A 29-year-old YouTube star’s sudden death is sparking an outpouring of grief and frustration among his fans and colleagues

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Desmond

  • The New York Police Department confirmed on Tuesday that YouTube star Desmond "Etika" Amofah was found dead. He was 29 years old.
  • Amofah was reported missing last Wednesday. Prior to disappearing, he uploaded a YouTube video, since removed, stating suicidal intentions.
  • Across the last year, Amofah demonstrated increasingly erratic behavior. Much of that behavior was on public display due to his work on YouTube.
  • In the wake of his tragic death, fans and colleagues are sharing an outpouring of grief and caution.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

YouTube star Desmond "Etika" Amofah was found dead, the New York Police Department confirmed on Tuesday. He was 29 years old.

Amofah rose to prominence in the YouTube world through video games, and he counted prominent figures like Dominique "SonicFox" McLean among his colleagues. 

In the wake of Amofah’s death, his fans and colleagues are mourning. 

Desmond

"Rest well Etika," McLean said. "This is such a heartbreaking thing to see. People don’t understand how important mental health is, especially when you reach that level of popularity. It’s insanely hard to feel treated like a human being at that level, and I wish he had got the help he needed."

Amofah was reported missing last Wednesday following the release of a video he made where he spoke about suicidal thoughts. The video has since been removed.

Across the past year, Amofah was involved in a handful of high-profile incidents: His YouTube channel was banned for streaming pornographic content, and he streamed himself being detained by the Brooklyn Police after threatening self-harm.

His death is sparking conversation about social media voyeurism when mental health issues are involved:

And it’s also calling into question the responsibility of the platform to its creators:

But, most of all, there’s an outpouring of grief over the needless death of a young man:

SEE ALSO: NYPD confirms missing 29-year-old YouTuber Desmond Amofah, better known as Etika, has been found dead

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This guy shot a modern car race with a 1968 Super 8 camera and it looks awesome

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This guy shot a modern car race with a 1968 Super 8 camera and it looks awesome

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I don’t know about you, but I always find it fascinating to see current events shot on old cameras. Whether it’s stills or motion, it’s an interesting insight into how differently it sees the world differently compared to the cameras of today. And on April 20th, 2019, Nick Shirrell saw the world differently when he shot a car race through the viewfinder of a Canon 1218 Super 8 camera from 1968.

The footage includes some fantastic shots, and the old commentary really sells this as an older film. If you weren’t watching closely, you might be forgiven for thinking this was shot longer than just a couple of months ago. Nick writes that it was shot with Kodak 50D and 200T film, and it does make for a pretty cool final look.

The Canon 1218 Auto Zoom was produced from April 1968 until some time in 1974. It featured a 7.5-90mm f/1.8 lens for a 12x zoom. It could shoot at 18 or 24 frames per second and had a street price of £382 when it was introduced to the UK. It weighs around 2kg and is operated by five AA batteries, plus a couple of PX625/PX13 mercury-based batteries for the light meter.

About the camera, Canon writes

More and more families were enjoying TV around this time. This required lenses for TV cameras to have higher zooming ratios for more powerful zooming and close-up effects. Canon also developed high-zoom TV lenses and started development of a 12x zoom lens to introduce the attractiveness of high magnification zooming to the home movie world. Automatic design using a computer reached the level for actual design work around this time, and Canon used it for the first time for development of this lens. This new technology could achieve a compact and comparatively affordable 12x f/1.8 zoom lens with 19 elements in 13 groups for 8mm movie cameras. A “multi-layer coating” was applied for the first time on an 8mm movie lens, and it could supply high-contrast images.

Although the event is recent, the old tech definitely makes you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.

Of course, if you want to have a go at this yourself and don’t want to splash out the ~$350-400 this camera fetches on eBay today, not to mention the cost of acquiring and developing the film, then you can always have try faking an older look in post.

[via Jalopnik]

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Drone Racing League is raising $50 million

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The enterprise drone space has been heating up over the past couple years, but a startup in the entertainment drone space is raising the big cash now.

The Drone Racing League is in the process of raising up to $50 million from investors in a Series C round according to SEC docs published today. The startup has already raised over $26 million of that figure and is looking to secure additional investors to close out the rest. Investors in the new round appear to already include Lux Capital and RSE Ventures.

We reached out to Drone Racing League for comment.

The company had previously raised $32 million in funding from backers including Sky, CRCM Ventures and Hearst Ventures. Drone Racing League closed a $20 million Series B in 2017.

The startup, as the name implies, is in the business of speedy drone racing. It was founded in 2015 with the goal of capitalizing on some of the excitement around the technology, while aiming to build out a league that captured the thrill of airborne Formula-1 racing.

