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


Video description: As in the workshop of the seasons, Autumn takes place near the scale model of the Earth, and using his tools, he must move his season on the planet!

MaxDIA: Taking proteomics to the next level

A new software improves data-independent acquisition proteomics by providing a computational workflow that permits highly sensitive and accurate data analysis. Proteins are essential for our cells to function, yet many questions about their synthesis, abundance, functions, and defects still remain unanswered. High-throughput techniques can help improve our understanding of these molecules. For analysis by liquid chromatography followed by mass spectrometry (MS), proteins are broken down into smaller peptides, in a process referred to as “shotgun proteomics.” The mass-to-charge ratio of these peptides is subsequently determined with a mass spectrometer, resulting in MS spectra. From these spectra, information about the identity of the analyzed proteins can be reconstructed. However, the enormous amount and complexity of data make data analysis and interpretation challenging.

Protein ratio distributions in the four species. Credit: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

Two main methods are used in shotgun proteomics: Data-dependent acquisition (DDA) and data-independent acquisition (DIA). In DDA, the most abundant peptides of a sample are preselected for fragmentation and measurement. This allows to reconstruct the sequences of these few preselected peptides, making analysis simpler and faster. However, this method induces a bias towards highly abundant peptides. DIA, in contrast, is more robust and sensitive. All peptides from a certain mass range are fragmented and measured at once, without preselection by abundance.

Jürgen Cox and his team have now developed a software that provides a complete computational workflow for DIA data. It allows, for the first time, to apply algorithms to DDA and DIA data in the same way. Consequently, studies based on either DDA or DIA will now become more easily comparable. MaxDIA analyzes proteomics data with and without spectral libraries. Using machine learning, the software predicts peptide fragmentation and spectral intensities. Hence, it creates precise MS spectral libraries in silico. In this way, MaxDIA includes a library-free discovery mode with reliable control of false positive protein identifications.

Source (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. “MaxDIA: Taking proteomics to the next level.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2021.)

Paper: Sinitcyn, P., Hamzeiy, H., Salinas Soto, F., Itzhak, D., McCarthy, F., Wichmann, C., Steger, M., Ohmayer, U., Distler, U., Kaspar-Schoenefeld, S. and Prianichnikov, N., 2021. MaxDIA enables library-based and library-free data-independent acquisition proteomics. Nature Biotechnology, pp.1-11.