Interesting Finds: Issue #31

AI Music, CGI advancement, Lizard Citizenship and a hero from Australia

Each week, I curate and spotlight the most curious content I find. In Issue #31, we look at how AI is creating music from iconic artists, the improvement of CGI in Toy Story, Japan citizenship for lizards and a bloody hero from Australia.

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AI’s Lost Tapes

Courtesy of Geekwire, I came across the Lost Tapes of the 27 Club whose goal is to use AI to “create the album lost to music’s mental health crisis”:

The death of Kurt Cobain 27 years ago today left fans of Nirvana forever wondering what new music the celebrated grunge band might have produced over the years. A group has turned to artificial intelligence in search of an answer.

Lost Tapes of the 27 Club is a project which relies mostly on computers to write and perform songs in the styles of musicians who died at age 27, including Cobain, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse. According to Rolling Stone, each track was created by AI programs analyzing up to 30 songs by each artist, studying such things as vocal melodies, chord changes, guitar riffs, solos and more to guess what a “new” composition might sound like.

Their 3 step process:

  1. Trained the AI with isolated portions of songs from the 27 club musicians

  2. After learning the music, the AI then “generated a string of all-new hooks, rhythms, melodies, and lyrics”

  3. Audio engineer then took the AI-generated music elements and composed new tracks

This whole project is fascinating and I was astonished how much I enjoyed the tracks. Check it out on Spotify or Youtube.

Toy Story CGI: 14 years apart

Comparing the CGI quality between the first Toy Story movie (1995) to Toy Story 4 (2019) is insane.

If you want to jump down the rabbit hole a bit more, here’s a 8 mind boggling facts about the making of Toy Story 4.

Lizard Citizenship

In Issue #24, I discussed the origins of Godzilla and the culture impact this movie franchise has had on the world. I recently learned this Interesting Find: In 2015, Godzilla became a citizen of Japan with an official job of “Tourism Ambassador” of Tokyo.

James Harrison

Meet James Harrison, modern day hero in Australia who has saved the lives of over 2 million babies around the world. Yes, 2 million.

When he an early teen, he received a life saving transfusion of blood which prompted him to start donating blood when he turned 18. After doing that, he discovered his blood has a rare antibody that can be used to create life-saving medication for Rhesus disease. From the BBC:

Doctors aren’t exactly sure why Harrison has this rare blood type, but they think it might be from the transfusions he received when he was 14, after his surgery. He’s one of no more than 50 people in Australia known to have the antibodies, the blood service says.

“Every bag of blood is precious, but James’ blood is particularly extraordinary. His blood is actually used to make a life-saving medication, given to moms whose blood is at risk of attacking their unborn babies. Every batch of Anti-D that has ever been made in Australia has come from James’ blood.” Falkenmire said. “And more than 17% of women in Australia are at risk, so James has helped save a lot of lives.”

James has donated blood for over 60 years. From LiveScience:

The 81-year-old man, James Harrison, donated blood for 60 years and made his final donation on Friday, May 11, according to the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. Sometimes called "the man with the golden arm," Harrison donated blood more than 1,100 times, and it's estimated that his donations helped save the lives of 2.4 million babies in total, the Australian Red Cross said.

The Louvre

The famed Louvre museum in Paris has made it’s entire art collection of over 480,000 works available online for free.

The Collections database consists of entries for more than 480,000 works in the Musée du Louvre and Musée National Eugène-Delacroix. Updated on a daily basis, it is the result of the continuous research and documentation efforts carried out by teams of experts from both museums.

Treat yourself and check out the vast collection now!