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The gravitational pull of the NFT space is undeniable. We’re forging a new creative economy in real-time, and, over the years, the weird wide world of nonfungibles has ballooned, bootstrapping a robust community of creatives and professionals from every industry along the way.
Host of the popular Audacy podcast called Inside Web3, Lazar uses her platforms to create educational content around the sometimes enigmatic and misunderstood sectors of blockchain culture. Yet, while she is quickly becoming a recognizable name in the NFT space, her rise to prominence was anything but random.
“I’ve been in the digital culture media space for almost two decades,” said Lazar in an interview with nft now. “I came up in LA in entertainment with a foot in traditional and a foot in digital… I found myself in the middle of those two worlds, but always leaned into the digital world, because, for me, it rewarded enthusiasm and care.”
While these days, you can catch Lazar in all her enthusiastic glory via her recurring Twitter Spaces #Alpha Mondays and “Women in Web3” Wednesdays, the time spent behind the scenes as a self-starter turned executive helped build the front-facing powerhouse broadcaster she is today. We sat down with her to take an in-depth look at how she brought her legacy media sensibilities into the new paradigm of digital experience.Forging a path of her own
Those entering the NFT ecosystem usually don’t do so by chance. Although stumbling down the NFT rabbit hole can definitely be an abnormal experience, people who become interested in crypto and digital ownership are likely to be digitally native or at least already deeply immersed in digital media and internet culture.
And for Lazar, this rings entirely true.
Having first become interested and involved in the media landscape shortly before the era of iPhones and YouTube, Lazar cut her teeth at the bottom of the corporate ladder, hoping to find a balance between her prowess for traditional media and her passion for all things digital.
“I was always trying to get into traditional [media]. But I would get to the screen test, whether it be like, for a big TV network or something, and then I would always get disappointed,” Lazar told nft now. “Digital [media] always created a way for me to continue practicing what I love doing, without having to get permission to do so.”
From working with websites like WireImage to Yahoo, Lazar quickly found her way into the vlogging world through a gig with CBS News. As one of the first vloggers employed by the news company, she covered internet and digital culture, solidifying this niche to be her long-term beat.
From there, she began her own company and streaming show, “What’s Trending”, which led to her continued interest and innovation in the growing world of digital media.
“‘What’s Trending’, at the time when we started, was one of the first live streaming shows for internet people by internet people,” said Lazar. “It wasn’t traditional people saying, ‘here’s what we think you like.’ It was us saying, ‘here’s what people from the social watercooler actually like. So it was really the first time someone editorialized the news from a social perspective.”
As she built herself as an entrepreneur and an executive, she remained steadfast in her love for broadcasting and content creation. But, after a decade spent growing “What’s Trending,” Lazar felt burnt out, and then COVID hit.Transitioning into Web3
And that changed everything for Lazar. As she set out on her own personal growth journey, the media landscape transformed before her eyes. And, when fake news, misinformation, and rampant uncertainty went vogue, she noticed influential people in her circles gaining interest in Web3.
“In 2023, I started seeing the Web3 word pop up. A lot of the people I knew from the Web2 space, from Gary Vee to Randi Zuckerberg to Brit Morin, were starting to do projects in the Web3 space,” said Lazar. “And of course, then my radar went up like, ‘Okay, what’s going on?’”
At the time, Lazar was deeply invested in Peace Inside Live, the online yoga, meditation, and breathwork studio she co-founded. Yet, when NFTs reached even this comparably niche sector of her multi-pronged career, she began to take further notice.
“I started collecting [NFTs] and posting about them on my socials, and I started to see the reactions. I realized that I had seen this excitement before, and I felt it,” Lazar told nft now. “It was like when I was at the first-ever VidCon and people were lining up to see YouTube stars. And I thought, ‘I’ve seen this before, but now it’s different.’”
With the young NFT industry continuing to snowball, Lazar found it easy to plant her flag as a leading female voice in the space. As NFT enthusiasts and professionals began to take notice, linking her back to “What’s Trending” and her many other new media endeavors, she started receiving requests to take center stage at major conferences and events, including NFTLA, VeeCon, chúng tôi SXSW, and more.
Previously named one of Business Insider’s Most Influential Tech Women On Twitter, throughout 2023 and 2023, Lazar received consistent recognition as both a builder and tastemaker within the NFT space. Quickly, her metaverse soapbox expanded into an amphitheater. As things started to stabilize and then cool down in the crypto and NFT markets, she leaned into the idea of creating a sustainable future for Web3 culture.Web3 inclusivity and long-term viability
Over the years, it’s become somewhat faux-pas to label or be labeled an “NFT expert.” As the weird wide world of nonfungibles continues to grow and develop, people who claim to know everything about NFTs are often subject to suspicion. Even the most seasoned NFT influencers succumb to braggadocio, but with decades of accomplishments in tow, Lazar seems to have maintained her humility through her transition into Web3.
“As a broadcaster, I am learning about this space and sharing my journey as someone playing in the game, but I’m still learning just like everyone else,” says Lazar. “It changes how you report on the content and the community vs. always looking at it from the outside… Staying curious, building those relationships, and distilling the information to others takes time, trial, and error.”
Yet, if one thing became clear about the Web3 “game” in the past few years, it’s that not everyone within the NFT space is treated equally. The NFT ecosystem may be a melting pot of art, tech, and culture, but the racism, sexism, and discrimination present in Web2 have yet to be ousted from this latest iteration of blockchain technology.
Society — significantly as a niche internet microcosm (i.e., the NFT space) — won’t change overnight. As a prominent voice in the NFT and wellness spaces, Lazar said she understands how race, gender, trauma, and other unconscious biases impact how we exist and perceive each other. This goes for real life and online discourse, and the NFT space is just as much a reflection of our disparate values as it is an ecosystem tied to the idea of decentralization.
