Staff picks for the week of Aug. 29, 2016

Staff Picks GeneralHappy Friday! Here are the most interesting tech stories our staff read this week.

A new kind of ethical diamond made, not mined (Read by Alexandria H.)

The diamond industry is no stranger to controversy, its reputation for conflict diamonds made even more notorious by the Hollywood blockbuster “Blood Diamonds.” Startup Diamond Foundry is working to change that image and has developed a new way to make diamonds in a lab using plasma reactors. What makes this startup so special, other than the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio is an investor, is its ability to grow diamonds that are indistinguishable from the real thing—something previous lab-made diamonds couldn’t accomplish. It’s great to see technology enabling companies to change the way consumers think about what they’re buying.

Square confirms: People really don’t like those chip credit cards (Read by Camillia S.)

Like the great Ricky Bobby, we all “wanna go fast!” but at what cost? The chip you see on all of your major credit and debit cards makes it harder for hackers to steal sensitive information, but according to a study conducted by mobile payment company Square, consumers’ number one pain point with the chip technology is slow speeds. So what’s the solution? You guessed it, mobile payments. Whenever I read articles that talk about our obsession with speed of service, it makes me think of how previous generations dealt with things like check-writing, snail mail, or telegrams. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend an extra 5 seconds at the checkout counter and feel more secure than the alternative.

Step by step, physical grocery stores are becoming back ends for online shopping (Read by Heidi B.)

From “meal-in-a-box” services like Blue Apron to local grocers bringing standard pantry items to your door, online food shopping is taking off in a big way. According to a 2015 Neilson report, roughly a quarter of consumers grocery shop online, and more than 50 percent would consider doing so in the future. I love to browse grocery store aisles and have a hard time imagining myself ordering items online. But as this article points out, “consumers used to say the same thing about shoes.” I’m interested to see what other common household errands are reinvented by e-commerce technology next.

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