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YouTube Shorts gains a TikTok-like ‘Green Screen’ feature

YouTube is expanding on its latest feature that made any public YouTube video potential fodder for its TikTok competitor, YouTube Shorts. Today, the company…



YouTube is expanding on its latest feature that made any public YouTube video potential fodder for its TikTok competitor, YouTube Shorts. Today, the company is announcing the launch of “Green Screen,” a tool that will allow users to use up to a 60-second video segment from any eligible YouTube video or YouTube Short as the background for their new original Short video.

The feature joins a number of other effects available now to YouTube Shorts creators, including the appearance-smoothing Retouch feature; a Lighting feature to boost dark environments; an Align feature that aligns the subject from the last frame of a video with a new video; a text and timeline editor to add messages over top videos; various video filters; and, most recently, Cut — the tool that effectively made all of YouTube’s public content possible Shorts material.

As with Cut, YouTube says the new Green Screen remix feature can be used with any public YouTube video unless the creator has opted out. The only exception to this involves music videos which include copyrighted content from YouTube’s partners or others with visual claims. Also similar to Cut, any video created with Green Screen includes a link back to the original content creator for attribution’s sake.

On iOS, creators can also use the Green Screen tool in the Shorts camera to choose any photo or video from their device gallery as the background, the company says.

Image Credits: YouTube

YouTube’s decision to make its platform’s videos available for remixing is meant to be a competitive advantage as the competition with TikTok heats up. It’s notable that it made the feature opt-out by default, meaning videos are essentially up for grabs unless a creator says otherwise. So far, there hasn’t been a major backlash to this decision, as some creators feel that Shorts is just another way to get their channel discovered, or generally aren’t worried about Shorts eating into their own audience, as it’s a different type of viewing experience.

Given the integration with YouTube content, Green Screen makes sense as the next new video effect for Shorts. On TikTok, a similar feature is heavily used to allow creators to comment on and reference each other’s content. But in Shorts’ case, the original video creator isn’t necessarily a Shorts creator, too — they may only produce long-form content for YouTube proper. That could lessen the appeal of the Green Screen tool as a community conversation tool, as the person whose video is being referenced may not even participate in the Shorts community itself.

Google says. the new Green Screen tool is beginning to roll out on iOS today and will come to Android soon.

Asked why the company was prioritizing iOS over Google’s own mobile platform, YouTube only replied that it was prioritizing the need to move quickly when launching the new features.

“Our priority is bringing the best experience to our creators as quickly as possible, and sometimes that means we bring particular features to one platform before another,” a spokesperson said.

The addition of Green Screen follows a rougher quarter for YouTube, where the company missed its projections for ad revenue, bringing in $6.87 billion, when it was forecast to pull in $7.51 billion. YouTube chalked this up to the lingering pandemic impacts, saying the slower growth is more of a reflection of last year’s gains. At the time, it also reported Shorts was now generating 30 billion views per day.


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Morgan Stanley: SPX could return to its pre-pandemic 3,400 level

The S&P 500 index could return to its pre-pandemic 3,400 level in the coming months that translates to another 15% downside from here, warned a Morgan…



The S&P 500 index could return to its pre-pandemic 3,400 level in the coming months that translates to another 15% downside from here, warned a Morgan Stanley analyst on Monday.

Don’t be fooled by the bear market rally

Michael Wilson dubs the recent bounce (about 4.0%) in U.S. equities a “bear market rally” and says investors should brace for more pain ahead as inflation and supply constraints remain a significant headwind. In his note, the analyst said:

With valuations now more attractive, equity markets so oversold an rates potentially stabilizing below 3.0%, stocks appear to have begun another material bear market rally. After that, we remain confident that lower prices are still ahead.

Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics said inflation stood at 8.30% in April – a marginal decline versus the prior month but still ahead of the Dow Jones estimate.

How to navigate the current environment?

Wilson continues to see a recession as unlikely, but agrees that the risk of such an economic downturn has certainly gone up. The U.S. economy unexpectedly shrank 1.40% in the first quarter of 2022.

