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18 Celebrity Workout Videos You Might Not Know Existed

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You already know Jane Fonda has a fitness empire, but there are a slew of other celebrity exercise videos lurking out there—some of which might surprise you. Give one a shot; at the very least, you'll be entertained while you work out.

1. ANGELA LANSBURY

Thanks to her roles as Mrs. Potts, Jessica Fletcher, and Auntie Mame, Angela Lansbury has Tony Awards, Golden Globes, a Grammy, and an honorary Academy Award under her belt. She's also got a workout video, released in 1988: Angela Lansbury’s Positive Moves: A Personal Plan for Fitness and Well-Being at Any Age.

2. MARK WAHLBERG

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Want abs like Mark Wahlberg? Well, as he points out in the video, you might not ever have them. But you can give it a shot with his 1993 video Form... Focus... Fitness.

3. ESTELLE GETTY

Estelle Getty made a workout video. What else do you need to know?

4. CHER

Want the confidence to wear Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time" outfit? You can start with her workout videos. The singer and actress released her first video, CherFitness: A New Attitude, in 1991. It was a big hit, so in 1992, she released another one: CherFitness: Body Confidence.

5. REGIS PHILBIN

There's no doubt about it—for a guy in his mid-80s, Regis looks amazing. And he wants you to know how he did it! This 1993 gem is notable for its guest appearances alone (Kathie Lee and Gelman)!

6. ALYSSA MILANO

Capitalizing on her Who's the Boss fame, then-teen sensation Alyssa Milano filmed a 1988 workout video called Teen Steam. "It was during the time when they started to pull all funding out of schools for [physical education], so there was a need for it," the actress said in 2015. Milano also sang the theme song for the video.

7. DIXIE CARTER

Julia Sugarbaker can help you limber up with her Unworkout. Even if you're not into her brand of yoga (check out "The Lion"), you have to admit that any type of exercise is more charming when accompanied by a Southern accent.

8. MILTON BERLE

Uncle Miltie may have been one of the funniest comedians in Hollywood, but losing mobility and flexibility as you age is no laughing matter. That's why he released this 1994 video that combines humor (kind of) with a low-impact workout.

9. PAULA ABDUL

Following the success of her remix album Shut Up and Dance, Paula Abdul made her Get Up and Dance workout video in 1995—and it was popular enough to be re-released as a DVD in 2005.

10. LATOYA JACKSON

The early '90s were a goldmine for celebrity workout videos. Step Up Workout with LaToya Jackson was released in 1993—and the three people who have reviewed it on Amazon give it positively glowing reviews.

11. FABIO

You may never have Fabio's luscious locks, but if you follow along with his 1993 video, you could get his rippling muscles. OK, probably not.

12. HEATHER LOCKLEAR

The 1990 video Heather Locklear Presents Your Personal Workout was filmed after she found fame on T.J. Hooker and Dynasty, but before her turn as Amanda Woodward on Melrose Place. "I had never taken aerobics before and I was doing an aerobics video,” Locklear told Conan O'Brien in 2013. “They have a little earpiece in your ear, and they’re like, 'Alright two to the right, two to the left.'"

13. CELEBRITY PARENTS

Among Richard Simmons' impressive lineup of workout videos is a gem called Richard Simmons and the Silver Foxes, geared, obviously, at fitness for seniors. His guinea pigs? Celebrity parents. Among the illustrious moms and dads are Sylvester Stallone and Farrah Fawcett's moms and Dustin Hoffman and Al Pacino's dads. Watch Richard and a few of his Silver Foxes promote the new video on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1986 above.

14. MARY TYLER MOORE

She can turn the world on with her 1994 low-impact workout, Every Woman's Workout.

15. ZSA ZSA GABOR

When you're Zsa Zsa Gabor, you don't actually have to work out. You just hire "two muscley friends" in tank tops to move your body around in various exercise positions for you while you purr "Dahhhhling."

16. GEORGE FOREMAN

You might expect a video by a boxing champion to involve boxing, but you would be wrong. George Foreman's workout is geared more toward the everyman and invites you to just Walk It Off With George. He adds a little jab here and there, and does something dubbed "the Foreman Shuffle," but for the most part keeps it pretty low-key.

17. SALLY STRUTHERS

The former star of All in the Family made a video in 1988 extolling the virtues of walking using the "Balboa Fitness Walking Technique," a type of speedwalking.

18. SHIRLEY MACLAINE

The actress channeled her interest in spiritualism and metaphysics into this 1989 video, Shirley MacLaine's Inner Workout. (Don't miss Part 2.)

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technology
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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Health
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]

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