Posts tagged with "YouTube"

Pinterest will remove content deemed climate-change misinformation

April 7, 2022

The social media platform, Pinterest, is rolling out new guidelines prohibiting posts that it says contains misinformation about climate change, as it continues to grapple with curbing the spread of false and misleading information, reports The Wall Street Journal. 

The social-media platform, where users post anything, from photos and links to recipes and home-decor ideas, said on Wednesday, April 6, that, going forward, it will remove content from users or advertisers that it deems as misinformation about the existence or impact of climate change.

Specifically, Pinterest is aiming to eliminate content that it says misrepresents scientific data; and false or misleading findings about public-safety emergencies, including natural disasters.

“For years, we’ve been working on our misinformation policy and defining what type of harmful content does not have a place on Pinterest,” said Sarah Bromma, Pinterest’s head of Policy. “Harmful misinformation does not. It is not additive to a positive inspiring experience on the platform.”

Pinterest said it worked with the climate-change experts to develop the policy based on common misinformation themes they’ve seen across media platforms. It will use automated systems and moderators to take action on content that violates the new guidelines, Bromma said. Pinterest will allow users to flag content that will get reviewed as well, she said.

Pinterest, founded in 2010, first focused on photos when it launched. More recently, the company has been pivoting to a focus on video, commerce, and creators. Last year, it was the subject of takeover rumors. PayPal had been in talks to buy the company but ultimately backed off of a potential $40-billion-plus takeover after its shareholders balked.

The policy change at Pinterest follows a report earlier this week by climate experts tapped by the United Nations that found that countries must make major, rapid shifts away from fossil fuels and to renewable energy to meet the goals in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

An earlier report found that greenhouse-gas emissions due to human activity may have irreversibly changed the climate in some ways.

Pinterest joins other tech companies that have taken steps to limit the spread of false information on climate change.

Alphabet’s Google said last October that it would no longer allow digital ads bought on its platform to appear next to online content that denies climate change—a ban that will also apply to YouTubeTwitter launched a program last November that created hubs users can find under various tabs on its messaging platform.

Meta PlatformsFacebook also added new guidelines in November that use fact-checking organizations to determine if climate-change content is false. If it is false, Facebook reduces its distribution so fewer people see it and applies warning labels to the posts.

Research contact: @WSJ

Five chilling revelations from ITV’s ‘Ghislaine, Prince Andrew & the Paedophile’ documentary

January 19, 2022

The real relationship between the disgraced Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein’s madam, Ghislaine Maxwell, has been revealed in yet another explosive documentary–this one, released by Britain’s ITV (also seen on YouTube in the USA), reports Bustle.

ITV’s latest must-watch documentary, Ghislaine, Prince Andrew and the Paedophiledelves deeper into the story of how the privileged daughter of billionaire Robert Maxwell became embroiled in the twisted world of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Ghislaine Maxwell is due to be sentenced in late June after being found guilty in the United States of child sex trafficking charges in December 2021. She is awaiting sentencing in a New York prison.

Through a series of interviews with members of their inner circle, the documentary, fronted by ITV’s Ranvir Singh, explores Prince Andrew’s intimate relationship with both Epstein and Maxwell—as well as impending the civil court case he faces brought by Virginia Giuffre, who is accusing the senior royal of sexual assault.

The Duke of York, who m the Queen has been stripped of his honorary military titles, his HRH style, and his patronages, has denied all the allegations made against him.

Here are five key takeaways to note from the documentary:

1.     Prince Andrew gave Ghislaine Maxwell access to Buckingham Palace—Paul Page, the former Buckingham Palace Royal Protection Officer, reveals that he first met Maxwell way back in 2001. According to Page, Maxwell and Prince Andrew enjoyed a close relationship. “From the way she was allowed to enter and exit the palace, at will, we realized … suspected, that she may have had an intimate relationship with Prince Andrew,” says Page in the documentary. “A colleague of mine remembered her coming in four times in one day from the morning till the evening—she kept coming in and out, in and out.”

