Posts tagged with "tiktok"

Paranormal mystery: Tesla driving through ‘Conjuring’ graveyard senses people walking

February 12, 2024

Are there real ghosts walking around in a famous graveyard in Rhode Island? According to the sensors in one man’s Tesla, the answer may be an eerie yes! In a bizarre event shared on TikTok, the driver’s Tesla sensors purportedly detected what appeared to be several “people” walking around his car. The problem is he and his passengers were driving through an empty cemetery, reports Study Finds.

For those who believe in ghosts, you may be excited to learn that this potentially paranormal shocker took place on the road along a cemetery near the Arnold Estate, the real-life inspiration for the 2013 movie “The Conjuring.” As the unnamed driver of the Tesla passed this graveyard, the images of people walking appeared on the motion sensor display.

In the video on TikTok, a group of people driving in the car stops to stare at the terrifying sight unfolding on the pedestrian sensor screen, you can hear them react in shock as more and more “ghosts” appear in the graveyard!

At one point, it even looks as if the ghosts are surrounding the Tesla, which spooks the riders even more. The video does show someone standing in front of a grave as they pull in, and the driver says his cousin and a friend were outside and eventually got in the car. That certainly would indicate an instance of the sensors picking up a person, but as the number of individuals grows and they appear to be in multiple places, the travelers are left laughing in confusion.

The unnamed driver, who claims to be a Tesla employee, adds that this isn’t some funny prank built into the car’s software by Tesla founder Elon Musk.

“[I can] confirm this is not an Easter egg Elon added as I’ve tried this many times. It’s not just picking up the gravestones, as even if it was they would show as stationary on the screen,” the driver said, according to a report by SWNS.

So, what was the car picking up on its screen? It might help first to understand how the sensors on a Tesla work. These sensors are calibrated to detect objects and people in typical driving environments. A graveyard, with its unique layout and objects, might present atypical conditions that the car’s system isn’t optimized to handle—leading to unusual readings on the sensor system.

Tesla’s pedestrian detection recently underwent a major transition. Prior to 2022, the system used a combination of sensors and software. This combined:

  • Radar: Radar sensors emit radio waves that bounce off objects and return to the sensor, providing information about the object’s distance and speed. However, radar waves can penetrate some materials but not others, and they’re generally not capable of detecting objects buried underground.
  • Cameras: Tesla vehicles use multiple cameras to provide a 360-degree view around the car. The cameras feed visual information to the car’s computer system, which uses image recognition algorithms to identify objects like cars, pedestrians, and road signs.
  • Ultrasonic sensors: These are used primarily for close-range detection and are especially useful for parking assistance. They use sound waves to detect objects around the vehicle. Like radar, these waves are not designed to penetrate the ground significantly.
  • Autopilot and full self-driving (FSD) software:This software analyzes the combined data from the sensors to identify pedestrians, predict their movements, and take potential actions such as braking or issuing warnings.

Since 2022, most Tesla models (Model 3, Model Y, Model S, and Model X) have transitioned to Tesla Vision, a system that relies solely on cameras and vision-based software. This approach uses a sophisticated “occupancy network,” which analyzes camera footage to identify and differentiate objects—including pedestrians—with high accuracy.

It’s highly unlikely that the sensors were detecting bodies underground. More plausible explanations could include:

  • False positives from the sensor system: The car’s sensors, particularly the cameras, might be misinterpreting tombstones, trees, or other structures as people. This can happen due to the shapes, sizes, or even reflective properties of these objects.
  • Software glitches: The algorithms processing the sensor data might misinterpret what the sensors are picking up—especially in unusual environments like a graveyard.
  • Environmental factors: Things like shadows, lighting conditions, or weather might affect how the sensors perceive their surroundings.

While it’s unclear which type of Tesla this was, it’s clear that the high-tech car sees “something” in one of the creepiest places in the United States.

Research contact: @StudyFinds

Leopard layers and a load of gold: Say hello to the ‘mob wife’ trend

January 24, 2024

As The Sopranos celebrates its 25th anniversary, a new audience has embraced its style via TikTok. Out are the cutesy “tomato girls” with their full skirts and raffia basket bags. Gone are the gentle linen-clad “coastal grandmothers”.

