Watch 'Stranger Things,' read about outlaw nuns and more weekend recs

Don’t know what to do this weekend? We’ve got you covered.

Stranger Things, The Last Clockwinder and outlaw nuns.

Our favorite picks for your weekend pleasure.

Image: Netflix; Cyan Ventures; Mel Magazine

If you fell out of love with “Stranger Things,” the new season might be enough to win you back. But if not, then “The Expanse” might be a good rebound. Also this week: We’re getting stuck in The Last Clockwinder and reeling over outlaw nuns who are on the run.

‘Stranger Things’ is back

I lost interest in “Stranger Things” after the second season; there’s only so much “retro meets gore” I can take. Still, the show has clearly become a cultural phenomenon, and the three-year gap between seasons three and four only seems to have rekindled the fire. When the fourth season finally debuted on Netflix last weekend, it instantly became the service’s most-watched English-language show to date. Which is a very long-winded way of saying: Fine, I’ll give it another try this coming weekend. How about you?

The Last Clockwinder's puzzles will get you

The Last Clockwinder is an intriguing new VR puzzle game with a bit of a backstory: You get to save a mysterious clocktower from sinking by solving a series of puzzles. Some of the tasks are pretty repetitive, but that’s by design: Instead of doing the same thing over and over again, you get to train gardening robots to do them for you by recording small loops of your actions. At first, the set design may be a bit underwhelming — the clock tower basically consists of a series of floors that look very much alike, and there are a bunch of decorations that you can’t interact with at all — but soon, the challenges draw you in, and seeing all those gardening robots work in unison feels oddly satisfying.

‘The Expanse’ is the perfect summer binge

“The Expanse” has a very dedicated fan base, but it doesn't have a whole lot of name recognition beyond that base. That’s what led to SyFy pulling the plug on the show after season three aired in 2018, resulting in a fan campaign to save the show, which in turn got Amazon to buy and run three additional seasons.

The show itself is set in a universe where civilization is split into three factions: Earth, ruled by a much more gung-ho version of the U.N.; Mars, whose inhabitants want to turn it into a better version of Earth; and the Belt, an industrial zone home to the universe’s underdogs. There’s a constant threat of war between those factions, coups, deceit, aliens — and, somehow, a small gang of friends with a stolen ship and a no-nonsense attitude always finds itself in the middle of everything. Amazon streams all six seasons of “The Expanse” to Prime subscribers, making it the perfect show to binge this summer.

The tale of the outlaw nuns

Looking for an escape from all the bleak news these days? Then dig in and read the tale of the Belgian nuns who quietly sold off their convent’s possessions, acquired all kinds of interesting and odd stuff and fled the country in the dead of night. Someone should turn this into a movie!

A version of this story also appeared in today’s Entertainment newsletter; subscribe here.

Every day, millions of us press the “order” button on our favorite coffee mobile application. When we arrive at the coffee shop, we expect that our chosen brew will be on the counter a few minutes later. It’s a personalized, seamless experience that we have all come to expect. What we don’t know is what’s happening behind the scenes. The mobile application is sourcing data from a database that stores information about each customer and what their favorite coffee drinks are. It is also leveraging event-streaming data in real time to ensure the ingredients for your personal coffee are in supply at your local store.

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Jennifer Goforth Gregory
Jennifer Goforth Gregory has worked in the B2B technology industry for over 20 years. As a freelance writer she writes for top technology brands, including IBM, HPE, Adobe, AT&T, Verizon, Epson, Oracle, Intel and Square. She specializes in a wide range of technology, such as AI, IoT, cloud, cybersecurity, and CX. Jennifer also wrote a bestselling book The Freelance Content Marketing Writer to help other writers launch a high earning freelance business.

How the internet got privatized and how the government could fix it

Author Ben Tarnoff discusses municipal broadband, Web3 and why closing the “digital divide” isn’t enough.

The Biden administration’s Internet for All initiative, which kicked off in May, will roll out grant programs to expand and improve broadband infrastructure, teach digital skills and improve internet access for “everyone in America by the end of the decade.”

Decisions about who is eligible for these grants will be made based on the Federal Communications Commission’s broken, outdated and incorrect broadband maps — maps the FCC plans to update only after funding has been allocated. Inaccurate broadband maps are just one of many barriers to getting everyone in the country successfully online. Internet service providers that use government funds to connect rural and low-income areas have historically provided those regions with slow speeds and poor service, forcing community residents to find reliable internet outside of their homes.

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Aditi Mukund
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How I decided to exit my startup’s original business

Bluevine got its start in factoring invoices for small businesses. CEO Eyal Lifshitz explains why it dropped that business in favor of “end-to-end banking.”

"[I]t was a realization that we can't be successful at both at the same time: You've got to choose."

Photo: Bluevine

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Bluevine got its start in fintech by offering a modern version of invoice factoring, the centuries-old practice where businesses sell off their accounts receivable for up-front cash. It’s raised $767 million in venture capital since its founding in 2013 by serving small businesses. But along the way, it realized it was better to focus on the checking accounts and lines of credit it provided customers than its original product. It now manages some $500 million in checking-account deposits.

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Ryan Deffenbaugh
Ryan Deffenbaugh is a reporter at Protocol focused on fintech. Before joining Protocol, he reported on New York's technology industry for Crain's New York Business. He is based in New York and can be reached at rdeffenbaugh@protocol.com.

The Roe decision could change how advertisers use location data

Over the years, the digital ad industry has been resistant to restricting use of location data. But that may be changing.

Over the years, the digital ad industry has been resistant to restrictions on the use of location data. But that may be changing.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade on Friday, the likelihood for location data to be used against people suddenly shifted from a mostly hypothetical scenario to a realistic threat. Although location data has a variety of purposes — from helping municipalities assess how people move around cities to giving reliable driving directions — it’s the voracious appetite of digital advertisers for location information that has fueled the creation and growth of a sector selling data showing who visited specific points on the map, when, what places they came from and where they went afterwards.

Over the years, the digital ad industry has been resistant to restrictions on the use of location data. But that may be changing. The overturning of Roe not only puts the wide availability of location data for advertising in the spotlight, it could serve as a turning point compelling the digital ad industry to take action to limit data associated with sensitive places before the government does.

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Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of RedTailMedia.org and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

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