Fluoride discovery could lead to much longer-lasting EV batteries

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Purdue

Researchers have announced a new battery breakthrough that focuses on the negative. Rather than using lithium, the most electro-positive element on the periodic table, they used flouride, the most electro-negative. It can store more energy than its lithium doppelgänger, but until now, batteries needed to run hot at 150 degrees Celcius or more. Honda, Caltech and NASA scientists discovered a way to make it work at room temperature, which could eventually yield more energy dense and environmentally safe batteries for EVs and other devices.

Fluoride-ion batteries essentially work in the opposite direction of lithium-ion cells, attracting electrons instead of shedding them. Flouride (the ionized version of fluorine) is an interesting battery material because it has a low atomic weight and very high capacity to store electrons. However, to do that, you have to dissolve the fluoride ions into an electrolyte, and researchers have found that it only works with solid electrolytes heated to high temperatures.

To get around that, the Honda/NASA/Caltech team created a liquid electrolyte called BTFE that allows fluoride to dissolve at room temperature. With two positively-charged regions, it exploits the “opposites attract” principal, reacting strongly to negatively-charged fluoride.

The interaction between your kick and bassline is also crucial. Mixing them well is that much more challenging if the kick and bass occupy exactly the same space.

Keep the frequency spectrum in mind as you choose your kick samples and start thinking about your mix before it even starts.

4. Expect to layer

In many cases you won’t be able to get the perfect kick for your track with just a single kick sample.

Don’t be afraid to enhance your original sample with other sounds. Layering samples is a powerful technique.

If you find yourself using radical EQ curves just to get more of a certain sonic quality into your kick, try layering another sample that has the character you’re looking for to get it.

In this example I’ve layered several kick samples together in an Ableton Live Drum Rack.

I like the attack of the first kick but it doesn’t have quite the low end I need. It’s also a bit dry for the track. To fix it I’ve layered a beefier sub bass kick with the just ambience from another kick sample.

With all three together, I’m getting exactly what I want for the kick drum on this track.

Chances are layering will sound more transparent than invasive EQ.

Here’s some other sounds to consider layering with your kicks:

  • A cracking snare to add some initial attack
  • A clap to add some initial smack to your kick
  • An 808 style sine wave bass to give your kicks a nice booming tail

5. Tune first

Before you make a decision on the right kick sample make sure you’ve taken the time to tune it for your song.

If the fundamental frequency of the kick is at odds with the rest of your song, you’ll have trouble knowing whether it really works.

If the fundamental frequency of the kick is at odds with the rest of your song, you’ll have trouble knowing whether it really works.

Use your sampler plugin’s transpose function to make sure your kick sample is in tune.

You don’t have to hard-tune the kick’s fundamental to the song’s tonic, but try to explore options that enhance their harmonic relationship.

Listening in context of the rest of your mix is really important here—tweak until it sounds right!

6. Level match




As always when comparing two audio files, make sure you match the levels before you decide.

Small differences in level have a surprisingly strong effect on how we perceive the strengths of one sound over another.

You don’t want to accidentally miss the right kick just because a slightly louder one sounded more lively when you auditioned it.

Watch your meters carefully as you level match so you can be sure you’re making a fair comparison between 2 kick samples.

7. Don’t be afraid to start over

Don’t keep struggling with a sample that’s not quite right just because you’ve already spent an hour on it.

Don’t keep struggling with a sample that’s not quite right just because you’ve already spent an hour on it.

It’s easy to rationalize your choices when when you’ve gotten attached to them over time. But sometimes the only way to move forward is to go back to the beginning.

Starting from scratch can actually give you a fresh perspective on the whole song. So even if it hurts, try not to get too dedicated to a kick that’s just not working.

Hot Tip: Instead of starting with just one kick sample, set aside a small batch of 5-10 that might work. This way, you’ll have a better backup plan if your first option isn’t working.

Sick Kicks

“Get it right at the source” is a common phrase in mixing for a good reason. If you don’t have the right raw materials, no amount of fancy mixing techniques will give you the results you want.

That’s why it’s important to choose the right kick sample as you build your tracks. It doesn’t have to be difficult if you keep the these tips in mind.

Now that you know how to choose a great kick, get back to your samples folder and find the perfect kick!

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Here’s what happens to your brain when you get blackout drunk

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Saturday, 12 pm. The light burns. Your head throbs. And you have no recollection of how you got back home. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. More than half of college students experience blackouts, according to several studies. And let’s be clear. Blacking out doesn’t mean passing out. You were probably awake and aware the entire night. So then, where did all those memories go?

