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20 Hidden Jokes in Arrested Development

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While Arrested Development was on the air in the early 2000s, it had a hard time finding regular viewers because the series' comedy was so layered. It wasn’t until the series was available on DVD that audiences could then search for all of its brilliant punchlines. Here are 20 hidden jokes in Arrested Development that you might have missed.

1. Gob’s Monopoly Illusion: Season 1, Episode 1 – “Pilot”

Gob performs an illusion for George Michael where he turns a $20 bill into a Monopoly board game. Gob asks him if he has the board game and George Michael responds, “I think I might.” Later we see George Michael rummaging in the attic in front of a stack of Monopoly board games.

2. Bum Gets Balloon: Season 1, Episode 11 – “Public Relations”

George Michael explains how he “managed” to send a homeless man away from the banana stand without hurting his feelings. Later, a homeless man is shown with a Bluth’s Bananas balloon with the “Mr. Bananagrabber” logo on it.

Further into the episode, a newspaper headline reads “Bum Gets Balloon.”

3. Ice The Bounty Hunter: Season 2, Episode 4 – “Good Grief”

Gob hires a bounty hunter named Ice to follow Michael. There are two shots of Ice’s ad in the phone book. One for his bounty hunter job with the caption, “Put Your Problems On Ice,” and another for his party-planning job with the caption, “You Can’t Have A Party Without ICE.”

There’s also a Gene Parmesan ad in the Bounty Hunter section of the phone book.

4. Afternoon Delight Turtle: Season 2, Episode 6 – “Afternoon Delight”; Season 3, Episode 7 – “Prison Break-In”

The image of a slow-moving turtle on Uncle Oscar’s marijuana package foreshadows the death of Buster’s new turtle named Mother the following season.

5. Bob Loblaw Attorney At Law: Season 3, Episode 3 – “Forget-Me-Now”

Bob Loblaw, the Bluth family’s new lawyer in season three, was played by actor Scott Baio. He makes a Happy Days reference: “Look, this is not the first time I’ve been brought in to replace Barry Zuckerkorn. I think I can do for you everything he did. Plus, I skew younger. With juries and so forth.”

Barry Zuckerkorn was played by Henry Winkler, who of course played Fonzie on Happy Days, and was somewhat replaced with Fonzie’s cousin Chachi Arcola played by Scott Baio.

6. Jumping The Shark: Season 2, Episode 13 – “Motherboy XXX”

Barry Zuckerkorn meets with Gob, Buster, and Michael at a pier. They thought they found Buster’s hand inside of a shark, but it was a false alarm. Barry leaves to go to Burger King and jumps over the dead shark on the pier.

This is another Happy Days reference: Fonzie once jumped over a shark cage while on water skis, thus coining the phrase “jumping the shark” in reference to the quality of a TV show going downhill.

7. Hold On Surely Fünke Poster: Season 1, Episode 14 – “Shock and Awe”

Before Maeby Fünke’s fictional counterpart was introduced three episodes later in episode 17, “Alter Egos,” Surely Fünke can be seen on a poster in the background at George Michael and Maeby’s high school.

8. Blendin: Season 1, Episode 14 – “Shock and Awe”; Season 1, Episode 15 – “Staff Infection”; Season 2, Episode 2 – “The One Where They Build a House”; Season 3, Episode 5 – “Mr. F”

Courtesy of Heavy

There’s a running joke where all the secret surveillance teams use the word “Blendin” in their fake company’s name. In “Shock and Awe,” it’s “Blendin Mobile Pet Grooming.”

In the episode “Staff Infection,” it’s “Blendin Electric Company,” and in “The One Where They Build a House,” the moving company is called “Blendin Moving and Storage.” Finally, in “Mr. F,” the catering company is “Blendin Catering.”

9. Snoopy: Season 2, Episode 4 – “Good Grief”

The writers introduced the “Christmas Time Is Here” theme from A Charlie Brown Christmas in the episode. When George Michael is walking home from the banana stand after getting dumped by Anne, you can see a giant red doghouse with a sleeping beagle on top of it in the background.

10. Arm Off and Wee Brain Bus Stop Benches: Season 2, Episode 3 – “Amigos!”; Season 3, Episode 3 – “Forget-Me-Now”

Arrested Development is keen on visual foreshadowing and sight gags. Buster is sitting on a bus stop bench with an ad for Army Officers. The way he’s sitting on the bench obscures most of the ad’s lettering, so it reads “Arm Off” instead. This foreshadows Buster’s missing hand a few episodes later.

