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Current Events

Nike – Can’t Stop Us

My kids are sick of me showing them Nike’s latest commercial which was just released this morning and already has almost 5 million views on YouTube and over 50k retweets on Twitter.

It’s just so good.

Not only does Nike tap into the deep longing we all have to get back together and enjoy sports, it also cleverly brings together two sides of our divided world into a message of unity. The message is that unity brings strength with the underlying theme being that we need to work together to fight the challenges we face.

The campaign is for a Nike’s membership and is by Wieden + Kennedy, the Portland agency that does all of Nike’s commercials. More details here.

Earlier spots in the series include LeBron narrating Play for the World

Play for the World

and the iconic, For once, Don’t Do It

For once, Don’t Do It
Categories
Current Events

Context

An on-going collection of layout blunders. If you have some to add, link them in the comments.

Contextual targeting a bit on point.
The photo editor is just having fun
Real Estate Irony
When the crime and lifestyle desk don’t talk to each other
Absolutely placed their on purpose

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TWTW

The week that was

“The film … is a good one. And you don’t have to be so screwed up and cause such a horror for the whole country – you can watch it without that,” said the Ukrainian interior minister after President Zelenskiy (the former comedian) agreed to recommend a niche Joaquin Phoenix film on Facebook in return for the release of hostages.

The San Francisco Giants made history this week when one of their coaches was the first in the league to take a knee during the national anthem and another took the field as the first female coach in a Major League game. Later in the week the entire NY Yankees and Washington Nationals teams all took a knee. before the national anthem.

The Oakland A’s piped crowd noise into their opening day broadcast to make it sound more realistic. But to make it better, Tom Hanks volunteered to be a virtual hot dog vendor.

Not Worthy bleacher fans (pre-pandemic photo)

We now know why Dr. Fauci prefers basketball.

Punters, tired of waiting to bet on their favorite sport to start up again, can now bet on global warming.

Rosie the Riveter, is normally depicted with a red bandana to tie back her hair. Today Mae Krier (94), one of the original Riveters, is back serving her country, sewing red bandana masks to cover faces.

Not content with testing national boundaries on terra firma, Britain and the US accused Russia of testing weapons in space.

China took off for Mars.

Japan is content to tinker with its giant land robot.

And the hackers got hacked.

The name game continued as a Robert E. Lee high school in Virginia is now John R. Lewis High. The Washington Redskins, still trying to secure a decent name that hasn’t already been copyrighted by squatters has settled on the straightforward Washington Football Team for now.

A Satanic Temple is offering college scholarships. Interested high school graduates can apply under the Devil’s Advocate Scholarship program.

A guy wearing a “Pugs not Drugs” shirt got arrested for . . . drugs.

Qantas retired their 747 fleet with the final flight by the Australian airline’s first female pilot who took the plane on a flight path that traced a ‘roo in the sky.

In a contemporary version of, “the dog ate my homework” a University of Georgia student begged, pleaded, and was granted a do-over when a meatball from her sandwich rolled out, plopped on her keyboard and logged her out of her Econ final.

Get them while they’re hot? For some reason, Crocs and KFC have a collaboration on a new line of footwear. If greasy chicken and bare feet doesn’t give you the heebie-jeebies, you can order a pair (or just marvel at the weirdness) here.

Oh! KFC has finally admitted that their chicken nuggets are just reconstituted chicken mush after all. They are now going to print the stuff. Crocs made out of printed chicken mush now kinda makes sense.

Then there’s the popcorn-flavored M&Ms. Yeah, I think we’re seeing the impact of legal weed and work-from-home spitballing impacting new product development.

If you didn’t get around to it last week, you can still upload your view to WindowSwap. If you’re feeling stressed out and just want to scream into the void, may I suggest Looks Like You Need Iceland.

Oh, and if you want to see the video photo up top of Lady Liberty casually ignoring lightning bolts, here’s the video.

Stay Strong.