Let’s rewind to Friday night. Normally, whenever you have an experience — like a conversation — a part of your brain called the prefrontal lobe stores that information in short-term memory. Then, another part of your brain called the hippocampus weaves those experiences together so they can be stored away as long-term memories. So the next day you remember "the party" as a whole instead of "smell of sweat," "house music," "Jen was there."

But here’s the key part: storing these episodes in long-term memory requires special neurotransmitters. But your liquor shots prevent the neurotransmitters from working properly. So, instead of remembering the party, all you have is an incomplete or even empty file.

And the amount of alcohol in your system at the time influences how much you remember. Let’s say you’re a 73 kg adult man. And you’ve done eight shots in one hour. Your blood alcohol content is probably around 0.2% by this point — more than twice the legal limit for driving a car. And your brain may still be able to store some memories. So you end up with "islands" of memories separated by missing sections. That’s called a fragmentary blackout, aka a "greyout" or "brownout". But if you keep pounding those shots, it gets worse. Within the next half hour, you pound back another four shots. Now your blood alcohol content hits around 0.3%, and your hippocampus goes dark. And full amnesia sets in. This is called an en bloc blackout. And once you wake up, that entire night could be blank. Push your BAC much higher than that and…you might die.

And yet…your friends might not even realize you’re in the middle of a blackout, since the alcohol didn’t "delete" your long-term memories already safe in storage before the night began. So you can still carry on conversations and behave more or less like a typical person. To an extent. Blackouts aside, alcohol can still interfere with other regions of your brain including those responsible for reasoning and decision-making.

So during blackouts, people have crashed cars gotten into fights and committed — or been the victims of — sexual assaults. They just might not remember it.

That being said, not everyone gets blackouts. Your sex, body weight, and family history all play a roll. So that could explain why your friends recall the entire night despite downing just as much tequila. But it won’t save them from a wicked hangover the next morning.

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The Snapdragon 855 is a 7nm CPU primed for 5G, AI and more

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As we hurtle towards 2019, Qualcomm has been busy introducing the world to its latest products that are likely to drive next year’s biggest trends. At the first keynote of its three-day Tech Summit in Hawaii yesterday, the company already previewed some of the features of its next premium mobile processor — the Snapdragon 855. Today, we’re getting a deeper dive into the nitty gritty details of the new chipset.

Gallery: Snapdragon 855 press pictures | 8 Photos

To be clear, there are a lot of highlights here. This is the first mobile processor to support multi-gigabit 5G, and is one of the first chips built on 7-nanometer architecture. The Snapdragon 855 also features (among other things) advances in AI processing and graphics prowess — let’s take a closer look.

Wireless connectivity

For all of Qualcomm’s talk abut 5G, the 855 is fascinating because it mainly relies on a new, built-in X24 LTE modem, not the Snapdragon X50 5G modem we’ve heard so much about lately. The X50 enables millimeter wave (mmWave) support for transfers over recently opened mmWave frequency bands, which can provide up to 20 times faster average performance than what you’d get on today’s phones and networks. The thing is, device makers will ultimately decide whether or not they want to offer hardware with 5G-enabled 855 chipsets — just buying an 855-powered phone doesn’t mean you’ll get access to those crazy data speeds.

Regardless of your 5G situation, you still might see some important data speed improvements. The Snapdragon 855 will also support WiFi 6 (also known as 802.11ax), which promises to bring about increased throughput and faster speeds. Qualcomm’s using features like 8×8 sounding to serve more devices more efficiently, and promises up to two times improvement over 4×4 sounding. The new CPU will also support mmWave WiFi via Qualcomm’s 60 GHz platform, an industry-first 802.11ay-based offering that can boost speeds up to 10 Gbps.

Wireless earbuds also get an upgrade, thanks to improved support for Qualcomm’s TrueWireless Stereo Plus technology that’s supposed to optimize for low latency between left and right earbuds and improve energy efficiency for longer battery life.

Performance and AI

With every new processor comes faster speeds and better performance, and the Snapdragon 855 promises these improvements as well. Specifically, the Kryo 485 CPU is supposed to be 45 percent faster than the Snapdragon 845, while the new Adreno 640 GPU will provide up to 20 percent faster graphics.

