AI brings photos of Amelia Earhart, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie to life – CNET

Artificial intelligence is turning old pictures of people into short, animated clips that show them moving and blinking. The feature, called Deep Nostalgia, comes from genealogy company MyHeritage. It uses machine learning to create facial expressions and movements that look super realistic, Tom's Guide reported Tuesday. 

In a blog post, MyHeritage shared social media posts from users who were thrilled to see their loved ones who'd passed come to life, if only for a few moments. The clips show the people in black-and-white or faded photos tilting their heads and looking around.

People also had fun bringing historical figures to life, including Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln and The Beatles.

Live Science shared clips of other historical figures like Amelia Earhart and Marie Curie moving around. 

Amelia Earhart smiles and blinks at the camera in a Deep Nostalgia animation. 

Live Science/MyHeritage

Marie Curie glances around somewhat inquisitively. 

Live Science/MyHeritage

Whether or not you find this tool to be creepy (and you'd be totally justified in thinking it is), it's arguably quite amusing to see these pieces of the past come to life. MyHeritage said that in the first 48 hours after the tool launched late last month, more than 1 million photos were animated. 

"Users have responded with wonder and emotion: some were awed to see ancestors they'd never met — some from over 100 years ago — move, blink, and smile, while others were moved to tears witnessing their lost loved ones in motion after so many years with only still photos to remember them by," the company wrote.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Lime dedicates $50 million to expand e-bikes into 25 more cities – CNET


Lime's new e-bike includes features like increased motor power and a phone holder.

Matthew Reamer/Lime

Lime is investing $50 million in its e-bike business, which includes rolling out new and improved hardware and making the service available in 25 more cities this year, the company said in a Monday blog post. Its newest e-bike model, which "provides an extra boost for tough hills, a phone holder for navigation and swappable batteries compatible with our Gen4 e-scooter," is slated to come out in the summer.

The electric scooter and e-bike company says it's focused on expanding primarily to cities in Europe and North America, as well as a few in Australia and New Zealand.

"Shared micromobility is playing an essential role in getting cities moving again safely," Lime CEO Wayne Ting said in a statement, "so we see this as a critical moment to double down on e-bikes as an open-air, socially-distanced transportation option."

The newest e-bike includes increased motor power and an automatic two-speed transmission to replace older bikes' gears for a smoother ride. 

Lime says people took more than 3 million rides on its e-bikes last year amid the coronavirus pandemic, and it expects that number will rise significantly this year as people get vaccinated and go back to work, school and social activities. 

See also: Best electric scooters and skateboards for 2021

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Hollywood is slowly working to rectify decades of Muslim misrepresentation – CNET

In the past few months, my Twitter and TikTok feeds have been flooded with clips from shows that have butchered Muslim representation. 

In one video, a character from Netflix show Tiny Pretty Things is seen deep in prayer until a woman appears out of nowhere and lures him into a seductive dance. In another, a doctor on Grey's Anatomy dramatically rips off her hijab to stop a patient from bleeding, despite being in a hospital, surrounded by bandages and medical equipment. "No more Muslim representation, please," one person on Twitter joked in response.

These unrealistic depictions are hardly new. Muslims have long been excluded or misrepresented in media. After 9/11, Muslims went from being largely invisible to being regularly portrayed as terrorists or villains in film and television. In news coverage, the label "terrorist" is almost exclusively applied to those associated with Islam. Attacks by Muslims on average get 357% more coverage

This has major real-world effects. A 2015 study found that exposure to negative portrayals "increased perceptions of Muslims as aggressive, increased support for harsh civil restrictions of Muslim Americans, and increased support for military action in Muslim countries." Perpetuating those stereotypes in film and television can be detrimental to communities.

"I've heard many people say, 'Oh, it's just TV, it's just entertainment,' to brush it off as if it doesn't have real-world impact," said Evelyn Alsultany, associate professor in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. "But these images very much shape how we see each other, how we understand each other." 


Ramy is one of the latest shows rethinking representation of Muslims on screen. 


