King, Warrior, Magician, Revisionist: The Enduring ‘Masculine’ Book that Romanticizes Cro-Mags

A few weeks ago, the popular YouTuber and “strongman” Elliott Hulse posed in an Instagram photo with a shotgun resting against his shoulder. “There’s an attack on masculinity,” the caption read. He went on to write that “men are being feminized, emasculated, and sterilized in the womb.” The post was a promotion for Hulse’s coaching program for men, which is guided by the framework of four key archetypes for manhood: king, warrior, magician, and lover. In a recent Instagram story, he barked at the camera while holding that gun again,If you want to join a group of likeminded men… message me the word ‘king.’”

This time, he cocked the gun for dramatic effect.

Hulse’s coaching program appears influenced by the 1990 book King, Warrior, Magician, Lover: Rediscovering the Archetypes of the Mature Masculine, and he isn’t alone. The book, a spirituality title that hit the bestseller list at publication, is now enjoying renewed popularity within the thriving realm of Instagram-savvy self-help gurus focused on the topic of masculinity. Its influence is evident in everything from specialized “magician” workshops to YouTube guidance on “becoming a KING” to a one-day “warrior training.” Currently, it ranks as an Amazon No. 8 bestseller in the category of “Men’s Gender Studies,” just behind Neil Strauss’s The Game and John Gray’s Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.

The book isn’t just beloved by men waving around guns on social media. King, Warrior, Magician, Lover is also embraced by long-haired men who carry wooden staffs, beat drums in the desert, and talk about “inner work.” Three decades after it was published by Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette—a psychoanalyst and mythologist, respectively—the book has found a diverse new audience of seekers. This is despite the fact that Moore in 2016 murdered his wife before dying by suicide.

In light of its enduring and broad-based cachet, I decided to read King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, not as a historical relic, but as a reflection of the models of masculinity that are gaining traction these days. I found a book that, although written in the early nineties, was thoroughly disinterested in reimagining the future of masculinity. Instead, it gazes longingly backward to the distant, and fictive, past. That is to say nothing of its unapologetic gender essentialism, heteronormativity, and cultural appropriation—as well as poetic reveries about cavemen. These are among the same concerns raised by feminists back in the nineties in response to the rising “mythopoetic men’s movement,” which popularized weekend retreats where privileged men traveled into the woods and went “wild,” and of which this book was a major influence.

Here we are, again. Still.


Published in 1990, King, Warrior, Magician, Lover decried a “crisis in masculine identity of vast proportions” in which it feels “increasingly difficult to point to anything like either a masculine or a feminine essence.” This was not an optimistic, progressive celebration of a needed move away from gender essentialism, but rather a distressed call for a return to it. As Moore and Gillette saw it, this so-called crisis of blurred delineations was a result of the “breakdown of the traditional family,” in which an absent father “wreaks psychological devastation,” damaging “both his daughters’ and his sons’ ability to achieve their own gender identity and to relate in an intimate and positive way with members both of their own sex and the opposite sex.”

But it hurt grown men, most especially. They argued that men were “overwhelmed by the feminine” and missing “an adequate connection to the deep and instinctual masculine energies, the potentials of mature masculinity.” Moore and Gillette saw feminism as partly to blame for leveling “critique upon what little masculinity [men] could still hold onto for themselves.” They held a moralistic and conventional vision of the ultimate reward for achieving adequate masculine connection: “Monogamy… can be seen as the product of a man’s own deep rootedness and centeredness,” they wrote. (Of course, the book was also fundamentally heteronormative and homophobic, given the veneration of the “traditional family” and the critique of fatherless households.)

They weren’t alone in identifying this supposed masculinity crisis. Earlier that same year, poet Robert Bly’s bestseller Iron John: A Book About Men identified the problem of modern men who lacked traditional masculine role models. He blamed this on the Industrial Revolution for taking fathers out of the domestic sphere and leaving boys with the femininizing influence of mothers. Together, these books helped launch the mythopoetic men’s movement, which attracted white, middle-class, middle-aged, heterosexual men with a sense of entitlement to an outdated masculine ideal. In a 1995 essay collection written by “profeminist men,” Michael S. Kimmel and Michael Kaufman wrote, “The men’s movement is the cry of anguish of privileged American men, men who feel lost in a world in which the ideologies of individualism and manly virtue are out of sync with the realities of urban, industrialized, secular society.”

