Kelly Slater is the greatest competitive surfer in history. He’s probably the greatest overall surfer ever but you could argue there were some other legendary wavemen who didn’t compete. So let’s just leave it at ‘Kelly’s the greatest competitive surfer ever’ for now.
He’s been named World Surf League Champion a record 11 times but the 46-year-old from the East Coast of Florida is getting old(er) and experiencing injuries while focusing on his infamous wave pool. He injured his right foot last year and told WSL’s Jake Howard back in September “Every time I surf it’s just a little more time I need off, so I think I’m going to buckle down these next couple months.”
It looks like Kelly Slater’s back in world-class form based on this clip below. He gets barreled, then knocked off his board. At this point, Kelly later said he thought he was bodyboarding his way out of the wave but against all odds, he’d actually landed on his board and was able to pop back up and ride again after wiping out. One of the most improbable things you’ll ever see in surfing.
I’ve got the clip here from Instagram and YouTube. The YouTube clip actually shows all the waves Kelly Slater and Felipe Toledo rode in their Round Three, Heat 12 matchup of the 2018 Billabong Pipe Masters.
I set the YouTube clip to start around the 3:50 mark when Kelly rode that wave but you can watch the full supercut of the waves ridden that’s only around 6 total minutes of footage if you want.
Here’s the Twitter version for anyone out there who prefers that. You can throw in a RT or follow me at @casspa below:
Kelly last won the Pipe Masters in Hawaii in 2016. It’s the event that he’s won multiple times. It’s also the WSL’s premier competition. All eyes in the surfing world are on the North Shore when the Pipe Masters/Pipe Pro is running. Kelly Slater won his Round 3 Heat 15.60 to 6.77 and advanced. He’ll face Brazil’s Jesse Mendes and Joan Duru of France in the 4th Round.
The next call for the Billabong Pipe Masters is this morning (Hawaiian time) with the event expected to run as the North Shore is getting hit with favorable conditions at the moment. To stream the event live (for free) and for full results, you can check out the WSL’s website.
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A recently discovered piece of malware has a unique way of communicating with its creator—through an internet meme posted on Twitter.
The mysterious hacker has been using the “What if I told you” meme to secretly tell a Windows-based strain of malware when to grab screenshots from infected PCs, according to security firm Trend Micro.
Although the internet meme look like an ordinary digital image, a simple command is hidden in the file’s metadata, Trend Micro VP Mark Nunnikhoven says. The malware, on other hand, has been designed to look up the hacker’s Twitter account and scan image files for the secret commands.
“The messages used for this malware are very small (typically one word) meaning that they can be hidden between the metadata and actual pixel layout without changing the image itself,” Nunnikhoven said in an email.
The hacker appears to have only posted two malicious memes — on Oct. 25 and 26 — with the command “/print,” which will order infected Windows PCs to take a screenshot. Other hidden commands the hacker could’ve sent through the memes include “/clip” to capture clipboard copied content, and “/processos” to retrieve a list of running processes over the PC.
The practice of concealing messaging in nontext files such as images or video is called steganography, and it’s become an effective way for hackers to sneak malicious code onto people’s computers or send hidden commands over the open web.
“Most networking monitoring programs won’t notice anything odd about access to Twitter.com,” Nunnikhoven added. “A site that’s based around a timeline like Twitter also allows the attacker to sequence commands for the malware. This can be an effective way of building a solid command and control channel.”
The good news is that Twitter has disabled the hacker’s account on its platform. But it isn’t clear how the mysterious attacker was circulating the malware, a Trojanized .exe file.
In response to Trend Micro’s findings, Twitter told PCMag: “Keeping people safe and secure on Twitter is our top priority. If content on Twitter is used for malicious purposes, we take action and remove it. Twitter plays no part in the distribution of the malware involved in this campaign.”
However, the company didn’t address questions over what Twitter can do to stop similar meme-based malware schemes in the future. Meanwhile, others have shown you can cram a whole lot of data, include ZIP archives, inside an image on Twitter, raising the possibility that hackers could employ the same tactic again.
