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Know Your Meme: Auto-Tune

The Know Your Meme Blog has a great introduction to the history and technology behind Auto-Tune, the audio effect first introduced in 1997 and made popular when Cher's single "Believe" made heavy use of the effect in a way that was never intended -- emphasizing the warbling of pitch correction rather than simply using it to sweeten slightly sour notes. A bit from Know Your Meme's article:

With the expense of the Antares Auto-Tune plugin and the relative lack of social networking sites at the time, Auto-Tune remained something of a trade secret among many record producers who simply wanted to save time in the studio.

But as social communities, user-generated content, video tutorials, and open-source software development proliferated online in recent years, so did the availabilty, usage, and experimentation of Auto-Tune.

In 2005, rapper T-Pain made his debut with the album Rappa Ternt Sanga. The album used Auto-Tune heavily, on every song; giving T-Pain his signature sound. His first single Sprung can be viewed here, although embedding has been disabled.

This fun video (featuring "Professor" Weird Al Yankovic) has further explanation:

Read the whole article here (includes a bunch of embedded videos showing the historical moments along Auto-Tune's journey). See also: the latest "Auto-Tune The News" episode, featuring Kanye and Ballon Boy.

Previous coverage of Auto-Tune on mental_floss: The World of Auto-Tune, "Cosmos" Documentary, Auto-Tuned Vocals by Carl Sagan, ft. Stephen Hawking (Seriously), and Winston Churchill Getting Funky.

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WASProject via Flickr
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The World’s First 3D-Printed Opera Set Is Coming to Rome
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WASProject via Flickr

In October, the Opera Theater in Rome will become the first theater to play host to a 3D-printed set in one of its operas. The theater’s performance of the 19th-century opera Fra Diavolo by French composer Daniel Auber, opening on October 8, will feature set pieces printed by the Italian 3D-printing company WASP, as TREND HUNTER reports.

Set designers have been using 3D printers to make small-scale set models for years, but WASP says this seems to be the first full 3D-printed set. (The company is also building a 3D-printed town elsewhere in Italy, to give you a sense of its ambitions for its technology.)

Designers stand around a white 3D-printed model of a theater set featuring warped buildings.
WASP

The Fra Diavolo set consists of what looks like two warped historic buildings, which WASP likens to a Dalí painting. These buildings are made of 223 smaller pieces. It took five printers working full-time for three months to complete the job. The pieces were sent to Rome in mid-July in preparation for the opera.

Recently, 3D printing is taking over everything from housing construction to breakfast. If you can make an office building with a printer, why not a theater set? (Though it should be noted that the labor unions that represent scenic artists might disagree.)

[h/t TREND HUNTER]

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iStock
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Live Smarter
A Simple Way to Charge Your iPhone in 5 Minutes
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iStock

Spotting the “low battery” notification on your phone is usually followed by a frantic search for an outlet and further stress over the fact that you may not have time for a full charge. On iPhones, plugging your device into the wall for five minutes might result in only a modest increase of about three percent or so. But this tip from Business Insider Tech may allow you to squeeze out a little more juice.

The trick? Before charging, put your phone in Airplane Mode so that you reduce the number of energy-sucking tasks (signal searching, fielding incoming communications) your device will try and perform.

Next, take the cover off if you have one (the phone might be generating extra heat as a result). Finally, try to use an iPad adapter, which has demonstrated a faster rate of charging than the adapter that comes with your iPhone.

Do that and you’ll likely double your battery boost, from about three to six percent. It may not sound like much, but that little bit of extra juice might keep you connected until you’re able to plug it in for a full charge.

[h/t Business Insider Tech]

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