Boulder Future Salon

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A brain riding a rocketship heading towards the moon. An extremely angry bird. A small cactus wearing a straw hat and neon sunglasses in the Sahara desert. An alien octopus floats through a portal reading a newspaper. A marble statue of a Koala DJ in front of a marble statue of a turntable. The Koala has wearing large marble headphones. Teddy bears swimming at the Olympics 400m Butterfly event. A giant cobra snake on a farm. The snake is made out of corn. A dog looking curiously in the mirror, seeing a cat. A Pomeranian is sitting on the Kings throne wearing a crown. Two tiger soldiers are standing next to the throne. A dragon fruit wearing karate belt in the snow. A bald eagle made of chocolate powder, mango, and whipped cream. A photo of a Corgi dog riding a bike in Times Square. It is wearing sunglasses and a beach hat. A photo of a raccoon wearing an astronaut helmet, looking out of the window at night. The Toronto skyline with Google brain logo written in fireworks. A chrome-plated duck with a golden beak arguing with an angry turtle in a forest. An art gallery displaying Monet paintings. The art gallery is flooded. Robots are going around the art gallery using paddle boards. A strawberry mug filled with white sesame seeds. The mug is floating in a dark chocolate sea. A robot couple fine dining with Eiffel Tower in the background. A cute corgi lives in a house made out of sushi. A blue jay standing on a large basket of rainbow macarons. A transparent sculpture of a duck made out of glass. Android Mascot made from bamboo. Sprouts in the shape of text 'Imagen' coming out of a fairytale book. A wall in a royal castle. There are two paintings on the wall. The one on the left a detailed oil painting of the royal raccoon king. The one on the right a detailed oil painting of the royal raccoon queen. A majestic oil painting of a raccoon Queen wearing red French royal gown. The painting is hanging on an ornate wall decorated with wallpaper. A transparent sculpture of a duck made out of glass. The sculpture is in front of a painting of a landscape. A single beam of light enter the room from the ceiling. The beam of light is illuminating an easel. On the easel there is a Rembrandt painting of a raccoon. A bucket bag made of blue suede. The bag is decorated with intricate golden paisley patterns. The handle of the bag is made of rubies and pearls. Three spheres made of glass falling into ocean. Water is splashing. Sun is setting.

No, it's not DALL-E 2 from OpenAI. It's Imagen from DeepMind. Another AI system that generates images from your text descriptions.

Which is better? Hard to say. It's like comparing two human artists. Completely subjective.

I haven't yet had a chance to read the paper and learn how these new "diffusion networks" produce these artistic images from text. But I thought I'd go ahead and pass this on to you.

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"By combining naturalistic language at scale with structured program representations, we discover a fundamental information-theoretic tradeoff governing the part concepts people name: people favor a lexicon that allows concise descriptions of each object, while also minimizing the size of the lexicon itself."

So this wasn't an experiment on AI systems, it was an experiment on humans, with some natural language AI systems helping with the analysis. Basically they created images using programs and asked people to describe them in words. The drawings were either line drawings or block drawings, with lines being used to draw nuts & bolts, vehicles, gadgets (e.g. rows of dials), or furniture, and blocks being used to draw bridges, houses, castles, and other buildings. What they found was that as the length of the programs increased, the length of the human descriptions increased. If a drawing was simple, you could make a program that, for example, just repeated a pattern, so it would be a small, simple program. In some cases, though, human descriptions could be even more efficient than the programs, meaning the programs got bigger faster. This is because the programs built everything from low-level concepts (lines and blocks), but humans could use new words to introduce new concepts, like "window", "door", "story", "center", etc. These new words are at an intermediary conceptual level (in between "block" and "house").

The researchers conclude that humans actually do a good job of simultaneously economizing both the size of the descriptions and the size of the vocabulary. If you minimize descriptions you wouldn't minimize vocabulary, and vice-versa, and there's an optimal point where the combination is minimized, and that's how humans do it.