NVIDIA’s plan to power autonomous robots has kicked off in earnest. The company has released a Jetson AGX Xavier Module that gives robots and other intelligent machines the processing oomph they need for their AI ‘brains.’ You’re not about to buy one yourself — it costs $1,099 each in batches of 1,000 units. However, it could be important for delivery robots and other automatons that need a lot of specialized performance with relatively little power use.
The Jetson Xavier system-on-chip at the heart of the module relies on no less than six processors to get its work done. There’s a relatively conventional eight-core ARM chip, but you’ll also find a Volta-based GPU, two NVDLA deep learning chips and dedicated image, video and vision components. This is while it uses “as little as” 10W of power. All told, it can juggle many AI-oriented tasks at once (30 trillion computing operations per second, to be exact) in a relatively compact space.
NVIDIA already as a number of customers lined up, including Chinese shopping giant JD.com (delivery bots), Yamaha (drones) and Nanopore (DNA sequencing). Although it’s far from certain that this module will make NVIDIA a staple of the robotics scene, it at least signals that the company is serious about sticking around.
Audio mixing is the process of taking recorded tracks and blending them together. Tracks are blended using various processes such as EQ, Compression and Reverb. Essentially, mixing is making all your different tracks sit well with each other. If you’re new to mixing, this is what to start with. The bare-bones essentials.
Balance Your Levels
Use your channel faders to get a basic balance of all your tracks before you start processing them.
It’s never too early to start thinking about headroom. You’ve probably noticed the level at the master fader increase as you add tracks to your session.
If things get too loud and you’ll start to have issues. Keep an eye on your meters—and never let your individual tracks or master bus exceed -6 dBFS.
Headroom is an important subject for audio engineers. Learn how to get it right and make your mix better with our headroom guide.
A bus or Aux return track is a tool for routing audio inside your DAW’s mixer.
Send the output of multiple tracks to a bus to apply the same processing to them. Or use a track’s Aux send to create a parallel signal path.
Buses are incredibly useful. Organizing your sessions with a bus for each element will help you keep track of your mix and make top-level adjustments on the fly.
Now for the fun part. Most of your mix process can be broken down into three tasks: EQ, Compression and Ambience. Mixing can get complicated, but these three things make up 90% of your process. Practice them and everything else will follow.
Equalizing is the art of boosting, cutting and balancing the frequencies of your tracks so that everything works in the mix.
Our ears can detect a huge range of frequencies—roughly 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Each element of your mix has energy in different parts of that range. Keep this in mind while you’re mixing.
For example, if two instruments in your mix have a lot of energy at the same frequencies, it’s going to be hard to hear each one distinctly on your recording. That’s the effect of masking.
You need to carve out space in your mix so that your sounds don’t overlap. That’s where filters come in.
You might be surprised how much of the sound in your raw tracks doesn’t contribute meaningfully to your mix—especially in the tricky low bass and midrange areas.
Use low-pass (high-cut) filters to make sure nothing is competing with your foundation sounds (like kick and bass) for control of the low end.
Smartelectronix Ambience was one of the first quality free reverb plugins on the scene. And it’s still a great option for dreamy, ambient reverbs.
Mix referencing is the process of comparing your nearly finished mix to previous mixes you’ve made, other versions of your mix in the same project or commercial recordings to determine the quality of your mix.
Using reference tracks is the best way to make sure that your mix translates and holds its own against commercial recordings.
Your LANDR mastered tracks make this step easy.
A rough version of your track mastered with LANDR will be much closer to the level of a commercial recording right off the bat.
Panning is the placement of your tracks in the stereo field. The pan dial in your DAW’s mixer changes the position of the sound by varying the amount of signal sent to the left and right speakers.
Panning is what makes your mix wide and immersive. It’s a big part of how you give each element of your mix it’s own space. But that doesn’t mean you can neglect the middle. A good mix has a solid core with foundational instruments like kick and bass panned dead center.
A good rule of thumb is to keep an equal amount of elements on each side. Try to see your mix in pairs and balance one element with another.
Layering is exactly what it sounds like—laying multiple tracks on top of each other to compliment their different qualities.
