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Why the Genie Warlock's "Bottled Respite" is overwhelmingly powerful

Despite being limited to a single use per long rest ( Which can be as short as 4 hours with High Elf Trance ), if it is preserved according to the UA description, it stands to be one of, if not the most busted features in 5E history. For just a one-level dip into Warlock, and a free action, it has the potential functionality of several high level spells combined, with the value of dipping into the class just for it being fairly high.
First, lets overview all the benefits granted by the ability in its own right, then go over all of the ways to combine it with other abilities as well:
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Now for the fun part, which is all that can be done with a little bit of magical help, though it can only be a partial list since the possibilities are endless. Let's dive in.
That is all I can think of for now, and remember what we're talking about - A level 1 Warlock action per long rest. It has unbelievable value.
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An interesting essay

Nail disorders are beyond cosmetic concern; besides discomfort in performance of daily chores, they disturb patients psychologically and affect their quality of life. Fungal nail infection (onychomycosis) is most prevalent nail related disorder affecting major population worldwide. Overcoming the impenetrable nail barrier is the toughest challenge for development of efficacious topical ungual formulation. Sophisticated techniques such as Iontophoresis, Photodynamic therapy have been proved to improve transungual permeation. This article provides updated and concise discussion regarding conventional approach and upcoming novel enhancers/research approaches focused to alter nail barrier. A comprehensive description regarding pre-formulation screening techniques for identification of potential ungual enhancers is described in this review. An attempt has been made to elaborately describe the characterization techniques for pre-screening of ungual enhancers and to highlight the current pitfalls for development of ungual delivery. 1. INTRODUCTION Skin and its auxiliary appendages such as hair and nails represent an area of great importance in dermatology or any cosmetic field because disorder in any of these parts have a direct impact on external appearance, psychological and normal daily routine. Nails disorders are not life threating but if untreated can transform from a non-specific to an exasperating problem, which consumes lot of time to restore into its normal condition. A synergistic combination of systemic with topical delivery is preferred approach for efficient treatment of onychomycosis. In spite of availability of several treatment options for ungual infection, none of the remedies give absolute fungal eradication. Psoriatic nail dystrophy is another common nail disorder, compared to skin psoriasis; treatment options for nail psoriasis are limited and often give disappointing result. Numerous strategies have been employed and succeeded to improve drug diffusion through the dense ungual keratin layers. A brief research based on novel approaches to treat ungual disorders has been described in this review. These agents have shown marked improved transungual diffusion of drug into the nail and compared to conventional ungual enhancers cause minimal damage to nail keratin. Major emphasis is given to biophysical and bioengineering techniques to utilize their potential to understand and characterize nail barrier for screening ungual enhancers. 1.1. The human nail and its anatomy A nail is a horn-like envelope covering the dorsal portion of the terminal phalanges of fingers and toes in humans, primates, and a few other mammals. Figure 1a. External nail antaomy Figure 1b. Layers of Nail plate The human nail apparatus comprises of nail plate, nail bed, nail folds, and the nail matrix. As shown in figure 1-the nail plate is the actual fingernail, consisting of translucent keratin covering the entire nail bed. The nail plate is a thick, elastic, convex structure composed of approximately 25 layers of tightly bound dead keratinised cells. The nail plate is divided into three layers, upper dorsal layer, intermediate layer followed by the inner ventral layer (figure 1b). The thickness of each layer is in the ratio 3:5:2 respectively [1].The dorsal layer is most resistant barrier for penetration of molecules.The cutaneous wedge shaped skin folds overlapping the sides and proximal end of the nail are the nail folds. The visible part of the nail matrix or the edge of the germinal matrix is called as lunula. It is white cresent moon shaped and is located at the base of nail (prominently visible on thumb nail) .The junction between the free edge and the skin of the fingertip is known as the hyponchium. It is an epithelium tissue and its function is to protect the nail bed. The seal between the nail plate and the hyponchium is known as the onchodermal band. A small band of epithelium extending between the posterior nail wall onto the base of the nail is known as the eponychium. The paronychium is the border tissue around the nail. It is also known as the paronychial edge and is the site of the infection of the nail disorder known as paronychia. [2] Figure 2. Internal nail anatomy Figure 2. Diagrammatically represents the interior structure of fingernail -The nail bed is the immediate living tissue present beneath the nail plate. The nail matrix (keratogenous membrane or onychostroma) is a living tissue located exactly below the lunula which protects the nail extending several millimetres into the finger. according to its Based on their function nail matrix is classified into subtypes namely sterile matrix and germinal matrix. The sterile matrix is responsible for the production of the nail bed. The germinal matrix produces the cells which subsequently become the nail plate. The edge of germinal matrix is visible, called as lunula of nail plate. The nail root (radix unguis) is the base of nail formed from the tissue growing below the matrix. The nail sinus (sinus unguis) is a deep furrow into which the nail root is inserted. [3] 1.2. Nail Disorders The two most frequent ungual disorders are onychomycosis and nail psoriasis. Onychomycosis is responsible for 50% of the nail disorders. It affects approximately 10% of the general population [4].It is more prevalent in diabetic and elderly population. Use of excessive immunosuppressant’s can also lead to onchomycosis. Nail psoriasis is reported in 80-90% of the patients suffering from skin psoriasis. It affects 1-3% of the total population [5]. A comprehensive description of nail disorders and their characteristics symptoms observed are listed briefly in table 1 Table 1. Nail disorders and their characteristics symptoms Disorder Characteristics observed Onychomycosis ‘ Fungal infection of nail plate caused by dermatophytes such as Trichophyton, epidermophyton and microsporum species(responsible for 80-90% of the cases), and seldom by non dermatophyte fungi such as Aspergillus, Fusarium spp, and yeasts such as Candida spp.[4] ‘ Fungii digests the nail keratin causing discolouration, thickening and splitting of nails. ‘ Irritation of the nails and pain is observed Nail Psoriasis ‘ Presence of scales pits on the nails, red and yellow discolouration of the nails. The skin under the nail gets thickened. ‘ Crumbling of nail is also observed. ‘ The nail plate gets separated from the nail bed.[6] Paronychia: ‘ Pain, redness and swelling of the nail fold and formation of pus filled blisters. ‘ The nail plate becomes thickened with prominent transverse ridges. Tinea unguis ‘ Thickening of the nails due to presence of ringworm infection. If left untreated can lead to complete loss of nail plate. Onychogryposis: ‘ Thickening of the nail plate and the nail plate is observed to curve inwards the nails, with a characteristics claw-type appearance [7]. Onychatrophia: ‘ Nail plate gets atrophised, loses its lustre, reduces in size and sometimes sheds entirely [7]. Koilonychia ‘ The nails become thin and concave in shape like a spoon and show raised ridges [7]. Melanonychia ‘ Black or brown pigmentation of the nail plate [8]. 1.3. Nail growth and regeneration The growth rate of normal fingernails varies from <1.8mm to '4.5mm per month [9]. The average growth of nail per day is 0.1mm. Toenails grow at a rate one-half to one-third of the growth of the fingernails. A normal fingernail generally grows fully in about 6 months whereas a toenail takes about 12 to 18 months for complete growth [10].In a dominant hand the nail growth is faster. The rate of nail growth is higher in males than females. Age and environment also play a major role for growth of nails. The rate of growth in nails is slow in the old age and high in cold climate. Environmental factors such as exposure to chemicals, strong detergents, reaction to adhesives used in artificial nails can lead to nail abnormalities. It is observed that after nail avulsion nails grow at faster rate [11]. Treatment with drugs such as benoxaprofen, biotin, cysteine, methionine, levodopa, itraconazole accelerates the nail growth. The nail growth is retarded in presence of infections and in conditions like fever, malnutrition, decreased circulation and lactation. Administration of antimycotic drugs also decreases the rate of nail growth [11]. 2. STRATEGIES TO ENHANCE TRANSUNGUAL PERMEATION OF DRUGS The nail keratin cells are tightly bound, arranged in form of compact blocks with no interstitial space in between. The thickness of the nail plate, its high sulphur content and the marked differences between the nail plate and the stratum corneum (Table 2) makes the nail plate an impenetrable barrier for transport of the drug across the nail plate. To overcome the tough nail barrier and enhance transungual drug delivery, several methods and techniques have been adapted by researchers, which are briefly described in this review. Table 2: Comparison between the nail plate and the stratum corneum [11]. Composition Nail Stratum corneum Thickness 500-1000??m 10-40??m Disulphide linkage 10.6% 1.2% % swelling in water 25% 200-300% Lipid content 0.1-1% 10-20% Table 3: Amino acid composition of the human nail plate and the stratum corneum [11]. Amino acid Stratum corneum Nail Lys 4.2% 3.1% S 1.4% 3.2% Glu 12.6% 13.6% Gly 24.5% 7.9% ?? Cys 1.2% 10.6% 2.1. Conventional approach Due to lack of basic understanding of nail anatomy and its permeability, initially mechanical methods such as partial removal of nail plate/complete nail avulsion followed by subsequent application of drug were used for treatment of onychomycosis [12, 13].These methods are non-patient compliant and are practically infeasible solution as a complete cure for onychomycosis. Disrupting basic nail keratin backbone, using disulphide reducing agents (sodium sulphite, dithioreitol) and keratolytic agents (urea, lactic acid, salicylic acid) are one of the common approaches for enhancing permeation of antifungals into the nails. Chemical agents such as urea, thioglycollic acid, and enzyme like papain interact with the disulphide bond of the nail keratin and facilitate their breakage, aiding improved transport of drug across the nail plate. [14] Recently sequential application of oxidising and reducing agents for improved transungual delivery was reported by M.D. brown et al. Two penetration enhancers (PEs), thioglycolic acid (TA) and urea hydrogen peroxide (urea H2O2) and their sequential pre-treatment onpermeation of three model permeants (caffeine, terbinafine and methyl paraben) were studied. The diffusion flux of all permeates were significantlyincreased in presence of the penetration enhancers. The sequential application of TA followed by urea H2O2 increased flux of terbinafine and caffeine but reversing their application order mild increase in flux of methyl paraben was observed [15]. 2.2. Sophisticated technologies Sophisticated technologies employing iontophoresis, ultrasound, and ultraviolet energy could alter nail keratin physically, with minimum damage, enhancing penetration of drug into the nail. a) Iontophoresis Iontophoresis is most effective technique for driving higher amount drug into the nail through the dense keratin layer [16, 17, 18, 19, 20]. With aid of iontophoresis drug depot can be formed into layers of nail keratin which gradually releases drug with time[21]. Hao and li examined the effect of iontophoresis on permeation of antifungal drug ciclopirox [21]. A small portable, disposable, user friendly device was developed which significantly delivered high amount of ciclopirox iontophoretically from its lacquer formulation compared to its passive delivery from same formulation and marketed lacquer penlac. Similar study was performed by Nair et al on human nail for enhancing delivery of terbinafinehcl [22]. Ionotophoresis could successfully drive ionic terbinafine molecules into the nail. Light microscopy study using methylene blue was performed and uptake of methylene blue was found to be highest using iontophoresis into the three layers of nail when compared with control. Manda et al studied iontophoretic delivery of terbinafine through proximal nail fold using cadaver toe nail model [23]. A custom designed polyurethane foam pad was employed as iontophoreic device which significantly delivered high amount of terbinafine into the nail matrix and deeper ungual layers compared to its passive delivery. b) Co2 lasers Lim et al used combination of fractional Co2 laser therapy with topical antifungal treatment for treating 24 patients suffering from onychomycosis [24]. Nail plate were punctured using ablative co2 laser followed by topical application of amolorofine cream. At the end of study, it was observed that the fungi resided area of the infected toenail of patients wassignificantly decreased with improved visual appearance. Out of 24, total of 22 patients (92%) showed a clinical response, and 12 patients (50%) showed a complete cure with a negative microscopic result and no adverse effect. The authors postulated that ablative fractional Co2 laser exerted direct fungicidal effect and created multiple porosities into nail plate enhancing the penetration of antifungal