Airbnb online travel service
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Airbnb launched an online travel section. You can take virtual tours with the help of Zoom. The platform also offers a masterclass on cooking pasta, a concert in a secret boathouse in the Netherlands, a session with an American fortuneteller, and you can even watch dogs from Chernobyl for $35 per hour. These and many other excursions are available here.
Supermodels had a photoshoot in FaceTime for i-D magazine
The British i-D magazine that is dedicated to fashion and art arranged a photoshoot for 19 models via FaceTime. Willy Vanderperre, a photographer, talked to models about how they are coping with quarantine. Among them, there were Gigi Hadid, Adwoa Aboah, and Vittoria Ceretti. Here are some of their stories.
Indian scientists launched a project that refutes coronavirus misinformation
More than 400 scientists from all over India have launched a project to combat misinformation. This is how it works: scientists analyze available data on COVID-19, discuss facts, share their ideas, links to important works, news, and research materials on a special forum. The results of these discussions are published on the group’s website.
“While people in the medical and healthcare community are doing their work, we thought, what about others like us, what can we do? It’s our responsibility to respond. So we started off with a mailing list, and that grew into a Google group,” said R Ramanujam, a theoretical computer science professor at the Institute of Mathematical Sciences (IMSc) in Chennai, who initiated the effort.
Netflix launches a weekly show about maintaining mental health during the pandemic
Netflix has announced the launch of the weekly mental health series about coping during the COVID-19 pandemic. Episodes of the show can be viewed on the Netflix Instagram account every Thursday up until May 14. In this series, actors will be discussing issues that young people face during the crisis. The actors who took part in projects of the streaming service will become the hosts of the show: Caleb McLaughlin from Stranger Things, Noah Centineo and Lana Condor from To All the Boys I've Loved Before, as well as Ross Butler and Alisha Boe from 13 Reasons Why.
Help NASA create a map of coral reefs
NASA needs volunteers to help create maps of coral reefs. Specifically for this, the agency created a game. Users need to analyze 3D images and then mark and classify reefs. These actions will teach NASA devices how to do the same. Coral reefs are at risk of extinction because of the global effect of climate change, including warming seas. That is why scientists need to study them in more detail.
Take a look at what the Hubble Space Telescope saw on your birthday
The Hubble Space Telescope celebrates its 30th anniversary this year – it was launched into space in 1990, and it has made more than 1.4 million observations since then. In honor of the anniversary, NASA launched a section on its website where you can find out what the telescope saw on the day you were born.
The Italian mafia will feed everyone who is running out of money due to quarantine
The Italian government said that the local mafia began helping families who ran out of money because of quarantine. Namely, they began distributing food to poor people. Community charitable activities have increased markedly in poor regions: Campania, Calabria, Sicily, and Apulia.
“For over a month, shops, cafés, restaurants and pubs have been closed. Millions of people work in the grey economy, which means that they haven’t received any income in more than a month and have no idea when they might return to work. The government is issuing so-called shopping vouchers to support people. If the state doesn’t step in soon to help these families, the mafia will provide its services, imposing their control over people’s lives,” said Nicola Gratteri, antimafia investigator and head of the prosecutor’s office in Catanzaro.
AI will “draw” a portrait from your photo
A Japanese developer has launched a website that helps turn your portrait into artwork. The website is powered by artificial intelligence and is called AI Gahaku.
The website is absolutely free and does not require registration. The result appears in 15-20 seconds. The resulting image can be changed by applying different filters to it, which are the styles of famous artists.
Sometimes, the results are quire creepy.
See who tweets on your street and around the world with an interactive map
You can watch the digital life of Twitter on the One Million Tweet website.
It’s an interactive map that shows in real-time from which places tweets are being sent every second. Just imagine: you can zoom the map right to your house and read the text of a tweet posted from this building. All tweets are stored on the site for 24 hours and are gradually replaced by new ones. Statistics are also available: you can see popular hashtags, tweet languages, and demographics.
Another feature is the Hashtag Battle. You enter two hashtags, like #happy and #sad, and the map displays which one is used more often. So far, #happy has been on the winning side. The map has both mobile and desktop versions.
Flash mob: take a picture of 9 things that have taken on new meaning since you started self-isolating
Or it is also a perfect reason to find new uses for familiar objects. If you have at least five such things, quickly take a picture of them and send the photos to the staff of the Parsons School of Design in New York, to be more precise, to the Observational Practices Lab.
This will help the lab understand how the pandemic and quarantine it causes affect people around the world. The archive is called “Atlas of Everyday Objects.”
To share your collection, post a collage of photos of your objects on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, adding the hashtag #objectsofmyisolation.
Generate a digital masterpiece using AI
The developers of Playform decided to combine the main functions of the neural networks on one single platform. Using your own photo collections, you can train artificial intelligence and create original images with its help.
So far, six methods of generating pictures are available:
- Sketch Image: you draw a sketch, and then the neural network turns it into a picture.
- Creative morph: transfers one object to another.
- Freeform: created new images based on old ones, but their size is 256 pixels.
- Style transfer: transfers the style of one image to another.
- Wavy freeform: like Freeform, but gradually increases the size of images.
- Freeform high res: like Wavy Freeform, but generates big size images right away.
On average, creating an image takes up to 8.5 hours. But in this case, the longer, the better. You choose the time yourself when registering a project. New users can generate images for free: after registration, each participant is allowed to use artificial intelligence for 10 hours.
Animals are taking over cities
Quarantine is a real joy and celebration for animals. As people began staying home, pandas from the Hong Kong zoo mated for the first time in 10 years of living together. Ocean Park staff noticed that the pandas’ behavior has changed since the zoo was closed to visitors due to quarantine. Pandas had their second honeymoon. The probability of pregnancy after natural mating is much higher than as a result of artificial insemination. Therefore, the zoo staff hopes that the couple will have a baby. It will be possible to find out whether or not the female managed to get pregnant no earlier than in June.
The penguins from Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, in turn, decided to meet their neighbors.
Animals living in the wild are having even more fun! They now have a great opportunity to organize raids on cities and villages in search of food. Earlier, we wrote about goats on the streets of Llandudno.
They seem to have followers now: