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Nos High Performance Energy Drink Taste: 8

Glaceau Vitamin Energy (Tropical Citrus) Taste: 6 Taste: 5 Energy: 7 I ducked and covered in the face of goofy Monster flavors such as Kaos, M-80, and Assault, opting instead for Lo-Carb, which has all the energy goodies but just 10 calories per serving. This variety tasted the most medicinal, with the bubble-gum tang I associate with guarana and a slightly artificial aftertaste. It got my front-side bus humming (without adding to my front-side bulk). With B vitamins and a vague energy blend of the usual suspects, this potion amps up the energy without impelling you to stake out your apartment in anticipation of the carb monsters’ arrival.

Full Throttle Fury

Taste: 2 Energy: 4

Coca-Cola’s entrant, Full Throttle, is an inferior product bolstered by the brand’s shelf power. Fury, the variety I tried, was semipalatable at first, but it soon evolved into an orange-flavored sore throat. The fluid’s weak energy boost may help explain why Coke doesn’t detail the proportions of the various stim ingredients, instead referring to them as a “3,000mg blend” of caffeine, guarana, carnitine, taurine, ginseng, and sucrose (that’s table sugar, folks). I drifted for hours in a limbo of faint nausea while waiting for my stomach to flip right-side up again. Infuriating.

Rockstar Juiced Pomegranate Taste: 10

Taste: 2 Energy: 8 This r00t-b33r-themed guarana-and-caffeine drink has a medicinal edge that lasts beyond any of the more palatable flavors, but only the first and last sips are truly blech-alicious. Once taken internally it performs to spec, giving you a guarana-and-caffeine-fueled energy jolt that lasts a surprisingly long time. I drank mine for breakfast, and within 5 minutes I was preternaturally alert and awake. A couple of hours later, I could tell that all of my gears were still engaged–and without any of the tense jitters associated with most high-caffeine drinks. If you can get past the somewhat disgusting aftertaste, this drink will wake you up and giving you a bit of jitter-free focus. In fact, it will do so even if you can’t get past the aftertaste.

Brain Toniq

Taste: 6 Energy: 2 Living Essentials 5-Hour Energy (Berry)

Taste: 8 Energy: 8

You’ve probably seen these little bottles at the corner store by the register and wondered if they were any good. Wonder no more–they’re not bad. They taste less medicinal than I had expected, and they go down in one or two gulps. The liquid concoction hit me with eye-opening speed, lifting the morning fog with gale-force winds. This clean-burning fuel has also only 4 calories, one-fiftieth of the load of a typical 16-ounce energy-drink can. But it should be called 3.5-Hour Energy–that’s when the Sandman shuffled softly back my way.

TwinLab Choline Cocktail

Taste: 4

Taste: N/A Energy: N/A

The one stand-alone tablet I tested for this story is devoted solely to mental enhancement, so I added it of a small cup of coffee. Brain Elevate recommends a regimen of a single pill one to two times daily. The vegetarian, mostly herbal formula contains choline, ginkgo, rosemary leaf extract, and gotu kola. It doesn’t stimulate the central nervous system, but I did notice a sense of increased clarity and vigilance. And though it’s pricey at $22 per 60-capsule container, one bottle can last for 30 to 60 days of regular use–and longer if you skip it on the weekends.

Engobi Energy Go Bites

Taste: 5

None of the B vitamins bestow energy, but all of them help with biological processes. Though they are numbered (B with a subscript number), you may see them listed by their chemical names: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12). Most energy drinks pile on the B’s.

Vitamin C

Like the B vitamins, C does nothing for energy, but vitamin C is the O.G. of antioxidants, slaying free radicals (renegade, destructive ions) left and right. As a secondary benefit, it’ll keep scurvy away. Arrrr!


A major component of bile (yum), taurine may help promote weight loss by regulating insulin levels in the body. The jury remains out on its energy-conferring potential, but just about every energy drink includes it as an ingredient.


