Amazon Will Take Venmo Payments; Niantic Launches Platform to Build Metaverse Apps; Wind & Solar Could Produce 85% of US Electricity; Lithium-Metal Hybrid Battery-The Future?

Amazon is going to allow people to pay on starting next year, using their mobile shopping app via Venmo, PayPal’s mobile payment service. According to, it’s another move to make buying stuff from the online giant even more ‘frictionless,’ no matter where you are or what device you are using. PayPal said Venmo processed $60 billion in total payment volume in the just past quarter….up 36%. Even though Venmo payments will now be accepted, Amazon still doesn’t let customers pay via PayPal. 

Niantic is launching a platform for what it terms ‘real-world metaverse’ apps. reports that the platform is called Lightship, and it is “built around the parts necessary to stitch together the digital and the real world.”  Lightship will let mobile apps identify whether a user’s camera is pointed at the sky or water, map the surfaces or depth of an environment in real time, or place a virtual object behind a physical one. A good bit of the tech is based on what Niantic built and from info gleaned via their wildly popular app, Pokemon Go. The CEO of Niantic, John Hanke, previously ran Google Maps.

A paper has been published in Nature Communications that finds wind and solar power could meet about 85% of US electricity needs. says batteries, capacity overbuilding, and other storage options could even increase that figure. The study was done by researchers from UC Irvine, China’s Tsinghua University, Carnegie Institution for Science, and Caltech. The researchers studied 39 years of hourly energy demand from 42 countries. With storage, renewables could provide between 83 and 94% of hourly energy needs. 

There has been an ongoing quest for the ‘holy grail’ of car batteries…one that lasts, charges quickly and easily, doesn’t deteriorate much, and has little fire hazard. Now, a firm called SES has announced a new battery that they say will almost double the energy density of today’s lithium-ion cells. According to, the solid state lithium metal batteries should give us lighter, longer range EVs by 2025. SES is partnering with GM, Hyundai, Geely, SAIC, and Foxconn, and is building a factory in Shanghai that should be done by 2023. 


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