Inspiring Stories Tech News

New Facebook & Instagram Donation Tools to Rival PayPal

Donating to charities and causes is going to become a lot easier for Facebook users after new changes were announced by the social networking site this week.

Facebook is moving into an industry that is dominated by GoFundMe and PayPal and now the company has announced initiatives such as fundraising stickers on Facebook Stories, and the option to add donate buttons to video game streaming accounts and Instagram business.

The big guns, PayPal and GoFundMe are currently charging users 30cents for every donation, and a 2.9% processing fee.  Where PayPal will allow a lower charge of 2.2% on payment processing for nonprofits, Facebook has completely waived the fee for any type of donation.

People Do Donate

It is working well for the charitable causes too – they are seeing a rise in donors through the Facebook initiatives.  In 2018 PayPal was used by over 55 million people who made donations to nonprofits a total of $9.6billion.  In 2010, $5billion was raised through GoFundMe. Since 2015 Facebook has been instrumental in raising $2billion for nonprofits.

Facebook’s influence in digital payments is growing and this is likely to increase alongside its initiatives to help people fund non-profits.  The platform is keen to encourage groups and private messaging and incorporating donations and, while it will not provide a financial gain, it will encourage users to continue engaging with each other through Facebook.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in May that he was looking to encourage more group conversations on the platform and groups would be a more central part of the platform’s app.  The ability of a group to promote a cause and collect funds will assist him in this goal.

Donating to charities and causes is going to become a lot easier for Facebook users after new changes were announced by the social networking site...

Cool Stories

Over 140 New Nazca Lines Discovered in Peru

Researchers at Yamagata University and IBM Japan have identified more than 100 new geoglyphs picturing fish, snakes, humanoids, and many other things in Nazca, Peru using AI technology owned by IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in New York. In all, they discovered 142 geoglyphs dating back to between 100 BCE and 300 CE.

The images were negative ones created by removing rocks from the white sand. The longest of all the images is over 100 meters from top to bottom, bigger than the Statue of Liberty while the smallest is 5 meters, around the same size as Michelangelo’s David.

To make things easier, the researches divided all the geoglyphs into two categories according to their size, age, and design. Type A are those which tend to be bigger – 50 meters or more – and are just line drawings while Type B consists of smaller geoglyphs on solid-colored surfaces.

These two categories also differ by age. Typically, those in Type B were older, thought to be created anywhere from 100 BCE to 100 CE during the Initial Nazca Period, or earlier even, while Type B is a bit more recent – that is, between 100 and 300 CE.

The researchers’ theory is that each group had a different purpose. Type A, the larger ones, may have been for rituals that involved pottery while Type B was simply for decoration. These second ones were discovered close to paths or on slopes, which suggests their purpose may have been to aid travelers.

What do we know about the Nazca Lines?

In 1994, all the lines and geoglyphs of Nazca and Palpa, located 400 or so kilometers south of Lima, near the town of Nazca, were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Spanning 517 square kilometers of desert, it is here that the Nazca civilization created hundreds of geoglyphs between 500 BCE and 500 CE.

According to National Geographic, it wasn’t until flight was invented that they were discovered. That means they were left untouched for thousands of centuries.

Researchers are still mystified as to how or why geoglyphs were constructed, but as the World Heritage Convention states, they have turned “the vast land into a highly symbolic, ritual and social-cultural landscape that remains until today.”

“They represent a remarkable manifestation of a common religion and social homogeneity that lasted a considerable period of time.”

Some say they were used as a big astronomical calendar while others say they were places to perform rituals for farming success. Still others think that they were alien landing sites – one of the most unique and improbable theories.

Researchers at Yamagata University and IBM Japan have identified more than 100 new geoglyphs picturing fish, snakes, humanoids, and many other things...

Cool Stories

10 Secret Code Words You’re Not Meant to Know

What at first seems like ordinary combinations of numbers or words can actually be signs of serious emergencies in the right situations. Read on to learn a few!

