Mortgage Rate Update | February 22, 2024

Mortgage rates – Every Thursday Freddie Mac publishes interest rates based on a survey of mortgage lenders throughout the week. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as of February 15, 2024, were as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.90%, up from 6.77% last week. The 15-year fixed was 6.29%, up from 6.12% last week.

The graph below shows the trajectory of mortgage rates over the past year.

Freddie Mac was chartered by Congress in 1970 to keep money flowing to mortgage lenders in support of homeownership and rental housing. Their mandate is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S.

From Apple Sports to Sony PSVR and More! | Tech News

Stay connected in the world of technology and media! Check out our weekly wrap-up of what’s happening from across the globe. From Apple Sports to Sony PSVR and more, we have you covered with the latest tech news!

The Justice Department Appoints a Chief AI Officer

The Justice Department has named Jonathan Mayer, a Princeton professor and expert in technology law, as its first chief AI officer, highlighting the importance of adapting to advancements in science and technology. In this role, Mayer will lead efforts to integrate AI into law enforcement practices, focusing on cybersecurity and AI policy, and act as the chief science and technology advisor. This appointment is part of broader initiatives by the Biden administration to enhance AI capabilities and ensure ethical use within government agencies, including the Justice Department’s oversight of AI in sentencing, parole, and surveillance.

Google Secures an Agreement with Reddit for AI Training Data

Google and Reddit have entered into a partnership where Reddit will provide Google with AI training data. This collaboration enables Google to access Reddit’s real-time content via its data API, enhancing Google’s AI model training and content display capabilities. Additionally, Reddit gains access to Google’s Vertex AI, aiming to improve search results. This deal follows Reddit’s exploration of revenue opportunities through data licensing and comes amidst Reddit’s preparations for a public offering, highlighting strategic moves to increase valuation.

Arm Supports Nuro in Launching Its Third-Generation Delivery Robot

Nuro partners with chip designer Arm to develop its third-generation autonomous delivery vehicle, aiming to enhance performance and accelerate commercialization. Leveraging Arm’s Automotive Enhanced technology, this collaboration seeks to improve the vehicle’s efficiency and range, addressing the specialized computing needs of autonomous driving amidst safety and investment challenges. With a focus on increased cargo space and new temperature-controlled compartments, Nuro continues to innovate in driverless delivery, backed by Arm’s low-power technology for optimized AI decision-making.

Sony is now testing PSVR 2 support for PC

Sony is exploring PSVR 2 support for PC gaming rigs, expanding beyond its exclusive PS5 compatibility. This initiative aims to provide PSVR 2 owners with a broader range of games by testing connectivity with PCs. Sony’s official announcement indicates a potential 2024 release for this feature, marking a shift from previous stances on PSVR 2’s compatibility. Efforts by modders to enable PC support underscore the demand for such functionality, though specifics regarding game access remain under discussion.

Microsoft and Intel Forge Custom Chip Agreement with Multibillion-Dollar Potential

Intel has entered into an agreement to manufacture custom chips for Microsoft. The deal was valued at over $15 billion, leveraging Intel’s advanced 18A process technology. This strategic partnership, highlighted during Intel’s Foundry event, underlines Microsoft’s push towards developing its own processors and AI accelerators. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella emphasized the transformative potential of this collaboration for productivity and industry innovation. This move positions Intel’s foundry services at the forefront of the semiconductor industry. Likewise, this mirrors the success of competitors like TSMC through high-profile manufacturing partnerships.

Apple Introduces Apple Sports: Scores and Betting Odds in New App

Apple has unveiled Apple Sports, a comprehensive iPhone app offering scores, stats, betting odds, and more. Of course, the app is for various sports leagues, including exclusive content like MLS. This expansion into sports integrates with Apple TV Plus for live streaming. Of course, it features extensive league support and future additions like MLB and NFL. On the other hand, the app notably excludes direct betting but allows users to opt out of displaying betting odds.

Weekend Events | February 23 – February 25

Wrap up February with fun around the neighborhood. From 5k’s to fundraisers, we have you covered. Check out what’s happening this February 23 through February 25!

Los Angeles Weekend Events | February 23 – February 25 

L.A. Chinatown Firecracker Run

When: February 24 – February 25 

Where: DTLA

What: Join in on a 5K or 10K run or walk, a one-mile dog walk, or a 20 or 50-mile bike ride as part of this Chinatown tradition. The starting and finishing point for all events is the Chinatown Central Plaza, where a family-friendly festival will be taking place simultaneously.

