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12 Athletes Injured During Temper Tantrums

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Temper tantrums often lead to ejections, suspensions, and fines. But these 12 athletes went the extra mile and actually physically hurt themselves, too.


1. Amar'e Stoudemire
When New York Knicks' big man Amar'e Stoudemire punched a glass case housing a fire extinguisher after a Game 2 playoff loss against the Miami Heat, he needed 15 stitches to close the gash.

"Bloody Idiot" declared the next day's New York Post.

The immediacy of social media at least allowed Stoudemire to beat the Post headline to the punch. That same night he Tweeted his regrets:

"I am so mad at myself right now. I want to apologize to the fans and my team. I'm not proud of my actions."

2. Pat Zachry
The Mets' righthander was having an All-Star season in 1978 until his third start after the All-Star break. After allowing a hit to Pete Rose and getting lifted four batters later, Zachry angrily tried to kick a helmet in the dugout, missed and kicked a concrete step instead. He broke his foot.

3. John Tudor

The St. Louis Cardinals' lefthander was an angry man in 1985. Feeling his oats after a 3-0 shutout of Kansas City in Game 4 of the World Series, he lashed out at the media.

Seeing a bunch of reporters in the clubhouse, Tudor said, "What's it take to get a media pass, a license?"

Back on the mound in Game 7, Tudor got lit up. Yanked early from a 11-0 loss, Tudor punched an electric fan in the dugout and cut his hand.

4. Milton Bradley
With the San Diego Padres involved in the pennant race in 2007, Bradley went so bananas arguing with an umpire that manager Bud Black had to restrain him. Manager and player got their legs tangled and Bradley tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, missing the last week of the season.

The Padres lost a one-game playoff to Colorado for a wild-card berth.

5. Kevin Brown
Pitching for the Yankees in 2004, Brown punched a clubhouse wall in frustration and broke his hand.

"Stupidity," he called it. He at least had the presence to punch the wall with his non-throwing hand, but that didn't stop the Yankees from threatening to check into the language of his contract to see if they could dock his salary.

6. Mikhail Youzhny
In a 2008 match at the Sony Ericsson Open against Spain's Nicolas Almagro, the 25-year-old Russian whacked himself in the face with his racket three times after hitting a backhand into the net. Blood oozed from his hairline to his mouth. But unlike Stoudemire and the Knicks, at least he won (although he didn't get out of the next round.)

7. Jason Isringhausen
While in AAA Norfolk in 1997, the Met pitcher punched a dugout trash can and broke his hand, proving it's possible to be sent to the minors for a rehab assignment and injure a completely different body part than the one you're trying to heal.

8. Doyle Alexander
The Yankee righthander punched a wall in 1982 and broke his little finger. Even more misfortune befell Alexander when he offered to forfeit part of his salary. Yankees' owner George Steinbrenner accepted.

9. Henrik Stenson
The Swedish golfer seemed destined to be remembered for undressing to his underwear to hit a shot out of muddy terrain near a water hazard at Doral in 2009. But fighting for notoriety is an incident from the 2011 U.S. Open at Congressional when he snapped the shaft of a 7-iron after a wayward shot on No. 15 and suffered a deep gash to his right index finger.

OK, so he's still known more for stripping.

10. A.J. Burnett
After an ugly second inning against Tampa in 2010, the Yankee righthander slammed his open hands into a swinging clubhouse door containing plastic holders for lineup cards. He cut his hands on the plastic edges. He told trainers he slipped and scraped his hands trying to break his fall, but quickly confessed after the game.

11. Bryce Harper
The Washington Nationals 19-year-old made an out in the seventh inning against the Reds earlier this season. Apparently that's not supposed to happen. So he smashed his bat against the dugout wall.

The bat splintered and cut his face, requiring 10 stitches.

12. Troy Tulowitzki
As a second-year player, the Colorado Rockies shortstop missed 45 games with a thigh injury. Finally off the disabled list he shattered his bat slamming it into the ground. He required 16 stitches and returned to the disabled list for 15 days.

Bud Shaw is a columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer who has also written for the Philadelphia Daily News, San Diego Union-Tribune, Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The National. You can read his Plain Dealer columns at, and read all his mental_floss articles here.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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
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]