This stimulant has had a long and healthy relationship with humans. Found in coffee, tea, and (in smaller quantities) chocolate–not to mention in energy drinks–caffeine helps the world wake up and stay awake.


Known primarily as an aphrodisiac, ginseng also seems to have a stimulant effect, most often noticed in the symptom of insomnia. Siberian ginseng, though popular, is not a ginseng at all, as it is not a member of the Panax (ginseng) genus.


A South American berry seed, guarana contains about five times the percentage of caffeine that a coffee bean does. Other alkaloids in guarana may increase resistance to stress and increase memory retention, as well as having antioxidant and antibacterial affects.

Gotu Kola

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Geek 101: What Is V

If you’ve played a PC game in the past decade, you’ve probably found a mysterious “V-Sync” option while fooling around with your graphics card settings. Enabling V-Sync can make fast-paced action games like Portal 2 look smoother, but run slower; if you’re lucky you’ll have the option to switch between multiple forms of vertical synchronization like double or triple buffering, but what’s the best choice for your needs? Is vertical synchronization even necessary if you own an LCD display?

To answer these questions and more we did a bit of research, did away with the jargon and created a brief guide to what V-Sync means, how it works and how you can use it to get the most out of your machine.

What Is V-Sync?

It’s short for vertical synchronization, an optional setting on your graphics card that throttles the frames being drawn to match the number of times your monitor refreshes itself every second. If you have a 60Hz monitor (i.e. one that refreshes 60 times a second), V-Sync will adjust the framerate for the game you’re playing or app you’re using to max out at 60 frames per second. This GPU feature became necessary back when everyone played games on big CRT monitors, which refreshed themselves by physically moving an electron emitter back and forth across the interior of the screen at regular intervals to redraw the entire image.

In an ideal world the frames per second generated by your graphics card would sync up perfectly with the refresh rate of your monitor, ensuring that every time the GPU writes a frame into video memory the monitor is ready and waiting to pluck that image data out of memory and draw that frame on-screen. The problem comes when your GPU starts spitting frames into video memory faster than your monitor can retrieve them, causing graphical distortion as the images start to overwrite one another.

Why Should You Use It?

You should enable V-Sync if you notice a lot of graphical distortion caused by movement during action sequences when playing games or watching movies on your PC. When your graphics card renders individual display frames faster than your monitor can refresh itself, the extra frames end up partially overwriting previous frames to create odd graphical glitches like fractured lines or objects that look as though they’ve been sliced in half. These distortions are colloquially known as “screen tearing”, and enabling V-Sync eliminates them by keeping your graphics card from sending frames to the monitor before the monitor is ready to display them, ensuring smooth performance.

The phrase “vertical synchronization” is an antiquated reference to CRT monitors, which were designed to refresh themselves vertically at regular intervals; modern LCD monitors don’t actually have physical refresh cycles, but rather a response time rating (5 milliseconds, for example) that denotes how long it takes a single pixel to change color from black to white. Of course your LCD monitor still needs to query your graphics card for new frames at regular intervals, and is thus still vulnerable to distortion when displaying frames faster or slower than the GPU can render them. When we’re speaking of LCD refresh rates, we’re actually talking about how often the display polls the input device for a fresh image.

For example, let’s say your spare 24-inch LCD monitor demonstrates a refresh rate of 60 frames per second, but your GeForce GTX 560 Ti graphics card consistently spits out 90 frames per second when you’re playing Team Fortress 2. That means that every second your graphics card is providing 90 new images while your monitor is only updating itself 60 times, creating a serious sync problem.

Why Shouldn’t You Use It?

Depending on which form of V-Sync you use, enabling it can have a deleterious effect on your PC’s performance. There are two popular V-Sync algorithms: straight frame buffering and ping-pong buffering (also known as page flipping.)