In their place comes a woman with a whole lot more bada bing, reports The Guardian. Dubbed the “mob wife aesthetic”, the look involves massive fur coats, glossy leather, clashing animal prints, coiffed hair, and stacks of gold jewelry.

To celebrate the big anniversary, HBO has launched an official Sopranos TikTok account featuring condensed 25 second recaps of all 86 episodes. This has led to a whole new generation—many who weren’t even born when the show first aired—discovering it, with many homing in on the female characters’ gaudy style.

On the secondhand shopping platform Depop, searches for leopard print are up 213% and gold hoop earrings up 70%, as Gen Z and Alpha try to emulate Carmela Soprano and Adriana La Cerva.

This week, film director Francis Ford Coppola even got involved. On Instagram, he posted a still of his sister Talia Shire dripping in diamonds as Connie Corleone and Diane Keaton in pearls as Kay in The Godfather with the caption “I hear the ‘mob wife aesthetic’ is making a comeback…”

It’s not just fictional characters that are being referenced. The daughter of the convicted killer and boss of the Gambino crime family John Gotti, Victoria Gotti – who is said to base her flashy clothes and long tousled blonde hair on the Italian fashion designer Donatella Versace—is being hailed as style leader. Images of Renee Graziano, the daughter of Anthony Graziano, the former Bonanno family consigliere whose stars in the reality TV show Mob Wives, also pops up on numerous mood boards.

Last week, Nunzia Giuliano, daughter of the 80s mafia boss Carmine Giuliano, even tapped into the trend by launching a perfume named after her father. Dubbed ‘O Liò’, an abbreviation of his nickname ‘O Lione’, the first batch sold out within days. “By buying this fragrance you are showing respect to my father because you received respect from him,” Giuliano shared in a video to her 15k followers.

How to get the look

  1. The fake fur coat

While real mob wives pass down floor-sweeping furs as family heirlooms, the younger TikTok generation prefer fake. While these are cruelty free, they are made from petroleum-derived fabrics which contain microplastics, so choose a simple version that won’t date. Better still, scour pre-existing fake furs at your local charity shop or online.

  1. The sunglasses

Oversized frames with a flashy designer logo are key here. Sunglasses, Gucci

  1. The jewelry

Channel Carmela Soprano with chunky gold hoops and layers of chain necklaces. But leave the cornicello, a traditional Italian talisman, to the Sicilians. Gold hoops, Astrid & Miyu

The luxe tracksuit

Swap your beige track pants for what insiders call a “Bensonhurst tuxedo.” See Juicy Couture’s embellished versions.

While TikTokers embracing the aesthetic get dressed up to capture content over chequered tablecloths and steaming bowls of vongole at their local trattoria, it’s funerals, weddings and the courtroom where real mob wives flaunt their style. Clare Longrigg, author of Mafia Women, describes it as a “hutzpah” [or “chutzpah,” derived from the Hebrew word, “ huspah”], meaning “audacity.”

“There is so much performance involved in being a mafia wife,” says Longrigg, who points out how clothing is used as a signifier of power. “You can’t show any weakness. It’s brash and it’s bold and it’s all part of keeping up a front.”

Juliet Polcsa, the costume designer for The Sopranos, describes the renewed interest in Carmela Soprano’s style as “flattering but baffling”. To hone Carmela’s look, Polcsa spent time observing shoppers at malls in New Jersey rather than real mob wives. Polcsa describes Carmela as a “nouveau riche suburban housewife.”

“She didn’t have the sophistication of someone wealthy, but she had money. It was 1999 and fashion had a specific theme. Matchy-matchy outfits, jewelery, nails and hair were very important,” she said.

The Italian-American author Sarah Arcuri, who has earned the moniker “Mob Wife Aesthetic CEO” on TikTok thanks to her wardrobe and makeup tutorials, says the glamorous style is something she has grown up with. Based in New Jersey, her family originally hail from Sicily, with Arcuri explaining how her mother and grandmother instilled in her from a young age the importance of looking “put together”.

“It’s flattering that people want to dress like us now. But I think some people are confusing it with a costume. It’s not. A the end of the day “Mob wife aesthetic” is just another word for 80s glam,” she said.

