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10 Bizarre Coloring Books for Adults

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Psst! Got any crayons? You'll want a box when you see how much fun adults can have with coloring books designed just for those of a certain age. And please try to stay within the lines.

1. The Lowrider Coloring Book

The Lowrider Coloring Book contains illustrations of the most popular cars used in lowrider culture. Just by reading the blurb for the coloring book, I learned that hydraulic lifts for cars were developed to get around laws in California that banned lowriding cars -it enabled them to "get legal" in a hurry! Strangely, the coloring book is published in Sweden. See a promotional video for the book. Buy it on Amazon.

2. Fat Ladies in Spaaaaace

The entire title is Fat Ladies in Spaaaaace: a body-positive coloring book by Theo Nicole Lorenz. The coloring pages have 18 "fat scifi heroines" experiencing adventures in space and saving lives wherever they go. Buy it on Amazon.

3. Gangsta Rap Coloring Book

Your favorite rap artists from the beginning of the music genre are here in The Gangsta Rap Coloring Book by Aye Jay Moreno. If you bought the first edition in 2004, be aware that it has been expanded to 48 pages with the addition of newer rap stars. See more pictures from the book. Buy it on Amazon.

However, you can print out pages from a Tumblr blog featuring rap artists in a slightly different light at Bun B's Jumbo Coloring And Rap Activity blog. Each picture has suggested music to listen to while you color the pages in.

4. Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book

The Heavy Metal Fun Time Activity Book is more than a coloring book, although it has coloring pages in it featuring Henry Rollins, Iggy Pop, Motörhead, Guns 'n' Roses, Iron Maiden, and others. Color in tattoos, connect the dots, match the band members, and other fun activities await metal fans of all ages! Buy it on Amazon.

5. Color of Dissent

Color of Dissent is a coloring book and a history lesson. It contains 28 line portraits of Americans who were persecuted for speaking out against injustice such as John Brown, Henry David Thoreau, Geronimo, Lucy Parsons, Eugene Debs, Emma Goldman, and others you may not be so familiar with. Half the proceeds from the sale of this coloring book go to Books To Prisoners. Buy it here.

6. The Romanti-Goth A to Z Coloring Book

Got plenty of black crayons? You'll need them for The Romanti-Goth A to Z Coloring Book, which is an alphabetized illustration of 26 goth terms, illustrated by Heather Stanley.

Here, honored in full glory, are twenty six specifically chosen images of a Lace and Corset wearing world which is populated by those who find a Graveyard to be the perfect place for a picnic, Thirteen cats to be the perfect pets, and everyday to be Halloween.

Buy it on Amazon.

7. Torture: A Ruthless Visual Survey

Probably the only coloring book ever to deal with the subject of torture, Torture: A Ruthless Visual Survey has 40 pages of gruesome black and white drawings of torture methods through the ages. Buy it on Amazon.

8. Coloring Book for Lawyers

The Coloring Book for Lawyers takes you through a typical workday in the life a typical lawyer. It is a free download if you want to start coloring now!

9. Unicorns Are Jerks

Another coloring book by Theo Nicole Lorenz, the full title is Unicorns Are Jerks: a coloring book exposing the cold, hard, sparkly truth. The description reads:

Unicorns think they're so great because they're all mysterious and magical, but they can be real jerks sometimes. This coloring book features eighteen examples of unicorns texting in theaters, farting in elevators, eating your leftovers, and generally acting like jerks.

Buy it on Amazon.

10. Thrill Murray

Thrill Murray is a coloring book based on the career of actor Bill Murray. As far as coloring books go, this has both variety and a high cool factor. Produced by Belly Kids, it is a compilation of drawings by 24 different artists. Buy it on Amazon.


Mental Floss, Inc. is a participant in the Amazon Associates Program. If you click on an Amazon link from mental_floss, we receive a small share of the proceeds from whatever you buy.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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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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Why Your iPhone Doesn't Always Show You the 'Decline Call' Button
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When you get an incoming call to your iPhone, the options that light up your screen aren't always the same. Sometimes you have the option to decline a call, and sometimes you only see a slider that allows you to answer, without an option to send the caller straight to voicemail. Why the difference?

A while back, Business Insider tracked down the answer to this conundrum of modern communication, and the answer turns out to be fairly simple.

If you get a call while your phone is locked, you’ll see the "slide to answer" button. In order to decline the call, you have to double-tap the power button on the top of the phone.

If your phone is unlocked, however, the screen that appears during an incoming call is different. You’ll see the two buttons, "accept" or "decline."

Either way, you get the options to set a reminder to call that person back or to immediately send them a text message. ("Dad, stop calling me at work, it’s 9 a.m.!")

[h/t Business Insider]

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