IHOP’s Name Change Tops This Week’s Internet News Roundup

Last week, tragically, was bookended with two high-profile suicides, making this tweet all the more crucial.

And the losses of both designer Kate Spade and chef/TV host Anthony Bourdain were just part of a very busy week that included Samantha Bee apologizing for her Ivanka Trump statements, former Senate Intelligence Committee security director James Wolfe being charged with lying to investigators, and former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort being accused of witness tampering in the special counsel investigation. Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian convinced President Trump to grant clemency to Alice Johnson, and now he’s talking about pardoning Muhammad Ali even though Ali’s conviction was overturned in 1971. It really has been a week, people. Read on for more.

It’s Called the G7, Not the Gr8, Amirite?

What Happened: The G7 Summit has arrived in Canada, bringing with it the whirling dervish that is international diplomacy in the age of Donald Trump. The forecast? Cloudy with a chance of What the hell is even happening?

What Really Happened: This weekend marks the beginning of the 44th G7 Summit, a meeting of the leaders of seven of the largest advanced economies in the world. It’s being held in Quebec, Canada, which can only mean one thing: Canadian pride!

Well, that and also good old fashioned Canadian preparation for potentially violent protests.

Not to worry; the first night’s protests were mostly peaceful, despite some reports to the contrary. But still! It’s the G7 Summit! This is a big deal, especially considering the important subjects under discussion: a potential plastics charter and the looming trade war between participants. Still: diplomacy! Who isn’t excited by diplomacy?!

OK, but is there anyone not excited about diplomacy aside from the President of the United States, who apparently doesn’t like to visit Canada? Maybe not, but earlier in the week the president did try to portray himself as less grumpy about traveling north and more ready for a fight.

Still, surely the rest of the G7—that’s Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom, for those who are curious—is going to bow to the United States’ whims on this, as on all things. After all, the US is the dominant world economy, right?

OK, sure; the summit looked set to push the US to the side of international diplomacy before it had even started, with Trump even going so far as to announce he would leave early, because … people weren’t being nice enough to him? This is all going swimmingly.

Don’t worry; President Trump had thought about that, as it turned out.

The Takeaway: This is a joke, and yet … maybe someone should actually take this approach when briefing the president right now?

Fly Like an Eagle…

What Happened: After their Super Bowl victory, the Philadelphia Eagles got into a surprise clash with the president, who didn’t come out looking better in the whole ordeal.

What Really Happened: It all started as plans got underway for the Super Bowl-winning Eagles to visit the White House.

This was entirely true, as it turned out.

The visit was cancelled by the administration because only two players—and the coach—wanted to attend, and that made it a “political stunt” as opposed to, you know, protest. (We’ll come back to this momentarily.) For some, this was simply fodder for comedy…

There was also the far less amusing replacement event—theoretically, a patriotic ceremony to listen to the National Anthem, of all things—to deal with.

But what a two minutes they turned out to be!

Oh, and the people in the crowd?

Well, maybe not all of them…

(Turns out, two people were kneeling during the anthem.)

The Takeaway: Now, ignoring for a second that no Eagles player actually knelt during the National Anthem—I know, it’s shocking that fact wasn’t shared by the administration, but it’s so true that Fox News had to apologize for suggesting otherwise—let’s return, for a brief second, to the idea of kneeling as protest and free speech, and what the US president thinks about free speech, shall we? Because if there’s one takeaway from this entire thing, it shouldn’t be that the President of the United States doesn’t know the words to “God Save America,” it should be this.

Meanwhile, in the World of Scott Pruitt…

What Happened: Just when you thought EPA administrator Scott Pruitt had done everything in his power to make his office look pointless and unnecessary, he stepped things up several notches this week.

What Really Happened: Let’s get away from what the president has been doing for a while and think about his appointees. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made news last week by announcing that a School Safety Commission won’t look into guns. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is seemingly at war with the president’s attorney Rudy Giuliani. Oh, and EPA administrator Scott Pruitt—he of the soundproof booth, tax-payer funded first class travel and suspicious housing situation—well, he had a hell of a week, and in the most unexpected manner. How unexpected? Well…

As if trying to buy a used mattress from a hotel owned by the President of the United States didn’t sound like the most suspect thing in the world already—really, it sounds like the start of a joke—that turned out to be just the start of Pruitt’s genuinely, impressively surreal week. To wit:

Oh, yes. His defense, amazingly, was that he and his wife “love Chick-fil-A as a franchise of faith and one of the best in the country,” adding, “we need more of them in Tulsa, we need more of them across the country.” Sadly, it was not to be.

But it gets weirder…

Yes, that’s right, it really said lotion.

And then there was this, which almost seemed mundane in contrast.

I mean, sure. Protein bars, who cares about those when there are used mattresses and lotion in the mix? People were at a loss when trying to put all this together in their heads.

