‘Avengers: Infinity War’: We Need to Talk About That Ending

Last weekend Avengers: Infinity War made more than $640 million at the global box office—and at least $258 million of that came from domestic theaters, a number that easily bests previous record holder Star Wars: The Force Awakens. This is relevant for two reasons: One, holy crap that’s a lot of money. Two, it means we can finally talk about this movie freely since pretty much anyone who wanted to see it has now done so, apparently.

That’s good; there’s a lot to discuss. It was pretty much inevitable, considering the 18 previous movies it had to tie together, that Infinity War was going to be the most jam-packed Marvel Cinematic Universe film ever. And it was. From the remains of Asgard to the borders of Wakanda to the Collector’s museum on Knowhere, it traversed the entire MCU and managed to not be a total mess. (Not an easy feat.) It also had some great guest appearances and more than a few surprisingly touching moments.

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And OMG that ending. Most fans expected this movie to have some twists and shocks, but it’s unlikely all of them expected Infinity War to end the way it did. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Now that the movie’s big opening weekend is over, WIRED assembled its own Avengers—writers and editors Justice Namaste, Jason Parham, Adam Rogers, and Angela Watercutter—to hash out the ups and downs of the latest movie to come out of the MCU. Grab your Infinity Gauntlet and join us, won’t you?

Angela Watercutter: Alright gang. I kinda want to jump right into this one, so I’d love to hear from each of you whether or not you enjoyed Infinity War and what you thought of that ending.

I already subjected Jason to my ramblings on Slack, so I’ll keep my piece short. I thought Infinity War was a good time. I simultaneously had high hopes and the expectation that the movie would be a letdown. I was pleasantly surprised when I enjoyed all of it—it didn’t feel too busy and I genuinely got choked up at least twice. As for that ending, damn, I really wasn’t expecting all that carnage and bleakness. (By my count nearly a dozen heroes were turned to ash, right?) Then again, I remembered about five minutes after I left the theater that this is a movie based on comics, where no one ever really dies. I already have my theories about Avengers: Infinity War Part II (coming next May! probably!), but I’ll get to that later. What about you guys?

Adam Rogers: In general I’m pretty good at maintaining the cognitive dissonance of a viewer who stays in the emotional moment and a cynical sometimes-culture journalist who knows that the economic incentive of a Black Panther sequel will trump any death, especially one that comes at the end of a movie but in the middle of a story (what with Avengers: Even More Infinite War due next year). So I had a real good time. But would you like to know who is not that cynical? My 12-year-old and my 8-year-old, who were super bummed. Like, subdued, mournful, and in full-on, two-thirds-of-the-way-to-crying “Papa, is Groot … dead?” mode. So I hope it’s not too twisted of me to say: That’s a good movie. Because it made my family feel things. Processing the fact that the genocidal, insane Thanos (Josh Brolin) gets to look happily into the sunset at the end was a big deal.

And then I spent half an hour telling them who Captain Marvel is.

Jason Parham: I was speaking with a friend over the weekend and he raised an interesting point I hadn’t considered. Of all the Marvel movies, I told him how Infinity War struggled the most with what exactly it wanted to be. That for me the movie was just OK. Ten years, 18 films, and essentially two dozen leading actors is a lot to cram into a single epic. Still, it felt too much like a film consumed with its own legend—one that was trying too hard to prove something to itself. (It definitely wouldn’t rank it among my personal top five MCU movies.) Does that mean it wasn’t enjoyable? Of course not. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and Spider-Man (Tom Holland) were probably standouts for me. It’s expected by now, but the fight sequences were also a true treat (especially when Thor and Rocket join the battle in Wakanda). There were even occasional flourishes when Thanos felt unexpectedly human.

