Items filtered by date: Sunday, 07 May 2017

Ableton’s new website will teach you the basics of making music

Learning Music is a set of lessons you can take anywhere.

Ableton has launched a new website that aims to teach anyone the basics of making music, whether you own its Live software or not.

Learning Music is a free set of lessons on all the fundamental concepts, including beats, notes and scales, chords, basslines and song structure. The website is interactive, giving you Ableton Live-style clips in browser to practise on.

Ableton even uses real songs as examples, breaking down tracks like Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies’, Bob Marley’s ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ and Robert Hood’s ‘Ride” to demonstrate how the key concepts work.

There’s also a section that Ableton calls “The Playground”, which allows you to experiment with all the techniques and create tracks. You can even export your finished music to Ableton Live.

The site is one of several intiatives from Ableton to make it easier to make music. In 2015 it published a book of creative strategies for artists, and earlier this year it launched a bite-size video tutorial series, One Thing.

Ableton’s annual summit for music makers, Loop, returns this November. Try Learning Music here.

By Scott Wilson-Factmag


Decades of data on world's oceans reveal a troubling oxygen decline

A new analysis of decades of data on oceans across the globe has revealed that the amount of dissolved oxygen contained in the water -- an important measure of ocean health -- has been declining for more than 20 years.

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology looked at a historic dataset of ocean information stretching back more than 50 years and searched for long term trends and patterns. They found that oxygen levels started dropping in the 1980s as ocean temperatures began to climb.

"The oxygen in oceans has dynamic properties, and its concentration can change with natural climate variability," said Taka Ito, an associate professor in Georgia Tech's School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences who led the research. "The important aspect of our result is that the rate of global oxygen loss appears to be exceeding the level of nature's random variability."

The study, which was published April in Geophysical Research Letters, was sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The team included researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the University of Washington-Seattle, and Hokkaido University in Japan.

Falling oxygen levels in water have the potential to impact the habitat of marine organisms worldwide and in recent years led to more frequent "hypoxic events" that killed or displaced populations of fish, crabs and many other organisms.

Researchers have for years anticipated that rising water temperatures would affect the amount of oxygen in the oceans, since warmer water is capable of holding less dissolved gas than colder water. But the data showed that ocean oxygen was falling more rapidly than the corresponding rise in water temperature.

"The trend of oxygen falling is about two to three times faster than what we predicted from the decrease of solubility associated with the ocean warming," Ito said. "This is most likely due to the changes in ocean circulation and mixing associated with the heating of the near-surface waters and melting of polar ice."

The majority of the oxygen in the ocean is absorbed from the atmosphere at the surface or created by photosynthesizing phytoplankton. Ocean currents then mix that more highly oxygenated water with subsurface water. But rising ocean water temperatures near the surface have made it more buoyant and harder for the warmer surface waters to mix downward with the cooler subsurface waters. Melting polar ice has added more freshwater to the ocean surface -- another factor that hampers the natural mixing and leads to increased ocean stratification.

"After the mid-2000s, this trend became apparent, consistent and statistically significant -- beyond the envelope of year-to-year fluctuations," Ito said. "The trends are particularly strong in the tropics, eastern margins of each basin and the subpolar North Pacific."

In an earlier study, Ito and other researchers explored why oxygen depletion was more pronounced in tropical waters in the Pacific Ocean. They found that air pollution drifting from East Asia out over the world's largest ocean contributed to oxygen levels falling in tropical waters thousands of miles away.

Once ocean currents carried the iron and nitrogen pollution to the tropics, photosynthesizing phytoplankton went into overdrive consuming the excess nutrients. But rather than increasing oxygen, the net result of the chain reaction was the depletion oxygen in subsurface water.

That, too, is likely a contributing factor in waters across the globe, Ito said.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Georgia Institute of Technology

  • Published in Tech

New technology generates power from polluted air

Researchers from the University of Antwerp and KU Leuven (University of Leuven), Belgium, have succeeded in developing a process that purifies air and, at the same time, generates power. The device must only be exposed to light in order to function.

"We use a small device with two rooms separated by a membrane," explains professor Sammy Verbruggen (UAntwerp/KU Leuven). "Air is purified on one side, while on the other side hydrogen gas is produced from a part of the degradation products. This hydrogen gas can be stored and used later as fuel, as is already being done in some hydrogen buses, for example. "

In this way, the researchers respond to two major social needs: clean air and alternative energy production. The heart of the solution lies at the membrane level, where the researchers use specific nanomaterials. "These catalysts are capable of producing hydrogen gas and breaking down air pollution," explains professor Verbruggen. "In the past, these cells were mostly used to extract hydrogen from water. We have now discovered that this is also possible, and even more efficient, with polluted air."