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So I downloaded the Elementus.io ransomeware report (16-page PDF). It says, "More than $2 billion has been paid to ransomware attackers since 2019, with payments topping $1 billion in 2021 alone." "Since 2019, nearly 400 individual ransom payments have occurred that each exceeded $1 million dollars."

"The lion's share of the market is controlled by a handful of prominent strains such as Conti and Darkside, who extorted a combined total of approximately $350 million dollars in 2021." Conti, Darkside, and Phoenix Locker saw the biggest gains between 2020 and 2021 while Sodinokibi and Egregor declined.

"New ransomware strains are often evolutions or offshoots of previous strains, and may be controlled by the same underlying entity. We can spot the trail of these connections on-chain, such as in the case of the Ryuk and Conti variants which are both likely managed by the Russian hacker organization Wizard Spider. We show in Figure 5 how a wallet controlled by Wizard Spider (the red node at the top of the image) acts as a nexus, with funds originating from payments made to both Ryuk and Conti flowing into it."

"By our estimates, at least 43% of outgoing ransomware funds (hundreds of millions of dollars) end up in exchanges." "Mixers and changers play a less prominent role in cash-outs than exchanges." This matters because legitimate blockchain participants become legally exposed to laundered funds.

On the hopeful side, countermeasures can be developed because ransomeware is "driven by a small group of highly-sophisticated criminal enterprises who demonstrate identifiable attack and money-laundering fingerprints." They don't say how to develop these countermeasures.

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A drug for type 2 diabetes has just gotten FDA approval. "The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Mounjaro (tirzepatide) injection, Eli Lilly and Company's new once-weekly GIP (glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide) and GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) receptor agonist indicated as an adjunct to diet and exercise to improve glycemic control in adults with type 2 diabetes. Mounjaro has not been studied in patients with a history of pancreatitis and is not indicated for use in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus."

"As the first and only FDA-approved GIP and GLP-1 receptor agonist, Mounjaro is a single molecule that activates the body's receptors for GIP and GLP-1, which are natural incretin hormones."

"Side effects reported ..."

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"The National Popular Vote (NPV) plan is based on an interstate compact. Any state (DC included) can join. The compact goes into effect once states whose electoral votes total at least 270 (enough to elect a president) have joined. It currently has 16 members whose electoral votes total 195. Each member state agrees to cast its electoral votes for the presidential candidate with the largest nationwide total of popular votes (even if another candidate carried the state). The US Constitution allows each state to decide how to choose its electors, thus enabling use of any voting system for president and also (apparently) enabling use of the compact. The compact provides a way, without amending the Constitution, to bypass the Electoral College and elect as president the candidate with the most popular votes rather than more than half of the electoral votes."

"NPV assumes, implicitly, that every state's presidential ballot is based on plurality voting, the traditional and almost universal system in the US where the ballot lists the candidates and the voter votes for one of them." "But NPV breaks down if even one state uses a system other than plurality voting, as Maine does, and Alaska is soon to do. For a state with any system other than plurality voting, the NPV text does not define how the 'votes' to be entered into the NPV nationwide total are to be calculated. Thus, the NPV scheme is undefined both mathematically and legally."

"For both Maine and Alaska, their presidential voting uses ranked ballots with a method that has gone by several names: Hare (after Thomas Hare); alternative vote; instant-runoff voting or IRV; and, most recently, ranked-choice voting or RCV."

Is this really a problem? If all the states in the pact use plurality voting (which nobody should use, it is obvious now, but that's another whole discussion), then the pact works, regardless of what Alaska or Maine do, right? Or even any subset sufficient to reach 270 votes. I've been expecting this pact to kick in sometime in the next decade or so.

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FaceMRI: "Until now ai face recognition has been used for evil, people tracking on cctv, identify fraud, fake account, deep fakes and scamming. We want to use AI face recognition for good."

Ok, what would those uses be?

"Import faces from images, videos and web search. Create projects from millions of faces. Extract and organize faces from images, videos and the web. Import entire projects with 1000s of images and videos at 1 time. Process large videos. Organize millions faces into different projects."

"Find guns and weapons in videos, images and the web. Find weapons in batches of videos. Find, extract and categorize weapons found in videos. Add custom AI tasks for different weapons. Combine video frames into groups and categories."

"View population analytics, from images, video and web sources. Import videos from political rallies. Sort faces by gender. Advanced delete and sort functionality. Sort faces into age groups.

"Detect thousands of objects in images, videos and the web. Can classify 10,000 types of objects. Cars, household objects, scenes.

"Traceability. Organize millions of images. Keeps track of faces and their original sources
track a face from videos frame by frame. Compresses terrabytes of data into megabytes
creates individual face recognition projects. Organize millions faces into different projects
flower identification."

"Identify over 100 flowers. Detect and identify flowers. Labels 100+ flowers. Search for flowers. Create flower projects."

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ParityQC: The quantum architecture company. Or so they claim. "At ParityQC, we develop blueprints for quantum computers based on the ParityQC architecture. The architecture introduces a paradigm shift in encoding optimization problems, creating quantum computers which are scalable by radically reducing the control complexity. Our co-development approach to hardware and software results in quantum chips and algorithms that fit together perfectly."

"ParityQC's operating system, ParityOS, provides access to all the advantages of our architecture via the cloud. Through our compiler, we solve industry-relevant optimization problems much faster in comparison to the current standard approaches."

That all sounds very intriguing. What is this "ParityQC architecture"?

"The ParityQC architecture is the generalized version of the LHZ architecture for both digital and analog quantum computers. This technology harnesses a groundbreaking quantum architecture with resonance in both the academic and the corporate world. The original paper outlining this discovery was cited over 150 times and triggered research for implementations, applications and generalizations from research groups and companies all around the world. Hardware developers' interest in the architecture stems from its scalability as well as its compatibility with current methods and platforms."

"The ParityQC architecture provides a fundamentally new way to encode optimization problems on quantum computers, defining both the hardware layout and the algorithms. While it is common practice to translate optimization problems to algorithms, whereby gates between qubits have to be programmed, the ParityQC Architecture differentiates itself by only requiring to program local fields acting on individual qubits."

"Another advantage of our approach is that the gates between qubits are entirely independent of the problem. This contrasts with the traditional quantum computer, where gates act between any two qubits. In the ParityQC Architecture, gates act between four qubits, and these gates only exist between the qubits' nearest neighbours on a 2D chip layout."

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"Stablegains could be facing a class-action lawsuit after the company lost more than $44 million of customers' funds by investing them in Terra's failed UST stablecoin."

"Stablegains was part of Y Combinator's W22 batch and had received over $3 million in funding from several venture capital firms."

"Documentation on the Stablegains website assured users that the value of their deposited assets would remain stable 'regardless if the crypto markets are soaring or crashing.'"

"In reality, Stablegains took customers' US dollar deposits, converted them to UST, and deposited them into Anchor Protocol. Anchor, a Terra-based lending and borrowing DeFi platform, guaranteed 18% APY on UST deposits before the algorithmic stablecoin lost its peg and crashed the Terra ecosystem. Stablegains skimmed 3% off Anchor's yields for its trouble while returning the remaining 15% to customers."

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"Good faith" security research will no longer be prosecuted under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, according to an announcement from the Department of Justice. "The policy for the first time directs that good-faith security research should not be charged. Good faith security research means accessing a computer solely for purposes of good-faith testing, investigation, and/or correction of a security flaw or vulnerability, where such activity is carried out in a manner designed to avoid any harm to individuals or the public, and where the information derived from the activity is used primarily to promote the security or safety of the class of devices, machines, or online services to which the accessed computer belongs, or those who use such devices, machines, or online services."

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"China's military-derived and government-approved Linux distribution, Ubuntu Kylin, has revealed plans to target a second RISC-V platform."

"Ubuntu Kylin is Ubuntu's official version for China and was developed in partnership with Chinese authorities, including the military."

"In March 2022, a version of the OS was released for the HiFive Unmatched board."

"Last week, Kylin developers revealed plans to work towards a release on another RISC-V product, described as a StarFive development board."