2.     Prince Andrew and Ghislaine Maxwell may have dated—Investment banker Euan Rellie backs up Page’s claims of the pair’s seemingly “intimate relationship”. Rellie, who first met Maxwell while studying at Oxford University, explains how she “described Andrew as being her friend, not Jeffrey’s.” Rellie then goes on to discuss how he “got the sense” that Prince Andrew and Ghislaine had probably dated in the past. “They had an easy warmth around each other,” he adds.

3.     Jeffrey Epstein threw parties in honor of Prince Andrew—Providing further insight into Prince Andrew’s relationship with Epstein and Maxwell, Rellie goes on to reveal that he attended several parties hosted by the couple and recalls how, during one event held at Epstein’s New York home, the disgraced billionaire claimed the party was “for my friend, Prince Andrew”.

4.    Prince Andrew had a stuffed toy collection that he was veryparticular about—Page also alleges that the Duke of York had a stuffed toy collection that he was very particular about. “[There were] about 50 or 60 stuffed toys position on the bed,” Page says of Prince Andrew’s private apartment; adding that a laminated picture of the Duke’s toy collection was kept in a drawer to ensure that household staff would place them correctly on his bed. “The reason for the laminated picture was that, if those bears weren’t put back in the right order by the maids, he would shout and scream and become verbally abusive,” Page reveals.

5.     Prince Andrew’s mobile number in Jeffrey Epstein’s infamous black book still works—ITV’s analysis of Jeffrey Epstein’s infamous black book,. which is filled with several high-profile contacts, revealed that the mobile number for the Duke of York is still in service. “I’m afraid I have not been quick enough to get to the phone before it went off to take your message. If you do have a message, please leave it and I will get back to as soon as I can,” a pre-recorded voicemail message from Prince Andrew requests.

 The documentary is started airing on Tuesday, January 18, on ITV.

Research contact: @bustle

Iceland takes a swipe at Zuckerberg’s ‘Meta’ announcement in new viral tourism video

November 15, 2021

If the goal was to get people talking about Iceland, a new tourism video is more than succeeding, reports CNBC.

Ineed, a video posted yesterday by Inspired by Iceland as part of a marketing campaign for Icelandic tourism takes aim at a Mark Zuckerberg video released in October announcing Facebook’s name change to Meta. In it, Zuckerberg hypes the so-called “metaverse”—a virtual world that “will be the successor to the mobile Internet.”

The metaverse’s defining quality, said Zuckerberg, is “the feeling of presence … like you’re there with other people.” Icelandic tourism authorities seem to think they can offer something better.

In the new video, a Zuckerberg lookalike—complete with his Caesar cut, minimalist garb and hand gestures—introduces viewers to “Icelandverse,” a place of “enhanced actual reality without silly looking headsets.”

“Today I want to talk about a revolutionary approach on how to connect our world—without being super weird,” the speaker deadpans to the camera.

The video extolls Iceland’s “completely immersive” experiences, such as its real rocks, real humans and “skies you can see with your eyeballs.”

Press materials sent to journalists continue the parody, explaining that Icelandverse was created “after millions of years in development” and that “users can explore and navigate their way through the many different layers of captivating reality, just by visiting.”

Officials, too, are in on the act.

“Icelandverse has been built with experts in government, industry, nature and academia, plus a few volcanoes,” said Sigridur Dogg Gudmundsdottir, head of Visit Iceland, in the video’s press release.

Reactions to the video have been overwhelmingly positive, with people praising the “Olympic-level trolling” by Iceland officials, and many expressing a desire to visit.

It isn’t the first time Iceland has relied on humor to draw attention to the Nordic island nation.

Videos by Inspired by Iceland use comedy to explain why not to wear jeans or high heels to Iceland. Its 2017 video entitled “The Hardest Karaoke Song in the World” has garnered nearly 14.5 million views on YouTube.

Research contact: @CNBC

Pinterest TV: Site launches live; shoppable QVC-style episodes to drive ecommerce sales

November 2, 2021

Pinterest wants to turn more users into buyers with Pinterest TV—a series of live, shoppable episodes featuring top creators, Variety reports.

