WPVI: Nora the Piano Cat still on key after 13 years of internet fame. “A musical couple lives in perfect harmony with their cat, Nora. Born in 2004, the gray tabby was rescued off the streets of Camden, New Jersey. Burnell Yow! and Betsy Alexander, two musicians and artists, adopted her. Betsy is an avid pianist who provides lessons to locals. With music constantly ringing throughout the house, it’s no wonder why Nora, the cat, picked up an ear for it. One day, she hopped up on the bench and began to play the piano herself.” I love everything about this story. I love the cat, I love the people, I love their house…
The Verge: The Snapchat cat filter shows how little we know about cat cognition. “Apologies to Taylor Swift and Andrew Lloyd Webber, but the most interesting cat content online right now is a Snapchat filter that lets humans try on a feline face. The resulting clips are adorable, confounding, and a great example of just how little we know about cat cognition.”
For a given value of useful, from Mashable: Wonder what your dog would look like as a cat? There’s a new AI tool for you. . “NVIDIA has leveraged big gains in AI technology to develop a fun tool called the GANimal App, which allows users to upload a photo of their pet and generate pictures of what it would look like as either different breeds of the same animal — or a different animal altogether.” I tried this with a cat and a dog and wasn’t super impressed.
CNET: This Cat is Chonky: The fat-cat online shrine lifting humans from despair. “I’m standing at my desk working. Archer, a 10-pound bundle of sass and midnight fur, sits behind me on a stool, a single claw plunging repeatedly into the elbow of my sweater: ‘Pay attention to me!’ Archer knows I’m looking at other cats. He just knows.”
CNET: Whiskeridoo! AI named these adorable, adoptable kittens. “Sparky Buttons has eye damage from a infection he caught when he was a stray baby, but he’s still a powerhouse when it comes to cuddling and playing. And don’t be fooled by Mr. Sinister’s name. He’s a cuddler, too. These adoptable kittens, along with their friends Tom Glitter, Pompompur and Whiskeridoo, were all named by an artificial intelligence neural network.” I officially feel 100% less bad for naming my cat Eggo.
Okay, I promise I will calm down about these. But this one uses AI to generate CAT PICTURES. Seriously, how can I not? Futurism: A New AI Draws Cats, and They’re Utterly Grotesque. “GANs have been used for much more ambitious projects in the past. Researchers at NVIDIA harnessed the power of the technology to create uncanny faces that are almost completely indistinguishable from the real thing. But that doesn’t mean bored people on the internet shouldn’t be able to take advantage of the open-source technology for a bit of fun — that is, as long as real-world cats stay out of harm’s way.” I tested this. A fraction of the cats look something like real cats. The other ones look like the dreams you have after a meal of spicy meatballs and eggnog.
CNET: Facebook is still a dog’s best friend. “2018 was a horrible year for Facebook. Beset by an endless stream of scandals involving user privacy, data breaches, hate speech and fake news, the shine has come off a company that once seemed unstoppable. Governments in the United States and the European Union have questioned its executives in public hearings and the campaign to “Delete Facebook” has moved from the call of a few to a full-grown movement. But not everyone is joining the cause. For animal shelters and rescue organizations in particular, Facebook is an invaluable tool. The social network’s vast reach (2 billion users), versatility and affordability (it’s free to use) lets them help more animals than before it existed.”