CicLAvia: Melrose

When: February 25 – December 8  

Where: Melrose

What: Experience a unique cycling journey on February 25th, navigating through Fairfax, Larchmont, Melrose Hill, and East Hollywood. This edition of the event invites you to enjoy these neighborhoods like never before, on a route designed for cyclists and free from cars, showcasing a commitment to bike-friendly paths and community engagement.

Matthew Bourne’s Romeo and Juliet

When: Until February 25

Where: DTLA

What: Renowned choreographer Matthew Bourne reimagines Shakespeare’s classic tragedy through a dynamic interpretation, blending it with Prokofiev’s powerful music to create one of his most captivating works. This production, which received a four-star review during its New York run, will be showcased at the Ahmanson Theatre in L.A. for a month, offering audiences a fresh and engaging theatrical experience.

 

Westside and Beach Communities Weekend Events | February 23 – February 25

Afro-Latinx Festival

When: February 25 

Where: Long Beach

What: Watch Colombian folk dance, Brazilian street performance and Puerto Rican rhythm at this celebration of the cultural diversity of the Americas and the African influence in Latin America. MOLAA’s free event also includes a bunch of food vendors and art workshops.

Love At First Paw Comedy Event

When: February 25

Where: Santa Monica

What: Enjoy a delightful afternoon of stand-up comedy, refreshing drinks, and support for rescue dogs at this unique comedy event. Begin with a charming rescue dog kissing booth at JuneShine’s Santa Monica tasting room, complete with a special Valentine’s treat for your pet. The event continues with a comedy show by Funny Girl Events. A suggested donation of $25 benefits Bubbles Dog Rescue, enhancing the experience by aiding animals in need.

Dog Walking Hours at South Coast Botanic Garden

When: Until February 25 

Where: Rolling Hills / RanchoPalos Verdes

What: Santa Monica Place celebrates the Lunar New Year featuring Chinese lion dance shows, red envelope specials, and cherry blossom wishing trees. Leading up to the festivities on February 17, you have the opportunity to join a holiday-themed cooking class at the Gourmandise School on February 10 at 6 pm, priced at $125.

 

San Fernando Valley Weekend Events | February 23 – February 25 

Beginning Field Sketching with Diego Blanco

When: February 24 

Where: Theodore Payne Foundation | 10459 Tuxford St Sun Valley

What: Participants in the special class at the Theodore Payne Foundation gardens will learn about plant parts and how to capture their form through sketching. Guided exercises facilitate a deeper connection with nature, enhancing both artistic expression and botanical knowledge. This immersive experience encourages attendees to observe and depict the natural world around them, fostering both creativity and scientific understanding.

Comedy for a Cause Fundraiser

When: February 25 

Where: The Good Nite | 10721 Burbank Boulevard

What: The Comedy for a Cause Fundraiser at The Good Nite on Sunday, February 25, 2024, promises an evening filled with laughter for a charitable purpose. Starting at 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time, attendees will enjoy performances by top comedians in a casual and friendly setting, all in support of a noble cause. This event is designed to provide both entertainment and an opportunity to contribute positively to the community.

Fluffology Cooking Class: Intro to Your Dog’s Nutrition

When: February 25 

Where: 11128 Magnolia Blvd, North Hollywood

What: Attendees at the upcoming cooking class will be immersed in the fundamentals of canine nutrition, led by an expert nutritionist. They will explore how to craft delicious, nutritious meals specifically designed for dogs. The session includes hands-on guidance on dog nutrition principles and offers participants a sample recipe to try at home, ensuring their furry companions can enjoy healthy, homemade meals.

 

Conejo Valley Weekend Events | February 23 – February 25 

Ventura Marathon and Half Marathon

When: February 25, 6:30am – 10:45am

Where: Ventura

What: The 2024 Ventura Marathon and Half Marathon are planned for Sunday, February 25, 2024. The marathon and half marathon are point-to-point races, starting in Ojai and ending in downtown Ventura. The marathon starts at 6:30am.

