Marissa Mayer is giving Yahoo employees her annual bonus to make up for massive hacks

Marissa Mayer announced today in a note posted to her personal Tumblr page that she will be redistributing her annual bonus and equity stock grant to Yahoo employees. The chief exec is doing so as a tacit admission of failure following Yahoo’s two separate security breaches revealed last year that collectively compromised the personal information of more than 1.5 billion users. The move, a rather unprecedented act in the tech industry, signals just how severe a mistake it was to allow Yahoo’s vulnerabilities to be exploited.

Yahoo revealed last year that it suffered two security breaches, one in 2014 and one in 2013, that compromised info like names, email addresses, telephone numbers, and cached passwords. While payment information was not involved, the hacks were an embarrassing moment for the company during its acquisition talks with Verizon. As a result, the telecom negotiated to pay $350 million less than its original $4.8 billion figure.

Relevant to Mayer’s admission here, an independent committee Yahoo brought on to investigate the hacks found the company to be at fault for not sufficiently responding to the security incidents. “While significant additional security measures were implemented in response to those incidents, it appears certain senior executives did not properly comprehend or investigate, and therefore failed to act sufficiently upon, the full extent of knowledge known internally by the company’s information security team,” reads the committee’s findings, which are contained in Yahoo’s 10-K report for 2016. Recode reports that because Yahoo failed to follow-up on information regarding the hacks that surfaced first in 2014, its top lawyer Ron Bell has resigned.

Mayer has accumulated about $162 million during her the five years she’s spent as the company’s CEO in both salary and stock awards, according to CNN. She’s also due about $55 million in severance if she decides to leave the company following its acquisition by Verizon. So it’s safe to say her bonus would involve a hefty amount of money now going to Yahoo employees who have weathered the storm throughout Mayer’s tumultuous tenure. Here is her note in full:

As those who follow Yahoo know, in late 2014, we were the victim of a state-sponsored attack and reported it to law enforcement as well as to the 26 users that we understood were impacted. When I learned in September 2016 that a large number of our user database files had been stolen, I worked with the team to disclose the incident to users, regulators, and government agencies. However, I am the CEO of the company and since this incident happened during my tenure, I have agreed to forgo my annual bonus and my annual equity grant this year and have expressed my desire that my bonus be redistributed to our company’s hardworking employees, who contributed so much to Yahoo’s success in 2016.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the dates of the hacks. The security breaches took place in 2013 and 2014 and were only just disclosed last year. Ron Bell also resigned; he was not fired.

Watch the first trailer for Netflix’s first German show, Dark

In Stranger Things and The OA, Netflix has found success with shows about missing children with possible supernatural connections. Now, it’s adding a third show to that roster, Dark.

The trailer shows off a grim premise: children are vanishing, seemingly being swallowed by the earth near the down of Winden. We see glimpses of distraught parents, and search parties looking through fields and forests. It’s not long before a supernatural connection is made: it’s not who kidnapped these children, it’s when they were taken, with a diagram showing three dates: 1953, 1986, and 2019.

Netflix announced the show today as part of a $1.75 billion wave of new projects coming to the service from Europe. In addition to Dark, which is the company’s first German production, it unveiled an Italian crime thrilled called Suburra and a Spanish 1920s drama called Las chicas del cable. Netflix has increasingly been adding foreign shows to its lineup, such as Brazil’s 3% as it grows overseas.

Dark premieres on Netflix “Winter 2017.”

The 2017 Game Developers Choice Awards: how to watch gaming’s big award show online

The Game Developers Choice Awards are basically the Oscars of gaming, when the industry comes together and a group of specially selected members vote on the best video games of the year. It’s a night when the entire gaming community comes to celebrate the developers, designers, and companies that make the entertainment we enjoy.

Along with the Game Developers Choice Awards, which focuses on more mainstream titles, there’s the Independent Games Festival Awards. Those highlight the achievements of smaller, indie developers and given them a chance to stand out amongst a sea of other, bigger budget releases.