To get starting with layering, try stacking some kick samples together to highlight different parts of your kick sound.
For example, the “click” from one sample might be particularly effective paired with the fat low end of another. You’ll have to be pay attention to each sample’s EQ and make sure you’re carving out enough space in the mix.
Fixing a muddy mix comes down to EQing. Remember the masking effect we talked about?
Muddiness happens when there are too many sounds overlapping in the low-midrange. This area is especially difficult to EQ because so many instruments have harmonic content here.
You’ll have to experiment with carving different pieces out of different mix elements. Use your ears and experiment, it’s the best way to get better at mixing.
Start your mix!
Now you have the basic know-how to start mixing
As with any skill, the best thing you can do to develop it is Practice, Practice, Practice. Make sure to LANDR your mix early and often to see where you’re at.
What do you get the amateur athlete who already bought the fancy shoes, had their gait analyzed and owns a too-tight triathlon onesie? Genetic testing, of course. It’s in this field that weekend warriors are now looking for ways to shave seconds from their times. Peeping at your genes can only tell you so much, which is why companies like DNAFit are expanding.
Snapshot is DNAFit’s second product, a blood testing kit that examines your liver function and inflammation, as well as your vitamin, iron and lipid levels. The at-home kit enables you to fill a small vial with blood, and once you’ve sent it back, you’ll wait just three days for the results. As well as the numbers, you’ll receive a series of helpful notes from a doctor to explain them.
Inside the Snapshot box you’ll find everything you need to take a blood sample from the comfort of your home. That includes a test tube, blood lancets to break the skin, alcohol wipes and plasters for your fingertips. Immerse your hand in warm water for two minutes, and then stab a digit or two, letting the resulting blood drip into the vial.
Only the ultra-squeamish need to worry about the quantity of blood being removed from your body. If you’ve ever had a finger-prick blood sugar test, then you’ll already know the score, albeit this deals with larger quantities. Snapshot requires 400 microliters, or around 10 drops of blood for a test, and if you’re ham-handed, your kitchen table will look like a crime scene by the end.
DNAFit already has my genetic information on file from when I tried the service in 2016. Back then, my DNA told me I had a high predisposition toward cancer, and my body didn’t produce certain antioxidants to fight it. It meant that I had to radically reduce the number of bacon sandwiches I ate, and vastly increased my consumption of green vegetables.
Since then, I’ve tried to eat one portion of cruciferous vegetables a day, including a fistful of spinach with my lunchtime salad. I also cut my bread intake (I’m at high risk of coeliac disease) and take Omega-3 supplements. The report also said that I had a skewed fitness profile, and I should concentrate on endurance exercise (rowing, cycling) over high-intensity training.
DNAFit’s Sebastian Corpe, Snapshot’s Product Head, offered to guide me through my results. That was paired with commentary from Dr. Senthil Sundaram, Professor at Wayne State University and CMO of Prenetics. To my surprise (and delight), the vast majority of the tests came back normal for someone of my age, gender and ethnicity.
What was concerning were my cholesterol levels, how well my liver was functioning and how much Vitamin D was in my system. My overall cholesterol level is 5.15 mmol/L, just over the recommended limit of 5 mmol/L. More specifically, my LDL cholesterol levels are too high, as is my triglyceride to HDL ratio, which is “raised.” Clearly, I need to be doing more for my heart — a fact highlighted during the writing of this article, when my mum had a small stroke of her own.
“ALT is an enzyme that enables a chemical reaction to take place in the liver,” wrote Dr. Sundaram. “When these cells are damaged or die, due to liver disease, the ALT leaks into the blood.” It’s a worrying indicator of liver damage, which could be caused by hepatitis, cirrhosis, cancer, hemochromatosis, mononucleosis or pancreatitis.
This result is concerning, if only because I’m not a big drinker, in fact since my son was born, I’ve probably had one drink in five months. I don’t believe that I’ve got hepatitis, which makes me worried that I’ve got something more serious lurking inside me. And I’ve booked an appointment with my doctor to hopefully find out more.