agent into the nail bed or matrix [24]. c) Etching/mesoscissing Etching involves production of minuscule micropores on surface of nail plate. Certain surface modifying agents such as phosphoric acid, tartaric acid, or devices such as (Path Former) creates microporosites on the nail surfaces, decreasing the contact angle providing a better surface for the drug to bind [25]. Path Former(Path Scientific, Carlisle, USA) is an FDA approved etching device, which creates miniature pin holes into the nails without affecting the nail bed and helps in draining the subungual hematomas [26]. The device uses electrical resistance of the nail as the feedback and eliminates the need for anaesthesia. The drilling of the nail plate is done by using a 400 micrometer tissue cutter and is retracted when it has penetrated into the nail plate. After the nail is etched a nail lacquer can be applied on the nails promoting sustained release of the drug. d) Ultrasound An ultrasound-mediated drug delivery system was developed by Abadi and Zderic, 2011 for treating onychomycosis. The slip-in device consists two compartments namely ultrasound transducers and drug delivery compartments above each toenail. The device is connected to a computer, where a software interface allows users to select their preferred course of treatment. Using an ultrasound-mediated drug delivery system, thrice amount of drug was delivered into the nail [27]. e) LaseUV Photodynamic therapy Laser wavelength in near infra- red region (780 nm -3000 nm) has capacity to directly heat the target tissues. Laser therapy has been reported in articles for curing onychomycosis [28, 29, 30, 31]. A pulsed laser technology has been employed for eradication of Trichophyton rubrum[30]. Direct thermal killing of fungal mycelia on nail clippings was observed when the temperature exceeded 50 degrees centigrade. Photodynamic therapies have shown remarkable results in treatment of skin related disorders [30, 31, 32]. Same technology was utilized Ryan et al, the authors treated infected fungal nail using a combination of a light sensitive drug (5-Aminolevulinic acid- ALA) and visible light which causes destruction of selected cells[33]. Incubation of dermatophytes such as Candida albicans and Trichophyton interdigitale in presence of ALA (10 mM), followed by irradiation with light caused reductions in viability of organisms by 87% and 42%, respectively. ALA was applied in form of bioadhesive patch on the human nails, ALA induced accumulation of photosensitizer called protoporphyrin IX which subsequently lead to photodynamic destruction of fungi. [33] 2.3. NOVEL UNGUAL PERMEATION ENHANCERS a. Water- Primary ungual permeation enhancer Water diffuses into the nail more rapidly compared to stratum corneum, also the rate of transonchial water loss from nail keratin is higher than tewl of stratum corneum [34, 35, 36]. Kelly et al compared the effect of plain organic and binary mixture of aqueous organic solvents systems on nail hydration and permeability [37].Ungual uptake and transport was correlated to concentration of organic solvent employed in study. It was observed that substituting water with a non-polar solvent decreases drug penetration across the nail plate. Higher the concentration of organic solvent, slower was ungual uptake and transport of radioactive probes across the nail. Water miscible solvents such as polyethylene/polypropylene glycol could hydrate the nail to higher extent compared to plain organic solvents. Nail keratin swells in presence of water and becomes more flexible. The hydrated keratin cells moves apart and the dense keratinized nail behaves like a hydrophilic gel matrix. Drug moieties can therefore diffuse through the hydrated keratin network with less resistance [38]. This principle was utilized by gunt et al to increase the permeation of ketoconazole through human nail. The permeability of antifungal ketoconazole was tested at different relative humidity (RH) to study effect of hydration on permeation of ketoconazole. Radiolabelled [3H] ketoconazole was employed to study the permeability of ketoconazole solution through human cadaver nails over a period of 40 days. The permeability of ketoconazole increased in order of three fold as the ambient RH was increased from 15 to 100%. [38]. Hui et al compared the penetration profile of ciclopirox between marketed organic solvent based lacquer (penlac), aqueous marketed gel and experimental gel [39]. The rate of permeation of ciclopirox in aqueous gel formulations were higher compared to penlac. Water itself acted as permeation enhancer which hydrated the nail and ultimately lead to an increased permeation of drug into nail. Similar results were obtained by D. Monti et al, permeation of two antifungal drugs ciclopirox and amolorfine in novel chitosan based water soluble nail lacquer were studied and compared with marketed amolorolfine lacquer (Loceryl) using bovine hoof slices [40]. The hydro soluble lacquers showed enhanced permeation and invitro antifungal activity into hoof keratin compared Loceryl. It was found that application of chitosan based ciclopirox nail lacquer on hoof keratin, resulted in rapid penetration of ciclopirox compared to marketed non aqueous lacquer. The growth of the fungus Candida parapsilosis was inhibited up to 30 hours after the application of hydrosoluble nail lacquer. The reason postulated by authors was presence of aqueous vehicle along with adhesion promoters like chitosan could lead effective transport of active across the nail keratin. [40] General conventional nail lacquers are based on water-insoluble resins and have limited potential to enhance the transungual drug delivery. On the contrary, aqueous-based lacquers can promote the nail hydration and drug diffusion across the nail plate, but suffer limitation of being easily wiped off or washed off the nail surface. Hence, to incorporate the properties of both water soluble and water insoluble nail lacquer Shivakumar et al. proposed a bilayered nail lacquer for onchomycosis treatment [41]. The lacquer consisted of two layers, underlying hydrophilic layer containing the drug terbinafine hydrochloride and an upper hydrophobic vinyl layer. The hydrophilic layer was based on HPMC and adhered well to the surface of the nails. The vinyl layer was applied to protect the underlying drug containing layer getting washed off during daily chores. It was found that the bilayered lacquer was resistant to drug loss on multiple washings and a significant high amount of terbinafinehcl was retain into nail layers compared to hydrophilic monolayer lacquer and control. In-vitro efficacy demonstrated an enhanced activity with bilayered lacquer. [41] b. SEPA: Hui et al used SEPA (2-n-Nonyl-1,3-dioxolane) for improving penetration of econazole from a nail lacquer formulation (Econail) [42]. It was found that addition of SEPA could increase permeation of econozole 6 times higher than control. Econail could deliver significantly higher amount of econozole in all three layers of nail and nail bed as compared to control. Dioxalones are generally skin permeation enhancers acting by altering lipid diffusion pathway of skin. The exact mechanism of dioxalone promoting econozole influx into the nail was not clearly understood but it was reported by author that SEPA acted as adhesion promoter and plasticizer for nail which facilitated increased diffusion of econozole into the nail. c. Hydrophobins: Hydrophobins are amphiphilic fungal proteins, which were recently proved by Vejnovic et al., 2010 as prospective transungual permeation enhancers [43].Vejnovic et al, investigated permeation enhancement potential of hydrophobins A-C for transport of terbinafinehcl across the nail. All the hydrophobins successfully increased permeability of terbinafine across the nail, hydrophobin B was superior among all of them showing highest permeability coefficient and 13 fold enhanced permeation of terbinafine. The mechanism of action by which hydrophobins act as permeation enhancers is still under research, some of their modes of action were reported by authors as follows. Structurally hydrophobins are stable having eight cysteine residues and four disulphide linkages, which lead to better protein interactions with keratin fibres and also with fungi proteins. Further, hydrophobins had amphipihilc structure with unique self- assembling and adherent properties and were able to coat terbinafine improving its solubility and physical stability. The coated terbinafine was found to have greater affinity for the hydrophilic gel membrane of the human nail thus increasing its permeation. Results suggested that the addition of hydrophobins improved permeability in the range of 3E'10 to 2E'9 cm/s. As of interest hydrophobins are new emerging ungual enhancers with unique features, more research is still required for investigating their complete potential as ungual enhancer and probably will be found. d. Keratolytic enzymes M. Mohorcic et al studied the effect of fungal keratinase produced by P. marquandiion on permeation characteristics of nail plate and bovine hoof [44]. It was found that the enzyme acted on the intercellular matrix which holds nail cells together, which resulted corneocytes separation from one another. SEM images showed that the corneocytes were 'lifted off' the plate and their surface was corroded. Pre-treatment of hoof with keratinase resulted in enhanced transungual permeation of model drug metformin. The permeability co-efficient and drug flux were found to be significantly increased in the presence of the enzyme. It was concluded that the enzyme, via its hydrolytic action on nail plate proteins can improve permeation and ungual uptake of drug. Similar Tiwary and Gupta isolated a combination of novel enzymes termed as Ker N which is chemically subtilisin-??-Glutamyl Transpeptidase from a feather degrading strain of Bacillus licheniformis [45]. The KerN enzyme increased the permeability of nail by loosening nail matrix and corroding the dorsal surface, which was confirmed by SEM images of nail plate treated with KerN. Drug permeation studies revealed that 58% clotrimazole was retained into the nail plates after 24 h exposure with 300 ??g/mL of kern in presence of drug. The enzyme had high potency and was found to be stable in presence of drug even after 72 h. The authors therefore proposed, KerN as a novel ungual enhancer to increase the permeability of drug during topical application on nail plates. e. Inorganic salts Inorganic salts such as sodium phosphate can serve as excellent, non-toxic, cheap ungual permeation enhancers [46]. Optimum concentrations of these salts have ability to increase the nail hydration with increased thermodynamic activity of drug. Nair et al studied effect of different inorganic salts (ammonium carbonate, sodium phosphate, calcium phosphate, potassium phosphate , sodium sulphite) on transungual permeation of terbinafineHCl. All the above salts enhanced transungual permeation of terbinafine in nail plate by 3 ' 5 folds. Among this, sodium phosphate showed highest, 5 fold enhancement of terbinafine permeation as compared to control. A 0.5 M sodium phosphate was employed as permeation enhancer in polaxamer based terbinafine gel and transungual in-vitro diffusion studies was carried using Franz diffusion cell. The cumulative amount of terbinafine permeated after 24 h from the formulated gel was higher than control. Hence, inorganic salts such as sodium phosphate can serve as promising novel ungual penetration enhancers f. Lipid diffusion enhancers Maibach et al incorporated ciclopirox in an oily vehicle consisting of benzyl alcohol, peppermint oil, turpentine and mineral oil, for enhanced transungual permeation. In contrast to hydrogel nature of nail, this lipophilic formulation showed significant rate of penetration of ciclopirox compared to its commercial lacquer penlac after 11 days in vitro diffusion study on human nail plate[47]. Ciclopirox content into all three layers of nail plate and nail bed from the novel lipidic formulation was found to be significantly higher than penlac. The authors hypothesized that though hydrophilic pathway is predominant pathway for molecules to diffuse into the nail, there exist miniature lipidic pathway into the nail through which lipophilic moieties traverses and by passes the impenetrable keratin corneocytes. This new pathway can be studied and further explored to develop more efficacious ungual formulations. Thus an appropriate combination of hydrophilic and lipophilic enhancers is suspected to give optimum and efficacious drug delivery into ungual layers.
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The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 29, 114–123.(self) 6 [Book] Interaction of Media, Cognition, and Learning - Gavriel Salomon(self) 4 [Article] Oxygen and Diverse Nutrients Influence the Water Kefir Fermentation Process / Laureys D., Aerts M., Vandamme P., De Vuyst L.(self) 5 [Article] [HeinOnline] The Artificial Reason of the Law or: What Lawyers Know, by Charles Fried(self) 1 [Book] Structure And Mechanism In Protein Science: A Guide To Enzyme Catalysis And Protein Folding (Structural Biology) by Alan Fersht Reprint Edition(self) 3 [Article] Neurostimulation Therapies for Primary Headache Disorders: Present and Future(self) 3 [Article] Transcranial Direct-Current Stimulation Reduces Nociceptive Behaviour in an Orofacial Pain Model(self) 4 [Article] Characterization of Degradation Behavior for PLGA in Various pH Condition by Simple Liquid Chromatography Method Yoo, Je Young | Kim, Jong Min | Seo, Kwang Su | Jeong, Yong Kyun | Lee, Hai Bang | Khang, Gilson(self) 1 [Thesis] Winton, Douglas Walter(self) 3 [Article] Denis Muzerelle, “Dating Manuscripts: What Is at Stake in the Steps Usually (but Infrequently) Taken,”(self) 1 Needs Digitizing [ARTICLE] Francesca Ferrari - Il fatto notorio e la rete Internet(self) 1 Needs Digitizing [ARTICLE] Francesca Ferrari - Il fatto notorio e la rete Internet(self) 4 [Book] Practising Italian Grammar(self) 3 [Book] Growth, Distribution, and Prices(self) 5 [Book] Conflict and Cooperation in the Indo-Pacific New Geopolitical Realities Edited ByAsh Rossiter, Brendon J. 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Comprehensive Guide for getting into Home Recording