"China is keen to build a complete computing stack that it controls, to reduce dependence on foreign technology it fears could represent a security risk or to which access could be denied by trade and/or security sanctions."

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Apparently what recently caused the Terra USD algorithmic stablecoin to become unpegged was a deliberate attack?

"There is a rumour/conspiracy theory going around that the attackers were Blackrock and Citadel. That, we can't be sure of. But here is how the attack unfolded:"

"The attacker bought up a tonne of UST and started dumping it. This caused other people to panic and sell their UST, which caused the price of UST to go a little below $1."

"The Luna Foundation began selling other cryptocurrencies like ETH and BTC to buy UST and bring the price back up to $1."

"The attacker may have anticipated this and shorted BTC and ETH (shorting is when you bet on the price to go down). They knew the Luna foundation and other backers would sell a tonne of BTC and ETH, and this selling may cause the price to fall. They made money by betting on this, as well as betting on the value of Luna falling."

"This is when mass panic hit."

"The Luna token is used to try and keep UST pegged to $1. So when the value of UST started falling. Luna tokens had to be printed at an incredible rate, and UST tokens had to be burned."

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"Greetings YC Founders,"

"During this week we've done office hours with a large number of YC companies. They reached out to ask whether they should change their plans around spending, runway, hiring, and funding rounds based on the current state of public markets. What we've told them is that economic downturns often become huge opportunities for the founders who quickly change their mindset, plan ahead, and make sure their company survives."

"No one can predict how bad the economy will get, but things don't look good."

"The safe move is to plan for the worst. If the current situation is as bad as the last two economic downturns, the best way to prepare is to cut costs and extend your runway within the next 30 days. Your goal should be to get to Default Alive."

"If you don't have the runway to reach default alive and your existing investors or new investors are willing to give you more money right now (even on the same terms as your last round) you should strongly consider taking it."

"Regardless of your ability to fundraise, it's your responsibility to ensure your company will survive if you cannot raise money for the next 24 months."

... and 6 more points. Coming from Y Combinator, I guess this means the tech industry is officially in bear-market consolidation mode.

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US Space Force releases decades of bolide data to NASA for planetary defense studies. So they're talking about large bright meteors, which I guess are technically called "bolides".

"Bolides, very bright meteors that can even be seen in daylight, are a regular occurrence -- on the order of several dozen times per year -- that result when our planet is impacted by asteroids too small to reach the ground but large enough to explode upon impact with Earth's atmosphere. US government sensors detect these atmospheric impact events, and the bolide data is reported to the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory's Center for Near Earth Object Studies fireballs database, which contains data going back to 1988 for nearly one thousand bolide events. Now, planetary defense experts will have access to even more detailed data -- specifically, light curve information that captures the optical intensity variation during the several seconds of an object's breakup in the atmosphere. The data will be available to scientists as soon as it is properly archived, with the reported events and made easily accessible. This uniquely rich data set has been greatly sought after by the scientific community as an object's breakup in Earth's atmosphere provides scientific insight into the object's strength and composition based on what altitudes at which it breaks up and disintegrates. The approximate total radiated energy and pre-entry velocity vector (i.e., direction) can also be better derived from bolide light curve data."

By "light curve", they just mean a graph that shows the brightness of the object over time.

"Recently a small asteroid approximately 2 meters in size, so small it posed no hazard to Earth, was detected in space as it approached Earth and impacted the atmosphere southwest of Jan Mayen, a Norwegian island nearly 300 miles (470 kilometers) off the east coast of Greenland and northeast of Iceland. While this asteroid, designated 2022 EB5, was much smaller than objects NASA is tasked to detect and warn about, the Center for Near Earth Object Studies continued to update NASA's Planetary Defense Coordination Office with impact location predictions as observations were collected leading up to 2022 EB5's impact, offering the planetary defense community a real-word scenario to test near-Earth object tracking capabilities and give confidence that the impact prediction process and models are adequate for timely and accurate notification of the potential impact of a larger object, should one be discovered on a trajectory toward Earth."

