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14 Enjoyable Fan Art Mashups

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KyleLambert.co.uk

One of the greatest things about fan art mash ups is that each picture can paint a story that our minds immediately want to start filling in with the details we know about the existing creations. In fact, some of the images make us long for a full length feature exploring the combination of two completely different worlds. Here are a few of the greatest and geekiest mashups around.

1. Futurama/X-Men

There are tons of Futurama art mashups, but this one, by DeviantArt user gottabecarl, is by far the best if only for the amazing number of characters he managed to work into one creation. Now that is one dedicated fan.

2. X-Men/A Christmas Story

What happens when Wolverine is “triple dog dared” to lick Iceman’s chest in this image by Jason Welborn? The same thing that happens to poor Flick in A Christmas Story. Fortunately for Wolverine, while it will still hurt like crazy to pull his tongue free, at least his mutant healing powers will allow him to walk away without a bandage tied to his tongue.

3. Avengers/Spongebob Squarepants

There was tons of Avengers fan art created after the film was released last summer, but when it comes to fun mashups, it’s hard to beat the combination of superheroes with Spongebob’s underwater world by Alex Ryan. While Sandy could probably hold her own, it’s pretty hard to imagine the rest of this team doing much damage against Planki’s evil hordes.

4. The Gals of Gotham/Disney Princesses

In a way, it’s too bad that Disney bought Marvel rather than DC, because as DeviantArt user BrowncoatFiction has discovered, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, and Catwoman all make pretty great princesses. I particularly like the idea of Princess Catwoman going around stealing the jewels of the other Disney princesses.

5. Ren & Stimpy/Batman

In a world where the best superhero has a head made from powdered toast and flies backwards as the people he rescues grab on his butt, would it really be that bad if a moronic cat and grumpy chihuahua had all of Batman’s wonderful gadgets? Of course, as creator Steven Howard points out, the pair might be too self-involved and lazy to actually get out of their Bat Cave very often.

6. Boba Fett/Batman

The great thing about Plino Pinto’s Star Wars/Batman creation is that, in this scenario, Batman has either turned bounty hunter or Boba Fett has turned into a hero. Either way, the resulting story would certainly be fascinating.

7. Spider-Man/Kirby

If Kirby really did inherit Spider-Man’s powers like he does in this artwork by DeviantArt user soulrailer, just imagine how powerful he could become—particularly when fighting against other Nintendo icons in Super Smash Bros.

8. Adventure Time/Skyrim

Finn and Jake are all about video games and kicking butt, so really, they’d probably love playing Skyrim, and if Finn could make himself into the Dovahfinn—like in this great design by DeviantArt user radiostarkiller—then he’d be that much happier.

9. Wall-E/Star Wars


One of the best things about this creation by James Silvani is that he didn’t take the easy road to make Wall-E and EVE into droids. Instead he cast the two lovers as another great set of sci-fi romantics—Princess Leia and Han Solo.

10. Toy Story/The Shining

What happens when you take one of Stephen King’s most famous stories and replace all the characters with toys? You get Kyle Lambert’s Toy Shining. And fortunately for us, Kyle didn’t just limit himself to one or two images, but instead captured a variety of the greatest scenes—from the “All work and no play” typewriter, to “Here’s Johnny,” to the creepy twin girls. He’s translated it all into the world of Toy Story.

11. Muppets/Lord of the Rings

Despite his size, Sweetums is such a kind character that I can’t help but feel that this Lord of the Rings mashup by Justin Larocca Hansen actually depicts more of a hide-and-go-seek scenario than a fear-filled scene where these Muppets are hiding for their lives.

12. Harry Potter/Doctor Who

This blend of sci-fi and fantasy seems odd when you really think about it, but somehow Matt Smith’s boyish charms and the mysterious workings of the TARDIS make this mashup by Jeffrey Delgado work surprisingly well.

13. Doctor Who/The Wizard of Oz

If Simon Breeze’s Cyberman only had a heart, then he’d almost certainly need another upgrade, because as any fully functional Cyberman will tell you, emotions only make you weak.

14. Doctor Who/Wallace and Gromit

In a way, Tom Baker’s cheerful and goofy version of the Doctor really does make him perfect for a Wallace and Gromit cartoon staring the Doctor and K-9. If only Roger Langridge could work together with the BBC and Nick Park to make this a reality.

If these stories became realities, which would you want to watch? Also, do any of you have some ideas for great mashups—even if you don’t have the artistic abilities to make them yourself?

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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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Opening Ceremony
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These $425 Jeans Can Turn Into Jorts
May 19, 2017
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Opening Ceremony

Modular clothing used to consist of something simple, like a reversible jacket. Today, it’s a $425 pair of detachable jeans.

Apparel retailer Opening Ceremony recently debuted a pair of “2 in 1 Y/Project” trousers that look fairly peculiar. The legs are held to the crotch by a pair of loops, creating a disjointed C-3PO effect. Undo the loops and you can now remove the legs entirely, leaving a pair of jean shorts in their wake. The result goes from this:

501069-OpeningCeremony2.jpg

Opening Ceremony

To this:

501069-OpeningCeremony3.jpg

Opening Ceremony

The company also offers a slightly different cut with button tabs in black for $460. If these aren’t audacious enough for you, the Y/Project line includes jumpsuits with removable legs and garter-equipped jeans.

[h/t Mashable]

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