We did a deep dive on the company’s efforts back in 2016 and the surrounding drone racing enthusiast space. The athletes fly custom-built hardware at 90 miles per hour in tourneys that take place at sites ranging from empty warehouses to professional sports arenas. Races have been broadcast on NBC Sports, Twitter, Sky Sports and FOX Sports Asia according to the startup.

 

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NASA just witnessed its biggest methane gas emission on Mars

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NASA has confirmed that the Curiosity rover recently detected the "largest amount of methane ever measured during the mission." The levels were enough to pause the rover’s activities as scientists sought more answers: Methane is a gas typically produced by life as we know it, after all, and it could be a sign of life on the planet. Curiosity’s methane reading came to 21 parts per billion units by volume, which is thrice the amount it sniffed out during a surge in 2013.

During a follow-up test over the weekend, though, scientists found that the methane levels around the rover already dropped sharply. Curiosity detected normal methane levels (1 part per billion by volume) following the sudden elevation, suggesting that the abnormally high values came from transient methane plumes. So, what does that mean? Well, Paul Mahaffy, the principal investigator for Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars instrument, said during a townhall event: "A plume came and a plume went."

Curiosity unfortunately doesn’t have the instruments to determine whether the source of methane is biological or geological. Further, scientists have yet to figure out a pattern for Martian’s transient plumes. In other words, they’re still nowhere close to unraveling the planet’s methane mystery. They need to gather more information through Curiosity and from other missions to gain a deeper understanding of the plumes. When they finally understand where the plumes are coming from, maybe then they can figure out whether the presence of methane on the red planet truly is a sign of life.

Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity project scientist at NASA’s JPL, said:

"The methane mystery continues. We’re more motivated than ever to keep measuring and put our brains together to figure out how methane behaves in the Martian atmosphere."

Source: NASA

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Ableton teaches synthesizer basics from the comfort of a browser

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From creating grungy music with drone motors to perfecting DIY digital setups and recreating 60-year-old music machines, there are plenty of cool things you can do with synthesizers. But synths can be hard to understand, and if you’re unfamiliar with them, you might feel a little left out. Ableton wants to change that. The company’s new Learning Synths interactive website offers step-by-step synthesizer lessons, followed by a "playground," where you can put your new skills to the test.

Learning Synths is free and works on any browser. You can start with the basics, or if you already have an understanding of amplitude and pitch, you can jump right into sound design. The lessons are presented in a very Ableton-way, with monochrome geometric shapes that users can manipulate to produce different sounds. Don’t be fooled by the simple interface, though. While the lessons are straightforward, they contain plenty of substance, and you can play around with envelopes, oscillators, filters and more.

A couple years ago, Ableton introduced a similar tool, Learning Music, meant to teach users the basics of music production. That also included mini-lessons, on things like beats and notes, and it featured deconstructed real-world songs like "All the Single Ladies" to experiment with. Like Learning Music, Learning Synths is simple and easy to follow, and there’s a good chance you’ll walk away with fresh (or at least refreshed) synth insights. Maybe you’ll even put them to the test on other Ableton products.

Source: Ableton

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Millennials don’t want to get drunk. What do they want? Apéritifs.

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Gen Z doesn’t want to get drunk. Millennials are tired of the obligatory after-work drinks.

Haus, a new startup selling apéritifs online, has a solution for them. The company’s beverages have a lower alcohol content than standard hard liquors on the market, which means you can drink one, even a few, without getting wasted. Made from distilled grapes, fresh herbs and botanicals, its natural ingredients and A-plus branding are sure to appeal to the younger demographic.

Launching today with pre-seed backing from venture capital funds Combine, Haystack and Partners Resolute, customers can begin ordering Haus’ citrus & flower-flavored debut apéritif (15% ABV), priced at $70 apiece. The goal, co-founder Helena Price Hambrecht explains, is to be the first fully direct-to-consumer player in an industry dominated by digitally-novice incumbent alcohol brands and distributors.

Haus enters the market at an opportune time. VCs — more than ever — are funneling cash to innovative beverage projects. This year, Bev, a canned wine business, raised $7 million in seed funding from Founders Fund. Liquid Death, which sells canned water for the punk rock crowd, attracted nearly $2 million in funding from angel investors like Away co-founder Jen Rubio and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. And More Labs, the company readying the launch of Liquid Focus, is backed with $8 million in VC funding, among others.

