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Morning Cup of Links: Plush Pets

By some estimates, 25% of college students take some kind of psychotropic drug as a matter of course. What does a personality shaped by chemistry do to one's sense of self?
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It's not easy becoming Batman. According to this prequel video, the Dark Knight's early days were a bit hit-or-miss.
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From Bagels to Balloon Rides: The Weirdest State Taxes. Whether it's something you want to encourage, like agricultural products, or something you want to discourage, like tattoos or nudity, put a tax on it either way!
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Cycle-skating, the new sport of 1923! Just like skating, except instead of balance and control, you have those uncomfortable supports.
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Putting a coin in a bottle takes some mad skills, if you do it with a forklift. I was equally impressed with the way he picked the coin up in the first place.
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DARPA and Boston Dynamics have another creepy lifelike robot that can climb stairs on almost-human-looking legs. I think we're only a few grants away from seeing the Terminator come to life.
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15 Incredible X-rays of Real-Life Monsters of the Deep. They look even weirder from the inside.
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33 Animals With Plush Versions Of Themselves. In a few of these, it's hard to tell which is real and which is a toy.
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How companies track you online. You might be surprised, unless you clear out your computer cookies on a regular basis.
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Dreadfully Different Dolls. Not for impressionable children, and not for squeamish adults, either.

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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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