Moore and Gillette, as with Bly, didn’t just blame feminism. They blamed “the disappearance of ritual processes for initiating boys into manhood.” Rituals in “traditional societies” facilitated a move from “Boy psychology” to “Man psychology,” they explained. “By disconnecting from ritual we have done away with the processes by which both men and women achieved their gender identity in a deep, mature, and life-enhancing way,” they wrote. Without these rituals, they argued that “Boy psychology” dominates, meaning “abusive and violent acting-out behaviors against others” as well as “passivity and weakness, the inability to act effectively and creatively in one’s own life and to engender life and creativity in others.” Patriarchy, they said, was simply the result of the “immature masculine.”

In contrast, they upheld their notion of the “mature masculine,” which is often informed by a romanticization of the distant, and sometimes prehistoric, past. For example, Moore and Gillette wrote of visiting “the caves of our distant Cro-Magnon ancestors in France,” descending by lamplight into “the dark of those otherworldly, and inner-worldly, sanctuaries” and jumping “back in startled awe and wonder at the mysterious, hidden wellsprings of masculine might we see depicted there.” They wax about the bison, antelope, and mammoth “that leap and thunder in pristine beauty and force across the high, vaulted ceilings” and the “handprints of men, of the artist-hunters, the ancient warriors and providers, who met here and performed their primeval rituals.”

They found hope for a return of the “mature masculine” in “tribal” rituals that allow boys to be “reborn” as men. These rituals use “a specially constructed hut or house,” a “cave,” a “‘magic circle’ of magicians,” or “the vast wilderness into which the would-be initiate is driven… to find his manhood.” Most important, “this space must be sealed from the influence of the outside world, especially, in the case of boys, from the influence of women.” Initiates experience “terrifying emotional and excruciatingly painful physical trials,” as they “learn to submit to the pain of life, to the ritual elders, and to the masculine traditions and myths of the society.” They learn to submit to masculine tradition.

A promotional video for a one-day “warrior training.”

It’s no surprise the mythopoetic movement, of which this book was a key influence, saw the explosion of weekend men’s group retreats, often inspired by those aforementioned “tribal” rituals. Kimmel and Kaufman wrote that this trend had men wandering “through anthropological literature like post-modern tourists as if the world’s cultures were an enormous shopping mall filled with ritual boutiques.” Moore and Gillette in particular snatched “theories from Native American cosmology, Jungian archetypes, and images from ancient Egypt, 7th century Tibet, Aztecs, Incas, and Sumerians.” They added, “All are totally decontextualized.”

Not only did these ritual retreats involve cultural appropriation, but also a particularly ironic flight from parental responsibility, given the critique of the damage done by absent dads. Kimmel and Kaufman explained that workshop attendees “are middle-aged men, many of whom are, themselves, fathers,” although they “rarely speak of their own children.” While these men are off in the woods, their wives are at home taking care of the kids. “Men breaking down their isolation and fears of one another is important, but to get to the core of the problem requires men to play a role in domestic life through equal and shared parenting.” That is where men will find the “emotional qualities that they have rejected in real life,” they argued, not by “stomping through the wood hugging other men who have taken totemic animal names.” Kimmel and Kaufman continued:

They are to be found in the simple drudgery of everyday life in the home. Cleaning the toilet, ironing, or washing dishes are not romantic—you don’t have to be a ‘golden eagle’ to keep your nest clean. But they are the everyday stuff of nurtured care. They are skills that are learned, not received by divine revelation after howling at the moon in the forest.

Moore and Gillette, however, were adamant in presenting masculine maturation as happening apart from “the influence of the outside world” and, most specifically, the realm of women. “What is missing is not, for the most part, what many depth psychologists assume is missing; that is, adequate connection with the inner feminine,” they wrote. Instead, men need “an adequate connection to the deep and instinctual masculine energies.”