“If we are building a new economy and new space, we get to change and rebuild the systems that haven’t worked. With these types of stats coming out, that only 5% of NFT sales go to women creators, and only around 16% of all NFTs are owned by women — clearly, there needs to be a change as it relates to women and other underrepresented communities in this space,” Lazar said to nft now.
A firm believer in “putting your money where your mouth is,” Lazar says the NFT space needs to have uncomfortable conversations on sustainability. And they should focus on the need for diversity in all-white male-led companies, or the need for those in positions of power to do more to support and uplift underrepresented individuals and populations.
“The way we get there is through education, representation, and accessibility,” said Lazar. “It’s my mission as an individual, creator, and entrepreneur to bring this to the content I create and the companies I work with in Web3.”
However, while addressing issues in established networks and companies is its own undertaking, Lazar says that for community building, especially in a Web3 context, longevity and equity start when builders and founders pause to ask themselves a simple question: why?
“I think consistency is key, but also having a clear ‘why?’. How are you not just taking from the space but adding value to the space,” said Lazar. “Be very clear about your value system and your ‘why’… When you’re clear on all that, how do you execute? There are going to be a lot of companies that claim to be doing similar things, but what separates one from the other is its execution, the people behind it, and then the community that emerges from that.”
Lazar doesn’t purport to be an expert on community building, or even blockchain tech. But this is because precisely where the NFT ecosystem will go in the next decade remains unclear. Yet, she still approaches each endeavor with excitement at the prospect of playing an integral part in building toward the future.
“What excites me about bridging the gap [between Web2 and Web3] is not just about innovating and disrupting the old, but also putting a spotlight on emerging leaders and brands. Plus, the possibility of: paying artists and creators their worth, shared ownership, and new forms of IP — which might lead to the next Disney, Google, or Amazon,” Lazar explained to nft now.
“Or maybe it’s not even about that scale,” added Lazar. “Maybe it’s more about connecting with niche interests and communities, and that’s enough.”
You're reading Shira Lazar: How One Woman Became A Leading Female Voice In Nfts
The first time I encountered poppers, I watched a nun do them. I was in fifth grade.
It was the final scene of Act 1 of “Nunsense,” a riotous Off-Broadway musical detailing the fundraising antics of an ill-fated but endearing group of convent sisters. One nun had found a suspicious-looking bag in a high school bathroom and presented it to Mother Superior Mary Regina. Once alone, Reverend Mother rummaged around in the bag and pulled out a small, brightly-colored glass bottle. She gave it the once-over, quizzically reading its name aloud: “Rush.”
Unscrewing the bottle, Mary Regina immediately revulsed at the harsh chemical smell contained within, but not before taking an unintentional whiff of the potent fumes. Soon the straight-edge sister experienced a sensual head rush of biblical proportions. The rest of the nuns found her writhing on the floor, higher than a church steeple, moaning and shouting, “FREE WILLY! FREE WILLY!”
As a 10 year-old audience member, I found the Reverend Mother’s silliness amusing, but it would be another decade before I fully understood what had transpired on that stage—when I came across a neon yellow bottle of Rush myself. Only, this one was about as far as you could get from a convent.
There are countless brands of similar-sized bottles just like RUSH. Others have names like “Jungle Juice,” “Quicksilver,” “Ram,” and “Blue Boy.” All give off a heavy industrial stench and bear a similar chemical footprint. And though they may be labeled for uses like “video head cleaner” or “room odorizer,” you mainly find them in sex shops. It’s safe to say nobody’s buying them for home improvement purposes.
“Poppers” is the common name for this suite of compounds called alkyl nitrites. Though they may seem like the latest solvent for rebellious teenagers to huff, they’ve been around for decades. And they represent much more than a drug fad—they’re a cultural phenomenon whose journey has helped shape queer life as we know it.
Men who were part of the gay nightlife scene in the 70s, 80s, and 90s say you could walk into a club and immediately smell poppers. The scent was a backdrop for the triumphs and trials of queer men in the latter half of the 20th century. Now, it conjures collective memories of the gay bars of yesteryear: tight pants, dark spaces, and speakers blaring Donna Summer and The Village People.
The Stonewall uprising of 1969 set a cautiously optimistic tone for the 70s, one that suggested to queer people that their rights to be with each other unapologetically were on the horizon. Following the broader sexual liberation movement of the decade, more queer men became eager to explore themselves as sexual beings. And decreased police raids on gay bars, clubs, and discos (like the one that triggered Stonewall) popularized spaces allowing that chúng tôi that didn’t come without baggage. For many, using drugs in these clubs was a way to combat the still-pervasive stigma of not being straight.
David Wohlsifer, a psychotherapist and sex therapist, says drugs and sex are often inextricably linked. Drugs reduce sexual inhibitions, which are often caused by feelings of shame, trauma, or body dysmorphia. He says queer men especially deal with a lot of shame related to their identities both in and out of the bedroom. Fifty years ago, when society was even less accepting of homosexuality than it is today, that shame could feel overwhelming.
“You walk into this club hating yourself for who you are, hating yourself for what you want to do. And then there’s this magic pill that makes you, for a few minutes, feel euphoric; it makes you feel self-worth instead of shame,” Wohlsifer says. “People go for it.”
