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Wake up and Smell the Nascar!

Not sure if you guys read about this, but BoingBoing was reporting today that NASCAR has launched a new line of meat products (their slogan is "Taste the Excitement.") It's true! From hot dogs, to bacon, to sausage to lunch meat, NASCAR's definitely all over the grocery aisle, and it kind of reminds me of the time the WWF got into the cologne business. Of course, BoingBoing made a crack that the goods probably taste like burned rubber and car crashes. We're not one to upset potential investors, though. That's why, to me the scent of NASCAR in the morning probably smells like hope.

As for branding, though, Johnny Green wrote up a great bit about Lacoste, and how the crocodile was actually the first logo to be placed on a shirt. I just thought had to include it...

Rene Lacoste really did design the famous shirts named for him, which is all the more remarkable because he was not a tailor. He was a professional tennis player. Between 1925 and 1928, Lacoste won seven Grand Slam events, and might have won more had he not become ridiculously rich by inventing the world's first good tennis shirt. In the 1920s, tennis players wore long-sleeve, heavily starched dress shirts (often with ties!). Lacoste grew weary of the outfits, and by 1929, he'd designed a short-sleeve shirt with a longer shirttail in the back and a flat collar. Further proving he was ahead of his time, Lacoste generally played the game with his collar turned up, --though it was more to block out the sun than anything else. Lacoste's most significant contribution to fashion, however, has to do with the iconic crocodile (it's not an alligator) on his shirts. Known as "Le Crocodile" for his on-court tenacity, Lacoste added the creature to his shirts in the mid 1930s—the first time a logo is known to have appeared on the outside of a shirt. Not a bad fashion record for a guy who mostly just wanted to win tennis tournaments.

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New AI-Driven Music System Analyzes Tracks for Perfect Playlists
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Whether you're planning a bachelorette party or recovering from a breakup, a well-curated playlist makes all the difference. If you don't have time to pick the perfect songs manually, services that use the AI-driven system Sonic Style may be able to figure out exactly what you have in mind based on your request.

According to Fast Company, Sonic Style is the new music-categorizing service from the media and entertainment data provider Gracenote. There are plenty of music algorithms out there already, but Sonic Style works a little differently. Rather than listing the entire discography of a certain artist under a single genre, the AI analyzes individual tracks. It considers factors like the artist's typical genre and the era the song was recorded in, as well as qualities it can only learn through listening, like tempo and mood. Based on nearly 450 descriptors, it creates a super-accurate "style profile" of the track that makes it easier for listeners to find it when searching for the perfect song to fit an occasion.

Playlists that use data from Sonic Style feel like they were made by a person with a deep knowledge of music rather than a machine. That's thanks to the system's advanced neural network. It also recognizes artists that don't fit neatly into one genre, or that have evolved into a completely different music style over their careers. Any service—including music-streaming platforms and voice-activated assistants—that uses Gracenote's data will be able to take advantage of the new technology.

With AI at your disposal, all you have to do as the listener is decide on a style of music. Here are some ideas to get you started if you want a playlist for productivity.

[h/t Fast Company]

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