Welcome to another edition of What We’re Reading, Marxent’s weekly series featuring staff members highlighting the best articles, videos, music and more they saw over the prior 7 days. This week, those finds included stories from Engadget, Wired, YouTube, Huffington Post and many more. Up first, it’s …

The Best Thing We Read This Week

Drinking and driving remains a national scourge, but a new film aims to help educate young people about the dangers of DUI with the help of a fully immersive Virtual Reality experience. As detailed in the Wired story, “Horrifying VR Film Puts You Inside a Drunk Driving Crash,” written by Eric Adams and shared by Marxent Sales Director Jeff Morrow, the film was paid for by “Diageo, the British liquor company that owns Johnnie Walker, Baileys, and Guinness, which tapped VR tech to convey the risks of drunk driving with an extra dose of drama. Decisions puts you inside three cars destined for a fatal encounter late at night on a stretch of rural road. A couple on their first date after having a baby, three twenty-somethings heading to a party, and Sam, a young woman leaving a bar after a meeting that included bottle service.”

The Wired story goes on to say that the company plans to roll out its full setup — complete with a motion-chair — at events like music festivals, and to work with police departments and school systems to get teens into the experience. For everyone else, the four-minute horror show is now available via VR channels on YouTube, Facebook, and The New York Times. Check it out above. It’s an incredibly worthwhile use of VR technology.

The Best Book We Read This Week

The AlchemistProduct Specialist Natalia Zieba just finished The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. “Many people read it in school, but I never got the chance. It’s a simple book to read. The story of an Andalusian shepherd whose reoccurring dream troubles him, and who is faced with many challenges thru his journey to find happiness. He takes a lot of risks and puts himself out there.”

This idea you have to take risks to succeed is one that appeals to Natalia, and the book reminds her, “that every time I ever took a risk in my life — stomach-turning moments where my heart was pushing for yes and but my head was saying ‘don’t do it’ — those were the most rewarding times of my life. It’s like taking a leap of faith.

More great lessons from The Alchemist? “Everyone should pursue their dreams and things they are passionate about. If you want something really bad, and take actions toward it, the universe will conspire to work with you, and give you what you want. Kind of like “the Secret,” which you can read or watch on Netflix.”

Not sold yet? Natalia has one final pitch: “You can literally read it in like 3 hours. It’s only about 100 pages!”

Go on, keep reading

Marxent Core Engineer Ken Moser shared a great article from IEEE Spectrum about mind control — or more literally, nerve control using light. “Apparently scientists can influence brain cells of mice using light,” Ken reports. “The article states several benevolent implications for this technology within medicine, such as to correct misfiring cells and other neural imbalances. I suppose there may also be malevolent possibilities as well, such as influencing what consumers buy.” Don’t give anyone any ideas, Ken.

This Variety article on Disney CEO Bob Iger was my favorite read of the week,” says Sales Director Rich Manno. “I’ve followed Bob’s tenure at Disney somewhat closely and have always enjoyed reading about his leadership philosophy, big risks through acquisitions like Pixar/Marvel, etc. Plus I love Sushi, so the reference to Jiro Ono was an added bonus.”

Like A Glove, an Augmented Reality app that helps users select the proper style of jeans, caught the eye of Levi Bruce. “It’s not exactly a ‘story,’ but more a cool concept that could lead to the proverbial ‘AR Fitting App’ that everyone has always wanted.”

The White House’s new Augmented Reality app, 1600, lets users “take a tiny tour of the country’s most memorable address.”

AR isn’t just for White House Tours. According to Science Focus, it’s also being used to ease phantom pain.

BREAKING: Epcot’s Spaceship Earth to become giant ‘Star Wars’ Death Star at Walt Disney World!

And Finally …

Virtual Reality continues to make a difference in fields far removed from gaming and entertainment. So much so that a story in Huffington post dubbed VR “An Emerging Game Changer In Healthcare.” Believe it.