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10 Ways to Treat a Hangover

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1. Menudo: A spicy Mexican soup often times made from tripe (cow stomach), Menudo (not to be confused with Menudo, which may make your hangover worse) is supposed to cure even your deadliest hangovers. It is said to stimulate the senses, rejuvenate the insides, and clear the head. Most alcohol scholars, however, claim that the combination of spices in the soup simply distract your mind and body from the hangover.

2. Prickly Pear: If you're hungover in the desert and can't find water, the extract from the prickly pear cactus might just do the trick. It won't curb the headache but it will alleviate nausea, dry mouth and loss of appetite. Extracting the goods yourself may be difficult, but prickly pear can be found in many dietary supplements.

3. Pickle Juice: Could this Eastern European and Russian staple be the perfect hangover cure? Swilling the juice will replenish the electrolytes your body lost the night before and also wake you up a bit. Professional athletes drank it before Gatorade was invented.

4. Go for a jog: Get moving! Doing a little exercise can help flush out toxins, get you to drink more fluids, and distract you from the pounding headache you probably have. Motivation can often be hard to come by the morning after a night of heavy drinking so many suggest finding a workout buddy the night before.

5. Hair of the Dog: Also known as drinking more, the expression is a shortened form of the colloquial English phrase "hair of the dog that bit you." Many people claim a shot in the morning keeps a hangover at bay - I think it just puts off the inevitable. If this sounds like your cup of tea(quila), however, Thomas Abercrombie suggests putting two Alka-Seltzers in a shot of tequila to really nip it in the bud.

6. Quaff: According to soyouwanna.com, the perfect hangover cure is theirs "“ a drink called Quaff. They claim that after it cures your hangover "it might just clear out your nasal passages, shrink your hemorrhoids, and leap out of your body and write your History term paper." The cure includes taking two aspirin, 200mg cysteine, 600mg Vitamin C, and 1 tablet of vitamin B complex and then washing it all down with a milkshake consisting of a banana, V-8, strawberries, honey, OJ, milk, salt, and nutmeg.

7. Hypnosis: A hangover cure can now be downloaded to your desktop! Hypnosisdownloads.com has a 20-minute hypnosis session that will ease your headache and repair the damage done to your body. The session includes the soothing sound of angels and "a mountain stream splashing refreshingly through your mind" that is guaranteed to work.

8. B12: A deficiency of B12 is thought to be one of the causes of a hangover. It can be found in vitamins, meat, eggs, dairy products, or vegetables fortified with B12 (for all you vegans and vegetarians out there like me).

9. A Grand Slam: It seems like everyone has a food item they love when they are hungover. I have friends who swear by a Coca-Cola and a French baguette and others by cold pizza, but the majority of my friends adore Denny's. The 1,000 calories worth of pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, and butter that comes with a Grand Slam seems to hit the spot. And it's certainly an improvement over the fried canaries that the ancient Romans used to eat to cure their drink-induced ailments.

10. RU-21: Developed in Russia for the purpose of keeping KGB agents sober while their contacts got drunk and divulged state secrets, RU-21 actually ended up being the perfect hangover cure. It entered the US market in 1999 as Cold War relations warmed and has been a staple of the all-night party scene ever since. This is best taken before or while drinking to prevent the morning hangover.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
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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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Nick Briggs/Comic Relief
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What Happened to Jamie and Aurelia From Love Actually?
May 26, 2017
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Nick Briggs/Comic Relief

Fans of the romantic-comedy Love Actually recently got a bonus reunion in the form of Red Nose Day Actually, a short charity special that gave audiences a peek at where their favorite characters ended up almost 15 years later.

One of the most improbable pairings from the original film was between Jamie (Colin Firth) and Aurelia (Lúcia Moniz), who fell in love despite almost no shared vocabulary. Jamie is English, and Aurelia is Portuguese, and they know just enough of each other’s native tongues for Jamie to propose and Aurelia to accept.

A decade and a half on, they have both improved their knowledge of each other’s languages—if not perfectly, in Jamie’s case. But apparently, their love is much stronger than his grasp on Portuguese grammar, because they’ve got three bilingual kids and another on the way. (And still enjoy having important romantic moments in the car.)

In 2015, Love Actually script editor Emma Freud revealed via Twitter what happened between Karen and Harry (Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman, who passed away last year). Most of the other couples get happy endings in the short—even if Hugh Grant's character hasn't gotten any better at dancing.

[h/t TV Guide]

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