It seems to be a complex process, but it is not: the device must only be exposed to light. The researchers' goal is to be able to use sunlight, as the processes underlying the technology are similar to those found in solar panels. The difference here is that electricity is not generated directly, but rather that air is purified while the generated power is stored as hydrogen gas.

"We are currently working on a scale of only a few square centimetres. At a later stage, we would like to scale up our technology to make the process industrially applicable. We are also working on improving our materials so we can use sunlight more efficiently to trigger the reactions. "

KU Leuven-Science Daily

  • Published in Tech

10 Things to Know About Emmanuel Macron

1. Born Dec. 21, 1977, Emmanuel Macron was the youngest candidate during the 2017 presidential election in France.

2. Macron studied philosophy at Paris Nanterre University before completing his master's of public affairs at the Sciences Po and graduating from École nationale d'administration. The latter two are among the most prestigious French schools.

3. In 2014, Macron became minister of economy, industry and digital data under President Francois Hollande. Earlier in his career, Macron was an investment banker and then the secretary-general at the Elysée Palace.

4. During the French presidential campaign, Macron has supported France remaining a part of the European Union, something his rival Marine Le Pen has opposed.
5. Before Sunday's victory in the presidential election, Macron had never held an elected office. He is not currently a member of any of France's political parties, running in the presidential election as a centrist.

6. Macron has spoken about tolerance toward Muslim immigrants but has acknowledged the threat of extremists. In an April interview with RTL, he said, "The zero-risk option doesn't exist," speaking about avoiding terrorist attacks altogether.

7. Despite his lack of experience in elected office, Macron has been associated with the French establishment, and he was egged in a communist suburb last year, according to The New York Times.

8. Former United States President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced support for Macron during the election.

9. During the presidential campaign, Macron was described as pro-business and a supporter of globalization. Despite his goals, criticism has followed the political newcomer; some have criticized his pragmatism as idealism and described the platform as nebulous.

10. Macron is married to Brigitte Macron, who is Emmanuel's former high school teacher. Through marriage, he claims seven grandchildren through the three children Brigitte had in a former marriage.

By Stephen Mays , Multimedia Editor US News

  • Published in U.S.

Alvarez-Golovkin could be anywhere —Oscar de la Hoya

LOS ANGELES - The mouthwatering middleweight showdown between Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Kazakh knockout king Gennady Golovkin is on, and Oscar de la Hoya says a stream of global venues are interested.
"I really had several calls from around the world wanting to stage the fight," de la Hoya said on Saturday night in Las Vegas, where the mega-fight was announced after Alvarez dismantled fellow Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
"I literally have a missed call from Dubai, I have a missed call from the (United Kingdom), where Anthony Joshua and (Wladimir) Klitschko just sold out (a) 90,000-seat stadium, so there's interest from all over the world," de la Hoya said.
Possible US venues for the September 16 bout include not only Vegas but also AT&T Stadium in suburban Dallas, home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys.
Last year, Alvarez beat Britain's Liam Smith at the Texas venue before a crowd of more than 51,000.
Saturday night's post-fight announcement—with "Triple G" striding from ringside to join in—was the most electrifying moment at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, where Alvarez dominated Chavez Jr. for 12 rounds in a non-title bout fought at a catchweight of 164 pounds.
In the buildup to their bout, Chavez had chided Alvarez for failing to make a deal to fight Golovkin.
Alvarez dumped his World Boxing Council middleweight world belt last year when the sanctioning body gave him a 15-day window to make a fight with undefeated Golovkin, now owner of the WBC, World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation middleweight world titles.
Critics charged that Alvarez was afraid of the fight—or that de la Hoya didn't want to risk the top fighter in the Golden Boy stable.
But de la Hoya insisted an Alvarez-Golovkin bout was never in doubt.
"I've always stated that Triple G will happen in 2017, ever since a year ago when everyone was asking 'Why are you afraid of Triple G?'" he said.
In fact, de la Hoya said, the deal was done even before the Chavez fight.
"We restarted negotiating two weeks ago and it got done a few days ago," he said. —Agence France-Presse