Research contact: @guardian

Oklahoma veteran, 101, cries tears of joy as he meets great-great-granddaughter in viral TikTok

January 18, 2024

Tears flowed from the eyes of a 101-year-old World War II veteran who met his great-great-grandchild for the first time—a moment that was captured in a touching video that has received over 6 million views on TikTok, reports Fox News.

e is the definition of a true American hero,” Lexie Fowler, 25, of Asher, Oklahoma, told Fox News about her great-grandfather, Dewey Muirhead.

“Just to be able to watch your great-grandfather hold your own child is something I’ll never forget. A lot of people don’t get to have that opportunity and we are very fortunate for it.”

Fowler and her husband, Hunter, had scheduled a newborn photo session when their photographer suggested including Muirhead, who served during WWII and lives in nearby Wewoka, Oklahoma. “Our photographer takes pictures of veterans free of charge and my great-grandfather is very near and dear to her,” Fowler said.

“When I told her that I was having a baby, she immediately jumped on it and said, ‘We have to get photos with your great-grandpa because this makes five generations.'”

They started off the photo session by blindfolding Muirhead. “The reason we blindfolded him is so that we could kind of get next to him and get his full reaction,” Fowler said.

“So we sat down next to him and took his blindfold off and that’s when he looked over and got to meet Millie,” she added.

Muirhead’s reaction is palpable as he turns his head to see his great-great-granddaughter, Millie Fowler, for the first time. “Sweetie,” Muirhead says as he reaches out and gives the baby girl a kiss. “What in the world are you doing? … Oh, isn’t she pretty? Look at her.”

As Fowler places her baby in her great-grandfather’s arms, his voice cracks with emotion as he wipes away tears. “It was honestly the coolest experience,” Fowler said. “Watching my great-grandfather cradle her in his arms—and she was just soothed. It’s almost like that’s what he has long held on for, for so long.”

Muirhead served in the Army Air Corps from 1942 to 1945, Fowler said. He was stationed in Germany, France and Belgium. He married his wife, Inez, before he left for the war. They were married for 79 years; she passed away in 2021.

“He’s been through more than I can imagine,” Fowler said.

“I’m sure when he went to war, he didn’t even know if he would make it back home to his wife, let alone meet his great-great-grandchild. This is the first great-great-grandchild [in the family], so it was very, very special for him. There’s a photograph where he’s holding her and you can just see the look in his eyes, and he’s got tears.”

Fowler said her great-grandfather is surrounded by family and receives some assistance from the Veterans Administration, but is also very independent. “He still gets up and makes his breakfast, eats his lunch, and he’s in bed before the sun goes down, I think.”

Fowler said her family was not expecting such worldwide attention when they made the video and shared it with their local news station. “The reason we recorded it was so we can show it to Millie some day,” Fowler said.

“This is something we will cherish forever,” Fowler added.

Research contact: @FoxNews

Dating apps are in their ‘flop era’

January 10, 2024

In 2021, Jocelyn was ready to get back on dating apps. Fresh out of a long-term relationship, she figured that the apps would be relatively the same as when she first used them in college five years earlier. Even if they didn’t lead to lasting love, she’d have fun exploring her options.

“I wasn’t experiencing any of that,” says Jocelyn, now 28. “After these dates I was actually like, I could have stayed home and done nothing.”

According to a report by Bustle, you can talk to your friends, scroll social media, or just sit in a bar and listen, and you’ll encounter a similar sentiment: Millennials are tired of dating apps, and Gen Z singles might not bother with them. A 2023 survey of college and graduate students found that 79% don’t use dating apps even once a month.

These companies are feeling the shift: Match Group—which owns apps Tinder, Hinge,, and OkCupid, among others—has seen its stock price drop 40% in the past year.

Bumble founder and CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd stepped down in November after ten years at the app, while Feeld is struggling through a disastrous rebrand.

Once a staple of the 20-something experience, these apps are now playing catch-up by rolling out new features and aiming to reshape their reputations—at least, they’re trying to.

The golden age is over

Since their inception, dating apps have been a largely Millennial endeavor. What started with Grindr in 2009 went mainstream with Tinder in 2012. Their initial conceits were simple: find nearby singles on your phone. With access to a seemingly never-ending well of users, the only barrier to landing a date was mutual interest.