Of course, those “energies” are the subject matter of the book’s title: the masculine fairytales that Moore and Gillette paradoxically take to be both fundamentally true of, and aspirational for, men. “It is our experience that deep within every man are blueprints, what we can also call ‘hard wiring,’ for the calm and positive mature masculine,” they write. Suffice to say, Moore and Gillette are no fans of Judith Butler. In the world of King, Warrior, Magician, Lover, there is no distinction made between sex and gender, and gender isn’t seen as a performative but rather “hard wiring.” Oddly, though, this “hard wiring” seems to require cultural creation in the form of elaborate rituals and in-depth archetypal instruction.

The book’s four masculine archetypes are drawn in part from the psychoanalyst Carl Jung, who famously theorized the “collective unconscious,” a concept of cross-cultural “instinctual patterns and energy configurations probably inherited genetically throughout the generations of our species,” as Moore and Gillette frame it. They argue that, throughout history and across cultures, “we see the same essential figures appearing in folklore and mythology.” In these figures, Moore and Gillette apprehend fundamental truths and values from which men have been harmfully distanced.

Their archetypal survey often feels like reading the quick-start instruction manual for a stack of Tarot cards. “The King archetype in its fullness possesses the qualities of order, of reasonable and rational patterning, of integration and integrity in the masculine psyche,” they write. “It stabilizes chaotic emotion and out-of-control behaviors.” The warrior archetype “is a basic building block of masculine psychology, almost certainly rooted in our genes,” they argue. It’s an “energy” that is “universally present in us men and in the civilizations we create, defend, and extend,” they claim. The magician, they say, “is the knower and he is the master of technology,” they say, giving the example of Merlin, King Arthur’s magician. Finally, there is the lover, whom they define as “the primal energy pattern of what we could call vividness, aliveness, and passion.”

Even outside of weekend retreats, it’s possible for men to get in touch with these “mature masculine” archetypes, according to Moore and Gillette. They liken all four figures to board members of the psyche and encourage men to engage in “active imagination dialogue” with “these energy forms that wear our faces but are timeless and universal.” They also suggest a technique of archetypal “invocation” wherein a man might focus on “an image of a Roman emperor on his throne” and “talk to the image” while calling “up the King inside” himself, and engaging in something like prayer. “Tell him that you need him, that you need his help—his power, his favor, his orderliness, his manliness,” they wrote.

Another advocated approach is acting “as if” one were one of these archetypes. “On the stage, you act kingly, even if you’ve just been fired from your job and your wife has left you! ‘The show must go on,’ and others are depending on you to play your part well,” they explain. “So you pick up your script; you read the king’s lines; you sit on the throne; and you act like the king. Pretty soon, believe it or not, you will start to feel like a king.” Essentially, fake it ‘till you make it.

The publication of King, Warrior, Magician, Lover was followed by four additional books, each diving into an archetype at greater length. It’s not just that there was that much more to say about Merlin as a prototype for mature “magician” masculinity, but also that they theorized that each of “the archetypal energy potentials in the male psyche” has a three-part triangular structure with the “archetype in its fullness” up top and the “bipolar dysfunction, or shadow, form” at the bottom.” For example, accompanying the king archetype is the “Tyrant,” who “instead of seeing others” seeks “to be seen by them,” and the “Weakling,” who “lacks centeredness, calmness, and security.” The shadow, argued Moore and Gillette, is where most men live.


When Moore killed his wife, psychotherapist Margaret Shanahan, and himself in 2016, his colleagues and followers searched for explanations. Some pointed to the couple’s alleged financial problems, while others suspected that Moore’s alleged vascular dementia was a contributing factor. (The research on people with dementia committing murder is limited and suggests that such cases are uncommon. Typically, in murder-suicides involving elderly couples, it’s the victim, not the perpetrator, who has dementia.) Inevitably, many also turned to Moore’s own teachings on the shadow to make sense of the deaths.

“Someone like Moore, who was working on himself for decades is healthy enough not to manifest shadow energetics in pure form,” wrote the author Colin E. Davis in a blog post titled, “A Master’s Teaching in Disguise.” “But if circumstances arise which weaken the ego, especially physiological degradation such as he was experiencing, these energetics rise up.” Similarly, Eivind Figenschau Skjellum, founder of the “men’s work” site Reclaim your Inner Throne, said in a video, “It’s like the darkness that he dedicated his life to really mapping out and fighting… it seems to have taken him in the end.”