Enter poppers: They aren’t a pill, but they certainly make you feel euphoric. A few seconds after inhaling deeply from the amber glass bottle, you can feel your face warming as blood rushes to your head—and everywhere else in your body. A minute or two later, the sensation subsides, and you can do it all over again. In “The Poop on Poppers,” which appeared in a 1977 issue of the Bay Area Reporter, a queer weekly publication, Louis Parrish writes, “Fans claim that poppers serve the dual purpose of putting them more out of it and at the same time putting them more into it.”
It’s a kind of high that makes you feel open mentally, physically, and, for queer men in particular, sexually. In a 1982 study of poppers and their use, psychiatrist Thomas Lowry called them “the nearest thing to a true aphrodisiac.”
Poppers have added physical benefits for penetrative sex: The human reproductive tract is built by smooth muscle, and the anal sphincter, while voluntarily controlled, is surrounded by smooth muscle that can make penetration easier when it’s relaxed. For many men who have sex with men, poppers have obvious practical applications. It’s no surprise they’ve gained a reputation akin to sex in a bottle.
The journey from hospital to club to bedside table. DepositPhotos
But the story of poppers started long before gay bars and glass bottles—when French chemist Antoine Balard first synthesized amyl nitrite in 1844. Even then, Balard noted that smelling the chemical’s vapor made him lightheaded, which we now know is a consequence of your blood pressure dropping. Fifteen years later, British chemist Frederick Guthrie described other physical effects: throbbing arteries, flushing of the face, and increased heart rate.
British physiologist Benjamin Ward Richardson believed no other known substance at the time produced such a profound effect on the heart, and even passed around samples of amyl nitrite at a medical conference so his audience could try it for themselves. In 1864, he was the first to theorize that the chemical caused vasodilation.
Three years later, Scottish physician Sir Thomas Lauder Brunton brought together all prior research on amyl nitrite and outlined the compound’s medical applications. At the start of his career as a physician, while making his rounds at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary on a cold December night, he noticed a patient whose bouts of angina pectoris were concerningly severe, frequent, and long-lasting. One of the most common symptoms of cardiac disease, angina pectoris is chest pain that occurs when the heart muscle is starved of blood. From bloodletting to brandy, agents typically used to ease that anguish weren’t helping. Exhausted of all options, and suspecting that an overly-tense artery caused the angina, Brunton put several drops of amyl nitrite onto a cloth and had the patient inhale it.
“My hopes were completely fulfilled,” he wrote in British medical journal The Lancet. Within a minute, the patient’s face flushed and the pain completely disappeared. Over the next several decades, physicians around the world caught wind of Brunton’s discovery but hesitated to make amyl nitrate a standard treatment, perhaps because of its signature rush. In 1881, an editor of the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal called amyl nitrite “a neglected drug,” scolding doctors for not using it to relieve clearly suffering patients.
Physicians eventually caught on, and amyl nitrite became one of several vasodilators used to treat angina pectoris. By the early 20th century patients were receiving tin boxes containing glass ampules of the chemical wrapped in cloth, like pieces of saltwater taffy. During angina spells, they’d crush the capsules, allowing the amyl nitrite to soak through the cloth to be inhaled. The sound of the breaking glass gave this drug the name “poppers.”
Doctors used poppers as a standard treatment for angina for decades before replacing them with modern vasodilators like nitroglycerin, but how they transitioned to the clubs of The Castro and Greenwich Village is still somewhat of a mystery. In Pursuit of Oblivion: A Global History of Narcotics, Richard Davenport-Hines assumes patients prescribed amyl nitrite must have noticed some pleasant effects happening outside their chests.
“It was surely as early as the 1870s that amyl nitrite users discovered that the rush of blood caused by inhaling increased the sexual excitement of men,” Davenport-Hines writes.
Toby Lea, a social scientist at the German Institute for Addiction and Prevention Research who studies the intersection of substance use and queer communties, says it’s plausible that people presecribed poppers quickly caught on to their other uses.
“With any drug that starts as a prescription medication, if it does have any kind of psychoactive effects, people discover it pretty quickly,” Lea says. “And a lot of drugs have their genesis in the gay scene before bleeding out to other cultures.”
In 1960, after nearly a hundred years of documented medical use of amyl nitrite with no associated fatalities, the FDA approved poppers as an over-the-counter drug. But shortly after reports of high recreational use, they reinstated the prescription requirement. By the time of Stonewall at the end of the decade, the first commercial brand of poppers, “Locker Room,” was on sale in Los Angeles. It was a different form of alkyl nitrite (with similar effects) called isobutyl nitrite, a way to get around the prescription requirement. Soon, practically everyone in the club scene had gotten a whiff.
Denton Callander is deputy director of New York University’s Spatial Epidemiology Lab, and much of his research focuses on sex and queer communities. He thinks the disco scene was a key element in the journey of poppers from the medicine cabinet to the nightstand.
“Disco is many people, not just gay men,” he says. A staple of mid-20th century counterculture, disco was originally where marginalized folks went for a pleasurable rebellion—they were kaleidoscopes of identity and experience. Dance floors were a nightly hotbed of interactions between people from all walks of life. Introducing poppers to this volatile, promiscuous mix created nothing short of an explosion.
While queer men weren’t the only people using poppers during the disco era, Callander says they in particular took to the amber bottles because of their practical applications for gay sex. They soon became popular in gay bathhouses, where queer men would gather to relax and engage in sexual activity.
“Even if you don’t use them or you think they’re stupid, they are in some ways part of our history, of what it means to be gay men,” Callander says.
There were deeper motivations, too, says Jason Orne, a sociologist at Drexel University. He brings up the concept of minority stress, wherein stigmatized groups experience psychological pain through harassment, discrimination, and related experiences that puts them at high risk for physical and mental health issues. “That creates situations where we drink more, we do drugs more, we have sex more,” he says. “We sort of are in these spaces that allow us to seize some forms of pleasure and take some power from that.”
