter about predatory lending bros ruining the neighborhood. At the center, Horowitz sees an abiding tech truth. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re outsiders. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s what it comes down to. We always have been,â&#x20AC;? Horowitz told me.

gig putting things in bags? I expect a little half-assednessâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; some bored texting, some lackadaisical me-and-my-needle-kit selfies. I see the opposite. Two workers discuss the possibility of assembling more kits back at the office. Others speak with pride about having doubled Zendeskâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s regular visits to Glide. One senior IT guy named Doug enjoys volunteering here so much that he comes on weekends. An engineer named Jim enthused that making the kits is disruptive. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The difference you make is measurable.â&#x20AC;?

O

ne day, a few dozen Twitter employees walk over to Glide to help prepare food during a periodic Friday for Good company outing. In the churchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s aging industrial kitchen, CEO Jack Dorsey slips on a hairnet and begins to dole out lunch. Dorsey is slender and unassuming, decked out in red hightops and jeans. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Earlier I was cutting potatoes,â&#x20AC;? he tells me. The image is oddly destabilizing: On the one hand itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s uncomplicatedly good that a person who could pop over to Paris for lunch has come to a dingy church basement to serve the poor. On the other hand is this naive but nagging thought: Couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t he, you know, feed these people forever? That question has been a growing part of San Franciscoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, and the nationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, complicated relationship with its newest industry. Is it unfair to expect a company to solve generational poverty simply because it has set up shop nearby? Orâ&#x20AC;&#x201D; and this question might require a channeling of Glideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most

T

o critics, techâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s budding interest in the TL is little more than reputation laundering. This is an industry that has ushered in exploding rents, driven beloved old establishments out of business, and frayed the very fabric Glide works tirelessly to save. The community-minded overtures it does make are mandatory in some cases. The so-called Twitter tax break exempted participating companies from millions in payroll taxes in exchange for moving into this neglected part of town and some vaguely worded community engagement promises. These are concerns about which Williams does not give a damn. While the city spins out in endless arguments about the techies, Glide leadership has moved on to a more strategic question: What would Jesus do about a bunch of engineers moving into the neighborhood? The answer so far: Love them. Help them engage with this perhaps intimidating rung of society. Sure, get them to cough up money. But mostly love them and, on this morning with the Zendesk crew, have them make needle kits. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more that unites us than divides us,â&#x20AC;? one of the Glide workers says in his preamble to the group, and for a moment the gulf between user and coder feels navigable. The volunteers gather around a set of folding tables stacked with bins full of needle equipment. Zendesk is considered one of the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more generous companies (it has a robust giving plan, volunteering is expected of employees, and in 2015 it launched a nonprofit for community initiatives), but a tedious

the new

TENDERLOIN The neighborhood has long been known as a last stop for the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most GHVWLWXWH%XWDERXWĂ&#x20AC;YH\HDUVDJR&LW\ Hall enticed tech companies to move in nearby. Today, the area is an oddball tangle of tech companies, social-service centers, gleaming high-end apartments, and single-room residences.

Key TECH COMPANY

SINGLE-RESIDENT OCCUPANCY

HIGH-RISE APARTMENTS

SOCIAL & COMMUNITY SERVICE


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massive construction boom followed, the buildings designed to absorb as many workers as possible: tiny single-room units, shared bathrooms, often no kitchen. Because of the way they were plumbed and owing to policy decisions decades later (that would make it difficult to convert the buildings to, say, luxury hotels or high-rises), these became a permanent fixture in the neighborhood, making gentrification nearly impossible. As the journalist Gary Kamiya has chronicled, many of the TL’s old buildings were declared historic and thus preserved. When local social-service nonprofits began buying these buildings and becoming landlords to their clients, kicking out the working-class residents only became more unlikely. In 1956 the city elected George Christopher, a Greek immigrant (and the eventual dairy owner), to be its 34th mayor. Christopher, a Republican, is generally heralded for luring the Giants from New York, building schools and firehouses and pools, and offering his home to Willie Mays after a local real estate agent had refused to sell to him. But as Randy Shaw, the founder of the Tenderloin Museum, writes in his 2015 book, The Tenderloin, Christopher’s deep “dislike of the Tenderloin became personal when his 27-year-old brother was arrested on narcotics charges.” Despite the mayor’s efforts to keep the young addict away from these blocks—sending him as far away as the Sierras—he was no match for their draw; when Christopher’s brother died an early death, Shaw writes, the mayor blamed the neighborhood. The city cracked down on gambling, streetcars were ripped out, disruptive one-way streets were established, and all of it crushed the local economy.

M

Van Ness

Union Square

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fundamental teachings—has the country reached a point where it’s outrageous to do anything but try? As it happens, questions like these are currently being fielded in the Sanctuary. On Sundays, 200 congregants gather in the spacious, booming space for the rollicking Celebration. But today the room is being used for a kind of bespoke private sermon, as Nicole Brown, Glide’s director of institutional giving, loads up a batch of Twitter volunteers with Glide-think. “Glide is not church, please know that,” she begins. Rather, it’s a place to reflect on the “tapestry of our shared humanity,” a tapestry in which Twitter is a “cornerstone partner.” What follows is a mix of absolution, local history, and private homily. “Our housing crisis did not start when Twitter moved onto Market Street,” Brown assures them. “This is 30 years of failed public policy. We wanted to remain a precious, beautiful two-story city, and we did not build housing.” What happened and didn’t happen on these streets is indeed more complicated than is commonly understood. In the early 20th century the Tenderloin was the Paris of the West, a lively center of vice brimming with nightlife and culture. What followed is both unique to these blocks and broadly familiar to anyone who has studied how healthy inner cities plunge into cascading poverty—a blend of dumb policy, dumb luck, structural racism, and the occasionally vengeful Greek dairy owner turned mayor. The Tenderloin’s roots go back to the 19th century, when prospectors settled here after the Gold Rush. The neighborhood grew—and then became rubble in the 1906 earthquake. A

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GLIDE MEMORIAL CHURCH

WIRED

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ZENDESK

TWITTER HQ

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MAP BY CLEVER°FRANKE


III.

New tech workers in the Tenderloin were looking for a way to connect with their community. So they went to Glide to volunteer. Here, a Zendesk employee helps make needle kits.

In a sense, that was just the start. Christopher’s transformation of the area dovetailed with a massive urban renewal scheme—many called it urban removal—in a nearby and relatively prosperous African American neighborhood. Though the Western Addition had an international reputation as a vibrant center for jazz and culture, redevelopment forces waged a successful campaign to label it blighted, and eminent domain sent thousands of residents packing. (Of course, those homes had previously belonged to Japanese residents sent to internment camps. How far back shall we go?) The displaced residents headed east to the TL, where housing was cheap. When Lyndon Johnson launched his landmark War on Poverty in the mid-1960s, San Francisco’s cut of the federal money focused on communities that were historically disadvantaged because of race or poverty. But in the TL another marginal population had begun to gain prominence. Waves of young gay people fleeing intolerance and abuse back east were turning up there, and in 1966 an early band of queerfriendly activists managed to get the Tenderloin designated a War on Poverty target district. It was right around that time that a young Cecil Williams was ramping up the outreach programs in his new Glide Memorial Church. Not much of this can fit into a brief talk to a group of Twitter volunteers. For that matter it doesn’t really fit into any clear narrative about the Tenderloin whatsoever. Is the neighborhood a symbol of America’s neglect of its poor? So bleak are things now, she explains to the group, that some of Glide’s homeless and indigent clients commute from Antioch, 45 miles away. (Recently, a chart made the rounds on the internet showing how quickly the country’s wealth disparity is worsening. The median net worth among middle-class Americans fell 19.1 percent from 1998 to 2013, and 52.7 percent among the working class. Only the richest 10 percent managed to get richer, their median net worth shooting up 74.9 percent.) Or is the Tenderloin meant to be understood

as something else—a rugged but proud working-class holdout in a country that otherwise replaces such people with artisanal-pickle shops? And if so, where do the artisanal pickle eaters fit in? For her part, Nicole Brown opts for practical advice over pat answers. “As you guys serve today, you’ll see some chronic illness. You’ll see folks who may never be job-ready,” she says. “But they still deserve to be housed, still deserve to be smiled at.” The Twitter volunteers pose for a quick photo (making heart signs with their hands), then file downstairs to begin their shift. There is, of course, the obvious reason for Williams to cultivate a relationship with tech: The Sunday donation basket only gets so full. In addition to its volunteers, Twitter has kicked in cash grants of more than $150,000. Google gave Glide $100,000 for an electronic storage system designed to give the underhoused ready access to personal documents for housing applications. Microsoft has given hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of software. Salesforce sends over more employees than any other company, last year hitting the 1-million-hours mark. Dropbox has sent volunteers and donated food and money on Valentine’s Day for the past two years. For Williams, though, embracing tech isn’t just about money. “I’ve discovered a brokenness in the tech community. It has to do with self-definition. They’re not always good at creating humanity,” he tells me. The companies aren’t just benefactors, in other words; in a sense they’re also clients. If you belong to the tech world and feel an objection welling up, know that brokenness is not a crime in Williams’ book. On the contrary, it’s the channel on which we all relate. We’re sitting in his office with Mirikitani—a poet and activist, as well as his wife of nearly 35 years. She’s a striking woman, hair tossed Cyndi Lauper–ishly to the side, with a quick mind that toggles between the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, and her early years in an internment camp in Arkansas. She and


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IV.

Glide’s harmreduction strategy favors evidencebased, real-world solutions over blind ideology: Like many tech companies, it meets people where they’re at.

Williams have a familiar banter (“Can I speak?” “No.”), and on the subject of tech’s spiritual needs, they finish each other’s sentences. “I believe we’re more connected by our wounds than our comfort zones,” she says. “If a CEO is wounded by something, a connection to that would be stronger than money.” Put another way, the tech world’s C-suites could need salvation more than stock options.

T

he Zendesk crew is finishing packing needle kits when Vieto, the health services navigator, begins talking about Narcan, a medication that can yank opioid users out of an overdose, which his team has begun distributing to users. “Do you have any stats on how many Glide clients are using it?” asks Zendesk’s corporate social responsibility program coordinator. In response Vieto tells an anecdote about a woman who seemed lifeless when they found her, barely breathing. A shot of Narcan and she was not only revived but chatty. Soon after, she came by Glide for training on how to administer the medication to others. An ordinary question; a reply that didn’t quite answer it but was engaging nonetheless. I’d have given this little side step no thought if I hadn’t already discussed with various Glide workers the broader schism it seems to represent. “We noticed early on that when people from the tech community help, they’re very interested in metrics,” Kyriell Noon, senior director of programs, tells me. “They want to see the data, and they want to know the ROI for their giving.” “They’re obsessed with impact!” Glide’s James Lin joked. On its surface, impact would seem a reasonable obsession if you’re sinking time and money into helping people in need. But here’s the thing: When you’re working with layers upon layers of brokenness—when you’re confronting the worst of what our economy can do to people in 2016—the ROI can be minimal.

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“Imagine a client who’s doubly or triply diagnosed, someone simultaneously juggling delusion, serious illness, addiction, homelessness, a history of domestic violence,” Noon says. “Just getting this person through a day can be a massively inefficient proposition. It takes someone to pick them up at the shelter, to help them with their Muni voucher to get to a doctor’s appointment, to advocate for them at the appointment, to go to the pharmacy for the prescription and to help them take it, and so on.” Being pressed for data isn’t a big deal, Noon says, and in a way it’s been a helpful nudge for the team to log what it can. But for all the measurable success of a program like a needle exchange, some of the most ambitious efforts at Glide move the dial in no immediately recognizable way. That can be a stark reality to absorb in an industry whose very existence is premised on transforming the world. In a way, Glide has become a lab, with the accidental effect of illuminating how tech does and does not approach nontech problems. Needle kits complete, the Zendeskers are thanked and turned loose. The distribution of the kits falls to Glide’s harm reduction outreach team; volunteers can’t accompany them until they’ve had six months of training. With the provisions that I wear a Glide sweatshirt and generally keep my mouth shut, I am allowed to come along for a day. We set out toward Civic Center, hoisting bins of clean needles and condoms and other implements for reducing harm. As we walk I try to see these blocks as a new arrival might. In many ways the Tenderloin looks like a movie version of poverty: garishly, baroquely, almost implausibly destitute. It’s not just the many humans lying on the sidewalk (unclear sometimes whether alive or dead). It’s not the overt shooting up or the public psychotic episodes or the guy in a blazer and sweatpants shouting, “Can I get a job? Can I get a job? Can I get a job?” It is the extent of all that. The despair feels com-