That is just another reason why equity risk premium is too low, and stocks are still overpriced. The bear market won’t be over until valuations fall to levels (14 – 15x) that discount the kind of earnings cuts we envision, or earnings estimates get cut.

He recommends increasing exposure to real estate, health care, and utilities stocks to navigate the current environment, while tech and consumer discretionary stocks remain a big “no” for him.

The post Morgan Stanley: SPX could return to its pre-pandemic 3,400 level appeared first on Invezz.

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The New Rift Between WHO And China

The New Rift Between WHO And China

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute,

From the beginning of the pandemic, the World…



The New Rift Between WHO And China

Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Brownstone Institute,

From the beginning of the pandemic, the World Health Organization and China’s CCP have worked and spoken hand-in-glove, culminating in the Potemkin Village junket of mid-February 2020. The WHO-sponsored travel report—how wonderfully China had performed!—was written and signed by American public health officials who recommended Wuhan-style lockdowns, a disastrous policy that further inspired most governments in the world to do the same.

Twenty-six months later, it turns out that China in fact had not “eliminated the virus fully within its borders,” contrary to the over-the-top claims of TV pundit Devi Sridhar in her new book “Preventable.” They only pushed cases into the future, as the CCP discovered when positive tests appeared all over Shanghai, leading to 7 weeks of brutal lockdowns.

This move on China’s part has been a disaster for the country and the world economy, and presently endangers the financial and technological future of the entire country.

For Xi Jinping, lockdowns and zero-covid were his greatest achievement, one which was celebrated the world over, causing his political pride to swell beyond all bounds. Now, he cannot back off lest he face possible losses in upcoming party elections.

Just this past weekend, he made it clear to the entire government that there would be no backing off the zero-covid policy: the CCP will “unswervingly adhere to the general policy of ‘dynamic zero-Covid,’ and resolutely fight against any words and deeds that distort, doubt or deny our country’s epidemic prevention policies.”

The problem is acute: vast numbers in China likely need to acquire natural immunity via exposure. The lockdown policy likely puts a damper on the achievement of endemicity. That means long-term damage to China’s future.

Sensing this problem, the head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, offered a mild criticism:

“Considering the behavior of the virus, I think a shift will be very important,” adding that he had discussed this point with Chinese scientists.

What happened next is truly fascinating: Tedros’s comments were censored all over China and searches for the name Tedros were immediately blocked within the country.

Implausibly, merely by stating the incredibly obvious point, Tedros has made himself an enemy of the state.

Meanwhile, another WHO/China partisan, Bill Gates, has been sheepishly saying something very similar in interviews, namely that the virus cannot be eradicated.

It’s not just Tedros and Gates who are trying to flee their advocacy of lockdowns. Anthony Fauci himself denied that the United States ever had “complete lockdowns”—which is technically correct but not because he didn’t demand them.

On March 16, 2020, Fauci faced the national press and read from a CDC directive: “In states with evidence of community transmission, bars, restaurants, food courts, gyms and other indoor and outdoor venues where groups of people congregate should be closed.”

In fact, one gets the strong sense that governments around the world are pretending as if the whole pathetic and terrible affair never happened, even as they are attempting to reserve the power to do it all over again should the need arise.

On May 12, 2022, many governments around the world gathered for a video call and agreed to pour many billions more into covid work, and reaffirm their dedication to an “all-of-society” and “whole-of-government” approach to infectious disease. The U.S. government under the administration readily agreed to this idea.

Leaders reinforced the value of whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches to bring the acute phase of COVID-19 to an end, and the importance of being prepared for future pandemic threats. The Summit was focused on preventing complacency, recognizing the pandemic is not over; protecting the most vulnerable, including the elderly, immunocompromised people, and frontline and health workers; and preventing future health crises, recognizing now is the time to secure political and financial commitment for pandemic preparedness.

The Summit catalyzed bold commitments. Financially, leaders committed to provide nearly $2 billion in new funding—additional to pledges made earlier in 2022. These funds will accelerate access to vaccinations, testing, and treatments, and they will contribute to a new pandemic preparedness and global health security fund housed at the World Bank.