With Pinterest TV, creators can showcase and tag products to let users purchase them on the retailer’s site. Episodes air each weekday and will be recorded and available for users to watch on-demand. Beginning November 8, episodes will air at 3 p.m. (PT)/6 p.m. (ET ) in the United States. on the iOS version of the Pinterest app.

To view Pinterest TV episodes, users can click the TV icon in the upper left corner of the Pinterest app. In the livestreamed episodes, viewers can interact with hosts and ask questions via chat.

And each Friday, products will drop in a live shopping setting in which Pinterest users will be offered discounts from brands including Patagonia, Allbirds, Crown Affair, Melody Ehsani, Outdoor Voices, and Mented.

According to Variety, Pinterest isn’t disclosing specifics on revenue-sharing deals for Pinterest TV at this stage. A company spokesperson says each show and partnership has its own structure.

The image-sharing site recently rolled out several new ways for creators to monetize on Pinterest, including by earning commissions through affiliate links on Pins and by teaming with brands on sponsored content.

Creators on the platform who are among the first to launch shows on Pinterest TV,include fashion designer and “Project Runway” alum Christian Siriano; director and screenwriter Monica Suriyage, who will be joined by Pinterest food creators to show how to “unfail” holiday dishes; Tom Daley, Olympic diving gold medalist and knitting fanatic; beauty entrepreneur Manny Mua; and comedian Robyn Schall, who will showcase products from brands including Patagonia, Melody Ehsani and Crown Affair.

Pinterest hosts who are part of Pinterest TV will have tools to enable live shopping experiences, including a “product drawer” with prices and product details, product drops and brand collaborations, a display of how much inventory is left, and a “limited-time-offer” module to offer discounts.

According to research firm eMarketer, the number of U.S. social buyers on Pinterest grew 30.5% in 2020, for a total of 12 million. By the end of 2021, they expect that number to grow another 16.4% to reach 13.9 million.

Alongside Pinterest TV, Pinterest is launching a virtual studio where Pinterest producers work directly with each creator to develop unique content, providing “backstage” A/V support, and go live with engaging episodes.

Separately, last week Malik Ducard, VP of content partnerships at YouTube, left to join Pinterest as its chief content officer, tasked with driving the company’s push to tap into the creator economy.

Research contact: @Variety

This crumpled, derelict Jaguar sold for six times its value

June 2, 2021

For some collectors, the fun is buying a car they even can’t drive—yet. Indeed, Bloomberg reports, according to Jay Leno, some cars are so special that even if you find the scattered pieces of one, you should buy it.

And he should know: In the years since his final hosting gig on The Tonight Show, the 71-year-old car enthusiast has presented the popular Jay Leno’s Garage on NBC and YouTube and has grown what is one of the most valuable and diverse car collections in the world.

Indeed, that philosophy certainly applied to a 1960 Jaguar XK150 S that sold for $127,552 in a Bonhams auction on May 22. The hammer price on the crumpled, patina-riddled drophead coupe was six times over the sale estimate.

“The enthusiast market is in rude health at present,” Rob Hubbard, the head of Bonhams MPH—a car auctioneer in Bicester Village, Oxfordshire, England—told Bloomberg in what the business publication calls “the understatement of the month.” 

Sales of classic and collectable cars across the world have returned healthy numbers in recent weeks, with Bonhams and RM Sotheby’s selling more than $60 million worth of old cars in a single weekend in Florida. Dozens of the six- and seven-figure cars at the Amelia Island auctions sold for far more than even the high side of their estimated values.

According to Bloomberg, the “barn find” is a segment of car collecting that has exploded in the past year, with garages and restoration shops bulging at the seams with businesses. The term “barn find” applies to any variety of derelict vehicles that have been left forgotten for decades; they come in various states of disrepair—from rusted-out bodies and frames to non-existent or half-missing components like seats, brakes, headlights, wheels, and even engines. Most are riddled with cracked paint…and worse. Rodents living in the underbody, inhabited by stray cats, and covered in droppings from birds and bats are all expected scenarios. At least one car is rumored to be protected by a malicious ghost.