Qualcomm also continued to work on its AI-processing prowess, and the Snapdragon 855 comes with the company’s 4th generation multi-core AI engine. It’s supposed to be capable of more than 7 trillion operations per second and offer three times the AI performance over the 845.

Perhaps more important is the new Hexagon 690 processor on the chipset, which includes a tensor accelerator and four vector extensions to double the vector processing prowess. Qualcomm has been talking up the value of machine learning applications being used in tandem with 5G connections, but we’re looking forward to seeing how the company’s improved AI hardware stacks up to the competition. The GPU also has 50 percent more arithmetic logic units, while the Kryo CPU received new instructions to speed up AI processing. All told, AI tasks like facial recognition or context-based suggestions should be much faster on the Snapdragon 855.

Photography and video

We’re a world obsessed with cameras and the Snapdragon 855 will provide some photography updates that could improve next year’s phones. The chipset features a new Spectra 380 image signal processor (ISP), which integrates hardware-accelerated computer vision to speed up tasks like object recognition. Qualcomm says this is the world’s first announced computer vision ISP and that it should provide up to 4 times power savings.

The Spectra 380 supports hardware-based depth-sensing to enable video recording, object classification and segmentation in real time at 4K HDR at 60 fps. What that means is the Snapdragon 855 is powerful enough to distinguish between people and a scene’s background and even apply filters or green screen-like effects to your video in real time. This will all happen in the viewfinder as you’re recording your video. That’s a lot of data to process at once in real time, but the Snapdragon 855 is up for the task (according to Qualcomm anyway).

The Spectra 380 will also support video recording using the popular HDR10+ standard to capture more than 1 billion shades of color. To better store all this data, the Snapdragon 855 also features hardware acceleration for the HEIF file format encoding, making files 50 percent smaller. Oh, and beyond all that, the Snapdragon 855 supports capture images from multiple cameras at the same time.

Gaming and entertainment

In addition to helping next year’s flagships capture high-quality content, the Snapdragon 855 will also have the chops to show it all off. With the new chipset, Qualcomm is introducing the Snapdragon Elite Gaming experience, which will support gaming in “true HDR” and offer physically based rendering to recreate textures in games by drawing from readily available templates. Mobile games have already gotten almost startingly close to console game quality — well, graphically, anyway — and physically based rendering should make that gap even smaller.

You can also expect HDR10+ playback on Snapdragon 855 devices, which Qualcomm notes is a commercial first on mobile. Beyond that, we’re also looking at improved H.265 and VP9 decoding (thanks to some handy hardware acceleration) — the specs themselves might not mean a whole lot to you, but long story short, your new 855-powered phone should let you watch videos for longer on a single charge. And the sheer horsepower available here means we’ll start to see volumetric virtual reality (VR) immersive video experiences running at 120fps and at resolutions up to 8K. We’ve hit a point where the VR industry lacks the sort of buzz it generated just a few years ago, but throwing more power at the situation definitely can’t hurt.

Wrap-up

On paper at least, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chipset seems like a potent mix of clever architecture and sheer computing power, two things that have become all too important as we demand more from our phones. The thing is, Qualcomm has always talked a big game — thankfully, we won’t need to wait too long until we get to see if the company can actually deliver the goods.

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Almost half of millennials say they’d rather give up sex than quit Amazon for a year, according to a new survey (AMZN)

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amazon ceo jeff bezos

  • 44% of millennials would rather give up sex than quit Amazon for a year, according to a new survey. 
  • More than three in four millennials would choose Amazon over alcohol.
  • While Amazon has faced backlash in recent months, the e-commerce giant was still named America’s most loved brand in Morning Consult’s annual report this week. 

Sex, booze, or Amazon? For some millennials, the choice is easy: online shopping. 

44% of millennials said they would rather give up sex than quit Amazon for a year, according to a new survey from Max Borges Agency. And, 77% of those surveyed would choose Amazon over alcohol for a year. 

Max Borges Agency polled 1,108 people from the ages of 18 to 34 who had bought consumer-tech products on Amazon in the last year.

Millennials prioritizing Amazon over sex and alcohol is just one sign of the e-commerce giant’s dominance. 

Amazon was named America’s most loved brand for the second year in a row in Morning Consult’s annual report, released Wednesday. And, earlier in December, the company briefly became the world’s most valuable public company, reaching a market capitalization of $865 billion — ahead of Apple’s $864.8 billion valuation.