Median household income in the TL was $12,210. A few blocks away it was $ 1 1 5 , 2 3 3 .


prehensive, a thoroughness of dysfunction abutting one of the world’s great spigots of wealth. The median household income in the Tenderloin was $12,210 in 2013. A few blocks away, in the Financial District, the number was $115,233, according to The New York Times. All this makes it strange to say that the Tenderloin also feels like a happy place in ways. For the suffering, there’s a warmth here, a distinct conviviality, that stands out against the heads-buried-in-iPhones parts of town. People hang out on corners talking about how last night was or what so and so is up to. The colorful dive bars and funky theater spaces longtime San Franciscans miss? They’re still here. It feels worth noting this, if for no other reason than to draw a clearer bead on a place that can feel overburdened by outsider gloom. “Harm reduction kits!” the team calls as we walk, and a segment of San Francisco that I’ve only ever seen in the shadows begins to emerge. Some people, lost in private trances, take what they need and drift away. But most stick around and chat. A Don Henley–looking fellow offers an assessment of the mayor. An older woman just out of prison reflects on freedom. The Glide team talks to them all with a respect bordering on deference. If they run out of a certain type of needle, Vieto or another worker apologizes profusely. At the center of the day’s operation is Bill Buehlman, the outreach coordinator for Glide’s harm reduction programs. He’s a muscular guy with a simmering intensity; everywhere we set up shop, he grins and takes a wide power stance, as though prepping for God knows what—which, in fact, he has lived through. Before coming to Glide he was a user, did time in Texas and California. Many harm reduction workers are in recovery, giving extra resonance to the movement’s mantras, which are Glide’s mantras: No judgment. Unconditional acceptance. Meet people where they’re at. At one point—in front of City Hall, a gold-leafed, beaux

It’s a painstaking ANALOG

approach Glide takes. The deepest poverty can’t be H A C K E D .

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For nearly 50 years Glide has served three square meals a day to the poor. That currently amounts to about 800,000 meals a year.

arts beauty—Vieto spots a young man struggling to get a needle into his vein. A phlebotomist by training, Vieto says he is tempted to help him with the injection. If the needle hits muscle rather than a vein, Vieto explains, the guy’s drugs will be wasted, which means he’ll likely engage in even more dangerous behavior to score again. In a way, helping would constitute the full realization of the team’s philosophy: literally facilitating heroin use in order to reduce greater harm. Instead Vieto gives him a sterile needle kit and some wisdom about vein care. As I watch I can’t help noticing an unlikely affinity between harm reduction and tech. Both prefer evidence-based, real-world solutions over blind ideology; both traffic in a clear-eyed approach to problem solving. Meet people where they’re at. If the people aren’t happy with taxis, devise an alternative to meet their needs. Squint and you can see Cecil Williams as an early pioneer of usercentered design, as it were. But it’s also easy to see how a tech company could float off in a bubble of underbaked solutioneering, often most markedly in the murky realm of helping. Every few months another app promises to bring tech’s disruptive power to bear on our most intractable problems. Last year saw the launch of Concrn, an app that dispatches civilian volunteers to nonviolent crisis situations in the Tenderloin; sometimes the civilians play the trumpet, to bring some playfulness to tense situations. In lieu of meaningful medical intervention, they come bearing water and granola bars. In his book Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change From the Cult of Technology, computer scientist and former tech evangelist Kentaro Toyama writes about tech’s enthusiasm for silver bullets—your poverty-disrupting One Laptop per Child programs, your inequality-leveling Khan Academies. Tech is always looking for that elegant little fix, he writes, that leverages a small amount of work to crack an outsize problem. Except when it can’t. In the most damaged corners


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Felicia Horowitz, a devoted Glide supporter, attends one of the church’s famous raucous Sunday services.

of society the problems are so complex and sui generis that the reverse is true: It can take tons of effort to make the slightest headway. It’s a painstakingly analog approach Glide takes. The deepest poverty in the Tenderloin simply can’t be hacked.

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t is a chilly Friday night, and a well-heeled, invite-only crowd has gathered at Dirty Water, an upscale bar on the ground floor of the Twitter building. The Warren Buffett Annual Power Lunch Auction Countdown Party is like any fund-raiser— wine, hors d’oeuvres, balled-up napkins—but for the prominent placement of two TV screens. The left features a photo of Buffett himself, grinning impishly beside a large number: $2,800,000. That is the current bid on a private luncheon with the famed investor. For 17 years, ever since he was introduced to Williams by his then-wife, a Glide congregant, Buffett has been donating the proceeds of this event to the church. The idea of the fund-raiser tonight is to mill around while that dollar figure grows. The right screen shows Game Four of the NBA finals. Warriors up by 2. For an hour or so the party thrums along. A real estate agent talks about helping Reddit with its recent move into the Tenderloin. An advertising executive tells me about her startup idea. The Glide Ensemble sings on one side of the bar, and the Warriors crowd gasps and cheers on the other. The auction is hosted by eBay, and CEO Devin Wenig opines on his industry’s relationship with the Tenderloin. “There are real issues about displacement and gentrification, but it’s stereotypical to say tech doesn’t care,” he tells me. When Williams and Mirikitani materialize, a stream of admirers line up to have photos taken with them. There are so many people waiting, the couple just keeps smiling as posers cycle in and out of the frame. And then the evening takes a turn. The auction deadline nearing, Williams stands to give