Amid Covid-19 fears, “car guys” have more time than ever to tinker in the shop or send their heretofore tabled restoration projects to the shop. But there must be more than bullish pandemic-pent-up buyers to make a smashed car worthy of such a high price. The Jaguar model itself is special enough to merit barn-find project status, even if the sum of its auction-price and the amount of money spent on restoring it might exceed the resulting value. 

“To be honest, we don’t really know why that much money is being spent,” says John Mayhead, the manager of Hagerty’s automotive Intelligence in the UK. He noted that sometimes it’s about timing—the exact right buyer finds the exact perfect project, and the two just click.

Other times, it’s about becoming a part of history: “The story to it sometimes encourages buyers to pay over the odds,” Mayhead says. “Owning a car like this is about continuing that story, and you want to be a part of it.”

Launched in 1957, Jaguar XK150s came in fixed-head or drophead coupe versions. They were known for their rounded, mod styling and progressive mechanics, like disc brakes (compared to the old-fashioned drum brakes) and powerful 3.8-liter engines that produced up to 265 horsepower engines. They could hit 60 mph in 7.3 seconds; top speeds exceeded 130 mph. All told, Jaguar made fewer than 3,000 Drophead coupes and even

In pristine form, the best Jaguar XK150 S is worth around $280,000, according to the Hagerty Price Guide. But prices vary widely. Most in good condition — the typical collector car— are worth closer to $163,000, Mayhead says. Last year, a pretty 1958 XK150 sold at auction for $176,000. In January, Bonhams sold a white one for $145,600. Meanwhile those in less-than-mint condition can be had for well under $100,000.

Owned by a single person since 1969, this XK50 in particular had a longstanding working history until “a wet day” in September 1996, according to the auction catalogue, when the owner of the car lost control and crashed it into a tree. The driver walked away unscathed; the car fared rather worse. It has remained inside a garage swathed in rust-riddled glory ever since. But it is actually good the car stayed squired away; it helped preserve what was left of it.

“Considering the date of the crash and being kept in dry storage, the car is still in a salvageable condition, and offers enormous potential as a rewarding project car,” the Bonhams auction catalogue notes. The dry storage is crucial, as it stalled the development of extreme rust, which can render a car nearly hopeless when it comes to repair.

Bonhams declined to share who bought the crashed Jag. But for those who buy such relics of time past, of course, the time and expense are all part of the fun.

Research contact: @Bloomberg

News Corp and Google form multi-year partnership to provide ‘trusted journalism’ globally

Febraury 18, 2021

There will be no “fake news” on the Google News Showcase, News Corp announced on February 17—now that Rupert Murdoch’s media and information empire has agreed to a profitable, historic multi-year partnership with Google to provide trusted journalism from its news sites around the world.

As part of the deal, News Corp will receive significant payments from Google. Among the News Corp publications joining Google News Showcase will be The Wall Street Journal, Barron’s, MarketWatch, and the New York Post; in the UK: The Times and The Sunday Times, and The Sun; and in Australia a range of news platforms, including The Australian, news.com.au, Sky News, and multiple metropolitan and local titles.

The landmark three-year agreement also includes the development of a subscription platform, the sharing of ad revenue via Google’s ad technology services, the cultivation of audio journalism, and meaningful investments in innovative video journalism by YouTube.

News Corp Chief Executive Robert Thomson stated in the announcement that the deal would have “a positive impact on journalism around the globe as we have firmly established that there should be a premium for premium journalism.

“I would like to thank Sundar Pichai and his team at Google, who have shown a thoughtful commitment to journalism that will resonate in every country. This has been a passionate cause for our company for well over a decade and I am gratified that the terms of trade are changing, not just for News Corp, but for every publisher.

“The deal simply would not have been possible without the fervent, unstinting support of Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch, and the News Corp Board. For many years, we were accused of tilting at tech windmills, but what was a solitary campaign, a quixotic quest, has become a movement, and both journalism and society will be enhanced.

“Particular thanks are certainly due to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Rod Sims and his able team, along with the Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who have stood firm for their country and for journalism.”