MEDITATING WITH ANIMALS

When: February 25 

Where: Chesebro Road Agoura Hills

What: The event begins with a communal gathering, leading into a leisurely exploration of the ranch, offering attendees the chance to bond with Barnaby the piglet, alongside friendly goats, mini-donkeys, peacocks, and horses. The journey continues back to a Tipi for a session of meditation and sound healing, curated to deepen the relaxation and joy of the experience. This serene afternoon promises to be a nurturing escape into nature, leaving participants with lasting happiness.

Paint your own Serving Dish

When: February 24

Where: China Painting Studio | 22702 Burbank Boulevard

What: Elika’s Porcelain Painting Workshop offers a unique opportunity for participants to delve into the art of porcelain painting, creating their own beautifully painted plates and personalized gifts. This workshop not only teaches the techniques of painting on porcelain but also allows attendees to craft functional art, enhancing the personal touch in their living spaces.

LA’s Top Coffee Shops | LA Eats

Los Angeles’ coffee culture is as varied and captivating as its sprawling landscapes. With coffee shops dedicated to the craft of sourcing the finest beans, LA’s coffee scene is set to flourish indefinitely. Here’s a curated list of LA’s top coffee shops.

Bloom & Plume Coffee

Location: 1638 W Temple St, Los Angeles, CA 90026*
Bloom & Plume stands out in LA’s coffee scene with its vibrant exterior, inviting ambiance, and signature honey lavender lattes. Maurice Harris, a co-owner with a flair for art and floral design, brings his creative passions to life in this café located in Historic Filipinotown. The menu also features delightful options such as gluten-free vegan doughnuts and a savory bacon biscuit sandwich.

Tilt Coffee Bar

Location: 334 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90013
Specializing in coffee, Tilt Coffee Bar also boasts an impressive selection of matcha and teas. Nestled in the Medallion apartments, Tilt is a haven for coffee aficionados in search of exceptional service and a robust single-origin cold brew.

Patria Coffee Roasters

Location: 108 N Alameda St, Compton, CA 90221
Since its 2018 opening in Compton, Patria Coffee Roasters has become more than just a café, serving as a vibrant community hub. Here, patrons can enjoy top-quality beans sourced globally and roasted locally. The café’s LAUSD-style coffee cake is a nostalgic treat for locals.

Highly Likely

Location: 5526 North Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, California 90042*
Highly Likely brightens the day with its breakfast and lunch offerings, along with a comprehensive coffee menu curated by Emily Elmore of Dayglow, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy their coffee on the inviting patio, weather permitting.

Rose Park Roasters

Location: 3044 E 4th St, Long Beach, CA 90814
A gem within Long Beach, Rose Park Roasters is a community favorite when it comes to coffee shops. The Fourth Street café invites guests to relax by its expansive windows, enjoying house-made pastries, while the Pine Street location serves beer and wine.

Mandarin Coffee

Location: 380 S Lake Ave #111, Pasadena, CA 91101
Mandarin Coffee in Pasadena’s Burlington Arcade offers a glass-covered courtyard that complements its espresso and specialty drinks, like the sweetened coconut cream cappuccino. This Asian and woman-owned café provides a welcoming seating area for guests.

Café Santo

Location: 520 Whittier Blvd #D, Montebello, CA 90640
At Café Santo, located in the BLVD MRKT, the Oaxacan mocha reigns supreme. This Oaxacan-inspired coffee shop greets visitors at the food hall’s entrance, serving up delicious brioche French toast, breakfast sandwiches, and quiche.

Trung Nguyên Legend Café

Location: 9039 Bolsa Ave #101, Westminster, CA 92683
A visit to Trung Nguyên Legend Café in Little Saigon is well worth the trip for its legendary Vietnamese coffee. Opened in 2023, the café delights with robusta and arabica blends from Vietnam, served in a traditional phin or as espresso drinks, all presented on ornate wooden trays.

10 Speed Coffee

Location: 23504 Calabasas Rd, Calabasas, CA 91302
With locations throughout Southern California, 10 Speed Coffee is known for its strong brews and inviting atmosphere, especially cozy in its Calabasas location.

Laidrey

Location: 18600 Ventura Blvd, Tarzana, CA 91356
In the San Fernando Valley, Laidrey is cherished for its ethically sourced beans and the signature maple oat latte. Owner Gacia Tachejian ensures quality in every cup.

Cognoscenti Coffee Bar

Location: 6114 Washington Blvd., Culver City, CA
Since 2009, Cognoscenti Coffee in Culver City has been a modernist haven for coffee purists, offering straightforward, high-quality coffee drinks made by knowledgeable baristas.