When are the awards?

The ceremony begins with the Independent Games Festival Awards at 6:30PM PST (9:30PM EST), immediately followed by the Game Developers Choice Awards.

For those in other time zones, that works out to: London: 1:30PM / Berlin 2:30PM / Moscow: 4:30PM / Beijing: 9:30AM (March 2nd) / Tokyo: 10:30AM (March 2nd) / Sydney 12:30PM (March 2nd).

What’s the best way to watch?

The 2017 IGF & Game Developers Choice Awards will be streamed on the GDC Twitch page, which is helpfully embedded at the top of this post (or through this link here).

Who’s nominated?

The nominees are listed below, but you can quickly catch up with these official recap videos for both the IGFA and GDCA awards here.

Independent Games Festival Awards Nominees:

Seumas McNally Grand Prize:

Inside (Playdead)

Stardew Valley (ConcernedApe)

QuadrilateralCowboy (Blendo Games)

Event[0] (Ocelot Society)

Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine)

Overcooked (Ghost Town Games)

Honorable Mentions: 1979 Revolution: Black Friday (iNK Stories); Orwell (Osmotic Studios); Imbroglio (Michael Brough); Virginia (Variable State); Duskers (Misfits Attic); Oiκοςpiel, Book I (David Kanaga)

Nuovo Award:

Islands: Non-Places (Carlburton LLC)

Close (Tobias Zarges and Moritz Eberl)

Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor (Sundae Month)

Oiκοςpiel, Book I (David Kanaga)

Everything (David OReilly)

Virginia (Variable State)

Mu Cartographer (Titouan Millet)

Lieve Oma (Florian Veltman)

Honorable Mentions:Memoir En Code: Reissue (Alex Camilleri); Far from Noise (George Batchelor); Ladykiller in a Bind (Love Conquers All Games); Witchball (S.L.Clark); Project Perfect Citizen (Bad Cop Studios); Wheels of Aurelia (Santa Ragione); Quadrilateral Cowboy (Blendo Games)

Excellence in Visual Art:

The Flame in the Flood (The Molasses Flood)

Inside (Playdead)

Virginia (Variable State)

Old Man’s Journey (Broken Rules)

Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine)

She Remembered Caterpillars (jumpsuit entertainment)

Honorable Mentions:Inks (State of Play); Night in the Woods (Infinite Fall); Mu Cartographer (Titouan Millet); Future Unfolding (Spaces of Play); Sundered (Thunder Lotus Games); Un Pas Fragile (PAF team)

Excellence in Audio:

The Flame in the Flood (The Molasses Flood)

GoNNER (Art in Heart)

Virginia (Variable State)

Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine)

Everything (David OReilly)

Inside (Playdead)

Honorable Mentions: 1979 Revolution: Black Friday (iNK Stories); Kingdom: New Lands (Noio); Dropsy (Tendershoot, A Jolly Corpse); Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor (Sundae Month); Sentris (Timbre Interactive); TumbleSeed (TumbleSeed Team)

Excellence in Design:

Imbroglio (Michael Brough)

Ultimate Chicken Horse (Clever Endeavour Games)

Duskers (Misfits Attic)

Overcooked (Ghost Town Games)

Event[0] (Ocelot Society)

Quadrilateral Cowboy (Blendo Games)

Honorable Mentions:She Remembered Caterpillars (jumpsuit entertainment); Elsinore (Golden Glitch Studios); Inside (Playdead); Antihero (Tim Conkling); Replica (Somi); Space Pirate Trainer (I-Illusions)

Excellence in Narrative:

Ladykiller in a Bind (Love Conquers All Games)

1979 Revolution: Black Friday (iNK Stories)

Virginia (Variable State)

Orwell (Osmotic Studios)

Event[0] (Ocelot Society)

One Night Stand (Kinmoku)

Honorable Mentions: A Normal Lost Phone (Accidental Queens); The Lion’s Song (Mi’pu’mi Games); Far from Noise (George Batchelor); Inside (Playdead); Stardew Valley (ConcernedApe); Burly Men at Sea (Brain&Brain); Sorcery! 4 (inkle / Steve Jackson)

