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The Quick 10: Celebs Who Went to High School Together

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It's kind of stunning how many celebrities actually went to high school together "“ when you start looking at the list of people who attended prestigious prep schools and performing arts academies at the same time, Hollywood must just seem like high school never ended to some actors (ugh). I tried to stay away from Hollywood High and Beverly Hills High, because those are too easy "“ tons of celebrities graduated from there. If I missed any really strange ones, be sure to let me know in the comments "“ I love stuff like that.

neil1. Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond not only went to Erasmus Hall High School together, they sang in the choir together.
2. Lady GaGa went to the same high school "“ Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York - as the Hilton sisters, but insisted that she had nothing to do with them. "I never saw those girls for more than 10 seconds down the hallway," she once said.
3. Val Kilmer and Mare Winningham once shared the stage at Chatsworth High School in Chatsworth, California. Kilmer played Captain von Trapp and Mare played Maria in a high school production of The Sound of Music. Kevin Spacey was in the same class as well.


4. Writer James Baldwin and photographer Richard Avedon were close friends in high school when they worked on the DeWitt Clinton literary magazine together. They remained good friends throughout their careers, although writer Rachel Cohen says there was some "tension" in the "˜60s.

hartnett5. Josh Hartnett and Rachel Leigh Cook attended Minneapolis South High School together. I like this one because it's not like a prestigious prep school or school for the performing arts where you expect a higher percentage of the students to come out with high-profile careers. It's just a random high school in the Midwest. It's where Cook got her start, though "“ one of her earliest jobs was as a model in print ads for Target, which is headquartered in Minneapolis. Also attending South: Genevieve Gorder from Trading Spaces. She would have been a senior when Harnett was a freshman (Cook would have been in eighth grade).
6. Judge Wapner and Lana Turner. These two stars "“ albeit in very different arenas "“ not only went to school together, they actually dated for a while. Weird. They both went to Hollywood High, which I know I was going to try to avoid, but I thought this connection was too strange to pass up.

7. B.J. Novak and John Krasinski (Ryan and Jim from The Office, respectively) both went to Newton South High School in Newton, Massachusetts. The first play Krasinski was in was written by B.J. Novak, in fact.

8. At the prestigious Dalton prep school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, these celebs would have been roaming the halls at the same time "“ whether they knew each other or not is anyone's guess: Anderson Cooper, Christian Slater and Steve Lemme from Broken Lizard.

watts9. Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts have been besties since they went to North Sydney Girls High School together. Coincidentally (or maybe not) Baz Luhrmann's wife is just a few years older than Nicole and Naomi and also attended North Sydney.
10. Doing the Brat Pack movies in the 80s must have just felt like a continuation of high school for a lot of the actors "“ a lot of the crew attended Santa Monica High School together, including Rob Lowe, Charlie Sheen, Robert Downey, Jr., and Sean Penn. I know those aren't all official Brat Pack members, but they were all of the same era.


Here's a bonus "“ they didn't go to high school together, but I liked the story anyway:


11. Jeff Garlin (Larry's manager Jeff Greene in Curb Your Enthusiasm and Conan O'Brien used to room together in 1988 in Chicago, where they lived right across the street from Wrigley Field. You'd think with such two funny dudes sharing a roof, it would be constant laughs "“ but no. Conan said that he literally cried one day because his room was so hot. Jeff's room, however, had air conditioning.

If this high school stuff is just too kiddie for you, check out this post about famous college roomies by Jason Plautz.

Have a good Q10 suggestion for me? Send me a Tweet!

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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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