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The Quick 10: 10 Infamous Womanizers

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According to the author of a new biography on Warren Beatty, he's slept with nearly 13,000 women. Warren denies that the number is that high, but compared to other philanderers, 13,000 isn't even that many. Here are a few other men who claim they have spent more time in bed than out of it.

warren1. Warren Beatty. We'll start with Warren himself. This new biography says Beatty, erm, "charmed" almost 13,000 women. Before you bust out the calculator, here's the math. Beatty claims he didn't get started until he was 20, and if you consider that he got married to Annette Bening in 1992 at the age of 55, that's about 371 women a year. Right? Someone check my math; it's never been my strong point. And if he and Annette have an open relationship, that's about 250 women a year. Warren has denied the number through his publicist, saying, "Other media should not repeat things from the book on the assumption that they are true or that the book is an authorized biography."
2. Lord Byron. We don't have a number for him, but by one account, he slept with more than 250 women in Venice, Italy, in just one year. Some reports say he even bedded his own half sister and some distant cousins. Apparently he kept mementos from the ladies he slept with - locks of their pubic hair. He kept the locks in individual envelopes; the last we knew, the cache was being stored with his publishing house in London in the 1980s.

3. Wilt Chamberlain himself says he slept with 20,000 women. "At my age, that equals out to 1.2 women a day, every day since I was 15 years old," he wrote in his 1991 biography. Right. He says that none of the women were married and that he made an effort to find out if they were before pursuing them.

4. Gene Simmons claimed his number is more than 4,600 and he can prove it - he has taken pictures of each and every one. "Esquire magazine has just tried to prove empirically that this was physically impossible," he said. "But they had to admit that it works. In addition, it's true. I'm honest and show my girlfriends this photo album."

5. Magic Johnson estimates he has slept with more than 1,000 women, but has said that it was so many he lost count and had no idea which one of his trysts infected him with HIV, which he announced in 1991.

nicholson6. Jack Nicholson once mused that he believes he has slept with more than 2,000 women, give or take a few, but he's not one to name names. His 16-year relationship with Anjelica Huston allegedly ended when his other girlfriend, Rebecca Broussard, became pregnant with the first of their two kids together.
7. Umberto Billo. Never heard of him? You're not alone. He's not rich and famous - he' s just a porter at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas. He claims that in his three years of employment at the hotel, he slept with about 8,000 women just by asking them at the check in counter. When he was fired for being too tired to carry luggage, one businesswoman stated, "I must have spent thousands in the hotel because of him."

8. Fidel Castro. Talk about the unexpected, right? A 2008 documentary claimed that the Cuban leader slept with at least two women a day for about 40 years, and sometimes snuck in a third at dinner. The source behind the leak, a former Castro official, said, "I don't think he would have stayed on for as long as he did if not for all the incredible women he had access to as president."

9. Charlie Sheen. In 2002, Sheen said he was up to more than 5,000 women.

10. Giacomo Casanova. The original lover boy barely slept with any women, compared to the other men on this list - his memoirs listed a mere 122 affairs with women (and alluded to a few with men as well).

Is there anyone else that should be on the list? There's always Hef - he vaguely says he's slept with "thousands" of women, and claims, "They all still like me."

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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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