Community Goods

Location: 710 N Edinburgh Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Community Goods is known for its consistent lines and exceptional coffee, such as the einspänner latte, a delightful mix of sweetened cream, cocoa, and espresso. Don’t miss the breakfast sliders.

Jurassic Magic

Location: 1865 S Mansfield Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90019*
Jurassic Magic offers a retreat from the digital world, encouraging in-person interaction with its unique Magic Latte, a concoction of condensed oat milk and a proprietary spice blend.

South LA Cafe at the Hollywood Bowl

Location: 2301 N Highland Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90068
South LA Cafe provides a premium coffee experience at the Hollywood Bowl, perfect for morning energizers or pre-concert refreshments. Additional locations are spread throughout the city.

Alchemist Coffee Project at the Pearl

Location: 687 S Hobart Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90005
Alchemist Coffee Project is a Koreatown favorite, serving coffee made from Onyx Coffee beans and notable breakfast sandwiches, with the convenience of free one-hour parking.

Obet & Del’s Coffee

Location: 5233 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027
Obet & Del’s, nestled in Thai Town, is a Black- and Filipino-owned shop where customers can enjoy Filipino iced coffee with ube oat milk and the signature Thai Town latte.

Memorylook Coffee

Location: 2881 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90006
Memorylook in Koreatown excels with its coffee, matcha lattes, and unique desserts. The café is a popular spot for those looking to work or relax, offering both indoor and outdoor seating.

Pam’s Coffy

Location: In front of the Vista Theater in Los Feliz, California
Film director Quentin Tarantino pays tribute to actress Pam Grier with Pam’s Coffy, serving custom beans by Jones Coffee Roasters. This café is a nod to the 1973 film Coffy.

This guide showcases the diverse and vibrant coffee culture of Los Angeles, highlighting coffee shops that offer unique brews, cozy atmospheres, and community spaces across the city.

SoCal Spring Superbloom Sites | Out & About

As spring takes hold, SoCal becomes a canvas painted with the vibrant colors of wildflower superblooms. These natural superbloom spectacles draw visitors from far and wide, eager to witness the desert and hillsides erupt in a riot of colors. In this guide, we’ll explore the best locations and optimal times to view these spectacular displays, focusing on renowned spots like the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve and the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.

Best Locations for Wildflower Super Blooms

Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

Located in Los Angeles County, the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve boasts rolling hills covered in the state flower, the California poppy. From late March to early May, the reserve transforms into a sea of orange and gold, offering breathtaking views and numerous trails for visitors to explore. Photography tips: Visit in the morning for soft light and less wind.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park

As California’s largest state park, Anza-Borrego Desert State Park presents a different but equally stunning superbloom spectacle. Here, the desert floor comes alive with a variety of wildflowers, including desert lilies, sand verbena, and ocotillo. The best time to visit is from late February to March, depending on rainfall patterns. Adventure tip: Check the park’s official website for bloom updates and guided tour information.

Tips for Enjoying the Superbloom

1. Visit Early in the Season: To catch the blooms at their peak, plan your visit for early in the season. Keep an eye on local bloom reports and social media for the latest updates.
2. Respect the Environment: While it’s tempting to venture close for the perfect photo, it’s crucial to stay on designated paths to protect the fragile ecosystems.
3. Weekday Visits: To avoid crowds, plan your visit on a weekday. Not only will you get better photos, but you’ll also enjoy a more serene experience.
4. Preparation is Key: Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and snacks. Many superbloom locations are in remote areas with limited amenities.

Other Noteworthy Locations

Carrizo Plain National Monument:

Known as California’s Serengeti, Carrizo Plain offers a stunning backdrop of wildflowers against the San Andreas Fault.

Joshua Tree National Park:

While not known for super blooms, Joshua Tree offers unique springtime blooms, including the Joshua tree’s own flowers.

Experiencing a wildflower superbloom in Southern California is a must-do for nature lovers and photographers alike. By visiting locations like the Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, you’re not just witnessing the beauty of spring; you’re becoming part of a timeless natural phenomenon. Remember to respect the natural environment and plan ahead to make the most of your super bloom adventure.

