11 TechCrunch Stories You Don’t Want To Miss This Week

From the ice bucket challenge to a nuclear fusion startup, here are our best stories from the week of 8/9 to 8/15.

  1. The ALS ice bucket challenge has swept the nation, and this week several of the top dogs in tech decided to participate. We have Mark Zuckerberg, Satya Nadella, Phil Schiller, Tim Cook, and Bill Gates. Gates wins for the award for the most elaborate setup. The ALS Association has reported an absolutely massive spike in donations since this started.
  2. Building a nuclear fusion reactor that can generate more energy than is put in to make it work is one of the biggest challenges facing engineers today. Y Combinator and Mithril Capital Management are investing $1.5 million in Helion Energy, a Redmond, Washingon-based startup that plans to build a nuclear fusion reactor. Welcome to the future.
  3. Uber is about to launch an API. If the API is a hit, Uber buttons could make every app a Manhattan street corner where you can hail a ride at any time. We also put together a beautiful gallery that explains the brief history of Uber. Meanwhile, Uber and Lyft are still in a slap fight.
  4. If you think big data is big, just wait. Projects from companies like GE could have a profound impact on how we process and deal with big data.
  5. The folks at Skully are looking to give an added layer of safety to the bike-riding thrill-seekers of the world. Skully’s smart helmet also became the fastest funded Indiegogo campaign to hit $1M.
  6. Amazon has launched a Square competitor called Local Register.
  7. It’s becoming clear that some of what Windows 8 emphasized and introduced will be scaled back in Microsoft’s next Windows build. It’s time to say goodbye to Windows 8. In other Microsoft news, we wish they would keep pumping out projects like this.
  8. The Westboro Baptist Church, the group known for its hate-filled picketing outside the funerals of soldiers and those who died of AIDS, targeted the tech industry this week. This is how San Francisco responded.
  9. The humble business card still hasn’t been killed off by a digital alternative, but paper inevitably presents a barrier to accessing and utilizing data. SwivelCard is a paper business card that includes a USB stick interface so the business card can be stuck into a USB port and then point the user to a particular webpage.
  10. Darrell Etherington argues that the iPhone will be the device of the year. A few days after Darrell published this story, Samsung announced a new metal-edged smartphone that takes its design language a step closer to the iPhone.
  11. Danny Crichton examines the logic of crazy valuations. The investment decisions of the 1990s that propelled Amazon, eBay, and Google to stardom now seem almost quaint.

In other news, Sarah Perez did a deep analysis into why #Ferguson wasn’t trending for a lot of social media users. If you didn’t hear about OnePlus’ sexist contest, you need to read this. Also, did you know that you can now send more than just a “yo” in the Yo app? To wrap things up, check out this video from the madmen at Harvard. They simulated real life swarms with tiny robots. Until next time…