Antibacterial resistance a cause for major concern, cystic fibrosis experts say

World-leading cystic fibrosis experts, from Queen's University Belfast, have called for greater research to address the major concern of antibacterial resistance.

Professor Stuart Elborn, an international authority on respiratory medicine, said that more funding and further research are required into antibiotic resistance in order to improve patient outcomes for people with Cystic Fibrosis.

In his paper, Infections in chronic lung diseases 2, which was recently published in The Lancet, Professor Elborn reviews current research into infections in chronic lung diseases. Professor Elborn and his colleagues state that while not all resistance found in bacteria is caused by antibiotics, the increasing resistance to antibiotics is proving a major problem in treating people with Cystic Fibrosis.

Speaking about his research Professor Elborn, Dean of the School of Medicine, Dentistry and Biomedical Sciences at Queen's, said: "Our review of current research has found a need for further investigation into antibacterial resistance. While antibiotic treatment has undeniably resulted in increased life expectancy for patients with Cystic Fibrosis during the past 50 years, the emergence of antimicrobial resistance is a cause for major concern.

"We need more research into how to improve cystic fibrosis patient outcomes while reducing antibiotic resistance. We need to look at the use of compounds that may work against bacteria in a way that helps our current antibiotics to be more effective. Such compounds are readily available for treatment of other conditions. At Queen's we are leading the way and are working on developing some of these compounds.

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The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University, Belfast . Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Tech Time Warp of the Week: This Tech Giant Saw the Future. Then Google Put It Out of Business

Before Uber and Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter, Google and Yahoo, DEC saw the future of the internet.

Take a gander at the video above, a classic from the year 1994 in which the mighty computer maker lays out the next twenty years of internet revolution in a mere three minutes of screen time.

“A global electronic mall is under construction,” the company tells the world’s businesses, by way of an oh-so-’90s narrator. “This means a new array of risks and opportunities. In the future, you’ll be forced to compete with distant companies you never encountered before, and you’ll be able to expand to new markets at low cost. Here, new business models will evolve quickly, with new kinds of partnerships and collaboration—new ways of working together and serving customers and making money.”

How’s that for digital prescience? He even mentions WIRED—though we’re most impressed by the bit about making money, which our narrator delivers with some extra oomph.

OK, the prediction doesn’t resonate quite as well if you pay attention to the graphically challenged webpages that bounce around as our narrator narrates. And then there’s the bit where he describes these webpages as “attractive” and “easy to use.” And the bit about reading DEC whitepapers. And the bit about DEC helping build the future it predicts.

Poor DEC. It did see the future—or at least part of it—and then it slipped away.

Founded in the 1950s, the Digital Equipment Corporation spent decades making big, beefy computing systems. Then, in the ’90s, it launched the first major web search engine. It was called AltaVista, and it ran on one of those big, beefy DEC computing systems. But soon, companies like Google came along, and they realized that, in order to keep up with the ever-growing internet, you needed a new kind of algorithm—and a very different kind of hardware. As it turns out, the best way to run a search engine is with lots and lots of small machines, not one big one.

The likes of Google were so successful, the machines built by the likes of DEC eventually faded into irrelevance. The company vanished into computer maker Compaq, which then vanished into HP. But, to be fair, DEC still played a very important role in the rise of the modern internet. All its best engineers jumped to Google, where they did help build the future.

Gadget Lab Podcast: We Dig Deep Into the Bendy iPhone Controversy


Alex Washburn / WIRED

Your favorite technology talk show returns after a three week hiatus—we had to move the studio, and we were out on vacation last week, and there was one week where we just weren’t around, OK? Mat and Mike discuss the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus, both of which were reviewed on WIRED this week. Also: the strange bendability of the new iPhone 6 Plus, and whether this is a pocket-sized controversy overblown by the zealous media, or in fact a really big problem Apple needs to fix, stat. The hosts also weigh in on Ello, the new social network on the block, and whether it stands a snowball’s chance in Guam. At the end of the show, we all learn a rich, personal detail about Mat: he’s really, really into birds.