remarks—at the very moment Steph Curry hits a jumper. The crowd roars, and a flicker of confusion crosses Williams’ face. He leans farther into the microphone, but the game has gone into overdrive; the roar pivots into a permanent din, impervious to shushing. Inclusivity. Love. You can hear one out of five words Williams says. Wenig takes the mic, tells the crowd how important Glide is to eBay’s 34,000-plus employees. “We do what we can,” he says. Another roar for the Warriors. Mirikitani attempts an intervention—“This is your mom talking, I want to tell everyone that’s chatting to pay attention”— but she is no match for Curry, or the timing of the universe. The situation feels hopeless—and innocent. You can’t blame fans for cheering; the Warriors are killing it. You also can’t blame organizers for being annoyed; this was Cecil Williams, for God’s sake. In the belly of the Twitter building, a perfect metaphor has arisen for the loggerheads at which tech and its neighbors frequently find themselves. On an individual level people mean well; people always mean well. But sometimes the problem is structural, bigger than any of us. To the same small space, two different camps bring different priorities, and sometimes bridging that gap just isn’t possible. The auction clock ticks down to its final minute, then its final 30 seconds, then everyone starts shouting out the last 10 seconds, New Year’s Eve–style. 10! 9! 8! (What might another $50,000 do for the harm reduction crew?) 7! 6! (Just $1,000 could get the after-school program art supplies.) 5! 4! (Even a hundred dollars could buy more damn peanut butter sandwiches.) 3! 2! 1! Then, in that final second, it happens—some anonymous Warren Buffett enthusiast swoops in and bids up the total by more than a half million dollars, to $3,456,789. There would be time later to despair over the necessity of auctions like this in the first place. For now everyone is whooping, and the choir has exploded into song. I find a quiet corner and make a date to meet someone at Glide the next morning, where the breakfast line will be reaching down Ellis by 8 am. !


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CAN YOU TURN A TERRORIST BACK INTO A CITIZEN? In Minneapolis, one judge is hoping that homegrown ISIS recruits can be reformed into normal young Americans. Inside a controversial new program that aims to reverse radical indoctrination.

BY BRENDAN I. KOERNER

PHOTO ILLUSTRATIONS BY JACOB BURGE


LIKE MOST HIGH SCHOOL seniors, Abdullahi Yusuf tried to avoid hugging his father in view of other teens. But on the morning of May 28, 2014, as he was being dropped off in front of Heritage Academy in southeast Minneapolis, the rail-thin 18-year-old, who went by the nickname Bones, startled his dad with a tender good-bye embrace. Unbeknownst to his father, Yusuf believed he’d never see any member of his family again. Yusuf snuck out of school after first period and walked two blocks to Dar al-Farooq Como, a plain brick mosque on 17th Avenue. A friend picked him up in a Volkswagen Jetta and took him to a light-rail station. There Yusuf caught a train to the airport: He was set to depart for Turkey that afternoon, with layovers in New York and Moscow. Once he touched down in Istanbul, he planned to head to the city’s famed Blue Mosque and use his iPhone’s MagicJack app to call a phone number that he’d been given by another friend, Abdirahman Daud. Yusuf didn’t know who would answer, but Daud had assured him this person would guide him into Syria and help him become a soldier for the so-called Islamic State, better known in the West as ISIS. Yusuf was moments away from boarding his flight when he was pulled aside by FBI special agent John Thomas. The agent was part of a surveillance team that had been watching Yusuf for a month, ever since the teen had shown up at the Federal Building in downtown Minneapolis to apply for an expedited passport. During his interview with the passport examiner, Yusuf hadn’t been able to name the hotel where he’d supposedly booked a room or the Istanbul tourist attractions he wished to visit beyond the Blue Mosque. The examiner had reported this fishy behavior to his boss, who had in turn alerted the FBI. When Agent Thomas told Yusuf that he knew all about his travel plans, the teen reeled off the talking points he’d rehearsed

in case he was stopped: He swore he was merely going on vacation and protested that the agent was targeting him because of his Somali heritage and Muslim faith. “I never committed no terrorist crimes that you’re accusing me of,” he snapped. But his outward bravado masked feelings of panic. Thomas informed Yusuf there was no chance he’d be allowed to fly, so the teen took a taxi home. His mom and dad were waiting for him there: Other FBI agents had just come by to let them know of their son’s attempt to leave the country. Amidst all this, Yusuf managed to post a cryptic note on Twitter: “the weather is hot today.” The phrase was a signal to Daud and the other members of Yusuf’s circle of aspiring jihadis that the law was closing in. Several months passed with no further word from the FBI, and Yusuf tried to move on with his life: He attended summer school, found a part-time job at Best Buy, and played paintball with his friends. In September, Yusuf’s lawyer sent him an alarming text: Yusuf’s arrest was imminent. He flirted with the notion of fleeing the country but ultimately decided to stay put. When a police car finally pulled him over one late November day, the teenager went quietly. Yusuf and five of his friends, all young Somali Americans from Minneapolis who’d schemed to fight in Syria, eventually pleaded guilty to trying to join the Islamic State. Yusuf and one of his codefendants, Abdirizak Warsame, went even further, agreeing to testify and help convict Daud and two other members of the group whom the government characterized as the conspiracy’s leaders. (Two additional members actually made it to Syria and were killed fighting for ISIS.) No matter their level of contrition or cooperation, however, the six men who took plea bargains each faced up to 15 years in prison—a standard sentence for an American found guilty of aiding the Islamic State. But Michael J. Davis, the federal judge who presided over the Minneapolis terrorism cases, was troubled. Some of the defendants appeared to be malleable youths who’d been ensnared by sly recruiting tactics. Yusuf, for example, was first lured into the group during pickup basketball at a mosque. After the games, the men would Contributing editor BRENDAN I. KOERNER (@brendankoerner) wrote about the epic hack of the US Office of Personnel Management in issue 24.11.

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spend hours watching a YouTube channel called Enter the Truth. The videos, all slick Islamic State productions, focused on the suffering of Syrian children and the moral corruption of the West. Soon enough, Yusuf was wondering whether he should join the group in going to Syria. As he fielded guilty pleas throughout 2015, Davis thought about how he might offer leniency to the conspiracy’s least culpable members. He could do so only if he knew for sure that the men would never again be tempted by jihadism. To that end, Davis began to research whether there are effective therapies for reforming extremists. He hoped to find a credible way to transform Yusuf and his friends back into the ordinary


young men they’d once been. This could spare the youths years behind bars—an act of compassion that would undermine the Islamic State narrative that the West despises its Muslim citizens. Davis discovered that numerous nations, from Denmark to Indonesia, have developed methods for nudging young men and women back from the extremist brink—a process known as deradicalization. The judge became intent on starting the first laboratory for deradicalization in the US; he just needed to find an expert he could trust, someone with a proven track record of liberating young minds from violent extremism. One name kept coming up—that of 30-yearold researcher Daniel Koehler.