Orne brings up cultural anthropologist and sex theorist Gayle Rubin’s idea of “the charmed circle,” or what society considers “good” or “moral” sex: heterosexuality, monogamy, sober sex, etc. Queer sex is placed outside that circle, along with all the other types of sex society deems “bad.” “If you’re already on the outside in one way—you’re queer—then you start to also question the rest of those issues of morality,” Orne says. “We have other forms of morality that emphasize being different.”
There’s also social bonding that results from communal spaces like dance floors. Orne calls this phenomenon “naked intimacy,” when people in sexually-charged spaces like discos feel more connected to each other, especially when having drug-fueled out-of-body experiences.
A vintage ad for poppers. Public domain via PoppersPlace
“Poppers, in a way, mimics physiologically this social experience that people have. So I think they pair together really well,” he says. These bottles helped disco-goers achieve a type of “collective effervescence,” a sociological term for when a group of people come out of themselves together. It happens during religious experiences, concerts, sporting events, and, yes, at gay bars—and Orne says it helps create bonds between complete strangers.
“People routinely talk about telling very intimate details of their lives and having very deep conversations with people they barely know, because they did drugs together or had sex in the same space,” Orne says.
The tide started to turn on poppers in the early 80s, when the AIDS crisis began to take hold of queer communities across the globe. Starting as early as the late 70s, rare and mysterious infections afflicted large numbers of people—mostly queer men—in cities across America. Doctors scrambled to figure out what was causing these young, previously healthy patients’ immune systems to collapse. In 1982, the CDC called the disease “acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)” for the first time, but how it spread or where it came from remained a mystery. It would take another year for scientists to identify HIV as the cause, and more than a decade to trace the virus back to its animal origins.
But during the days when AIDS was still a terrifying and fast-killing mystery without any real treatment, one potentail link stuck out: Nearly all queer men dying from the disease had used poppers at some point.
In 1985, a study linked poppers to Kaposi’s sarcoma, one of the most common infections in AIDS patients. However, the study didn’t look at the physiological pathways that would may have connected them—its results were based on correlations found within a survey of patients. About a year later, most AIDS researchers had discounted this theory.
Still, a poppers hysteria rippled throughout the U.S., and some prominent AIDS activists fervently supported a ban on alkyl nitrites. Hank Wilson and John Lauritsen co-authored “Death Rush,” a book detailing what they believed to be unequivocal evidence of the link between poppers and AIDS, and supposedly damning information about their manufacturers. In 1978, the poppers industry was worth an estimated $50 million, a figure that Wilson and Lauritsen teased may have “doubled or tripled” by the time they published in 1986. Citing “misinformation” campaigns and studies about the drugs’ safety, the authors built the case that Big Popper, as it were, was powerful and corrupt enough to fuel a deadly epidemic.
But more than 30 years after doctors first identified AIDS, there remains no convincing evidence of its link to poppers. Callander says poppers could actually reduce the risk of HIV transmission in some people: Relaxing the sphincter muscle can prevent skin from tearing during sex, lessening the likelihood of the infection spread through contact with blood (which is why HIV is so much more common in men who have sex with men in the first place).
Still, Wohlsifer points out that while the chemical signature of alkyl nitrites doesn’t lend itself to HIV transmission, poppers do decrease inhibitions during sex. “When you’ve decreased inhibitions, you’re more likely to be unsafe,” he says.
Poppers may cause a brief period of euphoric wooziness, but they affect the body differently than other volatile chemical inhalants (i.e. sniffing glue or paint). The former interact with smooth muscle, while the latter directly target the brain and nervous system. Vincent Cornelisse, a sexual health specialist at Kirketon Road Centre in Sydney, Australia, says inhalants affecting neurons are associated with brain and peripheral nerve damage, but alkyl nitrites aren’t.
Poppers may not kill your brain cells, but Cornelisse acknowledges they’re not quite the elixir of life. Rapidly altering your blood pressure can cause some uncomfortable, if mild, side effects: headache, dizziness, nausea, and a racing heart.
There have also been rare cases of more serious conditions associated with poppers use. Using an excessive amount at once (usually by drinking them, which is a terrible idea) can cause potentially fatal methemoglobinemia, which is when the blood’s hemoglobin fails to properly carry oxygen. Then there’s “poppers maculopathy,” referring to eye damage caused by the use of a specific type of alkyl nitrite—isopropyl nitrite—which became popular in Europe after the European Union banned the more common form of the drug.
The vaguely yellow liquid can also cause irritation and burning upon contact with skin. Regular users may exhibit what some call “poppers nose,” when scaly, irritated skin forms around the nostrils after too many close calls with the bottle’s surface. Alkyl nitrites are also highly flammable: A massive 1981 fire in San Francisco may have started at a warehouse full of poppers.
For the most part, though, the scariest claims about poppers aren’t supported by data. They’re not addictive (though users can build up a tolerance), they don’t cause AIDS, and their effects don’t last more than a minute or so. They’re not totally harmless—most things you inhale aren’t, after all—but Orne calls them a “low-commitment drug.”
That hasn’t stopped people from preaching about the dangers of poppers. “I think the reason why people think it is [killing their brain cells] is because it has that sort of chemical smell, so people equate that with something that’s not natural and dangerous,” Lea says.
It also hasn’t stopped countries from regulating them. Canada outlawed their sale in 2013, and a Volkswagen executive in Japan was arrested in 2023 with an illegal bottle of “Rush.”
