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Following criticism, Robinhood backtracks on checking and savings feat

Earlier this week, stock-trading app Robinhood announced that it would offer a new feature to users in early 2019: a checking and savings account that didn’t have any fees attached to it. But after the feature received intense criticism, the company appears to have backtracked, saying that it plans “to work closely with regulators as we prepare to launch our cash management program.”

Launched in 2014, the company allowed users to trade stocks on companies listed on the US stock exchanges for free. A year later, its userbase had grown to “hundreds of thousands” of customers who had “transferred $1 billion” on the platform. Earlier this year, it launched a new feature that allowed users to trade cryptocurrencies, and reportedly began...

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Watching a Breath of the Wild speedrunner collect Koroks is mesmerizin

Hundreds of Koroks, the child-sized forest spirits that can increase your storage capacity, are hidden throughout Hyrule in Breath of the Wild. Everyone knows that the map is full Koroks, but you don’t really get a sense of how flush the map is with these critters until you watch an expert Zelda player collect as many Koroks possible, as quickly as possible.

Known as speedrunners, these savant players compete in a variety of different formats that stipulate the rules for their play through. Some runners, for example, try to blaze through the game as fast as possible, completion rates be damned, while others try to finish every single part of the game. The latter is referred to as 100% speedrun, and one Zelda player in particular, Swiffy,...

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Watch Blue Planet II this weekend along with scientists on Twitter

If you’re looking for a nature documentary to watch this weekend, and you’d like some expert company, you’re in luck. The first season of the BBC Natural History Unit’s stunning documentary Blue Planet II is now streaming on Netflix. And, starting this weekend, fans have the chance to sync up their favorite episodes with a live Twitter commentary from ocean experts.

The documentary explores the oceans from the coasts to kelp to the creatures that live in the sea. The first season premiered in the US on BBC America earlier this year, and it’s now available to cord-cutting Netflix subscribers in the US and Canada. “It’s supposed to be one of the most amazing wildlife documentary series ever filmed,” says David Shiffman, a postdoctoral...

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This week’s best deals include cheap iPads, video games, e-readers,

The holidays are just over a week away, though you still have time to buy gifts and have them delivered in time without gouging your wallet from expedited shipping charges. Best Buy is offering free shipping until December 25th, Target is shipping items for free until December 22nd, and Amazon will end its free two-day shipping for non-Prime members on December 18th.

What’s more, some retailers are pulling out the stops by lowering prices to what we saw during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Consider this your last call to get gifts before prices go back up.

Smart speakers and streaming devices

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Trump’s Interior Secretary will step down at the end of the year

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke will step down from his post at the end of the year, according to President Donald Trump, who tweeted the announcement this morning.

The announcement comes after several high-profile departures from the Trump administration this year, including White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt.

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The Star Wars Archives is a monster behind-the-scenes book

You could fill an entire library with books about the production of Star Wars. There are extensive making-of compendiums, behind-the-scenes reference guides, volumes of concept art, official biographies, narrative nonfiction, and more that are full of every imaginable nugget of information about how George Lucas created his universe. The arrival of a new Star Wars book is hardly news, but The Star Wars Archives a new, massive tome from art book publisher Taschen — is nonetheless worth picking up.

Written by film historian Paul Duncan, the book is an exhaustive collection of behind-the-scenes interviews, pictures, concept art, and script pages that charts the course of production for the first three Star Wars films and the sometimes...

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11 new trailers you should watch this week

I finally got around to watching one of the movies I’d been most interested in seeing last year: Columbus, the debut feature from the film essayist Kogonada. It’s a deliberately slow, gentle movie that’s largely about two people talking through their problems while stuck together in a slow-moving town.

What’s really neat about the film is how deeply integrated its plot and dialogue are with its locations. The film is set in Columbus, Indiana, a city filled with modernist architecture. It provides a really strong visual backdrop, but it’s also the subject of so many of the characters’ conversations, since both have deep relationships with architectural studies.

Having the setting so deeply integrated gives a purpose and a drama to each...

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22 predictions for social media in 2019

Just like that, 2018 has come to a close. I realize there are a few days left in the year, but the content industry is already well into its cycle of recaps and predictions, and readers can be forgiven if they would like to their attention to more festive matters to close out the year. Personally, I have a lot of shopping to do — but I’ll also be spending the time planning 2019. It’s going to be a big year for The Interface, and I need to spend some time away from Twitter to give it some shape. There may be a bonus issue or two — I have a few stories publishing before the end of the year that are relevant to our interests here — but otherwise your daily rundown of the day’s top news in social networks and democracy will return Jan. 7th.

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Hyperloop startup Arrivo is shutting down as workers are laid off

Futuristic transportation startup Arrivo shut down its operations this week, The Verge has learned. All of the company’s 30 or so employees were furloughed in late November, with about half being completely laid off at the end of that month, according to two employees who were granted anonymity because they signed non-disclosure agreements. Now, the Los Angeles startup is shutting down because it hasn’t been able to secure new funding, these people say. Remaining employees were informed Friday via text messages seen by The Verge, or by phone.

The hyperloop-style company was started in 2017 by former SpaceX engineer Brogan BamBrogan, who was a co-founder of Hyperloop One. Two of BamBrogan’s fellow co-founders had resigned in the months...

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Alexa can now arm your home security system — including Amazon’s R

You would think that Amazon’s Ring home security system and Amazon’s Echo smart speakers would intelligently work together, right? You’d be mostly wrong — but today, the company is taking another small step towards tying them together by letting you arm, disarm, and check the status of some Ring, ADT, Honeywell, Abode, and Scout security systems just by asking Alexa to do so.

And since I recently bought a Ring Alarm for my own house — Dan convinced me with his review — I decided to give the new functionality a spin this afternoon.

It’s a pretty simple integration, honestly. You install the Ring skill from the Skill Store in your Alexa app, make sure Alexa can see your alarm system, and then you can use the following commands (in the...

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