Amid these interpretations, the impact of the murder-suicide on the book’s enduring popularity was negligible. Last year, I spoke on background with a man within a progressive men’s group who said that Moore’s deadly violence led many to stop directly naming or quoting him, but the popularity of his ideas, frequently estranged from their now marginally controversial source, persists.

In fact, his ideas are often used by followers to explain a wide range of violence committed by men. In promoting his coaching program, the gun-toting Hulse blames archetypal shadows for headline-making “killing sprees headed by men who are sexually frustrated” and “men finding themselves ‘stuck’ in relationships they don’t want, and resorting to drastic, horrifying means to escape them.” He writes on his website, “The balance (or lack of) [sic] of these archetypes has been unconsciously impacting our decisions, actions, and thoughts for years.” Yet so many of King, Warrior, Magician, Lover’s contemporary followers decline to question these fundamental archetypes of masculinity—or their insistent belief in, and entitlement to, enacting those ancient models of manhood.

In that ’90s profeminist essay collection, the philosopher Ken Clatterbaugh wrote that the mythopoetics fail to “look at male privilege and institutionalized power as a source of the harms that come from the masculine role.” Instead, they blame feminists, industrialization, absent dads, shadows. Of course, many men are living in the shadows—of static conceptions of masculinity promoted by books like King, Warrior, Magician, Lover. In the evaporation of “either a masculine or a feminine essence,” Moore and Gillette saw grave danger, rather than potential and possibility. They taught men to “submit” to, rather than let go of, “masculine traditions and myths.” They responded to changing social roles by reaching and grasping ever more desperately for the ancient and fictional. Three decades later, the future of masculinity still can’t escape its imaginary past.

AMD says RX 6000 Big Navi will be ‘by far the most powerful gaming GPU we have ever built’

AMD just announced its new Zen 3-powered Ryzen 5000 series CPUs, but CEO Lisa Su didn’t stop there, ending her presentation with a preview of AMD’s other big PC announcement: the company’s upcoming RX 6000 “Big Navi” GPUs, which it’s set to announce on October 28th.

While full details on the upcoming lineup of graphics cards won’t come until later in October, Su is setting expectations high, promising that the RX 6000 lineup offers “by far the most powerful gaming GPU we have ever built.”

Su also offered a brief preview of what to expect from the company’s top-of-the-line Ryzen 5000 CPUs working together with the new RX 6000 series GPUs, showing a short clip of Borderlands 3 running at 4K resolution at over 60fps at “Badass Quality,” along with benchmarks for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (88fps for 4K gameplay at ultra settings) and Gears 5 (73fps for 4K gameplay at ultra settings).

The new RX 6000 GPUs are a big deal for AMD: not only do they mark the company’s most powerful graphics cards yet, but they will also see the debut of the company’s next-generation RDNA 2 graphics architecture. RDNA 2 isn’t just powering the new desktop PC GPUs; it’s also the basis for the custom GPUs in both the Xbox Series X / S and the PlayStation 5.

While AMD didn’t call out Nvidia directly during today’s presentation, it’s hard not to look at those numbers and start comparing them to the company’s recently released RTX 3080 GPU, which makes similar promises of practical 60fps-plus 4K gaming. That said, we’ll have to wait for AMD to give some more concrete details before it’s possible to really compare the two GPU lineups.

AMD is expected to formally announce the RX 6000 series of GPUs on October 28th.

Exxon Just Got Dethroned as the Top U.S. Energy Company

“Relationship ended with ExxonMobil. Chevron is my best friend now.” - The energy market

“Relationship ended with ExxonMobil. Chevron is my best friend now.” – The energy market
Photo: Spencer Platt (Getty Images)

On Wednesday, Chevron became the biggest oil company in America. It’s the first time Exxon and its predecessor, Standard Oil, haven’t occupied the throne since the late 1800s. RIP to a real(ly bad) one.