I'm going to borrow from a few sources and do my best to make this cohesive, but this question comes up a lot. I thought we had a comprehensive guide, but it doesn't appear so. In the absence of this, I feel that a lot of you could use a simple place to go for some basics on recording. There are a couple of great resources online already on some drumming forums, but I don't think they will be around forever.
Some background on myself - I have been drumming a long time. During that time, home recording has gone from using a cassette deck to having a full blown studio at your finger tips. The technology in the last 15 years has gotten so good it really is incredible. When I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life, I decided to go to school for audio engineering in a world-class studio. During this time I had access to the studio and was able to assist with engineering on several projects. This was awesome, and I came out with a working knowledge of SIGNAL CHAIN, how audio works in the digital realm, how microphones work, studio design, etc. Can I answer your questions? Yes.

First up: Signal Chain! This is the basic building block of recording. Ever seen a "I have this plugged in but am getting no sound!" thread? Yeah, signal chain.

A "Signal Chain" is the path your audio follows, from sound source, to the recording device, and back out of your monitors (speakers to you normies).
A typical complete signal chain might go something like this:
1] instrument/sound source 2] Microphone/TransducePickup 3] Cable 4] Mic Preamp/DI Box 5] Analog-to-Digital Converter 6] Digital transmission medium[digital data get recoded for usb or FW transfer] 7] Digital recording Device 8] DSP and Digital summing/playback engine 9] Digital-to-Analog Converter 10] Analog output stage[line outputs and output gain/volume control] 11] Monitors/Playback device[headphones/other transducers]
Important Terms, Definitions, and explanations (this will be where the "core" information is):
1] AD Conversion: the process by which the electrical signal is "converted" to a stream of digital code[binary, 1 and 0]. This is accomplished, basically, by taking digital pictures of the audio...and this is known as the "sampling rate/frequency" The number of "pictures" determines the frequency. So the CD standard of 44.1k is 44,100 "pictures" per second of digital code that represents the electrical "wave" of audio. It should be noted that in order to reproduce a frequency accuratly, the sampling rate must be TWICE that of the desired frequency (See: Nyquist-Shannon Theorem). So, a 44.1 digital audio device can, in fact, only record frequencies as high as 22.05khz, and in the real world, the actual upper frequency limit is lower, because the AD device employs a LOW-PASS filter to protect the circuitry from distortion and digital errors called "ALIASING." Confused yet? Don't worry, there's more... We haven't even talked about Bit depth! There are 2 settings for recording digitally: Sample Rate and Bit Depth. Sample rate, as stated above, determines the frequencies captured, however bit depth is used to get a better picture of the sample. Higher bit depth = more accurate sound wave representation. More on this here. Generally speaking, I record at 92KHz/24 bit depth. This makes huge files, but gets really accurate audio. Why does it make huge files? Well, if you are sampling 92,000 times per second, you are taking each sample and applying 24 bits to that, multiply it out and you get 92,000*24 = 2,208,000 bits per second or roughly 0.26MB per second for ONE TRACK. If that track is 5 minutes long, that is a file that is 78.96MB in size. Now lets say you used 8 inputs on an interface, that is, in total, 631.7MB of data. Wow, that escalates quick, right? There is something else to note as well here: Your CPU has to calculate this. So the amount of calculations it needs to perform for this same scenario is ~17.7 million calculations PER SECOND. This is why CPU speed and RAM is super important when recording digitally.
2] DA conversion: the process by which the digital code (the computer representation of a sound wave) is transformed back into electrcal energy in the proper shape. In a oversimplified explanation, the code is measured and the output of the convertor reflects the value of the code by changing voltage. Think of a sound wave on a grid: Frequency would represent the X axis (the horizontal axis)... but there is a vertical axis too. This is called AMPLITUDE or how much energy the wave is generating. People refer to this as how 'loud' a sound is, but that's not entirely correct. You can have a high amplitude wave that is played at a quiet volume. It's important to distinguish the two. How loud a sound is can be controlled by the volume on a speaker or transducer. But that has no impact on how much amplitude the sound wave has in the digital space or "in the wire" on its way to the transducer. So don't get hung up on how "loud" a waveform is, it is how much amplitude it has when talking about it "in the box" or before it gets to the speakeheadphone/whatever.
3] Cables: An often overlooked expense and tool, cables can in fact, make or break your recording. The multitudes of types of cable are determined by the connector, the gauge(thickness), shielding, type of conductor, etc... Just some bullet points on cables:
- Always get the highest quality cabling you can afford. Low quality cables often employ shielding that doesnt efectively protect against AC hums(60 cycle hum), RF interference (causing your cable to act as a gigantic AM/CB radio antenna), or grounding noise introduced by other components in your system. - The way cables are coiled and treated can determine their lifespan and effectiveness. A kinked cable can mean a broken shield, again, causing noise problems. - The standard in the USA for wiring an XLR(standard microphone) cable is: PIN 1= Cold/-, PIN 2= Hot/+, PIN 3=Ground/shield. Pin 3 carries phantom power, so it is important that the shield of your cables be intact and in good condition if you want to use your mic cables without any problems. - Cables for LINE LEVEL and HI-Z(instrument level) gear are not the same! - Line Level Gear, weather professional or consumer, should generally be used with balanced cables (on a 1/4" connector, it will have 3 sections and is commonly known as TRS -or- TipRingSleeve). A balanced 1/4" is essentially the same as a microphone cable, and in fact, most Professional gear with balanced line inputs and outputs will have XLR connectors instead of 1/4" connectors. - Hi-Z cable for instruments (guitars, basses, keyboards, or anything with a pickup) is UNBALANCED, and should be so. The introduction of a balanced cable can cause electricity to be sent backwards into a guitar and shock the guitar player. You may want this to happen, but your gear doesn't. There is some danger here as well, especially on stage, where the voltage CAN BE LETHAL. When running a guitabass/keyboard "Direct" into your interface, soundcard, or recording device, you should ALWAYS use a "DIRECT BOX", which uses a transformer to isolate and balance the the signal or you can use any input on the interface designated as a "Instrument" or "Hi-Z" input. It also changes some electrical properties, resulting in a LINE LEVEL output (it amplifies it from instrument level to line level).
4] Digital Data Transmissions: This includes S/PDIF, AES/EBU, ADAT, MADI. I'm gonna give a brief overview of this stuff, since its unlikely that alot of you will ever really have to think about it: - SDPIF= Sony Phillips Digital Interface Format. using RCA or TOSLINK connectors, this is a digital protocol that carries 3 streams of information. Digital audio Left, Digital Audio Right, and CLOCK. SPDIF generally supports 48khz/20bit information, though some modern devices can support up to 24bits, and up to 88.2khz. SPDIF is the consumer format of AES/EBU - AES/EBU= Audio Engineering Society/European Breadcasters Union Digital protocol uses a special type of cable often terminated with XLR connectors to transmit 2 channels of Digital Audio. AES/EBU is found mostly on expensive professional digital gear. - ADAT= the Alesis Digital Audio Tape was introduced in 1991, and was the first casette based system capable of recording 8 channels of digital audio onto a single cartridge(a SUPER-VHS tape, same one used by high quality VCR's). Enough of the history, its not so important because we are talking about ADAT-LIGHTPIPE Protocol, which is a digital transmission protocol that uses fiberoptic cable and devices to send up to 8 channels of digital audio simultaneously and in sync. ADAT-Lightpipe supports up to 48khz sample rates. This is how people expand the number of inputs by chaining interfaces. - MADI is something you will almost never encounter. It is a protocol that allows up to 64 channels of digital audio to be transmitted over a single cable that is terminated by BNC connectors. Im just telling you it exists so in case you ever encounter a digital snake that doesnt use Gigabit Ethernet, you will know whats going on.
digital transmission specs: SPDIF -> clock->2Ch->RCA cable(consumer) ADAT-Lightpipe->clock->8Ch->Toslink(semi-pro) SPDIF-OPTICAL->clock->2Ch->Toslink(consumer) AES/EBU->clock->2Ch->XLR(Pro) TDIF->clock->8Ch->DSub(Semi-Pro) ______________ MADI->no clock->64Ch->BNC{rare except in large scale pofessional apps} SDIF-II->no clock->24Ch->DSub{rare!} AES/EBU-13->no clock->24Ch->DSub
5] MICROPHONES: There are many types of microphones, and several names for each type. The type of microphone doesn't equate to the polar pattern of the microphone. There are a few common polar patterns in microphones, but there are also several more that are less common. These are the main types- Omni-Directional, Figure 8 (bi-directional), Cardioid, Super Cardioid, Hyper Cardioid, Shotgun. Some light reading.... Now for the types of microphones: - Dynamic Microphones utilize polarized magnets to convert acoustical energy into electrical energy. there are 2 types of dynamic microphones: 1) Moving Coil microphones are the most common type of microphone made. They are also durable, and capable of handling VERY HIGH SPL (sound pressure levels). 2) Ribbon microphones are rare except in professional recording studios. Ribbon microphones are also incredibly fragile. NEVER EVER USE PHANTOM POWER WITH A RIBBON MICROPHONE, IT WILL DIE (unless it specifically requires it, but I've only ever seen this on one Ribbon microphone ever). Sometimes it might even smoke or shoot out a few sparks; applying phantom power to a Ribbon Microphone will literally cause the ribbon, which is normally made from Aluminum, to MELT. Also, windblasts and plosives can rip the ribbon, so these microphones are not suitible for things like horns, woodwinds, vocals, kick drums, or anything that "pushes air." There have been some advances in Ribbon microphones and they are getting to be more common, but they are still super fragile and you have to READ THE MANUAL CAREFULLY to avoid a $1k+ mistake. - CondenseCapacitor Microphones use an electrostatic charge to convert acoustical energy into electrical energy. The movement of the diaphragm(often metal coated mylar) toward a ceramic "backplate" causes a fluctuation in the charge, which is then amplified inside the microphone and output as an electrical signal. Condenser microphones usually use phantom power to charge the capacitors' and backplate in order to maintain the electrostatic charge. There are several types of condenser microphones: 1) Tube Condenser Microphones: historically, this type of microphone has been used in studios since the 1940s, and has been refined and redesigned hundreds, if not thousands of times. Some of the "best sounding" and most desired microphones EVER MADE are Tube Condenser microphones from the 50's and 60's. These vintage microphones, in good condition, with the original TUBES can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Tube mics are known for sounding "full", "warm", and having a particular character, depending on the exact microphone. No 2 tubes mics, even of the same model, will sound the same. Similar, but not the same. Tube mics have their own power supplies, which are not interchangeable to different models. Each tube mic is a different design, and therefore, has different power requirements. 2) FET Condenser microphones: FET stands for "Field Effect Transistor" and the technology allowed condenser microphones to be miniturized. Take for example, the SHURE beta98s/d, which is a minicondenser microphone. FET technology is generally more transparant than tube technology, but can sometimes sound "harsh" or "sterile". 3) Electret Condenser Microphones are a condenser microphone that has a permanent charge, and therefore, does not require phantom power; however, the charge is not truly permanent, and these mics often use AA or 9V batteries, either inside the mic, or on a beltpack. These are less common.
Other important things to know about microphones:
- Pads, Rolloffs, etc: Some mics have switches or rotating collars that notate certain things. Most commonly, high pass filters/lowcut filters, or attenuation pads. 1) A HP/LC Filter does exactly what you might think: Removes low frequency content from the signal at a set frequency and slope. Some microphones allow you to switch the rolloff frequency. Common rolloff frequencies are 75hz, 80hz, 100hz, 120hz, 125hz, and 250hz. 2) A pad in this example is a switch that lowers the output of the microphone directly after the capsule to prevent overloading the input of a microphone preamplifier. You might be asking: How is that possible? Some microphones put out a VERY HIGH SIGNAL LEVEL, sometimes about line level(-10/+4dbu), mic level is generally accepted to start at -75dbu and continues increasing until it becomes line level in voltage. It should be noted that linel level signals are normally of a different impedance than mic level signals, which is determined by the gear. An example for this would be: I mic the top of a snare drum with a large diaphragm condenser mic (solid state mic, not tube) that is capable of handling very high SPLs (sound pressure levels). When the snare drum is played, the input of the mic preamp clips (distorts), even with the gain turned all the way down. To combat this, I would use a pad with enough attenuation to lower the signal into the proper range of input (-60db to -40 db). In general, it is accepted to use a pad with only as much attentuation as you need, plus a small margin of error for extra “headroom”. What this means is that if you use a 20db pad where you only need a 10db pad, you will then have to add an additional 10db of gain to achieve a desireable signal level. This can cause problems, as not all pads sound good, or even transparent, and can color and affect your signal in sometimes unwanted ways that are best left unamplified. - Other mic tips/info: 1) when recording vocals, you should always use a popfilter. A pop filter mounted on a gooseneck is generally more effective than a windscreen made of foam that slips over the microphone. The foam type often kill the highfrequency response, alter the polar pattern, and can introduce non-linear polarity problems(part of the frequency spectrum will be out of phase.) If you don't have a pop filter or don't want to spend on one, buy or obtain a hoop of some kind, buy some cheap panty-hose and stretch it over the hoop to build your own pop filter. 2) Terms Related to mics: - Plosives: “B”, “D”, “F”, “G”, “J”, “P”, “T” hard consonants and other vocal sounds that cause windblasts. These are responsible for a low frequency pop that can severly distort the diaphragm of the microphone, or cause a strange inconsistency of tonality by causing a short term proximity effect.
- Proximity effect: An exponential increase in low frequency response causes by having a microphone excessivly close to a sound. This can be cause by either the force of the air moving actually causes the microphone’s diaphragm to move and sometimes distort, usually on vocalists or buy the buildup of low frequency soundwaves due to off-axis cancellation ports. You cannot get proximity effect on an omnidirectional microphone. With some practice, you can use proximity effect to your advantage, or as an effect. For example, if you are recording someone whispering and it sounds thin or weak and irritating due to the intenese high mid and high frequency content, get the person very close to a cardioid microphone with two popfilters, back to back approx 1/2”-1” away from the mic and set your gain carefully, and you can achieve a very intimite recording of whispering. In a different scenario, you can place a mic inside of a kick drum between 1”-3” away from the inner shell, angled up and at the point of impact, and towards the floor tom. This usually captures a huge low end, and the sympathetic vibration of the floor tom on the kick drum hits, but retains a clarity of attack without being distorted by the SPL of the drum and without capturing unplesant low-mid resonation of the kick drum head and shell that is common directly in the middle of the shell.
6) Wave Envelope: The envelope is the graphical representation of a sound wave commonly found in a DAW. There are 4 parts to this: Attack, Decay, Sustain, Release: 1) Attack is how quickly the sound reaches its peak amplitude; 2) Decay is the time it takes to reach the sustain level; 3) Sustain how long a sound remains at a certain level (think of striking a tom, the initial smack is attack, then it decays to the resonance of the tom, how long it resonates is the sustain); 4) Release is the amount of time before the sustain stops. This is particularly important as these are also the settings on a common piece of gear called a Compressor! Understanding the envelope of a sound is key to learning how to maniuplate it.
7) Phase Cancellation: This is one of the most important concepts in home recording, especially when looking at drums. I'm putting it in this section because it matters so much. Phase Cancellation is what occurs when the same frequencies occur at different times. To put it simply, frequency amplitudes are additive - meaning if you have 2 sound waves of the same frequency, one amplitude is +4 and the other is +2, the way we percieve sound is that the frequency is +6. But a sound wave has a positive and negative amplitude as it travels (like a wave in the ocean with a peak and a swell). If the frequency then has two sources and it is 180 degrees out of phase, that means one wave is at +4 while the other is at -4. This sums to 0, or cancels out the wave. Effectively, you would hear silence. This is why micing techniques are so important, but we'll get into that later. I wanted this term at the top, and will likely mention it again.

Next we can look at the different types of options to actually record your sound!

1) Handheld/All in one/Field Recorders: I don't know if portable cassette tape recorders are still around, but that's an example of one. These are (or used to) be very popular with journalists because they were pretty decent at capturing speech. They do not fare too well with music though. Not too long ago, we saw the emergence of the digital field recorder. These are really nifty little devices. They come in many shapes, sizes and colors, and can be very affordable. They run on batteries, and have built-in microphones, and record digitally onto SD cards or harddiscs. The more simple ones have a pair of built-in condenser microphones, which may or may not be adjustable, and record onto an SD-card. They start around $99 (or less if you don't mind buying refurbished). You turn it on, record, connect the device itself or the SD card to your computer, transfer the file(s) and there is your recording! An entry-level example is the Tascam DR-05. It costs $99. It has two built in omni-directional mics, comes with a 2GB microSD card and runs on two AA batteries. It can record in different formats, the highest being 24-bit 96KHz Broadcast WAV, which is higher than DVD quality! You can also choose to record as an MP3 (32-320kbps) if you need to save space on the SD card or if you're simply going to record a speech/conference or upload it on the web later on. It's got a headphone jack and even small built-in speakers. It can be mounted onto a tripod. And it's about the size of a cell phone. The next step up (although there are of course many options that are price and feature-wise inbetween this one and the last) is a beefier device like the Zoom H4n. It's got all the same features as the Tascam DR-05 and more! It has two adjustable built-in cardioid condenser mics in an XY configuration (you can adjust the angle from a 90-120 degree spread). On the bottom of the device, there are two XLR inputs with preamps. With those, you can expand your recording possibilities with two external microphones. The preamps can send phantom power, so you can even use very nice studio mics. All 4 channels will be recorded independantly, so you can pop them onto your computer later and mix them with software. This device can also act as a USB interface, so instead of just using it as a field recorder, you can connect it directly to your computer or to a DSLR camera for HD filming. My new recommendation for this category is actually the Yamaha EAD10. It really is the best all-in-one solution for anyone that wants to record their kit audio with a great sound. It sports a kick drum trigger (mounts to the rim of the kick) with an x-y pattern set of microphones to pick up the rest of the kit sound. It also has on-board effects, lots of software integration options and smart features through its app. It really is a great solution for anyone who wants to record without reading this guide.
The TL;DR of this guide is - if it seems like too much, buy the Yamaha EAD10 as a simple but effective recording solution for your kit.