TWTW is a weekly collection of bits and pieces I run across each week while looking after things at SmartNews. Feel free to sign-up to get this via email, follow on Facebook, or forward to a friend.

Categories
Current Events

Our New Future

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TWTW

The week that was

While a shocking number of Americans can’t be bothered to wear a mask, this Indian businessman threw down $4000 his own custom gold mask.

A Japanese robotics company turned its attention to the mask problem and made one that does more than just save lives. The charmingly named Donut Robotics invented an internet-enabled mask that can can transcribe and translate speech into text, make calls, or amplify the mask wearer’s voice.

As sports leagues around the world stumble thru working out protocols that will keep everyone safe, the Women’s Roller Derby League surprised everyone with their sensible & straightforward plan.

Of course the Parisians have figured out how to keep everyone socially distanced and look cool doing it.

Coronavirus fashion is now a thing.

Covid-19 has reached the remote jungles of the Peruvian Amazon where there are now six cases among the Nahua tribe who have been living in voluntary isolation since first contact in the 1980s.

Melbourne police were tipped off when someone came into a KFC at 1:30 am and placed a “suspiciously huge order.” Following the car home, they broke up a party in violation of group gatherings and handed out $26k in fines.

Refrigerators stocked with free food are popping up all over Oakland. “Take what you want, leave what you don’t.” The fridges are part of the Town Fridge volunteer network to feed those in need.

A Japanese Inn bought some grapes for $12,200.

The Secret Service dropped $25k on two jet skis to keep the Trump family safe while they swim. Mavericks anyone?

Florida’s command center for statewide emergencies (such as Covid) shut down on Thursday after 12 staffers tested positive for . . . Covid.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse we learn that a squirrel in Colorado tested positive for the bubonic plague.

Trump supporters are getting fed up with the candidate’s pushy text messages. “Pres. Trump texted & YOU didn’t respond. Don’t let him down AGAIN.” Unsubscribe.

Scientists looking up determined that an Andean condor can fly 100 miles without flapping its wings.

Scientists looking down figured out how to make a camera small enough to put on the back of a beetle so they can see things from their perspective.

Scientists looking way up found the oldest star so they could confirm the age of the universe. Happy 13.8 billion years!

Nissan re-designed its logo so it looks better on its electric cars. As far as branding videos go, this one is pretty epic (headphones recommended).

Want a room with a view? Try WindowSwap.

TWTW is a weekly collection of bits and pieces I run across each week while looking after things at SmartNews. Feel free to sign-up to get this via email, follow on Facebook, or forward to a friend.

Categories
Current Events

Masked

City council meetings give us a glimpse into the soft underbelly of the American democracy. I remember having to sit through a Pennington, NJ neighbor debate at length with a Verizon representative who wanted to place a cell tower on top of the local firehouse. “Make it a ziggurat,” he said to the perplexed Verizon rep as I walked out the door.

Streaming video technology has opened the proceedings to the rest of the world. What used to be only open to those attending in person is now available for everyone to see. And mock.

Which brings me to Provo, Utah where they recently held a meeting to go over the state’s mandate that everyone at school must wear a mask.

Utah meeting on masks is canceled when residents without masks pack room

“A public meeting in Utah about a mask policy for schoolchildren was abruptly adjourned when people without masks packed the room.” This is how the NBC news report started out. If you watch the video above, the County Commissioner of Provo, Utah opened the meeting with, “This is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing,” and was met with a chorus of boos from the packed gallery.

“Science should not stand in the way”

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany

This the where we are today in America. The rest of the world is on the other side of the curve, they worked together, looked out for their fellow citizens, wore their masks and are now on the road to recovery.

They are winning while we’re still arguing over the rules.

Italy, remember how bad it was there? Just 230 cases yesterday. Here in the US, we are setting new records with over 70,000 new cases today and convoys of refrigerated trailers are making their way to Arizona and Texas hotspots to serve as mobile morgues for the anticipated surge in deaths.

Yet people insist on their freedom of choice.