In the United Kingdom, the Psychoactive Substances Act of 2023 included poppers on a list of drugs to be banned. Several months before its enactment, a proposed amendment to exempt poppers from the legislation failed, prompting conservative member of parliament Crispin Blunt to out himself as a poppers user in a speech. The government eventually stated that the ban would in fact not include poppers, citing that, unlike other psychoactive chemicals, they don’t directly affect the nervous system.
Australia’s regulatory drug agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, proposed rescheduling alkyl nitrites to the same category as heroin and cocaine last summer. The change was met with severe backlash from LGBTQ health professionals like Cornelisse, prompting the government to hold a community dialogue to better inform the legislation. The TGA is expected to reintroduce the revised version of the legislation this summer.
In the U.S., poppers occupy a gray legal space. State governments began banning them during the AIDS crisis, worried about their proposed link to the disease. The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, a legislative staple of the War on Drugs, included language to classify alkyl nitrites as a drug unless they were produced and marketed for some purpose other than human consumption. That’s why they now have labels that say “room odorizer” or “leather cleaner.”
Through it all, Orne says governments have never been driven merely by health concerns. “Because they’re associated for a lot of people so closely with sex and gay sex in particular, I think they do have a more illicit reputation,” he says.
While poppers have been inextricably linked to queer men since they first burst onto the disco scene, they haven’t been exclusively so. When actress Lucille Ball died in 1989, an autopsy found traces of amyl nitrite in her system—though the fact that she suffered from cardiovascular disease later in life meant she was likely using them for their intended medical purpose.
In a 2012 memoir detailing her alleged racy affair with John F. Kennedy, former White House intern Mimi Alford described a scene at an L.A. party in which the young president broke a capsule of poppers and forced her to inhale. Ted Kennedy was also smitten with the aphrodisiac, according to former aide Richard E. Burke’s accounts of his former boss’s antics in “The Senator: My Ten Years With Ted Kennedy.” Burke recalled the senator’s motorcade driving past a head shop in L.A. during his 1980 presidential campaign, when Kennedy asked him if they could stop and buy some poppers. When Burke explained how bad that would look in the press, Kennedy pounded his fists against his thighs like a petulant child, singing, “I want poppers! I want poppers!”
The Kennedys weren’t the only straight people who enjoyed a good sniff of alkyl nitrite. A 1977 front page of the Wall Street Journal contained an extensive story about poppers and their use, and quoted an L.A. businesswoman with a penchant for the substance.
“I could really use a popper now,” she said.
Today, young straight folks are catching onto the alkyl nitrite craze. It may be because people, regardless of sexual orientation, are having more anal sex than ever before, or perhaps because relaxing smooth muscles can make vaginal and oral sex easier, too. Or it could be because they provide a fun, low-commitment high at clubs and parties, which may have increased appeal in an age of widespread awareness of other drugs’ dangers.
Alkyl nitrites weren’t borne out of a miraculous moment of queer alchemy, but it was queer people who made poppers into what they are today. “Straight people doing the same thing just doesn’t have that same cultural connection,” Orne says. In turn, the chemical compound helped us explore our sexualities and form communities, working toward a future where we’d be less afraid to seek pleasure. Queer liberation has always centered around the radical decision to exist outside restrictive norms that deny us that. Bricks, marches, and Supreme Court decisions have been invaluable in the fight, but you can’t ignore the power of a little glass bottle.
This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon
A voice recorder records a sound or a voice of a person and converts it into an audio file. The file can be stored in different audio formats like MP3 format, Waveform Audio File (WAV), Advanced Audio Coding (AAC), Audio Interchange File Format (AIFF), etc. and later it can be transferred to other devices. Any device that is capable of recording a sound or a voice is said to be a voice recorder by default.
In this article, you will learn to build a voice recorder with few lines of code in Python.Where do we use Voice Recorder?
Some of the applications of a voice recorder are listed below,
Lectures/Seminars in Educational Institutions
Audiobooks for kids
Learning foreign languages
Translating a word to another language
Google search by voice
A quick voice message to a person instead of typing
Voice assistants like Google assistants, Alexa, Siri, etc.,Essentials of Voice Recorder using Python
The first and foremost thing needed to build a voice recorder using Python is 2 basic Python modules. They are,
write module from scipy.io.wavfileInstallation
The two modules needed to code a voice recorder must be installed first to make use of it in a program further. If you are using conda as the package manager like Miniconda or Anaconda for OS like Linux, Windows or macOS, then you can install using conda-forge channel. The command for installation is as follows,conda install -c conda-forge python-sounddevice
These Python modules can also be installed using the command,pip install sounddevice
orpython -m pip install sounddevice
Installation of SciPy module in your device can be made by using the following command,pip install scipy
orpython -m pip install scipy
To uninstall a module, specify the command as,python3 -m pip uninstall sounddevice sounddevice module to build Voice Recorder Using Python
The sounddevice module in Python has functions to play and record audio signals contained in the NumPy array. It can also provide bindings for the PortAudio library.
If you install the sounddevice module using the above pip command on Windows or macOS, then it automatically installs the PortAudio library on your device. You need to install the PortAudio library with other packages manually, only on other Operating Systems rather than the platforms mentioned above.scipy.io.wavfile.write module
It writes the NumPy array into a WAV file. The WAV file will be simple and compressed. It takes 3 parameters namely, filename, sample rate, and data. To make multiple channels, use a 2D array of shapes.
Some of the functions carried out by this module are,
Simultaneous Playback and Recording
Selection of a particular device
Block read/write streamsImporting modules
The above modules need to be imported first to extract all its features and to be used inside our program. It can be imported with the help of the following commands,import sounddevice from scipy.io.wavfile import write Record an audio
The sounddevice.rec() method from the sounddevice module is used to record audio data from a sound device into an array in NumPy. The sampling frequency is assigned by the programmer as 44100 frames per second.