Adding Luxe to Your Home Theater Experience | Home Tips

There’s no better luxury than enjoying your favorite films in the comfort of a bespoke luxe home theater. A perfect blend of state-of-the-art technology, comfort, and style can turn a simple movie night into an extraordinary experience. Here’s how to create a cozy yet luxurious home theater experience in your own abode.

Selecting the Right Space

The first step in creating your luxe home theater is selecting the right space. Ideally, it should be a room where you can control the lighting and sound easily—a basement, a spare room, or a sectioned-off area in a large living space can work beautifully. Soundproofing the room is essential to prevent external noise disturbance and to keep the cinematic sound contained within the room.

Investing in High-Quality Audio and Visual Equipment

The heart of your luxe home theater is the audio and visual equipment. Invest in a high-quality projector or a large OLED screen for the best picture quality. When it comes to sound, a surround sound system with a subwoofer will create an immersive audio experience. Consider adding acoustic panels to enhance sound quality further.

Comfortable and Stylish Luxe Seating

Seating is key in a home theater. Opt for luxury reclining seats with plush upholstery to provide the utmost comfort. Arrange the seating in a way that every spot has an unobstructed view of the screen. For an added touch of luxury, look for seats with built-in amenities like cup holders, charging stations, and even heated seats.

Creating the Luxe Right Atmosphere

Lighting plays a significant role in creating the right atmosphere. Install dimmable LED lights to adjust the brightness according to your needs. You might also add floor lighting along the aisles for a true luxe cinema feel. Decorate the room with luxurious, thick curtains to control external light and to add to the theater aesthetic.

Adding Personal luxe Touches

Personalize your home theater with touches that reflect your style and interests. This could include framed movie posters of your favorite films, a classic popcorn machine, or a stylish bar area stocked with your favorite refreshments. 

Temperature Control for Year-Round Comfort

Ensure that your home theater is comfortable year-round. A well-regulated HVAC system or portable heaters and fans can keep the room at a comfortable temperature, no matter the season.

Smart Home Integration

Lastly, integrate your luxe home theater with your home’s smart system. This allows you to control lighting and sound, and even start your movie with the touch of a button or a voice command.

In conclusion, creating a cozy yet luxurious home theater is all about balancing top-notch technology with personalized comfort and style. It’s a space where you can unwind, entertain, and enjoy the magic of the movies right from the comfort of your home. This February, treat yourself and your loved ones to an unparalleled cinematic experience at home.

 

Economic Update | Week Ending February 17, 2024

Weekly Economic Update

Key economic news this week – This week we saw bond yields and mortgage rates increase on reports that indicate the inflation level is not dropping as quickly as economists had hoped. On Tuesday the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures consumer prices, was released. That report showed that consumer prices rose 3.1% from one year ago. Experts had projected a 2.9% increase. Stocks fell and bond and mortgage rates rose after the announcement. On Wednesday it was reported that retail sales dropped 0.8% month-over-month in January. While it’s expected for retail sales to drop in January from December due to holiday sales, experts had expected just a 0.3% decline. Slowing sales are good news for inflation as consumer spending is such a large part of the economy. Stock prices, bond yields, and mortgage rates settled a little from Tuesday’s rise. On Thursday the Producer Price Index (PPI) for January was released. Producer prices, which measure wholesale prices, increased 0.3% month-over-month, its largest increase since last August, and well above the 0.1% increase economists expected. Higher costs to producers are passed to consumers. Stock prices fell and bond and mortgage rates increased because of the PPI report. The Fed is looking for data showing that inflation is continuing to decline. Their goal is to get to a 2% annual inflation level. Investors were very optimistic in December and January that the Fed would soon begin to drop their key interest rates from their 23-year high levels. in February the government reported that almost double the number of new jobs expected were created, inflation rose more than hoped, and company profits indicate that the economy may be heating up. Experts who felt there would be a rate drop in March now feel that there is almost no chance of that and any rate reduction by the Fed will be months away.

Stock markets – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the week at 38,627.99, down 0.1% from 38,671.69 last week. It is up 2.6% year-to-date. The S&P 500 closed the week at 5,005.57, down 0.4% from 5,026.61 last week. The S&P is up 4.9% year-to-date. The Nasdaq closed the week at 15,775.65, down 1.3% from 15,990.66 last week. It is up 5.1% year-to-date.