Over the next decade, new apps emerged in hopes of getting their own piece of the pie: On Bumble, women message first; Hinge is geared toward finding love; Raya is exclusive and private; and The League is for ambitious professionals. Apps like Lex, Her, Scruff, and Feeld cater to LGBTQIA+ and nonmonogamous daters.

Now, however, the novelty has worn off. Millennials still toiling away on the apps are getting fatigued. There’s a feeling among current singles that the golden era has passed.

As a recent TikTok by Keara Sullivan put it, “If you met your partner on a dating app two years ago, you caught the last chopper out of ‘Nam.”

“I’d rather be single forever”

Have the apps innovated too close to the sun? On top of the basic swiping system, newer features—theoretically intended to increase connections—have left many users disheartened. Sarah, 29, met her last boyfriend on Hinge in 2018; when she returned to the app three and a half years later following their breakup, things were not the same.

“Most Compatible has become the feature on Hinge I fear the most, because it often makes me question if I am indeed destined to end up with a man whose profile exclusively includes photos of himself in front of sports cars, along with selfies of his ‘best Blue Steel’ facial expression that looks like he just ate a sour gummy bear,” she says. “If this is who the Hinge gods have decided I’m best suited with, I’d rather be single forever.”

While the most popular dating apps remain free to download, almost all encourage users to pay a monthly subscription in exchange for perks such as unlimited likes and tools to boost how often you appear in other users’ feeds. However, swipers appear reluctant to fork up.

Match Group saw its paying users decline for the fourth straight quarter, and a 2023 Pew Research study found that while 41% of online dating users age 30 or older have paid for the apps, just 22% of users under 30—the demographic they’re looking to court—have done the same.

“Rose jail gatekeeps the hot people”

Hinge’s rose feature, in particular, has frustrated users. The only way to interact with Standouts (profiles receiving a lot of attention that the app thinks you’ll like) is to send them a rose. Users get one free rose to send per week, regardless of whether they pay a subscription. In order to regularly engage with Standouts, you’d need to purchase more roses starting at $3.99 each — or limit your options to Hinge’s general algorithm, which some find increasingly disappointing.

“It feels like they’re hiding all of the good guys who are actually looking for relationships behind a paywall,” says Deja, 25, referencing something Hinge users have come to call “rose jail.”

“Rose jail gatekeeps the hot people on Hinge,” Hannah, 26, says. “Looking at the Standouts section, the men all have jobs, families, and great teeth. The same can’t be said for my regular feed. Obviously, it’s because they want to make money, which is fine, but then it’s time to change up the slogan. Hinge isn’t ‘designed to be deleted.’ It’s designed to make their users spend more and more money in the vain hope of finding a real connection.”

A Hinge spokesperson disputes this. “Hinge is designed with only one goal for our community—to help them get off the app and out on great dates,” a rep tells Bustle. “Our algorithm specifically introduces you to potential dates who meet your preferences (like distance, family plans, and more) and whose preferences you meet.”

Apps are trying to pivot

But frustration runs deeper than just an unwillingness to pay. Dating apps may be facing the consequences of a culture they helped create. They know their reputation is dragging, and in response to this disillusionment, they’ve had to get strategic about their place in the larger world of dating.

For example, Tinder—initially known as the casual sex app—is now reinventing itself for hookup-adverse Gen Z by pivoting to a focus on love. Per Melissa Hobley, chief marketing officer at Tinder, 40% of users want to find long-term relationships; the app lets users highlight what kind of connections they’re looking for.

Appealing to Gen Z also means embracing the causes they care about, Hobley says. The LGBTQIA+ community is the fastest-growing demo on the app, and during Pride Month, Tinder helped connect eligible users with information about a study that hopes to combat the FDA’s blood ban against gay donors. It also launched an Election Center that enables app users to access voter registration tools and locate their polling stations, and allows users to include a “pro-choice” interest on their profiles.

Dating apps to Gen Z might be like Facebook to Millennials—they’re on them because everyone else is, but it’s not like they’re having fun.

Remember real life?