Thankfully, more shows are incorporating Muslim characters who aren't linked to terrorism or extremism. Drama series Transplant, which debuted on NBC in September, features a Syrian Muslim doctor. Hulu's Ramy, created by Arab-American and Golden Globe-winner Ramy Youssef, has been lauded for its depiction of American Muslims. Other shows like DC's Legends of Tomorrow, The Bold Type, FBI and Orange is the New Black also feature prominent Muslim characters. This year's Sundance Film Festival included a series of panels on Muslims in entertainment, signaling change within the industry. 

"The tide is finally turning toward, 'Not only do we want to represent you authentically, we actually want you to tell your story,'" Cherien Dabis, a producer, writer and director, said during a Sundance panel on Middle Eastern writers in entertainment. "The arrival of Ramy marked that turn, and I think we're just at the very beginning of it."

A work in progress

Writer and director Lena Khan, who's worked on several projects including the Disney Plus series Flora and Ulysses, says she's optimistic about where the industry is headed. Still, there's still plenty of room for growth. As a woman who wears the hijab (or headscarf), she's occasionally had to deal with producers who hold stereotypical views about people who look like her.

"The first few minutes you meet them, you almost have to convince them that you're normal and have fresh ideas," Khan said. 

She also says she gets a handful of scripts each year that all follow the same premise: Four Muslim girls live in a conservative area and want to push back by picking up "some sort of activity that people feel is against the grain," like surfing or starting a rock band. "Many of the stories are Muslims going against dominant Muslim culture," she said. "Is the industry not yet OK with Muslims just being practicing Muslims?"

Representation matters, and organizations like the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) or Muslims On Screen and Television (MOST) work toward promoting accurate portrayals. But in show business, money talks. Thankfully, a 2017 report from Mediaversity found that inclusive movies actually outperformed non-diverse equivalents across a number of metrics. A more recent UCLA report in 2020 found that big-budget films lacking diversity tend to see significant losses in opening weekend box office revenue.

"When a [show like] Ramy makes Hulu millions of dollars," said Sue Obeidi, director of MPAC's Hollywood bureau, "the industry's watching."

President Donald Trump's ban on immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries also had a huge impact. Alsultany says writers and producers were outraged at the ban and, as a result, created more complex characters who aren't linked to terrorism and aren't constantly trying to prove their patriotism. 

Last year, Alsultany and Obeidi created the Obeidi-Alsultany Test, a set of five criteria to "evaluate whether a TV or film project presents Muslim characters in dynamic, nuanced, and intersectional stories and contexts." The test includes examining whether projects with Muslim characters avoid tropes, if the characters have a strong presence and if there's a Muslim writer on staff.

"It makes a huge difference if you have someone of that identity as part of the creative process," Alsultany said.

Capturing a range of voices

It's also important to showcase diversity within the Muslim community, Alsultany notes. Shows and movies should include a range of characters who are both religious and secular, and who have more to their identities than just their ties to faith. 

Streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Disney Plus, hungry for content in a competitive space, offer more opportunities for diverse stories to be told, says Hussein Rashid, an academic whose research focuses on Muslims and American popular culture.

"Network TV finds a formula for success and repeats it," Rashid said. "Streaming services are more willing to experiment because they don't have those conventions in place right now."

But mistakes have been made. If the right people aren't in the room, you're more likely to get depictions like the awkward prayer scene in Tiny Pretty Things, or moments when hijabi women are "freed" from hijab after falling for a white guy, as portrayed in Netflix's Elite. That won't change until more people with a range of experiences are involved both behind the camera and onscreen, experts say.

Boosting diverse representation of the Muslim community includes elevating Black Muslim voices -- another topic discussed this year at Sundance

Muna Deria, a writer and director, says the Black Lives Matter movement has allowed people to speak more honestly and frankly about issues surrounding representation. She now feels emboldened to make requests like asking for a Black mentor or to work with a Black producer.

"The Black Lives Matter movement means that Muslim people of all races are able to have conversations they would otherwise not have," Deria said.

She says it's important the film and TV industry represents Black Muslims and other minority groups throughout entire crews. More mentorship programs are required for young people to feel like a future in this line of work is even possible. Writers' rooms and the content that comes out of them should be more diverse.