Planetary defense FTW!

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Coin Arber cryptocurrency arbitrage site. For example it can tell you you can buy BTC at $29,169 at Coinflex and sell for 32,218.87 at Exmo or buy ADA at $0.51633 from Bittrex and sell at $0.56930 on Exmo. Assuming these exchanges have enough liquidity for your trades (I never heard of them), the prices don't change before your trades go through, and you don't get eaten up on whatever the transaction fees are on these exchanges I never heard of.

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Superbooth 2022 hardware synthesizer exhibition. Review by Perfect Circuit. New synthesizers, drum machines, Eurorack modules, and more, oh my. "Let's start with the big -- and I mean big -- news... Oberheim has officially returned to the synth business, with their first all-new design in 35 years: the OB-X8. OB-X8 is an eight-voice analog synthesizer with bi-timbral capability, faithfully recreating all of the behavior of the OB-X, OB-8, and OB-Xa."

"Roland has announced the release of the new Aira Compact Series: a trio comprised of a compact drum machine, synthesizer, and effect processor. These have a distinctly Volca-like appearance, but they're no rip-off -- these devices present streamlined takes on some of Roland's most interesting gear across the years."

"Cre8audio's newest instrument is a collaboration with one of our long-standing favorite Eurorack companies: Pittsburgh Modular. Together, they've created the East Beast, a desktop semi-modular instrument that brings East Coast-style modular synthesis to the masses."

"Qu-Bit has announced the impending availability of Aurora: their stereo spectral reverb. Rather than using simple delay lines and filtering to create the illusion of a large sonic space, Aurora takes a different approach entirely: it uses a phase vocoding engine in order to provide maximal independent control of your sounds' frequency and time components. That might sound fairly abstract..."

"Something of a surprise, Korg has released the newest in their Nu:Tekt series: the NTS-2, a four-channel oscilloscope and dual function generator. The Nu:Tekt line is a series of DIY tools for electronic musicians...and this one is particularly exciting for those diving into the world of modular synthesis, and frankly...for basically anyone else interested in analog synthesizers."

"Look Mum No Comupter has entered the Eurorack sphere with the #1222 Performance VCO: a Eurorack oscillator designed for a raw, quirky sound with a number of niceties for studio and live performance use."

"Befaco and Rebel Technology are at it again: This time, they've created AC/DC, a 4x4 USB audio interface optimized for use with Eurorack modular systems."

"Following the success of their Osiris bi-fidelity wavetable oscillator and Per4mer quad performance effect process, Modbap Modular has announced their newest creation: the Transit, a two-channel performance mixer/output module for Eurorack synthesizers."

"Knobula has introduced perhaps one of the most fully-featured kick drum modules of all time: Kickain."

"We shouldn't be surprised by WORNG's newest creation: MidSide+, a stereo field manipulator complete with the option for continuous manipulation of the stereo field under manual and voltage control."

"The LXR-02 Eurorack Module retains all of the brilliant sound-sculpting tools for designing chest-rattling kicks and basses, head-crushing snares and claps, and piercing cymbals and hats."

"Looking towards the SYNTRX II, we are met with a familiar layout inspired by the great EMS Synthi AKS, with digital matrix patching alongside a refined selection of controls and introduction to new capabilities."

"BASTL Instruments has brought a tasty and digital complex oscillator to SuperBooth '22: it's Pizza. Grab a slice or two of the magical and morphing sounds of three oscillators with brilliant and unique routing and flavor combinations."

"4MS comes to Superbooth with five new modules: three are part of a new EnvVCA line, and two are updates of classics from the company."

"XAOC Devices comes in hot with 5 new modules for Superbooth: two expanders for their Leibniz subsystem, a triple summing mixer, stereo frequency shifter, and wonderful-sounding and quite novel analog oscillator."

"Joranalogue is back yet again with some stellar new Eurorack modules, adding both highly flexible routing and complex effect modulation for processing all your favorite modular signals."

