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Pip & Ebby

11 Tasty Geek Pizzas

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Pip & Ebby

Pizza is popular around the world, and while it may be a great way to show off your favorite flavor combinations, it hasn’t exactly been a great means of artistic expression—until now.

1. A Variety of Geeky Goodness

Redditor Cat_Water shared these pizzas on the site and deservedly received almost 900 upvotes. To thank the community for their support, he not only posted a picture of the Santa and Spongebob pizzas after they were baked, but also made a special Reddit pizza.

Fittingly, while the alien looks cute, the fact that he’s made almost entirely from onion sort of makes him a pizza-topping troll.

2. Spongebob Square Pants

Pasadena pizza place Brothers Pies N’ Fries has this great picture on their Yelp page. I don’t know about you guys, but that immediately makes me want to go there and order the pizza that lives in a pineapple under the sea.

3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

If you know anything about the TMNT, you know those turtles love pizza. That’s precisely why FooGos’ TMNT logo made from pizza is just so perfect.

4. Dalek

As Redditor kirbyfood points out, this Dalek pizza might just be the most dangerous pizza in all the universe. Fortunately, it still looks pretty tasty, so if The Doctor defeats this Dalek, he gets a nice snack afterwards.

5. Jack Skellington

The best thing about this pizza by Instructables user dadalibrarian is that rather than just put some olives on the nose, eyes and mouth and calling it a day, the creator actually took the time to sculpt out Jack’s teeth and boney eyes and nose, giving the pizza details that made the end result so much more impressive.

6. Angry Birds

I suggest always using pork pepperoni in this creation; it seems fitting that the Angry Bird be made from the remnants of his sworn piggy enemies. You can make your own thanks to this tutorial by Pip and Ebby.

7. House Sigils

Geekologie reader 4lbatroz celebrated the second season premiere of Game of Thrones with these fantastic house sigil pizzas. No word if he made them himself or actually found a pizza place that was awesome enough to do this for him, but either way, that’s one heck of a way to cater a premiere party.

8. Iron Man

Redditor endrbn made this masterpiece with nothing but pepperoni, cheese, olives, and onion. If you’re wondering what the black lines are made from—those are olive puree.  I only wish we could see the cooked final product.

9. Ms. Pac-Man

While iD Tech Camps’ Ms. Pac-Man looks like she’s just covered in American cheese, the topping is a lot more complex and arguably tastier, since it’s really alfredo sauce with a few drops of food coloring. With roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and olives for the details, she’s both stylish and tasty.

10. Pokeball

When you think about it, pizza is a lot like Pokemon. Everyone has their favorite, but a true fan knows you’ve gotta catch them all—although after catching them, let’s hope you only eat the pizza, not the Pokemon.  That’s why this Pokeball pizza ordered by DeviantArt user rawrlz is so great—that and the fact that it’s certainly the coolest way ever to order half cheese and half pepperoni.

11. Octopus

Granted, it’s not a pop culture reference like many of the others, but if you’re into nature then you know just how amazingly awesome octopi truly are. Besides, it’s hard to ignore the simple fact that by creating doughy arms and pepperoni tentacles, this might just be the most amazing piece of pizza art on this list. Best of all, if you want to make your own, Instructables user donedirtcheap documented every step to creating this tasty tentacle treat.

I’m more into decorating traditional pies than pizza pies, because I’m big on having nicely distributed toppings on pizza. What about you guys? Have any of you ever made fun creations with your pizza?

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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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Nick Briggs/Comic Relief
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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]

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