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HookedOnHouses.net

6 Fictional Houses You Can Move Into

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HookedOnHouses.net

Most of us, at one point or another, have coveted a house that's not real. For me, it's the mansion from The Haunting, minus the haunting. While most of us will never realize those real estate dreams, there are a lucky few who have. Here are a few fictional houses you can really move into.

1. The Fredricksen house from Up

The modest but charming domicile Carl Fredricksen improbably flew to South America in Up isn’t in Paradise Falls—it’s in Utah. The house was constructed, with Disney’s permission, by Bangerter Homes.

Fittingly, the home was purchased by a couple of Disney fanatics who had been searching for a place with the Up flavor in California, but were having trouble finding something in their price range. Carl and Ellie’s house was a steal at $400,000. Added bonus: one of the basement bedrooms is decked out to look like Andy’s room from Toy Story. Sure, it's not canon, but it's cute!

Here are a ton of interior pics, including a kitchen that wasn’t actually in the movie but looks like it could have been. I want that fridge.

2. Barbie’s Dream House

If the Barbie girl from Ukraine ever decides she wants to invest in American real estate, I’ve got just the place for her. To celebrate Barbie’s 50th birthday in 2009, Mattel enlisted designer Jonathan Adler to help create a real-life Malibu beach house. If you buy it, I’m going to go ahead and suggest you replace the Barbie-hair chandelier and lamp pulls. But you do what you want.

Actually, the contents of the house were dismantled and some of it was made into a suite at the Palms hotel in Las Vegas, so while you can’t buy the furnished Dream House, you can still get the Barbie experience.

3. The Simpsons’ house


Gizmodo

As part of a 1997 promotion, Fox, Pepsi, and Kaufman and Broad homebuilders sponsored a contest that gave people the chance to win a fully-furnished Simpsons house. No detail was left out, from Duff beer cans to the print on the kitchen curtains.

The winner opted to take $75,000 in cash instead of the house, and Bart’s humble yet colorful abode was converted to a more-or-less normal living space (to the relief of the homeowners' association, no doubt) and sold in 2001, though fans with sharp eyes may still be able to spot the Treehouse of Terror in the backyard.

4. The Haunted Mansion

Not only does this house bear more than a passing resemblance to Disneyland’s plantation-style Haunted Mansion on the outside, it has a few ghostly surprises on the inside as well. A Disney contractor built this Duluth, Ga., house in 1996, but is now selling it to move on to more Disney-themed projects, such as a house themed after Disneyland’s Grand Californian hotel and a Hawaiian pool based on the Jungle Cruise.

Looks to me like the house is still listed, so if you’re looking for the ultimate souvenir and have a spare $873,000, look into it. Oh, and about those ghostly surprises:

5. Tron in Milan


Crave

To promote Tron: Legacy in 2011, Disney partnered with DuPont to make a Grid-inspired home in Milan that was on display during Milan Design Week. That's the kitchen in the picture, but you can also check out the "bathroom and wellness area" and a bedroom fit for a Flynn.

6. The Batcave


Elite Home Theater

Consider this an honorable mention, because it's not a full-sized house—but it's just as impressive. Elite Home Theaters constructed this 12,000 square foot home theater for a fan reportedly located in Greenwich, Conn. The theater, which cost $2 million, includes a secret room that houses the Batmobile, a Batcomputer and an "escape tunnel." No word on whether Alfred is included in the deal. The same company is apparently also working on a Pirates of the Caribbean home theater.

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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:

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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