2) USB Microphones: There are actually mics that you an plug in directly to your computer via USB. The mics themselves are their own audio interfaces. These mics come in many shapes and sizes, and offer affordable solutions for basic home recording. You can record using a DAW or even something simple like the stock windows sound recorder program that's in the acessories folder of my Windows operating system. The Blue Snowflake is very affordable at $59. It can stand alone or you can attach it to your laptop or your flat screen monitor. It can record up to 44.1kHz, 16-bit WAV audio, which is CD quality. It's a condenser mic with a directional cardioid pickup pattern and has a full frequency response - from 35Hz-20kHz. It probably won't blow you away, but it's a big departure from your average built-in laptop, webcam, headset or desktop microphone. The Audio Technica AT2020 USB is a USB version of their popular AT2020 condenser microphone. At $100 it costs a little more than the regular version. The AT2020 is one of the finest mics in its price range. It's got a very clear sound and it can handle loud volumes. Other companies like Shure and Samson also offer USB versions of some of their studio mics. The AT2020 USB also records up to CD-quality audio and comes with a little desktop tripod. The MXL USB.009 mic is an all-out USB microphone. It features a 1 inch large-diaphragm condenser capsule and can record up to 24-bit 96kHz WAV audio. You can plug your headphones right into the mic (remember, it is its own audio interface) so you can monitor your recordings with no latency, as opposed to doing so with your computer. Switches on the mic control the gain and can blend the mic channel with playback audio. Cost: $399. If you already have a mic, or you don't want to be stuck with just a USB mic, you can purcase a USB converter for your existing microphone. Here is a great review of four of them.
3) Audio Recording Interfaces: You've done some reading up on this stuff... now you are lost. Welcome to the wide, wide world of Audio Interfaces. These come in all different shapes and sizes, features, sampling rates, bit depths, inputs, outputs, you name it. Welcome to the ocean, let's try to help you find land.
- An audio interface, as far as your computer is concerned, is an external sound card. It has audio inputs, such as a microphone preamp and outputs which connect to other audio devices or to headphones or speakers. The modern day recording "rig" is based around a computer, and to get the sound onto your computer, an interface is necessary. All computers have a sound card of some sort, but these have very low quality A/D Converters (analog to digital) and were not designed with any kind of sophisticated audio recording in mind, so for us they are useless and a dedicated audio interface must come into play.
- There are hundreds of interfaces out there. Most commonly they connect to a computer via USB or Firewire. There are also PCI and PCI Express-based interfaces for desktop computers. The most simple interfaces can record one channel via USB, while others can record up to 30 via firewire! All of the connection types into the computer have their advantages and drawbacks. The chances are, you are looking at USB, Firewire, or Thunderbolt. As far as speeds, most interfaces are in the same realm as far as speed is concerned but thunderbolt is a faster data transfer rate. There are some differences in terms of CPU load. Conflict handling (when packages collide) is handled differently. USB sends conflict resolution to the CPU, Firewire handles it internally, Thunderbolt, from what I could find, sends it to the CPU as well. For most applications, none of them are going to be superior from a home-recording standpoint. When you get up to 16/24 channels in/out simultaneously, it's going to matter a lot more.
- There are a number of things to consider when choosing an audio interface. First off your budget, number of channels you'd like to be able to record simultaneously, your monitoring system, your computer and operating system and your applications. Regarding budget, you have to get real. $500 is not going to get you a rig with the ability to multi-track a drum set covered in mics. Not even close! You might get an interface with 8 channels for that much, but you have to factor in the cost of everything, including mics, cables, stands, monitors/headphones, software, etc... Considerations: Stereo Recording or Multi-Track Recording? Stereo Recording is recording two tracks: A left and right channel, which reflects most audio playback systems. This doesn't necessarily mean you are simply recording with two mics, it means that what your rig is recording onto your computer is a single stereo track. You could be recording a 5-piece band with 16 mics/channels, but if you're recording in stereo, all you're getting is a summation of those 16 tracks. This means that in your recording software, you won't be able to manipulate any of those channels independantly after you recorded them. If the rack tom mic wasn't turned up loud enough, or you want to mute the guitars, you can't do that, because all you have is a stereo track of everything. It's up to you to get your levels and balance and tone right before you hit record. If you are only using two mics or lines, then you will have individual control over each mic/line after recording. Commonly, you can find 2 input interfaces and use a sub-mixer taking the left/right outputs and pluging those into each channel of the interface. Some mixers will output a stereo pair into a computer as an interface, such as the Allen&Heath ZED16. If you want full control over every single input, you need to multi-track. Each mic or line that you are recording with will get it's own track in your DAW software, which you can edit and process after the fact. This gives you a lot of control over a recording, and opens up many mixing options, and also many more issues. Interfaces that facilitate multitracking include Presonus FireStudio, Focusrite Scarlett interfaces, etc. There are some mixers that are also interfaces, such as the Presonus StudioLive 16, but these are very expensive. There are core-card interfaces as well, these will plug in directly to your motherboard via PCI or PCI-Express slots. Protools HD is a core-card interface and requires more hardware than just the card to work. I would recommend steering clear of these until you have a firm grasp of signal chain and digital audio, as there are more affordable solutions that will yield similar results in a home-environment.

DAW - Digital Audio Workstation

I've talked a lot about theory, hardware, signal chain, etc... but we need a way to interpret this data. First off what does a DAW do? Some refer to them as DAE's (Digital Audio Editors). You could call it a virtual mixing board , however that isn't entirely correct. DAWs allow you to record, control, mix and manipulate independant audio signals. You can change their volume, add effects, splice and dice tracks, combine recorded audio with MIDI-generated audio, record MIDI tracks and much much more. In the old days, when studios were based around large consoles, the actual audio needed to be recorded onto some kind of medium - analog tape. The audio signals passed through the boards, and were printed onto the tape, and the tape decks were used to play back the audio, and any cutting, overdubbing etc. had to be done physically on the tape. With a DAW, your audio is converted into 1's and 0's through the converters on your interface when you record, and so computers and their harddiscs have largely taken the place of reel-to-reel machines and analog tape.
Here is a list of commonly used DAWs in alphabetical order: ACID Pro Apple Logic Cakewalk SONAR Digital Performer FL (Fruity Loops) Studio (only versions 8 and higher can actually record Audio I believe) GarageBand PreSonus Studio One Pro Tools REAPER Propellerhead Reason (version 6 has combined Reason and Record into one software, so it now is a full audio DAW. Earlier versions of Reason are MIDI based and don't record audio) Propellerhead Record (see above) Steinberg Cubase Steinberg Nuendo
There are of course many more, but these are the main contenders. [Note that not all DAWs actually have audio recording capabilities (All the ones I listed do, because this thread is about audio recording), because many of them are designed for applications like MIDI composing, looping, etc. Some are relatively new, others have been around for a while, and have undergone many updates and transformations. Most have different versions, that cater to different types of recording communities, such as home recording/consumer or professional.
That's a whole lot of choices. You have to do a lot of research to understand what each one offers, what limitations they may have etc... Logic, Garageband and Digital Performer for instance are Mac-only. ACID Pro, FL Studio and SONAR will only run on Windows machines. Garageband is free and is even pre-installed on every Mac computer. Most other DAWs cost something.
Reaper is a standout. A non-commercial license only costs $60. Other DAWs often come bundled with interfaces, such as ProTools MP with M-Audio interfaces, Steinberg Cubase LE with Lexicon Interfaces, Studio One with Presonus Interfaces etc. Reaper is a full function, professional, affordable DAW with a tremendous community behind it. It's my recommendation for everyone, and comes with a free trial. It is universally compatible and not hardware-bound.
You of course don't have to purchase a bundle. Your research might yield that a particular interface will suit your needs well, but the software that the same company offers or even bundles isn't that hot. As a consumer you have a plethora of software and hardware manufacturers competing for your business and there is no shortage of choice. One thing to think about though is compatability and customer support. With some exceptions, technically you can run most DAWs with most interfaces. But again, don't just assume this, do your research! Also, some DAWs will run smoother on certain interfaces, and might experience problems on others. It's not a bad thing to assume that if you purchase the software and hardware from the same company, they're at least somewhat optimized for eachother. In fact, ProTools, until recently would only run on Digidesign (now AVID) and M-Audio interfaces. While many folks didn't like being limited to their hardware choices to run ProTools, a lot of users didn't mind, because I think that at least in part it made ProTools run smoother for everyone, and if you did have a problem, you only had to call up one company. There are many documented cases where consumers with software and hardware from different companies get the runaround:
Software Company X: "It's a hardware issue, call Hardware Company Z". Hardware Company Z: "It's a software issue, call Software Company X".
Another thing to research is the different versions of softwares. Many of them have different versions at different pricepoints, such as entry-level or student versions all the way up to versions catering to the pros. Cheaper versions come with limitations, whether it be a maximum number of audio tracks you can run simultaneously, plug-ins available or supported Plug-In formats and lack of other features that the upper versions have. Some Pro versions might require you to run certain kinds of hardware. I don't have time nor the will to do research on individual DAW's, so if any of you want to make a comparison of different versions of a specific DAW, be my guest! In the end, like I keep stressing - we each have to do our own research.
A big thing about the DAW that it is important to note is this: Your signal chain is your DAW. It is the digital representation of that chain and it is important to understand it in order to properly use that DAW. It is how you route the signal from one spot to another, how you move it through a sidechain compressor or bus the drums into the main fader. It is a digital representation of a large-format recording console, and if you don't understand how the signal gets from the sound source to your monitor (speaker), you're going to have a bad time.

Playback - Monitors are not just for looking at!

I've mentioned monitors several times and wanted to touch on these quickly: Monitors are whatever you are using to listen to the sound. These can be headphones, powered speakers, unpowered speakers, etc. The key thing here is that they are accurate. You want a good depth of field, you want as wide a frequency response as you can get, and you want NEARFIELD monitors. Unless you are working with a space that can put the monitor 8' away from you, 6" is really the biggest speaker size you need. At that point, nearfield monitors will reproduce the audio frequency range faithfully for you. There are many options here, closed back headphones, open back headphones, studio monitors powered, and unpowered (require a separate poweramp to drive the monitor). For headphones, I recommend AKG K271, K872, Sennheiser HD280 Pro, etc. There are many options, but if mixing on headphones I recommend spending some good money on a set. For Powered Monitors, there's really only one choice I recommend: Kali Audio LP-6 monitors. They are, dollar for dollar, the best monitors you can buy for a home studio, period. These things contend with Genelecs and cost a quarter of the price. Yes, they still cost a bit, but if you're going to invest, invest wisely. I don't recommend unpowered monitors, as if you skimp on the poweramp they lose all the advantages you gain with monitors. Just get the powered monitors if you are opting for not headphones.

Drum Mic'ing Guide, I'm not going to re-create the wheel.


That's all for now, this has taken some time to put together (a couple hourse now). I can answer other questions as they pop up. I used a few sources for the information, most notably some well-put together sections on the Pearl Drummers Forum in the recording section. I know a couple of the users are no longer active there, but if you see this and think "Hey, he ripped me off!", you're right, and thanks for allowing me to rip you off!

A couple other tips that I've come across for home recording:
You need to manage your gain/levels when recording. Digital is NOT analog! What does this mean? You should be PEAKING (the loudest the signal gets) around -12dB to -15dB on your meters. Any hotter than that and you are overdriving your digital signal processors.
What sound level should my master bus be at for Youtube?
Bass Traps 101
Sound Proofing 101
submitted by M3lllvar to drums [link] [comments]

Compendium of Elements: A Guide to Storm Seals

Storm as we know it is entirely about slinging elements across the battlefield in support of their team. In certain cases their damage can be fantastic solo, but I have come to realize they really shine in the support department. Having a large variety of primers and detonators allow them to adapt and control combat from afar, which is easy considering their extended hover time. I can tell you as someone who has recently watched gameplay of other Javelins that having an aerial view of the battle is vastly underrated. In addition to all your control aspects, you more or less become a scout from the skies. Letting your friends know of incoming danger has been my personal role in my group.

I wanted to go over the abilities of the Storm Javelin and give my musings on each, as well as my favored combinations of Focus Seals and Blast Seals. That said a lot of it will still be my opinion, and I'm only making this write up in order to help other Storms(and the curious) with understanding their javelin of choice. I will only be going over abilities, as components are their own bag of cats that I might cover in another "compendium". Now let us get into it, starting with the Focus Seals. I will be using (O) for denoting a primer, and (X) for detonator.
(If I'm inaccurate in any of my statements, please correct me in a comment and I'll update the post.)

Focus Seals

- Glacial Spear / Black Ice (X)
Since last week, this Focus seal has grown on me greatly. It is a strong Ice ability detonator with a charge up, and only one charge. Besides the incredible range, this ability has the quality of being able to hit weak points, which greatly turns up how deadly it is. In terms of damage, it sits in the middle of the pack when compared to other abilities, but can definitely feel like a harder hitting Seal when you critical hit. While it shoots a single beam of frost, I've noticed that it actually hits twice. I'm not sure if that's exclusive to a critical hit but it's most noticeable when you crit as you get 2 large numbers popping up right next to each other.
The Masterwork perk on Black Ice states that it freezes nearby enemies upon combo-defeating an enemy with it. While that reads as a powerful effect, I've noticed that the "nearby" range is rather close to the defeated target. It's definitely not triggering-an-Ice-combo large. If you really are aiming to abuse this effect I'd say whittle down an enemy with your weapon when they spawn in, and then hit them with your primer. Typically 3 enemies will be within the "nearby" range at that point, and getting a group freeze on a spawn is always handy. My only issue with the Seal is that it comes stock with only one charge. The recharge is decently fast, but even with a healthy amount of +Speed% this ability isn't always ready when you think it might be. If you are playing an all elemental build, I suggest having a weapon that can make up the difference while its on cooldown.