But we're on our way. Alsultany says she's seen an influx of Muslim students headed to careers in media, from screenwriting to journalism to movie production. Khan also says she anticipates a flood of young people will be in a variety of writers' rooms in the next five years. That can have a major impact on not just Muslim representation on screen, but how the community is perceived in the real world.

"A lot of times," Khan notes, "art is what pushes society to get up to speed."

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

House passes Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package – CNET


Another round of stimulus checks is one step closer to becoming a reality.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The US House has passed President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus bill late Friday night, which includes a third stimulus check for up to $1,400. The bill passed 219-212, and will now head to the Senate for a vote. The package is on track to pass before current unemployment benefits expire March 14.

The stimulus package, called the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, would deliver a new stimulus payment as soon as next month. It would also extend $400 weekly unemployment benefits until the end of August and allocate money for COVID-19 vaccine distribution. The bill includes language around gradually increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, though this faces strong opposition in the Senate and could be removed because it may not meet certain rules that apply to the unique way the bill will pass.

Read more: New stimulus check: Status update, biggest unknowns, what could cause a delay                   

Now playing: Watch this: Stimulus check No. 3: What you need to know


Democrats, who now control the House and Senate thanks to Vice President Kamala Harris's tie-breaking vote, are speeding up the passage of a bill using a technique called budget reconciliation, which will allow them to move forward without Republican support. (GOP leaders have said the amount of the nearly $2 trillion stimulus bill is too high.)

Last year, qualified Americans received two stimulus checks: one for $1,200 and a second one for $600. For this third round of checks, the bill could make adult dependents as well as children, and families with mixed-status citizenship, eligible for a payment.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Samsung now lets you ‘Buy and Try’ Galaxy foldable phones for 100 days – CNET


You can now try out Samsung Galaxy foldable phones without commitment for 100 days.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

If you're not quite sure whether a foldable phone is right for you, Samsung is offering a Buy and Try program for its Galaxy Z Flip 5G and Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G phones, as a way to help customers see if one of the devices is a good fit. You now have 100 days to try out one of the phones and decide whether you want to keep it.

Samsung says this is the first time it's offering this kind of program for mobile devices. The previous return window was 15 days. 

The Buy and Try program for the foldable phones is available on until April 1. 

Having the option to send back a device if you're not pleased with it could be appealing to potential consumers, since the phones come at a hefty price. The Galaxy Z Flip 5G costs $1,450, while the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G is priced at $2,000.

See also: 24 hours with Galaxy Fold: What it's like to use Samsung's first foldable phone for a day

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

iOS 14.5 will come with a bunch of new emoji, including one for your vaccine selfie – CNET


iOS will soon have several new emoji.

Apple's beta release of iOS 14.5 includes a preview of new emoji coming in the spring, including a heart on fire, an exhaling face and more skin tone variations for emoji including couples kissing. Changes have also been made to the syringe emoji, removing blood to make it more useful for depicting COVID-19 vaccines (perfect for your vaccine selfie posts on social media). 

The iPhone maker also tweaked the headphones emoji, making it resemble its new AirPods Max, and added helmets to emoji depicting people climbing.

Other additions include gender options for people with beards, a face in the clouds and a face with spiral eyes.

Apple has placed a greater emphasis on adding more inclusive and gender-neutral emoji. In an iOS update late last year, the company incorporated gender variations for people wearing a tuxedo or wedding veil, as well as several options for people bottle-feeding a baby.

Read more: iOS 14.5 is coming soon. What we know about a release date and new features

Now playing: Watch this: iPhone 12 Mini review: There's a lot to like for a phone...


Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Stonehenge likely made from pieces of another ancient monument, study says – CNET


We may finally know more about Stonehenge's origins. 

Getty Images

A new study suggests the stones used to create Stonehenge in 3000 BC may have once belonged to another ancient monument 175 miles away in southwest Wales, called Waun Mawn. The findings are set to be published in the journal Antiquity, according to a Friday report by 

Researchers from University College London suggested bluestones, which originated in Wales, could have been moved by those who constructed Stonehenge as communities migrated. The area around Waun Mawn was densely populated until 3000 BC, when things suddenly got quiet, according to the researchers. 

"It's as if they just vanished," UCL archaeologist Mike Parker Pearson told the publication. "Maybe most of the people migrated, taking their stones—their ancestral identities—with them."