The final red flag was my old enemy, Vitamin D, which was well below the lower level of 50 nmol/L, at 31.7 nmol/L. Corpe did, at least, try to cheer me up by saying that Vitamin D’s half-life is so long that I’ll need to take supplements for years before I’ll see an increase. Not to mention spend more time — ugh — exposed to sunlight.
I’m still not entirely sold on the wholesale benefits of this sort of private medical testing for health and fitness. Most of the remedial advice is the same you’ll have been told from the moment you left the womb. Get more exercise, eat food that is better for you, in smaller quantities, don’t drink as much, get lots of sleep, et cetera.
But, the fact that these tests are available for a relatively small fee may help those who want to take control of their health. And if you’re a weekend warrior looking for a fresh marginal gain, it helps to identify where exactly you need to direct your attention. I’m grateful that DNAFit also offers a plain PDF of your results for easy sharing with a doctor.
Corpe said that he expects around a third of DNAFit’s existing customers to try Snapshot, but you don’t need to. If you fancy the idea of getting your blood work in isolation, you can do so even if you haven’t laid down cash for the other test. And, if you want to lean into this, the company will let you take the test once every three months to track your progress.
During my call with Corpe, the conversation inevitably turned toward Theranos, which has muddied the water for all blood-testing startups. “What we can do is fall back on evidence,” Corpe explained, adding that DNAFit will only offer tests with a high level of scientific validity. He said the company works closely with doctors to ensure that only valid advice is offered to users.
Corpe also said that Theranos’ plan to use a single blood drop from the finger was always going to be a risk. He explained that “there’s a drop-to-drop variation” in capillary samples that’s only cancelled out in aggregate, “which is why you need volume.” According to Corpe, Snapshot’s 400 microliters is a small sample, but more than enough for what’s being tested.
Already available in the UK, Snapshot costs £64 (around $80 including sales tax), and it’s hoped that a US-based lab that can do the same tests will be found in the near future. And that’s not the only thing that we can expect to hear more on at some point next year, since DNAFit is looking at opening up its APIs. That will have the potential benefit of letting fitness trackers add genetic guidance to smartwatches.
Further down the line, there’s a plan to develop meal kits that will help folks eat right according to their genes.
As for me, I think that the end of the year is a good time to take a moment to plan for my future. I’m pleased that the bulk of my results are normal and that I’m not as terribly unhealthy as I had initially feared. But a trip to the doctor to examine my ALT levels is coming, and I will probably need to resolve to do better in 2019. Perhaps Snapshot will inspire more people to do the same.
Robin Thicke exploded into the mainstream with his 2013 hit Blurred Lines, a song that will forever be remembered for its music video gifting us Emily Ratajkowski.
The song, which was produced by Pharrell Williams, peaked at number one in at least 25 countries, became one of the best-selling singles of all time, and was nominated for two Grammys.
All was well and good until the family of Marvin Gaye and Bridgeport Music alleged that the song infringed copyrights to Gaye’s 1977 single “Got to Give It Up.” Thicke had been laying claim to being the main writing source of the mega-hit, until the lawsuit, and then backed up and said Pharrell wrote (or stole as Gaye’s family is claiming) the song by himself.
“To be honest, that’s the only part where — I was high on vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio. So my recollection is when we made the song, I thought I wanted — I — I wanted to be more involved than I actually was by the time, nine months later, it became a huge hit and I wanted credit. So I started kind of convincing myself that I was a little more part of it than I was and I — because I didn’t want him — I wanted some credit for this big hit. But the reality is, is that Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song.”
Thicke says he was just “lucky enough to be in the room” when Williams wrote the song.”
Williams and Thicke were sued by Gaye’s estate for copyright infringement and ordered to pay $7 million in 2015. But, on Monday, U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstad lessened that figure to $4.98 million, Page Six reports. Gaye’s family will also receive 50 percent of Blurred Lines royalties in the future.
Williams’ rep called the ruling “extremely disappointing,” and a “horrible precedent for music and creativity.”
