• Shiny and chrome! Rendering sparkly surfaces in CG just got massively better

    Shiny and chrome! Rendering sparkly surfaces in CG just got massively better

    As the graphics in games and movies edge closer and closer to photorealism, even the subtlest tricks of the light must be simulated. For years an especially tough one has been recreating the sparkling, uneven surfaces of water, metals and other materials — but these glints can now be rendered 100 times faster than before thanks to a new technique from computer scientists at UC San Diego. Read More

  • Pandora struggles to find new footing as music streaming becomes commoditized

    Pandora struggles to find new footing as music streaming becomes commoditized

    Pandora, in a story we’ve seen before with many other maturing companies, is facing an existential crisis. The company now finds itself fighting for its life against competition from the core platforms its service exists on: Android and iOS. Both of them — and Amazon as well — have launched their own music-streaming products, and they’re baked into the core experience. Read More

  • Daimler hits the gas on electric and autonomous driving tech

    Daimler hits the gas on electric and autonomous driving tech

    Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler intends to up its spending on research and development, the company revealed during its quarterly earnings call on Thursday. The high-end car maker is going to route a lot more money toward areas key to the future of driving, including autonomous driving tech, a brand new generation of batteries for electric vehicles and alternative drive… Read More

  • Billionaire investor Peter Thiel is reason No. 1 to tune in to the RNC with us tonight

    Billionaire investor Peter Thiel is reason No. 1 to tune in to the RNC with us tonight

    Original post 2 p.m. PT. Scroll below for commentary and to watch the live stream with us.  Donald J. Trump is, to put it gently, not well liked within the Silicon Valley tech industry — and not because it is the liberal bastion it’s often portrayed to be. Mary Meeker, Meg Whitman and other tech leaders are die-hard members of the Republican Party and plenty of those among… Read More

  • Facebook scraps another Snapchat clone: 24-hour “Quick Updates”

    Facebook scraps another Snapchat clone: 24-hour “Quick Updates”

    Poke failed. Slingshot failed. But Facebook is still trying to mimic Snapchat with a new Stories-style feature it’s been testing called “Quick Updates”. These 24-hour ephemeral updates are buried in a special part of the app, and won’t show up in News Feed or on your profile. We received these screenshots from our reader Tiffany Zhong of Binary Capital who is one of… Read More

  • Indigo bets on microbes to boost plants

    Naturally found microbes have the potential to increase crop yields. With $156M raised to date, Indigo thinks now is their big moment. The microbes are the first commercial product from Indigo, a Boston startup that is testing bacteria, fungi and other tiny organisms’ ability to improve crops’ hardiness. The company announced a $100 million Series C funding round today that will go toward expanding research and development, and to prepare for the launch of a similar product later this year targeting wheat.

  • PayPal ticks up 2% on earnings, Visa partnership

    PayPal ticks up 2% on earnings, Visa partnership

    PayPal reported earnings after the bell on Thursday, showing $2.65 billion in revenue for the quarter, when analysts were expecting $2.6 billion. Adjusted earnings per share was also in line with Wall Street estimates at 36 cents. Shares ticked up 2 percent in after-hours trading, in part because of a Visa announcement that was timed with earnings. The new partnership with Visa emphasized… Read More

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