Weekly Rewind: Apple’s secret lab, astronaut applications, smartwatch cheating

International Space Station
In the tech world, a lot happens in a week. So much news goes on, in fact, that it’s almost impossible for mere mortals with real lives to keep track of everything. That’s why we’ve compiled a quick and dirty list of the top 10 tech stories you may have missed. Everything from climbing Mt. Everest in VR to Apple Pay arriving in China next year — it’s all here.

Climbing Mt. Everest in VR is so terrifying that my knees wobbled

Thanks to the power of VR, one of DT’s writers got to climb Everest, scare himself stupid on an imaginary rope bridge, then shoot down aliens in space like Han Solo. HTC’s Vive and Nvidia powered the demo, and it was an incredible experience. It was created using more than 300,000 photos of Everest, then modeled using Unreal Engine 4 by Sólfar Studios and RVX, the latter being responsible for the amazing effects in the movie Everest. The Vive hasn’t officially launched yet, but the headset is coming soon.

Read the full story here.

NBA dominates all other sport leagues, reaches 1 billion Vine loops

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Wikimedia Commons / Keith Allison

Football may be the overlord of television ratings, and baseball may be America’s (way in the) past time, but basketball rules the social media landscape — and it just planted another flag. The National Basketball Association became the first sports league to accumulate a billion loops on Vine.

Read the full story here.

Apple Pay coming to China in early 2016, company announces

apple-china-store-pudong

Apple Pay is finally set to roll out in China. The Cupertino company said Thursday it’d struck a deal with China UnionPay, the country’s powerful credit- and debit-card processor which already has around five million payment terminals at retail sites across the nation. The deal also involves 15 of China’s leading banks, the company said in a release. Apple said its mobile payments service would arrive in 2016.

Read the full story here.

Seattle just became the first city to allow Uber and Lyft drivers to unionize

Uber

In a landmark unanimous decision on Monday, the Seattle City Council voted to allow Uber, Lyft, and other for-hire drivers the right to unionize. It’s a move that these transportation giants have tried desperately to avoid, as the regulations that come along with unionizing (or the ability to do so), may come as a hindrance and lessen the edge the companies have maintained over traditional taxi services.

Read the full story here.

Wanna be an astronaut? NASA has just opened application process

nastronaut
NASA

NASA on Monday officially launched its application process for its next lot of space travelers, and anyone can apply. Sure, competition will be super-tough, and you’ll need some solid qualifications under your belt, but who’s to say you’re not up to the job. “NASA is on an ambitious journey to Mars and we’re looking for talented men and women from diverse backgrounds and every walk of life to help get us there,” NASA administrator and former astronaut Charles Bolden said in a release.

Read the full story here.

Next page: 5 more tech stories you might have missed this week

Rise of smartwatches prompts top Japanese university to ban ALL watches from exams

exam

One of Japan’s top educational institutions has banned all watches from entrance exams in an effort to limit options for cheats. The move by Kyoto University reflects a growing concern that smartwatches could be used by dishonest examinees to access forbidden information, the Wall Street Journal reported. However, the university has decided to issue a blanket ban on all wristwatches as it’s not always easy to tell at a glance if someone’s watch is old-school or smart.

Read the full story here.

Facebook, Google, and Twitter pledge to take down hate speech within 24 hours in Germany

woman-using-facebook

The Internet in Germany is about to get quite a bit cleaner, as the German government reached an agreement with Facebook, Google, and Twitter to have the three behemoths take down hate speech within 24 hours, reports Reuters. With Germany already having to cope with an influx of more than 1 million refugees, its government has been trying to crack down on rising online racism due in large part to the influx.

Read the full story here.

Spoiler alert: Reddit is banning users who post Star Wars: The Force Awakens details

Star Wars The Force Awakens
Disney

A lucky few viewers have already seen the eagerly anticipated new Star Wars movie. Although some attendees immediately posted spoiler-free reviews on Twitter, others have not been so well behaved. Moderators on the popular link-sharing forum Reddit warned users that people are purposefully posting Star Wars: The Force Awakens spoilers in threads. Fortunately, moderators at the popular /r/movies subreddit have taken it upon themselves to save the day by banning spoilers.

Read the full story here.

Apple has a secret laboratory where it’s developing new screen technology

Apple-Screen

Apple has a secret laboratory in Taiwan, where it’s suspected of working on new display technology for use in future Apple devices, according to sources speaking to Bloomberg. Apple apparently moved into the facility in April this year, and in October, changed its Taiwanese company records to list it as its local headquarters.

Read the full story here.

Tinder is now having you swipe right on being an organ donor

Tinder-Organ-Donation

While most people are looking for a love match on Tinder (or at least a hook-up), a new partnership with the United Kingdom’s National Health Service has users swiping right for a different sort of match. In one of the more interesting use cases of the app to date, the NHS is creating special profiles that will prompt matches to sign up as organ donors, sending them a link to the NHS Organ Donor Registry.

Read the full story here.

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