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The covid-19 pandemic has not been kind to Exxon. It’s lost over $1 billion since the crisis began, with its analysts noting that if oil prices don’t increase, its proven oil reserves could drop 20%. In August, it fell off the Dow Jones for the first time in nearly a century. And last week, its analysts warned it likely saw its third consecutive quarterly loss, meaning it’s now relying on debt to pay for its capital expenditures and dividends. Because energy giants are gonna energy giant, the company has taken this crash out on workers.

Exxon’s grand decline has come despite its best efforts to be the fossil-fueliest fossil fuel company around. Unlike some of its major industry competitors, the corporation hasn’t disclosed its emissions forecasts or committed to ramping down fuel production. In fact, leaked documents earlier this week showed it plans to ramp up its emissions dramatically.

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Among Big Oil, Exxon’s climate plan was dead last in a recent analysis by Oil Change International. In fact, it was one of just two companies that didn’t meet a single one of the organization’s measures. The other was—guess who?—Chevron, its biggest competition, which has similarly failed to make a plan to reach carbon neutrality or set long term goals to phase out oil production, among other metrics.

On the one hand, this may show that bad climate plans have helped both companies have stayed dominant by polluting. Exxon and Chevron have both maintained a bigger market share than competitors who have paid lip service to making changes to mitigate their impact on the climate.

But on the other, it shows that committing to drilling for more oil and gas won’t save these companies. The pandemic has accelerated a fall in the fortunes of American oil companies; Chevron’s share price has dropped 39% in 2020, while Exxon’s has fallen by 52%. But Exxon and Chevron aren’t alone in this decline either. Because of falling demand for fossil fuels, faux-woke oil companies like BP are crashing, too. Dozens of smaller players are also struggling to pay loans or going bankrupt as well. The data is showing us that the reign of fossil fuels may be coming to a long-overdue end, and that expanding oil and gas production is no longer a profit-making strategy.

But that’s not to say we should just let this market decline work its magic. As Oil Change’s recent study shows, even the highest-ranking energy companies’ plans for the transition are completely unscientific and dangerous from a climate perspective. Plus, the firms have basically no policies in place to protect their workers or the environment amid their decline.

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That’s why regulators should step in, ensuring the transition away from fossil fuels happens in a carefully planned manner that protects workers from being left with nothing. Polls show voters want this, too. It’s time for our leaders to realize that there’s no point in pledging allegiance to a failing industry. The transition away from fossil fuels is happening because of economics and because it has to. But the future of the planet and industry workers depends on how that transition goes.

Facebook bans troll accounts linked to conservative group Turning Point USA

Facebook has removed a group of fake accounts tied to Turning Point USA, the conservative youth organization caught coordinating a “troll farm”-style social media campaign last month. The company’s latest report on coordinated inauthentic behavior says it banned 200 Facebook accounts, 55 pages, and 76 Instagram accounts linked to Turning Point and a marketing firm called Rally Forge, which is now banned from Facebook.

Facebook says it began its investigation after The Washington Post reported on “some elements” of the campaign in September. The operation apparently started in 2018 around the US midterm elections, then reappeared in June 2020 as the presidential election heated up. As the Post described, it focused on leaving coordinated Facebook comments — including ones supporting President Donald Trump, criticizing rival Joe Biden, questioning mail-in voting, and supporting sport hunting in Kenya and Botswana.

Des Moines Register article posted on Facebook with a comment reading “Mail-in ballots are such a horrible idea. A dangerous amount of ballots will be lost or won’t arrive in time. The smartest thing to do is to vote in person.”
An example of the group’s comments.

Turning Point characterized its operation as coordinated “sincere political activism conducted by real people who passionately hold the beliefs they describe online, not an anonymous troll farm in Russia.” But Facebook describes the most recent accounts it removed as “‘thinly veiled personas’ whose names were slight variations of the names of the people behind them,” and it says their “sole activity on our platform was associated with this deceptive campaign.” It also says the group spent around $973,000 advertising on Facebook and Instagram.

Turning Point USA has occupied a prominent position in conservative politics during the 2020 election. Founder Charlie Kirk gave the first speech at the 2020 Republican National Convention, and he’s been retweeted by Trump and other major Republican figures. Turning Point also isn’t the only conservative organization recently censured for coordinated misinformation campaigns. Activist Jacob Wohl was charged last week with running a multi-state voter suppression operation, following a ban from social media for planning an election interference initiative. Wohl and his partner in alleged crime appeared in court today.