Best Student Game:

Diaries of a Spaceport Janitor (Sundae Month)

Lily, Colors of Santa Luz (Lily, Colors of Santa Luz Team)

Un Pas Fragile (PAF team)

FAR: Lone Sails (Mr. Whale’s Game Service / Mixtvision)

Frog Climbers (TeamCrew)

Bamboo Heart (Sokpop Collective)

Honorable Mentions: Awkward Dimensions Redux (StevenHarmonGames); DYO (Team DYO); Code 7 – Episode 0: Allocation (Goodwolf Studio); You Must be 18 or Older to Enter (Seemingly Pointless)

Game Developer Choice Awards Nominees:

Best Audio

Battlefield 1 (EA DICE / Electronic Arts)

Thumper (Drool)

DOOM (id Software / Bethesda Softworks)

Inside (Playdead)

Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment)

Honorable Mentions:Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment), Rez Infinite (Monstars / Enhance Games), Hyper Light Drifter (Heart Machine), Firewatch (Campo Santo / Panic), Dishonored 2 (Arkane Studios / Bethesda Softworks), The Last Guardian (JAPAN Studio / Sony Interactive Entertainment), Titanfall 2 (Respawn Entertainment / Electronic Arts)

Best Debut

Heart Machine (Hyper Light Drifter)

Campo Santo (Firewatch)

ConcernedApe (Stardew Valley)

Drool (Thumper)

Night School Studio (Oxenfree)

Honorable Mentions: SUPERHOT Team (SUPERHOT), Numinous Games (That Dragon, Cancer), Giant Squid Studios (Abzu), Ghost Town Games (Overcooked), iNK Stories (1979 Revolution: Black Friday)

Best Design

Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment)

Dishonored 2 (Arkane Studios / Bethesda Softworks)

The Witness (Thekla)

Inside (Playdead)

DOOM (id Software / Bethesda Softworks)

Honorable Mentions: Titanfall 2 (Respawn Entertainment / Electronic Arts), Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment), Dark Souls III (From Software / Bandai Namco Entertainment), Firewatch (Campo Santo / Panic), Hitman (IO Interactive / Square Enix)

Best Mobile/Handheld Game

Super Mario Run (Nintendo EPD / Nintendo)

Clash Royale (Supercell)

Pokémon Go (Niantic)

Reigns (Nerial / Devolver Digital)

Pokémon Sun/Moon (Game Freak / The Pokémon Company)

Honorable Mentions:Mini Metro (Dinosaur Polo Club), Severed (DrinkBox Studios), Deus Ex: Go (Square Enix Montreal / Square Enix), Fire Emblem Fates (Intelligent Systems and Nintendo SPD / Nintendo), Imbroglio (Michael Brough), Swap Sword (AP Thomson and Diego Garcia)

Innovation Award

The Witness (Thekla)

Inside (Playdead)

No Man’s Sky (Hello Games)

Firewatch (Campo Santo / Panic)

Pokemon Go (Niantic)

Honorable Mentions: That Dragon, Cancer (Numinous Games), The Last Guardian (JAPAN Studio / Sony Interactive Entertainment), SUPERHOT (SUPERHOT Team), Thumper (Drool), Quadrilateral Cowboy (Blendo Games)

Best Narrative

The Last Guardian (JAPAN Studio / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Oxenfree (Night School Studio)

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Inside (Playdead)

Firewatch (Campo Santo / Panic)

Honorable Mentions:That Dragon, Cancer (Numinous Games), Dishonored 2 (Arkane Studios / Bethesda Softworks), The Witcher 3: Blood & Wine (CD Projekt RED / CD Projekt), Kentucky Route Zero – Act IV (Cardboard Computer), Mafia III (Hangar 13 / 2K Games)

Best Technology

Battlefield 1 (EA DICE / Electronic Arts)

No Man’s Sky (Hello Games)

Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment)

DOOM (id Software / Bethesda Softworks)

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Honorable Mentions:Inside (Playdead), Pokemon Go (Niantic), The Last Guardian (JAPAN Studio / Sony Interactive Entertainment), Dishonored 2 (Arkane Studios / Bethesda Softworks), The Witness (Thekla)

Best Visual Art

Firewatch (Campo Santo / Panic)

The Last Guardian (JAPAN Studio / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment)

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Inside (Playdead)

Honorable Mentions:The Witness (Thekla), Battlefield 1 (EA DICE / Electronic Arts), Abzu (Giant Squid Studios), Thumper (Drool), DOOM (id Software / Bethesda Softworks)

Best AR/VR Game:

Rez Infinite (Monstars / Enhance Games)

Superhot VR (SUPERHOT Team)

Job Simulator: The 2050 Archives (Owlchemy Labs)

Pokémon Go (Niantic)

Fantastic Contraption (Radial Games / Northway Games)

Honorable Mentions:Thumper (Drool), Superhypercube (Kokoromi / Polytron Corporation), Batman Arkham VR (Rocksteady Studios / Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment), Space Pirate Trainer (I-Illusions), The Lab (Valve)

Game of the Year:

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End (Naughty Dog / Sony Interactive Entertainment)

Overwatch (Blizzard Entertainment)

Inside (Playdead)

Dishonored 2 (Arkane Studios / Bethesda Softworks)

Firewatch (Campo Santo / Panic)

Honorable Mentions: DOOM (id Software / Bethesda Softworks), The Witness (Thekla), Battlefield 1 (EA DICE / Electronic Arts), The Last Guardian (JAPAN Studio / Sony Interactive Entertainment), Titanfall 2 (Respawn Entertainment / Electronic Arts)

Show Notes: Spotify comes for Tidal

Before every episode of The Vergecast I sit down, read through a bunch of news, and take a bunch of notes. It’s one of the most enjoyable parts of my week, and I started thinking it might be fun to do every day on the site. So, every day this week I’m sitting down and writing some notes on the news as though I’ll be talking about it later. Are you into this? Am I into this? I don’t know. But it’s fun to do! Give me some feedback and we’ll keep mutating this into something good.

SWITCHED ON

  • It’s Nintendo Switch review day! At least the hardware and basic game experiences — no reviewers have the big day one patch, so expect much more coverage of the Switch software in the coming weeks.
  • Switch cartridges… taste bad? I dunno, Dieter licked one.
  • Here’s our review video, which starts right where it should: the tactile pleasantness of the buttons and clicks:

AJIT PROP

  • FCC chairman Ajit Pai halted the FCC’s ISP privacy rules from going into effect today. The rules basically prevented your ISP from sharing your browsing history and other data, and if something bad happens it’ll be up to the FTC to figure it out and stop it. This is probably great news for a company like Verizon, which is building an entire adtech business on the back of its AOL and Yahoo acquisitions.
  • Are you going to drop Verizon if they start sharing your data usage information with the AOL adtech network? Would you pay a higher price to another carrier that values your privacy more? Because if the answer is no, that means the market will never actually get the signal that privacy is valuable, and these companies won’t compete on that dimension. And I can’t say “competing to be more cautious about your personal data” is a major theme of competition in any tech-related industry right now.
  • And as promised, here’s Jake Kastrenakes’ dive into how ISPs have reacted to net neutrality over the past two years. Basically: all of their stocks are up, and most of them are spending more money on network investment than before.
  • Chairman Pai has claimed that investment has fallen to historic lows, but he’s using data from industry trade groups that (surprise!) are lobbying for less regulation. This excellent Consumerist piece looks at the financial statements of the various big ISPs to check that claim, and finds that all of them are investing heavily in networks, and promising investors big returns on that investment without any mention of regulatory concerns.
  • Pai also claims regulation will stand in the way of 5G deployment, but as Jake points out, AT&T and Verizon were aggressively readying 5G tests and tech last year — when everyone thought Clinton would win and net neutrality would remain the law. There’s no way Verizon decided to roll out 5G trials in 11 American cities on a whim because Trump surprised everyone and Ajit Pai became FCC chairman.
  • I will give Pai this, though: he’s said 5G and gigabit LTE can provide meaningful competition to wired internet access, and that is a very interesting idea. Telecom nerds call this general concept “facilities-based competition,” and it’s a significant difference in the US and European approaches to infrastructure. 5G blanketing rural America with a real broadband solution might be great!
  • But gigabit LTE isn’t going to compete with wired internet anytime soon and will probably have pricing in line with the current LTE networks. And 5G is years out at the very least. It’s an interesting position and one that I hope pans out (more competition is good!), but it’s a pretty idealistic position.
  • I asked former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler about all this stuff about a year ago — and a bunch of other hard questions about setting standards and acting in the consumer interest. He jokingly called me an “acolyte of industrial policy” and made it clear that he didn’t care to dive into the specific technology decisions of carriers. It’s worth a re-read in the current context.
  • And of course, I would love to ask Chairman Pai about all this on The Vergecast, but the man just doesn’t seem all that interested.