U.S. Treasury bond yields – The 10-year treasury bond closed the week yielding 4.30%, up from 4.17% last week. The 30-year treasury bond yield ended the week at 4.45%, up from 4.37% last week. We watch bond yields because mortgage rates follow bond yields.

Mortgage rates – Every Thursday Freddie Mac publishes interest rates based on a survey of mortgage lenders throughout the week. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as of February 15, 2024, were as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.77%, up from 6.64% last week. The 15-year fixed was 6.12%, up from 5.90% last week.

The graph below shows the trajectory of mortgage rates over the past year.

Freddie Mac was chartered by Congress in 1970 to keep money flowing to mortgage lenders in support of homeownership and rental housing. Their mandate is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S.

Lower mortgage rates in January credited to an increase in home sales – The California Association of Realtors reported that existing-home sales totaled 256,160 in January, up 14.4% from 224,000 closed sales in December, and up 5.9% from a revised 241,920 homes sold on an annualized basis last January. There was a 3.2-month supply of homes on the market in January, up from a 2.5-month supply of homes in December, and down from a 3.5-month supply one year ago. The statewide median price paid for a home in January was $788,940, up 5% from a revised median price of $751,700 last January.

The graph below shows home sales figures by county in Southern California.

Have a great weekend!

Mortgage Rate Update | February 15, 2024

Mortgage rates – Every Thursday Freddie Mac publishes interest rates based on a survey of mortgage lenders throughout the week. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Survey reported that mortgage rates for the most popular loan products as of February 15, 2024, were as follows: The 30-year fixed mortgage rate was 6.77%, up from 6.64% last week. The 15-year fixed was 6.12%, up from 5.90% last week.

The graph below shows the trajectory of mortgage rates over the past year.

Freddie Mac was chartered by Congress in 1970 to keep money flowing to mortgage lenders in support of homeownership and rental housing. Their mandate is to provide liquidity, stability, and affordability to the U.S.

From SpaceX’s Moon Launch to YouTube Shorts and More! | Tech News

Keep up-to-date with the latest in technology and media with our weekly digest. Covering everything from SpaceX’s lunar mission to the latest on YouTube Shorts and beyond, we’ve got all the essential news for you. Dive into our roundup below for the newest updates from across the digital sphere.

ChatGPT to Gain ‘Memory’ Capabilities for Personalized Interactions

OpenAI is enhancing ChatGPT with a new “memory” feature to make interactions more personalized and less repetitive. This feature enables ChatGPT to remember details about users, such as preferences and past conversations, either through direct instruction or by picking up information over time. Each version of GPT will have its own memory, allowing for tailored recommendations across various applications, like book suggestions, educational courses, and fitness tracking. While OpenAI emphasizes user control over ChatGPT’s memory, including options to manage or delete stored information, the introduction of memory raises privacy concerns. Initially available to a limited number of users, this test phase represents a significant step towards creating more intelligent and personalized AI interactions, despite potential privacy challenges.

 

Chrysler Halcyon Concept Showcases the Brand’s Potential Beyond Minivans

Approaching its centennial, Chrysler, predominantly recognized for its Pacifica minivans, is making a statement about its future with the introduction of the Halcyon concept car. This electric, high-tech roadster with autonomous capabilities marks a significant departure from the company’s minivan image, showcasing Chrysler’s ambitions to pioneer in advanced technology and electric vehicles. Although not slated for production, the Halcyon concept serves as a showcase for Chrysler’s future direction, emphasizing the use of sustainable materials, advanced AI, augmented reality, and vehicle connectivity. It demonstrates the potential of Stellantis’ STLA Large platform and a commitment to only sell electric vehicles by 2028, illustrating Chrysler’s innovative approach to mobility with a focus on sustainability and user-centric technologies.

 

YouTube Shorts Introduces Music Video Remixing Feature Amid UMG’s Silence on TikTok

YouTube Shorts has launched a feature allowing creators to add and remix music videos in their app. Likewise, for YouTube this leverages artists like Beyoncé and Maggie Rogers’ music videos, amidst TikTok’s ongoing licensing dispute with Universal Music Group (UMG). This move comes as TikTok faces the loss of music from major artists due to its failure to renew a licensing agreement with UMG, accusing the platform of undervaluing music. Of course, the introduction of the remix feature on Youtube Shorts capitalizes on its access to UMG’s music library and offers an advantage by enabling unique creative possibilities with music videos that TikTok does not. This enhancement not only enriches the content creation experience on YouTube Shorts but also positions it competitively against TikTok in the short-form video space.

