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7 Goosebumps  Books that Would Make Amazing Movies

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Goosebumps Wikia

By Scott Meslow

Yesterday, at the intersection of nostalgia and the corporate exploitation of that nostalgia, Deadline announced that Sony Pictures is negotiating with director Rob Letterman to work on a film adaptation ofGoosebumps, the kid-lit classic series written by R.L. Stine. If the Goosebumps film actually happens, the screenwriters certainly won't be lacking for material: Between 1992 and 1997, Stine churned out 62 books in the series, with each representing the possibility of a hit film. With 62 books to choose from, which Goosebumps books have the best chance of box-office glory? Reader, beware—you're in for an article about the 7 Goosebumps books that are most ripe for a big-screen adaptation: 

1Say Cheese and Die!

goosebumps.wikia.com

"Greg thinks there is something wrong with the old camera he found. The photos keep turning out...different. When Greg takes a picture of his father's brand-new car, it's wrecked in the photo. And then his dad crashes the car. It's like the camera can tell the future — or worse. Maybe it makes the future!"

Pros: Features a mad scientist named "Spidey." Might be able to get Ryan Gosling to do it again.

Cons: No one remembers Polaroid cameras anymore.

2. Night of the Living Dummy

goosebumps.wikia.com

"When twins Lindy and Kris find a ventriloquist's dummy in a Dumpster, Lindy decides to 'rescue' it, and she names it Slappy. But Kris is green with envy. It's not fair. Why does Lindy get to have all the fun and all the attention? Kris decides to get a dummy of her own. She'll show Lindy. Then weird things begin to happen. Nasty things. Evil things. It can't be the dummy causing all the trouble, can it?"

Pros: Perfectly timed to cash in on America's ventriloquism craze. Gilbert Gottfried would be perfect (and presumably available) to do the voice of the dummy.

Cons: Chucky cornered the market on evil dummy movies decades ago.

3. One Day at HorrorLand

goosebumps.wikia.com

"Werewolf Village. The Doom Slide. The Coffin Cruise. These are just a few of the famous attractions awaiting Luke and Lizzy Morris at HorrorLand, the amusement park where terror comes free with every ticket. Step right up and join the Morris family as they ride each ride — and scream each scream — for the very first time. Because it might also be their last."

Pros: Already spawned a whole separate book series. Could be spun off into actual theme park. 

Cons: Climax centers on the main characters pinching a bunch of monsters. (That might actually be a pro.) 

4. Monster Blood II 

goosebumps.wikia.com

"It's back. Evan Ross can't stop thinking about Monster Blood and what happened last summer. It was so horrible. So terrifying. Too bad Evan's science teacher doesn't believe him. Now he's stuck cleaning out the hamster's cage as punishment for making up stories. Then Evan's friend Andy comes to town, and things go from bad to worse. Because Andy's got a present for Evan. It's green and slimy and it's starting to grow . . . ."

Pros: GIANT HAMSTER. 

Cons: Every scene that doesn't include a giant hamster.

5. The Cuckoo Clock of Doom

goosebumps.wikia.com

"When his father brings home an antique cuckoo clock, Michael is cautioned not to touch it, but he turns back the hands and suddenly he is getting younger by the minute — a year younger, to be exact."

Pros: Incredible title. Everybody loves time travel movies. 

Cons: Basically just a kid-lit version of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

6. A Shocker on Shock Street 

goosebumps.wikia.com

"Erin and her brother Marty love Shock Street horror films — until a tour of the Shocker studio theme park shows them that real life is a whole lot scarier than the movies."

Pros: Monsters include Wolf Girl, Ape Face, and a bunch of giant praying mantises. Main characters turn out to be robots.

Cons: Probably requires a title change. 

7. Chicken, Chicken 


booksathome.in

"Everyone in Goshen Falls knows about weird Vanessa. She dresses all in black. Wears black lipstick. And puts spells on people. At least, that's what they say. Crystal and her brother, Cole, know you can't believe everything you hear. But that was before they made Vanessa mad. Before she whispered that strange warning, 'Chicken chicken.' Because now something really weird has happened. Crystal's lips have turned as hard as a bird's beak. And Cole has started growing ugly white feathers all over his body. . . ."

Pros: Stine's magnum opus. Arguably the greatest novel of the modern era.

Cons: Not applicable.

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technology
Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
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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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Health
One Bite From This Tick Can Make You Allergic to Meat
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We like to believe that there’s no such thing as a bad organism, that every creature must have its place in the world. But ticks are really making that difficult. As if Lyme disease wasn't bad enough, scientists say some ticks carry a pathogen that causes a sudden and dangerous allergy to meat. Yes, meat.

The Lone Star tick (Amblyomma americanum) mostly looks like your average tick, with a tiny head and a big fat behind, except the adult female has a Texas-shaped spot on its back—thus the name.

Unlike other American ticks, the Lone Star feeds on humans at every stage of its life cycle. Even the larvae want our blood. You can’t get Lyme disease from the Lone Star tick, but you can get something even more mysterious: the inability to safely consume a bacon cheeseburger.

"The weird thing about [this reaction] is it can occur within three to 10 or 12 hours, so patients have no idea what prompted their allergic reactions," allergist Ronald Saff, of the Florida State University College of Medicine, told Business Insider.

What prompted them was STARI, or southern tick-associated rash illness. People with STARI may develop a circular rash like the one commonly seen in Lyme disease. They may feel achy, fatigued, and fevered. And their next meal could make them very, very sick.

Saff now sees at least one patient per week with STARI and a sensitivity to galactose-alpha-1, 3-galactose—more commonly known as alpha-gal—a sugar molecule found in mammal tissue like pork, beef, and lamb. Several hours after eating, patients’ immune systems overreact to alpha-gal, with symptoms ranging from an itchy rash to throat swelling.

Even worse, the more times a person is bitten, the more likely it becomes that they will develop this dangerous allergy.

The tick’s range currently covers the southern, eastern, and south-central U.S., but even that is changing. "We expect with warming temperatures, the tick is going to slowly make its way northward and westward and cause more problems than they're already causing," Saff said. We've already seen that occur with the deer ticks that cause Lyme disease, and 2017 is projected to be an especially bad year.

There’s so much we don’t understand about alpha-gal sensitivity. Scientists don’t know why it happens, how to treat it, or if it's permanent. All they can do is advise us to be vigilant and follow basic tick-avoidance practices.

[h/t Business Insider]

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