Perhaps in reaction to the COVID isolation of the past few years, some users want apps to help them meet people IRL. In 2023, Tinder created the Single Summer Series—hosting dating events across the country to take the pressure off one-on-one dates. Bumble similarly hosts Bumble IRL, and Hinge recently announced a $1 million fund to help Gen Z connect in person.

Singles like Jocelyn hope these events will allow for more organic connections, and reduce the exhausting trial and error of continually “meeting some random person off the Internet.”

Without a dramatic cultural shift, dating apps remain the most obvious option for someone in pursuit of romantic connection—even if the pursuit is futile.

Research contact: @bustle

Why the matchy-matchy Christmas pajama trend is here to stay

December 27, 2023

Most families have an annual Christmas tradition. It could be watching a classic holiday movie, going caroling, or even that yearly heated political debate. But a new custom has entered the festive lexicon: family pajamas. Everyone from grandparents to grandchildren—and even fur babies—is donning the same style of nightwear to create the ultimate family photo for social media, reports The Guardian.

It’s a trend that started in the United States, but homogenous pajama dressing now also has taken off in the UK. Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Hanna Andersson, and Primark all sell family pajama sets. (Some even include matching jackets and bandanas for the family dog.)

M&S was one of the earlier British retailers to adopt the trend— selling its first matching family sets in 2017. “They were an instant hit with customers and we’ve seen the demand grow ever since,” says Sarah Ayling, head of Lingerie and Sleepwear buying. This Christmas, the high street giant has six different designs ranging from traditional tartan prints to tropical jungle foliage. But its “disco Santa” motif is proving most popular—so far more than 500,000 sets have been sold.

Elsewhere, sales are up 40% at Gap, with bestsellers including red- and green-check flannel sets. A spokesperson for the online nightwear shop Cyberjammies describes this year’s sales as “phenomenal”. Its cotton Whistler collection—featuring illustrations of skiers and fir trees—has consistently sold out since it launched in September. Some of Primark’s Grinch-themed sets, meanwhile, are selling for double the retail price on eBay.

Rather than tiger parents dictating what their children wear, the trend is being fueled by gen Alpha and Gen Z. On TikTok, the term Christmas pajamas has almost 70 million views, with tweens and teens forcing older family members to don a pair then lip-sync to Christmas songs or catwalk around the kitchen.

“We like to identify with the people we love,” says Dr Sandra Wheatley, a clinical psychologist. “As a family, you are one unit, but it doesn’t always feel that way. Wearing matching pajamas is akin to putting on a family uniform. It connects everyone.” It can also, she says, “level the playing field” for “blended” families: “It’s a way of saying we are all equal.”

The coordinated pajama trend dates back to 1950s America, when shopping catalogs ran images portraying nuclear families in “mini-me” matching sleepwear.

In the modern day, it is celebrities who have catalysed the trend. The Kardashian-Jenners favor plaid styles (though Kim dressed her kids in all-red snowflakes this year), Diana Ross and her clan like candy-cane stripes, while the Beckhams’ annual embossed silky sets are said to be from Olivia von Halle, a luxury London-based pajama-maker whose prices start from £320 (US$406).

If you would like to try it out, but don’t think your family will go for all-out matching pajamas, why not go for nightwear in similar colors? “It makes it a bit cooler,” says Tom Pyne of the UK pajama and loungewear brand Chelsea Peers. “Plus, it’s more versatile. Our customers like to wear them each year, or even all year round. They are not bought for just one day.”

Research contact: @guardian

Little Golden Book biography of Taylor Swift is a smash hit: Sells 1M copies in seven months

December 22, 2023

A biographical children’s book about Taylor Swift has created a new record for the Little Golden Book brand, Fox Business reports.

Random House Children’s Books, part of Penguin Random House, said in a press release last week that “Taylor Swift: A Little Golden Book Biography” has become “the fastest-selling Little Golden Book” since the line started over 80 years ago.

The feat was reported earlier by The Washington Post.

 he popular children’s biography, authored by Wendy Loggia, achieved that status after racking up over 1 million book sales in seven months. Its 24 pages contain illustrations by Elisa Chavarri.