- Frost Shards / Chaotic Rime (O)
For such a weak Seal this ability is probably the best crowd control primer in the game. Holding down the activation button, you start firing off a quick series of far-reaching, hard seeking darts of ice. While you won't be freezing enemies across the map it still has a deceptively long range and it only needs 3-4 of the base 10 charges in order to freeze low-rank red bar enemies. Even bigger enemies like Elite Enforcers freeze in no time considering the "fire rate" of the ability. It should be noted that if you have high enough +Speed% for this Seal that you can infinitely fire this ability without it ever running out of charges, as you simply gain back your 10th charge too quickly before it goes below the 9th charge. Unconfirmed whether or not this is a bug, but it is purely beneficial in any case. This quality is what makes this Seal so good at crowd control, as you can basically lock down an entire group of unshielded enemies given how long freeze lasts for.
The Masterwork perk of Chaotic Rime is that it gives a 125% boost to your Blast Seal for 20 seconds after you freeze a target. This is the balance to the ability having the lowest damage available across all Storm abilities. However, the damage augment is noticeable at every difficulty rank, and can be devastating even if you don't use a detonator follow up. Honestly my only gripe with the ability is that it puts you in a corner with your Blast Seal selection, as it syncs with Lightning Strike/Ponder Infinity so much better compared to other options.

- Shock Burst / Seal of the Open Mind (O)
I'll be forward and say I haven't played much with this ability. What little I have played of it has shown little in terms of overall effectiveness. If you want an ability that can strip shields well, this one can certainly do the job. Opposite of Glacial SpeaBlack Ice, the projectile of this Seal seemingly goes far but the effective range is actually much shorter. The one thing I found myself struggling with was the projectile travel time. With so many other abilities that hit-scan or travel nigh-instantly its quite the shift, and can be punishing at first given that enemies move so much. There is a slight homing quality but in my experience its not enough unless the enemy is running directly away from you. The learning curve is made steeper by the fact you only have 1 charge. I found myself playing overall a lot closer to enemies to ensure the projectile hit. In my eyes the most stand out quality of this projectile ability is the damage, which is just a hair under Lighting Strike/Ponder Infinity, placing it 3rd in terms of damage power across Storm abilities.
The Masterwork perk for Seal of the Open Mind is that it will instantly recharge once per 5 seconds upon hitting an enemy while in the air. I find this perk difficult to notice, as there's no audio queue to tell me it has activated. Admittedly, if it shows up on the left side of the UI like buffs do, I have not recognized it amidst combat. That is ultimately more something in design rather than a flaw with the ability itself. Fortunately the MW perk is on hit and not defeat, making it much easier to manage if you are much more aware of the goings-on with your UI.

- Arc Burst / Stasis Chain
Right off the bat, this ability is the strongest damage-wise in the Storm arsenal. It comes with 1 charge, and is a charge up ability. The power is definitely why you'd bring this Seal to the fight as it can shear health bars no problem, if not kill targets outright, even in GM1. The innate perk is that it spits out 2 more lightning bolts that jump to other targets from the origin target, all doing the same damage. When I originally ran this ability I was certain it primed enemies with electricity, but I've since come to realize it was simply the electrical effect zipping around the target's body.
Stasis Chain's Masterwork perk is just as straight forward as the base ability itself: hit a target, it explodes with lightning. I've noticed the explosion number being Purple colored, while the initial hit is grey colored. My only guess as to why this is is to differentiate the damages so you as the player know that the perk is working. The seal is by far the most straight forward, but it does it's job well. The only downside to this power is the noticeable recharge time. It is similar to Glacial Spear in that regard that even with buffs, it is often a fraction of a second off from being ready when you think it is.

- Burning Orb / Ten Thousand Suns (X)
Widely used and widely loved, this Seal is flexible and more powerful than it lets on initially. Out of the gate you'll have 5 charges that you can use in two ways. The first is by throwing a wisp of fire at you intended target by simply tapping the activation button, the second is by charging it up and throwing a massive fireball. The charged fireball makes for this ability's detonator quality. The fire wisps seem to have limited range, where as the fireball will seemingly go cross-map; more than far enough for most engagements. The damage is also magnified with the charge up, doing little over double damage on a full charge. Another aspect of the fireball is that it has a rather sizeable blast radius with a naturally high impact quality. Even near misses will send enemies flying back from the epicenter of the explosion. If you use this charge function exclusively, there's virtually no way you'll run out of charges.
Ten Thousand Suns' Masterwork perk is effective in essentially all cases. It gains a stack of +5% damage per hit on an opponent, up to a max of 20 stacks netting you +100% damage. Though, the buff and stacks only last 5 seconds. If you're actively using this ability as your main source of damage, keeping up stacks never becomes a problem until enemies become scarce, which considering how weird spawns can be is an issue to be mindful of. Ideally with good +Speed% and/or +Charges%, you throw enough wisps until you're at your last charge, then charge up and hold as long as you can to let your charges back. Basically just exchange between the two modes of fire until you're at max stacks. I legitimately haven't found much issue with this ability in general besides a slightly slow recharge, but if I consistently use Fireballs its never truly a problem.

Blast Seals

- Living Flame / Binary Star (O)
I vaguely remember something weeks ago regarding this ability and the next, in that while they are not listed as primers, they certainly do prime. Whether the base or the masterwork, you send out motes of flame that seek out targets at a rather leisurely pace and ignite them. By no means the strongest of abilities but if you constantly find yourself seeking out enemies that are utilizing cover this Seal might be worth a test drive. I have limited experience with this ability, mostly because the damage it deals is a bit underwhelming and can be random, especially for a skill with 1 charge. I'll detail that below.
The Masterwork perk of Binary Star is simply sending out two motes of flame instead of one. This does hit each target 2 times on contact, in addition to igniting them. The unique aspect of this ability is also its most inconsistent. The motes will seek out enemies and hit them 1 by 1 randomly. Yet in my testing there are two things that need to be taken into account: 1) If there is only one target when you cast this Seal, it will make contact only once, and the projectiles will disappear and 2) If there are multiple targets, "flight time" for the projectiles cost up time on the active duration. The first instance is pretty self explanatory, and essentially means you only ever want to cast it at a group. The second case entails that it can ping off multiple targets, but how many is determined by the distance between them. One last note: if there are two enemies in very close proximity, the motes will continually bounce between the targets within its duration, generating the most DPS possible with the ability.

- Ice Blast / Hail Storm (O)
As above, while not listed in the skill description this ability does in fact prime at target by freezing them. Like Living Flame/Binary Star this 1-charge Ice ability has a bit of randomness baked into it, but it is based entirely on your aim and proximity to the target. When you cast this Seal it sends out 5 ice chunks out in a shotgun-star pattern. The damage is pretty nice but really only if you connect with all 5 of the projectiles. Their spread seems to have a cap at farther ranges, but they are effected by gravity, meaning you really should only be doing this either at close range or close-to directly above your target.
Hail Storm's masterwork perk is unique in that it's the only one in Storm's arsenal that has a regenerative quality: Getting a kill while hovering gives you 75% of you shields back. On paper that is an excellent perk, but in actuality there are few things that work against this. Storm javelins typically want to play at a distance, and this ability asks you to be close in order to get the most benefit. Additionally, depending on the difficulty, there are two states of being: being amidst everything and not feeling threatened, or being on the verge of death while fleeing. I feel that if you have this ability, and are critically wounded, that going for the hail-Mary to get your shields back is not worth the risk. At the moment even Storm shields while hovering feel weak. This Seal just feels counter-intuitive to natural Storm game play.

- Lightning Strike / Ponder Infinity (X)
While Arc Burst/Stasis Chain on paper has the most damage, I'd confidently say that this ability is the true top dog when you factor in detonation quality. The damage it deals is well justified for a 1-charge Seal. It is also one of three abilities the Storm has that you can hold down the activation button in order to see a AOE-template. Where as the other two abilities will go off as soon as you begin to hold the activation button, this skill will wait until you release the button. You can forgo this option by simply tapping said button, dropping the bolt on your reticle's current location. It hits a wider area than the strike itself, so its not bad into tight groupings of enemies.
The masterwork perk on Ponder Infinity is a self buff upon a combo, granting a 60% boost to electric damage while hovering. More damage is better damage, and you're more than likely going to be in the air anyways, so it fits rather nicely in any Storm player's gameplay. A slightly slow cooldown is a fair drawback, but with enough cooldown reduction and a consistent Focus Seal to cover the downtime it ends up not being so bad.

- Flame Burst / Venomous Blaze (O*)
A solid fire-damage ability with 5 charges that hits hard and wide, and instantly. This ability can completely shutdown an enemy spawn with its large AoE, clearing low-tier red bars with ease and damaging harder targets for a decent chuck of their health bar. Personally I've been using this as a means to burn through shielded enemies, and especially against Dominion who have the Wolven and Frost beasts, who take more damage from fire. Its simple and effective, and allows for safe aerial gameplay from a distance given its hit-scan quality.
Venomous Blaze is special with its Masterwork perk in that it grants access to a damage type otherwise unavailable to the Storm javelin: acid. Upon a third consecutive hit to *enemies*, not enemy, you apply an acid primer to targets in the AOE. So you can tag two lesser enemies and then move over to a beefy one and lay damage AND acid on it. This is why this entry has an asterisk. Proper placement of that acid hit adds a level of depth not found with other abilities. In total, you have a multi-charge multi-explosion ability that can hit from any distance and prime with a strong damage type. Unfortunately, all is not perfect and this Seal has a pretty slow cooldown, and I wholly advise finding a roll with +Speed% or +Charges%.

- Ice Storm / Winter's Wrath (O)
The last ability on our list is another favorite among Storms, and rightly so considering what it can do. Much like Flame Burst/ Venomous Blaze, you lay down an wide AOE-template and everything in the radius is slammed with a heavy ice effect and a bit of damage, all at hit-scan speed. In most cases red-bars this Seal will instantly freeze inside the template, and prime them for a follow up from yourself or your team. Similar to Chaotic Rime when the recharge rate is high enough, you can freeze an entire enemy spawn within 1 or 2 of its 3 charges. Being an aerial javelin, a Storm can stay far away while still controlling the battlefield with this ability. It might not hit hard, but the freeze always ends up being worth it, just ask your local Colossus.
Winter's Wrath's masterwork perk is in my opinion the least effective out of all others available to the Storm. Simply, once per 10 seconds defeating an enemy while hovering fully recharges the ability. It sounds nifty at first read, but in practice the ability just doesn't have the killing power in most cases, and is a primer. Chances are your Focus seal is a detonator, or you have an ally looking at a fresh group of frozen enemies and is about to detonate them themselves. I wish it had a perk like Chaotic Rime, a perk acknowledging that it itself lacks power but after doing its job buffs the other Seal for a potent combo. In closing, this ability like others with strong effects and multiple charges has noticeably slow cool down.

Focus and Blast Seal Combinations

If you have made this far, I am very appreciative. This section will be no where near as long as it is mostly opinion with a side of practiced thought. I will detail two popular combinations and offer my own personal favorite. Going forward, I will be using the masterwork variants of abilities, as they are likely the versions you will be using in late game.

- Chaotic Rime and Ponder Infinity
Crowd control and pin-point power is the aim of this combination. Everything you touch with Rime gets frozen and primed, giving you and your team some valuable breathing room. Unshielded enemies are helpless if you build for the infinite charges on Chaotic Rime, and in the case you come across a shielded enemy just drop a Ponder on them to remove it, and follow up with a freeze until Ponder comes back. The combo power of this pairing also leans well on crowd control, as is the nature of ice chain-combos.

- Winter's Wrath and Ten Thousand Suns
Massive area freeze and priming, with massive area explosion. Wrath is stronger than Rime, but Suns is weaker than Ponder. You ultimately achieve the same goal with this pairing, but your damage is more balanced over the engagement instead of being in bursts. Drop a Wrath AOE to prime a group, detonate with fireball. If your cool down speeds through gear aren't up to par, just be mindful of Wrath's masterwork perk. Sometimes there's that one straggler barely hanging on that you can snuff out to get a timely refill. Overall the flow with this setup is much more steady, and is easier to get into a rhythm with. Wrath is already a nice freeze-control ability, and the combo ability of this pair just compounds it.

- My Personal Favorite: Venomous Blaze and Black Ice
Since last week I've been using this setup and have rarely tried out other things, because I always find something missing that this pair brings. Hit-scan aoe-explosions with multiple charges, that drops an acid primer which I then set off with Black Ice, which upon a kill freezes enemies nearby, a task made easy thanks to Black Ice being able to crit. This pairing lets me play super far away with no damage fall off, and if its anything I suffer playing at that range its the likelihood of a weak point hit on a small target. On top of all these bonuses, Black Ice triggering a combo off the Venomous Blaze acid spreads it to all the nearby foes, which is just icing on top of the cake for anyone of my teammates using their primers/detonators.

Conclusion

I absolutely love Storm. I'm a Fighter at heart, and in every game before Anthem I always played the front line damage-dealer or tank. I naturally reach for the sword before the spell book. I broke out of my comfort zone for this game and I couldn't be happier. Playing an area-control boom wizard in an Iron Man suit is the most satisfying experience I've had in gaming in years. I made this guide to hopefully convince new players, and maybe some seasoned players to engage in a javelin that's outside of their normal preference. It has some very obvious downsides, but none so great that you can't dominate the field.
As before, I'm certain I have missed some aspect of these awesome abilities. Let me know and I'll correct it when next I'm on. As of finishing this, I have spent 5 hours typing this piece up. It was entirely worth it. I hope you who have read all this have gained something new from it. Stronger together.
Edit: Some people have pointed out issues and I will work to correct them after I get home. Scroll down to find u/tiahx comment for info on the issues.
submitted by WinglyKing to AnthemTheGame [link] [comments]

Idea: Replace one of the Weapon slots with a Stat slot

So there was a thread earlier about allowing a Storm to replace their guns with abilities, since a lot of Storm players never actually use the guns. I feel like this might make the Storm a little too OP, but I do like the general idea. My compromise would be to replace the second Weapon slot with a Stat slot, where you could run anything you wanted. It seems like most players are running a stat stick in the second weapon slot, anyway, so why not just make it so you can run anything you want there. I feel like with a lot of the current metas for each build, there are compromises that could be avoided with this switch.
Running a Colossus with Solvent Green because the combo buff is too good, but the ability itself is garbage? Now you can throw a Best Defense in there to go with your Meteor Smash/Vassa's Arc build and have some ranged damage as well. Or now you won't have to choose between Vassa's Arc and Venom Storm.
Is your melee or ult interceptor too squishy because you've maxed out the melee or ult damage and can't regenerate armor? Tack on an Emergency Power or Way of the Bold and dive back into any mob you want and slice them apart. Or do you not like having to choose between Voice of Courage / Slayer's Furor. Now you can run both. **This is my favorite option if they actually gave us this.
Does your Ranger build ult super fast with Elemental Ops/Badge of Devastation but the rockets hit like a wet noodle? Add in another Universal with ult damage. Or do the rockets hit super hard, but the javelin dies too easily? Add in Tip of the Spear for the combo damage increase and get the restored armor when you trigger a combo absolutely free.
Can't get that God Roll Steam Vent or Binary Star for Storm? Put whatever you've got with the highest gear recharge or highest damage in the universal slot to lower the cooldown times or increase damage. Or do you like your Storm, but you're a little bitter that their support items suck, and there is nothing to boost all jav damage for single target engagements? Keep SV and BS, and add in Venomous Blaze for the acid debuff. Or use Black Ice or Winter's Wrath to freeze things.