Haus is run by co-founders and husband-and-wife duo Helena Price Hambrecht and Woody Hambrecht. The former has established herself in Silicon Valley, developing the brands of consumer-facing companies including the likes of Airbnb, Dropbox, Facebook, Fitbit and Instagram. Woody Hambrecht, for his part, has been a bona fide “booze guy” since a young age, making wine and managing 67 acres of wine grapes at the pair’s Sonoma County, Calif. ranch, where Haus is also headquartered.

Haus co-founders and husband-and-wife duo Helena Price Hambrecht (right) and Woody Hambrecht.

We joke that it must have taken a Silicon Valley type to marry a wine & spirits guy because no one has done this before, it’s crazy,” Price Hambrecht tells TechCrunch. “I can make something that gets a shit load of users and press in my sleep and I married this wine & spirits guy who understands the compliance, fulfillment, legal and finance elements. The amount we can do together is insane.”

By “this,” she means launch a direct-to-consumer apéritif brand. It’s generally illegal to sell spirits online D2C aside from a small subset of liquors with lesser alcohol contents. Knowing this loophole, many restaurants across the U.S. have begun making cocktails using only this subset of liquors (thus avoiding the steep fees required to obtain a liquor license) but Price Hambrecht says no one has thought to create an online store for apéritifs for fear of going up against the old guard of the alcoholic beverage market.

Because Haus handles every part of the process, including a patent-pending production model, the old guard isn’t an issue, nor is scaling. Currently, Haus is making and bottling the beverages in a 3,000 square foot warehouse just North of the couple’s farm, with plans to purchase another 2,800 square foot warehouse as orders increase. Unlike wine or whiskey, which must age years before going to market, it only takes hours to make apéritifs, simplifying one of the more complex features of the wine & spirits business.

Later this year, Haus plans to raise additional seed capital to launch a subscription product in 2020, begin constructing brick-and-mortar apéritif shops for the millennial and Gen Z cohort and release a second and thid product line. Ultimately, Haus wants not only to disrupt the liquor business but provide alternative beverages to young people looking for better options.

“I was going through my own dilemma of drinking,” Price Hambrecht said. “If you’re a person that is career-focused, you’re possibly drinking 4-plus nights per week. I love how it brings people together; it’s a foundation of society, but you’ve got all these downsides. I never want to be drunk, I never want to be hungover.”

“It’s a cultural problem that we are solving.”

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This Cheat Sheet Will Help You Learn Manual Photography Better

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Another day, another photography cheat sheet. There’s a lot of them out there, especially for those who want to break away from the auto mode and take full control of their camera settings. But we can never stress enough how important it is to learn how to shoot in manual mode to maximize your creative potential. However, with this cheat sheet from Skylum, you won’t have to dive blindly into manual photography.

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These 100% plant-based shoes can be composted

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Taking the term carbon ‘footprint’ rather too literally, the guys at Native want to reduce impact on the earth brought about by production of their shoes. Shoes often contain large bits of leather, rubber, and plastic, all of which have a pretty high carbon impact and introduce a whole slew of chemicals to the earth when they’re inevitably thrown away after a few years of wearing. Not the Plant Shoe by Native Shoes. Made entirely out of plant-based materials, from the upper body, to the insole, outsole, even the laces, the Plant Shoe is 100% completely biodegradable, and can in-fact be turned into compost, to help plants grow better!

The Plant Shoe doesn’t use new materials, but rather introduces old materials into a new, one-of-a-kind product. Each part of the shoe is plant-based, using materials like jute, pineapple husk, kenaf, linen, treated with natural oils like olive oil for suppleness and comfort. Tricky bits of the shoe’s design involved finding a workaround for the sole, which Native managed to solve by partnering with France-based Reltex to create a sole that comprises a eucalyptus-pulp insole, kenaf (hemp) and corn cushioning, and a sap-based tread that gives the shoes its grip. Binding all the shoe’s parts together formed the next challenge, as most shoe companies rely on toxic, non-biodegradable petrochemical-based glues to hold the sneaker’s parts together. Native’s solution involved stitching all the parts together using entirely plant based threads that are strong enough for sneaker construction.

The result is a classic, class-apart shoe that breaks boundaries with its choice of materials, as well as establishes a strong seasonless, genderless and adaptable style that’s made for everyone. The Plant Shoe eventually does wear out, says Mike Belgue, like all shoes. But unlike most footwear that end up being tossed in the trash (and finding their way to landfills) after their life is over, the Plant Shoe can be placed in a compost bin, where bacteria can break the shoe down in as few as 45 days, reducing the shoe to a nutrient-rich compost that can nourish the earth instead of polluting it!

Designer: Mike Belgue (Native Shoes

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