Programming note: This episode was recorded on Thursday while #bendgate was still unraveling, and the guys weren’t yet privy to the new arguments that emerged Friday about how the structural makeup of the iPhone 6 Plus is causing some of the devices to bend.

Listen to this week’s episode or subscribe in iTunes.

Send the hosts feedback on their personal Twitter feeds (Christina Bonnington is @redgirlsays, Michael Calore is @snackfight) or to the main hotline at @GadgetLab.

Game|Life Podcast: You and Me Could Write a Bird Romance


Mediatonic/Hato Moa

A special treat for longtime fans of the Game|Life podcast: WIRED contributor Laura Hudson returns this week for a special guest appearance!

We talk Hatoful Boyfriend , the bird dating simulator that has hearts aflutter. And Destiny‘s dear departed Loot Cave. And Hyrule Warriors, and Smash Bros.. There’s a lot of talk.

Game|Life’s podcast is posted on Fridays, is available on iTunes, can be downloaded directly and is embedded below.

Game|Life Audio Podcast


Radiohead’s Thom Yorke Just Released a New Album on BitTorrent

Continuing the trend of “Surprise!” album releases that his band Radiohead pretty much started seven years ago, Thom Yorke just up and released an album on BitTorrent today. It’s called Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes and it’ll cost you $6.

The eight-track record, which Yorke made with longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, also heralds the arrival of a new feature for BitTorrent Bundles: paygates. The paygates mean that Bundles, which have been used by artists ranging from Madonna to De La Soul to release new projects, can now be monetized. An artist puts a price on their work, and then fans can pay for it through BitTorrent (sounds weird, right?) using a credit card or PayPal.

“It’s an experiment to see if the mechanics of the system are something that the general public can get its head around,” Yorke and Godrich said in a statement. “If it works well it could be an effective way of handing some control of internet commerce back to people who are creating the work.”

This almost feels like déjà vu. Back in 2007, seemingly unconcerned with piracy or making money, Radiohead released In Rainbows through its website and let fans pay whatever they wanted for it. In the years since, scores of artists have dropped albums out of the blue and/or with alternate payment options on a number of sites/services/Samsung apps. Even Beyoncé air-dropped her last self-titled record without warning—it was on iTunes, not BitTorrent, but it was still a big “bye, Felicia” to the traditional ways massive pop stars release records. (Though, considering the reaction to that “Surprise!” U2 album Apple unceremoniously infused into everyone’s iTunes library, it’s not a tactic without risk.)

There’s no word on what the Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes release means for the new Radiohead record that the band is reportedly working on. (Perhaps the band will just release that through its app?) In the meantime, we hear Kanye West has a new album already in the can, so we’re just going to monitor GitHub until it drops.

Which Technologies Will Dominate in 2022?


Predicting the future is hard and risky. But predicting the future in the computer industry is even harder and riskier due to dramatic changes in technology and limitless challenges to innovation. At the beginning of my term as 2014 president of IEEE Computer Society, with help from more than a dozen technology leaders, we set out to survey 23 potential technologies that could change the landscape of computer science and industry by the year 2022.

With the IEEE CS 2022 Report, we created a comprehensive document that outlines future disruptive technologies, helps scientists and researchers understand the impact of technologies in the future, and provides the general public with an idea of how technology is evolving, along with its implications for society.

At the foundation of the report is our understanding that by 2022, we will be well into a phase where intelligence becomes seamless and ubiquitous to those who can afford and use state-of-the-art information technology. At the heart of the “seamless intelligence” revolution is seamless networking, where the transition from one network device to another is transparent and uninterrupted. To achieve seamlessness and realize logical end-to-end connectivity, we’ll need communications to run independently on top of any form of physical networking, regardless of device or location.

Through virtualized end-to-end connectivity, total integration of all the ecosystem devices that cater to our specific needs can be achieved. This new world will require sophisticated intelligent coordination software; voice, image, and motion recognition will transform human-computer interfaces into a seamless interaction between the user and all the computing devices in that person’s life.