I feel like there are a lot of advantages to this being changed. I can't remember the last time I switched guns intentionally in-game. But for those people who want 2 guns, they can still run them. Feels like the best of both worlds.
submitted by TurbulentSundae to AnthemTheGame [link] [comments]

Card #235 - echo on servers

So there I was, trying to talk down a demon in the server room of a small IT startup. We were mere feet apart; I had my hands up to show they were empty even though that was a detail irrelevant to the demon. It loomed over me, its singular teardrop-shaped eye glistening like purple glass. I spoke its language, the only reason it was hesitating from rending me apart.
“Process.exit(self(), :normal)”, I said. I did not actually say the parenthesis or any other syntactic punctuation. They’re implied.
Nothing. The demon continued to stare down at me through an eyeball that took up its entire face.
“Maybe say ‘please’?” Nathan suggested from the doorway behind me.
“That’s not how this works!” I hissed back.
Time to take a more assertive approach.
“Process.exit(self(), :kill).”
Still nothing. Its name, I thought. I needed its name. I made another request of the demon, asking that it convert the output into a string so that it would come out as plain English instead of a horrific screeching like metal grinding on metal that would literally make my ears bleed. Then I did some quick conversions of my own, turning that string of numbers from binary to a list and then a list to a pid.
Thank you random redditor for asking how to do this in a post from two years ago.
Then, I strung all of that together and dropped it into yet another Process.exit call, except this time I named the demon as the target, and just to make extra certain I got the result I wanted, I used the :kill option. It was no longer a request that the demon could choose to execute, and peacefully shut down. It was a command and I wanted it dead.
The demon shrieked. Shrill, inhuman, like a piece of sheet metal being ripped in half. It’s eyeball split open to reveal a gaping maw, a fleshy pit lined with teeth and it raised one long arm, the mottled gray-purple flesh pitted as if with acid. Its wrist ended in a long, whip-like spike, tapering down to a needle-point that seemed to hang there, poised back behind its head, before beginning the downward descent that would sink it straight into my torso.
My bad. I should have checked Process.info() to see if it was trapping exits.
I hit the ground by instinct, letting gravity carry me down to the floor. It pierced the server rack behind me instead in a shower of sparks.
This is why we ask all of our clients to make off-site backups before we proceed.
Gunshots rang out overhead and the demon was thrown backwards. Then one of the bullets ripped through its knee, it went down, and Nathan was running past me to stand over it, unloading the rest of his clip into its chest. Its blood was vivid green and hissed and steamed as it spread across the hollow floor of the server room.
“So,” I said carefully, starting to rise, “I think it was trapping exits.”
“I have no idea what that means,” Nathan replied, his gaze intent on the demon, mechanically reloading just in case.
I rubbed at my ears, as if that would help the ringing go away.
“I asked the demon to please go away nicely, it refused, I asked it to kill itself, it still refused, so I demanded it kill itself, except it’d decided in advance that if it was told to die that it could do one last thing before actually dying and apparently that last thing was to go on a murderous rampage.”
Neat,” Nathan replied. His tone indicated that he didn’t actually care. “So why didn’t you lead with the command thingy first?”
“I was being lazy. Did you hear that long list of conversions I had to do just to get its name?”
“You were facing down an eight foot tall demon. You don’t be lazy when staring at a demon with a giant mouth-eyeball instead of a face!”
I shrugged, pretending to not notice him staring at me in intense exasperation. I edged away from the growing pool of blood instead.
“It was fine,” I mumbled. “I had it under control. Hey - are your eyes starting to water? Mine are. I think this might be toxic. Probably had the Poison package loaded.”
Nathan muttered something about how my profession needed to think of less lethal names for our shit, but he followed me out of the server room. There wasn’t anything else that needed to be done here. The demon would dissolve and be gone in a few hours, toxic blood and all. The server room was well-ventilated, so any remaining poison in the air would disperse until it was no longer harmful.
Our on-site contact was waiting for us in a conference room on the opposite end of the building. It wasn’t exactly safe to have someone else in the office while we were dealing with the demon, but the client had insisted. We compromised by putting him well away from the server room. He’d opened up the door, disabled the alarm so we could leave it propped open, and then got out of our way.
He seemed intensely relieved when we entered the room with no visible injuries.
“I heard gunshots,” he said anxiously, standing and shutting his laptop. An ops guy. They always got stuck with the late-night jobs.
“Nothing out of the ordinary,” I said smoothly. “We took care of it. It got one of your server racks, though.”
He swore colorfully.
“So we never got our off-site backup replication actually working,” he said miserably. “Business didn’t want to make it a priority until next year.”
“You… you did tell them this could be highly destructive maintenance, right?”
He said glumly that he had. He’d argued this wasn’t safe. There were tape backups, at least, but getting a hold of those, rebuilding the server, and loading the data could take days. They were looking at extended downtime and data loss.
The sad part is, I’m not sure telling upper management that there was the possibility of gunfire and demonic attack inside their server room would have changed things much. Welcome to IT. The guy that watched the football game on his laptop during the MBA class where the professor explained how the internet works? He’s now in charge of what work gets done.
We also can’t be upfront about what we’re doing. You know how everyone is vaguely aware that IT has a massive problem with security and everyone’s credit card number is stolen every other week? But the problem is just invisible enough that society hasn’t collectively lost its shit and the stock market hasn’t nope’d the hell out of here and collapsed the global economy? We’ve taken a similar stance with the demons.
We tried to create a world governed by principles. On and off. We took those laws and created layer upon layer and slowly, steadily, our humanity eroded those foundations. We programmed our own inconsistencies into the system, we made mistakes because that is what being human is like, until our creation outgrew us and now none of us understand the whole. We know fragments and in those forgotten spaces, in those dark unknowns were technology just “is”, something moved in.
It’s a well-kept secret, even inside of IT. Most people don’t know. They see strange things and write it off to an odd bug or a trick of the imagination, while the rest of us that do know try to proactively identify incidents and ensure the silence of those involved. The government does a lot of the latter. They were the ones paying my company to perform this “maintenance”, actually. I think that’s the only reason we were let in through the door - the client isn’t footing the bill.
“Well, thanks for your help,” the ops guy said. “Hope you get some sleep tonight. I certainly won’t.”
I thought about offering to help, maybe just pulling out the damaged server rack at the very least, but Nathan was bouncing from foot to foot impatiently, so I only told him to watch out for the puddle of poison blood and then let him escort us out of the building. I messaged our boss on Slack, saying that we were safe, we were done, and he could go to bed now. He had a policy of staying up until he knew we’d all made it out okay.
It was a forty-five minute drive back to our office. Nathan and I had elected to carpool. I’d driven down, but the adrenaline was starting to wear off and I was beginning to get shaky, so I handed the keys off to Nathan. He was the only other person on the team that knew how to drive a stick shift, so he was permitted to drive my car. No one else could.
It was a bit past midnight when we got on the road. I was starting to nod off once we reached the highway, my forehead bumping against the window. There was a brief impression of an image in the reflection of the glass as we passed under a street light and I snapped awake with a shot of adrenaline. Something purple, I thought, something that glittered like a teardrop. Heart hammering, I tried to tell myself it was just a trick of the mind, a nightmare manifesting while I was half-asleep. Nathan hadn’t noticed; his gaze was fixed on the empty road ahead of us.
Then, another brief image reflected on the glass as we passed under a streetlight. Slowly, desperately wanting this to be a figment of my imagination, I turned around and looked towards the back of the car. In the very back of the hatchback, where I’d thrown my backpack with my laptop inside, crouched the Elixir demon. It was hunched over, bent almost double, its head pressed against the ceiling with that one gigantic eyeball fixed on us.
“Nathan,” I said softly, evenly. Panic wouldn’t help. “I think the demon isn’t dead.”
“Yeah?” he replied, not looking away from the road. “Is the ops guy okay? Did he exit the building?”
“It respawned… in the trunk.
My coworker glanced in the rearview mirror. He swore, the car swerved for a second as he twitched in reflexive shock, and then he got it back under control again while his jaw tightened with sudden tension.
“I don’t think it can get to us,” I continued. “It’s too big to move.”
“Bless you and your stupid, tiny, Honda Fit,” Nathan murmured. “Okay. Let me find an exit and we’ll pull over somewhere isolated and I’ll shoot it a whole lot again.”
“That apparently didn’t work the first time.”
“Do you have any better ideas?”
I did not. I told him to let me think. He drove in silence, periodically checking in the rearview mirror to make sure it hadn’t moved. I tried to clear the screaming from my brain enough to think, to understand why it had come back and what to do to put it in the ground for good.
There are different kinds of demons. This was an echo, a physical manifestation of a concept created when human and technology collide. It’s as if our need to name things into known quantities sent out ripples into that empty space of technology. Specifically, it was an echo spawned from the programming language Elixir, which happened to be my current favorite language to work in. It’s why I was sent on this particular job, after our triage team got a referral from another vendor about a problem with a small IT startup. Servers were doing odd things, they said. Just the ones with Elixir installed. And we got permission to run our diagnostics and there it was - the abnormality.
The government contacted the company. Security vulnerability, they claimed. Very hush-hush. Agreements were signed. And Nathan and I piled into my tiny car and drove down there to take care of it.
Now we had to save ourselves.
“I think it’s being supervised,” I mused.
“By what? The demon has a boss?”
Nathan isn’t an IT guy. He’s former military. He’s the one that carries a gun and tries to convince the team to go rucking with him on the weekends. I’ve at least taken up running. It’s a start.
I ignored him and twisted in the seat to stare at the demon. I needed to find out the name of the supervising process. As long as the supervisor was alive, it would continue to restart the demon and we’d never be able to kill it. But if we killed the supervisor, then that would eliminate the thing that was recreating the demon, as well as killing the demon in the process. So I tried simply asking if the demon knew its parent. I’d never done this before, but it seemed like a reasonable thing to request.
Turns out Process.parent(pid) isn’t actually a thing. Thanks, José. Thanks a lot.
I probably should have googled that first, to be fair.
The demon’s face split open until it was nothing but teeth and a dark, open throat, and it shrieked. It struggled to stand in the tiny car, then one arm shot up, smashed into the roof, and then it brought it down onto the backseat. There was a squeal of twisting metal and the seat began to warp, the frame slowly being twisted downwards, and the demon surged into the gap.
We were at least on an on-ramp. Nathan accelerated instead of slowing down, slinging the demon to one side as we rounded the curb. Floating in the air up ahead like a beacon was an empty sign frame for an abandoned gas station. Perfect.
“How did it even get in here?!” Nathan snarled through gritted teeth, blowing past a stop sign at the end of the ramp and nearly spinning out from how fast he took that turn.
“Probably jumped into my laptop,” I replied, hanging onto the doorframe tight enough to turn my knuckles white.
“Why do you have Elixir installed on your laptop!?” Nathan screamed, barely audible over the whine and crack of my backseat finally snapping in two.
“I don’t know, maybe because I need it to do my job?!”
He spun the car into the gas station’s parking lot and brought it to a stop. We both tumbled out, just as the demon’s spikes slammed into the dashboard. I backed away, staring in horror as it thrashed like a fish on a line, puncturing my roof, shattering my windshield, and finally taking out the entire driver’s side door as it tried to escape. There would be no repairing this. My car was totaled.
Nathan had his gun out and he fired a quick three-shot burst, landing the bullets in the demon’s torso. The impact threw it back a pace, then it ducked its head and continued advancing, dragging its spike-hands on the ground behind it. They left grooves in the asphalt. We both turned to run. Nathan was faster than me, but he remained one pace behind, staying between me and the demon.
“Why isn’t it dying!?” he panted.
“Elixir demons are hard to kill!” I yelled over the ringing in my ears. “The language is designed to recover from failures!”
“Well, can you tell them to make the language a bit less resilient!?” Nathan shouted back.
I’m sure such a request will go over well.
We took refuge behind an abandoned dumpster, which I think is an appropriate metaphor for the state of technology these days. Nathan checked his clip and peeked out from the edge to see what was happening. The demon rounded the corner of the building and it paused, uncertain of where we’d gone. These kinds of demons were powerful, but they didn’t handle unexpected situations well. I felt the faint glimmer of relief that we had a few more seconds in which to figure out how to survive. I got my phone out and began looking something up.
“We are running for our lives from a demon,” Nathan hissed softly, “and you’re on your phone?”
“I’m looking up how to get the pid for a supervising process,” I replied.
“You don’t have that memorized?”
“No, I don’t Nathan,” I snapped. “Do you have the name and specs of every handgun you own memorized?”
He did. That was a poorly chosen analogy. He at least stopped after he rattled off five in an undertone, peering up over the lip of the dumpster. I focused on my phone’s screen. I didn’t need to know where the demon was, nor did I really want to know. Nathan would tell me if it was time to run again. My hands shook as I opened search results and I quietly prayed to anything that was listening that my data connection didn’t give up on me.
There. That’s what I needed. An obscure little key called “$ancestors” would give me the parent process and presumably if I killed that one, it’d kill the demon as well, and this time it would stay dead.
My only indication that something terrible was about to happen was a sudden utterance of profanity from Nathan, interrupted halfway through by a resounding crash as the demon bodily landed on the lip of the dumpster. The metal buckled, collapsing like an accordion under its weight, and one of those spikes smashed into the ground in front of us. The asphalt cracked under the impact. Nathan’s shouting seemed to come from a distant place, my mind dazed by terror, but I moved by instinct, shoving myself onto my feet and sprinting forwards, unable to think of anything but Nathan’s commands to GO.
Then, my brain clicked into action and I turned. Nathan was leaping backwards as the demon dropped off the edge of the dumpster. Nathan tensed, getting ready to dodge whatever it was about to do next.
Buying me time. I had to act.
I began to go through the sequence of commands to kill a process by name. My words were clear and even. Binary to list. List to pid. Pipe this to the command to kill the process.
Nothing happened.
“Oh,” I said absently. “That’s right. I needed to drop the ‘#PID’ from the front of that string.”
Look. This is why no one in the industry likes giving live code demos. (okay, maybe some do, but they probably enjoy skydiving in their free time too) Nothing goes right on the first try.
“You’re a terrible programmer!” Nathan shrieked, desperately scrambling backwards as the demon brought a spike down into the spot where he’d just been.
It jerked its arm upwards convulsively, stopped short as its spike remained embedded in the asphalt. It tried to move forward, its shoulder yanked it backwards, and it stood there a moment before trying again. I felt the faint glimmer of relief that we had a few more seconds and I reissued the sequence of commands again, this time remembering to say “<0.84.0>” instead of “#PID<0.84.0>”.
Yes, the difference matters. It really matters.
The demon went motionless. It stood there for a minute, like a statue, frozen with one knee bent in its aborted struggle to free its spike from the asphalt. Processing the shutdown signal. Then its mouth peeled back, rolling down the side of its face and neck like turning a sock inside out, and continued on down across its shoulders and torso. It dissolution was strangely fluid, the green blood inside bubbling like an open cauldron. Then its unraveled body reached the tips of its clawed feet and it was wholly gone.
I walked back to my car, dazed, all emotion wrung from me by the adrenaline that was still coursing through my blood. My beloved Honda was a twisted wreck, the frame bent, the roof dented, and the door clean clean off.
“My car,” I whispered, stroking its twisted frame. “My poor car.”
Nathan was on his cellphone nearby, calling for a tow. Then he called our boss to ask for a ride back into town.
So that’s my job. That’s what I do. I track down and eliminate the demons in the dark spaces between our computers.
I’m posting because I don’t agree that we should keep this a secret. People are used to having their credit card data routinely stolen, after all, and we haven’t collapsed. Certainly, this time lives are on the line, but I think that is even more reason for people to know. We shouldn’t give up our technology. It has and will continue to improve our lives. However, if someone’s phone is acting up… they should know the warning signs and seek us out before something terrible happens.
I wish I could give you my company’s name, so you can contact us. However, I think that might be going a little too far. If I’m anonymous (and I’m not using our real names) then this story will be easily denied and the government can turn a blind eye to what a lone developer is doing.
And who knows? Maybe telling my story will get people familiar with the idea that our technology isn’t as safe as we thought and they can come clean someday.
In the meantime… if you’re scared and need our help, post online somewhere that you’re having a problem. We’ll find you.
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Fundamentals of Natural Dyeing of Textiles: Pros and Cons-Juniper Publishers