Of course, things are actually worse than they seem.

Yeah, that’s right; turns out that, while Pruitt is distracting everyone by being strange, he’s also letting his really important agency fall apart and potentially poison the world. What did President Trump think of all this? When asked about Pruitt, Trump told reporters Friday that he was “doing a great job.”

The Takeaway: Perhaps folks are being too harsh on Scott Pruitt, though. Maybe he’s trying his best and following the teachings of those important to him. That’s … that’s possible, right?

The Return of Melania Trump

What Happened: After more than three weeks in seclusion, prompting all manner of concern, the First Lady made her triumphant return to the public eye last week.

What Really Happened: Hey, remember a while back when we mentioned people were beginning to wonder where the First Lady had disappeared to? Turns out, that became a thing last week—but we got an answer. Kind of. The renewed focus on where Melania Trump was hiding started when, two days after she didn’t go to Camp David, her spokesperson revealed she also wouldn’t be accompanying the president on other trips as well.

This got more people wondering where she was. And then, lo and behold, she re-emerged.

Sure, there was suspicion over the fact that her return would happen in a private event closed to press, but a return is a return, right? Especially considering that people were genuinely beginning to get a little worried about her health.

As it turned out, people wondering if the whole thing was going to be a bait-and-switch had nothing to worry about; it really was Melania who appeared before the crowd, and not some lookalike to fool the rubes.

Of course, the media was ready with responses to the happy news. And, as it transpired, once she was back, she was back … at least on Twitter.

I mean, sure; she’s not writing these tweets herself, but at least someone’s realized the value of actually using her social media presence as proof of life. But was the internet happy about this?

…Well, apparently not. Look, she’s alive! Doesn’t that count for something? (For what it’s worth, the president said Friday that FLOTUS is staying on the down-low on doctor’s orders, but, you know, consider the source.)

The Takeaway: Just because Melania Trump is back in the public eye doesn’t mean she’s not still the wife of a many who doesn’t know how to spell her name.

International House of … Breakfast? Bacon? Befuddlement?

What Happened: Just when you thought it was safe to go and have a breakfast meal at a diner chain, IHOP promised to change the game—well, OK, its name—last week, and everyone freaked out at the possibility.

What Really Happened: It’s been a long week. Let’s end with a bit of a snack.

Yes, as of Monday, it’ll be IHOP no more as the company changes its name … or, at least, teases the change via Twitter. (After all, who’s to say this isn’t all one big practical joke?) As might be expected, everyone on social media had ideas of just what that B in the new acronym could … well … be.

As might be expected, the guesses—even as ridiculous as they were—became a story on their own, meaning that the marketing plan was working wonders. Really, when was the last time anyone talked about IHOP this much? Most people are assuming it’s going to be International House of Breakfast, but perhaps there’s still a chance for an unexpected surprise twist.

The Takeaway: As a marketing plan, this campaign has worked impressively well. There’s just one problem with the whole thing in the long term, though.

… Yeah, OK, that’s fair.


More Great WIRED Stories

A Flash Zero Day, a DNA Site Breach, and much more protection News This Week

As difficult as it is to think at this time, the week really did begin with Apple’s WWDC keynote. It feels like a lifetime ago! You may get a full recap here, but the two main protection takeaways are that Safari is the best main-stream privacy browser now, which it appears like Appleshould decrease, take a breath, and attempt to release some major updates without quite a lot of insects. But there’s a lot more than Apple!

Microsoft purchased GitHub for oodles of cash, but will dsicover it difficult to moderate a few of its problematic rule. An impending encryption revision should help make online repayments much more secure, but defintely won’t be fun for merchants or Android unit owners who’ven’t made the jump. And a Facebook bug messed with user status update settings, making some posts public that weren’t meant to be.

In other platform news, Encyclopædia Britannica really wants to help resolve Google’s misinformation problem by giving informational snippets you can trust. Former Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix, whose business used illicitly gained Facebook information to focus on voters within the 2016 election, testified before Parliament all over again.

Somewhere else, the Justice Department leveled new charges against hacker hero Marcus Hutchins, whom slowed the WannaCry ransomware spread a year ago. We took a fast trip through a number of the high-tech accoutrement used for legal reasons enforcement across the country. And now we sent some time with Microsoft’s Windows red group, which includes the high-stakes job of investigating pests through the eyes of an attacker.

But wait, there is more! As constantly, we’ve rounded up all news we didn’t break or protect comprehensive this week. Click the headlines to see the full stories. And remain safe nowadays.

Yet another Flash Zero Day The Road

Adobe this week has patched just one more zero time vulnerability, this time around one that was in fact seen exploited in the open. Researchers at Qihoo 360 Core suggested that hackers had targeted the Doha, Qatar area along with it. Flash is, of course, officially gonna die off in 2020, but the notoriously insecure software got in one or more more bad vulnerability before it goes.