But my friend’s argument was that Infinity War was essentially the most comic book-y movie Marvel has made to date. That watching it felt like actually reading a comic. From its pacing to its narrative construction, jumping from New York City to Titan to Knowhere, as if one was scanning from panel to panel on the page. Maybe he’s right. Maybe where I saw disconnect and carelessness he saw directors Anthony and Joe Russo’s craftier ambition: Giving the movie the texture of its source material. It became the very thing it was.

There are a ton of layers we can peel off this thing. Justice, what were the most shocking and rewarding parts of the film for you?

Justice Namaste: I’m not going to lie—I had pretty low expectations for Infinity War. Kind of similar to Angela, but without the high hopes. [Eds. Note: LOL.] Coherently weaving together so many narrative threads while not reducing characters down to caricatures is a tall order, but Marvel managed to deliver. And the interactions between characters from different storylines were, unsurprisingly, the most enjoyable part of the movie. It’s a known fact that audiences eat up crossovers, and the first hour and a half of Infinity War was just chock-full of overlapping storylines and witty, mid-battle introductions. My favorite plotline was probably the journey that Thor, Rocket (who the Asgardian re-named ‘Rabbit’), and Groot (logically called ‘Tree’) took to find a Thanos-killing weapon. It was Thor at his best, Rocket at his most endearing, and a lanky, teenaged Groot whose eyes were glued to his videogame. And of course, who can resist more banter between the ever-eager Peter Parker and the reluctantly protective Tony Stark.

It’s a testament to the strength of the characters that even once it became clear that all two and a half hours were building to Thanos “winning” (and therefore leaving all of us in an unpleasant limbo for another year), I didn’t find the movie any less compelling. But there’s been no shortage of criticism of Infinity War, in particular surrounding its narrative busyness.

Watercutter: Justice, totally! And to really quickly to go back to what Adam and Jason were saying, I definitely feel like Infinity War had a comics-esque narrative structure. That’s why, to Adam’s point, I felt a little better about watching so many heroes disintegrate in those final 30 minutes. Somehow these heroes will come back, because comics. My current theory is that because we didn’t see what became of Wong in the end—actually, we didn’t see what Wong (Benedict Wong) was doing for most of the second and third acts—he’ll show up in the sequel, pull a Cher, and turn back time. (I mean, Doctor Strange saw all 14,000,605 possible outcomes and knows which one works, surely he told his buddy, right?) Hopefully, he’ll have the help of Shuri (Letitia Wright) and Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson)—and, of course, Captain Marvel (Brie Larson), whom Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) paged (paged!) in the post-credits scene.

But! That’s beside the point. I have another question for y’all. What were your favorite surprises? Or maybe just favorite moments? Like, I legit yelped and got a little teary-eyed when Thor landed in Wakanda with his new fancy axe thing and just started slaying. I was similarly charmed by Peter Dinklage showing up as Eitri. I only vaguely remember hearing the rumors about who he was going to play and was genuinely delighted when he showed up. Also, seeing Okoye (Danai Gurira), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) all fight together was really fun. I could go on and on. What’d you guys like?

Rogers: “Pull a Cher!” Nice. Yeah, I’m feeling reasonably good about our heroes’ being not dead (they’re just resting!) given the fact that the MacGuffin is an object that can literally alter time, rewrite reality, and control the soul.

The little moments really did add up, didn’t they? I loved Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord trying to affect a deeper voice and an accent to compete with Hemsworth’s preternatural beauty as Thor (so … many … men … named … Chris), and worrying about his weight—an IRL Easter egg, because of Pratt’s pre-Guardians weight loss and buffing-out. Don Cheadle as Jim Rhodes/War Machine tricking Mark Ruffalo’s Bruce Banner into bowing to T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) was fun. (How do you say “faux pas” in Xhosa?) Red Skull showing up as the guardian of the Soul Gem was delightfully weird, and as a comedy writer pal of mine said, who’dathunk that Rocket’s fetish for stealing body parts would become a classic bit? Totally agree about Thor, too. Seriously, I was no great fan of the first two Thor movies, but Ragnarok and this movie turned him into one of my favorite Marvel characters.

