Know The Facts Before You FaceApp Your Face

The world is talking about FaceApp. I really wanted to avoid the topic, but too many friends questioned me about why the app was receiving so much negative publicity.

FaceApp is an app that shows you what you look like when you’re much older. Millions of folks on Facebook are showing everyone what they will look like decades from now.

FaceApp was created by a St. Petersburg, Russia company. The owners are asking you to send them your portrait photos from your device to its servers.

The Washington Post points out that FaceApp “retains rights to use your photos in perpetuity, and performs artificial intelligence black magic on them.”

That makes people nervous after the 2016 Presidential election. FaceApp has denied all privacy claims against them. They claim they delete “most images” from its servers within 48 hours of uploading. No one can confirm that.

FaceApp founder Yaroslav Goncharov said “the user data is not transferred to Russia.” Like almost everyone else, FaceApp uses Amazon’s cloud.

The Washington Post created a quick video to give you all the pointers you need to know. It’s posted above.

The Wojcicki Family

I wanted to devote one blog post to the Wojcicki family. I have been fascinated with them for years.

The parents are Stanley Wojcicki (a Polish American emeritus professor and former chair of the physics department at Stanford University); Esther Wojcicki (an American journalist, educator, and vice chair of the Creative Commons advisory council. She is also the founder of the Palo Alto High School Media Arts Program in Palo Alto); daughter Anne (Founder of 23andMe); daughter Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube; and daughter Janet Wojcicki, an anthropologist and Associate Professor at UCSF.

Good genes in that family.

Yesterday, I told you about Anne Wojcicki and her company, 23andMe. Forbes did a recent story on Anne which I included below. She was married to Google co-founder Sergey Brin from 2007 until separating in 2013. They divorced in 2015. They had two children together and now as a single woman she is pregnant with her third.

Anne was quoted in Forbes saying, “Whether you’re in a relationship or not should not dictate whether or not you have the ability to have children. I’m very stubborn. When there’s something I want to do, I get it done. I really wanted a third child. So like, guess what? I executed.”

I have included the Forbes story in photos below because the link was not working. Try the link or enlarge the photos. It’s a fascinating read.

Read in Forbes:

The Real You

I know so many people who will never use a DNA ancestry test. They really don’t want to know about their health, traits, and family histories. They would rather be kept in the dark.

I can’t blame them. While it was a good experience for me, others found out about family secrets that changed their lives forever. Many people are afraid of change, whether it’s good or bad.

I just listened to Mitchell Kaplan’s “The Literary Life” podcast, with author Dani Shapiro. Her memoir, “Inheritance” is about the day she received the stunning news that her father was not her biological one. She woke up one morning and her entire history–the life she had lived–crumbled beneath her.

Dani’s story is a familiar one because I have a friend who discovered that his biological father was the neighbor across the street. Another girl friend forced her husband to take the 23andMe DNA test in order to find his biological mother. Within a few weeks after spitting into a test tube, he was having lunch with a pretty, petite woman who he now calls “mom.”

Industry stats show that over 10 million people have taken the test.

If you never met anyone who has used a DNA test, be sure to listen to this podcast. Dani’s story is one that you will never forget.

Click here.

This Is The World We Are Now Living In

Journalists Rely On Food Banks, Part-Time Jobs To Make Ends Meet 

Media Post, an online advertising publication, sadly reported today that newsroom job cuts recently reached the highest levels since the last recession 10 years ago.

The journalism business is so bad that many writers say they are now depending on local food banks to feed their families. Many have second jobs to supplement their incomes.

Pew Research Center reported that newspapers “shed almost one-quarter of their employees from 2008 to 2017, and that was before the loss of 3,000 jobs announced so far this year. The closure of 1,800 newspapers in the past 15 years has meant that half of U.S. counties are lucky if they have one newspaper.”

It’s amazing to me that one of the most important professions in the world is slowly shrinking to nothing.

Click below to read more about this topic.


Our Podcast, “Lying On The Beach”

In one of the most unusual documentaries ever made, Alec Baldwin portrays John DeLorean, while real footage, from the automaker’s life, is interspersed between scenes. It’s a wild ride. TV personality Steve Greenberg, and PR consultant Lois Whitman—Hess, waste no time dishing on what they think is fact, or fiction.  You decide.

To hear our podcast, click here.

Did You Catch These Stories?

Graydon Carter Taps More Former Colleagues for Air Mail Launch – WWD

De Niro and Netflix Bet That New York Can Be a New Hollywood

Bal Harbour Luxury Mall Adds 300,000 Square Feet Of Retail, Including Barneys

7 of the World’s Best Under-the-Radar Small Museums | Architectural Digest

Mind-blowing bowling robot video is completely computer-generated

The Decade’s Most Important Novel In Your Summer Must Read

Antique Gadgets

On our recent trip to Germany, we toured with a wonderful couple from Massachusetts, who happen to be antique dealers. Paula and Chris DeSimone we’re intrigued that we were with Steve Greenberg, the Today Show’s Innovation Insider.

They immediately told him about the antique gadgets they have encountered over the years. They thought it would be wonderful to show the world what innovation looked like 100 years ago. Steve can’t use these historical gadgets on The Today Show because they feature emerging new technologies. I, however, volunteered showcasing them in my blog because I knew you would enjoying seeing them.

All of these items were found and photographed at Upton House Antiques, 275 King Street, Littleton, Ma., owned and operated by Eileen M. Poland.

Thank you Paula and Chris. You are just terrific. We must meet again soon.

NIDDY NODDY:   Sells for approx.  $48     Circa 1820

A niddy noddy is a simple homemade yarn winder. The DeSimone’s said they were unable to discover the genesis of the rather unusual name. However, they did find some evidence that the name comes from the word “nod”.  While in use the implement sways back and forth like a head “nodding.”

HOG SCRAPPER:  Sells for approx. $10-$15     Late 19th early 20th centuries. It was used to scrape the stiff hairs off of a pig’s hide. The worker would grip the handle and scrape with the cup-like end.

NUTMEG  GRATER  Sells for approx. $45-$50      c1890;l

Thr nutmeg is placed in the hopper and is held there by the plunger.  The user grips the wooden handle and moves the grate back and forth until the entire piece is ground.

CANDLE SNUFFER:   Sells for approx. $25      18th and 19th centuries

Used to extinguish candles throughout the house.  The scissor-like section was used to trim wicks and the sharp point on the end was used to “dig” the wick out of melted wax.

HEARTH TOASTER:   Sells for approx. $100-$120   early 1800’s

Used to make toast in the fireplace.  The bread, no doubt homemade, would be placed in the available slot.

BOOT JACK:   Sells for approx. $35-$40  

Used to remove boots when one didn’t have someone to assist.  The wearer would place the heel of one booted foot in the “vee” shaped cutout and would step on the other end with  his other foot.  He would then  pull back with his leg thus removing the boot

APPLE CORER:  Sells for approx. $45-$50     c1885

Obviously, used to peel apples and remove the core

BUTTER STAMP:   Sells for approx. $20-$25    circa 1890. Many butter makers, when done, would place the very moldable butter into a form.  Thus giving it a shape.  They would then imprint a design on the top of the butter.  Of course, as soon oas the butter was used the design would disappear.  Butter stamps are highly collectible.  Actually, most of the items listed here are collected.