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Photoshop's neural filters make you smile

The new Photoshop's AI is amazing and feeds our questionning on our new world of appearances and deep fakes. It can definitely gives us a good laugh!


15 Early Drafts of Horror Movies That Are Totally Bonkers

Movies go through a lot of changes from the original concept to the finished product. For those that become big hits or go on to become classics, those changes are mostly for the better. Only years afterward do we find out what could have been -and by then the early ideas seem just plain bad.

Let's just be glad these horror films turned out the way they did -mainly because we can't imagine them as anything else. See how your favorite horror movie could have been very different in a pictofacts list at Cracked.


Striking Photos Of The Tourism Industry During The Pandemic

There’s a charm to the emptied-out malls, beaches, museums, and other tourist spots where a lot of people would be if it weren’t for the pandemic. These once busy venues are now shadows of their former selves. As sad as that may sound for the businesses and workers that will lose money this year, it is for everyone's safety.  Stacker compiled 50 photos showing how COVID-19 has affected the tourism trade. Check out Press of Atlantic City’s full piece on these gorgeous yet uncanny and calm photos here. 

Image via Press of Atlantic City 


This 13-Year-Old Gets A Home For Her Birthday

Avee Shabazz of Birmingham, Alabama, wanted to help his daughter achieve her own financial freedom, so he bought her a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home for her thirteenth birthday. I only got a birthday cake for my thirteenth birthday, and Ajala Shabazz gets a house, wow (congrats to her though, a house is such a big deal!). Her dad wanted her to be comfortable as she grows up, as Atlanta Black Star details: 

“The objective is to be comfortable,” said Shabazz. “Whatever that means to her is what it means to her. She determines that, right? If she’s cool with having a house without paying bills and working a job, that’s her choice, right? But if she wants to grow it into a multi-million- dollar empire, that’s her choice.”
Ajala says she was excited to receive the big gift, but she also admits she was a little scared.
“I felt like I was too young, you know?” Ajala said. “Like, people always say you’re too young to do this or do that and my dad just gave me a house when I was 13.”
She says she instantly thought of all the things that could possibly go wrong.
“I’m not very good when it comes to responsibility,” she admitted. “And when I’m given responsibility, I suddenly feel anxious and nervous. Am I going to screw this up? Is something bad going to happen? I just think of all the possibilities.”
But her dad stepped in to offer her some encouragement. He believes she is ready and responsible enough. Shabazz is a real estate investor and says Ajala simply needs to do what she’s watched him do over the years.

Image via  Atlanta Black Star


Here’s The Birth Of A Star

This image taken by NASA’s Hubble Telescope shows the birth of a new star in the Cassiopeia constellation. Isn’t it amazing that we can get a glimpse of how the universe works outside the Earth? What seems like a lovely photo for us commoners tells astronomers a lot of things about how stars form in these stellar nurseries called Free-floating Evaporating Gaseous Globules (frEGGs). 

(via LightStalking)

Image via LightStalking 


Did You Know That Fragrant Products Can Hurt Us?

There may be danger in the chemicals mixed with the commercial cleaners and disinfectants we find handy during the pandemic. While these products can help us sanitize areas in our home (or other places) that can keep us safe from COVID-19, they also pose a threat to our own health. The chemicals that give disinfectants and sanitizers their pleasing scents are linked to cause headaches, skin rashes, asthma, immune system dysfunction, and heart trouble.

Check the full piece here. 

Image via Medium


People Are Buying Pianos For The Pandemic Winter

It doesn’t seem that the pandemic will disappear soon. Some people are buying a lot of items and appliances to decorate or add more life to their homes for the winter holidays spent at home. During the early months we saw people flock to the shelves to buy toilet papers, disinfectants, fitness equipment, and bicycles. However, the trend has shifted, and people are now focused on buying kitchen equipment and decorations that can spark joy or calm the nerves. Check out The New York Post’s list on what people are buying for the winter. Maybe you can get an idea for what you can get for yourself this holiday season! 

Image via The New York Post


A 60-Song Mashup of 1993

If asked for a pop song from 1993, I would not be able to name one, as I was working in country music that year. However, once you hear the 60 songs in the latest mashup from The Hood Internet, you'll remember them well. It was a good year for pop! There are several folks in the comments at YouTube who took a stab at naming them all, in case you need some names and titles. -via Laughing Squid


The One Company That Has Monopolized Ice Cream Truck Music Market

It's a hot summer day in Anytown. Kids are playing in their own or neighbor's yards and running through the sprinklers. From a few blocks away, the faint strains of the "The Entertainer", "Pop Goes the Weasel" or "Camptown Races" can be heard drifting down the street. Kids burst through their front doors begging parents for money or go running for piggy banks. The music gets louder, and like a Pied Piper, the ice cream truck draws the neighborhood kids (and even a few adults) to come buy the tantalizing frozen treats being offered. The electronic music box inside the truck has done its job.

One company, tiny Minnesota-based Nichols Electronics, controls not just a vast majority of the ice cream music box market; it is the market. Owner Mark Nichols estimates that the company, which he inherited, is responsible for up to 97% of the music boxes in circulation.

Original owner, Mark's father Bob Nichols had no experience with music boxes. After founding Nichols Electronics in 1957, the WWII vet set his sights on testing TV and radio parts and manufacturing a few one-off products, like a coin-operated foot massager.

But when ice cream driver John Ralston asked him if he could put together an electric music box, Bob decided to give it a go.