Parham: As “endings” go, this might be Marvel’s most ambitious. I understand these are comic book characters we’re talking about, so no one is ever really dead—as you guys mentioned—but still. I remember being upset when I first saw it. It’s not that I didn’t think Thanos would ultimately win, I just didn’t think more than half of the cast would be killed off. And it wasn’t even that I thought it was cruel, it just felt … dumb. A few days removed from it, I actually don’t mind. With half the cast “gone,” it allows for an interesting, even more ambitious part two. Wong, Hawkeye, and Ant-Man are sure to be back. Plus all new characters—Captain Marvel and, fingers crossed Angela, Valkyrie! And maybe even some characters who haven’t been introduced into MCU yet. With Disney’s pending merger with Fox, it could mean a handful of characters from the X-Men Universe could find their way into subsequent films.

All that said, I think the next film has to take a risk this one didn’t—and actually kill off major characters. If it were up to me, Captain America and Iron Man wouldn’t make it out alive (Chris Evans wants out of his contract anyways, so it’s possible). It’d give Marvel an opportunity, one that it doesn’t necessarily need but should take, to start those franchises with fresh eyes and new talent.

Watercutter: Yeah, Jason, I agree. Some of the heroes should probably be gone and stay gone. Also, some folks have been saying if the franchise loses Tony Stark then that would make room to introduce the Riri Williams/Ironheart storyline from the comics—a concept I find very exciting. And Adam, I fully chortled when Rocket said “I’m gonna get that arm…” after Bucky (Sebastian Stan) told him it wasn’t for sale. Classic Rocket.

I think we’ve just about said all that needs to be said (or at least all that we can say in the decidedly finite space of this website), but I have one parting thought, if I may. The timeline leading up to Infinity War is kinda crazy, right? Like, when Thanos was all “I’ve had a really long day” (or something to that effect) it reminded me that the entire movie Infinity War takes place in the span of, what, 24 hours? 48? Also, considering where the movie started, was Ragnarok (aka the end of Asgard) basically yesterday? Maybe a couple days before? It’s possible that Killmonger’s (Michael B. Jordan) attempt to dethrone T’Challa could’ve happened a few weeks or months before the events of Infinity War, but considering Black Panther picked up pretty quickly after the events of Captain America: Civil War and showed Bucky in pretty much the same condition that he’s in at the start of this film, it seems unlikely a ton of time has passed. Bottom line: It’s been 10 years and 18 films, but is it possible the present-day timeline of these films (you know, the parts that aren’t Captain America-esque flashbacks) have taken place in the span of a few months or maybe a year? If so, this war is far from infinite.

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What If Aliens Were Totally Obsessed With Us?

Mercurio D. Rivera is the author of dozens of science fiction tales, many of which are collected in his book Across the Event Horizon. His stories cover an array of topics, but it wasn’t until recently that he discovered—thanks to a comment from someone at a convention—one of his main preoccupations is weird and disturbing aliens.

“I sat down and looked at my work and realized, ‘Holy cow, he’s right, probably 90 percent of the stories involve aliens of some sort or another,’” Rivera says in Episode 305 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “So I think I do have a particular interest in that.”

One of his creations is an alien race called the Wergen, which is one of the most interesting alien species to appear in science fiction in recent years. Through a quirk of fate, Wergens are biologically constituted to find human beings unbelievably attractive.

“They call it love,” Rivera says. “Once they make first contact with humanity, they want to be around humans, they want to help humans, they want to just look at humans. The catch is that humans find the Wergens viscerally repulsive.”

Such a mismatch of agendas and expectations leads to plenty of conflict, which Rivera mines in stories that explore the many varieties of love, from maternal love to love for one’s pets. He thinks that even the most conceptually daring science fiction story needs a foundation of relatable emotional truth. “I love the idea of the Wergens as a symbol for unrequited love,” he says. “I think that’s a feeling that’s universal to all of us.”