10-33

You’ve probably heard a policeman say “10-4,” at least in movies – a type of acknowledgment of what has been said. But 10-33 is something more. If you hear an officer say 10-33, it means there’s an emergency.

Code 10

The phrase “Code 10” actually has several meanings. If you’re in a hospital, it signals a serious threat or mass casualties. However, if you’re in a store and the cashier issues an authorization request for a Code 10, it means he or she finds you or your card to be suspicious. However, if you’re in Walmart, don’t be alarmed; Code 10 only means that there has been a dry spill!

7500

This number is something you should hope to never hear your pilot say because it’s a code that signals the plane has been hijacked.

However, more and more people have become familiar with what “7500” means in this situation, so many airlines have gone a step further to install a button or some sort of contraption in the cockpit which quietly turns the plane’s transponder to 7500. Then, the air traffic control will simply confirm with the pilot that he sent the signal intentionally.

7700, however, signals general emergencies on a plane.

Code Adam

Back in 1994, Walmart coined the phrase “Code Adam” following the abduction and murder of Adam Walsh, a 6-year-old who had been innocently strolling around Sears. Now, it is used to signal a missing child in many public locations, such as malls, hospitals, supermarkets, and museums. Congress has even mandated that all federal buildings use Code Adam procedures as of 2003.

Code Blue

Some hospitals may differ from others, so there’s a chance it may mean something different for some hospitals, but in general, a Code Blue means that a patient has gone into cardiac arrest.

Code Bravo

Hearing “Code Bravo” in an airport is quite serious, as it means there has been a bomb threat or some other sort of security breach.

In fact, you may even encounter officials yelling the phrase because they want people to freeze, helping them to find where the legitimate threat is more quickly.

Code Oscar

We often associate the word “Oscar” with the Academy Awards, but unfortunately, on ships, “Code Oscar” has nothing to do with movies and actors. It means that there is a man overboard.

Code Silver

If you’re in a hospital and year “Code Silver,” keep your eye out for suspicious individuals. It means that there is someone in the building with a weapon, a hostage situation has occurred, or some other violent situation has ensued which requires a lockdown.

Doctor Firestone

Dr. Firestone isn’t a real doctor, but you could hear the name in a real medical emergency. It lets hospital staff know there’s a fire in the building. If you hear an announcement saying, Paging Dr. Firestone to the fifth floor,” you should know that there is no Dr. Firestone.

What it actually means is that there is a fire in the building, and they want to let the staff know without causing mayhem. Some hospitals may use the phrase “Code Red” instead.

Echo, Echo, Echo

You would only hear this in context if you are out on a ship on a foggy night. It means that two ships are about to run into one another. Some cruise ships utilize this phrase to let everyone on board know that there are high winds.

What at first seems like ordinary combinations of numbers or words can actually be signs of serious emergencies in the right situations. Read on to...

Category - Humans Are Awesome

Humans Are Awesome Tech News

Google Confirms ‘Quantum Supremacy’ Breakthrough

Google has now confirmed that it has achieved quantum supremacy with its 54-qubit Sycamore processor. The announcement comes in an article in Nature. The news was unofficially leaked a month ago but now all of the research is public and being scrutinized by the scientific community.

According to Google, Sycamore took 200 seconds to perform a calculation that would take an existing supercomputer around 10,000 years. This is said to indicate that the way the machine made the calculation would not be possible using a non-quantum machine.

The supercomputer that Sycamore has been said to have beaten is operated by IBM which, not surprisingly, has disputed Google’s claim. IBM states that its computer could do the task in 2.5 days and not 10,000 years as stated.

Extraordinary Achievement

Although IBM is keen to play down Google’s achievements researchers have welcomed the news. Likely, our ability to produce quantum computers that are suitable and practical for common usage is years down the line but Sycamore does indicate that it is indeed possible.

Scientists have been so enamored with the new machine that they have compared it to the first plane flight undertaken by the Wright Brothers in 1903.

Google has now confirmed that it has achieved quantum supremacy with its 54-qubit Sycamore processor. The announcement comes in an article in Nature. The news was...