  • Published in Sports

UN member-states to PHL: Probe extrajudicial slays, abandon death penalty

Several member-states of the United Nations (UN) on Monday expressed alarm over the alleged extrajudicial killings in the country blamed on President Rodrigo Duterte's campaign against illegal drugs, and over his proposal to reinstate the death penalty.
The calls came after the Philippine government panel faced the universal periodic review of the UN council in Geneva, Switzerland to defend the country's rights record marred by reports of unexplained killings of the Duterte administration's war on illegal drugs.
Following the presentation of the Philippine government, led by Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, member-states were given the opportunity to comment and make recommendations on how to improve the country’s approaches in protecting human rights.
The United States emphasized the need to investigate the thousands of drug suspects killed since July 2016.
“We believe that it is important that the Philippine government to investigate the allegations of the more than 7,000 deaths associated with the counter-narcotics campaign since July 2016, including over 2,600 killings by security forces and more than 4,000 by unknown assailants,” the American delegate said.
“We ask the Philippine government to investigate these crimes, hold accountable those who are responsible, and bring justice to the victims,” she added.
Canada called on Manila to "end extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, illegal arrests and detention, torture and harassment."
Deep concerns
Australia said it was “deeply concerned” about reports of extrajudicial killings which allegedly involved elements of the Philippine National Police.
“Australia recommends that the Philippine government investigate the alleged extrajudicial killings and ensure accountability,” its delegate said.
France recommended the Philippines to abandon its plans to bring back death penalty and strengthen its framework in the legal and judicial system.
"Abandon the reintroducing of death penalty which would be contrary to the country's obligations, and to strengthen the legal framework in the means of a judicial system with independent justice."
Germany, on the other hand, urged the Philippine government to launch an “impartial investigations” into the killings.
“Take all necessary measures to prevent extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances and carry out impartial investigations to all perpetrators accountable,” the German representative said.
The United Kingdom also expressed concern on the number of deaths in the war on drugs and has called on the Philippine government to ensure a thorough investigation on these incidents.
“We remain concerned about the high number of people killed in the campaign against illegal drugs, [and] plans to reinstate the death penalty,” the country’s representative said.
The representative from the Holy See asked that the Philippines "maintain the protection of the right to life from conception to natural death," adding that reports of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances are “deeply troubling.”
China, however, offered support to the Philippines, declaring drugs "the public enemy of mankind."
Countries that either expressed concern and suggested probe into extrajudicial killings or recommended the Philippines to refrain from reinstating capital punishment include:
Costa Rica
Czech Republic
Holy See
United Kingdom
United States of America
'Visit the country'
In behalf of the Philippine government panel, Cayetano called on the UNHRC to visit the country and see for itself the real situation as regards the Duterte administration's war on drugs and the thousands of extrajudicial killings allegedly committed in its wake.
Cayetano said there was no "sudden wave" of state-sponsored extrajudicial killings in the Philippines as he asked the UNHRC to visit the Philippines to check on the situation.
"We are asking you, through the mechanisms of this Honorable Council, to interview our people, to go our communities, to visit the Philippines to see for yourself the truth, real numbers, which ones are real news, which ones are fake news," Senator Cayetano said.
He noted that Administrative Order 35 signed by then-President Benigno Aquino III defined EJKs as the killing of the members or advocates of cause-oriented organizations like labor, environment or media activists, "resulting in very low number of supposed EJKs in the past administration."
"However, for the current administration, a different definition is being used. EJK now refers to any death outside of those caused by natural causes, accidents or those ordered by the courts," Cayetano said.
"Make no mistake, any death or killing is one too much. However, there is a deliberate attempt to include all homicides as EJKs or killings related to the campaign against criminality and illegal drugs, and that these are state-sponsored, which is simply not true."
Drug deaths, homicides
Cayetano said a total of 53,503 anti-illegal drug operations have been conducted in the 10 months of the Duterte administration, which is more than half of 93,197 drug operations conducted under the previous Aquino administration.

The senator said 64,917 drug personalities have been arrested and more than 1.2 million drug pushers and users have surrendered.
Data presented by Cayetano said that as of April 20, deaths resulting from presumed legitimate law enforcement operations were at 2,692, while total homicide cases were 9,342.
In his opening speech, Cayetano underscored the need to make the Philippines, especially the younger generation, from the drug scourge.
"Security and human rights are not incompatible. In fact, without human security, humans are vulnerable to all kinds of abuses. Human rights is not only about making people feel safe, but is actually about making people safe," he said.
It was the third time when the Philippine government through the UPR to check whether there have been improvements in the human rights situation and whether the recommendations under the previous two UPR sessions are complied with.
The review covers the last four and half years of the Aquino administration and ten under Duterte.
A group of roughly 50 pro-Duterte supporters braved a light rain outside the UN earlier on Monday, hoisting placards proclaiming "Duterte is not a mass murderer."
Foreign governments and UN officials are free to criticize the president, protest organizer Dexi Jimenez told AFP, but added that they need to understand "the war on drugs has gained (him) excellent ratings" in public opinion polls.
Duterte was elected largely on a law-and-order platform in which he promised to eradicate illegal drugs by threatening to kill tens of thousands of people.