I regularly forget that I have New York’s COVID-19 exposure notification app

Back in April, Apple and Google announced that they were teaming up to develop a Bluetooth Low Energy-based contact tracing system to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Last week — five months later — New York, where I live, launched an app called COVID Alert NY that uses the system. After months of following news of its development and watching the rollout of apps in other states, I was excited to have the option to use it myself. I downloaded it, tucked it in a folder on my iPhone — and promptly forgot about it.

Contact tracing is a key public health tool during a pandemic like this one. It usually takes manual detective work: public health officials track down anyone who might have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 and alert them. They’ll ask them to get tested or quarantine in an effort to stop the virus from spreading. The goal of an app like COVID Alert NY is to help automate that process. Apps can’t replace standard, manual contact tracing, but in theory, they can augment it by flagging exposures to the virus.

COVID Alert NY explains how the exposure notifications work.

But apps like this only work if lots of people download them. An unscientific survey of the replies to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s tweet about the app doesn’t inspire confidence it’ll take off. Dozens of people were skeptical of the reassurances that it doesn’t actually track location. A few days after the app’s launch, COVID Alert NY had been downloaded over 300,000 times, but there are nearly 20 million people living in the state.

The chance that someone who is within six feet of me at the grocery store also has the app is probably pretty low right now. But my apartment building just posted a flyer about the app, and friends tell me they’ve heard about it through news alerts and in Facebook groups. More people may start to use it, but it’s still hard to know if enough will sign on to start impacting the spread of the virus.

Despite that lingering question, the app itself is easy to use. It does a good job explaining how the system works (through Bluetooth, which you have to keep on to use the app) and what information it actually collects (it pings random codes between phones that are within six feet of each other for more than 10 minutes). If you test positive for COVID-19, a public health official can ask you if you have the app and if you’re willing to give them access to the codes that were shared with your phone. If you say yes, the phones will get a notification that they were potentially exposed to the virus and the date of that exposure.

The app also gives a clear explanation of the permissions it needs before it asks them. It wants to sense nearby phones and to send notifications if your phone is on the list of codes from a person who has COVID-19. The iPhone pop-ups where you agree to those permissions only appear after you hit “next” on the screen explaining what’s about to happen.

The app explains why it’s asking for certain permissions from your phone.

It’s less clear in the app, though, that it’s based on Google and Apple’s system. The description in the Apple App Store explains that relationship, but if you didn’t read through it, that’d be easy to miss. If you knew that the tech companies were building a contact tracing system but then were told to download this app from the state of New York, it’d be easy to think that they were two separate things.

I’ve only opened COVID Alert NY a few times since downloading it last week. The app doesn’t need me to do anything in order to pick up Bluetooth signals; it just hums along in the background. It has a few additional functions, though, that could be useful: it displays the state’s COVID-19 case numbers and percent positivity rate, and I can check that data by county as well. It also gives users the option to anonymously report any physical symptoms of COVID-19. Symptom surveillance is one way that public health officials can track the spread of a disease.

But I’m not filling that form out regularly because I’m not using the app regularly. There’s no way to set up an alert to remind myself to submit my symptoms, which is probably a good thing. I don’t want to see any notifications from COVID Alert NY. Ideally, it’ll stay buried on the last screen on my phone for the duration of the pandemic, and I’ll never hear anything from it at all.

Amazon shows off its new Rivian-built electric delivery van – Roadshow

We’ve known for a hot minute that Rivian and Amazon were working together to create a purpose-built electric delivery van. We’ve seen renderings and even clay models. Now, we’re seeing the real thing (probably).

Amazon released a video on Thursday that showed off what is probably at least a productionlike version of its planned delivery vehicle and made sure that it was packed chockablock with fake Philip Glass music and excited delivery people. Despite all that, we’re pretty stoked about what we’re seeing.