Read More
Cool Stories Humans Are Awesome Vacation

20 Hours in the Air – Longest Flight Has Just Landed

Qantas has announced that flight QF7879 has landed in Sydney after traveling non-stop to New York. With a flight time of 19 hours and 16 minutes in the air, it is officially the longest non-stop flight in the world stealing the top spot from Singapore Airlines who regularly travel from New York to Singapore.

Qantas is intending to test another non-stop flight, this time from London to Sydney which would add an extra 1 hour of flight time and 500 miles.

As airplanes continue to develop technological advancements and better fuel economy these longer flights become possible. However, this raises the question of how well flight crews and passengers will cope with the extra air time instead of the usual layovers which many passengers feel gives a much-needed break.

Qantas carried out research during the flight and intends to do so again in the planned London-Sydney flight to see how people cope with the extended time in the air and also looking at how to minimize the effects of jet-lag in passengers who will be crossing a total of 15 time zones.

The flight took 40 passengers and 10 crew with a complement of 4 pilots. The passengers included frequent fliers, Qantas staff, researchers and media. A full load of passengers and the associated cargo would reduce the plane’s range, making the continuous flight impossible but there are planes in development that will be able to do this.

Airbus and Boeing are expected to have these ready for service within the next 5 years.

Fewer Passengers – More Legroom!

The reduced numbers meant that passengers could make use of a business class seat which converts into a bed but they were asked to spend as much time as possible in the coach cabin. One of the passengers said that he felt better than expected and although he usually prefers direct flights rather than layovers he did not know how he was going to feel after the full 20 hours.

Qantas also adjusted the in-flight routine so as soon as the aircraft took off the flight was in Sydney time.

All of the lighting, meals, and food were tailored accordingly in an attempt to help the passengers adjust more easily to the time zones. All of the staff worked to the custom shift times and ate the adapted menu but also participated in additional tests including melatonin and brainwave measurement.

The team of 4 pilots under Captain Sean Golding worked together for landing and take-off and then worked in four shifts.

Qantas has announced that flight QF7879 has landed in Sydney after traveling non-stop to New York. With a flight time of 19 hours and 16 minutes in the air, it is...

Read More
Celebs Cool Stories

A Royal Halloween

The royal family does not have an official Halloween celebration but they will dress up occasionally. Over the years notable royals have happily donned the occasional costume including Princess Beatrice who dressed as a cat, back in 2016 and Prince Harry once proudly wore a goblin outfit for a school play. (Plus, of course, we all remember his infamous Nazi costume back in 2005).

Even Queen Elizabeth herself has been photographed sporting fancy dress.

It is reported that Prince William and Kate hold private parties at Kensington Palace for their own children although this has not been officially confirmed. Over the last few years, there have been few clues as to how Prince Harry and Meghan Markle could choose to spend Archie’s first Halloween.

It is unlikely that we will see many selfies posted on Meghan and Harry’s Instagram page as they rarely post anything personal there. The account is primarily for promoting their various charities. However, Markle did celebrate the holiday before she married into the royal family and back in 2016 she was spotted with a large pumpkin on her head.

At this time Harry was visiting her in Toronto, and it was said that they did attend a Halloween party as a couple.

Since their marriage, the Duke and Duchess have only been seen celebrating in an official capacity, for example when they met performers in New Zealand just before Halloween last year. The couple seemed impressed by the spooky array of outfits and took plenty of photographs while they were there.

What about trick-or-treating?

The royal children will probably not be going door-to-door considering the amount of interest they get from the media everywhere they go. However, the home and grounds of Kensington Palace are extensive so it is likely that they can make their own fun. Normally, any royal activities that include the children are private.

Although the royal family doesn’t celebrate publicly it will likely be a busy time for the Middleton family who run their own business Party Pieces.

Perhaps there will be a private party for George, Charlotte, Louis, and Archie. The Duchesses have arranged play-dates for their children before and when could be a more perfect time to organize some spooky fun than Halloween!?