Fundamentals of Natural Dyeing of Textiles: Pros and Cons-Juniper Publishers


Introduction

India is rich in natural wealth and there are ample scopes to explore and revive application of natural dyes on textiles for growing consciousness of eco friendliness. Hence around the world, there are more and more information are now made available [1,2] to understand the chemistry of natural dyes and interaction between metallic mordant , natural dyes and natural fibres, to get maximum depth of shade of natural colour ants with reproducible shades by optimizing extraction, mordanting method and dyeing conditions and also to improve colour fastness for such natural dyed textiles of natural fibres like cotton, silk, wool and jute etc.
In spite of the better performance of synthetic dyes, recently the use of natural dyes on textile materials has been attracting people more and more due to the following reasons [3]
o Wide availability of natural dyes in India and its subcontinent and their huge potential of producing wide range of shades with skin and eco-friendliness.
o Growing consciousness about allergic and toxic effects of some synthetic dyes, while understanding the non-toxic and non-allergic nature of natural dyes.
o To protect the ancient and traditional dyeing technology generating livelihood of poor artisan/dyers, with potential employment generation facility.
o To generate sustainable employment and income for the weaker section of population in rural and sub-urban areas both for dyeing as well as for non-food crop farming to produce plants for such natural dyes.
o Availability of some archaeological study for conservation and restoration of heritage of old textiles of India for natural dyed textiles.
o Availability more and more scientific study report on application methods for natural dyeing of specific textiles.
Production of synthetic dyes is dependent on petrochemical source, and some of the synthetic dyes contain toxic/ carcinogenic amines which are not eco-friendly The present global consumption of textiles is estimated at around 30 million tonnes, and such a huge amount of required textiles materials cannot be dyed with natural dye alone [2]. Hence, the use of eco-safe synthetic dyes is also essential. But a certain portion of coloured textiles can always be supplemented and managed by eco-safe natural dyes that too on natural fibres, assuring/ creating environment friendly measure of dyeing textiles, at least to a certain percentages.
Natural dyes consume 75% of 48,000 tonnes of dye stuff produced in the country [2]. The market for the natural dyestuffs is though very small but has a growing trend. Many textile manufacturers are not using these dyes regularly because these dyes are not easily available in ready form and finally the process of natural dyeing become more expensive than synthetic dyes. Researchers are however working to find out a cost effective way of dyeing with natural dyes, but at the same time efforts are on for obtaining reproducible shades with appreciable colour fastness properties.
U.S.A is one ofthe major importers of natural dyed textiles from India [4]. There is also very good demand in European countries. The primary importers in Europe are Germany, France, Italy and U.K. with demand for natural dyes is growing continuously due to awareness towards ecological and environmental problems related to the use of synthetic dyes. Use of synthetic dyes has cut down significantly due to toxic effluent resulting from the dyeing process of these dyes. Therefore, natural dyed products represent the good opportunity for value added manufacturing as the process is eco-friendly. These products are comfortable for the wearer as it has soothing colour and non-allergic properties [3]. The use of natural dyes will also generate more employment for rural people because natural dyes are originated in villages were the waste lands are used to grow the dye yielding plants [2].
The alchemy of colour has its origin deeply rooted thousands of years ago. From the epic age this colour has played a very important role in human life. This inspired us to explore the vast storehouse of the nature's palette to initially paint ourselves then to dye the apparels we wore. Natural colorants are dyes and pigments that are obtained from plant, animal or mineral sources with or without any chemical treatments.
Today, when the world is facing threats of destruction from the synthetic toxic chemicals, eco-friendly awareness should be the major focus, else, it would be difficult to save this planet from compete extinction. Here lies the relevance of revival of this art of dyeing with 'Natural Colorants' or 'Natural Dyes' [4,5].
It is told earlier that in general introduction that the production of synthetic chemicals involves many chemical reactions requiring high energy. Moreover, there are many undesirable by-products generated during the reactions [4,5]. These toxic or environment un-friendly by-products have to be discharged in the rivers, ponds or into the atmosphere. These drawbacks of the synthetic dyes have prompted researcher to look for alternatives of producing eco-friendly products and technologies using natural dyes for dyeing. Moreover, recently the consumers have become very much conscious about the environment, renaissance of eco-friendly products and process like dyeing of textiles with natural dyes.
Natural dyes many times lack in uniformity and reproducibility of colour. Also, the major problem encountered is their availability of natural dyes in bulk quantity. There is limited availability of scientific information on standardization of the methods application [5] of natural dyes. Sometimes natural dyes do not produce acceptable level of colour fastness. The question of cost is also a factor to reckon with. Antimicrobial and UV protection properties of natural dyes need to be explored after their application on textile fabrics. Hence, in the absence of any precise information of scientific analysis and technical knowledge on dyeing different natural fibre based textiles with natural dyes, there is a need to study the performance of various natural colorants on natural textiles including protein fibres and cellulosic/lignocellulosic fibres (having compositional differences) separately under different pre-treated/post treated conditions [5] varying different mordants and other additives.
Natural dyes have been used as a means to colour textiles for centuries. All the dyes until the later half of nineteenth century were made of different parts of plants and animals. For thousands of years people all over the world followed the same basic techniques using roots, stems, barks, leaves, hard wood, berries fruits, flowers of various dye plants and tree, as well as from certain insects and shell-fishes. Most natural dyes are nonsubstantive which means that they have little colouring power within themselves, and require the aid of mordant to penetrate the yarn/fibre.
In recent years, there has been an interest manifested towards natural dyes by both the consumers and producers of textile; the reasons being bio-degradability and eco-compatibility of natural dyes. Some other associated advantages include expected non-toxicity/lower toxicity [6,7] and anti-allergen [1] and some medicinal value as well as antimicrobial and UV protective character of some of the natural dyes.

Definition of natural dyes

The Society of Dyers & Colourist's Colour Index (3rd edition) defines natural colouring matters as 'the natural dyes and pigments comprise of all colours obtained from animal and vegetable matter with no or very little chemical treatments [1]. They are mainly mordant dyes [1,2], but they also include some vat, few disperse/solvent dyes, some pigment colour, a few direct, basic and acid dyes' [1].
The term natural dye covers all the dyes derived from the natural sources like plants, animal and minerals i.e., derived from natural resources [8]. Natural dyes with very few exceptions are non-substantive, but must be used in consumption with mordants. A mordant usually a metallic salt has an affinity for both the colouring matter and the fibre and combining with the dye in the fibre it forms an insoluble precipitate or lake. Application wise, natural dyes include some vat dyes, a few solvent dyes, some pigments, and some direct and acid dyes. Only one natural basic dye is known but natural sulphur, disperse, azoic or ingrain dyes are still not available so far.

Classification of natural dyes as per application method

Natural dyes can be classified [1,5] in a number of ways. The earliest classification was according to alphabetical order or according to the botanical names. Later, it was classified in various ways, e.g. on the basis of hue, chemical constitution, application method. Most widely used classification is based on application method.
Classification of natural dyes on the basis of the method of application [1,5,9] as given below :
a. Mordant dyes: These are dyestuffs which require a mordant in their application as they have no affinity for the fiber being dyed. A mordant dye should have electron donating groups capable of forming a complex with the transition metal salt, e.g., madder, fustic, Persian, berries, kermes, cochineal etc.
b. Vat dyes: These are water insoluble dyes which are first converted to their water soluble form (reducing with Na- hydrosulphite and then solubilising it with alkali) and then applied to the fibres. The true colour is produced only on treatment with a hot soap solution. The soaping treatment completes the oxidation process, e.g., Indigo.
c. Direct dyes: Direct dyes are those dyes that have tremendous affinity for the cellulosic fibres. They are dyed from a boiling dye bath. Turmeric, Harda, pomegranate rind etc. are a few of the direct natural dyes.
d.Acid dyes: These dyes are applied from an acidic medium. The dye molecules have either sulphonic or carboxylic group (s) which can form an electrovalent bond with amino groups of wool and silk. An after treatment with tannic acid and tartaremitic, known as back tanning improves the fastness of these types of dyes, e.g., Saffron.
e. Disperse dyes: Disperse dyes has a relatively low molecular mass, low solubility and no strong solubilizing groups. These dyes have hydroxyl and/or amino groups which impart same solubility to the dye molecule. Disperse dyes can be applied on to hydrophobic synthetic fibre from neutral to mildly acidic pH. They can also be applied to silk and wool. These dyes can be post-mordanted with chromium, copper and tin salts, e.g., lawsone and many other flavone and anthraquinone dyes.
f. Basic dyes: Basic or cationic dyes on ionization give coloured cations and form an electrovalent bond with the -COOH group of wool and silk. These dyes are applied from neutral to mildly acidic pH. These dyes have poor light fastness, e.g. berberine.

Methods of extraction of natural dyes

The vegetable dyes can be taken from various sources like flowers, roots, bark, animal sources, mineral sources etc. The colour component present in these sources needs to be extracted so that it can be applied on the textile. Most vegetable dyes are extracted by pulverizing, grinding or soaking and boiling the herbs in water. The natural dyes can be extracted from dried solid raw material source of plant parts etc using aqueous method [5] i.e., by using boiling/hot water for the extraction with or without addition of acid/alkali/alcohol in extraction bath [10] at specific pH, MLR, Temperature and time followed by distillation ,evaporation and vaccum drying etc or by waterless supercritical carbondioxide fluid extraction [11], or solvent extraction by using soxhlet apparatus extraction [12] by use of alcohol and benzene mixture and by using rotatory vacuum pump/or doing the extraction under reduced pressure etc. Some water insoluble plant material like indigo leaves (i.e Natural indigo being vat dye type) needs to be fermented and reduced to release the glucosides of the dye and this fermentation and reduction and solubilisation can be done with use of natural reducing agent and alkali combination (instead of Dithionite or disulphide and Caustic soda used for redcing synthetic vat dyes) like combination of liquid jiggery and citric acid, use of paste of citrous fruits like tomato, lemons, ripened banana paste and Ash soaked water etc., in combination with use of lime in all cases and heating. Various studies have also been reported, where ultrasonic assisted extraction and enzyme assisted extraction have been also now being used to improve the yield of colour. The colour developed in natural dyeing on different textiles is sometimes pH dependant besides it is mainly dependant on type of mordant used besides dye concentration and mordant concentration as well. However combination of similar types of natural dyes in different proportion of compatible natural dyes are also another way for producing different shades for colour matching for combined shades.