The simplest and most common way to solve GPU/monitor sync issues is to create a double (and sometimes triple) frame buffer in system memory where extra frames are stored and fed to the monitor as needed. This buffer ensures a much smoother and more appealing image, but can cause problems when playing games that demand quick responses to onscreen events because the GPU already has two or three frames rendered and stored in the buffer beyond what you’re seeing onscreen at any given moment. That means that while the GPU is rendering images in direct response to your actions, there is a miniscule delay (measured in milliseconds) between when you perform those actions and when they actually appear onscreen. Most users will never notice such slight input lag, but hardcore competitive gamers may want to disable frame buffer V-Sync and put up with a few funky graphical effects in exchange for maximum performance.

Ping-pong buffering doesn’t have the same input lag; rather than a straight frame buffer which just backs up excess frames and feeds them to the monitor one at a time, this method of vertical synchronization actually renders multiple frames in video memory at the same time and flips between them every time your monitor requests a new frame from your graphics card. This kind of “page flipping” eliminates the lag from copying a frame from the system memory into video memory, which means there’s less input lag and thus less impact on your actions per minute while playing a game like Starcraft II.

Of course you might want to keep your GPU settings at minimum to maximize your competitive edge in multiplayer games, but that’s a story for another day. For now, you should probably keep V-Sync enabled unless you notice a significant performance boost from turning it off. Screen tearing is no joke, and software improvements like page flipping ensure the negative aspects of V-Sync (input lag, poor framerate) are almost nonexistent.

Fitbit Interview: We Talk Managing Stress With The New Body Response Feature

Fitbit interview: Stress, Body Response, and the Fitbit Sense 2

Kris Carlon / Android Authority

Q: So, what’s going on with stress? Is it slowly killing us all? Why is it such a hot topic at the moment?

It is typically associated with that feeling of worry or what we normally associate with the stress of normal life, like those negative pressures and demands of normal life. What we’re working on and helping people track is that physical response that we have to everyday life demands. And so, what I actually think is happening, is that there’s more awareness [of stress]. People are talking more about stress in the fact that we all experience it. And while there’s still a stigma of it being negative, it can also be positive if you think about preparing for a presentation, for example. You know, that small burst of stress can actually motivate you, or help you meet a deadline. And I think there’s more openness to talk about stress and how it impacts our everyday life. And it’s very personal. What causes me stress or how does my body react? It’s probably different than other people, and might be different for you. The tools that we’re building are designed to help us both, regardless of what our stressors are or how our bodies react to them.

Q: The feature we’re talking about is Body Response. How does it work?

The Sense 2 is powered by an on-device electrodermal activity sensor (EDA) and is continuously tracking. So we actually call it cEDA because it’s on all day and gives you all-day stress management. This type of sensor is typically used more in scientific research. So we’re really excited to have been able to bring it to the Sense 2 and are also thinking about possibilities for the future that we could provide our users.

I wish there were, but it really is so personal. As I mentioned, for me, I really identified the trends within my body. I noticed that I was getting these notifications when I was working late at night, and I wasn’t aware that that was impacting my health. So it really is very personal. The stressors that you may encounter, how your body reacts, and how you build resilience, are really going to empower you to manage those stressors. We can’t provide that magic bullet for everyone, but we really tried to provide options for people to understand what might be best for them.

So, if you’re one of those people that really likes and enjoys a breathing exercise and having that mindful moment, we have breathing exercises. But if you’re someone like me, I actually like to get out and be active, and that’s what works best for me. For people like me, we have anything from yoga to mindful walking to a variety of other workouts that you could do. And again, the beauty is that you can reflect on the device or in the mobile app and view that moment to see what’s actually working best for you so that you can reduce problems later on.

Q: Body Response is exclusive to the Sense 2 at the moment. Will it come to other, less expensive trackers?