The command to record audio is as follows,record_voice = chúng tôi int( second * fs ) , samplerate = fs , channels = 2 )
where second → the time duration is taken to record an audio
fs → sampling frequency
The recording will be carried out in the background, so you can work on other commands in the meantime. To check whether the recording is finished, use the command as,sounddevice.wait()
By default, the data type of the recorded array will be float32, you can change the datatype by specifying the command as,record_voice= sounddevice.rec(second* fs, dtype='float64') Selection of a device
One can have one or more input and output devices connected to their computer so that its user’s wish to select a device from the list of devices connected.
To get the list of devices connected to your device, use the command assounddevice.query_devices()
To set a particular device as a default one, use the command assounddevice.default.device = 'digital output' Writing into a file
The audio recorded is finally written into a file, where one can fetch or share that file for future use. write() method in Python is used to create a file with filename passed as an argument. The file name must be specified with the extension of an audio format so that it won’t crash with the input given.
The command to write the output into a file is as follows,write("out.wav", fs , record_voice )
where chúng tôi is the name of the output file. This output file will be saved in the same directory where the program code is saved.Other methods in sounddevice module
Some of the functions handled by the sounddevice module in Python are,Usage Function Name Function Description
Playback sounddevice.play( myarray , fs ) This function plays audio data contained in a NumPy array. It also plays audio in the background.
It stops the playback.
sounddevice.wait() It waits until the playback gets finished.
record_voice = sounddevice.rec(int(seconds * fs), samplerate=fs, channels=2)
Records the audio given as an input.
Concurrent Playback and Recording sounddevice.playrec(myarray, fs, channels=2)
It records and playback audio data at the same time.
Stream Callback get_status()
Results in the status of the device, whether it is still recording or finished recording.
get_stream() It results in a stream whether the device is in the Input stream or the device is in the Output stream.
Blocking Streams Stream.read()
It blocks the read stream.
It blocks the write stream.Building a Voice Recorder in Python import sounddevice from scipy.io.wavfile import write fs= 44100 second = int(input("Enter time duration in seconds: ")) print("Recording.....n") record_voice = chúng tôi int ( second * fs ) , samplerate = fs , channels = 2 ) sounddevice.wait() write("out.wav",fs,record_voice) print("Finished.....nPlease check your output file") Conclusion
Hope you guys found an easy and informative article on creating Voice Recorder with the help of Python. Thanks for spending your valuable time here.
Love Conquers All…!About the author
Am Venkatalakshmi Subramaniam from Manchester of South India, am a passionate blogger, author as well as a doctoral student eager to learn new things day by day.
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Windows 11 comes equipped with a Voice Typing feature, enabling you to enter text on a PC just by speaking the words. This tool employs online speech recognition powered by Azure Speech services. As a result, you will require an Internet connection and a working microphone to start using this tool. The following tutorial explains how to enable Voice Typing in Windows 11 and what to do if it is not working.What Is Voice Typing and Why Should You Use It?
An average person can type around 40 words per minute, but we can speak around 130 words per minute, making voice typing a huge time saver.
Voice Typing can minimize hand muscle stress if your typing sessions last for many hours daily.
Voice Typing can help you achieve better accuracy, as your documents will not have spelling errors if you pronounce words correctly.
There is no restriction on where you can use Voice Typing in Windows. You can deploy the tool wherever you have a text box/window on your PC’s screen or inside a website/app.How to Activate Voice Typing in Windows
Follow these steps to activate Voice Typing on your PC.
Open a word processor such as Microsoft Word or a text box on your PC.
Press Windows + H on your keyboard to open the Voice Typing tool.
Voice Typing also offers various commands to edit text quickly and boost productivity. They are compatible with all Voice Typing languages. For example, you can say “Pause Voice Typing” or “Pause Voice Mode” to terminate a Voice Typing session or say “comma” to add a comma to your dictation. Visit Microsoft’s website to see the complete list of commands.How to Change Voice Typing Language
By default, Windows allows you to start dictating in English. However, you can easily switch to another language. Voice Typing supports up to 46 languages, including French, Spanish, Romanian, and Bulgarian.
Find the language you want to add to Voice Typing and follow the on-screen instructions to install it.
Once your chosen language is installed, you can easily switch Voice Typing languages by pressing Windows + Spacebar.How to Fix Voice Typing Not Working
Use the troubleshooting methods below if Voice Typing fails to start or is misbehaving in any way.1. Make Sure You’re Using the Correct Language
If you’ve selected an incorrect language, Voice Typing will not be able to identify your words. Therefore, you must select the correct language using the steps below.
Choose the language you want to use from the “Speech language” section. Also check the “Recognize non-native accents for this language” option if your chosen language is not your native language.
Alternatively, you can use the Windows + Spacebar shortcut to switch languages.2. Check Whether Your Microphone Is Enabled
Voice Typing will not work if your Microphone is disabled, so you’ll need to turn it on.
Scroll down the right pane until you reach the “App permissions” section and select the “Microphone” tab.
Toggle on “Microphone access.” You may also want to enable the “Let apps access your microphone” option.3. Troubleshoot Built-in Recording
Windows 11 has built-in troubleshooters for almost all hardware and software issues. Running its dedicated Recording troubleshooter can find and fix any issues preventing the Voice Typing feature from working. Even if it doesn’t fix the problem right away, the troubleshooter offers more details about the problem, which could lead to a solution.
Press the “Other troubleshooters” option.
You will see various options to troubleshoot on the right. Scroll down and choose “Recording Audio.”
