HBO has reportedly canceled the first prequel to Game of Thrones

One fell down and broke its crown: A Game of Thrones prequel project previously greenlit by HBO in 2018 and set to star Naomi Watts has reportedly been axed, leaving the fate of the franchise’s four other planned spinoffs uncertain.

Deadline is reporting that showrunner Jane Goldman, a producer and writer best known for writing Kingsman (2014) and The Woman in Black (2012), has announced to the show’s cast and crew that the series, which was rumored to have been called Bloodmoon or The Long Night, is dead.

Although HBO has not confirmed the series’ status, a …

12 questions about Brexit you were too embarrassed to ask

The United Kingdom’s divorce with the European Union — better known as Brexit — has become a drawn-out, contentious affair without an obvious resolution.

The UK is deeply and bitterly divided on how it should exit the EU, and what its future relationship with the bloc should look like. And in many ways, the split between those who want to leave the EU and those who want to remain within it has only hardened since the 2016 referendum, tearing apart traditional party loyalties within the UK.

Former British Prime Minister Theresa May’s government and her counterparts in the European Union …

What is “quantum supremacy” and why is Google’s breakthrough such a big deal?

Google made a huge revelation on October 23, 2019, when it announced that it had reached something called “quantum supremacy.”

Via an article in the journal Nature, Google said their quantum computer, called Sycamore, solved a particularly difficult problem in 200 seconds. For comparison, Google said the world’s current fastest classical computer — one called Summit owned by IBM that’s as big as two basketball courts — would take 10,000 years to solve that same problem.

This is what “quantum supremacy” means. It’s when a quantum computer — one that runs on the laws of quantum physics as opposed …

How foil balloons went from Instagram bait to every party in America

On October 1, 2019, over 22,000 people in the city of Vista in Southern California were left without power for half an hour after a mylar balloon hit an electric circuit breaker. It’s not a particularly unusual occurrence in the golden state: in May, a written statement from electricity supplier Southern California Edison warned that metallic party balloons are “a problem that shows no end.” Mylar balloons — the shiny, helium-filled foil kind you see all over Instagram — caused 1,128 power outages in Southern California in 2018, nearly double the 656 recorded four years earlier. The Balloon Council, …

The dog-walking startup Wag is exploring a sale

The dog-walking and pet-sitting startup Wag has been exploring a sale to potential buyers such as the pet giant Petco, Recode has learned.

Petco and Wag, which is almost majority owned by the investment firm SoftBank, have had talks over the last few weeks about a possible deal, according to people familiar with the matter. The two companies already struck a partnership deal just a few months ago, but Wag, last valued at $650 million, has reportedly stumbled with scaling its business and could be the latest company backed by SoftBank to struggle.

Wag has also approached its primary …

Vox Sentences: The California calamity

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Fire to the north, fire to the south

The debate over chanting “lock him up” at Trump, explained

When President Donald Trump was displayed on screen at Nationals Park during Game 5 of the World Series Sunday night, he was greeted with a chorus of boos — and then, a chant of “lock him up.”

And since then, a debate has broken out among some critical of Trump in the political world. Was “lock him up” an acceptable way to taunt this perennially under-investigation president? Or was it a troubling sign of the deterioration of norms about the rule of law and political disagreement?

The context, of course, is that the chant is a variation of the “lock …

The new Brexit deadline will be January 31

It’s time to revise the calendars, yet again: It looks like the new Brexit deadline will be January 31, 2020.

Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council, said Monday that EU leaders had agreed to the United Kingdom’s request for a “flextension” until the end of January. The “flextension” gives the UK the option to depart the EU earlier, if the UK Parliament can ratify the new Brexit deal and generally just make a decision on Brexit. The extension still needs to be formalized in writing, according to Tusk.

Though UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed that he …

The man who tried to disrupt Wall Street’s stranglehold on Silicon Valley is retiring

Barry McCarthy, the pioneer behind a novel method to take companies public, is leaving his role as the chief financial officer at Spotify. It’s a major loss for the streaming audio company.

McCarthy may not be well known beyond the ranks of Wall Street and Silicon Valley, but the idea he developed last year to take Spotify public — what is known as a direct listing — is one of the most important recent developments in the world of finance. When a company opts for a direct listing instead of a traditional IPO, it goes public without selling any new …

Watchmen episode 2 is a direct counterpoint to the series premiere

“Martial Feats of Comanche Horsemanship,” the second episode of HBO’s Watchmen, feels almost like a direct response to the series premiere — as if the two are intended to offer a point/counterpoint on living in a world full of superheroes.

In many ways, its structure resembles an episode of Lost, the show that made Watchmen creator Damon Lindelof’s career. Stressful events in the present are interrupted by occasional flashbacks to one of the character’s pasts — in this case Regina King’s Angela Abar. The flashbacks reveal how she became a person who could face down such …