As you might expect from a delivery van, the Rivian/Amazon unit is a big box on wheels. It’s got a cheerful-looking face and lots of forward visibility. The interior cargo area is tall and looks like it has a nice, low load floor. Basically, from an aesthetic standpoint, this thing looks like the result of a wine cooler-fueled night of passion between a FedEx truck and a Sprinter van, but electric.

Rivian is working on packing this thing with safety tech too, which is nice to see in a commercial vehicle. Specifically, it’s added tons of sensors for modern advanced driver assistance systems and a 360-degree-capable camera setup. It also strengthened the driver’s door for better impact protection and added a bulkhead door to keep packages from clobbering the driver in the event of an accident.

This electric vehicle represents a big part of Amazon’s push to become carbon-neutral by 2040, which is cool. The company also operates electric cargo bikes in some dense urban areas and has been seen testing electric delivery robots too.

The vans are slated to hit the road in 2021, and frankly, we’re hoping they’ll let us test-drive one.

Now playing: Watch this: Amazon’s newest Echo can follow you


4:46

SpaceX Starman dummy finally makes it to Mars in Elon Musk’s red Tesla – CNET

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Starman abides.

SpaceX

Starman has finally made it to the red planet — sort of. 

It’s been over two and a half years since SpaceX successfully demonstrated its Falcon Heavy launch system. Rather than using a hunk of concrete or some other sort of ballast for a test payload, Elon Musk offered up his cherry red Tesla piloted by a dummy in a spacesuit named Starman.

Starman was set on a trajectory toward Mars, the planet Musk hopes to help transform into a new destination for humans in the coming decades. 

Just over 32 months later, the Tesla finally made its first close pass by Mars on Wednesday, according to a tweet from SpaceX.

Early calculations of the Tesla’s path through the cosmos show it has assumed an orbit around the sun that has it meandering back and forth between the orbits of Earth and Mars, roughly. 

This is Starman’s first close pass by Mars, but it’s not particularly close at just under 5 million miles (8 million kilometers). According to Ben Pearson, who developed the unofficial Where Is Roadster online tracker, the Tesla will be making a significantly closer pass of the red planet on April 22, 2035 at 1.4 million miles (2.3 million kilometers).

We’ll have to wait a lot longer for Starman to make a swing by Earth. His next close pass won’t be until 2047, when the warranty on his Tesla will be long expired. 

How to Do the ‘Cat Smile’ and Make Cats Fall in Love With You

For both cats and people, the eyes may be the way to the heart.

For both cats and people, the eyes may be the way to the heart.
Photo: Oli Scarff (Getty Images)

Scientists say this one weird trick will make a cat like you, or at least not be so repulsed by you.

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A new study found that cats who were greeted with “cat eye narrowing movements”—more commonly known as slow blinking—became more likely to return a similar expression to their owners or even strangers than when given no interaction or a neutral glance. The cats in the study also became more likely to approach strangers following a slow blink. The results, the authors argue, indicate that slow blinking can help people establish “positive emotional communication” with felines.

Researchers in the UK finagled dozens of household cats with healthy eyesight for a pair of experiments. In the first, 21 cats belonging to 14 owners were tested in their homes. The owners were instructed on how to slow blink, defined by the researchers as a series of half-blinks where the eyelids never fully close on one another, “followed by either a prolonged eye narrow or an eye closure.” Then the owners, placed no more than 3 feet away from their cats, either avoided interacting with the cats (the control) or played out the slow blink sequence.

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The cats, the first experiment found, were significantly more likely to narrow their eyes following their owners’ slow blinking than they were in the control condition (only a handful of cats closed their eyes fully under either condition, so it wasn’t possible to tell a difference there).

The second experiment, carried out with another 24 cats not used in the first, featured the same basic set-up but with a stranger instead of the owner. The cats were also tested on whether they would walk toward the stranger. This time, the cats were more likely to approach the stranger following the slow blink than they were when the stranger flashed a neutral expression with no eye contact made.

The study’s findings were published in Scientific Reports this week.

Cats who were given a slow blink by an unfamiliar human were more likely to approach them afterward than when first given a neutral expression, the study found.

