Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket will go reusable, with the company aiming for mid-air helicopter recovery

Private rocket launch startup and SpaceX competitor Rocket Lab made a big announcement today: It’ll be looking to re-use the first stage of its Electron rockets, returning them to Earth with a controlled landing after they make their initial trip to orbit with the payload on board. The landing sequence will be different from SpaceX’s however: They’ll attempt to catch the returned first stage mid-air using a helicopter.

That’s in part because, as Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck told a crowd when announcing the news today, the company is “not doing a propulsive re-entry” and “we’re not doing a propulsive landing,” and instead will leach off its immense speed upon return to Earth through a turnaround burn in space before releasing a parachute to slow it down enough for a helicopter to catch it.

There are a number of steps required to get to that point, but already, Rocket Lab has been looking to measure all the data it needs to ensure this is possible through its last [...]  read more

Disney will bundle Hulu, ESPN+ and Disney+ together for the same price as Netflix

Disney CEO Bob Iger announced a new bundle offer that will include the company’s three main streaming services – ESPN+, Hulu and the upcoming Disney+ – all for the same price as a standard Netflix subscription ($12.99 per month in the US).

Iger made the announcement during a call with investors today, and was picked up quickly by The Verge.

The bundle, which is only available in the US, will almost certainly put pressure on Netflix and Amazon who have similarly priced services – and could be a key strategy in getting folks to ditch those services for ones offered by Disney.

“The positive response to our direct-to-consumer strategy has been gratifying, and the integration of the businesses we acquired from 21st Century Fox only increases our confidence in our ability to leverage decades of iconic storytelling and the powerful creative engines across the entire company to deliver an extraordinary value proposition to consumers,” Iger said in a press release accompanying [...]  read more

Eight Women Founders Share Their Insights on AI and IntimacyAI & Surroundings

Technology is transforming how we communicate love and closeness, it also carries enormous potential to help us in developing deeper emotional and personal connections. AI specifically, has shifted what we think is possible with sex, adding more options for those who have a difficult time with intimacy.

Unfortunately, due to systemic bias in technology, current developments in AI and intimacy tend to not reflect the needs of women. 

This is where the categories of femtech and sextech come in. Femtech encompasses the usage of digital applications (software, medicines, products, and services) to improve women’s overall well-being, with sextech being more specific to sexual wellness and pleasure. Today, these fast-growing fields are being led by women inventors, engineers, and entrepreneurs addressing issues in every facet of women’s lives – including intimate relationships. 

Much of the current coverage regarding AI’s impact on intimacy is reflective of male perspectives [...]  read more

BlockFi, which lends money to cryptocurrency holders, just raised $18.3 million led by Valar Ventures

Last year, we told you about a New York-based startup that had begun lending cold hard cash to cryptocurrency holders who don’t want to offload their holdings but also don’t necessarily want so much of their assets tied up in cryptocurrencies.

Today, that two-year-old company, BlockFi, is announcing $18.3 million in Series A funding led by Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures, with participation from Winklevoss Capital, Morgan Creek Digital, Akuna Capital, and earlier backers Galaxy Digital Ventures and ConsenSys Ventures.

Apparently, BlockFi is gaining some traction.

Last year, after raising $1.5 million in seed funding from ConsenSys Ventures, SoFi and Kenetic Capital, it secured $50 million led by Galaxy Digital Ventures (the digital currency and blockchain tech firm founded by famed investor Mike Novogratz) that is used to loan out cash to customers who use their bitcoin and ethereum holdings as collateral.

The minimum deposit required: $20,000 worth of cryptocurrency.

According to founder [...]  read more

The best headphones and speakers for back-to-school season

Bluetooth speakers are almost a requirement now in any home, dorm or park. Ultimate Ears, a brand known for strong specs and reliable build quality, has continued that tradition with its latest Boom 3 and Megaboom 3 speakers. The exterior has a pleasing new design, robust battery and IP67 waterproofing, making them safe for full shower and pool use. The micro-USB port, meanwhile, is now conveniently located on the side, thereby cutting down on cable mess.

If you’d prefer wireless charging to plugging in, you can also get the Power Up dock so your speaker is always ready to grab and go. Unlike their Alexa-powered siblings, the Boom/Megaboom 3 retain stereo pairing as well as the ever-useful PartyUp mode. This allows one mobile device to connect to more than 150 Boom-series UE speakers at one time for an expansive, crowdsourced sound. On top of that, up to eight Bluetooth devices can be paired to one speaker at the same time for quick takeovers. And if you’re strapped for [...]  read more

The Looser a State’s Gun Laws, the More Mass Shootings It Has

It happened again. This time, gunmen in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio murdered 31 people and injured at least 50 more in separate mass shooting attacks within 13 hours of each other Saturday night and Sunday morning. It was, in many ways, just another weekend in America, the only nation in the developed world where horrific gun massacres regularly occur. Though nothing new, the frequency of such public mass shootings appears to have accelerated over the past five years, along with larger and more tragic death tolls. According to one recent analysis by The Washington Post, a mass shooting event has claimed the lives of four or more people every 47 days since June 2015. In the mid-’90s, such attacks happened just twice a year, on average.

But this surge in public executions has not swept across all corners of the country equally. Hawaii, for instance, hasn’t seen a mass shooting since 1999. Florida, on the other hand, has had six such incidents, defined by the US government as four [...]  read more