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Master of The Masters

We always enjoy viewing fascinating oddities, and this one is no exception. Australian photographer Bill Gekas staged his five-year-old daughter in the manner of the Dutch masters, replicating through his camera lens some of the more famous Renaissance, Dutch, Flemish and Italian paintings. Each portrait truly is a, well… masterful work of art.

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Tweet of the week

“In a stunning rebuke to Putin Obama has ordered an emergency series of fundraisers to attend next week.” – Tweeted by Liars Never Win @liars_never_win

In keeping with that meme, Twitterer Chris Collison tweeted about a protester who, seated at a piano in Independence Square on February 19th, played the Beatles’ popular song “Yesterday” as central Kyiv burned. Collison videotaped the poignant performance, interspersed it with news footage, and uploaded it to YouTube.

He wrote, “It was a really great little street concert. There were also some Ukrainian folk songs. A few people stopped to sing. I added some video I’ve taken over the past few months that I had saved here at the office. This week has been the bloodiest anyone here can remember. Truly terrible.”

Here’s a video of original Beatle Paul McCartney performing the song live in Kiev in a different “yesterday” in 2008.

Wunderkind tickles ivories and onlookers too

A young boy’s recent piano performance in a retail store was a show… er, shop(?) stopper. Captured on video, the impromptu performance has attracted more than 330,000 views since it was uploaded last week. This kid’s going places!

Grant them eternal life

Is there life after death? There is if you’re living on Facebook.

When a close friend on mine died, I wanted to be sure his Facebook page and Blog remained intact. Luckily I knew his passwords and was able to update both with his obituary, and occasionally log on to show some activity. Evidently, I’m not the only one tending to a loved one’s online legacy. “Bereavement through social media is a relatively new phenomenon and one that most social networks struggle with on an ongoing basis,” About.com explained.

Facebook community operations staffers Chris Price and Alex DiScalafani, in a recent blog post announced a new policy for Facebook memorial accounts.

Facebook has created a form to request “memorialization” of a person’s account and Timeline, which will “lock” the account and preserve what’s already online.

Last year, Google implemented a broader plan for letting people designate what happens to their Google accounts when they die, which includes specifying a digital heir of sorts, someone who can manage their accounts. Google calls the designated person an Inactive Account Manager.

LifeStory.com creates online profiles for people after they die and allows their loved ones to collectively share remembrances.

Eterni.me is a social media memorial app that is launching in 2014. It allows people to create a special avatar of themselves that can “chat” with their loved ones upon their death.

IfIDie is a Facebook app that is designed to handle your Facebook account after you are gone.

Dead Social lets people create messages to be sent after they die.

Facebook’s 10th Anniversary Look Back video feature of deceased loved ones are now available. Video requests can be made here.

Communication is vital

Zello? According to DefenseOne, this is the app that’s fueling the uprising in Venezuela. The Walkie-talkie app is the favorite app of protest organizers in Venezuela and in Ukraine.

“Over the past few days in Venezuela, the protests ballooned following rapidly rising food prices, controversy over President Nicolas Maduro’s economic policies, public dissatisfaction over crime and multiple other factors.

The government-owned Internet service provider, CANTV, which hosts 90 percent of Venezuela’s Internet traffic, was blocking the app as well as access to Zello’s website. Downloads were dropping off considerably.

“Despite the efforts of the Maduro government, protests in Venezuela are continuing and so are downloads of Zello, one fueling the other. It’s a cycle that’s reminiscent of the very early days of the Arab Spring in 2010 and 2011, in which students and other protestors used social networks like Twitter and Facebook to help organize, promote and communicate through protests, eventually forcing the ouster of nondemocratic governments in places like Tunisia and Egypt.”

Related: Here’s a video that was uploaded to YouTube out of Venezuela that reveals a female soldier straddling a woman protester in the street and bashing her head and face with an army-issue helmet.

“Of all human rights violations that have happened these days, this may be the best documented of them all. Just a few hours after the photos were posted online the aggressor was – allegedly – identified, and pictures from her Facebook profile started to pop up all over the web. In the end, you start to wonder, who is watching whom.”

Bookmark these alternatives to text messaging: What’sApp and Telegram. Or begin using them now.

The Crowdpilot app lets others listen in to each other’s conversations, especially helpful in situations like thrones in Ukraine and Venezuela.

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Crowdpilot brings “a group of your friends or strangers along to listen in and assist you in any situation,” the app’s description states. “Whenever you need help, turn on Crowdpilot to stream your conversation to the web where the anonymous crowd – optionally supported by a team of your Facebook friends – will tune in, follow along and assist you. Or become a crowdpilot yourself, and watch and direct others!”

Crowdpilot lets any user bring a third party into a conversation without alerting the person on the other end of the line.

Upon launching Crowdpilot, users are given a choice of people to get in-call “advice” from, including Facebook friends, total strangers, or “experts” for $0.99.

Lenten season marked by new website

This week Christians around the world will observe Lent, a 40-day period of fast and atonement which begins on Ash Wednesday. Author Kevin Rush has developed a website titled Making Lent Meaningful, which is devoted to the tradition of self-sacrifice that which prepares us for Christ’s Resurrection on Easter Sunday, through which we attain redemption.

The site is designed to allow Christians of all faiths to share ideas and support in preparation for Easter. Fridays will be dedicated to raising awareness of the persecution of Christians worldwide. And beginning on Ash Wednesday, Rush will post a chapter a day of his novel, “The Lance and the Veil, a coming-of-age adventure in the time of Christ,” along with a short reflection.

Guests are invited to blog about their thoughts for the holy season.

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