The report represents insights from a strong community of technology leaders from around the world. Hasan Alkhatib of SSN Services LLC; Paolo Faraboschi of HP Labs, Spain; Eitan Frachtenberg of Facebook; Hironori Kasahara of Waseda University; Danny Lange of Microsoft; Phil Laplante of Pennsylvania State University; Arif Merchant of Google; Karsten Schwan of Georgia Tech; and myself conceived the report and wrote many sections. Mohammed AlQuraishi of Harvard Medical School; Angela Burgess of IEEE Computer Society; David Forsyth of Cornell University; Hiroyasu Iwata of Waseda University; Rick McGeer of Communications and Design Group, SAP America; and John Walz, formerly of Lucent/AT&T, all contributed some of the individual sections.

In the future that we envision, multicore will allow us to recharge our smartphones just once a month. The Internet of Things will let us dress in clothes that monitor all our activities. Nanotechnology will enable lives to be saved by digestible cameras and machines made from particles 50,000 times as small as a human hair. And amid the exponential growth of large data repositories will be increasing concerns about balancing convenience and privacy.

The potential for quantum computing is staggering since it’s constrained only by the laws of physics. Universal memory replacements for DRAM will cause a tectonic shift in architectures and software. 3D printing will create a revolution in fabrication, with many opportunities to produce designs that would have been prohibitively expensive.

We predict that machine learning will play an increasingly important role in our lives, whether by ranking search results, recommending products, or building better models of the environment. And medical robotics will lead to many lifesaving innovations, from autonomous delivery of hospital supplies to telemedicine and advanced prostheses.

With energy consumption increasing along with the world’s population, electric cars, LEDs, smart grids, smart cities, dark silicon, new battery technology, and new ways of cooling data centers are some areas where advances in sustainability are expected. Silicon photonics will address bandwidth, latency, and energy challenges, and developments at all levels of the network stack will continue to drive research and the Internet economy. In the area of software-defined networks, OpenFlow and SDN will make networks more secure, transparent, flexible, and functional.

Read the report here and share your thoughts: Which technologies do you think will dominate in 2022?

Dejan Milojicic is President of the IEEE Computer Society, and founding Editor-in-Chief of IEEE ComputingNow.

When a Giant Asteroid Impact Created Its Own Magma

Landsat 8 image of the Sudbury Basin in Ontario, taken in September 2013. Photo by USGS/NASA

Landsat 8 image of the Sudbury Basin in Ontario, taken in September 2013. Photo by USGS/NASA

There are many ways we can form magma on Earth. Most of these processing involve the motion of the mantle and crust of the planet, creating places where hot mantle rock can decompress, like at a mid-ocean ridge, or where water coming off a piece of oceanic crust that is diving into the mantle lowers the melting point of rock, like in a subduction zone. These two processes — decompression and flux melting — are the main modes of generating the magma that drives volcanoes. However, occasionally very rare events like massive asteroid impact can cause the rocks of the Earth’s crust to melt and even cause volcanoes and magma bodies to form that may have lasted over 50,000 years.

One of the best examples on Earth for this kind of cataclysmic volcanism in found in Canada. The Sudbury Basin in Ontario (see above) contains the remnants of a massive asteroid impact that occurred ~1.8 billion years ago. Today, the remains of the crater are perched up against some of the oldest rocks on Earth, namely the Canadian Shield, where the rocks are 2-2.6 billion years old. It is into these ancient rocks that the Sudbury asteroid slammed, creating what is though to be a crater at least 200 kilometers across. All that remains today is an elliptical sequence of rocks ~50 kilometers across as most of the impact features have been long since eroded. However, this scar on the Earth’s surface might also be one of its most valuable, with over $500 billion worth of nickel, copper, platinum-group and other rare metals in its deposits.

