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11 Musicians Who Had Hits with Two Bands

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1. Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, Peter Hook with Joy Division and New Order

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Along with lead singer Ian Curtis, Sumner, Morris, and Hook were members of Joy Division. The band was a critical success, but failed to produce a commercial hit until the release of the single "Love Will Tear Us Apart" in April of 1980. After Curtis committed suicide in May, the song peaked at #13 on the UK charts.

In the aftermath of Curtis' death, the remaining members of Joy Division went on to form New Order, with Sumner taking over vocals. The band had hits throughout the 80s, including "Ceremony," "Blue Monday," and "Bizarre Love Triangle." New Order, minus original bassist Peter Hook, continues to tour.

2. Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz with Talking Heads and Tom Tom Club

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Married couple Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz, founding members of the Talking Heads, created the side project Tom Tom Club in 1981. That year, they released the single "Genius of Love," a hit that rivaled anything their original band had released up to that point. The song topped the U.S. dance charts and would go on to be widely sampled by hip hop and R&B artists, most notably by Mariah Carey in her song "Fantasy."

The Talking Heads had massive success in their own right, with hits such as "Once in a Lifetime" and the top ten single "Burning Down the House." Their 1984 concert movie Stop Making Sense even featured a Tom Tom Club cameo (Weymouth and Frantz performed "Genius of Love"). In 2002, the Talking Heads were inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.

3. David Grohl with Nirvana and Foo Fighters

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Grohl, who cut his teeth drumming for legendary Washington D.C. punk band Scream, joined Nirvana just before the recording of Nevermind. With the release of that album and the accompanying video for the lead single, "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Nirvana became the biggest band in the world. Nevermind sold millions of copies and included multiple hit songs, including "Come As You Are" and "In Bloom." The album's follow up, In Utero, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Charts.

Following Kurt Cobain's suicide in 1994, Nirvana disbanded, and Grohl began to focus on the songs he had been writing on guitar. This solo project grew into the Foo Fighters, which released their first album in 1995. The Foo Fighters have gone on to release multiple albums—most recently 2011's Wasting Light—and have released numerous hit singles, including "Everlong" and "The Pretender."

4. Johnny Marr with The Smiths and Modest Mouse

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Johnny Marr formed the iconic indie band The Smiths with Morrissey in 1982. The group, while not commercially successful in the United States, had hits in Britain with songs like "Panic" and "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now," which reached #11 and #10, respectively, in the UK charts. The Smiths have gone on to have a large cultural impact, and remain a constant influence in indie music.

Marr left the band in 1987, and The Smiths disbanded shortly thereafter. Marr went on to focus on other projects and had modest success with Electronic, a band he formed with Bernard Sumner of New Order and Joy Division in the late 1980s. In 2006, Marr joined the indie rock band Modest Mouse and helped them record their 2007 album We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Charts and was certified gold. The album featured the singles "Dashboard" and "Missed the Boat." Marr left Modest Mouse in 2008 and has since played with The Cribs and on Hans Zimmer's soundtrack for Inception.

5. Jimmy Page with The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin

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Jimmy Page gained worldwide fame as a member of British rock band Led Zeppelin, but his career began as a session musician and then as a member of the Yardbirds. The Yardbirds had already featured Eric Clapton on guitar by the time Page joined Clapton's replacement, Jeff Beck, in 1966. The band released the single "Happenings Ten Years Time Ago," which reached #30 on the U.S. charts. The song was viewed as a disappointment and following the firing of Jeff Beck, Page continued as the Yardbird's lone guitarist until they disbanded in 1968.

Led Zeppelin grew out of Page's desire to continue after the Yardbirds' demise. He recruited session bassist John Paul Jones, as well as vocalist Robert Plant and drummer John Bonham. The band went on to be one of the most successful bands of all time, selling hundreds of millions of albums and releasing hit songs like "Stairway to Heaven" and "Whole Lotta Love." The band disbanded following drummer John Bonham's death in 1980, but have played several one-off shows since, most recently in 2007.

6. Eric Clapton with The Yardbirds and Cream

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While Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page both went on to have wildly successful careers after leaving the Yardbirds, Eric Clapton perhaps had the most eclectic post-Yardbirds career. Clapton joined the band in 1963, when he was only 18, and played on the Yardbirds biggest hit, "For Your Love," which peaked at #6 on the U.S. charts. Unsatisfied with the group's shift towards a more pop-oriented sound, he left in 1965.

Following his departure, Clapton briefly joined John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers before forming Cream with Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce in 1966. The short-lived band would release the hits "Crossroads," "White Room," and "Sunshine of Your Love." The band broke up in 1968 and Clapton would go on to have a successful solo career spanning decades. Clapton would be inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame three times, as a member of both The Yardbirds and Cream in addition to his solo work.