Rivera has collected many of the Wergen stories into a book titled The Love War, which he’s currently shopping around to publishers, and he plans to keep writing new Wergen stories for years to come.

“The relationship between humanity and the Wergens is like a big romantic relationship,” he says. “You get to see the courtship, they get together, they get married, they have some tiffs, they divorce, and then maybe they reconcile and maybe they don’t. I haven’t figured out my ending yet.”

Listen to the complete interview with Mercurio D. Rivera in Episode 305 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And check out some highlights from the discussion below.

Mercurio D. Rivera on the New York writers’ group Altered Fluid:

“Jim Freund had asked us to do a live critiquing session on his radio show Hour of the Wolf, and a few of us volunteered. We did a drawing to see which of us would be the fortunate one—or unfortunate one, depending on your point of view—to be critiqued, and I won, so I wrote a story called ‘The Fifth Daniel,’ and we went on the show, and I read the story on the show, out loud, over the air. … And then we did our usual bit which is we went around the room, everybody took three or four minutes to give their critiques, and then afterward we had an open discussion. And all of this took place live on the radio. And then we took questions from callers, which was bizarre. We had some really strange callers. Somebody called up and said, ‘I liked the story but it didn’t have trolls in it.’”

Mercurio D. Rivera on his story “The Scent of Their Arrival”:

“When I wrote the story, I submitted it to Interzone, and the assistant editor at the time, Jetse de Vries, came back to me with some comments. He was worried that I was referring to the creatures as ‘vampires.’ He thought at the time that there were too many vampire stories that were being written, and he suggested I just not refer to them as vampires, and keep it strange, although anybody reading the story would realize these are vampires. … I’ve often tried writing fantasy stories and I wind up turning them into science fiction stories, and in this case I think I started writing a horror story and turned it into a science fiction story. But I like that, I like giving it a scientific approach and having the protagonist looking at it from a scientific perspective.”

Mercurio D. Rivera on his story “Naked Weekend”:

“I wanted to write about the fact that we live in such a highly medicated world these days. So many people are on antidepressants and other drugs that control their emotions, and I just wanted to take that idea to an extreme, and create a society where literally every emotion is regulated, and you’re only allowed to feel a certain amount of anger, or a certain amount of any particular emotion. … And this couple goes ‘naked’ for a weekend, to feel their real emotions, and I try to keep it a little bit ambiguous, actually. I thought the easy ending to the story would have been to say, ‘Hey, this is all wrong, emotions are good.’ But I wanted to make it a little bit more ambiguous, and point out the fact that a lot of times the worst things that happen in the world are due to negative emotions.”

Mercurio D. Rivera on his story “Missionairies”:

“I wanted to explore the concept of faith in that story, but I didn’t want to do a religion-bashing story. That was my worry, and the first few drafts of this I thought were kind of leaning that way, and luckily my writers’ group pointed that out to me, so I decided to try a whole different tack. I decided to take my protagonist—who you’re relating to the most—and move her on a path toward faith and toward religion. And I thought that that way it wouldn’t look like I was religion-bashing, because I really wasn’t—I wanted to just explore how little difference there is when you talk about physics and you talk about religion, there are a lot of similarities when you talk about concepts like the Big Bang and things like that. And I wanted to explore that in the story without necessarily being pro or con as to religion itself.”

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The Stormy Daniels Saga Tops recently’s online News Roundup

Another week, another tale of tumult online. Be it Fox News host Laura Ingraham having to apologize after mocking one of many Parkland pupils or the growing pushback against FOSTA/SESTA, everything a week ago felt fraught. And people are simply two associated with the stories that had individuals speaking on social media marketing. Need to know more? Right here you go.

Pardon Me Personally?

Just what occurred: After months of this matter humming within the back ground, last week had been another big one in ongoing Special research into Potential Russian Collusion.

