By Kate Conger
For years, Twitter remained pretty much the same. One of its most memorable product updates was in 2017 when it doubled the number of characters that could fit into a tweet.
But in recent months, the company has signaled an itch for change, with plans for an audio chat service, a platform for newsletter writers, ephemeral content and new moderation tools that give people more control over their conversations.
On Thursday, Twitter went a step further, announcing ambitious plans to expand with new subscription options and communities for specific interests.
“The notion of Twitter even changing feels…
By Kevin Roose
A few nights ago, after my weekly trip to the grocery store, I sat in my car glued to Clubhouse, the invitation-only social audio app.
While my ice cream thawed in the trunk, I dropped in on a room where Tom Green, the former MTV shock comedian and star of “Freddy Got Fingered,” was debating the ethics of artificial intelligence with a group of computer scientists and Deadmau5, the famous Canadian DJ.
When that was over, I headed to a room called NYU Girls Roasting Tech Guys. There, I listened to college students playing a dating game…
By Steve Cavendish, Neil MacFarquhar, Jamie McGee and Adam Goldman
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Crystal Deck was opening presents on Christmas morning at her brother’s home when she heard the news that an enormous explosion had ripped through the historic heart of Nashville.
She knew instantly that the bomber was her dearest friend, Anthony Q. Warner, and quickly began fitting together clues that he had dropped, including a series of peculiar episodes she had dismissed as inconsequential, but which proved to be central to his suicidal plot.
Deck had, weeks earlier, found him fiddling with a prerecorded female voice on his…
By Ben Dooley and Hikari Hida
TOKYO — Business has never been better for Japanese anime. And that is exactly why Tetsuya Akutsu is thinking about calling it quits.
When Akutsu became an animator eight years ago, the global anime market — including TV shows, movies and merchandise — was a little more than half of what it would be by 2019, when it hit an estimated $24 billion. The pandemic boom in video streaming has further accelerated demand at home and abroad, as people binge-watch kid-friendly fare like “Pokémon” and cyberpunk extravaganzas like “Ghost in the Shell.”
By Craig S. Smith
I wake up in the middle of the night. It’s cold.
“Hey, Google, what’s the temperature in Zone 2,” I say into the darkness. A disembodied voice responds: “The temperature in Zone 2 is 52 degrees.” “Set the heat to 68,” I say, and then I ask the gods of artificial intelligence to turn on the light.
By Benedict Carey
When the pandemic first hit the Bay Area last spring, Ann thought that her son, a 17-year-old senior, was finally on track to finish high school. He had kicked a heavy marijuana habit and was studying in virtual classes while school was closed.
The first wave of stay-at-home orders shut down his usual routines — sports, playing music with friends. But the stability did not last.
“The social isolation since then, over all this time, it just got to him,” said Ann, a consultant living in suburban San Francisco. She, like the other parents in this article…
By Zolan Kanno-Youngs
MATAMOROS, Mexico — Jonathan Gutierrez and his partner, Blanca Lara, thought they would be enjoying a rare moment of hope at this misery-shrouded encampment on the U.S.-Mexico border now that Joe Biden was president. Instead, the couple and their newborn baby were huddled last week against the cold and rain in abject confusion.
For Gutierrez, 23, a Nicaraguan who was consigned to wait in Mexico 16 months ago by the policies of former President Donald Trump, Biden’s decision to resume processing asylum-seekers this week means he could soon be awaiting his day in immigration court in the…
By Sui-Lee Wee
Mark Lewis was desperate to find monkeys. Millions of human lives, all over the world, were at stake.
Lewis, the chief executive of Bioqual, was responsible for providing lab monkeys to pharmaceutical companies like Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, which needed the animals to develop their COVID-19 vaccines. But as the coronavirus swept across the United States last year, there were few of the specially bred monkeys to be found anywhere in the world.
Unable to furnish scientists with monkeys, which can cost more than $10,000 each, about a dozen companies were left scrambling for research animals…
By Motoko Rich and Hikari Hida
TOKYO — Not long after Japan ramped up its fight against the coronavirus last spring, Nazuna Hashimoto started suffering panic attacks. The gym in Osaka where she worked as a personal trainer suspended operations, and her friends were staying home at the recommendation of the government.
Afraid to be alone, she would call her boyfriend of just a few months and ask him to come over. Even then, she was sometimes unable to stop crying. Her depression, which had been diagnosed earlier in the year, spiraled. “The world I was living in was already…
By Peter Eavis and Clifford Krauss
For the past several years, BlackRock, the giant investment firm, has cast itself as a champion of the transition to clean energy.
Last month, Laurence Fink, BlackRock’s CEO, wrote that the coronavirus pandemic had “driven us to confront the global threat of climate change more forcefully,” and the company said it wants businesses it invests in to remove as much carbon dioxide from the environment as they emit by 2050 at the latest.
But crucial details were missing from that widely read pledge, including what proportion of the companies BlackRock invests in will be…