afternoonbuzz

Google Mekani, Brazil Carnaval, Hawaiian Language Cartoons, More: Saturday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, February 22, 2020

TWEAKS AND UPDATES

CNET: Google parent company Alphabet ends support for Makani kite-power project . “Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is letting go of its power-generating kites company Makani, according to a Tuesday blog post by Makani CEO Fort Felker. It’s the first project from X, Alphabet’s moonshot factory, to be terminated since Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepped aside as leaders in December, the Financial Times earlier reported.”

Google Blog: Alalaô! Keep up with Carnaval 2020 on Google News. “Break out your costumes and strike a pose: Brazil’s Carnaval starts today and lasts through February 26th. The five-day festival, which traces its roots back to the early 1700s, is now one of the largest festivals in the world with thousands of parties and millions of people celebrating across Brazil’s biggest cities. Google News is here to help you keep up with the parades and stay safe.”

USEFUL STUFF

KHON: Creative couple comes together to create Hawaiian-language themed cartoon. “A creative couple used their family as inspiration for a passion project that teaches kids about island culture. Mom is a singer, dad a graphic designer. They merged their creativity to create a labor of love: Makaʻiwa Keiki.” It’s a YouTube channel to teach kids Hawaiian language. I can easily imagine absentmindedly singing the counting to ten song, but I’ll have to play the ʻHead-Shoulders-Knees-and-Toesʻ Song at quarter-speed to learn to say “toes.”

Lifehacker: How To Hack Your Devices So They Don’t Work At Bedtime. “Sometimes, you need a little helping hand to tell you it’s time to go to bed. And since you’re going to ignore your loved ones and/or pets for just ‘one more turn’ in your favourite game or one more quick scan through that social media site you just looked at three minutes ago, here’s how to set up a helping digital hand to need to provide a little tough love, and get you offline and to bed on time.”

AROUND THE SEARCH AND SOCIAL MEDIA WORLD

CNN: How TikTok became a hitmaker for the music industry. “During the 1980’s, artist Matthew Wilder composed a song in about 30 minutes. That song, ‘Break My Stride,’ has been featured in films and commercials over the years and turned him into a one-hit wonder. Now, nearly four decades later, the song is gaining relevance for listeners who weren’t even born when it was first released, thanks to its popularity on an unexpected platform: TikTok.” I was watching a compilation of Art TikToks the other day and thinking, “Why are they playing this random 80s song?”

BBC: Soros calls for Zuckerberg and Sandberg to leave Facebook. “Billionaire financier George Soros has written to the Financial Times, calling for Facebook bosses Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg to leave Facebook.”

SECURITY & LEGAL

The Intercept: Leaked Reports Show EU Police Are Planning A Pan-European Network Of Facial Recognition Databases. “A POLICE INVESTIGATOR in Spain is trying to solve a crime, but she only has an image of a suspect’s face, caught by a nearby security camera. European police have long had access to fingerprint and DNA databases throughout the 27 countries of the European Union and, in certain cases, the United States. But soon, that investigator may be able to also search a network of police face databases spanning the whole of Europe and the U.S.”

The Verge: As Google heads to the Supreme Court, Oracle takes aim at its industry allies. “For almost 10 years, Google and Oracle have been fighting over a set of Android APIs, and for almost that long, conventional wisdom has been that the tech industry is on Google’s side. But as the case moves to the Supreme Court for the second time, Oracle is taking aim at that idea — and calling out Google’s allies one by one.”

RESEARCH & OPINION

TechCrunch: Want podcasts to remain independent? Support independent podcasts. “With corporate involvement in podcasting come things like exclusives — company-produced programs that only exist on specific paid services (yes, I’m fully aware that I’m writing this on a site that recently launched a premium content tier, but we all need to monetize in the way we see fit). But the truth is the same with podcasters as it is with creatives in virtually ever medium: The people making the thing generally want as many people to engage with it as possible. But the lure of a living wage is a powerful one.”

OTHER THINGS I THINK ARE COOL

Geekologie: A Website Where An Artificial Intelligence System Will Write Song Lyrics About Your Topic Of Choice. “These Lyrics Do Not Exist is a website connected to an artificial intelligence system that will write song lyrics about your topic of choice. You just enter that topic (or a person’s name), choose a style of music from country, metal, rock, pop, EDM, or rap, and whether you want the tone of the song to be very sad, sad, neutral, happy, or very happy.” Not going to admit how long I spent here generating pop songs with my husband’s name in them. Good afternoon, Internet…

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