W H E N T O R E B J Ø R G O began to study the neo-Nazi groups of his native Norway in the late 1980s, his fellow scholars of extremism were solely focused on understanding how ordinary kids could morph into racist thugs. “There was this general idea that once a Nazi, always a Nazi,” says Bjørgo, a social scientist who is now a professor at the University of Oslo. “The common perception was that you could prevent people from joining, but once they joined, all was lost.” But Bjørgo came to believe that his colleagues were mistaken. After interviewing scores of far-right extremists in Scandinavia, he found that the majority of neo-Nazis actually become disillusioned with their lives after a number of years; many of these

people have a hard time breaking away from the movement, however, because they fear reprisals, social isolation, or disappointing their friends. In a 1997 book that is often hailed as the founding text of deradicalization, Bjørgo detailed how neo-Nazis can muster the psychological strength to turn their backs on their brutal pasts. Bjørgo’s ideas were the catalyst for a series of pioneering deradicalization programs throughout Europe, all aimed at far-right extremists who wanted to reinvent themselves. In 2010, one of the most well-known of those programs, the Berlin-based ExitGermany, hired Daniel Koehler as an intern. A Fulbright scholar who had studied religion and economics at Princeton, Koehler was preparing to pursue a master’s degree in peace studies from the University of Hamburg. He became a full-time Exit-Germany employee after graduating in 2011. Koehler’s fascination with neo-Nazis began during his teenage years in the Berlin suburb of Teltow, where skinheads were as much a part of the youth-culture landscape as skaters or punks. “I was always kind of curious about them,” says Koehler, a bespectacled, slightly beefy man whose taste for graphic T-shirts seems at odds with his Teutonic meticulousness. “These were not stupid guys—they went to high school, they made their A Levels. And yet they were highly violent.” His job at Exit-Germany, which required him to forge close relationships with skinheads, gave him the chance to explore how smart young people can be enticed into devoting themselves to twisted causes. The start of Koehler’s career coincided with a worldwide proliferation of deradicalization programs aimed at jihadis. In 2012, Koehler became a counselor at one such program in Germany, called Hayat (Arabic for “life”). As he immersed himself in the challenge of figuring out what makes jihadis tick, he also became keen to learn how other deradicalization organizations approach their work. To his dismay, he discovered that many of those ventures lack any kind of scientific rigor. Some, like Saudi Arabia’s government-run counseling program for prison inmates, claim suspiciously high success rates yet don’t permit any outside scrutiny; others are staffed by people who act on intuition rather than in ways validated by data. “The deradicalization field globally is more or less completely free of any working standards, which is insane,” Koehler says. “Many of these counselors, they do things because they feel right, but they


can’t explain to you why. They have no training, no handbooks, no anything.” He notes, for example, that counselors often ask local clerics to tell their clients that terrorist groups preach a false version of Islam—a tactic that Koehler suspects is prone to backfire, since extremist recruits are taught that religious leaders in the West are not true Muslims. Koehler’s frustration with the improvisational nature of many programs inspired him to delve deeper into research on deradicalization: He wanted to use the scientific method to ascertain which techniques yield reliable results and which are just folk cures. In 2014 he founded both the German Institute on Radicalization and Deradicalization Studies and the peer-reviewed Journal for Deradicalization, two enterprises that have allowed him to sift through mountains of case studies to discern the mechanics by which seemingly normal teens and twentysomethings can be coaxed into committing acts of terror. Koehler’s key finding has been that all extremists, regardless of ideology, develop a sort of tunnel vision as they go through the indoctrination process. An ordinary high school or college student, Koehler argues, has a lot of problems (tricky classes, meddling parents, romantic woes) as well as many potential solutions (study harder, find a job, date someone new). A person who’s journeying down the path toward radicalization, by contrast, sees their problems and solutions each get winnowed down to one—a process that Koehler terms “depluralization.” The solitary problem for these individuals is always that there’s a global conspiracy against their race or religion; the solitary solution to such persecution is violence, with the goal of placing themselves and their group in control of a revamped society. Koehler sees little point in starting moral or theological arguments with these young people, who are more interested in becoming warriors than debating the finer points of scripture. Instead, he advocates repluralization: the careful reintroduction of problems and solutions into a radicalized person’s life, so that they can no longer devote all their mental energy to stewing over their paranoia. If an Islamic State sympathizer is intent on emigrating to Syria, for example, Koehler suggests reminding them that they’ll require food, water, and shelter that could otherwise go to Syrian orphans. “So you can say to him, ‘Why not stay here for now and I’ll help you organize a charity

run’ or ‘I’ll help you raise awareness in your school or your community.’ Anything that will get that person to really think about different ways to address the problem.” After that seed is planted, a counselor can move on to engaging a client about the pursuits they once enjoyed before jihadism became their sole passion. If the individual was, for example, a practitioner of tae kwon do, then a meeting can be arranged with a tae kwon do champion who is also a devout Muslim and who can thus speak to the challenge of balancing sports and faith. In Koehler’s ideal scenario, as a radicalized person is compelled to contemplate more and more run-of-the-mill issues,

they lose the fervor that once made them eager to kill. Reaching that point requires substantial resources, however: Koeh ler believes that each client needs at least four mentors plus an “intervention coordinator” and that full deradicalization can be achieved only after a matter of years, not months. Koehler’s theories have not been universally embraced by his peers, some of whom feel that he’s too much of an ivory-tower figure—a person who may be great at analyzing papers but, despite his time studying neo-Nazis, lacks enough direct experience with extremists to know how they really think. One veteran of the European derad-

The FBI now tracks an average of one person per month trying to travel to territories controlled by the Islamic State. And because recruiters work largely online, would-be American fighters are not unified by geography, background, gender, age, or race. Here are just a few recent cases. —L E X I  PA N D E L L

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1 SHANNON CONLEY, 19 Arvada, Colorado The teenager came under FBI scrutiny after local church leaders caught her sketching their building’s layout. As it turned out, she planned to travel to Syria to marry an ISIS militant she had met online. She was arrested in Denver before boarding a plane to Turkey.

