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10 Movie-Inspired Cakes Worth Filming

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Whether prepping for a geeky friend’s birthday party, celebrating the release of a film you’ve been dying to see or as part of a fun wedding reception, movie-themed cakes are always in good taste.”These ten creations go beyond fandom and into a whole new realm of cake design mastery.

1. Kung Fu Panda

If you’re familiar with Ace of Cakes, then you probably already know about Charm City and their amazing decorating skills. Even so, this amazing Kung Fu Panda display really “takes the cake” when it comes to movie-based themes.

2. Ghostbusters

Who you gonna call? It better be Charm City (yes, they are good enough to be mentioned twice in a row) if you want to turn your wedding cake into a tribute to one of the greatest movies of all time. The bride and groom are huge fans of the movie and they figured that crossing their streams to defeat Stay Puft would be one of the most romantic ways to symbolize their love together.

3. Harry Potter

Mandrake Roots may have deadly screams, but when they’re quietly sleeping in their pots, they’re actually kind of cute. This silent but (not so) deadly cake version was created for a Harry Potter movie launch party in Guam. He’s probably a lot more delicious than those in the series, as this one is made from devil’s food cake and pastillage.

4. AT-AT

There’s just something delightfully adorable about the AT-AT that makes you want one as a giant robot pet. Until that day comes though, you can always have yours in fondant. Of course, when Jennifer Luxmore from Sin Desserts decided to make this for her friend’s groom’s cake, I doubt she expected it to cost more that $5,000 and take over 60 hours to complete. Maybe you’re just better off saving your money and waiting for the life-sized reality after all.

5. Captain Kirk

Don’t ever imagine that Trekies can’t make cakes as well as Star Wars fans. Just check out this amazing Captain Kirk pound cake that won first place in the 2009 Star Trek cake contest. While most of the decoration is comprised of fondant, his hands and face were casted from candy melts in a mold that was hand-sculpted by the creator.

6. Tardis

The creator designed this two-feet tall Tardis cake is so it would look bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. Everything is edible with the exception of the lights and wiring. Best of all, if you want to become a baking Time Lord, all the instructions are right here so you can make your own.

7. Kill Bill Cake

Cake artist Barbarann Garrard made this goretastically wonderful cake for her 9 year old daughter’s birthday party. It includes chocolate bullets, a katana, a death list and plenty of blood.

You might remember Barbarann and her daughter from the zombie girl cake included in the geeky birthday cakes article I wrote in October. Now there’s a kid whose parties I’d love to crash.

8. Eye of Sauron

If you love the Lord of The Rings series enough to want to make your own Eye of Sauron cake, you’re in luck. Instructables user RavingMadStudios has a useful guide to create your own “Bundt Cake of Barad Dur.”

9. Gollum

Perhaps you prefer peering around corners of your house softly whispering, “my precious” and discussing murder plans just out of hearing range of your roommates. If so, this Gollum cake by Brian Stevens of Crazy Cakes may be perfect for your next bash, provided you haven’t actually killed off all your friends yet.

10. Wall-E

This adorable Pixar-inspired masterpiece was designed and constructed by two brothers who work at the European Cake Gallery in Texas and was created for the International Cake Exploration Societe convention in Orlando.

I don’t know about you, but I love Wall-E too much to actually cut into this cake. Actually, I don't think I could cut into any of these.
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As always, I love hearing from you guys, so if you have any links to great movie cakes or stories of incredible frosting art, please share in the comments!

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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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