Exactly what actually Happened: Special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe got another added twist the other day, therefore had beenn’t that Joe diGenova wouldn’t be joining President Trump’s legal group after being announced as an addition. (their state of Trump’s appropriate team was much talked about throughout the last few days, though.) Nope, the latest curveball came courtesy of the most recent court filing from Mueller.

It in fact was a filing that received a lot of attention through the news, it is this actually an issue?

…So that will evidently be described as a yes, then. It turned out, but that wasn’t the sole Mueller investigation news to come away during the last seven days, because this dropped pretty much each and every day after the Rick Gates story:

Yes, now-departed lawyer John Dowd apparently suggested Trump give consideration to pardoning two people in the centre associated with Mueller investigation.

Naturally, the White House is denying the reports, because why would anyone think in a different way? But, before anyone got too caught up because of the pardons from it all, the week finished where it began, with the revelation that Mueller wanted Gates because he views him as a link between Trump and Russia. That one, friends, will run and run.

The Takeaway: This is like a substantial understatement…

The Stormy Daniels Front Continues to Roll In

Just what took place: Meanwhile, President Trump’s other controversy—you understand, the Stormy Daniels one—continued unabated.

Exactly what Really occurred: Speaking of stories which can be set to run and run, Stormy Daniels has received a significant week previously a week. It began early a week ago with her much-anticipated 60 Minutes meeting—

—which, it turns out, numerous people (and far associated with the media, for instance) saw.

But which was simply the beginning! While individuals wondered why Trump had beenn’t responding publicly toward story—although he’s apparently telling individuals privately that she’s not his type, an undeniable fact disproven by looking at almost everyone he’s ever had a relationship with—the next stage of the Stormy plan moved into action. Therefore ended up being surprise one.

That definitely doesn’t seem advantageous to Michael Cohen. But at the least all focus is on Cohen these times, and never on his employer, the President of United States. Wait, what’s that?

OK, certain; this appears even worse than it did at first. Fortunately, there’s no opportunity your appropriate teams for either Trump or Cohen would do anything to harm themselves.

It was the move that prompted the headline “Michael Cohen’s Attorney can be a Worse Lawyer Than he could be,” which appeared like an understatement, as others pointed out. But clearly he learned his tutorial and wouldn’t duplicate the blunder the very following day…

Oh.

The Takeaway: If absolutely nothing else, this lawsuit might be going to be really entertaining to view.

Julian Assange Unplugged

Exactly what occurred: What happens each time a guy who has develop into a creature of the internet instantly has no internet access? What’s the sound of 1 hand clapping?

Just what Really occurred: It’s been awhile since we’ve heard from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but there’s grounds for that. Or, at least, there is a week ago.

As reported far and wide, Assange no longer has internet access after the Ecuadorian authorities got bored of his Twitter tirades. Well, maybe it was a bit more severe than that.

As may be anticipated, not everybody thought it was reasonable.

In the course of time a hashtag popped up supporting Assange’s directly to the online world: #ReconnectJulian.

Obviously, some one must come up with a plan to ensure that Assange can still … do whatever he really does on the web.

Perhaps not that plan, though.

The Takeaway: We think this treats the complete subject with all the seriousness it deserves…

Like The Apprentice, But on Twitter

What Happened: President Trump fired someone on Twitter. Once Again.

Just what actually occurred: Remember all of the hassle as soon as the president replaced Secretary of State Rex Tillerson via Twitter? It in fact was a move that received so much comment and disapproval there was almost certainly no chance that he’d do it—oh, wait. Never ever mind.

On one hand, it had beenn’t the greatest surprise that Shulkin was ousted, great deal of thought had been revealed simply final month he (and their staff) misled ethics officials over travel costs, claimed which he had been pushed from his work before saying he wouldn’t keep, after which declared that he had White home backing to purge the department of Veterans Affairs. Those aren’t precisely signs that he would stay static in the career for extended. Nevertheless, his ousting—and the option of replacement—raised a few eyebrows on the web. If nothing else, everyone was quick to answer Ronny Jackson’s nomination whilst the brand new guy in control of the VA.

