Snap has announced Minis, a suite of miniature applications made by third-party developers that run inside of Snapchat. Minis are built using HTML and enable a range of experiences from meditating alone to buying movie tickets with friends. Snap announced seven Minis to start including: coordinate your schedule at the next Coachella music festival; a mini version of Headspace to meditate and send encouraging messages to friends; Movie Tickets by Atom for choosing showtimes, picking seats, and buying tickets; and Tembo, which lets students create flash card decks for studying.
NASA has chosen Astrobotic as its commercial partner for the 2023 launch of the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) to the Moon. VIPER will look for the location and concentration of ice on the Moon’s surface, which will inform manned missions planned for 2024. Astrobotic, a Pittsburgh-based space robotics company, will use the $199.5 million contract to execute “end-to-end services for delivery of VIPER, including integration with its Griffin lander, launch from Earth, and landing on the Moon.” VIPER will land on the Moon’s south pole and spend its 100-day mission looking for water ice in the area.
Scientists have developed a human embryo “blueprint” using human stem cells, in a breakthrough that could provide vital insight into the early stages of infant development. The team behind the study said their model resembles an embryo between 18 and 21 days old. Many birth defects happen during this period, and a better understanding of gastrulation could aid our understanding of issues such as infertility, miscarriage and genetic disorders. It is the first time that human stem cells have been used to create a 3D model human embryo, after some trials using stem cells from mice and zebra fish.
In a recent study conducted on over 20,000 adults, the strongest evidence to date, researchers linked milk, sugary beverages and food, and fatty food to the likelihood of having adult acne. Consistently, a fatty, sugary diet was associated with the presence of adult acne. Participants with adult acne ate fatty and sugary products (including chocolate), sugary beverages, and milk more frequently than those with clear skin. The Western diet may drive acne because it can spike inflammation and oxidative stress, a disturbance in the balance between the production of reactive oxygen species called free radicals and antioxidant defences.
Luxury brands are turning to China with aggressive digital campaigns in hopes of boosting revenue as the coronavirus pandemic paralyses international travel and keeps brick-and-mortar shops shuttered. In the past few months alone dozens of brands — including Cartier, Montblanc and Prada – have set up online shops in China. While Chinese shoppers account for roughly one-third of global luxury sales, most of their shopping is usually done overseas. Bain & Co. expects the global market for personal luxury goods, which relies heavily on store sales in large cities, to contract 20% to 35% this year.
The grocery delivery service is more valuable than ever thanks in large part to the pandemic. Instacart announced that it has raised $225 million in an investment round led by venture capital firms DST Global and General Catalyst, pushing its valuation up to $13.7 billion. The influx of cash comes as Instacart “continues to experience an unprecedented surge in customer demand,” the company said, as households increasingly ordered groceries online because of nationwide lockdowns. To meet the surge in demand, Instacart hired 300,000 new workers earlier this year and later said it would hire another 250,000.
The world’s largest population of nesting green turtles is nearly twice as big as previously thought after drones enabled better surveys of the animals. Australian scientists determined that there were about 64,000 green turtles waiting to lay eggs on Raine Island – a vegetated coral cay on the outer edges of the Great Barrier Reef – significantly more than thought. Listed as endangered, many countries have made it illegal to collect or harm them, while nesting grounds are often also protected.
Two restaurant owners have been sentenced to 723 years in prison in Thailand, after defrauding the public with a seafood promotion. Apichart and Prapassorn sold vouchers to customers that entitled them to use their seafood buffet at an extremely low price. They later reneged on the promotions, leading to complaints from hundreds of disgruntled customers. Prosecutors said they were aware their offer could not be fulfilled.”It was impossible to sell such high quality food as advertised.”