Methods and Steps for dyeing with natural dyes

Prior to dyeing with natural dyes, the fabric is to be prepared by proper desizing, scouring and bleaching followed by usual pre-mordanting with single or double mordants applied in sequence. The colour much depend on the type of single or double mordants used by selecting a suitable mordant and natural dye-mixture combinations depending upon the colour needed and colour fastness level desired. Dyeing with natural dyes on textiles comprises of five to six steps:
i. Mordanting.
ii. Preparation of Dye liquor from natural source or extraction and solubilisation of dye.
iii. Exhaustion,
iv. Diffusion and migration,
v. Fixation and
vi. After-treatments (optional) for improving fastness or topping for tonal variation and final colour matching etc.
To facilitate completion of dyeing in the shortest possible time, most dyeing systems make use of different additives and auxiliaries such as pH controller, retarders or exhausting agents, levelling agents etc. For dyeing with natural dyes, depending on the type and nature of natural dyes taken, the dyeing procedure and conditions will vary. Natural dyes often show non-reproducible shades due to variation in conditions of dyeing or following non-optimised conditions of dyeing. Hence, standardisation/optimisation of dyeing methods for specific dye-fibre-mordant combinations is essential. Most of the natural dyes being mordantable; dyeing with such natural dyes is carried out using aqueous extracts of natural dyes in aqueous medium in normal/not aqueous dye-bath. Dyeing with natural dyes may be carried by pre-mordanting, post-mordanting, simultaneous mordanting, following standardised dyeing process at low temperature water bath or in boiling water bath [5], HTHP technique [13], with additives controlling the pH of aqueous medium i.e. (acidity or alkalinity) [14,15], or using ultrasonic dyeing technique [2,16-19], using single natural colours or mixture of natural colours [12,20] extracted appropriately and found compatible scientifically
The major steps used in dyeing with natural dyes include the following:
a) The application of the suitable metallic mordant (mordanting) or bio mordant
b) The application of the tannin substance e.g. tannic acid, myrobolan fruit (harda) having chebulinic acid , gallnut etc. which is mainly done to increase the receptivity of the textile fabric for the dye to combine with the mordant and may be called as Mordanting Assistant (MA) increasing more and more dye- (mordant + MA )-fibre complexing in greater way
c) Dyeing of the fabric by the exhaust method.
The 2nd step can either precede or follow or be a part of the 3rd step (pre, post or simultaneous dyeing and mordanting).

Dye-bath assistants used for dyeing textiles with natural dyes

a) Tartaric acid: Dye bath solutions are acidified with it and it is used to neutralize calcareous luster
b) Cream of tartar: This white crystalline substance is used in conjunction with mordants. It brightens colors.
c) Glauber's salt/Common Salt: It is used extensively by silk dyers to obtain level dyeing.
d) Boiled-off liquor: The degumming solution, when used in the dye-bath, causes the colouring matter to be attracted more equally and evenly by the silk and helps preserve luster. Suggested quantities are 50-100ml boiled-off liquor to 1 litre of dye-bath solution.
e) Enzymes: Use of suitable enzymes as pre-treatment or in combination in dye bath for natural dyeing also enhance colour yield.

Advantages & disadvantages of natural dyes

In the recent years there has been an upsurge in the field of natural dyes. This is mainly because of the fact that although the synthetic colours are fast, durable and comparatively easy to apply, the natural dyestuffs have certain advantages over them. Some of these advantages are listed below:
a) Fairly non-polluting and have lower toxicity.
b) The naturally dyed shades are soft, lustrous and soothing to the human eye [1,5,21].
c) They produce a wide range of colours. A small variation in the dyeing technique or the use of different mordants with the same dye can create totally new colours, which are not possible with synthetic dyestuffs [1,5,22].
d) Natural dyestuffs produce rare colour ideas [1,5,23,24] and are automatically harmonizing.
e) Unlike the non-renewable which forms the basic raw materials for synthetic dyes, the vegetable based natural dyes are replaceable and at the same time biodegradable [1,2,5] . They save energy because the raw-materials are not from petroleum.
f) In some cases like hard a, indigo etc., the waste in the process becomes an ideal fertilizer for use in agricultural fields [1,5].
g) Many plants thrive on wastelands. Thus, wasteland utilization is an added merit of the natural dyes [1-2]. Dyes like madder grow as host in tea gardens. So there is no additional cost or effort required to grow it.
h) This is a labour intensive industry [1,5,21,23,24], thereby providing job opportunities for all those engaged in cultivation, extraction and application of these dyes.
i) It can increase the textile exports and thus help India in earning foreign exchange.
j) Some of its constituents are anti-allergens, hence prove safe for skin contact and are mostly non-hazardous to health [1,5,25].
k) Some of the natural dyes are enhanced with age, while synthetic dyes fade with time [9].
l) Natural dyes bleed but do not stain other fabrics [1,5,21,26], turmeric being an exception.
m) Naturally dyed materials have good resistance to moth and are anti-allergens; hence prove safe for body contact and are mostly non-toxic therefore non-hazardous to health [5].
n) Fabrics dyed with natural dyes can provide good protection against ultra violet rays without altering wear properties.
o) They are used in the conservation and repairs of historic textiles.
p) They can replace synthetic dyes in food-stuffs for safety [2,5].
Despite these advantages, they carry some inherent disadvantages [1,5], which were responsible for the decline of this art. Disadvantages of natural dyes:
a) There are lacks in sufficient scientific database and information on standardizing recipe and shade cards for the use of natural dyes [5,27] on different textiles. Hence, natural dyers are in complete uncertainty about dyeing shades and fastness results to obtained which vary from plant source to source, crop to crop and season to season (time to time and place to place and also from one crop to another) and even for mordant to mordant and their purity and extraction method. All these variations, if thus scientifically standardised, may be partially or completely avoided.
b) The extraction, preparation of textile materials requires and mordanting and natural dyeing need skilled craftsmanship and is thus expensive [5,28]. The use of expensive mordants, extraction of colouring component from raw material, low colour yield necessitating the use of more dyestuffs and long dyeing time sharply increase the cost of dyeing with natural dyeing considerably higher than synthetic dyes. However, if the natural dyeing of natural fibres is properly done maintaining eco-friendly processes, it has aspecilitynich market for eco friendly natural dyed products of textiles particularly for expensive textiles and garments of cotton, silk and wool etc.
c) Poor scientific back up of a large part of this branch of science is still being explored [5,29] and to be explored for its commercial exploitation in industrial scale for both small, medium and large scale sector. Natural dyeing using Jigger machine or Continuous dyeing range etc are the present days' need.
d) Lack of availability of precise scientific/technical knowledge on extraction and dyeing techniques [5,30] by optimizing dye wise and textile fibre wise process development for each natural dye type are essential to avoid the above said uncertainty for coloushades and their colour fastness characters .
e) The natural dyed textile fabric may change colour when exposed to the sun (UV light), sweat (human perspiration) and air (oxygen) and moisture (water). This cannot be controlled if not scientific research are done in depth to understand the exact reasons of these effects and exact chemical interaction present in such cases for exposure to any particular agency at any particular time, which are not yet known [5,27].
f) Nearly all-natural dyes with a few exceptions require the use of metallic mordants to fix them on to the fabric substrate. While dyeing, a substantial portion of the metallic mordant remains unexhausted in the residual dye bath and these metals may pose some effluent disposal problem [5,23,24]. So, useof hazardaous metallic mordants like Coppechromium etc are to be avoided.
g) With a few exceptions, most of the natural dyes are fugitive [1,5] even when applied in conjunction with a mordant. Therefore, their colour fastness performances are generally not always adequate for modern textile usage. Use of acidic pH in dye bath or post treatment with natural or eco safe dye fixer is needed to improve colour fastness to wash, light, rubbing and perspiration etc.
h) The widespread use of natural dyes will result in a major shift in the land use pattern throughout the world[30] . In reality the area needed to satisfy the demand for the production of natural dyes is unavailable, because higher priorities are placed on the growing of food crops for the world's burgeoning population. However, this may be noted that objective of promoting more and more natural dyeing is not to replace synthetic dyeing in totality or as majority, but objective of promoting natural dyeing is to promote eco- friendly dyed products of natural textiles forniche market for specific customers.
i) All natural products are not fully toxicity free. Very little work has been carried out to assess the toxicity of different natural dyes [23,24]. Although most of the natural dyes in use are known to have medicinal values and either antibacterial/ antimicrobial properties or UV protective properties and are eco safe , but there are reports on one or two natural dyes/ colour source materials that have been identified as posing potential ecological or toxicity problems, e.g. quercetin is considered to be mutagenic. On the other hand, new synthetic dyes are fully tested for their levels of toxicity, and when introduced in the market, they have a full set of data on their toxicity test and eco-toxicity profiles. Such studies and database for each natural dyes are needed essentially
j) There is severe shortage of trained dyers for application of natural dyes. Most of the so-called textile chemists in the country are trained to use synthetic dyes. If this technology is to be used for producing eco-friendly textiles, generating revenue, employment as well as for creating a strong base for renewable resources for the dye industry, a comprehensive training and interaction programme has to be launched.
k) Dearth of books and scientific literature on the technology of natural dyeing providing required the scientific basis for their application on different textiles.
l) Non-availability of the natural dyes in pure or standardised form, which may be powder, paste or in the solution form for easy and direct application in known shade percentage. Using source raw natural material directly for dyeing has many limitations, besides its being of unknown composition and colour yield, it generates considerable amount of biomass that is cumbersome to handle in the dye- house.
Inspite of the aforementioned limitations associated with natural dyes, it is expected to have a separate good export market potential for fabrics from natural fibers dyed and printed with natural dyes, because of the rigid standards imposed by the advanced countries in combating toxicity, eco- hazards and pollution control problems.

Constrains for the uses of natural dyes on textiles

The major hurdles for using natural dyes are serious gap and lack/non-availability of scientific data base and knowledge base required for their successful application on textiles. Most of the researchers worked in this area generated very general information on types of shades/colour fastness properties and their dyeing related information reported in literature that does not have complete profile of its chemical nature, materials data specification sheet, standardized extraction and dyeing procedure and scientific reasoning for its nature of problems and solution and basis for nature of bonding between dye-mordant and fibre system, methods of improvement of colour fastness to wash, light, rubbing and perspirations and compatibility of different natural dyes to apply together as mixture of different proportions for obtaining compound shades and required matching etc. There are very limited information available on use of binary and ternary mixture of natural dyes and their interaction/compatibility etc, for which use of mixture of natural dyes are still limited in traditional natural dyeing sector and have not advanced satisfactorily.
Unnecessary adverse talk and biased opinion are opinion of synthetic dye manufactureusers against the use of natural dyes, where some of their logics are being over emphasised deliberately. One must keep in mind that natural dyes are NOT a substitute of synthetic dyes. They have their own market and any expansion in the market of natural dyed products is not going to be at the cost of losing synthetic dyes.

Colour fastness of natural dyes

Color fastness is the resistance of a material to change in any of its colour characteristics, to the transfer of its colourants to adjacent materials or both. Fading means that the change of colour strength (lightening or darkening) on washing or rubbing or in contact with human perspiration or on exposure to light. Cook [31] has described the use of post treatment with natural tannin related natural materials as after-treatment for improving the wash fastness and use of natural UV absorbers for improving the light fastness of mordant able natural dyes on cotton. There are many pre-treatments and post treatments known for improving either of wash-fastness, rub-fastness and light fastness of textiles dyed with synthetic dyes, but such treatments on textiles dyed with natural dyes are still very few. So, exploring such fastness improver from natural materials is essential.
The light fastness is the resistance of dyestuffs to the influence of UV-light energy [32], especially the ultraviolet (UV-A) part of the electromagnetic spectrum. UV light is subdivided into three category e.g UV-A (320-400nm), UV-B (280-320nm) and UV-C (100-280nm). The shorter is the wavelength (X), the higher is the energy E and higher is the damage to dyestuff or human skin (as per Einstein's rule: E= hv = [h X c/X)]. Fortunately UV-C is fully absorbed by ozone layer in the higher atmosphere (stratosphere), the usual content of UV-B in the total radiation intensity is less than 1% and is not that harmful, while to earth most common part of UV light reaches easily from Sunlight is UV-A part (320-400nm), which is about 5.6%. So, identifying of some UV absorbers from natural materials capable of absorbing UV -A part i.e in the region of 320-400nm and their application to dyed textiles are to be established.
The light fastness of the applied dyestuffs is sometimes also connected to the fading or inherent yellowing tendency of the fibre itself. Yellowing by UV Light exposure and associated damage to the fibre itself by exposure to UV light also accelerates fading of colour with or without photo-initiated fading of dyestuff[31] . Fading by UV light is generally promoted by moisture, heat, oxygen in air and other factors. The interactions of these influencing factors, including UV-absorbers photo-sensitizers, radical scavengers, singlet oxygen quenchers and their possible chemical reactions and interactions are quite complex. Moreover light fastness of natural dyes depends on its UV-absorption character of that dye [21,24,33]. Some natural dyes have inherent UV protective nature like anar peel/pomegranate rind.
Poor wash fastness of many natural dyes is mainly attributed because of weak dye-fibre bond formation between the natural dye -mordant and the fibre, change in hue due to breaking of dye- metallic mordant-fibre complex during washing for ionisation of the natural dyes during washing [12]. Since most of the natural dyes have hydroxyl groups which get ionised under alkaline conditions/acidic conditions and hence many fabrics dyed with natural dyes under acidic conditions change colour on washing with alkaline detergents or soap. Wash fastness of the natural dyes much depends on their chemical nature and type of bonds dye-mordant-fibre as a coordinating complex formed with specific dye-metal salt mordant-fibre combination. But as per expectations, many times there is less or limited very little or no such complex are formed actually and only H-bonding are formed causing poor wash fastness, which may be due to many reasons like stereo specific non fitting of physical structure/orientation of dye structure and fibre structure or any other problems.
Rubbing fastness is assessed by measuring change in colour on the rubbed textile surface or assessing the staining to the abrader white cloth after abrading in both dry and wet conditions (for wet rubbing fastness , additionally the migration of colour to the abrading cloth by bleeding is also included). Depending on the kind of fibre, especially its tensile strength, small abraded coloured fibre particles may fuzz out showing loss of depth of colour on the rubbed textile surface. If the dyestuff involved is water soluble and not sufficiently fixed on the fibre surface, this can also be the reason for staining during rubbing. Rub-fastness ratings, according to the standard grey scales for both loss of depth (fading) and staining scale, range from 1 (poor rating) to 5 (best rating). Parameters that influence rubbing fastness of natural dyes include:
a. Molecular size and structure, chemical nature and fixation mode of Natural dyes used.
b. Type of mordants and Concentrations of mordants.
c. Concentration of natural dyestuff, shade%, and extent of diffusion of dyes.


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