Study the report to see whether there is an issue in recording audio and change settings accordingly.4. Update Microphone Driver
A faulty microphone driver could cause Voice Typing to stop working. Therefore, you should check whether your microphone driver needs to be updated.
Press Windows + R to open the Run utility, then type “devmgmt.msc” to launch Device Manager.
Choose the “Search automatically for drivers” option.
If Windows cannot find a driver, you’ll have to download it from the manufacturer’s website on your computer first, then select the “Browse my computer for drivers” option and follow the on-screen instructions.5. Update Your PC
A bug could cause an issue with Voice Typing. Updating your PC may fix the issue.Frequently Asked Questions Why am I getting the 0x80049dd3 error code?
0x80049dd3 is a speech-to-text error code. You may encounter this error when using Voice Typing. Following the troubleshooting steps mentioned above will likely fix this error.
Image credit: Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels. All screenshots by Sandeep Babu.
Sandeep Babu is a tech writer. He loves writing on Windows, cybersecurity, privacy, and internet. Earlier, he was working as a publisher of QuickScream
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In today’s article, you’ll learn how to use some keyboard shortcuts plus other methods to type the Female Symbol (text/Emoji – ♀) in MS Word/Excel using either Windows or Mac.
Just before we begin, I’ll like to tell you that you can also use the button below to copy and paste the Female sign into your work for free.
However, if you just want to type this symbol on your keyboard, the actionable steps below will show you everything you need to know.
To type the Female Symbol on Mac, press Option + 2640 shortcut on your keyboard. For Windows users, simply press down the Alt key and type 12 using the numeric keypad, then let go of the Alt key. These shortcuts can work only on MS Word.
The below table contains all the information you need to type this Symbol on the keyboard for both the Mac and the Windows PC.
Symbol NameFemaleSymbol Text♀Alt Code12Shortcut for WindowsAlt+12Shortcut for MacOption + 2640Shortcut for Word2640, Alt+X
The quick guide above provides some useful shortcuts and alt codes on how to type the Female symbol in Word or Excel on both Windows and Mac.
For more details, below are some other methods you can also use to insert this symbol into your work such as Word or Excel document.
Microsoft Office provides several methods for typing Female Symbol or inserting symbols that do not have dedicated keys on the keyboard.
In this section, I will make available for you five different methods you can use to type or insert this and any other symbol on your PC, like in MS Office (ie. Word, Excel, or PowerPoint) for both Mac and Windows users.
Without any further ado, let’s get started.
The Female Symbol alt code is 12.
Even though this Symbol has no dedicated key on the keyboard, you can still type it on the keyboard with the Alt code method. To do this, press and hold the Alt key whilst pressing the Female Alt code (i.e. 12) using the numeric keypad.
This method works on Windows only. And your keyboard must also have a numeric keypad.
Below is a break-down of the steps you can take to type the Female Sign on your Windows PC:
Place your insertion pointer where you need the Female Symbol text/Emoji.
Press and hold one of the Alt keys on your keyboard.
Whilst holding on to the Alt key, press the Female Symbol’s alt code (12). You must use the numeric keypad to type the alt code. If you are using a laptop without the numeric keypad, this method may not work for you. On some laptops, there’s a hidden numeric keypad which you can enable by pressing Fn+NmLk on the keyboard.
Release the Alt key after typing the Alt code to insert the Symbol into your document.
This is how you may type this symbol in Word using the Alt Code method.
For Mac users, the keyboard shortcut for the Female Symbol is Option + 2640. For Windows users, use the Alt Code method by pressing down the [Alt] key whilst typing the symbol alt code which is 12. You must use the numeric keypad to type the alt code. Also, ensure that your Num Lock key is turned on.
Below is a breakdown of the Female Symbol shortcut for Mac:
First of all, place the insertion pointer where you need to type the symbol (♀).
Now, press Option + 2640 simultaneously on your keyboard to insert the symbol.
Below is a breakdown of the Female Symbol shortcut for Windows (In MS Word):
Place the insertion pointer at the desired location.
Press and hold down the Alt key
While pressing down the Alt key, type 12 using the numeric keypad to insert the symbol.
Below is a breakdown of the Female Symbol shortcut for Windows (In MS Word Only):
These are the steps you may use to type this sign in Word or Excel.
Another easy way to get the Female sign on any PC is to use my favorite method: copy and paste.
All you have to do is to copy the symbol sign from somewhere like a web page, or the character map for windows users, and head over to where you need the symbol (say in Word or Excel), then hit Ctrl+V to paste.
Below is the symbol for you to copy and paste into your Word document. Just select it and press Ctrl+C to copy, switch over to Microsoft Word, place your insertion pointer at the desired location, and press Ctrl+V to paste.
Alternatively, just use the copy button at the beginning of this post.
For windows users, obey the following instructions to copy and paste the Female Symbol using the character map dialog box.
This is how you may use the Character Map dialog to copy and paste any symbol on Windows PC.
Obey the following steps to insert this symbol (♀) in Word or Excel using the insert symbol dialog box.
The Symbol dialog box will appear.
Close the dialog.
The symbol will then be inserted exactly where you placed the insertion pointer.
These are the steps you may use to insert this Symbol in Word.
As you can see, there are several different methods you can use to type the Female Sign in Microsoft Word.
Using the shortcuts for both Windows and Mac make the fastest option for this task. Shortcuts are always fast.
Thank you very much for reading this blog.
Many leading news websites nowadays come with paywalls. To read more than two or three articles on such websites, you have to pay for a subscription. If you need occasional access to a publication’s website, it doesn’t make sense to subscribe to all of them. Also, the limited free content available might not be enough to evaluate whether a subscription is worth paying for. In such cases, it helps to know how to bypass the news sites’ restrictive paywalls.Why Do News Sites Have Paywalls?