“I’m incredibly touched by the reaction to the book, but I can’t say I’m surprised,” Loggia said in the press release. “Taylor’s fandom is unparalleled, and to see readers of all ages, from adults to mini Swifties, embrace the book has been, well, sweet like honey!”

“Taylor Swift: A Little Golden Book Biography” has garnered some attention on TikTok, with the hashtag  #taylorswiftlittlegoldenbook clocking 477,700 views; and a similar one, #taylor swiftgoldenbook, receiving 380,400 views.

The Swift-focused children’s book, which currently costs $5.99, became part of Little Golden Book and its lineup of gold spine books upon its debut in May. In the four-week span following the publication of “Taylor Swift: A Little Golden Book Biography,” people bought 170,000, The Wall Street Journal reported over the summer—citing publisher-provided data.

Swift, herself, has set some records this year. The global “Eras Tour”—which Swift kicked off in March with a trio of performances in Arizona—has produced a gross of $1.04 billion over the course of a 12-month period ending November 15, according to Pollstar. That estimate, the industry publication said, represented the first instance of a billion-dollar tour.

The 2023 Time Person of the Year also has been dubbed a billionaire by both Bloomberg and Forbes, and has seen major success on music streaming platforms.

Research contact: @FoxBusiness

What is the ‘uncanny valley’ makeup trend—and why is it creeping everybody out?

November 29, 2023

The viral “uncanny valley” makeup trend is taking over TikTok, as creators try to spook their viewers with their scary good makeup skills. Follow this makeup trend to verify you are not a robot—but want to be, reports the New York Post.

“Uncanny valley” is the term used to describe the uncomfortable feeling people have when making eye contact with an android—a robot made to resemble a human.

To replicate this feeling, TikTokers are throwing things into reverse—and applying their makeup to appear like a bot.

Women are covering their faces with foundation—using concealer and highlighter to make the light appear to hit their faces in unnatural ways. They’re redrawing their mouths and eyebrows with eyeliner and mascara to make their features pop.

All of the video tutorials vary in technique—but end with similar results: Viewers are creeped out by a look that seems too perfect in some aspects and a little off in others.

And that’s the point.

TikToker Zara (@alkiiwii) recently went viral with her take on the trend—quickly amassing 14.4 million views on her most recent video tagging #uncannyvalleymakeup, which has 41.5 million views on the popular social media channel. In the video, she lip-syncs a clip from the video game Detroit: Become Human, which follows androids in the year 2038.

“I only exist thanks to the intelligence of the humans who designed me. You know, they have something I could never have […] a soul,” she mouths just a little behind the audio, while making facial expressions reminiscent of a video game character to add to the effect.

“THIS is uncanny valley,” viewer @naharahakeofficia commented.

“This gives me goosebumps,” @moonxdione replied.

Many others compared Zara’s made up look to the mother character in the famously creepy children’s movie Coraline.

The recent makeup trend comes as the world grapples with how to handle the rise of artificial intelligence and the quick expansion of the technology’s abilities, including shockingly realistic deep fakes.

The term “uncanny valley” went viral earlier this year after a collection of AI-generated images appearing to show a house party spooked viewers, who struggled to spot why the images were so eerie.

Research contact: @nypost

Colleges teach influencer courses as creators earn $100,000 a year

November 16, 2023

You may notice as you scroll through Instagram or TikTok that a young person is gushing about a cool new product that has made his or her life immeasurably better. Some of those people may be getting paid for that—and colleges are now offering courses to attract students interested in pursuing careers in the emerging field of social influencing, reports Newsweek.

The phenomenon is growing and attracting more entrants as it becomes more lucrative. In April, Goldman Sachs estimated that, over the next five years, the global “creator economy” would grow from $250 billion to $480 billion. The investment bank said that about 4% of creators worldwide earn a decent living, generating income upwards of $100,000 a year.

As more creators and influencers get in on the action, the competition for eyeballs is growing—and those who can build sizeable audiences will flock to places they can choose to work for platforms that can make them money.

“As a result, we expect some element of a ‘flight to quality,’ whereby creators will prioritize platforms with stability, scale, and monetization potential,” Eric Sheridan, Goldman’s senior equity research analyst, says.

Colleges are offering to train those interested in turning their social media presence into money-earning platforms.