I can’t share much about our roadmap. I can say that we’re always looking to bring innovation to more of our users. In the meantime, for other devices like the Fitbit Charge 5, we do have the spot-check EDA scanner. Although it doesn’t provide continuous tracking like the Sense 2, it does provide an opportunity to reflect while you’re doing a mindfulness session and get that response information about how your body’s doing at that moment. Many of our devices also have the stress management score, which is more of a summary of how your physical stress is throughout the day. We also have a variety of different mindfulness content available within the Fitbit Premium subscription.

You can watch the full Fitbit interview above or on the Authority Media YouTube channel.

A Frank Body Of Evidence About Business Building

Frank Body co-founder Jess Hatzis took a while to discover her leadership style. She explains how much she values the things that the experience has taught her. Key Takeaways

Frank Body was last valued at $100 million, a figure its co-founders attribute to the business’ customer centricity

The company plans to expand internationally

Frank Body has been in market for about nine years. Its main goal has been to redefine bath and body care, which its Chief Marketing Officer, Jess Hatzis, says has traditionally been dominated by bath-staining fizz bombs and fluffy products.

“We wanted to bring skincare quality ingredients into body care,” Hatzis says. She is one of the four co-founders of the company, who all still remain part of the company’s leadership team today.

But building a product is one thing – building a successful business is entirely another, Hatzis says.

“We didn’t necessarily know how to manage our team in the most effective way. That was a huge learning curve for us. You have to be everything to your team: part coach, mentor, boss. That can be really taxing because you are not a never-ending well of energy and knowledge.

“Sometimes you just don’t know, or you are just exhausted. I found that really challenging until I worked out my leadership style, which was to be an honest and vulnerable leader and talk to my team openly about all aspects of my life and we created a two-way channel in that regard.”

Hatzis notes that in a startup you are often left doing everything, and learning how to delegate can be difficult.

“If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. For someone wanting to start their business but is scared of it going wrong or not working… It is definitely not going to work if you don’t try.”

– Jess Hatzis, Frank Body CMO

“That was hard for us. When you start, you have to do everything. It doesn’t matter if you love it or hate it or you’re good at it. Eventually, being able to bring on some team members to support us, being able to hire experts in the field, that was one of the biggest wins.”

The growth of the business has been exciting and slightly unexpected, Hatzis says. The most recent valuation was $100 million in 2023. But Hatzis credits the company’s success to its customer centricity.

“If you are not putting that person front and centre, you are never going to succeed,” she says.

What does being customer-centric mean? For Frank Body, it means reverse engineering their products based off of what their customer needs. It’s this ethos that has helped the business build an incredibly loyal following.

“Our customers are the reason our business took off. You can claim all of your strategies, but it was the customers that used the products and shared the reviews. That was what made the business. That remains core to everything we do today.”

“That mentality of whatever will be, will be has been a part of who I am for a very big part of my life. Potentially because I am an overly anxious person, so I’ve been trying from a very young age to train myself to accept the ins and outs of life.

“I can be very stressed about an active problem, but what I try not doing is worrying about a problem I can’t change. It’s completely a waste of time and a waste of energy and it’s taking away from what I could be doing next. Definitely, think about things and take lessons. Have grounded people around you.

Hatzis has a couple of suggestions for anyone wanting to start their own business.

“If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. For someone wanting to start their business but is scared of it going wrong or not working … it is definitely not going to work if you don’t try.

“People can get too stuck in the big idea. You need to have a big idea, but the only way to get there is to break it down into really simple dot points that are actionable things you can do.

“I see a lot of people who can’t go from the big idea and drill it down into: What are the five things I need to do today to take a step towards this happening? We have a real habit as humans in making things more complicated than they need to be. That includes how we work and how we start businesses.

Having a balance with the people you are going into business with and the team you are building around you is key, she says.

What’s next for the company? International expansion, of course.

“The next stage for us is about market depth. I don’t think we have even scratched the surface, especially when it comes to international markets. To become a household name in those key international markets is what’s next. That is going to require a lot of work.”

