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How To: Destroy History

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Although widely beloved as a sort of satirical Santa Claus today, any rational look at the biography of Mark Twain would reveal a very different man. The real Mark Twain was more often depressed than jolly, more bitter curmudgeon than wacky old coot. Then there was the atheism, the temper, and, oh yeah, the fact that he spent his later years surrounded by a flock of adoring underage girls. That last bit wasn't as bad as it sounds. The girls were always chaperoned and, apparently, the whole thing was on the up and up. But the pictures still look sufficiently suspicious that Twain's daughter, Clara Clemens Samossoud, kept them out of the public eye as long as she was alive. And that wasn't all she censored. Clemens Samossoud also forbade the publication of two of Twain's later books—Letters from the Earth and The Autobiography of Mark Twain. The former, a novel written as a series of letters from Satan to various Archangels, wasn't published until 1962. Around the same time, Clemens Samossoud approved the publication of five never-before-seen chapters she'd had cut from the Autobiography when it was originally published in the 1930s. What brought on the sudden change of heart? A New York Times story from that fateful year reported that Twain's daughter was probably attempting to silence Soviet literary critics, who'd attacked her (in particular) and American society (in general) for censoring the books.

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Really, few historical figures were above leaving behind written material their modern fans might term objectionable. Case in point, George Washington. In George Washington Slept Here, author Karal Ann Marling describes how, in 1925, one of J.P. Morgan's sons used some of his vast inherited wealth to buy up and then destroy several "smutty" letters attributed to our nation's founding father.

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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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