Scientific dating suggests Waun Mawn was built around 400 years before Stonehenge, according to the report.  

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Pokemon assures fans more trading cards are coming soon amid shortage – CNET

Pokemon cards

Having a hard time getting your hands on Pokemon cards? You're not alone.

Getty Images

Pokemon on Wednesday said it's working to quickly print more trading cards after high demand and shipping constraints impacted availability. The company is celebrating its 25th anniversary, which has no doubt led to greater demand.

"In situations where there is limited availability, we are actively working to print more of the impacted Pokémon TCG products as quickly as possible and at maximum capacity to support this increased demand," the company said in a blog post. "Reprinted products are expected to be available at retailers as soon as possible."

The company says it's also amping up production for new Pokemon TCG expansions coming in the future, in order to increase product availability when they come out. "We will continue to reprint the products to replenish stock at retailers as soon as possible," the company added. 

Fans are also reportedly having a hard time getting their hands on cards through Pokemon's partnership with McDonald's, in which customers have the opportunity to score cards in their Happy Meals. Several Twitter users and sites are reporting that scalpers have hijacked the event, reselling cards at much higher prices. Others have reportedly bought several Happy Meals to collect the cards and then throw out the food.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

Snap’s Friend Check Up helps users weed out unwanted connections – CNET


Do you want to stay connected to everyone on your Snapchat friend lists?

Angela Lang/CNET

If you've lost track of everyone you're friends with on Snapchat, the company is launching a feature designed to make it easier to pin down that information and review your connections. Friend Check Up, announced on Safer Internet Day, prompts users to check their friend lists and ensure they want to keep everyone on there. If there's anyone they don't want to stay in touch with, they can easily remove them. 

The company says this aligns with the primary purpose of Snapchat, which is to communicate with people who "matter most." This stands in contrast to platforms like Instagram, where the goal is generally to attain wider reach (though users there have the option to only share IG Stories with a select circle of "close friends").

"One source of risk on digital platforms are the connections that can be created -- sometimes at the explicit urging of the platform -- with people who we don't know in real life and who may expose us to negative experiences, such as the spread of misinformation, harassment or unwanted situations," a Snap spokesperson said. "The architecture of our platform is designed to encourage connection and communication between those who are real friends, while making it much harder for strangers to find and friend Snapchatters."

Friend Check Up will appear as a notification in a user's profile. It'll start rolling out globally on Android in the coming weeks, and on iOS in the coming months.

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More

For Super Bowl Sunday, people are searching for these foods – CNET

NFL football Super Bowl

It's not all about the football.

James Martin/CNET

The big game is important for football fans, but it's also a big deal for foodies. Classic staples to munch on during the game include pizza and wings, but according to Google, fans across the US are also seemingly branching out in their searches for main dishes, side dishes, appetizers, dip and dessert

In Nebraska, for instance, people are searching for labneh. In Kentucky, there's a high number of searches for jambalaya. People in Maine are apparently fans of munching on nachos, while those in Montana are leaning toward cooking up keto egg bites. Don't be surprised if you see an influx of pictures online of seven-layer dip from places like Arizona and Utah. Meanwhile, the folks in Wyoming are looking to keep things healthy with a "chia seed coconut milk dessert."


What's a popular search in your state?


Google also shared other search trends related to the big game, including a graph showing interest throughout the year in "Superb Owl" (a typo we've surely all made at some point). In addition, the Kansas City Chiefs appear to be more popular when it comes to search interest in the past week than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with all but seven states giving more attention to the Chiefs. When it comes to search interest in quarterbacks in the past week, Tom Brady of the Buccaneers trumps Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs, 66% to 34%.

Music fans are also in on the fun. With The Weeknd slated to perform during halftime, the most searched song lyrics of his in the past week were for Blinding Lights, Save Your Tears, Wicked Games, Heartless and The Hills. 

It looks like folks are getting ready to bust out the karaoke machine and labneh for a good time, no matter the outcome. That, friends, is #winning.

See also: The best keto recipes for your big game watch party

Let's block ads! (Why?)

Read More
Page 1 of 1312345»10...Last »