Pov: Police Body Cameras Aren’t The Answer To Excessive Force

POV: Police Body Cameras Aren’t the Answer to Excessive Force There are better ways to ensure good law enforcement

Amidst the public discourse about the deaths of black men in violent encounters with the police, President Obama has called for funding to expand the use of body-worn video cameras to record police-public interactions. The political appeal of this initiative is easy to see: it is quick, seemingly simple to implement, and broadly understood. Given the complexity of accountability concerns, however, I am unconvinced this approach addresses the issue, and I have greater concerns that the attention to video distracts from more effective reforms.

The policing field has a history of adopting new technologies—with both intended benefits and unintended costs—to solve long-existing and institutionalized challenges. Patrol cars improved efficient responses to emergency calls-for-service, but facilitated greater distance between the police and the community. Emergency 911 call systems further improved rapid response to any particular incident, but their use impedes police organizations from adopting promising problem-solving approaches that view individual incidents as symptoms of underlying problems. Contemporary use of so-called big data analytical techniques (i.e., “predictive policing,” using computer models to predict lawbreaking) shows promise in reducing crime, but it has helped move the field away from the kinds of community-based strategies that produce positive crime control and build trust between the community and the police.  Viewing body cameras as a technology-based solution to accountability problems within this context suggests that we may be falling into the same trap.

Questions remain about the efficacy of cameras as a preventive accountability mechanism. While the lack of evidence might leave ambiguous the legality of the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., last August, it is clear that the interaction went badly from the outset due to substandard police tactics. Calling out from a passing police vehicle to two young men, then reversing towards them rapidly and putting the vehicle in a position of close proximity to Brown and his friend are detrimental to the quality of the interaction and to keeping all involved safe. Officers who conduct interactions in such risky ways on a regular basis are only gambling with the probability that any given situation will escalate to something that is out of their control. The resulting force—justified or not—often is unintended, and most officers likely do not calculate odds of repercussions as dynamic encounters unfold. Body cameras might help resolve legal questions about an encounter after the fact, but they do little to improve the quality of routine interactions, and the policing field understands well the kinds of reforms that can improve interactions and reduce negative consequences.

Training officers in procedural justice practices, de-escalation techniques, and knowledge of unconscious biases, youth development, and mental illness would do a great deal more to prevent abuse of force. Compared to the approach that led to Brown’s death, an officer implementing basic elements from procedural justice training steps out of the vehicle, makes eye contact, speaks respectfully (if not forcefully), and listens from a distance that does not put him or her in danger. An officer able to understand the perspective of young people, particularly young black men, who all too frequently have negative encounters with the police, (or in many other cases, individuals with mental illness) would be in a better position to communicate effectively to resolve the situation. These trainings, which do not rest on the assumption that problematic encounters occur because of bad officers calculating the costs and benefits of repercussion, recognize the complexity of any coercive encounters and the factors that cause abuses and negative outcomes.

Absent good leadership, management, and supervision strategies, the extent to which additional video evidence will lead to better policing is unclear. The Eric Garner case, last July on Staten Island, N.Y., and others that have been recorded demonstrate that holding police accountable to legal standards of misconduct is challenging. Cameras act only as a tool to augment good accountability practices already implemented in agencies about which we would have fewer concerns in the first place. What is needed is external pressure on agencies to adopt effective internal accountability approaches, such as early intervention systems and better selection and development of supervisors. By recognizing that abuse of authority is much more a problem of bad organizations than bad officers, President Obama should push to expand the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division’s resources to investigate local law enforcement agencies. Federal lawsuits have led to promising organizational change in the departments that have entered into consent decrees or memoranda of understanding and have put pressure on other agencies to adopt the contemporary standards. These investigations are relatively rare, but they are part of a federal policy initiative over which the president and Congress have direct control.

It is unfortunate that the national conversation on police authority has been caught up in the debate about body cameras. If there is any good to come out of the tragic deaths we’ve witnessed, it is that they might lead the public and political leaders to better understand police authority and to push for the implementation of real reforms. There is a reform toolkit available that starts with improving police-community connection, officer aptitude to resolve coercive encounters through justice- and awareness-based practices, and external pressure to bring about organizational change. The toolkit needs to be the central focus of the national conversation on abuse of authority.