The royal family does not have an official Halloween celebration but they will dress up occasionally. Over the years notable royals have happily donned the occasional...

Read More
Cool Stories Humans Are Awesome Science

NASA: New Spacesuit for First Woman on the Moon Revealed

NASA has just released details of two new spacesuits and one of these prototypes is set to make history when worn by the first female astronaut to land on the moon.

The two suits each have a unique purpose.

The xEMU suite (Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit is intended to be used on the Artemis program which aims to launch the first woman to walk on the surface of the moon in 2024. The long term aim is to establish a presence there and there are hopes that it will help pave the way to future missions to Mars.

The xEMU suit has several new features that have been incorporated based on the experience of spacewalks. Specifically, the suit has been made more resistant to dust – essential because of the makeup of the moon’s soil. It can also withstand huge changes in temperature from -25oF to 25oF in light of the temperatures that exist on the dark and light sides of the moon.

The backpack of the suit has been altered to include miniature versions of life-support equipment, allowing a back-up to be carried in case of a system failure or for use on longer walks on the surface. New materials and technology have been utilized to make the suit more flexible, allowing easier movement. Communication improvement includes a microphone directly embedded within the suit.

Modular and Personalized

The xEMU suit has a wide range of interchangeable parts and the module design lends well to full customization; it can be set up according to the specific needs of the astronaut and where the suit will be used. It is possible to add extra layers in cases of extreme cold and the visor can now be easily replaced and repaired with no need to return it to Earth.

The Orion suit is a flight suit – used by the astronauts on the Artemis and Orion during launch and re-entry, during an emergency or in a high-risk situation. This has been improved on since the Space Shuttle missions and the helmet is no longer one-size-fits-all; it is fire resistant, can adjust to varying temperatures, is stronger, more comfortable and helps reduce noise levels to assist communication.

The Orion suit has been designed in a bright orange to make it easier to find astronauts when they must leave the capsule after re-entry and landing. The suits also have a built-in emergency survival kit. The Orion can sustain life for up to 6 days enabling an astronaut a better chance of returning to Earth if cabin pressure is lost.

Like the xEMU the Orion is also more mobile, it is custom-built to the astronaut and can be put on or taken off more quickly. The gloves are specially designed for protection and strength while taking into account the need to be flexible enough to use touch screen technology.

The next stage is that the suits will be subjected to testing in spaceflight conditions to ensure they perform before they are officially commissioned

NASA has just released details of two new spacesuits and one of these prototypes is set to make history when worn by the first female astronaut to land on the moon.
The...

Read More
City Life Cool Stories

Out-Of-This-World & Totally Impractical Bridge Designs

Some designing concepts for the new pedestrian and cycle crossing between Nine Elms and Pimlico in southern London are either pedestrian-friendly or just so far out of this world they have been called “The Flaming Mouth of Hades”.

The pedestrian bridge spans the Thames River that will link two different areas of the city and must be technically sound while creating a beautiful experience for a cyclist while offering a solid engineering design to provide enough required height to accommodate passing river traffic.

The designing of this bridge has drawn the attention of dozens of entries from around the world.

A list of contenders will be presented and the winner will be named, sometime soon.  The design must include what the bridge will look like from a distance, what it will feel like to pedestrians crossing it, and how it will look touching the shores on either side of the Thames.

Design is Critical for the Bridge’s Success

At this point in time, there is only a gallery of images to look at without much information on each design so it’s really difficult to tell just what you are looking at in some of these designs.  According to the City Metric, most of the entries look ridiculous, including one that is definitely not a bridge.

They pointed out that one looks like a spoon while another looks like an Escher painting! (Escher’s paintings were bizarre and impossible in reality).

There is no debate that the strange violet and orange creation for the bridge has been nicknamed “Hades” and is far from clear how this design could actually function as a bridge.

I guess you have to question if some of the entrants are just submitted for the heck of it vs. serious engineers that must complete this pedestrian bridge for aesthetic beauty as well as safety.  On particular design is actually quite beautiful featuring a perforated undulating canopy over a series of paths with planted greenery.

