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Pre-Enlightenment scientific gewgaws

Yes, they're medieval; no, they're not instruments of torture (or dentistry). The... things at left are from Epact, "an electronic catalogue of medieval and renaissance scientific instruments from four European museums: the Museum of the History of Science, Oxford, the Istituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Florence, the British Museum, London, and the Museum Boerhaave, Leiden." Since I don't often get to Leiden, it's nice to know I can look at all the gadgets and gizmos aplenty from the comfort of my desk chair. The tools pictured here are measuring rods, and it appears that not much is known about them, but you can make your own guesses:

"The square rod carries gunner's gauge scales and was therefore intended to measure shot, but the purpose of the pointed rods and knife is not entirely clear.

The objects are neither signed nor dated, but the style of the decoration and the language used suggest that they are German and were made in the late 16th century."

The rest of the exhibit is super-cool, too, if you have a few hours to while away.

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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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