"Polyend has introduced a highly performable multi-track sequencer/sampler/controller named Play, offering eight sample and eight MIDI tracks for creating astonishing productions and live grooves."

"Teenage Engineering has introduced the OP-1 Field: a refinement/overhaul of the classic OP-1, designed to update to modern recording standards and, more importantly, to make it easier to get straight to making music."

"Finegear's Dirt Magnet is yet another stellar-looking multi-processor for adding lovely inconsistencies and unique timbres to your sound."

"This Superbooth ALM brought out another big player for their arsenal of great-results out-of-the-box modules with the new ASQ-1. ASQ-1 is an SH-101 style sequencer with two independent channels of gate and CV outputs alongside loads of functionality for creating highly performable patterns."

"Ritual Electronics has brought forth an improved version of their beloved dual function generator, Anima."

"Instead of an effects processor, Eventide brings us a unique sequencer based on tone rows -- a technique used by serial composers -- that focuses on the use of sets of intervals rather than specific notes."

"This year, Random*Source seems to be answering a number of our prayers in one fell swoop: they've brought a reimagined 4U Paperface system, a voltage-controllable Resonant Equalizer, and an all-in-one 3U system."

"Buchla is back at Superbooth as well -- showing a number of new products. Most visible among these is their recent outpouring of new modules modeled after the original 200 Series -- bringing users a long-requested revival of these 1970s designs to modern users."

"SOMA Laboratory creates seems to change the way we look at creating music, but somehow they really flipped everything on its head with their reveal of Terra. Terra itself is designed around a slice of a tree's trunk, bursting with gold and silver tactile controls placed with a spread layout that seems to mimic the span of a human hand. However, at its core, Terra is a polyphonic synthesizer with microtonal tuning that is as accurate as 125 increments across a single semitone -- with the total range of a grand piano."

"The reveal of Verbos's new Polyphonic Envelope is another great example of their ingenuity. The Polyphonic Envelope contains four separate envelopes connected to a single shaping and staging interface that is highly performable and modulate-able."

"AJH brings their unique burst generator to Superbooth, the Multi Burst Envelopes."

"Shakmat brings us four new modules that all look quite handy."

"Fred's Lab presents the Manatee, a unique spectral synth engine developed from scratch. It's not a virtual analog, not a wavetable, not FM, but something completely different."

"The Motor Synth was a crowdfunded project that received an amazing response, and this year Gamechanger Audio presents a refined MKII version. Using electro-magnetic induction, the Motor Synth generates sounds and frequencies from small motors to create a very unique sound."

"Having been in development for quite some time now, Stolperbeats from Making Sound Machines makes way at Superbooth 22 -- bringing classic and underappreciated grooves and swing feels to the modular marketplace."

"Doepfer's newest collection of modules hits the scene with high levels of functionality and creativity, offering a stereo multimode filter and two four-channel mixers."

"La 67 brings double the dual modules with DADA and MODii, a two-channel VCA/VC saturator and a dual VC modulator, respectively, each with a high degree of flexibility in shaping your modular system."

"Mystic Circuits still made the trip out to Berlin this year to show off their latest Eurorack module: IDUM. Cheeky name aside, IDUM sports eight different modes to process triggers traveling throughout your modular system."

If that sounds like a lot of technobabble, click on all the videos and listen to the sounds. The article has embedded videos on: "The Oberheim OB-X8 has arrived", "Roland Aira Compact : T-8 / J-6 / E-4 : Portable drum machine, polyphonic synth, & vocal effects", "The Mystery of the East Beast - Cre8audio East Beast film - Cre8audio", "Introducing Qu-Bit Aurora: Spectral Reverb", "Xaoc Devices Sofia", and "Xaoc Devices Koszalin".

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Guide to jungle/DnB breakbeats. If you've ever wondered how electronic music is produced or just a fan of jungle/DnB, this video is for you. It's interesting because he goes through the history of jungle with examples, and talks about how various aspects of the sound (rhythm, pitch, timbre) make it "sound good". Then he gets into the techniques of actually making breakbeats and goes through a whole bunch of drums and effects.