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15 Delightfully Geeky Wedding Invitations

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We’ve brought you geeky engagement rings, wedding photos and wedding dresses. Now it’s time for geeky invitations!

1. View Master

I spy with my little eye something that is geeky and romantic – oh yeah, it’s these adorable View Master invitations from Etsy seller melangerienyc. At $3,450 for 100 invites, they aren’t cheap, but considering they come with a View Master, a custom photo reel, an insert featuring additional details about the event and the shipping to get all of these to your house, I’d say you’re getting your money’s worth.

2. Flip Books

If you’ve always wanted to see your love story retold as an animation and then share that animation with friends and family members, you're in luck. Etsy seller PaperCinemas will custom make a flip book for your wedding that also serves as an invitation. Of course, they don’t come cheap - at $60 for four, you might want to share the animation of your love with those in the wedding party.

3. Custom Comic Book Cover

Can’t afford View Master or flip book invites but still want something unique and dorky? Then talk to Etsy seller TeamWesler and get them to draw up a comic book cover, like this one, just for you and your wedding. The creations cost $250 and then it’s up to you to get them printed, perhaps through a site like Zazzle.

4. A Full Comic Book

When it comes to more modern comic book style, it’s hard to beat Heidi and Chris Ryder’s invitations. That’s because Chris happens to be friends with comic book artist Tony Fleecs. Chris wrote a script for the invites, and then Tony turned the script into a multi-page comic book.

The results were so impressive that Heidi says some of her friends keep the invites in their cars to show them to other people.

5. Photo Comics

If you want your love story comic book to actually feature pictures of you and your future spouse, then you might consider these Comic Book Love Story Wedding Invitations from Minted.com. These come complete with matching, comic-styled RSVP cards, directions and envelopes.

6. A Comic of Memes

What do you do when you have a variety of nerd interests? Have someone draw up invitations that incorporate all of your favorite things! These comic-styled invites start with Link proposing to Princess Zelda and then manage to incorporate Kanye’s outburst at the VMA’s, Admiral Ackbar and an “All Your Base” joke. At first, Offbeat Bride reader Reenie was worried that her and her fiancé’s older relatives wouldn’t get the references, but then she realized those same people wouldn’t get half of the geeky things the couple had planned for the wedding, so she might as well just go forward with the invitations.

7. Our Big Fat Geek Wedding

When it comes to geek wedding invites that are all over the place though, it’s really hard to beat this one by DeviantArt user meeko. Her amazing design incorporates aspects of Star Wars, Futurama, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along-Blog, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, Sailor Moon and more! Now that’s some serious geek love right there.

8. Mario's Level End Scene

The best part of any Mario level is jumping up the flag pole and getting a little closer to saving Princess Peach. That’s why this Mario level end scene by Etsy seller ArtNerdForHire (who used this design for his own wedding) is such a delightful way to tell your guests to save the date.

9. 8-Bit

Offbeat bride reader Amorae and her fiancé wanted to go all out with their 8-Bit invites. That’s why rather than just create cards that incorporated pixel art work, they actually made an interactive design that shows the bride and groom to be coming out of a Mario-style pipe and a game over screen with the wedding info when someone pulls on the ribbon in the card.

As an extra geeky bonus, the couple’s RSVP cards included a blank box where guests were invited to draw a superhero before responding.

10. Pac-Man

DeviantArt user theshiver’s wedding invitations may not have been quite as complex as Amorae’s but they are certainly just as cute, showing Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man tying the knot in front of a few confused ghosts.

11. Harry Potter

The only thing that could make these Harry Potter inspired “Romance Managed” invitations by Etsy seller oneLittleM any more perfect would be if you had to say “I solemnly swear I support this union” for the ink to appear.

12. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

This wedding invitation for Offbeat Bride reader Holly & her partner's big day isn’t actually a full novel. It just looks like the cover of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy -- that is, if it was printed by Penguin Books a few decades ago.

13. Library Cards

Here’s a design that would be perfect for our own Miss Kathleen—that’s right, they look like old library check out cards. If you’re wondering how Offbeat Bride contributor FolkFusionista made them look so accurate, well, it certainly helped that her fiancé is a librarian. As for the past dates on the cards, well, both of the parties had already been married before, so they simply included their previous “check out dates” and crossed them out on the invites.

14. Periodic Table

Love science? Then you’ll love this periodic table of save the date with molecular diagrams in the background. My favorite part is that Offbeat Bride reader Stacy Rebek kept the real elements whenever possible.

15. Report Cards

For those who excelled in English and Science and all of their other class subjects, these Love report cards are always a good option. Of course, when it comes to love, your scores in Physics and History aren’t quite as important, so these invitations from Minted.com grade the couple on Faith, Hope, Love, Honor and Cherishing one another.

Have any of you used (or seen) geeky wedding invites or save the dates? If so, tell us about them in the comments – especially if you had any odd reactions from those who received them.

Also, if you just can't get enough, then enjoy a few more geeky invites over at Oddee.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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technology
Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
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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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Health
One Bite From This Tick Can Make You Allergic to Meat
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iStock

We like to believe that there’s no such thing as a bad organism, that every creature must have its place in the world. But ticks are really making that difficult. As if Lyme disease wasn't bad enough, scientists say some ticks carry a pathogen that causes a sudden and dangerous allergy to meat. Yes, meat.

The Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum) mostly looks like your average tick, with a tiny head and a big fat behind, except the adult female has a Texas-shaped spot on its back—thus the name.

Unlike other American ticks, the Lone Star feeds on humans at every stage of its life cycle. Even the larvae want our blood. You can’t get Lyme disease from the Lone Star tick, but you can get something even more mysterious: the inability to safely consume a bacon cheeseburger.

"The weird thing about [this reaction] is it can occur within three to 10 or 12 hours, so patients have no idea what prompted their allergic reactions," allergist Ronald Saff, of the Florida State University College of Medicine, told Business Insider.

What prompted them was STARI, or southern tick-associated rash illness. People with STARI may develop a circular rash like the one commonly seen in Lyme disease. They may feel achy, fatigued, and fevered. And their next meal could make them very, very sick.

Saff now sees at least one patient per week with STARI and a sensitivity to galactose-alpha-1, 3-galactose—more commonly known as alpha-gal—a sugar molecule found in mammal tissue like pork, beef, and lamb. Several hours after eating, patients’ immune systems overreact to alpha-gal, with symptoms ranging from an itchy rash to throat swelling.

Even worse, the more times a person is bitten, the more likely it becomes that they will develop this dangerous allergy.

The tick’s range currently covers the southern, eastern, and south-central U.S., but even that is changing. "We expect with warming temperatures, the tick is going to slowly make its way northward and westward and cause more problems than they're already causing," Saff said. We've already seen that occur with the deer ticks that cause Lyme disease, and 2017 is projected to be an especially bad year.

There’s so much we don’t understand about alpha-gal sensitivity. Scientists don’t know why it happens, how to treat it, or if it's permanent. All they can do is advise us to be vigilant and follow basic tick-avoidance practices.

[h/t Business Insider]

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