It's Gonna be MAY

This is certainly old news, but the Josh fight of April actually occurred. Hundreds of people gathered in the middle of a seemingly random field in Nebraska to watch a bunch of people named “Josh Swain” fight for the right to be the only “Josh Swain”. Spoiler alert- a five year old won. There have been more name fights scheduled since then (ie: the Nathan fight), but there is something magical about the first one. Moving on to other things, Elon Musk, now dubbed “the Dogefather” appeared on SNL on mother’s day of this year (May 9th) and of course his presence and hype influenced doge. The nice thing is that the charts are showing that doge has the potential to reach the $0.70 to $0.80

Take me Home, Country Roads

Are you adventurous and tired of living where you are currently living? Consider moving to West Virginia because they will pay you to be there. You read that right. Move to West Virginia, and they will pay you a total of $12,000. On April 12 of this year, Governor Jim Justice announced a program, Ascend WV, that "will allow adventurers to enjoy world-class recreation, uncrowded spaces, and a low cost of living while staying fully connected to their jobs".

That's kind of NFT-y

You may have heard about the creator of Twitter selling his first tweet for $2.5M or the digital collage created by artist Beeple sold for $69.3M both being sold as an “NFT”. An NFT is a Non-fungible token and it is the latest cryptocurrency phenomenon to go mainstream. So what exactly is an NFT? NFTs transform digital media and other collectibles into one-of-a-kind verifiable assets that are tradable using blockchain.

April Showers

Technically, the first day of Spring was last month, but it certainly feels as though Spring has finally sprung. The weather so far in 2021 has been odd, considering the citywide shut down due to record snow and ice that occurred in February that left thousands in Memphis without clean water. Since then, the weather was consistently cool until April hit where the temperature has slowly but surely crept up to be between 75 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Animals Have Had It

We saw some pretty bizarre animal behavior last year and it is only getting more strange this year. In previous issues of our publication, State of the Bands, we talked about the plague of locusts in Africa destroying a significant percentage of crops. We also covered that sharks will sometimes attack the deep sea internet cables. We did not cover a disruption in the migration pattern of birds in the US that resulted in the mass death of migratory birds. Around September of last year, hundreds of thousands of birds died during their migration through New Mexico.

Let's Face It

If you are not familiar with it, deepfake technology is essentially a filter in which a person in an existing image or video is replaced with someone else's likeness. The general concept of deepfake is not new, however deepfake footage leverages techniques from machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to generate visual and audio content with a high potential to deceive. If you’re not impressed now, think back to the Tron movie that came out in 2010. Deepfake technology is what was used to create the young Jeff Bridges. That’s right, Jeff Bridges was able to play the young version of himself using this technology- it wasn’t make up nor was it a look alike. The machine learning methods used to create deepfakes are based on deep learning and involve training generative neural network architectures which pretty much just boils down to using math to model and predict facial movements. Due to their use typically being nefarious (revenge porn, fake news videos, fraud, defamation), the use of deepfake technology has been limited from both industry and government in order to detect and limit the use of deepfake videos and images.

Really Gassed Right Now

It was all fun and games until January 2021 came around and the average gas price across the US started to rise. In fact, as of March 8th the average gasoline price is sitting as $2.771 per gallon which when compared to prices a year ago is a $0.396 increase. That is almost a 40 cent increase, which does not sound like a lot until you fill up the 20 gallon tank of your little hybrid car for a total of a $7.92 increase. So, why have the prices gone up? There are a number of factors that go into the price of gasoline. You may remember from one of our previous issues of State of the Bands that one of the many factors that controls gas prices is Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).