Still, certainly Trump had his reasons as he opted for Jackson.

Yeah, that appears about right. With the individuals amazed by the nomination, it should be noted that Jackson had been one of these, in line with the Washington Post, which stated that he had been “taken aback by their nomination” and “hesitated to just take such a big task.” The interview procedure, which people suspect didn’t even happen, ended up being described by the Post as “informal,” which seems a great option to place it. Meanwhile, as Jackson was taking into consideration the future, so ended up being their predecessor; it ended up, David Shulkin had been working on his or her own going away present.

Unsurprisingly, this made headlines across the media, and likely made Jackson even more stressed about using the job. There’s probably nevertheless time and energy to say no, Ronny.

The Takeaway: Nevertheless, let’s take into account the future, shall we?

Adnan Syed’s Brand New Trial

Exactly what Happened: For longtime fans of popular podcasts, recently supplied an unexpected piece of very good news.

What Really Happened: Fans of the first season of podcast phenomenon Serial got a surprise enhance towards story of Adnan Syed on Thursday.

Those who haven’t been following Rabia Chaudry’s Twitter feed—and that have perhaps not held with Syed’s tries to overturn a murder conviction that relied upon evidence that has been not entirely convincing—that tweet could be some vague, but fortunately, other people were and details soon enough.

This is, never to put it moderately, a problem, as news coveragesuggested. Chaudry, an attorney and writer whom advocated for Syed’s case years before Serial (and whom continued to work about it after ward, not least included in the Undisclosed podcast group), was understandably elated.

Chaudry’s Undisclosed co-hosts also stepped directly into comment.

Of course, this won’t suggest Syed will soon be found innocent this time around around—but Chaudry is confident about this outcome.

Although that may need your assistance, because it works out…

The Takeaway: as well as for all those feeling as though Serial didn’t execute a adequate work of presenting Syed’s innocence, here’s a special message:

In La, Dreamscape Immersive’s Location-Based VR Brings You Right Into A Brand New World

As certain ­forward-thinking mags predicted a year ago (ahem), VR’s first mass-culture moment has arrived never as a device but as a destination. There’s far more immersive potential in a separate VR facility—with its stagecraft and high-end components—than what’s currently possible within family room. Already, organizations like The VOID and Star VR are running bespoke experiences where you can wander imaginary globes untethered, and Imax has installed digital truth centers in three of its multiplexes. Upcoming up: a brand new outfit called Dreamscape Immersive promises to supercharge the escapism of “location-based” VR.

The important thing is just a awesome motion-capture algorithm. By placing trackers on your own hands and feet, along with a laptop computer in your straight back, Dreamscape can extrapolate what your limbs are doing. The effect is just a system that brings your full human anatomy into VR and lets you share the experience—and props—with others. Playing catch with a flaming torch; trying and feeling the pinnacle of a creature that has sidled your responsibility; moving a baseball bat and connecting having real pitch: It’s all unlike whatever else into the medium. “We’re maybe not going to be a ‘VRcade,’” claims Dreamscape CEO Bruce Vaughn. “This is just a chance to transport people into imaginative worlds.”

Whenever is it possible to have a go? In 2010. The top floor of la’ Westfield Century City shopping mall will be house to a range of Yves Béhar–inspired Dream­scape “pods”—and is previewing the ability using a pop-up location until March 7. If you can’t make it to LA, AMC has devoted to setting up pods in about six other towns and cities. Oh, and Steven Spielberg can be an early investor. E.T. in VR? ZOMG.

Dreamscape Immersive

1 every thing about your avatar, from hairstyle to fashion, will likely be customizable. Nice coat, bro.

2 Headsets are improved by a formidable monitoring system.

3 aided by the computer in your straight back, you are free to roam.

4 An algorithm depends on just a couple body-tracking points to generate your avatar’s complete flexibility.


Other digital venues around l . a .