MWC SCRAPS

SNAPPED

  • Snap priced its IPO today, valuing itself at $24 billion, and Ben Popper has all the details.
  • Snap is reportedly making a drone and has contemplated a 360 camera. This makes a certain amount of sense — Snap is insistent that it’s actually a “camera company” and smartphone cameras can’t fly or take 360 video yet. But as Ashley Carman notes, these aren’t big new ideas anymore, and there are lots of great competitors in these fields. (Are you really going to buy a Snapchat drone over a DJI Mavic Pro?) If Snap really thinks that it’s a “camera company,” it’s going to have to do more crazy things like Spectacles that push the basic idea of a camera someplace new.
  • Speaking of Snapchat, the latest company to copy Snapchat Stories is… Medium. At this rate Seamless is going to launch stories next. Whatever this idea is, it’s over. Someone invent something else.

DIGITAL MEDIA LIGHTNING ROUND

  • Spotify has been showing users the option for higher-fidelity streaming — Micah Singleton got the scoop. I’ve been using Apple Music lately because I think the interface is better, especially if you travel a lot and need local music on your phone, but I can’t say it really sounds any different from Spotify to me.
  • One thing I’ve noticed recently is a wave of higher-end networked stereo components that are adding Tidal support. There’s also a lot of Sonos customer interest in Tidal as well, along with some positive reviews of the combination. It’s probably not a huge market, but high-quality streaming audio is definitely finding customers. I’d bet Spotify can serve them, charge a slightly higher price, and basically incur zero incremental costs in terms of recompression or bandwidth. It’s a higher margin product for Spotify that builds on top of the core business, but it competes directly with Tidal’s entire core business. Kind of ruthless, actually.
  • That would leave exclusives as Tidal’s only real differentiator. Which is not a bad differentiator. But Tidal has to compete for those with Apple, and Apple has silly money. And Spotify has the ability to put a track on tons of playlists and push an artist to the top of the charts. Hmm.
  • Facebook’s video app is out for Apple TV. I am very curious at how this goes — videos that work well in the Facebook feed (which we and other creators generally crop to vertical or square) don’t seem all that suited to watching on a large widescreen display. But you tell me.
  • Finally, the price of the Oculus Rift and Touch controller dropped $200 today. I feel like there’s an untold story about the sales of the Rift and consumer interest in standalone VR rigs; it feels like this first wave of technology got there but the killer apps and experiences that justify a purchase are still off in the distance.

Apple shareholders overwhelmingly reject diversity proposal

Apple shareholders rejected a proposal yesterday that would have required the company to improve the diversity of its top ranks. This is the second year in a row that Apple shareholders have shot down the proposal, with just over 95 percent of the vote opposing it this time around — slightly more than last year.

