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A New and Improved Peanut Is Coming

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Peanuts are big business in the United States: Around 91 percent of homes in the country stock peanut butter. So it makes sense that scientists are looking into how to make this lunchtime powerhouse even better.

Earlier this summer, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released news [PDF] that researchers from North Carolina A&T State University may have found a way to produce an allergen-free peanut, and now, another new peanut—one that's designed to be healthier and heartier—is on the horizon.

The so-called OLé peanuts, engineered by the USDA Agricultural Research Service and their colleagues at Oklahoma State University, are a variety of the Spanish peanuts with the papery red skin that are prized for their higher oil content, which gives them a nuttier, richer flavor. But the OLés have a few distinct advantages. They're what's known as a "high-oleic peanut," meaning that they contain comparatively high levels of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acid. Not only does this mean you can feel (slightly) better about eating PB straight from the jar, it also extends the peanuts' shelf life without the use of preservatives.

High-oleic peanuts have been on the market since 1995, but a recent shortage revealed a need for a better crop. Along with OLé's other benefits, this new breed of peanut is both more resistant to disease—which saves farmers from having to use pesticides—and should produce a significantly higher amount of peanuts per acre in the future. And that's good news for peanut fans.

[h/t Modern Farmer]

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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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