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of course he did
September 20, 2018

After presumably running through a list of every item in existence that could conceivably be operated by Alexa, Amazon has come for the microwave.

The company on Thursday unveiled a whole slate of new Alexa-powered devices including its WiFi-connected, voice-activated microwave. Though the Amazon Basics Microwave, which will cost $60, does not have Alexa built into it, it uses Alexa by connecting to a nearby Echo device, per CNET.

Users will be able to tell their microwave, through Alexa, how long to cook their food for and which setting to use. For certain foods, simply telling Alexa what is being cooked will enable the microwave to punch in the right cook-time, as Amazon's David Limp helpfully demonstrated on stage by telling his machine to heat up a potato. The microwave comes with "dozens of quick-cook voice presents," Engadget reports, and it even comes equipped with a special Dash button that you can use to order popcorn.

You do need to press an Alexa button before issuing any commands, though, so the idyllic dream of a totally button-free microwave experience — alas — remains out of reach for now. Read more about Amazon's microwaves, as well as the larger slate of products the company unveiled Thursday, at CNET. Brendan Morrow

September 12, 2018

In a speech to the American Petroleum Institute on Tuesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) didn't act like an incumbent in a statistical tie with his Democratic challenger. He was calm, collected, and comfortable discussing cannibalism, The New York Times reports.

Cruz clutched a McDonald's coffee cup as he walked into a glitzy ballroom to address energy executives Tuesday, per the Times. He then took the stage to share what he called his "joyful warrior" approach to this campaign. For example, when Cruz saw a Twitter handle reading "Ted Cruz ate my son," the senator said he "was really tempted to tweet, 'He was delicious.'" But he didn't, because he said he's here to "have fun" and ignore the hate as the midterms approach.

The senator has faced an unexpectedly strong challenge from the progressive Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, who's essentially campaigning on the hope that Texans find Cruz too slimy to re-elect. White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney even suggested Cruz might lose because he's not "likable," the Times previously reported.

But Cruz said Tuesday that he would rather not respond to "extreme anger and hatred on the other side" — a category that certainly includes accusations of eating other humans. Cruz's "job is to represent 28 million Texans," he said, and he takes it "deadly seriously.” Kathryn Krawczyk

November 16, 2017

President Trump has yet to comment on the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Republican Alabama Senate nominee Roy Moore, but he condemned Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), who was accused on Thursday of kissing and groping a woman for the camera in 2006.

"The Al Frankenstien picture is really bad, speaks a thousand words," Trump tweeted Thursday night. "Where do his hands go in pictures 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6 while she sleeps? ….." He followed up with another tweet, still not about Moore. "And to think that just last week he was lecturing anyone who would listen about sexual harassment and respect for women. Lesley Stahl tape?"

Speaking of tapes, Trump himself was famously caught on video making vulgar comments about women and bragging about groping and kissing them without consent, telling Access Hollywood's Billy Bush in 2005: "When you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything ... grab them by the pussy." Catherine Garcia

September 18, 2017

On Monday, President Trump opened his first-ever remarks as president to the United Nations General Assembly with a shout out to one of his luxury properties. "I actually saw great potential right across the street, to be honest with you, and it was only for the reason that the United Nations was here that that turned out to be such a successful project," Trump said about Trump World Tower, immediately after thanking the world leaders and diplomats gathered for the annual week-long summit in New York City.

USA Today noted that Saudi Arabia bought the Tower's 45th floor, and "turned those into part of the Saudi Mission to the United Nations."

After that, Trump turned to talking about the reforms he believes are needed at the organization he once criticized as a "club for people to get together, talk, and have a good time." "[I]n recent years, the United Nations has not reached its full potential because of bureaucracy and mismanagement," Trump said, warning that he's "not seeing results in line with this investment" made by America. He proceeded to outline plans for reform, including "clearly defined goals and metrics" for "every peacekeeping mission" and a bigger focus on "results rather than on process."

As he'd walked in Monday morning, he'd proclaimed that "this will be a great week." Trump is slated to give a speech Tuesday, and later in the week he will meet with other world leaders. Becca Stanek

April 3, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has instructed Justice Department officials to review the reform agreements reached between the department's civil rights division under the Obama administration and police departments nationwide. In a memo, Sessions says the point of the review is to make sure the agreements are aligned with the Trump administration's focus on protecting police and improving officer morale.

Sessions said his top two deputies will review the reform agreements, also known as consent decrees. The memo was released right after DOJ lawyers from the civil rights department asked a federal judge to postpone for at least 90 days a hearing on a consent decree with Baltimore's police department. That agreement, designed to keep officers from violating the civil rights of residents, was reached in the wake of Freddie Grey's death in 2015 from injuries sustained while in Baltimore police custody.

In a filing on Monday, the DOJ said it needed time to determine if the agreement fits with "the directives of the president and the attorney general." This move is opposed by Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh and Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, with Pugh telling The Washington Post, "Any interruption in moving forward may have the effect of eroding trust that we are working hard to establish." Civil rights activists are also concerned that this new directive could put in jeopardy agreements that have not yet been finalized, including one with Chicago's police department. Catherine Garcia

February 13, 2017

The Alps. Sigmund Freud. Coffee. The scenic nation of Austria has made a name for itself in a number of notable ways, but do not discount being the setting of the The Sound of Music among them. In fact, President Donald Trump has reportedly promised a Sound of Music-obsessed musician the ambassadorship to Austria on a handwritten note, The Palm Beach Daily News reports.

The musician, Patrick Park, is a concert pianist, not to be confused with a guitarist by the same name whose accolades include writing the final song for the series finale of The O.C. This Patrick Park is instead described by The New York Times as "a regular on the Palm Beach social calendar who is an active charity fund-raiser." He has also seen The Sound of Music "like 75 times."

"I know every single word and song by heart. I've always wanted to live in the Von Trapp house," Park said. The Palm Beach Daily News writes that the president thought Austria would be a "good match" for Park because the nation "is steeped in musical culture."

"I'm flying to Vienna to check out the embassy, and then I'm going to Salzburg to see if the Von Trapp house is for rent," Park joked. "And then I'm going to learn to like schnitzel and sachertorte."

He added, "I have known [Trump] almost 20 years. Seeing the great things he has done makes me want to be part of his team. I'm excited beyond words." Jeva Lange

January 30, 2017

Well, there you have it. Chris Miller, the co-director of the new Han Solo-centered Star Wars spin-off, has thrown his answer in the ring regarding George Lucas' controversial and oft-debated edits to the 1997 re-release of A New Hope:

Okay, okay: It's probably just a pun to mark the first day of shooting on the spin-off film. But come on, of course Han shot first.

The Solo-centric film is set to be released next year, with Hail Caesar! star Alden Ehrenreich front and center as a young Solo and Atlanta's Donald Glover taking on the role of Lando Calrissian. Woody Harrelson and Emilia Clarke are also involved in the project. Phil Lord will direct alongside Miller; the two have worked together on 21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie, and their respective sequels.

And no, the title of the new film is not Star Wars: Red Cup. The film is still officially nameless — though it is certainly not pun-less. Sarah Weldon

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