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Why Facebook Wants Oculus Rift and Other Fascinating News on the Web

Mar 26, 2014

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1. VRoooom

I'd love to go shopping with Mark Zuckerberg. People were still buzzing about Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp when the company announced they were dropping a cool $2 billion on the makers of the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality headset that enables immersive viewing and gaming. Zuck explained the move into VR and shared his vision for the future: "Imagine enjoying a court side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face -- just by putting on goggles in your home." (Or, imagine the world's most effective beer goggles...) The Atlantic's Megan Garber has some answers to your basic questions, including: what's Oculus Rift?

+ I think Felix Salmon gets it right: "The trick is to use Facebook’s current awesome profitability and size to acquire a portfolio of companies; as one becomes passé, the next will take over. Probably none of them will ever be as big and dominant as Facebook is today, but that’s OK: together, they can be huge." It's also worth noting that the tech industry is dominated by a few massive players, and deals like the Oculus acquisition are as much about who didn't buy a company as who did.

+ Josh Topolsky: Greetings from Planet Facebook.

2. Thanks for the Kick

It wasn't that long ago when Oculus got a boost from a Kickstarter campaign. In this case, early backing of a high-flying startup doesn't mean a big payoff. Here's a look back at the original Kickstarter campaign.

+ One of the people who put money into that Kickstarter fund isn't too happy with the outcome. Here's Minecraft creator Markus Persson on the deal: "I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook."

3. Viral Marketing

If you don't have health insurance, next week is your last chance to sign up for individual coverage through 2014. But if you don't have health insurance, there's a really good chance you don't know that.

+ Whether you have health coverage or not, the hospital can be a dangerous place. About one in twenty-five patients who seek care in a hospital acquire an infection there.

+ Can technology prevent surgeons from accidentally leaving stuff in their partients?

4. iPutin

Russians like their iPhones, McDonald's burgers, and Estee Lauder makeup just like people in many parts of the world. And the companies that sell those products really like the Russian market and spent much of last year opening new stores. Businessweek's Kyle Stock asks a fair question: Now what?

+ Along with Crimea, Putin has also taken control of Ukraine's dolphin army.

+ Putin is harder to spy on than most world leaders. Why? Because he doesn't use a cell phone and he rarely looks "into that place where you apparently live, that Internet."

+ According to a recent report, Russia warned the U.S. about the potential danger presented by Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. And officials may have missed out on an opportunity to question Tsarnaev because of a spelling error.

5. Giving it the Old College ROI

Ever wonder which colleges and majors will make you the most money? Well, you might want to start by applying to Harvey Mudd College. (If you're after a big pay day, skip the college. Build a messaging app.)

+ Here's more on ranking colleges according to earning potential from the folks at FiveThirtyEight.

6. Near Beer

"It’s a matter of seeing yourself in another person, and sometimes seeing something you don’t like." From NYT Magazine: The creators of some of the most distinctive craft beers in the world are identical twins from Denmark. They also can’t stand each other.

7. Now This is a Race

We are witnessing a race between two extremely wired groups. And you might be surprised how close a race it is. From Quartz: The American energy drink craze in two highly caffeinated charts.

+ Park Seo-yeon has a dream job. She makes thousands of dollars a month by broadcasting videos of herself eating.

+ Paying a visit to the Cupcake ATM.

8. Coin Collection

These days, whenever I hang out with someone in tech, they inevitably start talking about Bitcoin. What exactly will this digital currency become? That depends. Wired's Rober McMillan takes you inside the the fierce battle for the soul of Bitcoin.

+ I'm hedging my Bitcoin bet with a few Potcoins.

9. Becoming the Story

A couple of CNN reporters wanted to show just how weak the security is at the new WTC, so they attempted to break in. Their new story is on what it feels like to be arrested. (Wait, CNN has reporters who aren't assigned to the missing plane story?)

10. The Bottom of the News

As its 50th anniversary approaches, Esquire's Chris Jones tries to explain the longevity of Jeopardy!. "My belief is that Jeopardy! has survived and will continue to survive because it is hard." And here's Mental Floss with a brief history of the show.

+ Christopher Miller robbed a store and spent 13 years in prison. The day after he got out, he robbed the exact same store.

+ A pretty amazing rescue by the Houston Fire Department was caught on video.

+ Male university students in North Korea are now required to get the same haircut as Kim Jong-un.

+ Gwyneth and Chris don't just break up. Welcome to the world of Conscious Uncoupling.

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