Is it progress to see these people throwing around language from the much-criticized but now wholly vindicated Great Barrington Declaration? Doubtful. You can’t make a bad policy better by tossing around words. There is every indication from this statement that there will be no apologies, no regrets, and no changes in the default position that governments must always and everywhere have maximum power to control any pathogen of their choosing.

Despite Tedros’s censored words, it’s no wonder that Xi Jinping continues to feel vindicated and affirmed, and sees no real political danger in choosing his own power over the health and well-being of his people. Governments around the world still cannot muster the courage to make a full-throated and solid attack on zero-covid, for fear of the implications of such a concession. Nudges and hints, even from the WHO, will not do it.

Tyler Durden Mon, 05/16/2022 - 19:45

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Carnival Struggles With Crew Shortages (But it Has a Plan)

The cruise line faces a perfect storm of staffing issues.



The cruise line faces a perfect storm of staffing issues.

From grocery stores to rideshare drivers, nearly every industry is dealing with a worker shortage at the moment, and that’s especially true of jobs that have a service industry component to them.

The reasons for the worker shortage are varied, and no one can pinpoint it to exactly one stress factor.

Some workers are mentally exhausted from the pandemic, while others are worried about their safety or their families’ safety, and some people took the forced pause brought on by the pandemic to rethink their life and career goals, and began pursuing other interests.

But the luxury cruise line industry has been especially impacted by the worker shortage, as many ships are only now returning to the seas after being docked for two years.

Because cruise lines nearly always flag their ships outside of the U.S. in order to work around American labor laws, the Center for Disease Control enforced strict regulations on the industry. 

Also, cruise lines sail all over the world, and because every country has different standards for shipline safety, major cruise lines such as Carnival  (CCL) - Get Carnival Corporation Report always default to being as cautious as possible. 

You can’t fault an industry for taking the health and safety of its guests and workers as seriously as it can, especially in the wake of the recently identified and ultra contagious Omicron Subvariant BA.2.12.1. 

Last week the U.K.-based Cunard Line, a Carnival Cruise ship, drastically cut down on the guest capacity for the Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2, and P&O Cruises canceled seven sailings of Arcadia last month. Both cancellations were due to limited crew availability, which would have negatively impacted guest services.

One of the issues driving the worker shortage is that cruise ships have strict isolation and quarantining requirements for its workers, and the industry is dealing with tightening travel protocols, including strict visa restrictions that prevent members from traveling through multiple countries to join their contracted ships.

In a recent Facebook post, Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald acknowledged the worker shortages and the impact it’s been having on service.

How Is The Worker Shortage Impacting Carnival?

In his Facebook post, Heald said “we have some crew shortages on board which has meant we have needed to make changes to some of the events on board and I know that this is another challenge.”

This means that some onboard activities including dance parties, interactive games, and various crew-led activities will in some cases be temporarily removed from the ship’s daily schedules, and some production shows and musical performances may be canceled if the performers are unable to work.

Guests may also notice that it will take longer for staterooms to get serviced, and dining might take longer than normal.

In response, Heald said that Carnival’s management is aware of the worker shortage and looking to fix it: “I believe that Christine [Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line]...will find a way out of this and will work with the United States State Department and we will get the visas our crew are waiting for [to] return, ready to serve and entertain you,” he said.

Image source: Carnival.

How Can Cruise Ship Guests Make It Easier?

As noted by Cruise Hive, there are a number of steps that guests can make that can alleviate the strain caused by the worker shortage so that everyone can have a good time on their sailing.

The main thing is to be flexible, so if a planned activity gets canceled, consider playing miniature golf or shuffleboard on the sports court, or hit the pool. 

Guests can use the Carnival Hub app to make dining quicker and more efficient, and to keep track of the daily schedule so they’ll know what has been canceled that day.

So try to remember that even if the trip isn’t perfect and you're disappointed by a few things, you’re still on the water, so try to relax and have fun. After all, people go on vacation to forget their problems, so why not forget this also?

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