Last week, our Denison University Geosciences field trip visited the Sudbury Basin and I got to see for the first time these results of this massive impact. You can find evidence for this impact in the rocks that surrounded the old impact structure. Namely, you can find “shatter cones” (see below) — areas in the rock that surrounded the impact crater that were suddenly and catastrophically fractured by the pressure wave released during the impact. The shatter cones around Sudbury vary from only a few centimeters to half a meter long (at least where we saw them). One cool feature is the sharp part of the cone points back towards the location of the impact (once you rotate the rocks to their original orientation). These shatter cones are some of the most important structures to support the hypothesis that the Sudbury rocks are formed from a massive impact.

Shatter cones found in the rocks surrounding the Sudbury impact structure. I've added some lines to help see the cones in this image. Photo by Erik Klemetti

Shatter cones found in the rocks surrounding the Sudbury impact structure. I’ve added some lines to help see the cones in this image. Photo by Erik Klemetti

The shatter cones are cool, but what I was most interested in seeing was one of the most astonishing products of the impact: magma and volcanoes. Now, most impacts aren’t going to produce much in the way of magma (melt). We do find small blebs of melt in the deposits from other impacts, but by volume, they are an insignificant part of the impact. However, at Sudbury, it seems that the force of the eruption was enough to create hundreds of cubic kilometers (if not more) of magma. Most of this magma stayed in the ground and formed what we call a large igneous intrusion. These features, like the Stillwater Complex in Montana, are one of the few times we see direct evidence of that “magma chamber” that is (incorrectly) envisioned beneath a volcano. The magma body caused by the Sudbury impact was large enough to stay hot for sufficient time to allow minerals to crystallize and separate (fractionate) in the chamber. That’s a little bit more into the gory details that I want to get, but one of the ramifications of all this melted crust is that you suddenly had volcanoes where there weren’t any mere moments before the impact!

Impact melt in the Sudbury Basin. You can see lighter grey chunks of the shattered crust into which the dark black impact melt/magma intruded. Click to see a larger version. Photo by Erik Klemetti

Impact melt in the Sudbury Basin. You can see lighter grey chunks of the shattered crust into which the dark black impact melt/magma intruded. Click to see a larger version. Photo by Erik Klemetti

Most of the evidence of these volcanoes has been eroded away in the intervening 1.79 billion years, but we can still find some features that betray the presence of these impact-induced magmas and their volcanic products. First are places where magma squeezed into the now-shattered crust. In these areas, you might a dark black impact melt (see above and below). At the time it formed, it would have been glassy, but now it is finely crystalline (volcanic glass breaks down quickly). This magma is the molten remains of the crust that sat under the impact site. Now, it didn’t melt due to the heat of impact (at least not entirely), but rather thanks to the rapid decrease in pressure it felt after the shockwave of the impact passed. We know that this magma formed during impact because we find it associated with rocks shattered during the impact — we also know it had to be formed by melting the crust because isotopically, the impact melt is the same as what the crust is isotopically (rather than the mantle or the asteroid). The fact that the impact melt is found in dikes all over the Sudbury Basin means it was likely migrating to the surface and that likely means we can active volcanoes formed from this melt.

A dike of impact melt cutting through the crust near the Sudbury impact site. Click to see a larger version. Photo by Erik Klemetti

A dike of impact melt (dark black) cutting through the crust near the Sudbury impact site. Notice the small chunks of crust in the dark impact melt: evidence for melting the crust. Click to see a larger version. Photo by Erik Klemetti

Now, as I said, much of the evidence of the impact volcanism has been erased by erosion. However, there are some very strange rocks that could be best described as “astroclastic”. What do I mean by that? Remember, “pyroclastic” rocks are generated from a fluidized flow of how volcanic debris and rocks during an explosive eruption. In the Sudbury area, we find “impact breccia” (a term for broken debris with a finer material) that consists of blocks of crust, blobs of impact melt and even accretionary lapilli (raindrops coated with ash) that formed as the initial explosion caused by the impact fell back into the crater. The composition of the “astroclastic” material (see below) really does sound like a true hybrid between impact fallout and volcanic eruptions.