JOSHUA VAN HAFTEN, 34 Madison, Wisconsin Van Haften traveled to the Syrian border in 2014, posting on social media that he had taken an oath to the Islamic State. He paid middlemen to take him to a remote meeting point, but no one showed up. A local imam paid his way back to Istanbul. He was arrested when he returned to the US.

3 JAELYN YOUNG, 20, AND MUHAMMAD DAKHLALLA, 22 Starkville, Mississippi The daughter of a cop and the son of an imam planned to use their honeymoon as cover to fly to Istanbul and make their way to Syria. Two FBI agents who had posed as ISIS recruiters on social media busted the couple at a local airport.

4 DONALD MORGAN, 44 Landis, North Carolina Morgan, a convicted felon, caught the FBI’s attention for selling an AK-47 under the table. Authorities later found that he had posted pictures of Osama bin Laden and the al Qaeda flag on Facebook. Morgan planned to go to Syria via Turkey but was turned back in Istanbul and later arrested at JFK.

5 TAIROD PUGH, 47 Neptune, New Jersey Authorities stopped Pugh, a former Air Force serviceman who had been living in Egypt, at an airport in Turkey. Agents found 180 propaganda videos on his laptop. He was deported, arrested in the US, and convicted of trying to join the Islamic State.


icalization scene, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to his fear of Germany’s strong defamation laws, says that Koehler’s ambition still far exceeds his wisdom: “There are many people around here that know much more, and more firsthand, about all this than Daniel, to say the least.” But such criticism may be inspired in part by envy, for Koehler is in high demand these days. In addition to running his research institute from his home in Stuttgart, he has spent much of the past two years as a globe-trotting consultant: He has advised officials in Belgium, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Canada on how to set up deradicalization programs. It’s because of his prominence that Koehler’s name was mentioned so often in the materials that Judge Davis gathered during his hunt for a deradicalization model to emulate in Minnesota. Davis, a 69-year-old former public defender who’s been on the federal bench since 1994, knew he had to be cautious, for he was certain to catch flak for simply daring to suggest that Islamic State supporters might be worthy of redemption. Due to the Islamic State’s barbarity, the American justice system has been harsh on the 60 people so far who’ve been convicted of either plotting domestic attacks in the group’s name or attempting to reach ISIS-controlled territory. Even when defendants have suffered from mental health issues or were nabbed with the assistance of shady informants, severe sentences have been the norm. The story of Jaelyn Young, a former Mississippi State University chemistry student, is typical: In August, the 20-year-old was sentenced to 12 years in prison for trying to become an Islamic State medic in Syria, even though she made it only as far as the Columbus, Mississippi, airport and had no prior criminal history. Davis was aware that if he was going to take a political risk by offering leniency to the young Somalis in his court, he’d need to present deradicalization as something rooted in evidence, not just optimism. In October of 2015, Davis sent his chief probation officer, Kevin Lowry, to the UK and Germany to meet with a slew of prospective deradicalization partners. Based on Lowry’s glowing review of his chat with Koehler, the judge paid his own way to Berlin that December so he could hear Koehler describe his methodology in person. The two men met for burgers at Alex, a modish gastropub beneath the city’s landmark tele-

vision tower. By the time their plates were cleared, Davis was convinced that Koehler had the expertise and temperament to tackle the delicate project he had in mind: the creation of the Terrorism Disengagement and Deradicalization Program, the first government initiative of its kind in the US. When the program was announced in March 2016, its mission statement was frank about the perils it means to address: “Untreated radicalized individuals will infect communities and continue to seek opportunities to harm others and martyr themselves.” Less than two months later, Koehler traveled to Minneapolis to interview Abdullahi Yusuf and several of his codefendants at length so he could assess each man’s potential to be rehabilitated. Davis vowed to give the German’s recommendations great weight as he pondered what sentences to hand down. 0

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THE APRIL CONVERSATIONS between Koehler and the Minneapolis defendants started awkwardly; there was no getting around the obvious strangeness of a white German trying to coax a Somali American teen into revealing his most intimate thoughts. But thanks to his experience plumbing the psyches of neo-Nazis, Koehler is adept at getting strangers to open up about painful moments from their past. The details he gleans from these conversations allow him to identify “cognitive openings”—small yet telling indications that an extremist really wants to change and will therefore listen to a counselor’s guidance. Of all the personal stories that Koehler heard in Minneapolis, the one he found most revealing was Yusuf’s, whose brief life has been filled with alienation and hardship.

Yusuf was born in a Kenyan refugee camp, where he vaguely remembers having his tonsils removed without any anesthesia or painkillers. When he was 3 years old, he and his pregnant mother were permitted to move to Minnesota; his father, who did not receive a visa at that time, wasn’t able to join them for another five years. The Yusufs initially lived with 16 relatives in a single-family home, then moved to a one-bedroom apartment in a crime-ridden section of north Minneapolis. Because he was Somali, Yusuf was routinely taunted by both white and black classmates at public schools. But he wasn’t shy about fighting back; as a second grader, he once came to blows with a fellow student who’d torn the hijab off a Somali girl’s head. Desperate for a sense of belonging as he became a teen, Yusuf fell in with a crew of kids who entertained themselves by stealing cars and smoking marijuana, often during school hours; his grades suffered. But he eventually got his schoolwork back on track after his father, a stern and hardworking truck driver, moved the family to a better neighborhood and challenged Yusuf to earn his diploma. In September 2013, Yusuf’s history teacher assigned him to give a presentation on Syria. Up until that point, he knew little about the civil war that has engulfed the country. He was outraged to learn of the Syrian government’s atrocities against civilians and children. It was right around this time that Yusuf was invited to a local mosque to participate in basketball games—the ones that were followed by screenings of jihadist videos. The men at the mosque claimed that the Islamic State was primarily interested in protecting Syrian innocents, which meant that Yusuf would be doing sacred work if he took up arms for such a noble group. Koehler describes Yusuf’s radicalization process as “by the book.” “These teenagers, they are intrigued by the promise that they will immediately start to change society and live out their ideals,” he says. “For them, these movements are about freedom and justice and honoring their values.” As a result, Koehler adds, newly minted extremists often experience feelings of euphoria, much like addicts who’ve just discovered the drug that will be their doom. Since his arrest in November 2014, however, Yusuf had developed an introspective streak: He had devoured books ranging from 1984 to Nelson Mandela’s autobiography, and he’d tried his hand at writing self-reflective poetry. (“I am an alleged


