Wait, Is That Backpack … Floating?

Wait, Is That Backpack … Floating?

This looks crazy. I mean, it’s a cool invention—the idea of the HoverGlide pack is to reduce the awkward bouncing and jolting you get with ordinary backpacks. But watching it makes my brain freak out a little. It kind of messes with your sense of how things should move.The trick, I think, is that the…

How Trump Hollowed Out US National Security

How Trump Hollowed Out US National Security

As Richard Grenell, the current US ambassador to Germany, starts his second day on the job as the nation’s acting director of national intelligence, his arrival also marks the ouster of not only his predecessor, Joseph Maguire, but reportedly also of DNI principal executive Andrew Hallman. By the end of the day, almost all of…

Susan Fowler and the End of the ‘High Performer’ Defense

Susan Fowler and the End of the ‘High Performer’ Defense

It’s me again, Steven Levy, WIRED’s editor at large, with another Plaintext newsletter. I hope reading this every Friday is becoming a habit with you all. If this isn’t in your inbox—we’re still trying to entice stragglers with a web version, but that won’t last forever—make sure you never miss an issue by subscribing to…

Gadget Lab Podcast: Inside Textio’s Anti-Bias Bot

Gadget Lab Podcast: Inside Textio’s Anti-Bias Bot

Many companies say they want to diversify their workforce. Far fewer have actually succeeded in doing so, even if they’re earnestly trying. And one of the first hurdles can come before any candidates have even been interviewed: The language used in recruiting emails or job postings is often full of unconscious biases—phrases like “gentlemen’s agreement”…

‘Environmental DNA’ Lets Scientists Probe Underwater Life

‘Environmental DNA’ Lets Scientists Probe Underwater Life

Tracking down marine life isn’t easy. Ocean scientists drag nets through the water to find the fish or plankton they are looking for, tag whales with harpoon-like devices, or scuba dive with an erase-proof whiteboard and hand counter to tally reef fish. That’s how you count creatures underwater. But an emerging technology called environmental DNA,…

Want to Look Inside a Brain? With Transparent Organs, You Can

Want to Look Inside a Brain? With Transparent Organs, You Can

Your organs are a lot of things—a powerful computer (in the case of your brain), detoxers (your liver and kidneys), breathing devices (your lungs). But there’s one thing they’re decidedly not: transparent.That’s unless you’re Kevin Bacon in The Invisible Man, or if your organs end up in the lab of Ali Ertürk, director of Helmholtz…