The impact breccia ("astroclastic") material from the Sudbury impact, with chunks of crust, pieces of impact melt and ash. The piece is roughly 30 cm across. Click to see a larger version. Photo by Erik Klemetti.

The impact breccia (“astroclastic”) material from the Sudbury impact, with chunks of crust, pieces of impact melt and ash. The deposit itself looks remarkably like a volcanic pyroclastic flow deposit. The piece is roughly 30 cm across. Click to see a larger version. Photo by Erik Klemetti.

The Sudbury impact structure and the resulting magmatic intrusions (and volcanism) is a one-of-a-kind deposit on Earth. If you’re a geologist or geology enthusiast, it is definitely worth taking the trek up to Ontario to see it. There is even an incredibly in-depth (and free) field guide to the area with road stops to see some of these same features. Geologists have tried to attribute any number of grand events to the Sudbury impact, everything from the oxygenation of the oceans to the reworking of all the Earth’s crust. Even without these grand claims, anyplace where you can see volcanoes potentially formed by a massive asteroid impact, it is a place you have to go.

Everything You Need to Know to Catch Up on Brooklyn Nine-Nine


Scott Schafer/Fox

Sure, you might think that Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s second season might be something that you could easily jump into without any research, but … OK, sure: you’d probably be right, more or less. It is a fairly easy show to get into, after all. Here’s all you really need to know: They’re cops; They’re funny; It’s like Parks and Recreation, but with arrests and that guy who sang about dicks in boxes. Done.

That doesn’t mean it isn’t also an easy-to-grok show that also left viewers with a pretty big status quo change at the end of last season, which saw lead character Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg) getting fired from his job as a NYPD detective for … let’s call them “reasons that we’ll get to soon enough.” With Season 2 of last year’s Best New Sitcom starting this Sunday, here’s a quick primer on just why that happened—and everything else you need to know before you watch.

Last Season’s Cliffhanger

You can just imagine the writers of the show thinking to themselves, What better way to celebrate the end of a successful first season than breaking up the team that made it so special in the first place?! “Charges and Specs,” the final episode of last season, did that very thing by giving Jake his dream job at exactly the wrong time for the two most important people in his life (not that he noticed, of course).

Admittedly, Jake somewhat caused the bad timing with one of those people himself, by telling fellow cop Amy Santiago (Melissa Fumero) that he had feelings for her after he was leaving the force. He explained it away by saying that he wasn’t sure what was going to happen in the future and “needed” to come clean, but really, Jake: bad, bad timing. It was just as bad for his fellow detective Charles Boyle (Joe Lo Truglio), who lost his best friend when he needed him the most—he had just been dumped by his fiancee, and was facing an existential crisis as a result. (Don’t worry; he found another way to deal with it, as we saw when he woke up in bed next to office secretary and sociopath Gina (Chelsea Peretti). (Maybe that’s the true cliffhanger of the season, come to think of it.)

“But why was Jake fired?” you’re asking. Well, because he disobeyed orders to lay off the investigation of a community leader he suspected of laundering drug money. It worked out, though, because not only were his suspicions on the mark, but his being fired cleared the way for him to go undercover for the feds investigating local crime mobs’ ability to influence police investigations—even if that brings him in conflict with his former bosses.

Where Is…?

We already know that Jake is off undercover with the mob, and last we saw of Charles and Gina, they were screaming at each other in horror about waking up in bed next to each other. (Seriously, people: You apparently had no problem with it the night before, so get over yourselves.) But what about everyone else in Brooklyn’s 99th precinct?

Amy, understandably, is likely a little confused about her feelings towards Jake after the two of them got closer just before he left the force. Detective Rosa Diaz (Stephanie Beatriz) and Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher) were as stoic as ever, although the former may have found herself warming up to Charles now that he seems over her, finally. Sergeant Terry Jeffords (Terry Crews) is back on active duty, but still acts as den mother to the rest of the team. In other words, it’s pretty much as before, except Jake isn’t there.

