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Tone Cartoons

13 Fun and Impressive Pieces of Doctor Who Fan Art

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Tone Cartoons

Doctor Who is approaching its 50th anniversary this fall, and while fans wait and wonder exactly what surprises the 3D special will hold, the world’s adoration for a regenerating time traveler has never been greater. In honor of the longest running sci-fi series in history, let’s take a look at some of the fantastic creations made by the show’s worldwide legion of fans.

1. Darfield

What happens when you combine one of the world’s most popular comic strips with one of the world’s longest-lasting TV shows? As Tone Cartoons shows us, you get a little bit of magic known as Darfield. With John presumably filling in as the Doctor, Odie as K-9, and perhaps even Nermal taking on the role of one of The Doctor’s adorable companions, it’s easy to see why Darfield and his Cyberman Pooky toy are so darn grumpy all the time. Tone Cartoons features a new Dalek cartoon every day.

2. The Diamond Dalek Jubilee

Can’t get enough Daily Daleks? Then head over to Daleks of the Day, where you can find delightful creations like this one, designed in honor of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee last year.

3. Norman Rockwho

Rockbetter takes classic Norman Rockwell artwork and makes it more applicable to modern life—or at least, modern pop culture. While the site has a few Doctor Who creations, this one, showing David Tennant’s tenth Doctor checking on a baby Adipose, manages to maintain the touching slice-of-life feel Rockwell was so well known for.

4. Doctor Deco

Something about Matt Smith’s eleventh Doctor seems appropriate for an art deco creation like this one; maybe it’s his old-school style or maybe it’s just that Bill Mudron is such a great artist that he could make any of the Doctors look amazing in this setting.

5. Extermifelt!

DeviantArt user GlassCamel’s light-up, needle-felted Dalek might look more cuddly than intimidating—but it’s important to remember that looks can be deceiving.

6. TARQUILT

As if this TARDIS quilt by craftster user gatheredthreads wasn’t impressive enough thanks to the amazing level of detail and wonderful stitching, the beacon at the top of the TARDIS even lights up, fading in and out as though the famed police box were landing over and over.

7. The Girl in the Paper Craft

It’s hard to imagine a more fitting artistic tribute to the “The Girl in the Fireplace” episode than this stunning paper cut-out creation by DeviantArt user CT201. She sold a similar, though less intricate, version of the design as a pop-up card in her Etsy shop and while it’s now sold out, you might be able to convince her to make a new one for you if you have a special event that only The Doctor could properly commemorate.

8. Doctor Who-Who

If the “Who” in the show title ever reminded you of an owl, then you should check out Etsy seller Kelsey Wailes’ shop where she has a variety of the Doctor’s incarnations converted into owl forms, like this one, an adorable take on Peter Davidson’s fifth Doctor.

9. A Box of Police Box

Rose and Number Ten never looked as sweet as they do in this adorable shadow box diorama by Etsy seller WonderlandContraband.

10. Wallace and K-9

Granted, they may not be claymation, but even as drawings by Roger Langridge, The Doctor and K-9 look perfect in the style of Wallace and Gromit and the choice of Tom Baker’s fourth Doctor couldn’t be more appropriate.

11. Cyber Posters

Mohamed F. Haque made three great Doctor Who posters last year, one featuring a Dalek, one with The Silence and this one, with the intimidating face of a Cyberman threatening “You will become like us.”

12. Sonic Scarfdriver

Looking for a bit of Whovian fan art that you could actually use in a practical manner? Then you’d better head over to Etsy seller MyAlterknits’ shop and grab up this great sonic screwdriver scarf while it’s still on sale. Alternatively, she also offers a “Vote Saxon” scarf for fans of the show’s political figures.

13. The Big Bad Wolf

Given how much Rose’s early storyline revolved around the reappearance of the words “bad wolf,” it’s only fitting for DeviantArt user khallion to wonder how Little Red Riding Hood might take that graffiti, even if she was already adapted to the madness that surrounds the lives of a companion of The Doctor. The artist has also imagined the TARDIS sprouting up in a number of other fictional worlds, including as one of the trees in Jack Skellington’s holiday forest. If you thought Jack screwed up Christmas, imagine him trying to fight off the Cybermen, the Weeping Angels, or the Daleks.

So my fellow Whovians, which one is your favorite? Or do you have another favorite piece of Doctor Who fan art that I left off this list?

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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:

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Opening Ceremony

To this:

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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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