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11 Long Celebrity Marriages That Ended in Divorce

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When some celebrity couples divorce, it's not at all surprising (here's looking at you, Kim and Kris). But when couples like Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito announce they're divorcing after 30 years of marriage, it comes as a true shock. We really thought those crazy kids—and many of the couples on this list—would make it!

1. Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman, 30 years

This couple met in 1971 after Rhea saw Danny perform in a play. They moved in together two weeks later. Sounds hasty, but they were compatible enough to exchange wedding vows in 1982 and eventually have three children together. The pair even worked side by side on TV’s Taxi and in the film Matilda.

2. Jerry and Patti Lewis, 36 years

The dedication of Lewis’ 1971 book The Total Filmmaker reads "To Patti, whose love, patience and wisdom never diminished while waiting for me to grow up." Patti Palmer was a singer with Tommy Dorsey’s orchestra when she married Lewis in 1944, but she retired from show business to raise their six children. In 1980, the self-described “multi-faceted, talented, wealthy, internationally famous genius” left his family and 32-room Bel Air mansion to live with SanDee Pitnick, a dancer he’d met when she auditioned for a bit part in his 1979 film Hardly Working. According to youngest son Joe Lewis, his father informed his family of his intent to leave by bringing a copy of the National Enquirer which announced “Jerry and Patti Lewis split!” to the dinner table one evening.

3. Buddy Ebsen and Nancy Wolcott, 39 years

Nancy Wolcott earned a degree in theater at Vassar before she enlisted in the Coast Guard during World War II. She was stationed in Seattle when she met Lt. Christian “Buddy” Ebsen, an actor-turned-officer (you probably know him as Jed Clampett of The Beverly Hillbillies) serving aboard the USS Pocatello. The couple married in 1946 and had five children. Over the years, though, they slowly grew apart. According to Nancy, she was becoming more politically liberal while Buddy grew increasingly conservative. They divorced quietly in 1985, and Buddy married Dorothy Knott, a woman 40 years his junior, in Hawaii that same year.

4. Ann Landers and Jules Lederer, 36 years

The advice columnist (who was born Esther Pauline Friedman, and nicknamed Eppie) married salesman Jules Lederer in 1939. In 1960 Lederer founded Budget Rent-A-Car, five years after Eppie had taken over the Ann Landers column. After 36 years of marriage, Lederer broke the news to his wife over dinner that he’d been seeing another (younger) woman. Eppie announced the end of her marriage in her column, followed by a four-inch blank space as a “memorial to one of the world’s best marriages that didn’t make it to the finish line.”

5. Leonard and Sandi Nimoy, 34 years

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In a 1966 magazine interview, Star Trek’s original Mr. Spock reminisced about life before TV success: "On Saturday nights for a long time we were in a position where we were so short of cash that dinner consisted of my going out to a Chinese restaurant and picking up a dinner-to-go for one, bringing it home and splitting it among the four of us, the two little children, my wife and me.” Leonard Nimoy went on to credit his wife Sandi, whom he married in 1954, for relentlessly encouraging him during those lean days between acting jobs. Instead of insisting he go out and get a “real” job to support his family, she always told him that “she didn’t mind doing without, that someday their ship would come in.” Nimoy left Sandi on her 56th birthday, just a few months shy of their 34th wedding anniversary. Sandi, who died of heart failure last year, complained in interviews after the fact that after the divorce, she’d been cut off from their Hollywood friends by those who didn't want to get on Leonard's bad side.

6. George and Marion Segal, 26 years

When the Just Shoot Me star left his wife, Marion, after 26 years of marriage, she summed up the seemingly thankless job of being the spouse of an actor: “If they don't make it they're bitter and miserable for the rest of their lives. If they do get to be stars or semi-stars, famous enough for people to come up to them in the street, and they get deferential treatment, it's very hard to handle that. They soon believe they are kings.” George moved in with (and eventually married) Linda Rogoff, a woman he met backstage after playing with a Beverly Hills jazz band, and Marion took night classes that taught her the skills she’d never had to learn before her divorce, like how to balance a checkbook.