UN states ask Philippines to grant access to Callamard

Set no conditions for rapporteur's visit, Philippines urged

MANILA, Philippines — Several member states of the United Nations have asked the Philippines to grant access to United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions Agnes Callamard without conditions.

The Philippine government has presented the human rights situation in the country before the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland for the third cycle of its Universal Periodic Review.

Reprsentatives from Bulgaria, France, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia and Peru recommended to the Philippines to allow Callamard to conduct an investigation into the alleged extrajudicial killings in connection with President Rodrigo Duterte's war on drugs.

Several countries have also expressed concern over the alleged extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances including Australia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Vatican City, Iceland, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Sierra Leone, Spain, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States .

The Philippines had invited Callamard to investigate alleged extrajudicial killings of drug offenders in the country under certain conditions from Duterte.

The UN special rapporteur rejected the conditions of the president which includes holding a public debate with Callamard rather than holding a private meeting.

"It is crucial for the effective implementation of the mission that the UN terms of reference are fully accepted by governments and that the code of conduct is respected," Callamard said in a statement.

The same UN states also asked the Philippines to maintain the abolition of the death penalty, citing that it is a violation of the right to life.

Earlier this year, the House of Representatives approved on second reading the measure restoring the death penalty but only for drug offenses.

The UN member states have also expressed concern over the proposal of lowering the age of criminality in the Philippines.

Several countries asked the Philippines to maintain the current age of criminal liability in the country. The House of Representatives is eyeing to lower the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 15 to nine years.

By Patricia Lourdes Viray (


Detractors try to block Robredo daughter's Harvard study

MANILA, Philippines — Embattled Vice President Leni Robredo recently disclosed that someone tried to rescind her daughter's admission to one of the most prestigious universities in the world.

Asked what her greatest fear for her family is, Robredo lamented how her three daughters are being dragged into the political circus despite her prayers that they be spared from online crossfire.

She said her detractors attempted to sabotage Aika's admission to Harvard University through a letter that discredits the family's capability to send the student to the Ivy League school.

"Aika showed me a letter of my detractors… Iyong letter nila pinapa-rescind iyong acceptance niya sa Harvard. And the grounds na sinabi nila was iyong tuition daw kasi ay mahal. Ang mahal ng tuition," Robredo said at "TERETalks" in St. Theresa's College, Quezon City last Saturday.

"Sabi nila iyong gagastusin daw nung anak ko, kasi wala naman daw akong legal na pagkukunan, iyong ninakaw namin na yaman. Kasi nakaw na yaman tsaka drugs iyong pinanggalingan nung ipapaaral sa anak ko" she added.

Aika, however, will undergo masters program on public administration at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government on a scholarship as an Edward S. Mason fellow.

"Pero you know the viciousness, nakapasok iyong mga bata without any help from me. Nakapasok tapos ipapa-rescind mo lang. How much hatred iyong pinasok doon," she continued.

The vice president conversely threw shade against her bitter rival even without mentioning the name of defeated vice presidential candidate Bongbong Marcos, whose father, the dictator Ferdinand, amassed great wealth during Martial Law.

"Iyong mga nakaw na yaman madali siyang i-accuse sa iyo. But you can readily see kung sino iyong may nakaw na yaman. By the way they live their lives diba? Hindi iyan sa SALN eh. Pero iyong araw-araw na ino-observe mo how they live their life eh. Diba hindi naman iyan natatago," Robredo said.

She said that the failed attempt to block Aika's entry to Harvard had no effect on her daughter who is set to leave on June 18.

By AJ Bolando (


MANILA – Veteran actor Romeo Vasquez has died. He was 78.

The news was confirmed by his granddaughter Alyanna Martinez on Wednesday, May 3 with a series of Instagram photos. She said that he died in a hospital in LA on May 2.

"I love you [Lolo Bobby]," said Martinez on the first of her posts. "Say hi to mama for me. Why are the good one salways gone too soon?"

"Reunited now in heaven with mama on her 32nd wedding anniversary," she said in another post.

Vasquez was married to Amalia Fuentes. Together,they were parents to Martinez's late mother, Liezl Martinez.

He starred opposite Fuentes in movies like Lydia (1956), PrettyBoy (1957), and Sapagkat Ikaw Ay Akin (1965). He was known for his work in movies like Maruja (1967) and Bakit Kailangan Kita (1978), among many others.

Martinez posted her photos from the KaiserPermanente Hospital in the US. –

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