Apple Clips 🖇️, recycling enzymes ♻️ and Amazon strengthens 💪

Technology


Apple developing ‘Clips’ feature for using apps without requiring full downloads

Apple is working on a new way to offer specific parts of third-party apps across the system without needing to have them installed based on an early build of iOS 14. The new API allows developers to offer interactive and dynamic content from their apps even if you haven’t installed them. The Clips API is directly related to the QR Code reader, so the user can scan a code linked to an app and then interact with it directly from a card that will appear on the screen. Android has a similar feature called “Slices”, which shows interactive parts of an app in places like the Google Search results and Google Assistant.

Facebook’s ‘Campus’ test hints at a return to its college roots

App researcher Jane Manchun Wong has unearthed an experimental feature called “Campus,” which can be exclusively accessed by college students. You’ll need a .edu email address to access Campus, and once you’re in, you can fill out a profile with your graduation year, major, minor and dorm if you want to find your friends on it. The social network started as a platform to connect Harvard students before expanding to welcome students from other universities and educational institutions. Campus feels like a throwback to those days. Today, Facebook has 3 billion monthly active users around the world.

Science


Scientists create mutant enzyme that recycles plastic bottles in hours

The enzyme, originally discovered in a compost heap of leaves, reduced the bottles to chemical building blocks that were then used to make new bottles. Existing recycling technologies usually produce plastic only good enough for clothing and carpets. Carbios is aiming for industrial-scale recycling within five years. It has partnered with major companies including Pepsi and L’Oréal to accelerate development. The scientists analysed the enzyme and introduced mutations to improve its ability to break down the PET plastic from which drinks bottles are made.

Test developed that can help predict if children will have stunted growth due to malnutrition

An international team of researchers has developed a urine test that can be used to predict how well a baby at risk of malnutrition will grow. Prior research has shown that malnutrition in children can lead to both physical and mental problems as the child grows older. Research has also shown that children who suffer from malnutrition tend to grow up shorter than they would were they to grow up eating a healthy diet. The researchers used this information to develop a urine test that can predict how well a child will grow over the following six months.

Business


The pandemic is playing to almost every one of Amazon’s strengths

E-commerce isn’t the only sector where Amazon is booming. Its cloud business, Amazon Web Services, faces higher demand as people turn to some of its biggest clients from Zoom to Netflix. Amazon sells access to audiobooks and original television programs that are helping to entertain reluctant shut-ins. With more people staying home, that’s more time they have to engage with Amazon’s AI-powered smart speakers. Amazon isn’t the only company that could benefit with the crisis lifting the e-commerce sector 16% in March compared to a year ago.

AT&T’s CNN buys privacy-minded recommendations startup Canopy

Built by Spotify, Instagram, Google and New York Times alumni, the startup is trying to figure out how algorithm-powered recommendations, like the kinds that suggest videos on YouTube or items in your Facebook feed, can be private by default and avoid being optimized for addiction. CNN will bring on all 15 members of Canopy’s team to support the news networks’ group focused on “emerging products and platforms,” which is developing a so-called “NewsCo” platform. NewsCo is meant to be a platform that delivers users with highly personalized news and info.

Miscellaneous


Wimbledon paid pandemic insurance for almost 20 years. Now it’s getting $141 million

A week after Wimbledon organizers cancelled the tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic, more details have emerged about how an infectious disease clause in its insurance policy will help offset an estimated revenue loss of around £250 million. Wimbledon is set to receive around £114 million ($141 million) from the policy. The All England Club updated its Wimbledon insurance policy years ago to include the infectious disease clause following the worldwide SARS outbreak in 2002.

Colombian farmers switch coca for coffee to protect wildlife

The dense forests of San Lucas are a haven for rare predators like ocelots, pumas and spectacled bears however this ecosystem is threatened by mining and drug cultivation. Colombian environmental group WebConserva is leading a first-of-its kind project bringing together farmers in San Lucas and roasters across Colombia to produce coffee from plantations that build protective borders around forests to shield the biodiversity within. Barajas says tearing down the forest to plant coca and killing wildlife went against his faith but he – like his neighbours – was desperate for money. Now, he feels that growing coffee lets him be a good steward of his land.

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