Research contact: @newscorp

Foxy ladies: A new eye makeup technique is trending—but critics insist it is racist

August 19, 2020

On Instagram, TikTok and YouTube, people from all over the world have been posting videos and photos modeling “the look”—using makeup and other tactics to emulate the lifted, so-called “almond-shaped” or “fox eyes” of celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Megan Fox.

Fox-eye makeup tutorials show how to use a combination of eye shadow, eyeliner, and fake eyelashes to get a winged aesthetic. Tips include shaving off the tail end of eyebrows and redrawing them to appear straighter and angled upwards. Others have suggested pulling hair back into a high ponytail or using tape to further lift the eyes.

Accentuating eyes to appear slanted, or elongated in shape, creates a more sultry effect, according to some makeup artists creating the look. But to Asian Americans, the “migraine pose” that sometimes accompanies these images— using one or two hands to pull the eyes up by the temples to exaggerate the result -—is far too similar to the action used to demean them in the past, CNN reports.

Indeed, they assert, it’s a form of cultural appropriation.

Kelly H. Chong, a Sociology professor at the University of Kansas, defines cultural appropriation as the adoption, often unacknowledged or inappropriate, of the ideas, practices, customs and cultural identity markers of one group by members of another group whom have greater privilege or power.

“The cultural influencers from the dominant group legitimize it as a cool style ‘trend,’ and in the process exoticize and eroticize it,” Chong added in an e-mail interview with CNN. Even the term “almond eyes,” she says, which is being used to describe the shape of fox eyes, has long been used to describe the shape of Asian eyes.

She points to Hollywood’s uncomfortable past in the appropriating the shape of Asian eyes. In the early 1930s, makeup artist Cecil Holland used techniques — some, similar to creating fox eyes today—to transform White actors into villainous Asian characters, like Fu Manchu. And Mickey Rooney, the White actor playing the part of Holly Golightly’s thickly-accented Japanese neighbor in Breakfast at Tiffany’s cemented “the buck-toothed, slit-eyed Asian man look” in the popular imagination.

TikTok user @LeahMelle, whose video denouncing the fox-eye look went viral, said she couldn’t believe that such a trend could be so popular nowadays: “This wasn’t some dated movie where you could blame the distorted norms of the time period. This was happening now. And it was still viewed as acceptable,” she wrote in an email.

Emma Chamberlain, an influencer with 9.8 million followers on Instagram, was criticized recently for posting a picture that showed her striking this pose while sticking out her tongue.

Her fans rushed to defend her—commenting that those who felt offended were “overreacting.” Chamberlain later deleted the picture and apologized, saying it wasn’t her “intention” to pose in an “insensitive way” and that she was “so sorry to those who were hurt by it.”

But the damage already had been done.

“They mock my eyes, then say ching chong; call me a dog eater and then call me a ch*nk. Like why would you think I’d be fine with Emma’s post?” one person tweeted. “Obviously if she gets to do slant eyes whilst getting praised but it’s my natural eye shape and I’m getting discriminated (of course) I’m mad.”

“It’s a new trend that brings out old stereotypes and old taunts,” Wang said in a phone interview with CNN. “Because it makes people like me feel uncomfortable and (to) some degree annoyed, it’s time to talk about it.”

Like most beauty trends, the craze for fox eyes will eventually subside, and has begun to already since it first came about earlier this year. But that’s exactly the problem, according to Stephanie Hu, founder of Dear Asian Youth, a California-based organization that encourages Asian activism.

In an Instagram post, entitled “The problem with the #FoxEye trend,” the organization wrote, “While it may not have originated from a place of ill-intent, it appropriates our eyes and is ignorant of past racism.”

“It really feels like this is a temporary trend,” Hu told CNN, adding that she believes Asians’ eye shapes aren’t just something to be casually adopted and then “given back” when the trend is over. “Our eyes are something that we have to live with every day,” Hu said in a phone interview.

