From Nike to Disney, big brands have started dipping their toes into the metaverse as recognition of its future potential spreads.

McDonald’s is no exception to this, filing an application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office in February for 10 trademarks in the metaverse. These include hosting events such as virtual concerts and a virtual restaurant that will have the capacity to deliver food both online and in person.

“Think about it this way… you are hanging out in the metaverse and get hungry. You don’t have to put down your headset. You walk into a McDonald’s and place an order. It arrives at your door a little while later,” trademark attorney Josh Gerben shared via Twitter.

As household solar energy is becoming more popular, Brighte is on a mission to start making it more accessible to the average person.

The company provides an innovative buy-now-pay-later financing option for solar and other green home improvements, being dubbed ‘Afterpay, but for solar’. Since its launch, Brighte has approved more than US$435.4 million in finance for 75,000 Australian households.

Katherine McConnell, Founder and CEO, was inspired to start the business after the experience of getting her first solar battery in 2015. She had to sift through mountains of confusing paperwork and in the end, it cost a hefty US$10,160 for a small six-kilowatt battery.

Batteries are a great way for consumers to gain more financial value out of their solar panels, but the high cost of installation creates a tough access barrier for many households. In Australia, more than three million homes have rooftop solar panels but only about 110,000 of those, less than four per cent, have batteries.

This is where Brighte comes in, offering customers a zero-interest payment plan that breaks down this barrier. The company can offer this by partnering with vendors that supply solar panels, helping them convert sales and find leads. In exchange, vendors pay a fee that covers the customers’ cost of finance.

Recent surveys have found that flexibility is now more important to workers than other compensations such as salary, but there’s a catch.

A report by UK law firm Winckworth Sherwood found that, for 51 per cent of employees, job flexibility was the most important factor when making career decisions. Similarly, in the US, PwC found that 55 per cent of workers want to be able to work from home most days.

However, flexible working arrangements may not be as beneficial as they first appear. University of Kent sociologist Heejung Chung says that those within flexible workplaces often work more overtime and engage in more unpaid labour. This is particularly evident in home-working mothers who were found to do on average three more hours of child care than counterparts working from the office.

While chip shortages continue around the globe, 22-year-old Sam Zeloof made his own silicon chip from his family’s New Jersey garage in August last year. He used salvaged and homemade equipment to produce a chip with 1,200 transistors.

The whole process was documented on his YouTube channel and blog, and before his success, some industry experts reached out to let him know his plan was not feasible. “The reason for doing it was honestly because I thought it would be funny,” Zeloof says. “I wanted to make a statement that we should be more careful when we hear that something’s impossible.”

This homemade chip isn’t about to power your computer, but Zeloof believes society would benefit from industries such as this being more accessible to inventors who don’t have multibillion-dollar budgets.

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