Genealogy Site Breach Exposes 92 Million Consumer Accounts

You understand those DNA solutions, in which you deliver them some of the body as well as tell you everything’re manufactured from? MyHeritage, a popular genealogy company located in Israel, revealed recently it had suffered a data breach that compromised 92 million individual records. That seems bad! And it’s really admittedly not great. But feel a lot better realizing that the DNA info wasn’t affected, simply emails and hashed passwords. Which again, nevertheless perhaps not idea. Yet not as terrible as it sounded.

Florida Did Not Do Firearm Background Checks For The 12 Months Because Some Body Lost Their Password

Due to the fact weapon control debate continues, perhaps this might be finally the one anecdote we are able to all agree actually Bad Thing. From February 2016 to March 2017, Florida’s Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services stopped running FBI criminal record checks on weapon purchasers. The reason why? The worker accountable couldn’t log in to the service. It seems that in the place of tell anybody, the employee easy let applications proceed through without having a check.

You have never ever Seen Waves Like This Before

Photographer Rachael Talibart was raised in western Essex, on England’s southeast coastline and sometimes went sailing on her behalf daddy’s sailboat into the summer. The woman fascination with the sea proceeded whenever she became a photographer and the woman new series Sirens reflects that. Each image is termed after having a mythological-esque figure. This one is known as Niobe.

As a youngster, Talibart spent weeks each summer on her father’s sailboat, checking out the coastlines of France additionally the Netherlands. It taught her how exactly to realize the rhythms associated with the sea and also to capture images similar to this one, Poseidon Rising.

Because she ended up being always seasick, Talibart spent the majority of her sailing voyages being a youth in cockpit, staring out at the ocean, rather than within the watercraft. That translated into her work on images like Anapos.

Talibart received on her behalf understanding of the sea on her brand new photography show, Sirens. Images into the series receive mythological-esque names like, in this case, Kraken.

The images had been all shot at Newhaven Beach, in East Sussex, beginning in 2016. This image is named after Leviathan, the sea serpent of Jewish mythology.

Talibart started making weekly visits towards the beach, reaching dawn and spending hours on her back, taking photographs regarding the ocean, like this one, entitled Loki.

Talibart used telescopic lenses and an ultra-fast 1,000 frames/second shutter speed to fully capture these sculpture-like pictures. This is named Maelstrom.

Talibart shot all of the pictures in grayscale, but she switched to desaturated color whenever she noticed bursts of green during Storm Brian in 2017. This dramatic shot, Medusa, is certainly one of these photographs.

This dramatic image is called Nanook.

The show has been shortlisted for the Sony World Photography Award and can carry on event during the Sohn Fine Art Gallery in Lenox, Massachusetts in September. Talibart named this image Nyx after the personification of evening in Greek mythology.

Talibart admits to a love/hate relationship aided by the ocean admitting “part of me personally is still half-afraid regarding the ocean.” She known as this picture Oceanus following the river in Greek mythology.

Talibart drew upon the woman youth seafaring experience to help framework and time her photography. This image of the giant revolution is named Echo after a nymph in Greek mythology.

As she did in childhood, Talibart can’t assist but begin to see the shapes of ocean creatures in the waves. This is termed Sedna.

Only with a fast shutter rate can we come across waves in this manner, Talibart says. Typically they move too fast for people to understand their sculptural beauty. This 1 is termed Thetis following the character in Greek mythology.

Sony Xperia XZ2 Review: Great Camera, OK Phone

Have you ever owned a Sony phone? Statistically, the answer is probably no. Sony has dug into the U.S. market with dozens of decent phones as far back as 2002, but it’s never struck gold. Its latest flagship, the new Xperia XZ2, is a perfect example why.

The XZ2 will likely be a blip on most iPhone or Galaxy buyer’s radars because it’s just a little too expensive and hard to find. Every Sony phone has been available somewhere, but I can’t recall one of its phones that’s been available everywhere. It’s often a struggle to buy Sony’s phones in the US, and it latest Xperia (along with its two siblings) are only available unlocked on Amazon and from Best Buy. They also only work on AT&T and T-Mobile. Sprint and Verizon subscribers, you’re out of luck.

Sony

The good news is that if you do use T-Mobile or AT&T, this is a speedy, capable Android phone that you can use on either carrier freely (and travel with worldwide) since it’s not locked to any single network. The bad news is that it’s hardly your best choice.

Baby Got Back

Like nearly every Sony Xperia smartphone for the past five years (and what seems like every major smartphone in 2018), the XZ2 is a waterproof glass sandwich with smooth aluminum oozing out the sides. This year, it’s practically Double Stuf’d, too. The Gorilla Glass back bows toward the middle, making it one of the thickest high-end phones, at the waist, you can buy. It’s about 11mm, or roughly as thick as an iPhone 4, if you can remember that far back.