The proposal, submitted by shareholders Tony Maldonado and Zevin Asset Management, asked Apple to “adopt an accelerated recruitment policy … to increase the diversity of senior management and its board of directors.” Maldonado and Zevin had argued that Apple’s upper ranks were responding too slowly to the company’s own diversity initiatives and that it would ultimately come back to bite them, be it through missing talent or new opportunities.

Though Maldonado didn’t expect the initiative to pass, he was looking to hit at least 6 percent of the vote this year, which would have allowed him to try again in 2018. He missed the target — and one reason why may be that Apple itself encouraged shareholders to reject the proposal.

“Apple basically duped the investors, to be quite honest,” Maldonado told The Verge in a phone call today. “They conned ’em to say, ‘Look, we’re on top of it. Don’t worry about it. Everything’s fine.’ However, I believe that shareholders don’t have all information as to the background of the issue.”

Apple declined to comment for this article, but in its original statement on Maldonado’s proposal, the company essentially said that its existing diversity efforts were doing enough. “Our ongoing efforts to increase diversity are much broader than the ‘accelerated recruitment policy’ requested by this proposal,” Apple’s board wrote. It added that the company takes “a holistic view of inclusion and diversity” that extends to even app developers and suppliers.

But despite improvements to hiring, Apple’s overall diversity is still lacking. The company’s leadership is 82 percent white, and its senior leadership has historically been almost entirely white as well.

Maldonado also says there’s more he could have done to educate other shareholders on the proposal. “For some strange reason, I would say that shareholders have the belief that by accepting this proposal, the company would be forced to establish reverse discrimination policies,” he says. “We just have to probably expand on the campaign on educating all shareholders, including institution shareholders, that this is more beneficial and at the end of the long run it will help us to improve our bottom line.”

Because the proposal fell short of 6 percent of the vote this year, Apple has the ability to block future proposals that are similar to it for the next three years. Maldonado suspects there’ll be a way around it, possibly by being more specific about what a diversity initiative would entail — this current proposal left all the details up to Apple. He’s hoping to get the language worked out within the next couple months.

“It’s not over. It’s not down and out,” Maldonado says. “This is just the beginning of a long battle.”

BioLite’s upgraded CampStove provides real time data about the strength of your fire

BioLite is known for its CampStove: a device that generates power from fire so you can charge electronics out in the wilderness. The company announced its new CampStove 2 today, which features a LED interface that provides real time data about the strength of a fire, the power stored in its 2,600mAh battery, and the airflow level. BioLite also says it upped its power generation so the CampStove now has a 3-watt output through its USB port. The CampStove 2 costs the same as the original at $129.95.

As a reminder, the CampStove captures energy from a fire through a thermoelectric generator, which then powers a fan that stokes the fire with more air. Extra power goes to the devices plugged into the built-in USB port.

Along with the CampStove 2, BioLite is also launching a new accessory designed for its KettlePot: the CoffeePress. It’s literally just a french press designed specifically for the KettlePot. But you deserve that gourmet cup of coffee out in the forest.

Cutting science funding means sacrificing the US’s future

Science is expensive, and for most of its history, the funding has come from wealthy patrons: nobility, the very rich, and — most notably — the US government. President Donald Trump plans to change that, with his plan to slash spending on basic science by 10.5 percent in 2018.

Don’t panic yet: there’s a hurdle. The White House has to convince lawmakers to roll back the Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011, which is aimed at keeping a balance between military and civilian spending. It covers about a third of the government’s money (the other two-thirds are programs like Medicare, paying interest on the national debt, and legally mandatory spends). In 2018, that law mandates no more than $549 billion can be spent on defense; and $515 billion for discretionary spending on everything else. To roll the BCA back, 60 senators must vote in favor, which means that at least eight Democrats or Independents have to support the move, writes Science.

Trump’s plan calls for an extra $54 billion in defense funds, which would probably come out of the non-military discretionary money. The threatened money goes to organizations like the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and other civilian science programs. Of course, not every program is necessarily going to be cut. But likely targets include the Environmental Protection Agency, foreign aid, and programs to address climate change, according to Science.

