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10 Coca-Cola Beverages You Won’t Find on U.S. Shelves

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According to the Coca-Cola Company’s website, they currently manufacture 3500 different products in over 200 countries. Here are 10 unique Coca-Cola beverages you probably won’t find in your local grocery store.

1. Café Zu
This Thailand coffee is not for the lazy. Or the ladies. The official brand statement says CAFÉ ZU is a “ready-to-drink canned coffee with ginseng developed for hard-working males between 25 and 35 years old.”

2. Samurai
This carbonated energy drink is sold exclusively in Vietnam, although it is reportedly named after the Japanese warrior. Sorry kids, according to Coke, “Samurai is enjoyed by Vietnamese adults who need an energy boost.” Its sweet ‘Fruit Punch’ flavor is tailored to the Vietnamese palate.

3. Jaz Cola
Coca-Cola produces many custom beverages for the Philippines, but the cola-flavored Jaz Cola is intended for an even more specific audience. Not only was it created for consumers living in the Visayan Islands- the main middle island – it has reportedly “fueled Visayan pride among its teen consumers.”

4. Kuat
Brazilians go crazy for the local guarana berry, whose natural caffeine makes it a popular ingredient in many energy drinks. Coca-Cola cashed in on the craze with their soft drink Kuat, named for an Amazonian sun god, which comes in plain Guarana or Guarana-Orange. They planted supplementary acres of guarana to supply Kuat production.

5. Oasis
Oasis is juice for grown-ups living in Great Britain, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Specifically, Coca-Cola envisions it for “working twenty-somethings who know what they want out of life.”

6. Limca
From the corporation that brought you Oasis comes Limca, a lemon-lime soft drink sold in India, Nigeria, the United Arab Emirates and Zambia. It originated in India, but was acquired by Coca-Cola in 1993. According to the company, the beverage “continues to build a loyal following among young adults who love the lighthearted way it complements the best moments of their lives.”

7. The Wellness from Coca-Cola
In light of recent criticism of sugary drinks, Coca-Cola has developed a whole wing of health-conscious products. One of these is aptly called “The Wellness.” Despite the English name, this unflavored beverage is only available in Japan and is “designed for women who want to look their best at all times.”

8. Tiky
Tiky is a pineapple-flavored soft drink sold only in Guatemala. In addition to quenching your thirst, Tiky will “enhance your positive attitude and release your inner child.”

9. Smart
Despite the title, this colorful beverage has little to do with brains. Smart was one of the first soft drinks Coca-Cola created just for China and its rapidly expanding consumer market. Geared towards Chinese teens and children, Smart was designed to have a “fun, non-conforming personality.” It’s available in flavors such as Apple, Grape, Mandarin Orange, Peach and Watermelon.

10. Qoo
With a blue cartoon mascot who somewhat resembles a cat, Qoo is a very popular light juice drink among children in Asia. It keeps parents happy with its Vitamin C and Calcium content. Along with traditional flavors like Apple and Orange, Qoo is available in a wide variety of unusual flavors such as Acerola Lemon, Blackcurrant, Grape Lemon, Honey Quince, Mango Milk and Peach Plum. It’s currently available in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, the Republic of Korea and Singapore.

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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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Name the Author Based on the Character
May 23, 2017
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