No one wants free masks in Huntington Beach
Bummed out tourist

Meanwhile, as people try to take their attitudes elsewhere, they are being dealt harshly. Americans are blocked entry into many European countries, and Hawaii has strict rules demanding quarantine for any arrivals from outside the islands. Check out the tourist from Utah who has to spend his Kauai vacation behind bars because he didn’t think the 14-day quarantine applied to him. Boy does he look bummed.

Like Tom Hanks says – it’s simple – “do your part, we’re all in this together.” Wear a mask for the your house, your work, your town, and society as a whole.”

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Office

SmartNews goes ダウンタウン

Japanese comedy duo, Downtown, in new SmartNews commercials

SmartNews kicked off a new TV advertising campaign in Japan bringing together Hitoshi Matsumoto and Masanori Hamada from the comedy duo Downtown co-star in a commercial together for the first time in 10 years.

Several features that are unique to our Japanese edition are in the campaign. The hugely popular coupon feature which, if you’re lucky, will grant you a free meal at a local fast food shop and my favorite, the Rain Radar with real-time weather alerts.

SmartNews Rain Radar
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TWTW

The week that was

Nearly $5.5M worth of counterfeit pajamas were confiscated at Port of Los Angeles.

Nudists are debating if wearing a face mask makes you no longer a true nudist.

Billionaire Kanye West’s company was awarded a multimillion-dollar coronavirus stimulus grant so they can continue to make shoes like this.

Ringo Starr celebrated his 80th birthday and Judas Priest announced their 50th anniversary tour.

Olympian sprinter Usain Bolt has a daughter named Olympia. Her middle name is Lightning.

All types of retailers have been hit hard by the lack of shoppers during the pandemic. Both the 202-year old Brooks Brothers and the North American branch of the Japanese brand retailer Muji filed for bankruptcy.

The great scrubbing continued as the North American Scrabble Players Association took a hard look at its dictionary of acceptable words and removed 236 words that it found potentially offensive.

Elon Musk, who surpassed Warren Buffet in wealth this week, sold out of his limited edition red satin Tesla gym shorts that were going for $69.420.

Due to the pandemic, fashion catwalks have gone virtual at this year’s Haute Couture Week. Each fashion house posted videos online to show off this year’s collection. Here’s Chanel.

TWTW is a weekly collection of bits and pieces I run across each week while looking after things at SmartNews. Feel free to sign-up to get this via email, follow on Facebook, or forward to a friend.

Categories
Current Events

Death as Art

These are the times we live in. Artist James Beckwith plotted each death from January thru June along a timeline, on a map and set it to music, “each country is represented by a tone and an expanding blip on the map when a death from Covid-19 is recorded” says Beckwith on his YouTube page.

This work was emotionally a difficult piece to write and may be upsetting to some people. I created it to highlight the terrifying spread of this virus and to try and understand how frightening its exponential growth has been. There seems to be something much more real and chilling about these numbers when you hear them, as well as seeing them.

James Beckwith

Beckwith took his inspiration from an earlier piece by the Japanese artist (and former foreign exchange dealer) Isao Hashimoto who created 1945-1998 an audio/visual representation of nuclear proliferation which you can see below.

“1945-1998”
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Current Events

Deep Fake Chaff

There’s a thing called chaff that fighter aircraft use as a counter-measure against radar. It’s basically strips of aluminum foil which, when deployed in a cloud behind a plane as flies through the air, confusing the enemy radar with multiple targets.

I think of chaff when I think of how a Boston University team has figured out how to add invisible visual noise to images to throw off Deep Fake algorithms. Clever!

Source images on top row, distorted images below

The BU team’s algorithm allows users to protect media before uploading it to the internet by overlaying an image or video with an imperceptible filter. When a manipulator uses a deep neural network to try to alter an image or video protected by the BU-developed algorithm, the media is either left unchanged or completely distorted, the pixels rendering in such a way that the media becomes unrecognizable and unusable as a deepfake.

Protective Filter Defends Images and Video against Deepfake Manipulation