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25 Outrageous Quotes from Salvador Dalí

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Terry Fincher/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Salvador Dalí, a leader of the Surrealist movement, is arguably one of the world’s most famous artists—but his creative talents went far beyond the art world. From stage plays to movies to fashion to photography to architecture, the Catalonia, Spain-born master was a creative renaissance man. He was something a philosopher, too, as the below quotes—assembled in honor of what would be Dalí’s 113th birthday—show.

1. ON AMBITIONS

“At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.”

2. ON "THE SACRED ASPECT OF MUSTACHES"

“Since I don't smoke, I decided to grow a mustache—it is better for the health. However, I always carried a jewel-studded cigarette case in which, instead of tobacco, were carefully placed several mustaches, Adolphe Menjou style. I offered them politely to my friends: ‘Mustache? Mustache? Mustache?’

"Nobody dared to touch them. This was my test regarding the sacred aspect of mustaches.”

3. ON THE DUTY OF AN ARTIST

“A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.”

4. ON THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF PERFECTION

“Have no fear of perfection—you'll never reach it.”

5. ON BEING DALÍ

“Every morning when I wake up, I experience an exquisite joy —the joy of being Salvador Dalí— and I ask myself in rapture: What wonderful things is this Salvador Dalí going to accomplish today?”

6. ON THE IMPORTANCE OF AMBITION

“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.”

7. ON DRUGS

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Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

“I don't do drugs. I am drugs."

8. ON MEMORIES

“The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant."

9. ON NORMALCY

“I am not strange. I am just not normal.”

10. ON EMBRACING MISTAKES

“Mistakes are almost always of a sacred nature. Never try to correct them. On the contrary: rationalize them, understand them thoroughly. After that, it will be possible for you to sublimate them.”

11. ON THE UPSIDE OF IMITATION

“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.”

12. ON EMBRACING HAPPINESS

“There are some days when I think I'm going to die from an overdose of satisfaction.”

13. ON POETRY AND IDIOCY

“The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot.”

14. ON BEING MYSTERIOUS

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Photo by Keystone/Getty Images

“People love mystery, and that is why they love my paintings.”

15. ON THE TRUE MEASURE OF SUCCESS

“The thermometer of success is merely the jealousy of the malcontents.”

16. ON SNOBBERY

“In order to acquire a growing and lasting respect in society, it is a good thing, if you possess great talent, to give, early in your youth, a very hard kick to the right shin of the society that you love. After that, be a snob."

17. ON FINDING YOUR OWN STYLE

“Begin by learning to draw and paint like the old masters. After that, you can do as you like; everyone will respect you."

18. ON KEEPING SECRETS

“The secret of my influence has always been that it remained secret."

19. ON SURREALISM

“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.”

20. ON GOOD TASTE

“It is good taste, and good taste alone, that possesses the power to sterilize and is always the first handicap to any creative functioning."

21. ON THE HONESTY OF DRAWING

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Photo by AFP/GettyImages

“Drawing is the honesty of the art. There is no possibility of cheating. It is either good or bad."

22. ON THE PAIN OF WASHING CLOTHES

“It's better to have loved and lost than do forty pounds of laundry a week.”

23. ON BEING SERIOUS

“It is not necessary for the public to know whether I am joking or whether I am serious, just as it is not necessary for me to know it myself."

24. ON THE MADNESS OF THE CREATIVE PROCESS

“There is only one difference between a madman and me. The madman thinks he is sane. I know I am mad."

25. ON LIFE IMITATING ART

“I do not paint a portrait to look like the subject, rather does the person grow to look like his portrait.”

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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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