All in all, we will just have to wait to see what the judges think!

Some designing concepts for the new pedestrian and cycle crossing between Nine Elms and Pimlico in southern London are either pedestrian-friendly or just so far out of...

Read More
Funny Stories

What’s With a British Hotel Charging $68,000 for a Pint?

According to Peter Lalor, chief cricket writer and beer editor for The Australian, he was watching the Ashes Cricket Match in Manchester at the Malmaison Hotel’s bar on a Sunday. He paid his tab for his Scottish Caledonian Deuchars IPA but later realized something was terribly wrong.

In a Tweet, he said he didn’t have his reading glasses when he was handed his bill for the beer. The barmaid said she had problems with the register but eventually fixed it.

He didn’t give it much thought and said he didn’t need a receipt and then just before she left, he realized this was the most expensive beer in the history of the Malmaison Hotel in Manchester with a whopping $99,983 charge!

He realized something was not right and asked her how much he paid for the beer. The girl looked at the receipt responding “Oh My God!” He said she appeared a little reluctant showing him the bill.

The hotel told him they would correct the mistake and rectify his bill. Lalor left, believing his bank would never approve this large charge on his bill.

The Plot Thickens

He told The Guardian, he was woken by a phone call from his wife. She discovered a huge drop in their mortgage account.! On top of that, he said they had no problem taking the money out of his account in a matter of seconds but took them 10 working business days to put it back in. Not only has he lost a fair amount of interest but he is also out $99,000.

On top of that, he was charged a $1,710 transaction fee! He found it very concerning that his bank and Visa would let this huge amount of money to go through without asking so much as one question?

A spokesperson from the Malmaison told the paper the hotel was conducting an investigation. They contacted Lalor to apologize and ensured this situation would be resolved as quickly as possible. (Really? You need to investigate a charge of $99,000 for one pint of beer??)

He did say the hotel was being very helpful in correcting the error and he praised Deuchars. He said it is a good beer that has received many awards including the Supreme Champion Beer of Britain. He added that if you think this beer is not worth anywhere near this price tag, he couldn’t agree more!

Note: Very rarely is a beer as expensive as the pint Lalor purchased, but a 750ml bottle of “Lost Abbey Cable Car Kriek did sell for $923 at the Skinner Auction.

According to Peter Lalor, chief cricket writer and beer editor for The Australian, he was watching the Ashes Cricket Match in Manchester at the Malmaison Hotel’s...

Read More
City Life Cool Stories

New High-Powered Self-Balancing Scooter

A blend of road-worthy and rugged, the self-balancing electric scooter boasts a quick-start functionality and speeds of up to 25 miles per hour which is cool for scooting around and through traffic in crowded cities for hours, all in a single charge.

For those already into other private scooter-share programs like Lime or Bird, but are dissatisfied with having to hunt for them, this device is a phenomenal boost in durability, personalization, maneuverability, speed, and acceleration.

Meet The “Stator”

Nathan Allen, a California-based product designer developed the Stator with all these demands in mind. It has oversized wheels connected to a single-tube frame and a single, wraparound handlebar with an electronic control unit (turned on by a wireless RFID tag or standard key).

Part of the design’s charm is its modularity. Made up of components that can be personalized and swapped, comprising of custom racks and rack bags, headlights, phone chargers and holders, seat, brake lights.

It’s powered by a 1000W geared motor and a 20-Ah, 48-volt, lithium-ion battery pack tucked into the baseboard. Different power settings can be used to get better performance or equalize the energy usage.

It won’t be easy to lug around at 90 pounds, but if you’re an urban street cruiser then that shouldn’t be a hassle. The extra weight helps provide extra features, like regenerative brakes paired with front-wheel hydraulic disk braking. It’s still a prototype, but its creator hopes to put up models for sale in the near future.

A blend of road-worthy and rugged, the self-balancing electric scooter boasts a quick-start functionality and speeds of up to 25 miles per hour which is cool for...