7. Paul McCartney with the Beatles and Wings

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As a member of the Beatles, Paul McCartney found worldwide success. During their 10 year run, the group kicked off the musical British Invasion with their appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show and went on to release twenty seven #1 singles.

The Beatles broke up in 1970, and McCartney released a solo album that same year. In 1971, he formed Wings with his wife Linda, Denny Seiwell, and Denny Laine. The group had their first #1 hit with 1973's "My Love." Wings went on to have fourteen top ten singles in the U.S., including the Bond movie theme song "Live and Let Die." Wings disbanded in 1981, and Paul McCartney continued his successful solo career.

8. Damon Albarn with Blur and Gorillaz


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Damon Albarn formed Blur with drummer Dave Rowntree, childhood friend Graham Coxon on guitar, and Alex James on bass. They were originally named Seymour, after a J.D. Salinger novella, but changed their name by request of their label. The band first became relevant with the release of the single "There's No Other Way" in 1991, but Blur was often overlooked in America as their distinctively British sound didn't meld with the heavier post-Nirvana sensibilities. They continued to chart in the UK and had moderate success in the U.S. charts with the song "Girls & Boys." Blur released "Song 2" in 1997, which peaked at #6 on the U.S. Alternative Charts and has became a mainstay in sports stadiums across the country. Blur went on a hiatus after the tour in support of 2003's Think Tank before reforming in 2008 for a string of concerts.

Albarn created the virtual band Gorillaz with artist Jamie Hewlett, creator of the comic Tank Girl. Albarn worked on music with a revolving cast of producers and guest musicians while Hewlett worked on visuals and created the virtual band. They released their first single, "Clint Eastwood," in 2000; the song reached #3 on the U.S. Alternative Chart. The band had its biggest hit in 2005 with "Feel Good Inc." from the album Demon Days, which topped the U.S. Alternative Chart. After released three albumbs, the band went on hiatus in 2012 following creative differences between Albarn and Hewlett.

9. Jack White with the White Stripes and The Raconteurs

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Jack White started The White Stripes with his ex-wife, Meg White, in 1997. They released five albums before breaking up in 2011. The duo was known for their red and white color scheme and the air of mystery surrounding them. This was accentuated by Jack White's repeated references of his ex-wife as his sister. They reached #1 on the U.S. Alternative Chart with both 2003's "Seven Nation Army" and 2007's "Icky Thump."

In 2005, while still a member of White Stripes, Jack White formed the first of his many side projects, The Raconteurs. Their first album, Broken Boy Soldiers. Released in 2006, the album featured the single "Steady as She Goes," which reached #1 on the Alternative Chart. White released another with the Raconteurs album, Consolers of the Lonely, in 2008 and formed another band, The Dead Weather, in 2009. White played drums and sang for The Dead Weather, which also included vocals by Alison Mosshart of The Kills. In 2012, he released his first solo album, Blunderbuss.

10. Kim Deal with Pixies and The Breeders
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Kim Deal founded Pixies with Frank Black, Joey Santiago, and David Lovering after answering Black and Santiago's classified ad. The band would become widely influential; Kurt Cobain cited it as a major influence. They had modest success with singles like "Monkey Gone to Heaven" and "Here Comes Your Man"; their song "Where is My Mind" featured prominently in the final scene of Fight Club. The band broke up in 1993, but reunited in 2004 and have been together ever since, with persisting rumors of a new album.

Kim Deal started The Breeders to showcase her own songwriting. The band released its first album in 1990 and added Kim's identical twin sister, Kelley, in 1991. The Breeders gained mainstream success with 1993's Last Splash and its single "Cannonball," which reached #2 on the Billboard Modern Rock Chart.

11. Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn with Booker T & the MGs and The Blues Brothers Band

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Cropper (above, with director John Landis) and Dunn played with Otis Redding and Sam and Dave as members of Booker T & the MGs, which acted as the house band for Stax Records. The band had a hit in their own right with the release of Green Onions, which reached #3 on the US charts and #1 on the R&B charts.

John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd recruited Cropper and Dunn, among other session musicians, to perform and record with them as the Blues Brothers. They recorded their first album, Briefcase of Blues, in 1978. The second single off that album was a cover of "Soul Man," originally recorded by Sam and Dave, and reached #14 on the Billboard Chart. Both Cropper and Dunn appeared in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers, starring Belushi and Aykroyd.