Research contact: @CNN

‘Do dust bunnies eat kibble?’ Turns out a lot of quarantined rich people have no idea how to clean

May 13, 2020

Among the life lessons that some people are learning under quarantine are how to use the clothes washer and where to find the toilet cleaner. In fact, a friend of this writer recently wailed on Facebook, “I’ve never done the laundry before! Not once in my life!” One week later, she griped, “My clothes are dirty again.”  She misses her maid more than anyone else.

Indeed, .according to a May 2019 report published by the Bureau Of Labor Statistics (BLS), there are 100,490 maids and housekeeping cleaners working in “buildings and dwellings” nationwide—47,990 of whom are employed in New York. That number includes hotel workers and does not include those paid off the books; but basically, many people pay someone else to clean up their mess.

And for those sheltering in place without their help, the day of reckoning has come Bustle reports.

What’s more, it’s little surprise that some domestic workers (when they aren’t worrying about their lost income) are finding the quandary that their erstwhile employers are in both piteous and slightly funny.

For example, Marcella (who doesn’t want her last name used in this story) tells Bustle that—five days a week for 22 years—she has been taking the number 6 train from her apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, to the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where she works as a full-time housekeeper. She’s witnessed a lot over the course of her tenure: the graduation of two children, the election of five United States presidents, a nasty fight with the co-op board. One thing she never saw? Her employer clean her own apartment. Until, that is, the pandemic hit. “She called and asked where I keep the vacuum cleaner, how to turn the washing machine on,” Marcella tells Bustle. “The lady doesn’t have a clue.”

As New Yorkers continue to shelter at home, the upper crust are quarantined away in million-dollar apartments and Bridgehampton houses, with closets full of cleaning products they have no idea how to use.

“I got an email from a client asking what lightbulb is used in the chandelier in her family room — I guess she’s spending more time there,” Sue, an interior designer who has catered to wealthy Upper East Side clientele for 30 years, tells Bustle. “I walked her through ordering from the manufacturer’s website, but couldn’t actually teach her how to change it. I told her to go to her super.”

Sue has also heard from clients who are panicking over how to clean their floors. Their questions range from what vacuum setting to use to what soap is best for mopping limestone. “They’re noticing what needs to be done to take care of their own households,” she says.

Those who won’t dial the phone for help are turning to Google. Alejandra Costello and Nikki Boyd, organizational coaches and YouTubers who specialize in cleaning tutorials, say traffic has spiked since stay-at-home orders were issued across the world. Costello’s is 123% over what it was this time last year, and Boyd’s has tripled. “How to Mop” and “How to Turn on Vacuum” both have spiked in Google searches since February, per Google Trends

According to Laura Schocker, editor-in-chief of Apartment Therapy, page views on the site’s cleaning vertical have nearly doubled. “We have seen that content explode over the past couple of months,” she tells Bustle.

And when the Internet won’t suffice, you can always turn to your mom. That’s the position Emily, a 25-year-old wealth management advisor, has found herself in. After moving into a studio apartment in Soho last fall, she promptly hired a bi-weekly maid service. “I didn’t tell my friends,” she tells Bustle. “I worried they’d judge me.”

But now that Emily’s daily routine has been confined to four walls, she’s coming to the realization that she never learned how to properly clean her space. So, she’s been pestering her mother with every little question. “I did not go into finance to deal with this sh*t,” she says.

On March 10, Michelle, an Upper East Side resident who has been quarantined with her husband for 58 days, gave her housekeeper of 30 years the option of social distancing with the couple. Her housekeeper preferred to isolate along with her own daughter, and declined Michelle’s offer. “I live in quite a large apartment, and maintaining a big household is a lot of work,” she tells Bustle. “Would I love her to come and live with us? I’d love it. I’ve always appreciated her, but I appreciate her even more now.”

. Instead of calling her housekeeper for help, she’s found herself Googling “soap scum marble?” in confinement. But, she says, her husband is even more clueless. “He’s usually at work, and doesn’t know how to use the vacuum, or where the sponges are kept, or where we store extra detergent or a rag. He ruined my stuff by washing the darks and the whites together, but loves doing laundry.”

