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The Quick 10: 10 Not-Famous Twins of Famous People

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I was kind of stunned when I read something recently that quoted Gisele Bündchen's twin. I immediately wondered if they swap out photo shoots, like if Gisele is too tired or feels like vacationing with Tom Brady, she just sends in Patricia to do the work. But no, turns out they are fraternal twins and don't look that much alike. And then I wondered how much it would suck to be Gisele Bündchen's twin and look nothing like her. Or maybe just enough where people say, "Hey, you kind of look like that model"¦" and the twin says, "Yeah, she's my twin," and people reply, "oh"¦ really??"

I've probably put too much thought into this. My point is, after reading that quote, I wondered what other celebrities have twins out there who aren't famous. There are a lot, but I've just picked the ones I found most interesting. Feel free to share yours in the comments.

1. Aldo Andretti used to race, just like his famous brother Mario. He had a few bad accidents, ending with one that caused severe damage to his face and left him in a coma. He quit after that and opened his own business, Aldo Andretti Machine and Engineering Co. His son, John, inherited the Andretti racing gene and still races.

2. Roberta Clift (AKA Ethel Clift) was born just before her famous brother Montgomery.

gisele3. Patricia Bundchen, is, of course, Gisele's fraternal twin sister, younger by five minutes. They have four other sisters "“ Raquel, Rafaela, Graziela and Gabriela. Gisele has always insisted that between the two of them, her twin is hotter.


4. Wade, Alanis Morissette's twin, probably knows who "You Oughta Know" is about. He's 12 minutes older and Alanis says the two of them share that cool twin telepathy. She wrote the song "No Pressure Over Cappuccino" for him.

5. Loretta Williams grew up in Harlem with her twin brother, William December Williams. That's Billy Dee, to you and me. Or Lando if you prefer, I guess.

6. Isotta Ingrid Frieda Giuliana Rossellini didn't follow in the footsteps of her famous family "“ her sister Isabella is a famous actress, her mother was actress Ingrid Bergman, her father was Roberto Rossellini and her half-sister is broadcaster Pia Lindstrom. Isotta went the academic route and has a doctorate in Italian Literature from Columbia University. She's now an adjunct professor at New York University. She has also taught at Princeton and Harvard. That's one talented family!

hunter7. I wonder if Hunter Johansson and Ryan Reynolds get along? Hunter is younger than Scarlett by three minutes and worked as a campaign organizer for Barack Obama. People named him one of their "Single and Sexy Men of 2008," so apparently he shares Scarlett's good looks.


8. Jana Elway was John Elway's twin sister, younger by 11 minutes. Sadly, she died of lung cancer in 2002.


9. Harriet Davis was studying acting while her sister Ann was pre-med at the University of Michigan. Then Ann saw her brother in Oklahoma and decided acting would be fun and switched her major. Who knows, maybe Harriet Davis would have been better suited to play Alice on The Brady Bunch!


10. Corey Howard works for AT&T, but unless he's CEO, his Philadelphia Phillies brother Ryan Howard has probably got him bested in salary. Speaking of which, Jose and Ozzie Canseco were twins that played baseball, although Ozzie only played 24 games. But back to the Howards "“ here's a little video about the two of them. How cute were they?!

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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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