Read More
Celebs Fashion Inspiring Stories

Once Again Meghan Markle Speaks Up For Ethical, Sustainable Fashion

Meghan Markle has hit the news again championing her fashion choice with the STAUD sustainable fashion during her African tour. The royal family has always been in the limelight so she has stepped up with her choice in clothing that’s dear to her heart.  Sarah Staudinger, the co-founder of STAUD, was so honored that Meghan chose to wear one of her designs, a recycled nylon dress.

During her visit to the Auwal Mosque with Prince Harry, she wore an olive green shirt dress with a cream-coloured headscarf and flats.  Not only was the look very chic but was made entirely from recycled nylon, showing her need to speak up for an eco-friendly lifestyle.

The designer told the press that the response to Meghan’s choice in clothing has been incredible and has given her great exposure to a much larger audience.  This dress can be pre-ordered for $325.

Zero-Waste Fashion

From the beginning of the tour, her sustainable theme in clothing was apparent with her black and white print dress from Mayamiko.  Mayamiko is an ethical, zero-waste fashion line that uses reclaimed, re-cycled materials along with locally sourced fabrics from Malawi.

Mayamiko has stepped up and trained disadvantaged women in their workshop and many of these women suffer from the HIV pandemic.  Their line of clothing is produced in limited supplies and therefore Meghan’s Dalitso Dress was sold out almost immediately.

Meghan has also worn outfits she has re-cycled from her own closet, such as her blue Veronica Beard shirt dress and her striped Martin Grant maxi dress which she wore on her last tour.

This is not the first time the Duchess has chosen clothes from her closet, she also revamped a black jumpsuit from her Everlane collection which she wore in a video for British Vogue last September. This video was called Forces For Change which she played a large role in editing.

She has become a positive role model for women everywhere with her views about eco-friendly fashion.  Zofia Day, Los Angeles-based and founder of Lisette Polyn Jewelry, said Meghan chose her pave diamond and gold bracelet to accessorize her Everlane jumpsuit.

She went on to say that Meghan is showing women that it’s beautiful to be conscious of our environment and you can make choices that make a difference.

This project has been a passion of Meghan’s since she and Harry announced their engagement.  As a matter of fact, during one of her first royal walking tours, she wore a sustainable Welsh denim brand from Hiut Denim Co which creates organic sustainable jeans and employs from their own community.

The Duchess also dons ethical and socially conscious lines like Gabriela Hirst, Maggie Marilyn, Reformation, and Outland Denim. She chose Stella McCartney to design her evening wedding reception dress.  Stella is considered an early pioneer of ethical fashion.

Many women have watched Meghan emerge as someone passionate about our environment and feel a need to make a strong statement to other women that it is chic and fashionable to wear clothes from recycled materials.  Not only does she always look amazing, but she will not be a hypocrite when it comes to how she addresses concerns for our planet.

Each one of us should take a little time and go through our closets and see what we can bring back into the light of day.  How many of us have clothes we have worn once and then just locked up in our closets never to be worn again?  Maybe it’s time to reconsider!

Meghan Markle has hit the news again championing her fashion choice with the STAUD sustainable fashion during her African tour. The royal family has always been in the...

Read More
Cool Stories Funny Stories

Man Loads the Sun Into His S.U.V.

A Russian has been caught on camera loading the sun into his SUV trunk, nonetheless, he is free of legal charges.

His photographer wife, Diana Badmaeva, shot the series of images, she perfectly aligned him with the setting sun to make it seem like he was stuffing it into the vehicle.

Cool Idea

She told SWNS that she does tons of sunset photography and a plan to approach the original concept.

Making all the scenes as fast as possible is the real thing because the sun sets quickly and you have just a few minutes for all this,” she said. “My husband and I talked on the phone so that he would do what I needed. It seems I managed to capture the theft of the century! Or, a quick guide on how to steal the sun.”

Of course, if you want to give it a shot, you’ll need a slightly larger vehicle than the one in the silhouette. Badmaeva told Fox News Autos that it was a Mitsubishi, with a cargo capacity of less than two cubic meters while the volume of the sun is about 1.4 x 10^27 cubic meters :)

A Russian has been caught on camera loading the sun into his SUV trunk, nonetheless, he is free of legal charges.