Therein lies the risk. What if the rich were to become overnight Lysol enthusiasts — Marie Konheads, drunk off of the joy of tidying up—and render an entire industry of service workers obsolete?

Such concerns are top of mind for Grace, a Polish immigrant, who has cleaned for the same four families since the 1990s and relies entirely on word-of-mouth for employment. She tells Bustle that between her 30 days out of work and her bosses texting her cleaning questions, she’s worried that, come quarantine’s end, she could be out of a job.

“I’m afraid that if [they] like cleaning, I may lose my work,” she says.

We beg to differ. We think that, when sheltering in place is over, maids will be welcomed back with the same enthusiasm that healthcare workers are invoking now.

Research contact: @bustle

New Rube Goldberg challenge: Build a machine that drops a bar of soap into your hand

April 24, 2020

Engineer and cartoonist Rube Goldberg was renowned dreaming up exceptionally complex machines that went through lots of twists and turns to perform simple household tasks. Now, his granddaughter Jennifer George is inviting inventors of all ages to make their own Rube Goldberg Machines while they are at home sheltering in place, the Good News Network reports.

Although participants in this year’s Rube Goldberg Machine Contest originally were supposed to design a machine that turned on a light switch, the novel coronavirus outbreak inspired George to task participants with building a machine that drops a bar of soap into someone’s hand in just 10 to 20 steps.

“It just seemed like the right task,” George told CBC. “Everyone has got a bar of soap somewhere in their house. And Rube Goldberg machines are made from everyday objects. So you don’t have to go shopping. You don’t have to buy anything.

“You just have to figure out a fun, sort of interesting way to [take] something you’ve looked at for years, turn it upside down and see if it has inherent kinetic properties. And hopefully it does.”

The annual contest, which is free, requires participants to take a continuous video of their machine in action. Once the video is uploaded to YouTube, participants can send the links to the Rube Goldberg website.

Submissions will be accepted through May 31, after which three machine designs will be selected as the winners in mid-June. In addition to the winners being featured as the star engineers of the contest on the Rube Goldberg website, they also will receive a free swag bag from the organization.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork 

Picture perfect: Bored during lockdown, couple constructs art gallery for pet gerbils

April 16, 2020

It’s not so much a rogue’s gallery as a rodent’s gallery. After all, what better to do when sheltering in place than to create an adorable art gallery for your pets—in this case gerbils?

London-based Marianna Benetti and her boyfriend Filippo Lorenzin, both 30 years old, constructed the miniature exhibition last week to keep their pets-and themselves—entertained during quarantine, The Good News Network reports.

Museums across Britain remain closed due to the coronavirus outbreaks, although many galleries—including the Victoria and Albert Museum in London where Lorenzin works—instead are offering virtual tours for eager art enthusiasts

The tiny museum space produced by the couple is-about the size of a shoebox and has been filled with carefully curated rodent-themed takes on classic works of art—including the “Mousa Lisa”.

Benetti and Lorenzin also made mini benches, gallery assistant stools, large print guides, and a sign which read “DO NOT CHEW.”

Although both of the nine-month-old gerbils, Pandoro and Tiramisu, enjoyed browsing the gallery, they did nibble their way through one of the delicately constructed chairs.

“The original project was for a doll house, but my boyfriend proposed the idea of designing an art gallery complete with all the details,” Benetti told The Good News Network.

The model took four hours to make, and in addition to the pair ensuring that all materials used were gerbil-friendly, they made a blueprint for the design to make sure the proportions were correct for their pets.

As well as the “Mona Lisa”, Benetti and Lorenzin also drew renditions of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream”, Gustav Klimt’s “The Kiss” and Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” for their pets.

The creative couple posted a picture of their creation on Reddit and were surprised by the reaction.

“Everyone was overwhelmingly positive. We didn’t expect such friendly feedback, and we look forward to adding more artworks to the gallery,” Benetti told the online news outlet. “It is great to see so many creative suggestions for other paintings from the community.”

If you want to follow more of there gerbil’s creative exploits, you can follow their Instagram page or YouTube channel.

Research contact: @goodnewsnetwork