Big Tech &
PayPal is exploring a stock-trading platform for its U.S. customers (3 minute read)
PayPal is exploring ways to let users trade individual stocks. The company recently hired brokerage industry veteran Rich Hagen to lead a previously unreported division at PayPal called 'Invest at PayPal' and explore opportunities in the consumer investment business. Business has been good for trading platforms, with more than 10 million new individual investors entering the market in the first half of this year. It is unlikely that the service will roll out this year due to the lengthy application process.
TikTok’s parent company acquires VR headset maker Pico (2 minute read)
ByteDance is acquiring Chinese virtual reality headset maker Pico. Pico caters to both consumer and professional customers and it is known for its Neo lineup of standalone virtual reality headsets. It is the third-largest VR headset manufacturer, after Oculus and DPVR. Pico recently released the Pico Neo 3, which launched exclusively in Asia. The company has so far avoided direct competition with Oculus, but it plans to release headsets in North America and Europe soon. It is unclear how the acquisition will affect Pico's rollout plans.
Scientists: Octopuses Love to Fling Objects at Each Other (2 minute read)
Octopuses will deliberately throw things at other octopuses, a behavior that hints at advanced social dynamics among the creatures. New footage showing a female octopus throwing silt at a male 10 times in a row after he attempted to mate with her led scientists to conclude that the behavior was intentional. Octopuses have been observed punching fish out of spite, so this is not the first time octopuses have been found to be moody.
Luminate aims to make hair loss from chemotherapy a thing of the past (3 minute read)
Luminate Medical has created a medical wearable that prevents hair loss resulting from chemotherapy. The device is a sort of mechanized compression garment for the head. It restricts blood flow to the skin of the scalp during chemo sessions, allowing the drugs to flow where they are needed while saving the hair follicles from damage. Animal tests have resulted in hair retention of around 80 percent with no adverse side effects. It will still take some time for full human trials to be set up, but initial tests show that it works exactly as expected on people as well. Luminate plans to sell its treatment for $1,500.
Programming, Design & Data Science
RefineDB (GitHub Repo)
RefineDB is a strongly-typed document database that runs on any transactional key-value store. It currently supports FoundationDB for distributed deployment and SQLite for single-machine deployment. A Web Playground demo is available.
China bans online gaming for minors except from 8 pm-9 pm Friday to Sunday (3 minute read)
China has issued new rules banning minors from playing video games more than three hours a week. Minors will only be allowed to play games from 8 pm to 9 pm, Friday to Sunday. Enforcement measures will primarily target online games and online services related to gaming. Gaming companies must implement real-name verification systems and link online games to a state anti-addiction system. China's government blames video game addiction for a host of societal ills and it has a long history of imposing restrictions on the video game industry.
How Lord of the Rings changed big screen battles forever (12 minute read)
Massive is a software that creates computer-generated armies using artificial intelligence to simulate realistic battles at tremendous scales. It was designed specifically for Lord of the Rings and has since been used for many other productions, including Game of Thrones and Marvel's Avengers: Endgame. This article tells the story of how Massive was developed and used in several productions. The software has evolved and gotten better over the years, but the core elements have stayed the same, showing how far ahead of its time the software was when it was made 20 years ago.