Science, history, and purring cats: Brief podcasts for the nerdy set

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Enlarge / Podcasts with your interests—and attention span—in mind.

Aurich Lawson / Getty Images

The beauty of the podcast format is also sometimes its curse: arbitrary episode lengths. Finding a new podcast to love can be daunting when episodes regularly exceed the hour-long mark. If you’re struggling to commit to podcasts on topics like history and science, don’t fret: We have recommendations for great series that typically serve complete episodes well under half an hour.

Science Diction

Sometimes the best way to recover from stress is to focus on learning something new. Science Diction helps with this by presenting the

Lawn chairs and kitchen tables: Ergonomics in the involuntary work-from-home era

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Enlarge / This is your skeleton. This is your skeleton working from home. Any questions?

Aurich Lawson / Getty Images

With offices shuttered around the world, many people are experiencing working from home for the first time—or experiencing it in much longer doses than they were used to. Many companies are planning to keep employees working remotely at least part of the time well into 2021. And some are considering making it permanent.

Countless people have had to improvise their work-at-home workspaces. But now that we’re several months in, some of that improvisation may be wearing thin. And one of

TikTok deal tests Microsoft’s decades of China experience

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Cindy Ord | Getty Images

More than two decades of efforts by Microsoft to put down roots in China may soon bring a partial pay-off, if it succeeds in steering through the purchase of TikTok’s US business.

But as relations between the US and China continue to deteriorate, the software company’s long-term bet on the Chinese market is also facing its most uncertain period yet.

Microsoft’s involvement in the Chinese tech world, dating from its creation of a research centre in Beijing in the late 1990s, has left it with important personal connections. Zhang Yiming, the founder of ByteDance, the

Avengers video game beta impressions: Destiny, this ain’t

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Enlarge / Avengers, assemble. (All images from this article were captured from real PS4 Pro gameplay, so this is how the Avengers look in their new 2020 video game.)

Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix

After over a year of rumors, teases, and reveals, we have finally played the upcoming Avengers video game, slated to launch on PS4, Xbox One, and Windows PC on September 4. It’s arguably the biggest Avengers-themed game ever made, in part thanks to a massive effort by developers Crystal Dynamics (makers of the modern Tomb Raider trilogy). Many of you will soon get to play the

The challenges Microsoft faces in buying TikTok’s US arm

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Getty Images

Microsoft has said it wants to buy the US arm of TikTok, the Chinese viral short-video app that is in the crosshairs of regulators and the White House.

But a deal, which is likely to run to several billion dollars, faces myriad technical and political challenges and will have to satisfy Zhang Yiming, the app’s founder, his powerful investors both in China and the west, and the Trump administration.

Microsoft said it would aim to complete a deal by September 15, but in an internal letter to staff on Monday, Mr Zhang said the talks were “preliminary” and

After a splendid flight test, NASA now has a new ride to space

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Dragonship Endeavour is flying free, on its way back to Earth

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Enlarge / Crew Dragon backs away from the International Space Station on Saturday.

NASA TV

On Saturday evening the Crew Dragon spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, named Dragonship Endeavour, undocked from the International Space Station to begin its journey home.

The undocking came after NASA and SpaceX determined the spacecraft would find calm seas and light winds off the coast from the Florida Panhandle, in the Gulf of Mexico, on Sunday. This will be the first water landing for a U.S. spacecraft since 1975, when an Apollo capsule splashed down after the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project

Electric car startup Lucid is challenging Tesla’s anti-lidar stance

Patrick

Electric car startup Lucid doesn’t like the phrase “Tesla killer,” but the comparison is hard to avoid. The company raised $1 billion from Saudi Arabia two years ago and is working on the Lucid Air, a high-end battery electric sedan reminiscent of Tesla’s Model S. Lucid is scheduled to officially unveil the car in September and begin selling it next year.

One area where Lucid is looking to differentiate itself from its more established electric rival is with its advanced driver-assistance system (ADAS) called DreamDrive. Elon Musk has ambitious goals for Tesla’s Autopilot technology, but the company has struggled to

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