This site makes the following claims:
“The Secrets in the Glaciercore… Non-Toxic patented refrigerant, is actually colder than Ice! Ice gives up coldness when it melts at 36°, and at the same time thinning down your drink. Who wants a watered down Beer or Soda Pop, NOT ME! The Glaciercore cools to 34°, with no watering down…”
And even better, this page says:
“Made with over 1 pound of super freezing patented solution (made from all FDA food approved components) the Glaciercore actually gets colder than your freezer when it’s thickening the smoothie, by crystallizing the natural ingredients in the beverage.”
The part about ice freezing at 36° could be true at certain altitudes. But the claim that this refrigerant gets “colder than your freezer” really caught my attention. And to claim that it does so by crystallizing the beverage made me wonder whether crystallization might absorb heat, actually somehow cooling the refrigerant. It turns out that Glacierware haven’t invented a magical antimatter refrigerant.
First of all, something that’s patented is no longer secret. Also, their patent has expired, so it’s not patent protected. It merely was patented a long time ago. US Patent 3791159 was filed in 1971 and reveals that they just have a propylene glycol or urea solution as a version of ice that freezes and melts at a lower temperature.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Corporations Listing gave information on how to contact the company owners, as did their domain name registration. I tried writing Timothy an email explaining the false claims on his site, but he didn’t respond. So now I’m posting this because I think it’s amusing.
Here’s the interesting part from my note to Timothy:
The patent explains that the secret to the Glaciercore is a solution that freezes below the freezing point of water, but above the temperature of a freezer. Can you explain how the Glaciercore “gets colder than your freezer”, or correct the website to say that the “Glaciercore stays colder than ice as it thickens your smoothie by crystallizing the natural ingredients in the beverage” Note that I removed the comma to indicate that it “thickens the smoothie by crystallizing the beverage” as opposed to it “gets colder by crystallizing the beverage”
I was playing a game of Settlers of Catan (or Die Siedler von Catan) with some friends and made an observation about my playing style. I definitely tried to win, but I would avoid placing settlements on opposite corners of hexes or otherwise doing anything to harm the total productivity of the board. I also overinvested in strategies that led to greater long term production at the expense of scoring points in the short run. Another player pointed out that the only objective of the game is to achieve 10 points before any other player. It doesn’t matter if you’re producing more resources or would have been the first to 20 points because the game ends as soon as someone gets 10 points. It doesn’t matter if the board is overpopulated or not once the game ends. You’re more likely to win if you can make the board less inhabitable for your opponents, so wasteful plays can help.
In real life, I am a conservationist because I know that the world lives on once I die. I feel connected to society and want to act in ways that are collectively best for everyone. I believe in policies that work in perpetuity, not 4 years, not my lifetime, or any other end of the world. That’s what sustainability is about.
One way I practice this is at the grocery store I purchase packages that may be slightly disfigured or the milk from the front with the earliest expiration date. If everyone always reached to the back to get the freshest milk, stores would routinely have to discard the older milk that doesn’t sell. If nobody buys the disfigured packages, they get thrown out. There’s nothing good about systematically wasting food.
Which milk do you buy?
Here’s a good article on digital audio.
The article explains a lot of things people who like music should know. First, we’ve all seen the “THD” or “total harmonic distortion” specs on all audio equipment. It turns out that harmonic distortion isn’t really an issue and it might even make music sound better. Violins have so many harmonics already, a little harmonic distortion is no big deal. Also, it’s a poor metric because digital devices are more prone to other types of distortion. It’s no surprise that they achieve <0.01% THD or something small like that, without much expense. It reminds me of $50 digital cameras with 14 MP that take awful pictures. Anyway, don’t buy audio gear based on the THD numbers. Now I wonder if maybe the expensive tube amps with poor THD numbers actually do sound better because they avoid the truly bad types of distortion that digital systems can create.
The article also does a great job of explaining quantization distortion and how dither turns it into quantization noise. Also, read about dither or at least look at the pictures so you’re clear on exactly how dither works and how amazing an idea it is:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dither
The article goes on to discuss 1-bit DSD, which I spoke highly of from a technical standpoint in this previous post. However, I agree with the authors that 24-bit or higher PCM is the best choice for audio processing and 1-bit DSD only makes sense as a final distribution medium. Any mathematical operations on 1-bit DSD are very complex and I don’t really know how the distortion and noise introduced will sound, but PCM is easy to understand.
I recently bought a couple pairs of high-end headphones. As the audio forums suggested, the headphones didn’t sound very good plugged into my computer’s soundcard. My ears felt fatigued after listening, despite low volumes. People on the forums say the poor quality is because sound cards or most digital players don’t have the power to drive large headphones. But they sounded bad even with the volume turned way down. Now, I think it’s more of an issue of quantization noise at low volumes. A D/A converter should receive the raw original bitstream, not scaled down, and then the volume adjustment should be an analog operation. I got a fairly inexpensive HeadRoom BitHead portable headphone amplifier / USB soundcard which makes the headphones sound great!
Also, the more I’ve learned and listened, the more I think that mp3 audio may in fact be of sufficient quality or even indistinguishable from CD, SACD or DVD-Audio. The inadequate sounding mp3′s I’ve heard are probably that way because the original recording or mastering was poor, not a fault of the compression. It is possible to get a crisp, clear, precise sound from an mp3. A bad D/A conversion system probably does more audible harm than the mp3 compression.
Here are 4 pictures illustrating why you might need a shift lens and how you can just substitute a wide-angle lens instead.
When you shoot at an angle, parallel lines appear distorted and only part of the target plane is focused. A tilt lens would cure the focus, but an even better solution would be a shift lens to enable shooting perpendicular to the target.
Attempting to shoot perpendicular to the target to improve perspective and focus can result in problems like the camera’s shadow. It can even be impossible to be get a centered perpendicular shot when the target is a tall building.
I don’t have a shift lens, but I do have a large sensor, wide lens and way more megapixels than necessary. I can simulate a shift lens by using only part of the frame like this and cropping it.
Here’s the final result.
I recently interviewed a candidate who listed having worked in an ADC group at Analog Devices. Wanting to ask a technical question on a topic he would/should know, I noticed that I wasn’t sure exactly how an ADC works. So, I thought up three solutions before asking the question, but still wondered how ADC’s work fast enough for applications like audio. I’m familiar with the ramp and counter method used in microcontrollers from having used them. The successive approximation method is also a straightforward and fairly good solution, but even that takes 24 cycles for audio quality ADC. Next, I reinvented multistage subranging ADC as a way to expand flash ADC. While trying to figure out what my invention was called, I stumbled across another really cool ADC that I would never have thought of. The operation of most ADC’s can be explained to anyone because they don’t require special knowledge to understand, but delta-sigma ADC’s are completely based on frequency-domain thinking. Learning about them helped improve my understanding of DSP and control theory.
Here’s a good discussion of various ADC’s:
Read all 3 parts of this post. Part 1 helps understand what the modulator does. Part 2 makes Nyquist simpler than ever before. Part 3 gives insight into how the noise shaping really works.
I like this one because it explains how you extract 16 bits of width out of just 64 samples.
And once you understand all that, you’ll appreciate this piece on upsampling in CD players
but don’t buy one because it’s all overpriced. Advertising the $1.25 DAC http://www.ti.com/product/pcm1748 in a CD player as “Burr Brown” brand is like restaurants labeling their bacon “applewood smoked”.