His photographer wife, Diana Badmaeva, shot the series...

Read More
Cool Stories Tech News

Picasso, Reconstructed by an A.I.

It’s rare for artists to spring up surprises long after their demise, but some occasions are noteworthy. Think Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, and Picasso.

Beneath the Old Guitarist (1903-04), Pablo Picasso’s popular Blue Period painting is the figure of a woman in faint markings. She was originally noticed in 1998 when X-rays and infrared light were used by conservators of the Art Institute of Chicago to peep behind the top layer of the paint.

She sits with her right arm tucked onto her lap and her left arm reaching toward the viewer.  Strangely enough, she resembles a sketch Picasso sent to a colleague at the same time the painting was made.

Enter A.I. Conservation

The foundation for the neural network was a technique created in 2015 by Leon Gatys at the University of Tübingen, Germany, called neural style transfer. The machine vision technique can indicate the style of a painting and convert it to match another.

For example, it can convert a Paul Cézanne to the style of Michelangelo. This technique has been used on videos as well, so it is possible to watch clips of Ice Age in the style of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

All that could be recognized of the woman in the painting until now was the slightest trace of her outline. Other intricate details like style and color were lost.

Nevertheless, with the use of a neural network trained to differentiate the style of one artist from the other or one period from the other, researchers at University College London have given her a new life, even if it is not true to the original of Picasso.

Researchers George Cann and Anthony Bourached published their paper titled “Raiders of the Lost Art,” on the arXiv preprint server. The paper was also featured in a recent article in the MIT Technology Review.

The X-rayed images of the woman’s outlines were plugged into a neural network built to convert images into the style of La Vie (1903), another exceptional piece of Picasso’s Blue Period. In as much as the result cannot be a perfect match of Picasso’s painting which was also pained over 10 decades ago, it is at least conforming to the style he used at that period.

In Picasso’s The Crouching Beggar, the same technique was also used. It was painted over a landscape thought to have been made by a Spanish painter, Santiago Rusiñol, using Rusiñol’s Parc del Laberint d’Horta.

Cann and Bourached said that they hope the results help projects on other lost works of art and also challenge the popular doubt that “algorithm can be creative, or innovate.”

“We argue that the use of machine learning as an artistic tool can ultimately broaden creative insight and widen the landscape of inspirational ingenuity by human-AI collaboration,” wrote Cann and Bourached.

The Crouching Beggar and Old Guitarist are not the only Picasso works that cover hidden paintings. Earlier pieces are usually painted over by artists, especially when a fresh canvas is hard to come by due to inadequate funds. A portrait of a man resting his hand on his head underneath Picasso’s The Blue Room (1901) was found by researchers in 2014.

It’s rare for artists to spring up surprises long after their demise, but some occasions are noteworthy. Think Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci, and...

Read More
Inspiring Stories

DoSomething.org Looks to Encourage Youth Turnout in US Elections

The 2019 Get Out the Vote campaign has started. In 2018 the campaign, that has been set up to encourage younger people to register to vote, added 118,000 young people to the register in time for the 2018 midterms.

This year it is set to pull more young voters into the democratic process for the forthcoming elections in 2019 and the Presidential Election in 2020.

DoSomething.org has benefited from a $500,000 grant donated by Craig Newmark Philanthropies which is headed up by Mr Newmark, the founder of Craig’s List. This funding will likely be used to target previously underrepresented voters including people of color.

The long term aim is to encourage young people to take a lifetime interest and fully participate in the democratic life of their country which is essential if the US is to hear the voice of all its citizens including those who are the most marginalized.

One Man’s Passion

This is a subject that Craig Newmark feels strongly about. Looking at some of the ways that people are excluded from the opportunity to vote, he hopes the funds will help some of the young voters to overcome barriers that prevent them from exercising their franchise.

Things like gerrymandering, ID regulations, purging, and other tactics can often remove peoples’ ability to register and cast a vote.

