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Planetary Nebulae: Our Galactic Pallbearers

There's nothing planetary about these nebulae. They were named by William Herschel in the late 18th century; he linked their romantic green hue to those of the methane-shrouded Neptune and Uranus. Nebulae consist of a gaseous shell of ionized elements edging away from a dying star at the rate of 10-30 kilometers per second. When giant stars (ones greater than a solar mass or two) begin to burn out, you can expect a supernova. But when medium and low mass stars (our dear one included) run low on helium, the star is no longer stable and the temperature of the core spikes so much that outer layers are forced away until the core is bared. This cooling core is now the central star of the glowing procession that is the nebulae, a parade that will persist until the star has nothing left--not even the UV radiation responsible for the nebulae's glow--and a white dwarf is born...And if all this star travel is giving you a cramp, the brewers at Oakham Ales have a lighter interpretation of the old W.D.

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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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