CLOSE
Original image
Open Road Films

Trailer Thursday: G.I. Joe, Wrong, The Host, and more

Original image
Open Road Films

Welcome to Trailer Thursday, where we help you decide what to do with your Friday night. Here’s what’s coming out tomorrow.

G.I. Joe: Retaliation

See it if:

  • You enjoy Channing Tatum and/or The Rock.
  • You have an insatiable urge to see a new action movie this weekend and don’t care if it’s good or not (the reviews are in: it’s not).

 

Himmatwala

A temple priest testifies against a powerful landlord after he witnesses a murder. Being so honest is bad news for the priest, and (without giving too much away) his son eventually returns to the village to avenge his father.

See it if:

  • You’re a fan of Bollywood movies.
  • You firmly believe in the “revenge is a dish best served cold” adage.

 

Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor

A marriage counselor bored with her life starts having an affair with a Zuckerberg-esque social media mogul.

See it if:

  • You’re curious to see if Kim K’s acting chops have improved.
  • You’d like to see a Tyler Perry movie that doesn’t involve him wearing a fat suit.

 

The Host

The Earth is involved in an Invasion of the Body Snatchers situation; humans have basically been wiped out. A human girl named Melanie is sharing her body with one of the aliens, but the alien begins to sympathize and agrees to help Melanie find her family. The alien race is none too happy about this, but conversely, Melanie’s peeps are none too pleased that there’s an alien in their midst. Chaos and drama ensue.

See it if:

  • You liked Twilight, obviously. Stephenie Meyer strikes again.
  • You didn’t like Twilight. I didn’t, but I did enjoy The Host. Though it’s getting pretty bad reviews.

 

The Place Beyond the Pines

An Evel-Knievel wannabe starts robbing banks to support his family. This earns him a nemesis in the form of Bradley Cooper, a cop who’s similarly trying to move up the ranks at work so he can provide for his family and make a name for himself.

See it if:

  • Ryan Gosling.
  • You’ve always wondered what carnies are like when they go home to their families.
  • You'd really like to feel melancholy this weekend.

 

Wrong

A guy named Dolph loses the love of his life—his dog. The movie follows his quest to get the dog back, but along the way he runs into (stay with me here) a pizza-delivering nymphomaniac, a jogging-addict neighbor, an opportunistic French-Mexican gardener, and an off-kilter pet detective.

See it if:

  • You love surreal movies.
    You’ve ever tried to telepathically communicate with your dog.
Original image
iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
arrow
technology
Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
Original image
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!

Original image
iStock
arrow
technology
Why Your iPhone Doesn't Always Show You the 'Decline Call' Button
Original image
iStock

When you get an incoming call to your iPhone, the options that light up your screen aren't always the same. Sometimes you have the option to decline a call, and sometimes you only see a slider that allows you to answer, without an option to send the caller straight to voicemail. Why the difference?

A while back, Business Insider tracked down the answer to this conundrum of modern communication, and the answer turns out to be fairly simple.

If you get a call while your phone is locked, you’ll see the "slide to answer" button. In order to decline the call, you have to double-tap the power button on the top of the phone.

If your phone is unlocked, however, the screen that appears during an incoming call is different. You’ll see the two buttons, "accept" or "decline."

Either way, you get the options to set a reminder to call that person back or to immediately send them a text message. ("Dad, stop calling me at work, it’s 9 a.m.!")

[h/t Business Insider]

SECTIONS
BIG QUESTIONS
arrow
BIG QUESTIONS
WEATHER WATCH
BE THE CHANGE
JOB SECRETS
QUIZZES
WORLD WAR 1
SMART SHOPPING
STONES, BONES, & WRECKS
#TBT
THE PRESIDENTS
WORDS
RETROBITUARIES