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Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
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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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8 Common Dog Behaviors, Decoded
May 25, 2017
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Dogs are a lot more complicated than we give them credit for. As a result, sometimes things get lost in translation. We’ve yet to invent a dog-to-English translator, but there are certain behaviors you can learn to read in order to better understand what your dog is trying to tell you. The more tuned-in you are to your dog’s emotions, the better you’ll be able to respond—whether that means giving her some space or welcoming a wet, slobbery kiss. 

1. What you’ll see: Your dog is standing with his legs and body relaxed and tail low. His ears are up, but not pointed forward. His mouth is slightly open, he’s panting lightly, and his tongue is loose. His eyes? Soft or maybe slightly squinty from getting his smile on.

What it means: “Hey there, friend!” Your pup is in a calm, relaxed state. He’s open to mingling, which means you can feel comfortable letting friends say hi.

2. What you’ll see: Your dog is standing with her body leaning forward. Her ears are erect and angled forward—or have at least perked up if they’re floppy—and her mouth is closed. Her tail might be sticking out horizontally or sticking straight up and wagging slightly.

What it means: “Hark! Who goes there?!” Something caught your pup’s attention and now she’s on high alert, trying to discern whether or not the person, animal, or situation is a threat. She’ll likely stay on guard until she feels safe or becomes distracted.

3. What you’ll see: Your dog is standing, leaning slightly forward. His body and legs are tense, and his hackles—those hairs along his back and neck—are raised. His tail is stiff and twitching, not swooping playfully. His mouth is open, teeth are exposed, and he may be snarling, snapping, or barking excessively.

What it means: “Don’t mess with me!” This dog is asserting his social dominance and letting others know that he might attack if they don’t defer accordingly. A dog in this stance could be either offensively aggressive or defensively aggressive. If you encounter a dog in this state, play it safe and back away slowly without making eye contact.

4. What you’ll see: As another dog approaches, your dog lies down on his back with his tail tucked in between his legs. His paws are tucked in too, his ears are flat, and he isn’t making direct eye contact with the other dog standing over him.

What it means: “I come in peace!” Your pooch is displaying signs of submission to a more dominant dog, conveying total surrender to avoid physical confrontation. Other, less obvious, signs of submission include ears that are flattened back against the head, an avoidance of eye contact, a tongue flick, and bared teeth. Yup—a dog might bare his teeth while still being submissive, but they’ll likely be clenched together, the lips opened horizontally rather than curled up to show the front canines. A submissive dog will also slink backward or inward rather than forward, which would indicate more aggressive behavior.

5. What you’ll see: Your dog is crouching with her back hunched, tail tucked, and the corner of her mouth pulled back with lips slightly curled. Her shoulders, or hackles, are raised and her ears are flattened. She’s avoiding eye contact.

What it means: “I’m scared, but will fight you if I have to.” This dog’s fight or flight instincts have been activated. It’s best to keep your distance from a dog in this emotional state because she could attack if she feels cornered.

6. What you’ll see: You’re staring at your dog, holding eye contact. Your dog looks away from you, tentatively looks back, then looks away again. After some time, he licks his chops and yawns.

What it means: “I don’t know what’s going on and it’s weirding me out.” Your dog doesn’t know what to make of the situation, but rather than nipping or barking, he’ll stick to behaviors he knows are OK, like yawning, licking his chops, or shaking as if he’s wet. You’ll want to intervene by removing whatever it is causing him discomfort—such as an overly grabby child—and giving him some space to relax.

7. What you’ll see: Your dog has her front paws bent and lowered onto the ground with her rear in the air. Her body is relaxed, loose, and wiggly, and her tail is up and wagging from side to side. She might also let out a high-pitched or impatient bark.

What it means: “What’s the hold up? Let’s play!” This classic stance, known to dog trainers and behaviorists as “the play bow,” is a sign she’s ready to let the good times roll. Get ready for a round of fetch or tug of war, or for a good long outing at the dog park.

8. What you’ll see: You’ve just gotten home from work and your dog rushes over. He can’t stop wiggling his backside, and he may even lower himself into a giant stretch, like he’s doing yoga.

What it means: “OhmygoshImsohappytoseeyou I love you so much you’re my best friend foreverandeverandever!!!!” This one’s easy: Your pup is overjoyed his BFF is back. That big stretch is something dogs don’t pull out for just anyone; they save that for the people they truly love. Show him you feel the same way with a good belly rub and a handful of his favorite treats.

The best way to say “I love you” in dog? A monthly subscription to BarkBox. Your favorite pup will get a package filled with treats, toys, and other good stuff (and in return, you’ll probably get lots of sloppy kisses). Visit BarkBox to learn more.

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