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This charming man

You know what they say -- once bitten, twice shy. That didn't hold much water with Ali Khan Samsudin, 48, a snake charmer who until a few days ago was known as Malaysia's "Snake King." He claimed to have been bitten 99 times in his life while performing his act. 100 times, it seems, was a charm.

How does one earn the moniker "Snake King"? In Ali's case, he lived 12 hours a day for 40 days in a room with 400 snakes. Keen to outdo himself, in 1997 he acquired the name "Scorpion King" by shutting himself in a box with 6,000 of the nasties for three weeks. (Hmm, I wonder if there's a Boy Scouts merit badge for that.)

So why was the 100th bite fatal? Apparently, Ali was so unperturbed by the wound that he didn't even bother to seek treatment. Two days later he felt bad enough to go to the hospital, but by then it was too late. In addition to getting himself killed, Ali has also been setting a bad example for the kids. In 2002 his daughter, Nur Malena Hassan, proclaimed herself "Scorpion Queen" after spending 36 days in a glass box with 6,069 scorpions -- while suffering 17 excruciating bites. (And they say American families are competitive.)

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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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