Cultural Pit-Stops, Studio Ghibli, Pocket Casts, More: Saturday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, July 24, 2021


Google Blog: Cultural Pit-Stops: making hours of boring travel time fly by. “We plan our journey ahead with chills of excitement, eagerly choosing which swimsuits will make it into our suitcase or dreaming of days blurring into long naps and lemonade-sipping, counting down the moments until we can finally hit the road. But then the long-awaited day arrives and time shifts as hours seem to stretch long while we wait to board a plane, travel hundreds of kilometers or miles by car (sometimes with kids or pets) or embark on multiple train rides. How can we make it go faster? Google Arts & Culture and its partners have got you covered with Cultural Pit-Stops: a series of fun and educative activities you can do alone or with a group to help speed up time while you travel.”


CNET: Struggling Ghibli Museum exceeds crowdfunding target in 24 hours. “The July 15 listing on hometown tax site Furusato Tax had requested an amount of 10,000,000 yen ($90,814.15 USD), and as of writing it has achieved 133% of the goal. Studio Ghibli is an animation house responsible for such films as the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro and the promised How Do You Live?”

Android Police: Pocket Casts has a new owner… again. “Automattic announced that it is looking forward to creating integrations with its product — it only promoted a new CMS plugin from Spotify-owned podcasting company Anchor in February — and that the app’s co-founders, Russell Ivanovic and Philip Simpson, will be joining the company as well.” If you like podcasts and listening to them on the go, I can’t recommend Pocket Casts enough. Excellent app.


Make Tech Easier: How to Move Your Photos from Google to Amazon Photos. “Most people are aware of the free photo storage offered by Google. However, many Amazon users, even those who are Amazon Prime subscribers, don’t realize that Amazon has free unlimited photo storage, even for full-resolution RAW image files. If you would like to move your Google photos to Amazon Photos, there isn’t a direct transfer feature available. You’ll need to download them from Google and move them into the Amazon account. The following steps show how to do this easily.”


New York Times: The Curious Case of the Quirky Mortgage Ads Boosting Biden Online. “Lower My Bills is a part of Rocket Companies, a Detroit-based mortgage company whose brands include Quicken Loans. Lower My Bills pulls in new customers and vacuums up the contact information of people seeking reduced mortgages. Not every ad from Lower My Bills touted Mr. Biden in recent months, but a review of Facebook’s archive of recent ads shows that a vast majority have done so — and in mostly glowing terms.”

Nevada Today: University Libraries celebrate Artown 2021. “Many of Nevada’s iconic neon signs are fading away. Which is why the University Libraries at the University of Nevada, Reno created Neon in Nevada. Neon in Nevada is a collaborative project documenting and preserving images of neon signs from across the state in a digital archive. In partnering with UNLV Libraries, the Nevada Historical Society, rural Nevada towns, and others, this project is truly a state-wide effort. It is vital in keeping the familiar glow of neon and its history in Nevada alive. The digital archive will go live in August 2021, and the public will be able to view and interact with photos of neon signs in Nevada like never before.”

Mashable: TikTok users parody East Asian fetishization with ‘Americacore’ videos. “Under the guise of celebrating ‘Americacore,’ TikTok users are recording their trips to Target and Walmart, eating snacks like Goldfish crackers and Funfetti cookies, and using paper plates. Paired with gentle music and soft filters, the video trend mimics the way many Americans fetishize East Asian culture, but misrepresent them in ‘aesthetic’ content.”


CNN: Software company’s unveiling of decryption key comes too late for many victims of devastating ransomware attack. “On Thursday, the software company Kaseya announced that it could help unlock any of its customers’ systems that were still inaccessible following a devastating ransomware attack early this month that took down as many as 1,500 businesses worldwide. But for many victims it was too little, too late.”


Notre Dame News: Artificial intelligence tool could increase patient health literacy, study shows. “University of Notre Dame researcher John Lalor, an assistant professor of information technology, analytics and operations at the Mendoza College of Business, is part of a team working on a web-based natural language processing system that could increase the health literacy of patients who access their records through a patient portal. NoteAid, a project based at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, conveniently translates medical jargon for health care consumers.”

VentureBeat: Google’s Translatotron 2 removes ability to deepfake voices. “In 2019, Google released Translatotron, an AI system capable of directly translating a person’s voice into another language. The system could create synthesized translations of voices to keep the sound of the original speaker’s voice intact. But Translatotron could also be used to generate speech in a different voice, making it ripe for potential misuse in, for example, deepfakes.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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