 

Gemini 1.5: Google’s Upcoming AI Model Nears Completion

Just two months after introducing Gemini, Google’s ambitious large language model aimed at leading the AI industry, the company has announced its successor, Gemini 1.5. Available to developers and enterprise users, with a consumer launch on the horizon, Gemini 1.5 represents a significant upgrade, matching the performance of the more advanced Gemini Ultra and outperforming Gemini 1.0 in the majority of benchmark tests. This feature, emphasized by CEO Sundar Pichai, surpasses the capabilities of current models significantly, marking a leap in AI’s ability to manage extensive information. While initially available for business and developer use, Gemini 1.5 is part of Google’s broader strategy to dominate the AI landscape, amidst competition with firms like OpenAI, highlighting the rapid evolution and significance of underlying technology in AI tools.

 

TikTok Launches Dedicated App for Vision Pro

TikTok has unveiled a native app for Apple’s Vision Pro headset. Likewise, this enhances the user experience with a layout familiar to its mobile app users. In addition, it provides adjustments to leverage the headset’s larger display. This includes a vertical video player and interactive buttons. Of course, this also includes comments and creator profiles displayed on a separate pane to avoid obstructing the video. The app, redesigned for the Vision Pro, offers the option to view videos against the backdrop of the real world. Additionally, users can view virtual settings, such as the Moon’s surface. This development highlights the levels of support from major platforms for Vision Pro, like Disney. YouTube, however, has indicated plans for a Vision Pro app, signaling potential future support.

 

SpaceX Achieves Milestone with Odysseus Launch Aimed at U.S. Lunar Return

SpaceX’s recent launch of the Nova-C lunar lander “Odysseus,” marks a significant step towards the United States’ ambition to return to the Moon. Of course, this would be the first time since Apollo 17 in 1972 that a moon landing has happened. Launched from Cape Canaveral by a Falcon 9 rocket, Odysseus is on a trajectory to the Moon’s south pole. The current landing date targets a February 22nd landing in a scientifically valuable region known for water ice. This mission, if successful, would reestablish the U.S. presence on the lunar surface. In addition, it would signify the first private spacecraft to achieve a lunar landing. The endeavor carries multiple payloads, including scientific instruments for NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services program. Also, it includes unique projects like the “EagleCam” CubeSat and Jeff Koons’ art installation. 

Weekend Events | February 16 – 18

With President’s Day underway, there is plenty of fun to be had this holiday weekend. From Lunar New Year celebrations to film festivals and more, there is endless fun. Check out what’s happening February 16 – February 18.

Los Angeles Weekend Events | February 16 – February 18 

Black History Month Prosperity Market

When: February 17 

Where: USC/Exposition Park

What: Gather treasures from the farmers’ market, strike a pose in a photo booth, and enjoy the sounds of a DJ at the Black History Month market. This event, set in the Natural History Museum’s nature gardens, celebrates Black farmers and entrepreneurs.

Golden Dragon Parade & Chinese New Year Festival

When: February 17 

Where: Chinatown

What: Participate in one of Los Angeles’ most enduring customs by attending the 125th annual Chinese New Year parade and festival in Chinatown. Celebrating the Year of the Dragon, the highlight of the event is the annual Golden Dragon Parade, which embarks on its journey from Hill and Ord Streets and ends at Broadway and Cesar Chavez, on Saturday, February 17, from 1 to 3:30 pm. Alongside the parade, a complimentary festival takes place in the Central Plaza.

John Williams Spotlight

When: February 2 through May 19, 2024

Where: DTLA

What: In the ongoing multi-year tribute to John Williams by the LA Phil, attendees can experience “A Century of Film” from February 2 to 4. This event, conducted by David Newman, will feature a selection of pieces from several of Williams’ scores, including Indiana Jones and Close Encounters, alongside music from Batman, The Godfather, Back to the Future, Lawrence of Arabia, and other iconic films.

Westside and Beach Communities Weekend Events | February 16 – February 18

Cali Vibes

When: February 16 – February 18 

Where: West LA

What: The essence of California vibes at this Long Beach festival is unmistakably weed-centric. This perception is drawn from the event’s 2024 lineup, which boasts an impressive array of artists including Gwen Stefani, Stick Figure, Slightly Stoopid, Rebelution, Damian and Stephen Marley, Sublime with Rome, Ice Cube, Iration, Wiz Khalifa, the Roots, Shaggy, and Sean Paul, along with many others.

