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Just add water! And flour. And art.

Earlier this week, I posted about a cool piece of street artwork (I'm loathe to call it graffiti, because it wasn't spray-painted) I'd seen in Brooklyn. One of our readers promptly informed me that the technique, which I described rather ineptly as using "a piece of waterproof paper or some similar material," was called "wheatpasting." Apparently, this is exactly what it sounds like -- putting up fliers and other paper works on cement using wheat flour. I found plenty of easy instructions for making the paste (wheatpasting seems to be popular among web-savvy anarchists), and lots of useful pointers such as "coat the paper with shellac to waterproof it," but I couldn't resist sharing these two slightly more off-beat tips:

1. If you're worried about being linked to the crime, wear gloves and carry a plastic bag with you. If you see a security guard or a police officer, put all your wheat pasting supplies in the bag. To make it even less suspicious wear some nice light-colored clothing (so that the wheat paste doesn't show up on it) and carry a Gap shopping bag.

2. I had a Ziploc bag of [wheatpaste] chilling in my room for about a week, and one day I woke up to the worst odor ever to assault my olfactory lobes. I can't describe the smell, but finding a rotten bag of wheatpaste ... is something I wouldn't even wish on my worst enemy. Who would think that mere flour and water would be capable of such offense? So guys, throw out your leftover wheatpaste.

I feel more rebellious already, just having blogged about wheatpasting. (Note: We at mental_floss do not condone crimes of any sort. No sir. ) Anyone know why the flour would go sour so badly?

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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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