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Snapchat’s New Snap Spectacles Will Have Two Cameras, Cost $350Snapchat Launches New Original Programming, Multiplayer Games Stay on target WhatsApp has introduced a new way to keep in touch with friends and family.The instant messaging service on Monday launched a revamped status feature, allowing folks to share fleeting photos, videos, and GIFs for 24 hours.WhatsAppAs reported by Geek sister site PCMag, the new function utilizes the recently redesigned in-app camera; users can personalize media with emoji, text, and drawings “in an easy and secure way,” WhatsApp co-creator Jan Koum wrote in a blog post.“Yes, even your status updates are end-to-end encrypted,” he added.WhatsApp in April turned on full end-to-end encryption via the Signal protocol developed by Open Whisper Systems, promising that every phone call, message, photo, video, file, and voice message is safe from prying eyes (and ears).“Encryption is one of the most important tools governments, companies, and individuals have to promote safety and security in the new digital age,” application co-founders Koum and Brian Acton said last year.The latest version of the app includes a Status tab, where you’ll find updates from people in your WhatsApp network, PCMag explained. Like Snapchat Stories (or, more fittingly, Instagram Stories), content lasts only 24 hours; you can mute specific users, and reply to people privately.WhatsAppWhatsApp debuted on Feb. 24, 2009, as a way to let family and friends know what you’re up to; folks could quickly push a line of text—”at school,” “at the gym,” or “battery about to die”—to all contacts at once. The service eventually expanded into a full-blown texting platform, with more than 1 billion users worldwide.This isn’t the first time Facebook—parent company of WhatsApp and Instagram—has stolen a page from Snapchat’s book. After failing to acquire the ephemeral messaging service in 2013, Facebook simply duplicated its functions (and not very creatively) via Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories, and now WhatsApp Status.“Just like eight years ago when we first started WhatsApp, this new and improved status feature will let you keep your friends who use WhatsApp easily updated in a fun and simple way,” the company said. read more
Watch: Dolphin Leaps Feet Away From Unsuspecting SurferNASA Says 2 Asteroids Will Safely Fly By Earth This Weekend Stay on target The line between human and primate has been drawn more clearly in a groundbreaking study published in the journal Science.A national team of researchers successfully sequenced great ape genes without guidance from the human reference genome, providing a clearer view of the differences between us and our hairy ancestors.Scientists initially sequenced the chimpanzee genome in 2005, confirming that chimps are our closest living relatives.But 13 years of efforts to assemble more data have come up short; to fill a multitude of gaps, analysts must compare information against the higher-quality human genome reference, which introduces a “humanizing” discovery bias.Now, a new multi-institutional project, led by researchers at the University of Washington, has a solution.As described in the recently published paper, the team sequenced four genomes—two human, one chimpanzee, and one orangutan. They then reframed the process without using the human reference genome.“Recent advances in sequencing and mapping technologies now make more detailed investigations possible, not only of individual species but also entire clades of species,” lead authors Zev Kronenberg and Evan Eichler wrote in the paper, as reported by biotech company PacBio, whose technology was used in this experiment.“We generated new great ape genome assemblies displaying improved sequence contiguity by orders of magnitude,” they boasted, “leading to a more comprehensive understanding of the evolution of structural variation.”This investigation provides the most comprehensive catalog of genetic variants, some of which explain how genes are differently expressed among humans and apes.Researchers uncovered a number of differences between human and great ape chromosomes that were previously missed—most notably effectors of brain size.Still, compared to humans, the ape genome is still missing some crucial information, which scientists hope to fill in as time goes on.“Our goal is to generate multiple ape genomes with as high quality as the human genome,” Eichler said. “Only then will we be able to truly understand the genetic differences that make us uniquely human.”Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our survey. read more