“Pharrell created ‘Blurred Lines’ from his heart, mind and soul and the song was not taken from anyone or anywhere else,” Williams’ rep said. “We are reviewing the decision, considering our options and you will hear more from us soon about this matter.”
Robin Thicke’s house burned to the ground in last month’s California wildfire, so to cough up more cash can’t be a high priority.
Here is a video that features both songs and their glaring similarities.
A lot of people will tell you how advanced and powerful Russia is. Russia is the largest country in the world at 6,601,670 total miles, has a population of 144.5 million (2017), and a 2017 GDP of $1.53 trillion. But the economies of three much smaller U.S. states wipe the floor of Russia. California has a population of 39.5 million and produced $2.75 trillion of economic output in 2017. Texas had a GDP of $1.7 trillion in 2017 and New York state came in third in the U.S. with $1.55 trillion. Not to mention that Russia’s economy is based on dying industries such as oil and natural gas. Russia is ranked 154th in life expectancy at 71-years-old. If all of those statistics weren’t enough, Russia can’t even build a dancing robot — arguably the best qualifier to determine the most advanced nations on the planet.
Russia state television boasted their state-of-the-art talking and dancing robot with superior AI. The high-tech robot named “Robot Boris” was featured at a robotics expo dedicated to science-loving youth and promoted on Russia-24 television. One itsy-bitsy problem — the robot was just a dude in a robot costume. This is a nasty example of appropriating robot culture and it needs to stop now.
This is the worst RoboCop reboot yet. “Robot Boris has already learned to dance and he’s not that bad,” the host of the TV show boasted. However, viewers noticed that Boris had no external sensors, didn’t move like a robot, had varying types of inconsistent movements during the dance, and the voice was pre-recorded. Oh, and what’s up with a human neck inside the robot suit?
The Boris Robot was actually a $3,700 robot costume named “Alyosha the Robot” made by a company called Show Robots. Talk about fake it til you make it. The great news for this guy is that when the robot revolution goes down he’ll be safe and sound in his robot skins. Russian state-run TV have since taken down the embarrassing video off of their YouTube account.
Russia catch up already, America has had the technology to put humans inside robots since at least 2004 with the A.W.E.S.O.M.-O 4000.
A killer Cub from K-Speed, a Mash 400 flat tracker from XTR Pepo, a CB500 from Budapest, and a moto-themed balance bike from South Africa. Small ones are more juicy this week.
Yamaha XS650 by Greg Hageman Just over a year ago, Yamaha handed Greg Hageman a brand new XSR700 to customize, as part of their Faster Sons program. For inspiration, Greg turned to a build he’d recently completed: this ultra-clean Yamaha XS650 restomod. And now some lucky soul’s just snatched it up, for the bargain price of $13,556 on eBay.
The project originally started out as a near-mint 1972 XS650. Greg sent the motor off to MikesXS, who rebuilt it and upgraded it with Mikuni VM34 carbs, a Pamco electronic ignition and a XSCharge permanent magnet alternator with a Lithium-ion battery. (That motor had only done 80 miles when the virtual hammer fell on Ebay.)
This XS is also sporting a Yamaha R6 front end, a custom aluminum swing arm from MotoLanna, and a pair of Hagon shocks. The rest is a subtle blend of original, custom and off-the-shelf parts.
Sure, this is ‘Bikes of the Week,’ and Greg built the XS over a year ago. But it’s just popped up on our radar again, thanks to its sale—so we’re giving it a free pass. Also, just look at it… [More]
Honda Super Cub by K-Speed Ever since Honda relaunched the iconic—nay, beloved—Super Cub, Thailand’s K-Speed have been doing wonderful things with it. And this latest offering is even more badass than the last—a trick we didn’t think was possible.
This time, K-Speed collaborated with Storm Aeropart, who built new plastics for the Cub. Put this guy side-by-side with a stock Super Cub, and you’ll quickly spot a redesigned front section, trimmed rear end, and a pair of drilled side panels.
Nifty upgrades are hidden everywhere; we’re spotting new foot pegs, rear shocks, a custom saddle and carbon wheel covers. K-Speed reworked the cockpit too, with new risers, bars, grips and switches, and a really neat speedo placement.