Cats who were given a slow blink by an unfamiliar human were more likely to approach them afterward than when first given a neutral expression, the study found.
Image: Humphrey, et al/Scientific Reports

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The notion of slow blinking being a way into a cat’s heart is hardly new, and it’s been long an anecdotal tip that popular cat behaviorists and other cat fans have offered up. Scientifically, domesticated animals like dogs, horses, and certain livestock are known to respond to human facial cues. Though cats aren’t quite as outwardly friendly to their owners as canines, more evidence is starting to emerge that they can clearly develop an expressive social relationship with humans. But according to the authors, this is the first experimental evidence suggesting that slow blinking can have a relaxing effect on how cats interact with humans, given that cats became more willing to approach a stranger.

“We show that slow blink interactions appear to be a positive experience for cats, and may be an indicator of positive emotions,” they wrote.

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Less certain is exactly why cats seem to like seeing slow blinking from us and why they respond in kind. One theory voiced by the researchers is that cats are only responsive to slow blinking because they can tell that their owners responded positively in the past when they did it. In other words, they may only like it because they like us, so to speak. That’s less likely an explanation, the authors wrote, because the same basic pattern still played out when a stranger slow blinked in the experiments, rather than a cat’s owner. It’s possible there’s something about the slow blinking itself that is soothing for a feline. Since it’s thought that cats perceive long direct eye contact from others as threatening, for instance, the slow blink sequence may have evolved as a strategy for cats to know that the situation isn’t meant to be tense.

Cheddar ‘Chiz’ Cara, the only cat to be awarded an Ig Nobel prize three years running.

Cheddar ‘Chiz’ Cara, the only cat to be awarded an Ig Nobel prize three years running.
Photo: Ed Cara

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Whatever the explanation, the authors say it’s yet more evidence that cats really can enjoy the presence of humans. However, they add, “further research would be necessary before coming to firm conclusions about the emotional state associated with slow blinking/responding to slow blinking.”

Indeed, even if slow blinking does turn out to be a handy way to smile back at your cat, there may very well be some cats who simply don’t respond to it, just as there are idiosyncrasies in human-to-human communication. Case in point, my own cat, who has become more friendly and loving since being found abandoned three years ago but still carries the same blank expression on his face no matter how many times I slow blink at him.

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Acura MDX interior teasers reveal digital gauge cluster, massaging seats and more – Roadshow

The MDX’s interior looks to be a big step up.

Acura

Acura released a bunch of new MDX teasers on Thursday, this time showing its next-generation SUV’s interior. We got our first glimpse at the new MDX last week, in a very rad teaser that looks like it’s straight out of an ’80s video game. We’re glad Acura is continuing that neon-esque theme with these new photos.

The new MDX will be revealed in prototype form on Wednesday, Oct. 14, but despite this not-quite-finished status, it should give us a pretty good idea of what to expect from Acura’s next-generation three-row SUV. For now, the company confirms the prototype will have open-pore wood, hand-wrapped leather with French stitching and quilted, massaging front seats.

On the technology front, the MDX looks to be chock full of the good stuff, with a high-definition infotainment display, 25-speaker ELS premium audio system, LED ambient lighting and a fully digital gauge cluster. It’s unclear if Acura’s infotainment technology will be any different than what’s found in the new TLX sedan, though the center screen looks a little bigger here in the MDX.

Overall, even in these teasers, we like what we see. The two-tone steering wheel is something you don’t commonly find outside of superpremium cars, and the stitching on the seats looks fantastic. The general cockpit design reminds us a lot of the TLX, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, even if the center stack is kind of busy and still has that huge Dynamic Mode knob right in the middle.

We’ll have the full scoop on the Acura MDX when it officially debuts next week, so check back then for more.

Reviewing the Galaxy Watch 3 on one charge – CNET

Welcome to our new series One Charge Challenge, where we test a device’s most fun features through a series of challenges — in a single battery life cycle. For episode one, I try out Samsung’s new Galaxy Watch 3. I’ve never worn a smartwatch before, so was excited to try out the health and fitness features, get a sense of my overall “stress” level, and even take a shower with it. Enjoy!

Be sure to check out our full in-depth review of the Galaxy Watch 3, here:

Now playing: Watch this: Galaxy Watch 3 stands out from the rest


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What other gadgets would you like to see put through the one-charge ringer?