UCLA Extension, for example, has a class for Fall 2023 that promises to teach students “how to establish credibility as an expert” and “build a genuine and significant” following using “methods of promoting that expertise through media and messages that match talents and markets” for a $525 for five weeks of classes.

Other colleges have begun to offer such courses—and even majors—focused on training potential influencers, pointing to an interest among students for such training.

Duke University in North Carolina has had a course “Building Global Audiences”, that, according to Bloomberg, taught students how to build up their presence online. Natalia Hauser, who attended the class, told the outlet that she can make thousands from partnerships with brands and found the class helpful in becoming a better business person when dealing with companies.

“I don’t think people understand how much money is in this industry,” Hauser said. “It involves a lot of negotiation and business.”

Professor Aaron Dinin, who taught the class at Duke, believes this is where the world has evolved to as more and more people are glued to their phones and look for information via social media platforms.

“There’s a lot of entrepreneurial opportunity and a lot of reach,” he told Bloomberg.

Similar courses can be found at campuses around the country, such as at the

Robert Kozinets—who teaches “Influencer Relations” at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California—told ABC‘s Good Morning America in September that his classes look at influencers as a phenomenon and do not give specific instructions on how to be one.

“I don’t think you can teach someone to have that ‘je ne sais quoi’ charisma, and that stage presence,” Kozinets said. “I think what you can teach is the mechanics of some persuasion, understanding contracts, understanding the nuts and bolts of the industry, understanding how all those pieces fit together.”

Success in such an industry comes from the ability of influencers to strike deals with brands, with getting a piece of advertising share or the creation of their own brands for sales as being other avenues for revenue.

YouTube, one of the platforms popular with influencers, generated $35 billion last year for America’s economy through its “creative ecosystem”, according to Oxford Economics.

“YouTube’s creative ecosystem supported more than 390,000 full-time equivalent jobs in the US,” they said. Other platforms that tend to proliferate with influencers include video-friendly platforms, such as Meta‘s Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Goldman Sachs believes that “incumbent platforms” are more popular for creators.

“Goldman Sachs Research sees more creators moving to these platforms as competition heats up for their content and audiences—particularly as macroeconomic uncertainty impacts brand spending and as rising interest rates pressure funding for emerging platforms,” the investment bank said.

Research contact: @Newsweek

‘Talking’ dog goes viral

September 19, 2023

An uncanny canine has been crowned the “talking dog” of the Internet. California-based Copper is showing that humans may not be the only intelligent life in a household—although some worry that the motormouthed mutt might be too smart for her own good, reports the New York Post.

Viral videos showcasing the canine Einstein’s high IQ are amassing millions of views on TikTok.

“I would say that Copper is extremely emotionally intelligent,” Tia Herrell, 52, a speech pathologist, told Jam Press of her three-year-old red fox Labrador retriever.

Herrell uses augmentative and alternative communication—an automated method that doesn’t involve speech—to communicate with Copper.

Similar high-tech devices are often employed by individuals with language or speech problems, with late theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking being perhaps the most famous example.

By pressing various buttons on a “Risk” game-esque motherboard, Copper can express a range of needs and emotions, from hunger to needing to go out, to even general anxiety.

Her owner explained that she read about a fellow speech pathologist using augmentative communication with her pet and decided to follow suit by building ordering recordable buttons and building a talking board.

“Copper started with buttons when she was four months old and it really helped her with potty training,” Herrell said. “She took to it very quickly and started using the buttons the first week.

“Since then, Copper has learned to use the buttons to request different toys, ask for a treat, tell how she’s feeling, tell someone if she’s worried, ask to go for a ride, ask where her human sister Savannah is and more.”

Herrell frequently shares her talking dog’s talents via her TikTok page, where she boasts a whopping 1.1 million followers.

In one adorable clip with 15.9 million views, Copper—known as the @ChattyLabcan be seen pressing the “help” button repeatedly.

Alarmed, Herrell asks the would-be Stephen Paw-king what’s amiss, to which her gum-flapping lab pushes a button that says “snake upstairs.”

While seemingly a frightening predicament, Herrell reveals that Copper was actually asking for help fetching a snake toy that she left on the second floor.