Between the broody paint job, the oversized 17” wheels and the bubble Firestone rubber, this beefy scoot is almost unrecognizable as a Super Cub. If K-Speed ever offer this as a kit, we might have to go see our local Honda dealer.
Honda CB500 by Mokka Cycles Older Honda CBs are a staple of the custom scene, but later models don’t quite hold the same classic appeal. That’s not a problem for Budapest’s Mokka Cycles. They thoroughly reworked this 1994 CB500, with astounding results.
The key to this CB’s success is that perfectly sculpted fuel tank, hand-built by Mokka founder, Arpi Bozi. It’s a perfect fit for the Honda’s ugly frame, with a cutout that makes space for a special one-into-two intake. There’s a redesigned subframe out back, perched on YSS shocks, and capped with an Alcantara-clad saddle.
The stainless steel exhaust system is Arpi’s work too, as is the custom headlight surround. Take a peek at the top of it, and you’ll notice a custom arrangement featuring the ignition, LED warning lights and a couple of switches.
There’s also a custom radiator guard and license plate holder, Mokka switches and Oury grips. And if you’re wondering where the wiring and battery are, they’re hiding under the seat. Add that all up, and you’ve got one of the cleanest—and simplest—Honda CBs around. [More]
Mash Five Hundred by XTR Pepo Pepo Rosell over at XTR Pepo knows how to turn desirable European machines into even more desirable European customs. But he’s also talented enough to turn mundane bikes into absolute bangers.
This here is a Mash Five Hundred (go ahead and Google it). It’s not bad looking in stock form, and costs less than $5,000 new—but its 400 cc motor only pushes out 28 hp. Somehow, Pepo’s turned it into a flat track beast that we’re losing sleep over.
He’s built a new subframe, and a cantilevered swing arm hooked up to a Yamaha SR500 rear hub and a Betor shock. The forks are from a Yamaha XJ600 Diversion, and the rims are Derbi Supermotard units.
The Mash might not make tons of power, but Pepo’s helped it along a little. He’s installed a quick throttle, a DNA race filter and a Supermario two-into-one exhaust system. The bodywork consists of a modified Ducati 160 Sport fuel tank, and an XTR Pepo tail section and number boards.
From the sounds of things, this little ripper’s actually going to take to the track. We’re just sorry we’re not the ones piloting it. [More]
Lawless Bikes I’m used to seeing cool motorcycles parked outside The House of Machines in Cape Town. But this week, I found one hanging between the apparel at the back of the store; a toddler’s café racer balance bike, built by Lawless Bikes.
Lawless is the passion project of Johann de Wet, a business intelligence consultant who lives in Paarl, South Africa (roughly 60 km from Cape Town’s city center). Johann first fell in love with café racers when he spotted a BMW from the Wilkinson Brothers on these pages. Then, about a year ago, he decided to build one for his youngest daughter.
Since then, he’s built about ten Lawless Bikes, including one for a customer in Europe, to match his Kiddo Motors-built Triumph. Johann works off two basic templates that he’s designed—one resembling classic BMWs, and another based on Triumph’s modern classics. But he’s planning to add more designs to his portfolio.
Each wooden piece is CNC-cut from birch plywood, by a supplier working of Johann’s CAD templates. (They used to be hand-cut with a jigsaw, but that was far too time consuming.) Johann then assembles each bike by hand, using common bicycle components for things like the wheels and grips.
The wood is treated, and the colored bits spray painted. Johann then builds the ‘headlights’ using the lids from coffee and sugar canisters, and lazer-cut perspex discs. He then finishes each bike off with a Lawless badge (these two bikes have the logos of the actual marques on them, but for legal reasons, Johann usually only does this on personal bikes.) His latest creations—like the little BMW scrambler you see above—even have leather seats.
Since this is just a hobby, Johann hasn’t done rigorous testing or obtained any certification, so these are sold mainly as display pieces. But we reckon any kid that finds one under the Xmas tree this year is going to have a hard time staying off it. [More]