CLOSE
Original image

The 12 Times NHL Goalies Scored Goals Themselves

Original image

ADAM HUNGER/Reuters/Landov

New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur, who has helped lead his team to the Stanley Cup Finals, is part of an exclusive club. Brodeur is one of 10 goalies who has scored a goal in an NHL game and one of two goalies who has scored twice. Here’s the complete list.

1. Billy Smith, 1979

Smith, who led the New York Islanders to four straight Stanley Cups from 1980-83, became the first goalie in NHL history to score a goal in a game against Colorado. The Rockies pulled their goalie for an extra skater after the Islanders were called for a delayed penalty and Smith deflected a shot behind the net. Colorado’s Rob Ramage retrieved it and attempted to swing the puck back to a teammate on the blue line, but his pass missed the mark and rolled all the way down the ice and into his own team’s empty net. Smith, the last Islanders player to touch the puck, was credited with the goal. “One day I’ll be able to say whatever I want,” Smith told the New York Times in 1982. “I’ll tell people I shot the puck in.”

2 & 3. Ron Hextall, 1987 and 1989

Hextall, who played 11 of his 13 seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers, became the first NHL goalie to shoot and score a goal. With Philadelphia leading Boston 4-2, the Bruins pulled their goalie. Hextall corralled a loose puck to the left of the net and fired a 180-foot shot into the empty net. “I knew I had to get height on it to get it over a couple of guys,” Hextall said after the game. “I’d rather score a goal than get a shutout… I’m thinking about asking the coach to put me on the power play.”

Two years later, Hextall tallied a shorthanded goal in an 8-5 win over the Washington Capitals in the playoffs. “I don't know how many I'll score, but it's always a thrill.”

4. Chris Osgood, 1996

It would be seven years before another NHL goalie scored a goal. Osgood turned the trick against the Hartford Whalers, scoring an empty-net goal in the waning seconds of the Detroit Red Wings’ 4-2 win. “I went for it,” Osgood told reporters. “I had a chance in Toronto earlier this season and I was joking that the next time I had it I would shoot. I didn't look, I just shot it.”

5 & 6. Martin Brodeur, 1997 and 2000

Brodeur’s first career goal and the fifth by a goalie in NHL history came in a playoff win over the Montreal Canadiens. With New Jersey leading 4-2 late in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Canadiens pulled their goalie. Brodeur lifted a loose puck the length of the ice and into the empty net. “I was freaking out,” Brodeur said. “It was unbelievable . . . When I shot it, it went over everyone and I kind of lost it. Then I saw John MacLean raise his arms up and I said, ‘Wow. It's got to go in if he's doing that.’ Guys in front of me went on the side and I saw it go in.”

Brodeur’s second career goal came on a delayed penalty. The Flyers pulled their goalie and Brodeur was the last Devils player to touch the puck before Philadelphia’s Daymond Langkow accidentally put the puck in his own net.

7. Damian Rhodes, 1999

Brodeur had a rink-side seat for the seventh goal scored by an NHL goalie. After Brodeur headed to the bench on a delayed penalty call, Lyle Odelein’s errant pass found the back of New Jersey’s empty net. Rhodes, the last Ottawa Senators player to touch the puck, was credited with the goal. It was a good night for Rhodes, who shut out the Devils in a 6-0 win.

8. Jose Theodore, 2001

Theodore’s seventh career shutout was a memorable one, as he fired a back-handed shot into an empty net with nine seconds left in Montreal’s 3-0 win over the New York Islanders. “It was awesome,” Theodore said. “I clear the puck better with my backhand, and I just gave it a high arch. I was just trying to clear the zone. I was jumping all over the place. We got the win and the shutout, and I got a goal. It was a pretty good night for me.”

9. Evgeni Nabokov, 2002

Nabokov’s goal wasn’t quite as fluky as most of the goals on this list. With the Sharks on the power play and protecting a two-goal lead late in a game against Vancouver, Nabokov corralled a loose puck in front of his net and lofted a shot down the ice that found its way into the Canucks’ empty net. “I'm going to lie if I say it wasn't exciting,” he said.

10. Mika Noronen, 2004

Noronen entered the game after Buffalo’s starting goalie, Martin Biron, was pulled with Toronto leading 3-0 midway through the second period. The Sabres stormed back to take a 5-4 lead and Toronto pulled its goalie for an extra attacker late in the third period. Noronen deflected a shot by the Maple Leafs’ Robert Reichel into the corner. Reichel regained possession and fired a pass to the center of the zone, which trickled all the way down the ice and into his own goal. “This is my first one and hopefully not the last one,” Noronen said.

11. Chris Mason, 2006

Mason was credited with a goal on a delayed penalty when Phoenix’s Geoff Sanderson passed the puck into an empty net. “It was a cheesy goal,” said Mason, whose Nashville Predators defeated the Coyotes 5-1. “I don't even like counting one like that as a goal.”

12. Cam Ward, 2011

Ward, who became the 10th NHL goalie to score a goal, also did it in a cheesy way. The Hurricanes goalie was credited with a goal by virtue of being the last Carolina player to touch the puck before New Jersey’s Ilya Kovalchuk passed the puck into his own net. “It would have been a lot cooler if I had shot the puck or did something like that,” Ward said.

Original image
iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
technology
arrow
Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
Original image
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!

Original image
iStock
Animals
arrow
Scientists Think They Know How Whales Got So Big
May 24, 2017
Original image
iStock

It can be difficult to understand how enormous the blue whale—the largest animal to ever exist—really is. The mammal can measure up to 105 feet long, have a tongue that can weigh as much as an elephant, and have a massive, golf cart–sized heart powering a 200-ton frame. But while the blue whale might currently be the Andre the Giant of the sea, it wasn’t always so imposing.

For the majority of the 30 million years that baleen whales (the blue whale is one) have occupied the Earth, the mammals usually topped off at roughly 30 feet in length. It wasn’t until about 3 million years ago that the clade of whales experienced an evolutionary growth spurt, tripling in size. And scientists haven’t had any concrete idea why, Wired reports.

A study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B might help change that. Researchers examined fossil records and studied phylogenetic models (evolutionary relationships) among baleen whales, and found some evidence that climate change may have been the catalyst for turning the large animals into behemoths.

As the ice ages wore on and oceans were receiving nutrient-rich runoff, the whales encountered an increasing number of krill—the small, shrimp-like creatures that provided a food source—resulting from upwelling waters. The more they ate, the more they grew, and their bodies adapted over time. Their mouths grew larger and their fat stores increased, helping them to fuel longer migrations to additional food-enriched areas. Today blue whales eat up to four tons of krill every day.

If climate change set the ancestors of the blue whale on the path to its enormous size today, the study invites the question of what it might do to them in the future. Changes in ocean currents or temperature could alter the amount of available nutrients to whales, cutting off their food supply. With demand for whale oil in the 1900s having already dented their numbers, scientists are hoping that further shifts in their oceanic ecosystem won’t relegate them to history.

[h/t Wired]

SECTIONS
BIG QUESTIONS
BIG QUESTIONS
WEATHER WATCH
BE THE CHANGE
JOB SECRETS
QUIZZES
WORLD WAR 1
SMART SHOPPING
STONES, BONES, & WRECKS
#TBT
THE PRESIDENTS
WORDS
RETROBITUARIES