Gravitational waves, Einstein and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries, Technology

So, you do you want to hear two black holes colliding? Take a listen (audio from the New York Times):

Imagine coming up with a theory that upends 200 year-old accepted laws of physics because something about it just doesn’t make sense to you. Imagine not having any kind of instrumentation to even experiment the equations that you come up with and in fact, would take a hundred years for you to be proven right. Imagine coming up with an equation so elegant as this:

E = mc2

That was Einstein. But imagine also, the minds that came up with LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) and the willpower of some who pushed for building it amidst all the budgetary constraints and the skepticism? Yesterday’s announcement of the first direct detection of gravitational waves is not just about proving Einstein’s prediction on the existence of ripples in space-time set off by violent and cataclysmic events in the universe. More than anything, I find it very human in the beauty and perseverance of the people who made this happen. So, yesterday should not be rejoiced by the scientific community alone but by all of us because, see what we can be capable of? By the way, nice Googly, insider scientific joke there:

Gravitational waves? We're relatively excited.

A post shared by Google (@google) on

If you need a refresher on Einstein’s theory of general relativity, there’s a great infographic here. Or if you’re like me, I get a refresher during an afternoon car ride with my husband, which is pretty cool too.

Here are this week’s most relevant news in tech and retail (just in case space-time is not your thing):

  1. Google: In boost to self-driving cars, U.S. tells Google computers can qualify as drivers; Google reportedly building a completely stand-alone virtual reality headset
  2. IRS says identity thieves nabbed 100,000 income tax e-file PINs
  3. Medicine: 23andMe and Women’s Health Startup Celmatix Combine Forces To Research Genes Affecting Infertility; Robotic system can lead to faster medicine development
  4. Visa takes 9.99% stake in Square
  5. Zenefits CEO steps down over compliance issues

In retail:

  1. Amazon launched a free sommelier service to help customers buy wine; Yes, you can rely on Amazon’s new game engine during the zombie apocalypse
  2. Marc Jacobs will price 70% of its handbags under $500
  3. Yoox Net-a-Porter beats forecast with 2015 pro-forma sales of 1.7bn euros
  4. Adidas sees higher profit after 2015 earnings beat estimates
  5. L’Oreal sales beat estimates on accelerating luxury growth
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