terrorist/I am not sure how that makes me feel, I throw a fit/I am currently drinking a Sierra Mist” reads the opening stanza from a work he titled “I Am Human.”) Yusuf’s newfound love of reading and writing was the sort of opening that Koehler might exploit. Koehler was less impressed by Yusuf’s codefendants, who struck him as still too enamored with extremist thought. One of the men, for example, told Koehler that he had soured on the Islamic State because it sent child soldiers to the front lines without proper training—an oddly technical reason for turning against the group. When Koehler then pushed the man, whom he declined to name, to give his definition of the word honor, the man instantly replied that it centered on one’s willingness to sacrifice everything for the greater good of one’s group. “So his definition of honor was 100 percent in alignment with ISIS’ definition of honor or even a neo-Nazi’s definition of honor,” Koehler says. “The individual perspective was completely taken out. I could see from that how depluralized his worldview still was.” Koehler also spent a week with Kevin Lowry and 10 of his probation officers, who are in charge of running the day-to-day operation of the nascent Terrorism Disengagement and Deradicalization Program. He ran the officers through a series of training exercises designed to prepare them for counseling extremists. In one exercise, for example, Koehler displayed a collection of Facebook footprints from a hypothetical teen in the midst of being radicalized by the Islamic State; these included everything from comments on videos about jihadis (“Brother revealing the truth behind the kuffr [sic] media lies”) to anguished posts about his fictional father’s disapproval of his new lifestyle. The officers were supposed to pick up on the fact that several of the posts featured images related to photography—one, for example, depicted a group of Islamic State soldiers staring at a digital camera’s screen beneath the caption “Jihad Is Beautiful.” The intended takeaway was that the teen had once dreamed of becoming a photojournalist, and that his repluralization should involve cajoling him to pursue that passion anew. Koeh ler spent the summer in Stuttgart, where he wrote up his evaluations. He then returned to Judge Davis’ courtroom last September to testify at a twoday presentencing hearing. As Yusuf and

the other five men who’d pleaded guilty listened in silence, Koehler shared his conclusions with the room. Much of what he shared about the defendants’ odds of being deradicalized was surprisingly pessimistic. He had little positive to say, for example, about Abdirizak Warsame, a onetime spoken-word artist nicknamed A-Zak. Even though Warsame had joined Yusuf in cooperating with the government, Koehler

felt that the 21-year-old—who had briefly served as the “emir” of the group of wannabe jihadis—had repeatedly lied to him about the extent of his involvement in the conspiracy. Koehler explained that Warsame’s continued deceit suggested that he wouldn’t be receptive to a counselor’s intervention; Koeh ler also said that he feared that Warsame was likely to try to join a jihadist group if given the chance.


took the witness stand in Davis’ courtroom, Koehler had already been contacted by agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Justice, looking to learn more about deradicalization training. That is a significant amount of interest given that the Minnesota experiment is still embryonic. But with a surprising number of Americans continuing to pledge their allegiance to the Islamic State—at least 110 people have been charged in the US so far—law-enforcement officials are eager to find ways to counter the organization’s appeal. And since extremism isn’t a problem that will vanish once the Islamic State is defeated, having deradicalization programs in place will help the authorities prepare for the next threat to emerge; a threat that could just as easily come from the far right as from the world of violent jihadism. But US judges and politicians would be wise to temper their expectations about how much deradicalization can accomplish, and how quickly. For starters, they should be aware of the obstacles that Kevin Lowry has faced trying to recruit counselors and mentors for the Minnesota program: Many people have declined the job because they fear being accused of coddling terrorists. “It has been a challenge to secure providers in this area,” he says, “as some are concerned about the controversy and risk involved with terrorism cases.” Lowry is also troubled by the fact that the Federal Bureau of Prisons has yet to indicate whether it will arrange for EVEN BEFORE HE

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Koehler’s take on Yusuf was by far his kindest. He applauded the now 20-year-old for having attained “a very advanced stage of disengagement and critical reflection” and affirmed that he was sure to benefit from further counseling. The final decision on whether Yusuf would be allowed to continue working with the Minnesota deradicalization program, however, would be entirely up to Judge Davis.

the new Minnesota program to work with inmates; Lowry fears that extremists who receive no treatment while incarcerated will be impossible to deradicalize once they’re released. Anyone intrigued by Minnesota’s promise must also understand that, despite plenty of encouraging anecdotes from former neo-Nazis and jihadis in Europe, there is still little quantitative proof that deradicalization programs can weaken extremist movements over the long term. In Germany, for example, the number of hardcore neo-Nazis has remained static over the past two decades, even as Exit-Germany and other programs have expanded their reach. Better results may ensue as counselors improve their tactics in response to new research, but progress will always require saintlike patience: Getting an extremist to permanently shed all of their poisonous ideas is a lot like getting an opiate abuser to kick their addiction for good. “There was one case, a woman, she said it took her 10 years to be deradicalized and leave her group,” says Mary Beth Altier, a professor at NYU’s Center for Global Affairs who studies violent extremism. “Every day she would have to look in the mirror and challenge her beliefs, because her brain had been wired a certain way.” To make matters even more challenging, researchers don’t yet have a clear sense of how to keep the graduates of deradicalization programs from backsliding; in a world in which extremist propaganda and recruiters are always just a broadband connection away, reengagement is more of a threat than ever. The true value of deradicalization may be in what it signals to marginalized populations rather than in its ability to directly rescue hundreds of young people from the clutches of extremism. For communities such as the 40,000-strong Somali American one in Minnesota, seeing that their wayward members are treated with some measure of compassion can hopefully reduce their feelings of persecution. “I think the proper development and implementation of these programs, and letting communities know these programs exist, goes a long way toward cultivating trust with these communities that are most at risk for radicalization,” says Kurt Braddock, a communications lecturer at Penn State who is currently studying how best to counter jihadist messaging. “If we show them that we’re not just interested in draconian