There are many different news websites and apps giving you all the information you need at your fingertips. This, however, comes at the expense of printed papers, which once formed a sizable chunk of a publication’s revenue.
Given such an abundance of choice, it is really an individual’s decision whether or not to buy a subscription.How to Get Past Paywall on News Sites
If you need infrequent access to a paywall-restricted site, the following methods have proven to work in many cases. Not all methods work equally well on all websites; in each case, you’ll need a bit of trial and error.1. Use Cached Versions of Websites
The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times (UK) and New Yorker no longer show cached results. Having said this, not all paywall websites have disabled them. This means that you really have to check with individual websites to know their approach to caching.2. Clear All-time Browsing Data in Desktop and Mobile Browsers
Since most paywall-restricted news websites have limits of three to five free articles per month, it is possible to reset your count on the browser with Ctrl + H. After clearing your all-time browsing data including cookies and cached images and files, you may visit the restricted site to read a few articles once again. This “rinse and repeat” method works well on mobile and desktop devices.
In the past one could access blocked content on Chrome or Firefox in Private/Incognito mode. That is no longer possible.
The clearing cookies method can also be used in mobile browsers on Android, iPhone, and iPad. There aren’t too many downloadable apps that you can rely on.
Once you’re in the Settings menu, it is easy to clear the data and cookies, which will reset the count for the number of articles you can read on that specific browser.
In Safari on an iPhone or iPad, you can clear the history and web data from “Privacy & Security” under Settings. Look for the “Clear History and Website Data” link.3. Use Web Archives
If you’re not particularly keen about the latest content, you can simply check online archive tools. Wayback Machine is the best link to search for backdated online content. All you have to do is check whether the URL with hidden content has been archived in the past. This will give date-wise results; go for the most recent update. You don’t have to go too far back in time as many of these digital snapshots can be just a few months or even a few days old.
In addition to making inaccessible content accessible, these websites provide another valuable service. They ensure that if the news sites eventually delete something which others are reporting, it can be traced from the archives. As a result, such links are often used by journalists and those who suffer online censorship.4. Use Paywall Bypass Extensions
On Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge desktop versions, you can use various extensions to find your way into inaccessible news articles and journal entries.
Note: The method isn’t always very effective as many popular websites are easily able to restrict the browser extensions from accessing the contents.1. Bypass Paywalls Chrome
A GitHub extension called Bypass Paywalls Chrome is very effective in unblocking many leading news websites (not all of them) on Chrome as well as Edge. A Firefox version is also available.
Download the ZIP file for Bypass Paywalls Chrome. Then, extract the zipped file’s master folder and save it on your device.
From the Chrome/Edge omnibox, visit the extensions page by typing
. On this page you need to enable the developer mode.
A menu option called “Load unpacked” will show up on both Chrome and Edge. This is used to import the unzipped master folder from your computer.
Once the Bypass Paywalls extension is installed, you can easily view blocked content from many paywall-restricted sites.2. Unpaywall
Unpaywall is a popular Chrome web store extension which is quite helpful in enabling access to scientific articles and journals.
Unpaywall is also available as an app called Open Access Helper Web for Mac, iPhone, and iPad users.5. Change the User Agent in Your Browser
Navigate to the “Network conditions” tab. Here the default user agent will be listed as “Use browser default.” Uncheck this box.
Change the user agent to Googlebot or other similar entries.
If the site allows crawlers, you should be able to access the hidden web page after a refresh.
[6. Use Reader Mode on Your Browser
Are you only interested in reading the text on a webpage, and have no requirement for the images and embedded videos? Most browsers have a Reader mode which allows you to view the available text on your device. Some websites may impose restrictions on this as well.
In Google Chrome, enable the Reader Mode extension.
Pin the extension to the toolbar for quick access. You can enable the Reader mode in Chrome anytime to view a blocked webpage in its entirety.
In Microsoft Edge, it’s much easier to use the Reader mode as you don’t need to install any extensions. Just type “read:” at the start of the webpage URL or hit F9 on the keyboard.7. Switch Browsers/Devices and Use a VPN
Many users have reported success with accessing paywall-restricted websites simply by accessing them on different browsers and devices. Apart from Chrome, Edge, Safari, and Firefox, there are many amazing browsers to choose from. When you have many browsers installed on your device, and different desktop and mobile devices, this allows you to read a few articles on a temporary basis. It is easy to clear your browser cache for additional access.
If you have a VPN service, it would multiply the number of articles you can read for free.Frequently Asked Questions What is a soft paywall?
A soft paywall allows you limited access to a web page’s content to browse a few articles for free. A hard paywall, in comparison, prevents site visitors from accessing anything unless they have subscribed. Most of the methods covered in this guide are designed to work for soft paywalls.How do you get past a hard paywall?
A hard paywall is very difficult to bypass because such websites completely restrict access to non-subscribers. Google’s bots and other web crawlers are unable to index these web pages. You may not even find these links indexed on The Wayback Machine.Is it legal to bypass a paywall?
It is generally not easy to bypass paywalls because websites can impose restrictions to prevent access completely, but it’s not illegal to use legitimate online methods to view a blocked website. It is definitely illegal, though, to access the content with a purpose of copyright infringement.
What if you don’t really visit a particular website that often? News travels through forums and social media, and there is no escaping Wayback Machine and other paywall archives. It is all right to use alternate ways to access news content through valid online methods. At the same time, we do not endorse any misuse of such methods.
Image credit: Hatice Yardim via Unsplash
Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over eleven years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.
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