Cuts to civilian science spending are immensely short-sighted. The US’s lead in science and engineering is already shrinking as other nations — especially China — catch up, according to the National Science Foundation’s 2016 report. The number of science and engineering degrees awarded to Chinese graduates has increased fourfold, and the number of doctoral degrees there is increasing rapidly as well.

That’s a problem, because investing in research and development — that is, producing and funding scientists and engineers — has been one of the primary forces driving the US economy since World War II. In fact, a pro-science stance was endorsed by the original US president, George Washington, who told Congress in the first-ever State of the Union address that “there is nothing which can better deserve your patronage than the promotion of Science and Literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.”

The Department of Energy, for example, is responsible for funding a lot of research that led to technologies we use every day. The DOE pioneered the optical storage technology we now use for virtually all data storage. Other DOE innovations include fluorescent lights, communications satellites, and early wind and solar technology. Between 1978 and 2000, the DOE spent $17.5 billion (in today’s dollars) on research on energy efficiency and fossil fuels. That has yielded $41 billion in economic benefits, according to an essay written by Bill Gates in Reuters. Microchips, GPS, and of course the internet all wouldn’t have been possible without federal funding and research.

It’s also helpful to remember that many in private industry get their start working on government projects. Take Google, for instance: the internet giant now employs about 60,000 people, and its parent company, Alphabet, is currently worth $581 billion. Google began with Larry Page and Sergey Brin who were students working together on a National Science Foundation grant.

But advances in technology aren’t the only reason to fund science: government funding has allowed for invaluable breakthroughs in medicine, too. A 2015 study found that half of the most transformative drugs of the last 25 years were made possible because of publicly funded research. Antidepressants like Prozac were developed by pharmaceutical companies thanks to fundamental discoveries about neurotransmitters that were made by government funded researchers. Another study in 2011 determined that “virtually all the important, innovative vaccines that have been introduced during the past 25 years” were created by public-sector research institutions. A lot of cancer research is funded through the National Cancer Institute, which received $5.21 billion from Congress in 2016 alone.

Americans widely support a federal government that invests in research and development. Roughly seven in ten Americans think that government funding of basic science research pays off in the long run, according to a 2015 Pew poll. And 60 percent of US adults consider government funding essential for scientific progress. (Only 34 percent think that’s true for private investment alone.)

Government-funded innovation is one of the things that has made America great. Slashing spending for science isn’t a good deal for anyone, and it will rob us of a better future.

Early concept art for The Legend of the Zelda: Breath of the Wild shows an emo Link

Have you ever wondered what Link from The Legend of Zelda would look like if he shopped at Hot Topic and played guitar in a crappy metal band? Well, so did Nintendo’s Satoru Takizawa, who oversaw art direction for the latest entry in the series, The Breath of the Wild. Speaking at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, Takizawa revealed some early concept art for Link that showed a more… modern look, shall we say. He also showed some bizarre early versions of BoTW that indicate it could have been about an alien invasion or a full-scale war.

But in this alternative universe known as “tracksuit Link,” our hero is an angsty teenager who wears jeans, a Hyrulian track jacket, and thumb-less leather gloves. He also rides a motorcycle and plays an impractical and showy Flying V guitar. From the looks of it, he probably gets up to no good and has a blatant disregard for authority. The way he tells it, though, you’re just out of touch and too old to ever understand what he’s going through, which involves battling an ancient manifestation of pure evil to prevent the world from falling into endless chaos (coincidentally also the name of Link’s first album).

