James Webb Space Telescope

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope launched at 7:20 a.m. EST Saturday on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, South America. A joint effort with ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency, the Webb observatory is NASA’s revolutionary flagship mission to seek the light from the first galaxies in the early universe and to explore our own solar system, as well as planets orbiting other stars, called exoplanets. 

Ground teams began receiving telemetry data from Webb about five minutes after launch. The Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket performed as expected, separating from the observatory 27 minutes into the flight. The observatory was released at an altitude of approximately 1,400 kilometers. Approximately 30 minutes after launch, Webb unfolded its solar array, and mission managers confirmed that the solar array was providing power to the observatory. After solar array deployment, mission operators will establish a communications link with the observatory via the Malindi ground station in Kenya, and ground control at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore will send the first commands to the spacecraft.

Source (NASA, NASA’s Webb Telescope Launches to See First Galaxies, Distant Worlds)

A Shorter Letter

Video description: Check out this awesome CGI 3D Animated Short/Spot “A Shorter Letter” – by The Frank Barton Company – Tom, a seven-year-old boy who, with Santa’s help, realizes that he doesn’t need to have all the toys he asked for to be happy. With this film, DDB wants to raise awareness of the need to start consuming in a more sensible way; especially in a time of excess like Christmas.

Online product displays can shape your buying behavior

One of the biggest marketing trends in the online shopping industry is personalization through curated product recommendations; however, it can change whether people buy a product they had been considering, according to new research. The study by Uma R. Karmarkar, assistant professor at the UC San Diego Rady School of Management and School of Global Policy and Strategy, finds that display items that come from the same category as the target product, such as a board game matched with other board games, enhance the chances of a target product’s purchase. In contrast, consumers are less likely to buy the target product if it is mismatched with products from different categories, for example, a board game displayed with kitchen knives.

Credit: Pexels

The study utilized eye-tracking — a sensor technology that makes it possible to know where a person is looking — to examine how different types of displays influenced visual attention. Participants in the study looked at their target product for the same amount of time when it was paired with similar items or with items from different categories; however, shoppers spent more time looking at the mismatched products, even though they were only supposed to be there “for display.”

Karmarkar talked with industry experts about product recommendations systems, which shaped her approach to these questions. Recommender algorithms can have different designs to meet a variety of retailers’ respective goals. Products can be shown with “mismatched” displays when retailers are using cross-promoting tactics based on prior customer behavior or inventory they may want to sell more rapidly.

“This shows how outside forces shape our decisions in ways we might not recognize,” she said. “If a shopper is looking for something specific, they are likely to focus their attention, regardless of recommender displays. But when people are just ‘browsing stuff online,’ different page designs can create different patterns of attention. Store displays can change what we choose, even when they don’t change what we like.”

Source (University of California – San Diego. “Online product displays can shape your buying behavior.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2021.)

Paper: Karmarkar, U.R., Carroll, A.L., Burke, M. and Hijikata, S., 2021. Category Congruence of Display-Only Products Influences Attention and Purchase Decisions. Frontiers in neuroscience, p.1060.

Turbulence in interstellar gas clouds reveals multi-fractal structures

Astronomers describe the complex structure of the interstellar medium using a new mathematical method. The dispersion of interstellar turbulence in gas clouds before star formation unfolds in a cosmically small space.

Credit: University of Cologne

Turbulence in interstellar dust clouds must dissipate before a star can form through gravity. Until now it was thought that their structure could be described using a fractal structure, but researchers have found Turbulence in interstellar dust clouds must dissipate before a star can form through gravity. Until now it was thought that their structure could be described using a fractal structure, but researchers have found that it was not enough. The filamentary structure of a flux density map can be broken into smaller regions of interest, each area being described by multifractal structures which lead to different types of dynamics inside a single cloud. The results showcase that the dynamics of star formation clouds are localized and exhibit enhanced energy dissipation from inside rather than from space intermittencies.

Source (University of Cologne. “Turbulence in interstellar gas clouds reveals multi-fractal structures.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 June 2021.)

Paper: Yahia, H., Schneider, N., Bontemps, S., Bonne, L., Attuel, G., Dib, S., Ossenkopf-Okada, V., Turiel, A., Zebadua, A., Elia, D. and Maji, S.K., 2021. Description of turbulent dynamics in the interstellar medium: multifractal-microcanonical analysis-I. Application to Herschel observations of the Musca filament. Astronomy & Astrophysics649, p.A33. DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202039874