Questions Season 2 Better Answer

The main one is, of course, “How will Peralta fit in back at the precinct?” After all, the audience and his friends know what really went down, but to the world at large, he was fired and left his job a disgraced cop. Will he really be able to just get rehired as if nothing happened? Add to that his declaration of … well, maybe not love, per se, but of interest in Amy and it’s a fairly safe bet to assume that Jake might have some trouble settling back into his old life, if that’s what he hopes to do. Beyond that, well, there’s a few other things we’re curious about.

  • What’s the deal with Charles and Gina? Sure, it made for a fun last-minute joke at the end of the last episode, but what if the show’s most anxious character and its most oblivious, self-centered character ended up together for awhile? It sounds unlikely at first, but doesn’t it sound like it could actually work out, albeit in a somewhat unhealthy and inevitably-headed-for-misery-at-some-point way? Plus, it’d be fun to see how Rosa would react, let’s be honest.

  • Is Jake/Amy going to be dragged out for a long time? Please, Brooklyn Nine-Nine writers, don’t let that be the case. As New Girl and The Mindy Project have both shown, audiences aren’t all about “will-they-won’t-they?” anymore. (The kids are more like “oh, just get on with it” these days.)

  • How much more Kevin Cozner can we expect this year? Marc Evan Jackson’s guest spot last year as the husband of Captain Holt was a highlight, and there is not one person in the world who could argue that we need less M.E.J. on our television screens at any time. All of our fingers are crossed that he’ll return.

Essential Catch-Up Episodes

It would be far too easy to claim that every single episode of the show’s first season is essential to catch up. (Hey, it’s a short show! It’s a funny show! You’d enjoy it!) But, realistically, “The Party,” “Full Boyle,” “Tactical Village,” and “Charges and Specs” are the ones you really need to watch to have a good idea of what’s going on at the start of the new season. Hell, throw in “Fancy Brudgom” in there as well, because it’s particularly funny. (The entire season is available to stream on Hulu, for those who want to catch up.)

And there you have it. Now you’re ready for Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s second season. You’re welcome.

Absurd Creature of the Week: The Incredible Spider That Lives Its Entire Life Underwater


“Lol you thought you were safe from us in the water,” says the diving bell spider. “Blub blub blub!” Stefan K. Hetz

Legend has it that none other than Alexander the Great was among the first people to plumb the ocean depths in a glass diving bell, a simple submersible that traps surface air for the diver to enjoy. Still further legend claims it was one of Alexander’s mistresses who lowered him down—but unfortunately for Alex another suitor was on board that boat. As he watched through his transparent submarine, the scoundrel wooed the woman, who eventually let go of the chain, thus leaving Alexander in a bit of an aquatic pickle.

There’s a moral lesson somewhere in that legend, perhaps something like “hell hath no fury like a woman you encumber with a ridiculously heavy diving bell while you enjoy yourself among the fishes,” but in the fresh waters of Europe and Asia swims a spider that mastered this kind of submersible millennia before Alex’s ill-fated dive: the diving bell spider. It’s the only spider on Earth that spends its entire life underwater, a lovely reminder that where life finds a niche, it fills it—oh, and that if you’re afraid of spiders you aren’t really safe anywhere at all. (Other species are flying through the air, in case you were wondering, using dangling silk threads to ride the wind in a process called ballooning.)

Just like humans and their submersibles, to become a master diver this spider must first become a master engineer. It begins by spinning a web among the underwater vegetation, according to biologist Roger Seymour of Australia’s University of Adelaide, who has established populations in the lab to study the dynamics of their novel way of getting air. Instead of expanding the web by spinning laterally, the spider adds more and more silk to the bottom, which flares until the structure indeed resembles a bell.

This Week’s Apple Rumors, Ranked From Dumbest to Most Plausible

A second gen iPad Air and a beefier iPad Pro could arrive next month.

