November 19, 2020

Dropping into the World of Sci-Fi with Time Crystals, Tree Resin DNA Extraction and Minimalls in our Pockets.

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Episode Details

In this week’s episode of Future Lens Today, we talk about how scientists are taking the first steps towards creating a real jurassic park, the existence and interaction of what Scientists call Time Crystals  and all the complex language they use to describe it in detail, as well as some major technical changes to Google’s Youtube and Facebook’s Instagram, as platforms begin to introduce new ways to eat away at our savings accounts.

For The First Time, Scientists Successfully Extract DNA From Insects Embedded In Tree Resin (3 minute read)

When a small animal is trapped in tree resin, its soft tissues start to decay immediately and most of the DNA is lost before the animal is encapsulated and preserved.

Any remaining DNA is usually destroyed over time as the resin's compounds react with it.

A recent study found that fragile bits of DNA still exist in samples of beetles two to six years after the beetles were preserved in resin.

It found that common methods of studying DNA weren't effective for use with DNA from resin samples, and some techniques actually destroyed the fragile DNA inside the resin.

The scientists will use the techniques from the study to examine other resin-embedded insects to determine how long DNA can survive inside the environment.

Long story short, with more time and effort put into the research, scientist are confident that in the next couple of years they’ll be able to start effectively extracting DNA from older and more fragile samples.

For the First Time Ever, Scientists Caught Time Crystals Interacting (2 minute read)

Time crystals are a new form of matter where particles move forever and don't lose energy.

They are essentially a quantum system consisting of a mix of particles that have glued together to create a non-equilibrium form of matter after being heated with lasers.

Researchers have collided two time crystals in a mixture of superfluids mixed with magnons, magnetic quasiparticles that led to 'opposite-phase oscillations' while the crystals stayed stable. The time crystals acted within predictable quantum mechanical ways.

These results indicate that the time crystals could probably be used as part of a designed system. They could be used in the future for applications such as quantum information processing.

With discoveries are expect to lead to even more impressive results in the research and development of future quantum computing technologies.

Google tries to turn YouTube into a major shopping destination (2 minute read)

Alphabet Inc.’s Google has taken multiple stabs at online commerce, with limited success. The company has mostly preferred to sell ads that send people to other digital stores, rather than selling products itself.

However, the pandemic has hammered marketing budgets, particularly in the travel and physical retail sectors that are major Google advertisers. Meanwhile, e-commerce has boomed as people stay home and order more products online.

That’s left Google watching from the sidelines as rivals such as Facebook Inc. and its Instagram app become hotbeds of online shopping. Amazon, the U.S. e-commerce Goliath, has seen sales soar, while Google suffered its first ever revenue decline in the second quarter.

For months now, Google executives have signaled that YouTube will be central to their e-commerce strategy. On a recent earnings call, Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai suggested YouTube’s sea of popular product “unboxing” videos could be turned into a shopping opportunity. The video site is full of other popular categories, such as makeup and cooking tutorials, where creators tout commercial products on air.

The company has also revamped its e-commerce and payments division. In July, it announced a plan to lure merchants to Google Shopping, its online storefront, which included an integration with Shopify so that sellers could manage their inventory.

Late last year, YouTube began testing a similar Shopify integration for creators who can list as many as 12 items for sale on a digital carousel below their videos, according to the company. Merchandising is one of several strategies YouTube is pursuing to diversify revenue for creators beyond ads. At a minimum, the new measures could help YouTube deepen the data it collects from videos to strengthen its ads business.

Instagram's New Shopping Feature Works Like a Digital Mall

The mall of the future is not a sprawling metropolis of stores, punctuated by the occasional soft pretzel stand and megaplex movie theater, but a platform on your phone.

Imagine: a million stores made just for you, selling only the things you're likely to buy, based on what you've bought in the past or how you've behaved online.

Plenty of platforms are trying to steer shopping in this direction. You’ve experienced the might and convenience of platforms such as Amazon, and possibly even Etsy, which is incredible at times, 

Instagram has enabled in-app checkout for its shoppable posts. By streamlining the process of purchasing things within its mobile app, Instagram hopes to become your own personalized digital mall.

Instagram says that over 130 million people tap on these tags each month, browsing through posts from brands big and small.

Instagram counts more than 1 billion users on its platform every month—and it has a detailed dossier on each of them. The Facebook-owned company makes note of which brands the users follow, what categories they're interested in, and which targeted advertisements their eyeballs linger on. 

For brands, it's like opening a storefront in a shopping center where the customers who are most likely to buy from them are automatically directed to their front door.

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