Los Angeles Times: L.A. County walks back Halloween ban, says trick-or-treating ‘not recommended’. “Less than a day after issuing new health guidelines that banned trick-or-treating and other Halloween activities, Los Angeles County public health officials walked back the decision Wednesday. Citing an inability to maintain safe social distancing and the potential for gatherings beyond household members, county officials initially nixed trick-or-treating along with other Halloween traditions, including haunted houses and parades.”
Irish News: Santas taught how to make Christmas safe in year of pandemic. “A number of Santas have been taught how to make their yuletide festivities safer after the coronavirus pandemic threatened to cancel Christmas. The Ministry of Fun Santa School claims to be the only professional Santa training school in Britain, and took on the responsibility of equipping its Santas with the skills they require in 2020.”
CNN: The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will go on this year — but with many changes. “The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade will take place this fall, but it won’t exactly look like it did in years past, according to a statement from the fashion retailer. ‘We are currently working with our partners in the City of New York to re-imagine the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in a similar fashion to how we successfully and safely produced this year’s Macy’s Fireworks,’ Orlando Veras, Macy’s Inc. director of national media relations told CNN.”
BBC: Coronavirus: Records broken at socially distanced hot dog contest. “Coney Island in the US has hosted a special socially-distanced version of an annual hot dog eating contest amid the coronavirus pandemic. New records were set in both the men’s and women’s categories at the climate-controlled indoor event in Brooklyn, New York City, on Saturday.”
Route Fifty: For July Fourth, Many Cities Go Virtual or Cancel Fireworks Displays. “From virtual parades to unannounced fireworks shows, the Fourth of July will look different this year. To prevent large gatherings and tamp down on the spread of coronavirus infections, many cities are canceling or curtailing traditional Independence Day celebrations.”
Google Blog: Join the Africa Day virtual festivities. “An annual celebration of African unity, Africa Day commemorates the founding of the African Union. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, thinking about a ‘Borderless Africa: Celebrating Commonalities’ has a special resonance.”
San Francisco Examiner: Jam-packed Asian Pacific American Heritage Month goes online. “May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, and this year’s cultural and arts programming — presented by the APA Heritage Foundation, the Asian Art Museum, the San Francisco Public Library and Center for Asian American Media — is online.”
Refinery29: How People Are Celebrating Easter This Year. “Easter has always been one of my favorite holidays. Not just because it’s right around my birthday (shout out to all the Aries out there). I also love it because it typically means that my entire family comes over. Plus, my competitive childhood self was obsessed with winning the Easter egg hunts (again, Aries). But, this year, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, my holiday will look a little different.”
CNET: Google hides real Easter eggs for Easter, delivers AR Easter bunny. “Users who search for ‘Easter,’ ‘Easter 2020’ and other Easter-related topics will see a banner in the top-right corner of their search results page that illustrates some of the adorable animals associated with the holiday, including a pink bunny and a chick hatching from a decorated egg.” There’s also an AR bunny.
Google Blog: Alalaô! Keep up with Carnaval 2020 on Google News. “Break out your costumes and strike a pose: Brazil’s Carnaval starts today and lasts through February 26th. The five-day festival, which traces its roots back to the early 1700s, is now one of the largest festivals in the world with thousands of parties and millions of people celebrating across Brazil’s biggest cities. Google News is here to help you keep up with the parades and stay safe.”
The Next Web: Scientist trains AI to write messages of love on candy hearts. “Janelle Shane, who in her day job creates computer-controlled holograms for studying the brain, collected genuine messages printed on the heart-shaped sweets to use as training data. She then fed them to a neural network so that it could learn the patterns behind the words.” I think “All Hover” was my favorite.
MakeUseOf: 5 Apps to Figure Out New Year’s Resolutions and Long-Term Goals. “Research on why goals fail shows it’s mainly because of two common errors. People tend to set a popular goal that others are choosing, rather than an objective that you want intrinsically. Once the goal is set, people don’t make a plan or actionable steps to achieve it, nor do they track their progress. These apps will help you set a goal that is meaningful for you, and break it down into achievable and measurable steps.”
BetaNews: You can track Santa Claus again this Christmas with Google. “Yes, Google’s official Santa Tracker is an annual tradition, and in 2019, it continues. As usual, the search giant delivers activities beyond mere tracking, such as an interactive Santa Village.”
Bing Blogs: HO HO HO! Microsoft and Bing Maps help NORAD track Santa!. “The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) is preparing for their annual tradition of tracking Santa around the globe. As NORAD conducts its primary mission of defending Canadian and United States airspace, they take on the supplementary mission of tracking Santa’s journey for the holidays. Much like Santa and his Elves, NORAD gets help from volunteers, partners and Microsoft Employees who will be joining the crew at the Peterson Airforce Base to ensure Santa’s safe travels around the globe!”
Mashable: Curl up in front of a cozy Lego yule log that’s streaming on YouTube 24/7. “Instead of watching one of the many yule log videos that feature real fireplaces, consider breaking tradition and watching Lego’s Festive Fireplace. It’s cute as hell, and streaming live on YouTube 24/7.”