Oh, for Crying Out Loud:

Now we have to worry about deepfakes ... utilizing artificial intelligence and image synthesis in rapidly advancing programs that are becoming accessible to anyone, it will be easier and easier to fake everyone out.

Users can make video and audio clips of people doing and/or saying things they didn’t really do or say. And it’s going to be really hard to tell the difference. 

Now who do you believe?

“That wasn’t me,” was a statement that you couldn’t, in the old days, apply to videos and photographs because the technology presented images from a point in time that weren’t easily altered. You could have fun splicing pictures together, but it was easy to see it was doctored.

Now ... who are you going to believe?

One thing you can do is actually be involved ... get out of the house, away from the computer and the TV and mute your cell phone and take part in something that’s happening in the here and now.

You’ve got plenty to pick from this weekend.

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Thumbs Up: For instance, the Summer Stroll in downtown Yuba City. 

Frankly, we’re never entirely sure why these sorts of things work, but they do. At least in this community.

For some years, the Stroll has come off pretty well on Plumas Street. The formula? Close the streets, have lots of vendors, some music, have businesses that have their doors open ... maybe a cooling station. Thousands of people show up.

It’s fun just to walk up and down the street, nodding at people, looking at the wares of various vendors, grabbing a treat, listening to a band for a little while, buying some new shoes, maybe. Even when the day has been scorching hot, thousands turn out.

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Thumbs Up: “This is a celebration of freedom,” said Emma Hirshkorn, coordinator of the Marysville Juneteenth festival that was revived last year and continues this year. 

Juneteenth, also known as Freedom Day, marks the anniversary of delivery of the news of the Emancipation Proclamations to slaves held in Texas on June 19, 1865 – two years after President Abraham Lincoln issued the proclamation during the Civil War.

“It’s important that we all know our history and the struggles that were gone through in order for us to be here today. It’s important to know why this is a reason to celebrate, “ said Freda Venable, who will be a guest speaker and volunteer at the Juneteenth Festival today (Saturday) from noon to 8 p.m. at Yuba Park (10th and Yuba Street), Marysville.

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Thumbs Up: We like to see trees planted. Each one is a legacy to the generation that planted it. They provide shade, shelter, suppress dust and noise, help cleanse the air, produce oxygen... 

We like that the city of Yuba City knows it has approximately 12,000 trees in city limits. And that the city plans to increase the number by several hundred over the next couple years.

The urban forest is important and subject to the whims of city residents ... so it’s important to plan for keeping it healthy and growing.

The city received a $376,000 grant from Cal Fire to develop an Urban Forest Management plan that will include a more precise tree inventory and “canopy assessment”

The city will plant another 500 trees in low-income areas, some in partnership with Yuba City Unified School District. Yay.

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Ugh: Kid stuff.

– A mom was at the kitchen table trying to get the ketchup to come out when her phone started buzzing. She could see it was her boss on caller ID. She told her 5-year-old to answer it for her. The daughter picked up the phone and said: “Mom can’t come to the phone right now ... she’s hitting the bottle.”

– A family was driving down the 101 on vacation. It was a blue-sky, very warm summer evening. A woman in a convertible in front of the family stood up and waved at them ... she was stark naked. 

The parents were speechless. But the  5-year-old said, “Mom, that lady isn’t wearing a seatbelt.”

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