“Copper go get snake,” commands the bemused dog mom, to which her “lazy” pooch responds that she’ll do it “later.”

Viewers were flabbergasted at her ability to communicate, with one fan writing, “This is amazing! How clever and beautiful is your dog.”

“How cool is that?!!!! Did it take a long time for your dog to learn that?” inquired another to which Herrell replied, “Not really but she only started with a few words and as she learned them I add more words.”

A third quipped, “A dog can know as many words as a 3yr old human … Idk about you but 3-year-olds are know-it-alls.”

Some worried that Copper was growing too smart, a la a furry AI robot. “It’s getting too intelligent,” warned one concerned netizen, evoking the idea of science fiction movies about humanity under the paws of dog overlords (overdogs?)

Herrell said that she’s been able to see her doggo’s character evolve through the discourse method, saying: “It’s been really fun and surprising to see Copper’s personality change over time.

“When she was younger, she talked about her toys and playing a lot of the time,” she said. “Now she talks way more about her family and how she feels.”

The speech pathologist added, “She’s able to identify her own emotions and sometimes others’ emotions.”

However, others were less impressed and attributed the dog’s so-called “talking” to a case of extreme anthropomorphization.

“He just knows they make noise which gets your attention. There is no physical way a dog can put together a sentence,” scoffed one naysayer.

Experts believe that these rudimentary association interfaces make it hard to gauge canines’ actual depth of linguistic comprehension.

Sarah-Elizabeth Byosiere, director of the Thinking Dog Center at Hunter College, told The Washington Post that she believes “our dogs have been ‘talking’ to us this whole time, but we just haven’t been ‘listening.

“The short videos I see online seem to indicate that dogs are able to form associations between a button press and an outcome, but it’s really difficult to say if anything more is happening,” she declared.

Scientists are currently developing ways of using artificial intelligence to decode the language of a menagerie of animals, from dolphins to crows.

Hopefully soon we’ll be able to determine whether we can see Spot pun or Lassie phone home.

Research contact: @nypost

Hysterics as golden retriever watches scary movie with her ’emotional support pillow’

September 15, 2023

A puppy called Ellie has melted hearts on social media after a video of her reaction to watching a scary movie with her owner went viral, reports Newsweek.

In the video shared on TikTok on Sunday, September 10, by her owner, Connor, under the username @elliestiktokfeed, the golden retriever can be seen lying down on an armchair in front of the TV watching Jurassic Park with her owner. As a scary scene pops up on the screen, Ellie can be seen hugging and biting her pillow, as if looking for some moral support.

The hilarious clip, which was quickly viewed by millions of people across social media, comes with a caption that reads: “Scary movies with Ellie: part 1.

e puppy’s owner told Newsweek: “Ellie is a golden retriever from Toronto, Canada, born in Prince Edward Island, Canada. I got her on December 28, 2022 so she is almost nine months old, and it was the best decision I ever made.

“She has quite the personality, from woofing at me whenever I try to tell her no, trying to jump on top of and dominate my partner’s Great Danes, to sitting down beside me on the couch to watch TV. She’s my best pal, and I don’t know what I would do without her.”

If you have a dog, you have probably caught them staring at your TV like Ellie, but have you ever wondered whether they can see what’s on it? It turns out that dogs not only make out what’s on TV, but also can tell if there is another canine in the program that they are watching.

Research shows that dogs are able to recognize other canines visually. A study on animal cognition published in Science Daily in 2013 found that nine dogs were able to distinguish others, regardless of breed, among pictures of other species by using visual cues alone.

However, even though they can see what’s on TV, they don’t picture it the way we do. According to animal website PetMD, a dog’s eyes are very different from human ones. Their vision isn’t as sharp as ours, and experts describe it as being “closer to 20/75 than 20/20,” which, PetMD says “may explain why they prefer to sit closer to the TV than we do, it helps keep the images sharp.”

Dogs also see colors differently. While it is not true that they can see only black and white, according to the American Kennel Club, dogs have dichromatic vision, which means they can discern only two colors, blue and yellow, and shades of these.

The video quickly went viral on social media, getting viewers from across TikTok. It has so far received over 15.3 million views and more than 2.7 million likes on the platform.

Research contact: @Newsweek