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The Royal Disease

During the winter of 1884, Queen Victoria's youngest son, Prince Leopold, was convalescing in France. While there, he slipped and fell and couldn't stop bleeding. Within a few hours, he died. Prince Leopold was the first monarch known to suffer from hemophilia—a blood disorder that causes excessive bleeding. It appears Victoria was responsible for the spread of the "royal disease" among monarchs across Europe (her relatives in Russia, Spain, France and Germany all had the disease).

There are several versions of the disease, but no one knew what type Victoria carried and this strain is now extinct. Evgeny Rogaev from the University of Massachusetts was curious about Victoria—she is particularly interesting because none of her ancestors carried the gene, and scientists believed the Queen suffered from a spontaneous mutation. Using the remains of the Romanov family (Czar Nicholas II and Czarina Alexandra's children are Victoria's great grandchildren), researchers examined DNA to learn more.

Publishing the results in the journal Science, Rogaev notes that Victoria and her descendants suffered from a rare and severe form of hemophilia B, or Christmas disease. Using multiplex target amplification and parallel sequencing, Rogaev and his colleagues noticed a mutation on the F9 gene on the X chromosome, which controls the blood clotting agent, Factor IX, and can alter RNA splicing. This mutation matches those found in hemophilia B. Women generally only carry the mutation on one of their X chromosomes, meaning they rarely suffer from the disease and most often pass it on to their male descendants. Those male descendants do suffer from the disease, because it expresses itself on their only X chromosome.

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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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