They worked out a deal together: Ralston, who was well-connected in the ice cream vending scene, would promote the new music boxes for Bob in exchange for a small cut of profits. 

Within just a few years, orders started pouring in from across the country.

Bob never did any print advertising — he didn’t have to. Word spread so quickly in the tight-knit ice cream truck world that ice cream music soon became Bob’s main business.

Convincing ice cream drivers to buy his electronic music boxes wasn’t always smooth sailing.

Read about the history of ice cream truck music, running a niche ice cream business, the art of choosing ice cream truck music, how the ice cream truck business has a strange quirk: it typically sees a bump in the wake of a financial meltdown, and how the current pandemic that has produced a record unemployment rate has been good for ice cream trucks signing up people to drive them with booming sales at The Hustle.

Image Credit: GRUBBXDN via Wikiemedia Commons

Nichols’ current music box (it looks like it comes straight from the 1970's) — called the Omni 2 ($225) — is preloaded with 32 songs, all in the public domain. Image Credit: The Hustle


Masked Intruders Break Into Bank

An ATM user outside a Redwood City, California, bank noticed that there were things going on inside the closed lobby. Two young raccoons were trapped inside, apparently after climbing through the air ducts to get into the bank. Bank managers and staff from the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA went inside and chased the critters around for ten minutes before driving them outside.

“It’s not every day an animal organisation gets called to deal with a bank break-in, but since the bank robbers were masked bandits of the wildlife kind, we were indeed the appropriate responders,” Peninsula Humane Society and SPCA communications manager, Buffy Martin Tarbox, told the ABC.

The raccoons left behind a path of destruction, but no funds were missing. Read the news report at The Guardian. -via Metafilter

(Image credit: Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA)


How Time Works Around the World

Time flows forward the same way around the world, but the way people measure time and communicate it varies more than you might realize. When the day begins, how long an hour is, and what you call this time of day can be different depending on where you are. These timekeeping systems are only easy if you've done it all your life. -via Digg


That Time Nevada Executed a Prisoner With a Shooting Machine

In 1912, Andriza Mircovich was convicted of murder in Nevada and sentenced to be executed. Per a newly-enacted law, Mircovich could choose the method of execution: hanging or firing squad. He chose the firing squad.  

But there was a problem: execution by firing squad requires at least three executioners, and despite weeks of searching, George W. Cowing, warden of the Nevada State Prison in Carson City, was unable to find three volunteer marksmen willing to shoot Andriza Mircovich. With the set execution date of August 29 fast approaching, Cowing desperately tried to dissuade Mircovich and convince him to accept hanging instead. But Mircovich refused to back down, and Cowing, having run out of options, instead ordered the construction of a mechanical firing squad – or shooting machine.

The device was designed to be operated by anyone, no shooting skills required. The three operators knew that only two of the triggering devices worked, so that there was a chance that a particular operator did not kill a helplessly bound prisoner at the state's behest. Read about the automated firing squad that was only used once at Today I Found Out.

(Image credit: Nevada State Prison)


The Lab Saving the World From Snake Bites

Producing antivenom for snake bites is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process that saves lives. But different antivenom must be developed and produced for each of the wildly different species of venomous snakes all over the world. One institution in Costa Rica has perfected the art of raising snakes far from their native environment, extracting venom, inoculating horses, and isolating the targeted antibodies from their blood.   

The Instituto Clodomiro Picado, or ICP, named after the father of Costa Rican herpetology, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of snake anti­venoms, and the only one in Central America. The need for antivenoms is far more urgent than a person living in a developed nation blessed with a temperate climate might suppose. Globally, venomous snakebites kill roughly 100,000 people each year, mostly in South Asia, Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. In these regions’ poorer corners, local capacities for antivenom production are limited or nonexistent; the ICP has stepped in to help fill the gaps. Beyond meeting its own country’s needs, the institute has supplied or developed lifesaving antivenoms for victims on four continents, each treatment customized to protect against species that still pose lethal threats, from the West African carpet viper to the Papuan taipan.

Founded 50 years ago to save Costa Ricans from the dreaded terciopelo, or the fer-de-lance snake that causes a terribly painful death with one bite, the institute now serves the entire world. Read how they do it at Smithsonian.


Weather Photographer of the Year Awards 2020

The Royal Meteorological Society and Accuweather joined forces to crown the 2020 Weather Photographer of the Year. The first place winner is Rudolf Sulgan for his photograph of a snowstorm in New York City titled "Blizzard." A photograph called “Baikal Treasure” by Alexey Trofimov was the people's choice winner, decided by votes from the public. It shows hummocks of snow and ice on Lake Baikal in Siberia.  

See the top ten photographs from the main competition, the Young Photographer division, and the public's choices at the competition website.  -via Nag on the Lake


A Robot That Can Do Manual Labor Is For Sale

A human-like robot designed to do manual labor is now for sale at Agility. Get ready to break the bank if you want to buy one, though, as the robot costs $250,000.

Most of the robots that have been built in recent years are for research purposes. Scientists all over the world are striving to give them more and better capabilities. On their web page, the team at Agility claim that it is time for robots to start getting out of the research lab and into the real world where they can start doing useful things. They note that Digit has been engineered to do just that, and it is ready right now, for customers.

Learn more details about this robot over at TechXplore.

What are your thoughts about this one?

(Image Credit: Agility/ TechXplore)

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