Joining us now is Mr. Takizawa to discuss the art of #Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and he brought some interesting earlier concepts! pic.twitter.com/hHq45fS801

— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) March 1, 2017

Before there was #Zelda: Breath of the Wild there was.. Hyrule Wars? And an alien attack!? The early concepts were definitely wild. pic.twitter.com/0vNYFvtrsQ

— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) March 1, 2017

Link himself went through some trial and error. Meet Biker Link, Tracksuit Link and Musician Link. Tag yourself, #Zelda fans! pic.twitter.com/l2OLxZs4TV

— Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) March 1, 2017

Apple reportedly has ‘over 1,000 engineers’ working on AR, could show up in next iPhone

Another day, another iPhone rumor. Today’s comes from a UBS research note summed up by Business Insider that claims that Apple “may have over 1,000 engineers working on a project in Israel that could be related to AR.” The UBS note also commented that the company expect Apple to include augmented reality tech as early as its next iPhone (which should be released this fall assuming the current release pattern holds).

The rumors fall in line a report from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo from last week, which claims that the next iPhone will feature a new front-facing camera with an IR module to sense the 3D space in front of it for augmented reality use cases.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has also made repeated comments in regard to Apple’s exploration of augmented reality as recently as last month, which combined with other rumors and a slew of AR-related hires and acquisitions could imply that there may actually be something to all the augmented reality buzz. Given Apple’s secretive nature, however, we’ll likely be waiting a while still before we get any confirmation of what the next iPhone will truly look like.

Oppo’s 5x zoom camera is an ingenious prototype that actually works

I find it surreal to think that a company can be one of the top five smartphone vendors in the world while selling the overwhelming majority of its phones within just one country. But that’s Oppo and that’s the grand scale of the Chinese mobile market. For Mobile World Congress 2017, Oppo decided to announce not a new phone, but a new camera technology called 5X Dual Camera Zoom. I got to try it out at the show, and I must say it’s kind of awesome.

Oppo has taken the biggest challenge of smartphone cameras, which is their inability to provide optical zoom while keeping the device to a slim profile, and thought sideways about it. The new system has one traditional camera sensor and one that’s been pivoted 90 degrees so that it doesn’t face the back of the phone but looks to the side instead. Then there’s a series of lenses to focus the light onto that sensor, which arrives into the phone and is pointed at the sensor via a mirror, or prism. Basically, it works just like a periscope.

OppoOppo
5x Dual Camera Zoom

Oppo is making use of the width of the device to accommodate an optical zoom — real zoom, as opposed to digital cropping and enhancement — that would be impossible in a traditional mobile camera design. Not only that, both the prism and the lens array feature optical stabilization, which is to say they move around in minuscule steps in order to offset any camera shake. The prism can adjust its angle in increments of 0.0025 degrees, which is as impressive a precision number as you’re likely to hear at MWC. Stabilization is even more important when you’re using zoom on a camera, because in those circumstances even the smallest bits of vibration and shake can lead to blurry photos.

Oppo showed its 5x zoom system was robust and reliable enough to take sharp handheld shots at its fullest extension, and my time testing the company’s prototypes on the MWC floor confirmed it. I’m not sure I’m psyched about the quality of the sensor or image processing within this system, but taking the new optics setup just by itself, Oppo has a definite winner on its hands. It is legitimate optical 5x zoom with little in the way of physical compromise for the device. The dummy prototypes at Oppo’s exhibition area were large, but the company says the 5x zoom system can be fitted into leaner and prettier devices.

The camera module requires only 5.7mm of height, so even slim 7mm smartphones should theoretically be able to accommodate it. It’s worth noting that while Oppo’s only showing off prototypes for now, the technology itself is ready and we should probably expect to see it in at least one of the company’s phones before the year’s through.

It will certainly add to an extremely competitive marketplace for Android cameraphones, what with LG and Huawei both upgrading their dual-camera systems at MWC (with the G6 and P10, respectively), Sony introducing the Xperia XZ Premium with intense 960fps slow motion, and Samsung set to launch its latest and greatest Galaxy S at the end of this month.

Alas, with Oppo’s focus still firmly fixed on its native China, we might not all have access to the full breadth of choice, but it’s good to know technology like this exists. Oppo is filing for more than 50 patents in relation to its periscope-style camera, but let’s be honest: if it works out well and people like it, the thing will be copied all over the world before the next Mobile World Congress rolls around.

Photography by Vlad Savov