7. Robert Redford and Lola van Wagenen, 27 years

The future screen hunk was just 22 and had only $300 to his name when he married Lola van Wagenen in 1958. Redford has always fiercely guarded his privacy, so much so that even though he and Lola divorced in 1985, it wasn’t made public until 10 years later. According to Robert, the split was a mutual decision and the couple still has “great love, great affection, great friendship” for one another.

8. Luciano Pavarotti and Adua Veroni, 35 years

The opera star married Adua Veroni in 1961, shortly after he made his professional singing debut. The couple had already been together for seven years, and as Luciano’s fame grew, Adua became his business manager as well as his wife. Pavarotti always had an eye for the ladies, apparently, but Adua was philosophical about the situation: "He might look at another bowl of pasta, but there is still plenty of linguine at home," she often said. Nevertheless, in 1996 Luciano left Adua for his secretary, Nicoletta Mantovani, who was younger than his own daughters.

9. Morgan Freeman and Myrna Colley-Lee, 26 years

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The Academy Award-winning actor separated from Myrna Colley-Lee in 2007, but it took almost two years to hammer out the final divorce settlement. If Myrna is to be believed, she was awarded $400 million in cash and real estate along with the go-ahead to eventually write a tell-all book.

10. Ben Vereen and Nancy Bruner, 36 years

The Tony Award-winning actor/dancer married Nancy Bruner in 1976 and, citing irreconcilable differences, filed for divorce in September 2012. Vereen has petitioned the court to terminate Nancy’s ability to collect spousal support.

11. Malcolm and Roberta Forbes, 39 years

The billionaire publisher and his wife Roberta parted company in 1985 after a 39 year marriage. The official party line was that Roberta was tired of her husband’s increasingly opulent lifestyle, which included $5 million birthday parties, but more cynical sources hinted that what Mrs. Forbes was truly weary of was Malcolm’s homosexual dalliances.

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Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

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One Bite From This Tick Can Make You Allergic to Meat
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We like to believe that there’s no such thing as a bad organism, that every creature must have its place in the world. But ticks are really making that difficult. As if Lyme disease wasn't bad enough, scientists say some ticks carry a pathogen that causes a sudden and dangerous allergy to meat. Yes, meat.

The Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum) mostly looks like your average tick, with a tiny head and a big fat behind, except the adult female has a Texas-shaped spot on its back—thus the name.

Unlike other American ticks, the Lone Star feeds on humans at every stage of its life cycle. Even the larvae want our blood. You can’t get Lyme disease from the Lone Star tick, but you can get something even more mysterious: the inability to safely consume a bacon cheeseburger.

"The weird thing about [this reaction] is it can occur within three to 10 or 12 hours, so patients have no idea what prompted their allergic reactions," allergist Ronald Saff, of the Florida State University College of Medicine, told Business Insider.

What prompted them was STARI, or southern tick-associated rash illness. People with STARI may develop a circular rash like the one commonly seen in Lyme disease. They may feel achy, fatigued, and fevered. And their next meal could make them very, very sick.

Saff now sees at least one patient per week with STARI and a sensitivity to galactose-alpha-1, 3-galactose—more commonly known as alpha-gal—a sugar molecule found in mammal tissue like pork, beef, and lamb. Several hours after eating, patients’ immune systems overreact to alpha-gal, with symptoms ranging from an itchy rash to throat swelling.

Even worse, the more times a person is bitten, the more likely it becomes that they will develop this dangerous allergy.

The tick’s range currently covers the southern, eastern, and south-central U.S., but even that is changing. "We expect with warming temperatures, the tick is going to slowly make its way northward and westward and cause more problems than they're already causing," Saff said. We've already seen that occur with the deer ticks that cause Lyme disease, and 2017 is projected to be an especially bad year.

There’s so much we don’t understand about alpha-gal sensitivity. Scientists don’t know why it happens, how to treat it, or if it's permanent. All they can do is advise us to be vigilant and follow basic tick-avoidance practices.

[h/t Business Insider]