Similarly, after being drugged, Michael Bluth’s love interest in season three, Rita Leed, is left on a bus stop bench with an ad for Wee Britain in Newport Beach. Again, the way she’s sitting on the bench hides most of the ad and now reads “Wee Brain,” pointing to Rita’s handicap.

11. Annyong’s Revenge: Season 2, Episode 6 – “Afternoon Delight”

A full season before it’s revealed that Annyong wants revenge on the Bluth family for what they did to his grandfather, the banana stand was vandalized with the words “I’ll get u Bluths –Hello.” In its series finale, it was also revealed that Annyong’s real name was Hel-loh. Annyong is the Korean word for “Hello.”

12. Buster Is Mr. Roboto: Season 3, Episode 6 – “The Ocean Walker”

Buster’s hook gets caught in the dashboard of the stair car because he was doing the robot to Styx’s “Mr. Roboto.” In 1999, Tony Hale, who plays Buster, appeared in a Volkswagen commercial where he did the exact same thing.

13. Annyong Goes To The Milford School: Season 2, Episode 6 – “Afternoon Delight”

After adopting Annyong to make Buster jealous, Lucille sends Annyong to the prestigious Milford School, where its founder Earl Milford believed “Children should be neither seen nor heard.” After this episode, Annyong is hardly ever seen nor heard from on the TV series.

14. H. MADDAZ: Season 1, Episode 16 – “Missing Kitty”

George Bluth Sr. was accused of building mini-mansions in Iraq. The proof of his treason can be found on the family’s yacht. While George and Kitty are in bed together, one of the red coolers full of evidence is labeled “H. MADDAZ.” Its reflection in the mirror next to the bed, reads “SADDAM H.” for Saddam Hussein.

15. Operation: Hot Mother: Season 2, Episode 16 – “Meet The Veals”

As a movie studio executive Maeby Fünke is seen reading a script titled “Operation: Hot Mother.” In episode 13, “Motherboy XXX,” Michael and Buster’s plan to get George Michael away from Lucille and out of the annual Motherboy contest is called “Operation: Hot Mother.” On the script Maeby is reading, the subtitle reads “Inspired by a True Story.”

16. Mexican Silent Film: Season 2, Episode 4 – “Amigos!”

One of the best recurring jokes is Gob’s chicken dance. In the episode “Amigos!,” a fictional Mexican silent film features someone doing Gob’s chicken dance and getting shot for it. Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Tony Hale are featured in the silent film.

This is part of a bigger joke involving hiding the Arrested Development cast in cameo roles throughout the series.

17. British Soldier: Season 3, Episode 4 – “Notapusy”

Another example of hiding the cast is a brief clip in the fictional war movie A Thoroughly Polite Dustup. Tony Hale plays the British soldier who says goodbye to his nurse before going off to the warfront.

Later in season three, Tony Hale’s Buster and his nurse have almost the same exchange in episode 12, “Exit Strategy.”

18. Spanish/English Dictionary: Season 1, Episode 13 – “Beef Consommé”

Gob doesn’t know the meaning of the Spanish word “Hermano,” which means brother. The page where Hermano would appear in a Spanish/English dictionary features an image of Michael and Gob with mustaches.

On the same page, above Hermano is the Spanish word “Hermafrodita,” which means Hermaphrodite, with an image of Tobias wearing cutoff shorts.

Below Hermano is the Spanish word “Hermosa” for Beautiful with a picture of Lindsay next to it. Underneath Hermosa is the word “Hielo,” which is Spanish for ice and refers to the bounty hunter/party planner Ice in season two.

19. Workers Love Nellie: Season 3, Episode 11 – “Family Ties”

Recurring banner jokes are scattered throughout the series. In Season 3, episode 4, “Forget-Me-Now,” the Bluths make Michael a banner that reads “Family Love Michael.”

In episode 11 “Family Ties,” Michael mistakes his father’s regular prostitute for an office efficiency manager. To welcome her into the office, the workers make a banner that reads “Workers Love Nellie.”

The episode also features a reference to the actress who plays Nellie, Justine Bateman (Jason's sister), who was on the TV series Family Ties.

20. TV DVD Sales Headline: Season 3, Episode 13 – “Development Arrested”

In the season three finale, there’s a Variety headline that boasts of Rita’s newfound success as a Hollywood movie executive. Underneath that headline is a smaller one that reads “TV DVD Sales Enjoy All Time High.”

This refers to Arrested Development itself, which was enjoying high DVD sales—despite its recent cancellation—when this episode aired in 2006.

Want more Arrested Development? Last year Splitsider found 53 jokes you might have missed. Or you can try your hand at our AD quiz.

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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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iStock

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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