Animated glasses 👓 Mass extinction 🦕 IKEA mall 🏬!

Technology News

Animation-streaming glasses to help children with autism establish eye contact

An engineering team have created a pair of glasses, worn by a therapist, that display dynamic animated images on the lenses, potentially increasing the engagement and comfort of the child as they work to improve eye contact. While children diagnosed with autism should never be forced to make eye contact, some therapists are able to successfully increase attentiveness by teaching children to focus on eye contact. The glasses are connected to a control box, which allows for opacity control. With low opacity, the user’s eyes will be visible to the child, allowing for an opportunity to engage in eye contact after already being engaged in an animation at high opacity.

Wool-like material can remember and change shape

Researchers have developed a biocompatible material that can be 3D-printed into any shape and pre-programmed with reversible shape memory. The material is made using keratin, a fibrous protein found in hair, nails and shells. They programmed the material’s permanent shape — the shape it will always return to when triggered — using a solution of hydrogen peroxide and monosodium phosphate. Once the memory was set, the sheet could be re-programmed and molded into new shapes. The research could help the broader effort of reducing waste in the fashion industry, one of the biggest polluters on the planet.

Science News

Earth’s ‘lost species’ only the tip of the iceberg

New research suggests that humans are almost entirely responsible for extinctions of mammals in past decades. Scientists have calculated how many mammals might be lost this century, based on fossil evidence of past extinctions. Their predictions suggest at least 550 species will follow in the footsteps of the mammoth and sabre-toothed cat. Their computer-based simulations predict large increases in extinction rates by the year 2100, based on the current threat status of species. Despite this “alarming” scenario, we could save hundreds if not thousands of species with more targeted and efficient conservation strategies.

Study of Siblings Finds Moderate Cannabis Use Impacts Cognitive Functioning

A new study compares adolescent siblings to determine the impact of early and frequent use of marijuana on cognitive function. By designing the study to look at siblings, researchers could consider whether genetic factors explain a shared risk for worse cognitive functioning and earlier or heavier cannabis use. This study contrasts with previous studies by finding that moderate adolescent cannabis use may have adverse effects that cannot be explained by the genetic or environmental factors. The team were able to determine that differential levels of cannabis use were related to poorer cognitive functioning, particularly verbal memory.

Business News

IKEA’s shopping centers arm buys San Francisco mall in its first US real estate deal

IKEA’s shopping centers business has made its first U.S real estate acquisition, buying the 6X6 mall in San Francisco. Ingka Centres, a division of Ingka Group which owns most IKEA stores worldwide, is one of the world’s biggest mall owners, with 45 across Europe, Russia and China, each anchored by an IKEA store. With the furniture retailer, it is shifting its focus towards city-centre from out-of-town locations. It said in May that locations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago were high on its wish list. “We will be sharing details of our exciting plans for the 6×6 property, where IKEA Retail U.S. will play an integral role, in the near future.”

A majority of young adults in the U.S. live with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression

The share of 18- to 29-year-olds living with their parents has surpassed the previous peak during the Great Depression era. The number living with parents grew to 26.6 million (52%), an increase of 2.6 million from February. Among all adults who moved due to the pandemic, 23% said the most important reason was because their college campus had closed, and 18% said it was due to job loss or other financial reasons. These new living arrangements may have an impact on the U.S. economy, reflecting the importance of the housing market to overall economic growth. Slower household growth could mean less demand for housing and household goods.

Miscellaneous News

Uighur Muslim teacher tells of forced sterilisation in Xinjiang

A teacher coerced into giving classes in Xinjiang internment camps has described her forced sterilisation under a government campaign to suppress birth rates of women. Details of China’s repression against Uighurs and other Muslim minorities have leaked out slowly from the tightly controlled region, but there is increasing evidence of efforts to slash birth rates, which some experts have called “demographic genocide”. This has included forced birth control and sterilisation, fines and even prison sentences for those considered to have too many children.

At least 200 mammoth skeletons found at Mexico City airport construction site

The number of mammoth skeletons recovered at an airport construction site north of Mexico City has risen to at least 200, with a large number still to be excavated. Archeologists hope the site that has become “mammoth central” — the shores of an ancient lake bed that both attracted and trapped mammoths in its marshy soil — may help solve the riddle of their extinction. Experts said that finds are still being made at the site, including signs that humans may have made tools from the bones of the lumbering animals that died somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 years ago.

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