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Watch a Computer Program Sing '90s Power Ballads

If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to karaoke with a computer, Martin Backes has you covered. The self-described “artist, designer, creative technologist, hacker, DJ and composer” has created a digital installation called “What Do Machines Sing Of?” featuring a fully-automated computer that attempts to sing ‘90s ballads with emotion—giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “once more, with feeling.” You can see the machine’s take on “I Will Always Love You,” and its algorithm at work, in the video above.

“As the computer program performs these emotionally loaded songs, it attempts to apply the appropriate human sentiments,” Backes writes on his website. “This behavior of the device seems to reflect a desire, on the part of the machine, to become sophisticated enough to have its very own personality.”

The computer’s algorithm was created using the programming language SuperCollider. The machine endlessly sings five songs on a loop: Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly,” Toni Braxton’s “Un-Break My Heart,” Bryan Adams’s “Everything I Do, I Do It For You,” and Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” When it’s done with one song, it searches through its collection and chooses the next selection randomly. The result is part autotune, part elevator music—all weird.

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Netflix's Most-Binged Shows of 2017, Ranked
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Netflix might know your TV habits better than you do. Recently, the entertainment company's normally tight-lipped number-crunchers looked at user data collected between November 1, 2016 and November 1, 2017 to see which series people were powering through and which ones they were digesting more slowly. By analyzing members’ average daily viewing habits, they were able to determine which programs were more likely to be “binged” (or watched for more than two hours per day) and which were more often “savored” (or watched for less than two hours per day) by viewers.

They found that the highest number of Netflix bingers glutted themselves on the true crime parody American Vandal, followed by the Brazilian sci-fi series 3%, and the drama-mystery 13 Reasons Why. Other shows that had viewers glued to the couch in 2017 included Anne with an E, the Canadian series based on L. M. Montgomery's 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, and the live-action Archie comics-inspired Riverdale.

In contrast, TV shows that viewers enjoyed more slowly included the Emmy-winning drama The Crown, followed by Big Mouth, Neo Yokio, A Series of Unfortunate Events, GLOW, Friends from College, and Ozark.

There's a dark side to this data, though: While the company isn't around to judge your sweatpants and the chip crumbs stuck to your couch, Netflix is privy to even your most embarrassing viewing habits. The company recently used this info to publicly call out a small group of users who turned their binges into full-fledged benders:

Oh, and if you're the one person in Antarctica binging Shameless, the streaming giant just outed you, too.

Netflix broke down their full findings in the infographic below and, Big Brother vibes aside, the data is pretty fascinating. It even includes survey data on which shows prompted viewers to “Netflix cheat” on their significant others and which shows were enjoyed by the entire family.

Netflix infographic "The Year in Bingeing"
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Can You Spot the Christmas Pudding?

Whether it’s a sheep hanging out with Santa Claus or a panda bear hiding among some snowmen, regular Mental Floss readers know that hidden picture brainteasers are one of our favorite things. And the optical experts at Lenstore.co.uk have released a delicious one, just in time for Christmas. Somewhere in the midst of all these holiday-themed goodies above, there’s a holiday pudding just waiting to be discovered. Can you spot it? Your time starts … now.

If you give up, or are the kind of person who reads the last page of a book before the first one and just wants to know the answer, scroll down to see where it’s hiding.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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