Shea Warren Cronin, a Metropolitan College assistant professor of criminal justice, can be reached at [email protected].

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Run Your Own Pastebin With Stikked

If you’re a developer of any sort, you’ve probably heard of chúng tôi the most widely used web application for pasting and sharing text snippets. chúng tôi is great, but it’s not the only pastebin tool out there.

Stikked is built with PHP and jQuery and uses the CodeIgniter framework.

Installing Stikked

Stikked requires that your server is running:




To download the latest version of Stikked, visit the Stikked GitHub page or go to your command line and run:

Create a database, add a user to it, and grant the database user all privileges.

Now that you’ve set up a database for your Stikked installation, you need to modify the file application/config/stikked.php to point to it. Go to lines 18 through 21 and change the database information appropriately. For example:





























Now you should be able to access chúng tôi and see this:

The chúng tôi file contains some other settings you can change as well. For instance, to require LDAP authentication, edit line 117:








Note that if you set this to true, you must also configure your LDAP settings in application/config/auth_ldap.php.

Fun fact: Line 99 lets you let you set the default name for anonymous posters to a random phrase:








Scroll down to line 136 to view or edit the list of random nouns, followed by the list of random adjectives.

Styling Your Stikked Installation

All of the style data exists in the directory called “static.” For kicks, take a look inside the sub-directory “fonts” to see some interesting choices.















Here is my “Create” page after I had a bunch of fun with main.css:


Stikked has a number of interesting features that make it stand out from the crowd of other pastebin scripts.

First off, it runs the gamut when it comes to syntax highlighting. Stikked supports a huge list of programming and scripting languages, from 4CS to Oz to ZXBasic. Whatever you’re coding in, your Stikked installation has (probably) got you covered.

The “Trending” page is nearly identical but with the addition of a “hits” column and no RSS feed. Hits appear to be calculated based on visits from unique IP addresses.

When you create a paste, you have the options to set an expiration date, create a short URL using the service at chúng tôi and/or make the post private. Note that a “private” paste is not truly private; any user who has the paste’s URL can see it, unless you’ve enabled LDAP authentication – in that case, every registered user with the URL can see it. “Private” only means that the post won’t show up on the Recent or Trending pages.

Security aside, Stikked provides some neat utilities for viewing a paste. I’m especially pleased with the embed code.

You can also reply to pastes and add your own edits from a form below the original paste. The only downside to this is that replies don’t link back to the original post; if your pastebin has many different posts and replies made at different times, it’s easy to lose track of their structure. I can only hope that the developer will at some point introduce a solution, such as threading the replies and implementing a diff viewer.

One last feature I’ll mention is spam control, which Stikked refers to as “spamadmin.” Set it up by entering credentials in config/stikked.php on lines 79 and 80:















Go to chúng tôi to log in. There you can see which pastes came from which IP addresses, remove pastes, and block IP ranges.


A basic example is to use the cURL command to upload a file called “,” setting the title, name, privacy, language, and expiration time in minutes:


If you’ve read that Stikked is dead, you’re wrong. While the old Stikked was abandoned after version 0.5.4, the new Stikked is going strong and continuing to introduce useful features with every release. I recommend you give it a try if you want an easy way to collect and share text snippets on your own website.

What do you use pastebins for? Do you have a use for your own pastebin?

Rebecca “Ruji” Chapnik

Ruji Chapnik is a freelance creator of miscellanea, including but not limited to text and images. She studied art at the University of California, Santa Cruz and writing at Portland State University. She went on to study Linux in her bedroom and also in various other people’s bedrooms, crouched anti-ergonomically before abandoned Windows computers. Ruji currently lives in Portland, Oregon. You can find her experiments at chúng tôi and her comics at

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