It’s noticeably fatter than a OnePlus 6 with a case and is nowhere near as slim as the LG G7 and Galaxy S9 this year. Sony says its design is meant to fit “perfectly in your hand,” but once you put a case on it (and you probably should), it feels like a real handful.

There doesn’t appear to be any important technological reason for the bulge, but dead center at its thickest point is Sony’s new rear fingerprint sensor, which sits lower than it does on many phones. Previous Xperia phones have had the fingerprint sensor built into the power button on the side, which was a unique solution, but worked pretty well. Now, it’s easy to accidentally place your finger an inch too high and smudge up the equally round camera instead of unlocking your phone. Sigh.

Sony

Sony’s power button and volume toggle are both on the right side with equally odd (though very Sony) placement. It took a couple days to get used to the unique arrangement, but eventually my brain adapted. The phone has a nice fingerprint resistant coating on it, but it’s also rather slippery to hold. Because only the middle of the phone touches a surface when you set it down, the XZ2 is prone to diving off the arms of couches as well.

The speakers on the Xperia XZ2 are decent and don’t distort as much as some smartphones, though Sony’s weird new “Dynamic Vibration” feature that vibrates the phone to add immersion to songs is a ridiculous gimmick. You’ll also want to invest in some Bluetooth headphones because there is no 3.5mm audio jack. Sony includes a USB-C headphone adapter, but who wants to fiddle around with dongles every day?

No Notch-sense

I didn’t think I’d see a notchless high-end phone this year, but surprisingly, the XZ2 has a standard 5.7-inch LCD screen. It’s a bit taller than some, but there is no cutout up top. Instead, it’s a pleasant, familiar rectangle with a little space on the top and bottom. It looks untrendy, but works wonderfully. The LCD only packs a 1080p pixel resolution, but much like the OnePlus 6, those pixels look stellar.

Since it runs Google’s new Android Oreo operating system, the menus also look modern. Sony has mostly abandoned a lot of its custom interface designs, and that’s good news for us, and will hopefully enable this Xperia to get more frequent security and feature updates.

Like a high-tech Twinkie, the inside of the plump Xperia is filled with a cutting-edge Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor (they don’t come faster this year), 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of internal file storage—upgradeable if you take advantage of the included MicroSD slot. The battery capacity is pretty standard at 3,180mAh, and makes it through a day just fine, but you’ll need to charge it at bedtime every night. Sony has included battery health features that smartly charge the device slowly to avoid battery degradation, and the emergency power saving modes work quite well, though I still wish these were unnecessary.

Kickass Camera

Sony knows how to make a good camera, and was evident from the second I started snapping pics. The single 19-megapixel rear camera has a built-in manual mode for photo nuts, and its auto mode is stellar, especially with close-up shots. I put the camera head-to-head against the iPhone X and OnePlus 6. The XZ2 didn’t win all the time, but it did give both cameras a run for their money in different lighting conditions.

Sony’s camera is fast and especially good at registering details like leaves or the bricks in buildings in outdoor shots, and doesn’t crush shadows too badly. Close-up shots of flowers and even a metal fence, looked incredibly vibrant and natural in sunlight and other lighting conditions.

The camera did sometimes blow out the beautiful blue sky in favor of adding color to plants and other objects in a shot, but not to a detrimental degree. At night it was the only camera that was able to register brightly lit buildings and the beautiful dark blue night sky without fudging up one or the other.

The 5-megapixel selfie cam really should pack a few more megapixels in 2018, but takes decent shots, as well. Video looked pretty stable and you can record 4K/30p with 10-bit HDR color if you wish.

Sony didn’t include a second rear camera for zooming or portrait shots, but I can’t say I missed it much.

Skip the Venti—Try the Tall Instead

Put all the pieces together and you have a powerful, if somewhat pudgy, 5.7-inch waterproof Android phone with passable battery life, and a killer camera.

You’ll love this phone if someone gifts it to you. If you’re putting your own dollars down though, the fantastic camera doesn’t quite level the playing field against the similarly powerful Galaxy S9, LG G7 ThinQ, or (much cheaper) OnePlus 6, which all come with bonuses that the $800 standard Xperia XZ2 just doesn’t have.

If you’re still reading, I suggest you check out Sony’s nearly-identical Xperia XZ2 Compact (also available on Amazon and Best Buy). I haven’t had the chance to fully test the Compact first-hand, but it packs the same internals inside a smaller 5.3-inch frame with a plastic back. If you’re still clinging to an old iPhone SE, or if every Android phone feels too big for your hands, the $650 Compact is one-of-a-kind.

Which is also to say that the standard Xperia XZ2 fails make a compelling case for itself. While it’s a good phone, in a year when there are so many great Android handsets to pick from, Sony’s options will likely leave it sitting on the sidelines for yet another season.