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15 Geeky Stained Glass Masterpieces

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Stained glass is generally reserved for the windows of churches. But if you worship science fiction, video games, or other geeky pop culture icons, there are still plenty of stained glass pieces just for you.

1. Boba Fett Helmet

Not all stained glass belongs on a window. DeviantArt user Mclanesmemories proves it with a Tiffany-styled Boba Fett helmet light that was created to the exact dimensions of the actual helmet from the movie. This geekstrordinary masterpiece took years to complete. While the creator didn’t count the exact number of pieces he used, the green top of the helmet alone is comprised of over 200.

2. Church of Family Guy

While many of the designs on this list are only panels or window hangings, DeviantArt user Pac0daTac0’s “Church of Family Guy” is actually being used as a window at its creator’s home. Now that’s a superfan.

3. Dalek

After seeing the light pour through this wonderful Dalek design by Geek Stained Glass, I'd love to see a Tiffany-style lamp featuring a Dalek on one side and the TARDIS on the other. Now that’s a geek-classy way to light a home.

4. Dig Dug Console

The Ground Kontrol Classic Arcade in Portland is a template for what a great arcade should be. It features classic games, the largest pinball collection in the Pacific Northwest and a busy entertainment schedule. To show off their love of gaming, the business even added a stained glass window of a Dig Dug console to the building, as photographed by Flickr user matt lohkamp. And in case you were wondering, yes, they do have Dig Dug in their collection.

5. Yoda

While Etsy seller Terrazaglass has already sold this specific Yoda design, perhaps you could approach her and request a custom made Yoda if you were so inclined. She certainly did an excellent job accentuating each lumpy wrinkle on the Jedi master’s brow.

6. Star Wars

This design was specially requested by one of Etsy seller GeekyGlass’ clients. If you have any ideas for your own Star Wars stained glass pieces, you now know exactly where to turn.

7. Twilight

If you prefer brooding vampires over heroic space knights, then you might want to check out this great Twilight piece also by GeekyGlass. It changes colors and appearances throughout the day as the daylight passes, which seems quite appropriate given the subject matter.

8. Star Trek Logo

One thing that makes this creation unique is that the middle section contains no glass at all. The piece, by DeviantArt user Bigblued, is quite striking when seen in direct sunlight.

9. Cthulhu Jeebus

For those that worship at the temple of H.P. Lovecraft’s monsters, this Cthulhu Jeebus is a delightful dedication to The Dark One. You might notice that like the Family Guy design, this one is also being used as an actual window by its creator, DeviantArt user Future Vintage.

10, 11 & 12. Transformers

As you could probably guess from his name, DeviantArt user AutobotWonko likes the Transformers quite a bit. If you needed more proof, just take a look at these impressive stained glass recreations of Bumblebee, Optimus Prime and Galvatron. Each one took around 25 hours each.

13. Spider-Man

Chris Roth is a professional artist who was asked to contribute a piece to the Stan Lee tribute show at Gallery 1988. Rather than creating one of his more traditional oil paintings, Roth opted to create a stained glass design featuring the first comic to include Spider-Man, Amazing Fantasy #15.

14. Link

Making the princess-saving elf from Zelda look tough isn’t an easy task, but Etsy seller Janreus took on the challenge and succeeded with flying colors. For those interested in bringing home their own hero, this piece goes for 99 Euros (about $140).

15. 8-Bit Mushroom

While it’s hard to bring pixels to life, it’s easy to incorporate them into stained glass. Etsy seller Radiant Art created this adorable dedication to the Super Mario Bros. It contains 80 pieces and was sold for $175.
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Do we have any stained glass artists out there? Have you ever displayed a stained glass masterpiece—geeky or otherwise—in your house?

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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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