Lunar New Year Celebration at Disney California Adventure

When: Until February 18

Where: Anaheim

What: Celebrate the Lunar New Year at “the happiest place on earth” – Disney California Adventure. Embracing the Year of the Dragon, the park is hosting a month-long multicultural festival. Children will enjoy photo opportunities and parade processions featuring Mulan, Mushu, Mickey, and Minnie Mouse. Meanwhile, adults can indulge in a delightful culinary experience with flavors from China, Korea, and Vietnam.

Lunar New Year at Santa Monica Place

When: February 17 

Where: Rolling Hills / RanchoPalos Verdes

What: Santa Monica Place celebrates the Lunar New Year featuring Chinese lion dance shows, red envelope specials, and cherry blossom wishing trees. Leading up to the festivities on February 17, you have the opportunity to join a holiday-themed cooking class at the Gourmandise School on February 10 at 6 pm, priced at $125.

San Fernando Valley Weekend Events | February 16 – February 18 

2024 Newhallywood Silent Film Festival – “Bustour” Keaton

When: February 17 

Where: City of Santa Clarita: Newhall Community Center

What: Embark on an exhilarating silent film site tour that includes stops at Buster Keaton Studios, Chaplin Studios, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, and Hollywood Heritage Museum. The “Bustour” Keaton is priced at $60 per person, which also covers the cost of lunch.

Valentine’s Day Murder Mystery

When: February 17 

Where: Burbank

What: Los Angeles, get ready for a speakeasy party like no other! Drink cocktails this Valentine’s weekend while solving a murder mystery in an authentic Los Angeles Speakeasy. Part escape room, part performance, part party, this immersive show will have you partying like Gatsby while finding the clues to whodunnit.

PAUL BECKER’S DANCE MASTERCLASS in LA!

When: February 18 

Where: 16781 Stagg Street Hangar C3 & C4 | Van Nuys

What: On Sunday, Feb 18, 2024, join globally renowned choreographer, Paul Becker for an extraordinary dance event for all ages to pro. You’ve seen Paul’s creative choreography on HBO’s “The Last of Us”, Disney’s “Descendants”, “Prom Pact”, “Ralph Breaks the Internet”, “The Kissing Booth Franchise”, “Twilight”, “The Muppets”, and in over 300 more sensational productions. He is currently wrapped choreographing Disney’s “Tron” reboot. He is starting up a new musical series “Torch” this spring, followed by an upcoming Disney movie musical directed by Kenny Ortega. Subsequently, he will be directing and choreographing the film “Dream Again.” Taking place at West Coast Dance Theater, this event will most likely be Paul’s only class in Los Angeles for 2024.

Conejo Valley Weekend Events | February 16 – February 18 

Sombrero Half Marathon, 5K and 10K in Simi Valley

When: February 18, 7am – 11am

Where: 1765 Royal Ave, Simi Valley, CA 93065

What: The 7th Annual Sombrero Half Marathon, 5K and 10K is planned for Sunday, February 18, 2024, on the Arroyo Simi bike path. Mostly flat course and post-race tacos for all runners. The Half Marathon starts at 7am and 5K/10K soon thereafter.

Welcome Walk at Malibu Creek State Park

When: February 18, 10am – 1pm

Where: Malibu Creek State Park | Calabasas, CA 91302

What: Join a Malibu Creek docent for an easy 2 1/2-hour nature walk along the creek and under the oaks.  Docents talk about the animals and plants found in the mountains as well as the park’s unique history, including its movie-making past. Families are welcome.

Presidents’ Day Celebration Hosted By Reagan Library

When: February 19, 10am – 3pm

Where: Ronald Reagan Presidential Library | Simi Valley

What: Celebrate our Founding Fathers during the Reagan Library’s 31st Annual Presidents’ Day Celebration. This celebration includes fun for the whole family, including crafts, musical entertainment, storytelling, and presidential and first lady look-alikes. Take advantage of the spectacular performance by the Doo-Wah Riders and Los Angeles Police Concert Band. Presidents’ Day activities are free to the public. Regular Museum admission rates apply to view the Ronald Reagan Presidential Museum and the spectacular Air Force One Pavilion.