A second gen iPad Air and a beefier iPad Pro could arrive next month. Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Each week, there are dozens of rumors, reports, and patent filings that hint at what’s coming out of Cupertino next. Some are legit, but many are totally bogus. As always, we’ve parsed the rumors, ranking them in order from “utterly ridiculous” to “duh, of course.” First up…

DON’T COUNT ON IT: Apple and U2 Working On New Digital Music Standard

Bono is putting down the microphone and putting on his thinking hat, apparently. U2 is working on a secret project with Apple to work on a new digital format that combats piracy and free-to-access music, TIME reports. Bono hopes it will urge music aficionados to pay for music again. Earth to Bono, the iPod days are dead, but I would imagine that the band members could be consulting with Apple on ways to make iTunes purchases stickier, or make a streaming service more profitable to musicians. But Apple made a big deal about eliminating DRM from its music library back in the day, so adding something similar back into audio files could cause a major iTunes revolt.

ASK AGAIN LATER: Bone Conducting EarPods for Better Noise Cancellation

Apple’s EarPods are a big improvement over its old ear buds. And if the company uses the tech in a recent patent filing, that experience could get even better. The EarPods would be able to sense vocal chord vibrations using bone conducting technology. And combined with an accelerometer and multiple strategically positioned mics, Apple could improve noise cancellation in the EarPods by being able to detect exactly where your voice is coming from and minimize all other audio signals. While it’s unclear if Apple will implement this exact technique in future EarPods, it’s not unlikely that Apple could use at least some aspects of this technology to improve them.

ASK AGAIN LATER: Bigger ‘iPad Pro’ to Include Faster A8X Chip

A report out of Taiwan suggests that Apple’s 12.9-inch “iPad Pro” will arrive later this year with an upgraded A8x processor. In past years, Apple debuted a new chip on the iPhone, then upgraded it with the A-(number)-X nomenclature when the next iPad surfaced the following spring. This would definitely make sense on a larger, more powerful device. The report also expects the second generation iPad Air to get double the RAM of the original.

ASK AGAIN LATER: 12-Inch MacBook Air to Come in Silver, Gold, and Space Gray

The MacBook Air could be getting a major facelift come mid-2015. According to a source with Jack March, the super slender notebook will get even thinner and come in the same three colors as the iPhone: gold, silver, and space gray. It will also include that reversible USB standard we heard about last month. It’s an intriguing potential update that could bring more parity to Apple’s various product lines.

WITHOUT A DOUBT: Apple Watch Originally Planned for This Year

A report from The Information says that many folks at Apple expected the company’s wearable to land this year, but now, “Apple would be lucky to ship it by Valentine’s Day.” Valentine’s Day is a lesser, but notable, holiday target that would make sense for a launch given the watch’s high-fashion potential. Apparently issues relating to the display, the fit and finish quality, and the software were to blame. Plus, there were tons of rumors earlier this year that the watch would land in 2014, so it sounds like that was the original plan.

Go Behind the (Crazy-Complex) Scenes of The Boxtrolls

The Boxtrolls is the first period piece from stop-motion animation studio Laika (Coraline, ParaNorman), and the first of their films to include creatures—the terrifying(ly adorable) subterranean dwellers who wear boxes. It’s the tale of the stratified town of Cheesebridge, where the rich live up high, nibbling piles of fromage and waltzing their nights away, and the misunderstood Boxtrolls dwell far below, scrounging for bugs and mechanical parts. The heart of the story is a boy, Eggs, who straddles both societies.

The movie is set in a Dickensian fantasy world, which allowed the entire crew of Laikans—hundreds of them—to give their imaginations free rein. The sets and costumes, the flexible puppets, the lushly shaded 3D-printed faces—they were all made by hand. To really understand how this laborious, intensive art form works, you need to meet the people who make such a production possible, from the set fabrication coordinator to the CG facial animator. Here’s a behind-the-scenes peek at some of the talented technicians and artists who bring a movie like this to life—by hand, over many years, one frame at a time.