Read more: Amazon briefly becomes the world’s most valuable publicly traded company

The e-commerce giant has dealt with backlash in recent months. Thousands of Amazon workers across Europe went on strike on Black Friday, to protest what they called "inhumane conditions" in warehouses. In October, the company announced it would raise the minimum wage for all of its workers to $15 an hour, after being slammed by politicians such as Sen. Bernie Sanders. 

Amazon has also been criticized for its approach to its second headquarters project. In November, the company announced it would split HQ2 between Queens, New York, and the newly formed National Landing area of Arlington, Virginia. In the weeks since, Amazon has been criticized for splitting its headquarters and the potential negative impacts on the local communities where it will develop those offices.

Read more: New Yorkers are storming one of Amazon’s stores in protest of HQ2. Here are all the reasons why people are furious.

The company has said that it will enrich cities where it opens offices and that workers’ wages were comparable to other retailers even before the wage hike.

Ultimately, while the backlash has made headlines, it clearly has not impacted many shoppers’ obsession with Amazon — which some people seem to crave to a greater degree than sex or booze. 

SEE ALSO: The most recent round of Amazon criticisms reveals how the company has taken Walmart’s spot as a symbol for everything wrong with American big business

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How Ocean Spray harvests 220 billion cranberries a year

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This amazing and surreal short film was shot entirely using practical effects

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Forever is the short film creation of German filmmaker Nicolas Arnold. He was commissioned in July 2018 to create a “Motion Response” for Australia’s upcoming Pause Fest 2019 tackling them theme “The Future is Intimate”. Four months later he’d completed the absolute eye candy you see above.

Already a very impressive film, I was blown away when I saw just how much of this was created in-camera and that it isn’t just some CG special effects reel. Nicolas posted a behind the scenes video showing some of his design and practical effects processes and it’s just as amazing as the film itself.

Nicolas told DIYP that given the theme of “The Future is Intimate”, he chose to visually translate one of his favourite quotes; Emily Dickinson’s “Forever – is composed of nows“. The sound design is all analogue, and all of the effects are practical with the exception of a little kinetic type for the titles.

For some of the effects, Nicolas used a laptop placed and a mirror to create some very unique lighting and reflections on spheres placed within the scene. But to keep those spheres perfectly aligned and not rolling around all over the place, the mirror has to be set perfectly level.

This also means that the laptop and camera also have to be perfectly aligned with each other, as well the mirror, in order to produce flawless reflections and refractions in the final shot.

Nicolas also used a technique which seems to be quite a common theme across his work, and that is the interaction of various liquids. And watching the process reel above, you can see just how much work went into the whole production.

It’s amazing to think just how much planning and work went into the creation of this film in such a short space of time. And when you watch the final result, it’s incredibly impressive. Nicolas was also asked to create a number of posters and other media for promotional material, which were made from assets created during the production of the film.

I’ve seen tablets, laptops and TVs used as backgrounds for images and video before, but this really takes things to the next level. And the liquids have such a surreal and alien quality to them.

You can see Nicolas’ full write up on this project over on his website. And if you want to see more of his work, be sure to follow him on Instagram and Behance.

Images used with permission.

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Mercedes’ GLE sports impressive suspension technology

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Engadget

Starting an auto launch event with a dancing car is… odd. Apparently, the new 2020 Mercedes GLE is a slave to the rhythm. But the tech behind the groovin’ GLE revealed in front of a San Antonio hotel has real-world uses that don’t involve entertainment.

Gallery: 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE review | 16 Photos

Engadget Score

Poor

Uninspiring

Good

Excellent

Key

Pros
  • E-Active Body Control suspension is more impressive when taken seriously
  • MBUX is still the best infotainment system on the market
  • 4Matic handling is great for a car this size
Cons
  • HUD can be overwhelming
  • We’re going to be overloaded with videos of GLEs dancing
  • Route-Based Speed Adaptation is still too cautious around corners

Summary

A refreshed luxury SUV that’s had all the technology thrown at it and it comes out the other side looking and driving great. The new MBUX continues to impress and the E-Active Body Control suspension, while weird at first should get a lot of people out of sandpits, but also let them show off their car’s dance moves.

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The new Mercedes GLE (starting at $53,700) looks like any other SUV refresh, but under its attractive new design is a vehicle crammed with features that include the new MBUX infotainment system and the impressive E-Active Body Control suspension that makes cornering… weird but better. Oh and that “dancing,” it’ll actually help you get out of a sand pit.