measures, in locking them up and throwing away the key, that will be something that develops a better relationship between us.” “THE ONLY REASON I’m alive today is because I was stopped at the airport.” Abdullahi Yusuf spoke as he faced Judge Davis on the morning of November 14. Behind him, the courtroom’s gallery was packed with members of his family—the people whom, just two and a half years earlier, he’d been willing to abandon so he could fight and die for the Islamic State. He was the first of three defendants to be sentenced that day. “I realize this is my second chance in life,” Yusuf continued. “I now see a future for my life in a way I didn’t see before.” Though judges usually remain stoic when pronouncing sentence, Davis was, at one point, on the verge of tears as he addressed Yusuf: These terrorism cases had consumed two years of his life, and he had agonized over how to strike the right balance between mercy and justice. The judge had to pause for a moment before confessing, “This is so difficult.” Davis described the months he’d spent researching deradicalization programs from around the globe, and he admitted that it’s still questionable whether deradicalization is anything more than a feel-good placebo. But, he said, “I’m going to take that chance.” And with those words, he informed Yusuf of his fate: He would spend up to a year in a halfway house, followed by two decades of supervised release. If he kept up with his counseling and didn’t break any laws, he would never see the inside of a prison cell. Few other American terrorism defendants have been so fortunate, particularly in the age of ISIS. “It doesn’t make sense for me to send him to prison,” Davis said. “I hope I’m not wrong.” “I won’t let you down, Your Honor,” Yusuf replied. The degree to which Davis valued Koehler’s input became clear less than two hours later, when Abdirizak Warsame appeared before the court. In keeping with Koehler’s dim view of Warsame’s potential for deradicalization, the judge sentenced him to 30 months in prison, even though he had testified for the government. “I’m not convinced you’re still not a jihadist,” said Davis, in a line that paraphrased Koehler’s evaluation. But Warsame should count 0 0 his 0 blessings: Davis sentenced the

remaining seven defendants, including the three convicted at trial, to terms ranging from 10 to 35 years. When I reached Koehler to discuss the years of counseling and supervision that lay ahead for Yusuf, he was in Tunisia at a conference organized by families who’ve lost children to extremism. He was pleased that Judge Davis had heeded his advice, especially in light of the sharp right turn that the US had taken a week earlier on Election Day. “He could have gone along with the foreseeable decline in governmental interest in deradicalization, but instead he decided to push it further,” he said. “That’s groundbreaking and brave.” But Koeh ler was also worried about whether the Minnesota program will receive the financial support it needs to function, grow, and spread to other jurisdictions in a Trump administration. Even if there were reams of peer-reviewed data that attested to the long-term efficacy of deradicalization, the concept would be an extremely tough sell in a nation in which slowly enunciating the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” is a proven vote-winner. The fact that deradicalization is still in its experimental phase suggests that it will have few, if any, advocates at the highest levels of American government. The future of deradicalization in the US could well depend, then, on how effectively Yusuf is able to tell his own story. He’s a long way from even attempting that right now as he adjusts to life in the halfway house: Koehler emphasizes that Yusuf is still in a fragile place. But if he can take full advantage of his rare second chance and rejoin civil society, Yusuf will become a living exemplar of the idea that there can, indeed, be a road back from extremism. His redemption would affirm that those naive enough to join what are essentially death cults should never feel like all is lost, and that American society should think twice before treating them as such. His single anecdote will prove nothing definitive about deradicalization’s potential, of course. But sometimes it takes an emotional story to inspire people to demand better science. ! 0

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COLOPHON TRENDS THAT HELPED GET THIS ISSUE OUT: Water bottle flipping; Yamato’s Richmen, the Lexus of noodle machines; doom metal bands led by women—Myrkur, Darker, SubRosa, and Esben and the Witch; the renewed relevance of The Origins of Totalitarianism, by Hannah Arendt; grief reading; postelection Twitter and Facebook detoxes; hermits; karaoke night at Toad Hall; Frank Ocean’s Blonde; walking the Williamsburg Bridge at 2 am; snappin’ with Spectacles; feminism; Biden-Obama memes; criticizing Rory Gilmore’s journalistic ethics; criticizing Marie Kondo’s tidy, perfect life; WIRED’s Sunday Morning Motorcycle Ride Club; wild and free eyebrows; A Tribe Called Quest’s first album in 18 years, We Got It From Here … Thank You 4 Your Service; nun fashion; not moving to Canada. WIRED is a registered trademark of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. Copyright ©2017 Condé Nast. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA. Volume 25, No. 2. WIRED (ISSN 1059–1028) is published monthly by Condé Nast, which is a division of Advance Magazine Publishers Inc. Editorial office: 520 Third Street, Ste. 305, San Francisco, CA 94107-1815. Principal office: Condé Nast, 1 World Trade Center, New York, NY 10007. S. I. Newhouse, Jr., Chairman Emeritus; Robert A. Sauerberg, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer; David E. Geithner, Chief Financial Officer; James M. Norton, Chief Business Officer and President of Revenue. Periodi cals postage paid at New York, NY, and at additional mailing offices. Canada Post Publications Mail Agreement No. 40644503. Canadian Goods and Services Tax Registration No. 123242885 RT0001. POSTMASTER: Send all UAA to CFS (see DMM 707.4.12.5); NONPOSTAL AND MILITARY FACILITIES: Send address corrections to WIRED, PO Box 37706, Boone, IA 50037-0662. For subscriptions, address changes, adjustments, or back issue inquiries: Please write to WIRED, PO Box 37706, Boone, IA 50037-0662, call (800) 769 4733, or email subscriptions@ WIRED.com. Please give both new and old addresses as printed on most recent label. First copy of new subscription will be mailed within eight weeks after receipt of order. Address all editorial, business, and production correspondence to WIRED Magazine, 1 World Trade Center, New York, NY 10007. For permissions and reprint requests, please call (212) 630 5656 or fax requests to (212) 630 5883. Visit us online at www.WIRED.com. To subscribe to other Condé Nast magazines on the web, visit www.condenet.com. Occasionally, we make our subscriber list available to carefully screened companies that offer products and services that we believe would interest our readers. If you do not want to receive these offers and/or information, please advise us at PO Box 37706, Boone, IA 50037-0662, or call (800) 769 4733.

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