Newmark believes that DoSomething.org’s Get Out the Vote is a much-needed initiative and that more work is needed at a grassroots level to make the election system much more inclusive and open to all Americans.

For DoSomething.org, a spokesperson announced that in 2019 the campaign will be looking to educate voters using offline and online channels. There is likely to be a great deal of input from social influencers, alongside voter registration drives, reminders delivered via SMS, and voting plans.

The offline activities will include community organizing to encourage all young adults to register to vote.

A key part of the strategy is the organization of another National Absentee Ballot Day on 8th October. This will target the five states with elections planned: Louisiana, Virginia, New Jersey, Mississippi, and Kentucky, with students from each state, encouraged to submit an absentee ballot.

Last year the campaign helped to bring about a record voter turnout in the midterms (42%). The only year where a higher turnout was recorded was 1914 when 50.4% of voters came out. However, it is worth noting that in 1914 women did not have the vote (US Elections Project).

The $500,000 grant from Newmark means that DoSomething.org can aim to break more records in 2020 when US citizens have another presidential election. Newark sees the vote as an essential civic duty that enables Americans to protect their democracy.

He encourages everyone to get out to vote and passionately supports the aims of DoSomething.org’s Get Out the Vote initiative. In particular, its role in targeting young people and empowering them to elect their officials and hold them accountable.

The 2019 Get Out the Vote campaign has started. In 2018 the campaign, that has been set up to encourage younger people to register to vote, added 118,000 young people to...

Read More
Cool Stories Lifestyle

6 Great Candy-Free Halloween Treats Kids Love

Although candy is a traditional way of greeting the trick-or-treaters that find their way to your door on Halloween, sometimes it is good to be a little bit different. Why not try some of these fun, spooky surprises that are 100% candy-free and give the kids a real treat this year.

Spooky Halloween-themed glow sticks

These will light up the kid’s faces when they see these funky Halloween glow sticks. Instead of a straight stick, this pack of 12 lights comes in all sorts of spooky designs.

Choose from skulls, jack o’ lanterns, stars, axes, tridents, and skulls! These amazing favors will have kids reaching away from the candy and picking up something different for the celebration.

Fearsome Stampers

These scary stampers are going to be a real hit this Halloween. The pack has lots of different spooky designs including ghosts, mummies, witches, pumpkins and lots more cool designs.

The ink used is not toxic and is fully washable so the kids can have fun stamping cards, art, and anything else that takes their fancy.

Traditional Play-Doh

Play-Doh always goes down well but these special Halloween colors are going to win the day. These are the treats that most parents will thank you for.

Less candy is always good, but these one-ounce containers come in a variety of Halloween-themed colors – orange, purple, green, black and white and can be used long after Halloween to keep the kids occupied.

Super-Cute Wind-up monsters

These monsters are completely adorable because let’s face it, Halloween is not all about being scary!

These come in packs of 12 and include all the popular monsters like mummies, skeletons, vampires and a few other creepy items like fangs and eyeballs. They can even race against each other so the fun can keep going well into November.

Halloween pencils with giant erasers

Pencils and erasers make great treats plus they are useful for doing homework!

The packs contain 36 pencils in lots of spooky designs including bats, black cats, ghosts, witches and vampires. At around $13 for a pack of 36, they are not going to break the bank and kids will overlook the candy to get their hands on them.

Squishies

Who doesn’t love those soft and completely smushy squishies? Certainly they are popular with kids and the Halloween versions will have everyone beating a path to your door.

As with regular squishies you squeeze them and then they slowly go back to their shape, but these are in spooky Halloween designs. They are also great to use as prizes if you organize any Halloween games.

These are the 6 non-candy Halloween treats we chose but there are many more out there to choose from. Not only do they mean less candy but it also helps kids with food allergies join in with all the fun. So this year why not get creative and take a look around for more great candy-free Halloween treats.

Although candy is a traditional way of greeting the trick-or-treaters that find their way to your door on Halloween, sometimes it is good to be a little bit different...

Read More