  • Disneyland: inside Void’s collaboration with ILM, Star Wars: Secrets of this Empire, you infiltrate enemy territory disguised being a stormtrooper. Pew-Pew!
  • IMAX VR Centre: Panoramic headsets and multiplayer gaming galore—including a John Wick tie-in that produces you are feeling like Keanu (in a good way).
  • Virtual Room Hollywood: You’ve played room escape games, but have you done it … in VR? Team-based egress, 21st-century style.

This article appears in March issue. Subscribe now.

WIRED’s Top Stories in January: The Diversity War Inside Google

One of WIRED’s biggest stories this month actually traces its genesis to a moment all the way back in August. That’s when a Google engineer named James Damore published a 10-page memo criticizing what he called the company’s “left bias” and its creation of “a politically correct monoculture.” The missive sent a shockwave through Google, which ultimately fired Damore, and prompted much internal discussion over the company’s diversity efforts.

Unsurprisingly, this internal reckoning has created some deep divisions within Google, and on January 26, senior writer Nitasha Tiku spoke to 15 current Google employees who say some of their coworkers are inciting outsiders to harass Damore’s critics in public forums. These Googlers, many of them de facto diversity advocates, say they have had their personal details published online and received death threats. What’s more, the employees say, their colleagues have “weaponized human resources,” goading others into saying inflammatory things that are then reported to HR in an attempt to have people punished or fired.

It all points to a larger, more foundational problem Google now finds itself grappling with. As Tiku writes in her piece, “The complaints underscore how Google’s freewheeling workplace culture, where employees are encouraged to ‘bring your whole self to work’ and exchange views on internal discussion boards, has turned as polarized and toxic as the national political debate.” Tiku’s story offers a rare glimpse into Google, which has long been tight-lipped and insular, as it navigates an increasingly divided landscape.

Of course, WIRED covered much more than that this month. Below are January’s 10 most-read stories.

Critical ‘Meltdown’ and ‘Spectre’ Flaws Break Basic Security for Intel, AMD, ARM Computers

A Google-led team of researchers has found a critical chip flaw in millions of computers that developers are now scrambling to patch. —Andy Greenberg

How Meltdown and Spectre Were Independently Discovered By Four Research Teams at Once

The uncanny coincidences among the Meltdown and Spectre discoveries raise questions about “bug collisions”—and the safety of the NSA’s hidden vulnerability collection. —Andy Greenberg

Riding a Wild Wind, a Norwegian 787 Breaks a Speed Record

A 200-mph jet stream sent several passenger jets to nearly 800 mph, and helped break a (subsonic) speed record. —Jack Stewart

The Logan Paul ‘Suicide Forest’ Video Should Be a Reckoning for YouTube

Logan Paul’s video of Japan’s “suicide forest” was a nadir for the YouTube star. And the platform that enables him. —Louise Matsakis

3.5 Billion-Year-Old Fossils Challenge Ideas About Earth’s Start

A series of fossil finds suggests that life on Earth started earlier than anyone thought, calling into question a widely held theory of the solar system’s beginnings. —Rebecca Boyle

Get a Password Manager. Here’s Where to Start

How important are password managers? Even their flaws double as reminders for why you need one. —Lily Hay Newman

The Dirty War Over Diversity Inside Google

Advocates for greater diversity at Google say they are being harassed and targeted on right-wing websites. —Nitasha Tiku

Scientists Discover Clean Water Ice Just Below Mars’ Surface

It’s not just the volume of water they found; it’s how mineable it promises to be. —Robbie Gonzalez

The Strange History of One of the Internet’s First Viral Videos

*The video known as badday.mpg has been an internet phenomenon for more than 20 years. —Joe Veix

Why the Bomb Cyclone Hitting the East Coast Is So Unusual

*Winter Storm Grayson isn’t your typical bombogenerator, and more huge storms could follow. —Megan Molteni