CLOSE
Original image
DeviantArt user BrentSmith-aloadofBS

16 Fun Pieces of Canadian TV Fan Art

Original image
DeviantArt user BrentSmith-aloadofBS

While the CBC may not be as famous as the BBC, there are still plenty of popular Canadian shows that have made their way to televisions everywhere. To celebrate some of Canada’s great contributions to television, here are some fantastic fan art pieces from a few of the country’s most popular TV exports.

1. Kids in the Hall: Scott Thompson sketches Danny Husk

Perhaps the most popular Canadian TV show throughout the world, Kids In The Hall remains as ridiculous and hilarious as ever, even almost 20 years after the show was cancelled. The show launched the acting careers of Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, and the always fantastic Scott Thompson, who we interviewed in 2010 when he launched a comic book about one of his reoccurring characters on the series, Danny Husk. Here are some of artist Kyle Morton’s early sketches for the lead character featuring a few of Thompson’s expressions he used while playing the character.

2. Kids in the Hall: Chicken Lady

Of course, one of the most memorable characters, and most disturbing, was the half-chicken, half-human Chicken Lady. Here she is in all of her terrifying glory thanks to DeviantArt user Progressive Carousel.

3. Kids in the Hall: Cabbage Head

Another odd but fantastic character from the show was Cabbage Head, who never actually looked quite so charming as he does in this digital drawing by DeviantArt user BrentSmith-aloadofBS.

4. Kids in the Hall: Mr. Tyzik

Perhaps the one character that is best remembered from the show though is Mr. Tyzik, whose game of head crushing remains popular even amongst those who have never even seen the show. Even legendary Vincent van Gogh is subject to a head crushing in DeviantArt user fig13’s tribute to the show.

5. Trailer Park Boys: Their Ride

While Trailer Park Boys was strictly a Canadian favorite for years, the show’s relatively recent release to DVD and Netflix, plus the movies released after the show’s end, have resulted in a rapidly growing fan base south of the border. For those that haven’t seen it, the mockumentary follows the exploits of Ricky and Julian as they try to hustle their way into money through any means necessary despite having trailer park manager Jim Lahey try to stop them at every turn. This poster by DeviantArt user wild7 even features most of the show’s main characters, and the gang’s death-trap of a car.

6. Trailer Park Boys: Bubbles

While the show may have a bevy of memorable characters, kitty-loving Bubbles is and has always been the fan favorite. Here is DeviantArt user angelazilla’s take on the character, complete with a kitty on each shoulder.

7. Trailer Park Boys: Toys

Fans of urban vinyl toys may never get an official line of Trailer Park Boys toys, but these three custom toys made by DeviantArt user everythingerika are certainly a great substitute. She was even selling some on her Etsy shop, but it appears that she has now sold out.

8. Orphan Black: Clone War

It may only be one season old (and a property of BBC America), but Orphan Black, which is produced and filmed entirely in Canada, has become one of the most unexpectedly popular shows of the year. This minimalist poster by DeviantArt user city-dreams perfectly illustrates how Sarah Manning felt upon discovering that she is one of many identical clones.

9. Orphan Black: Sarah Manning

Of course, Orphan Black wouldn’t have been remotely successful, were it not for amazing actress Tatiana Maslany, who is able to seamlessly portray an array of characters even in one single scene. This portrait of the show’s main character, Sarah Manning, is DeviantArt user lemgras330’s tribute to the actress.

10. Orphan Black: Tatiana

A damaged, childish murderer, Helena may be Tatiana’s most impressive role on the show as the character is such a strange collection of contradictions. DeviantArt user MoishPain has managed to capture the complexity of Helena in this wonderful digital painting.

11. Degrassi: Holly J. and Declan

I admit, I have never watched Degrassi and know nothing about the show, and everything here is from the artist’s descriptions and a few quick web searches, so please excuse my ignorance of the topic.

Because so many of the show’s fans are preteens, a lot of the fan art related to the show is admittedly not that great. DeviantArt user Lmk-Arts provides a notable exception with this beautiful pencil illustration of Holly J and Declan kissing.

12. Degrassi: The Zits

Just like all teens, the Degrassi characters are way into music, in fact, Wheels, Joey and Snake even started their own band, The Zits, in 1987. Here is DeviantArt user Konstance’s tribute to the group.

13. Degrassi: Eli Goldsworthy

According to Urban Dictionary, Eli Goldsworthy is “The hottest character ever one (sic) Degrassi. Most girls only like him because he is hot, but he is also, witty, funny, deep, mysterious and obviously a really good kisser…” I don’t see any of those things in this Bieber-esque portrait by DeviantArt user Celebrity-Portrait, but that doesn’t make the artwork itself any less impressive.

14. Lost Girl

Admittedly, this scifi series might not be one of the biggest Canadian shows on TV, but it is popular enough and has inspired a lot of fan art. DeviantArt user hanukara’s anime style isn’t totally representative of the show, but the dark colors and bad attitude of Bo make this artwork instantly recognizable to anyone who watches the program.

15. Lost Girl: Bo

It’s rare to see fan art reach the level of quality used by fine art creators, but this impressive watercolor and pencil creation by DeviantArt user weeddemon is something actress Anna Silk (Bo) could be proud to hang on her wall.

16. You Can’t Do That On Television.

There aren’t that many fan art pieces from this popular kids' show, but I’d feel remiss if I failed to include it in this list, being as how it was the first Canadian show many of us Americans were exposed to as children. Here is legendarily disgusting Barth of Barth’s Burgers saying his famous catchphrase, “Duh, I heard that,” courtesy of DeviantArt user therealsuperhappy.

While there are obviously tons of Canadian TV shows out there, I tried to pick the ones that would be most recognizable to all of our readers that also had a good amount of fan art (I wanted to include Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, but I couldn't find enough good fan art). Even so, I’m sure there are plenty more great shows that deserve to be here, so if you notice any glaring omissions, let everyone know about them in the comments.

Original image
iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
technology
arrow
Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
May 21, 2017
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
Sponsor Content: BarkBox
arrow
8 Common Dog Behaviors, Decoded
May 25, 2017
Original image
iStock

Dogs are a lot more complicated than we give them credit for. As a result, sometimes things get lost in translation. We’ve yet to invent a dog-to-English translator, but there are certain behaviors you can learn to read in order to better understand what your dog is trying to tell you. The more tuned-in you are to your dog’s emotions, the better you’ll be able to respond—whether that means giving her some space or welcoming a wet, slobbery kiss. 

1. What you’ll see: Your dog is standing with his legs and body relaxed and tail low. His ears are up, but not pointed forward. His mouth is slightly open, he’s panting lightly, and his tongue is loose. His eyes? Soft or maybe slightly squinty from getting his smile on.

What it means: “Hey there, friend!” Your pup is in a calm, relaxed state. He’s open to mingling, which means you can feel comfortable letting friends say hi.

2. What you’ll see: Your dog is standing with her body leaning forward. Her ears are erect and angled forward—or have at least perked up if they’re floppy—and her mouth is closed. Her tail might be sticking out horizontally or sticking straight up and wagging slightly.

What it means: “Hark! Who goes there?!” Something caught your pup’s attention and now she’s on high alert, trying to discern whether or not the person, animal, or situation is a threat. She’ll likely stay on guard until she feels safe or becomes distracted.

3. What you’ll see: Your dog is standing, leaning slightly forward. His body and legs are tense, and his hackles—those hairs along his back and neck—are raised. His tail is stiff and twitching, not swooping playfully. His mouth is open, teeth are exposed, and he may be snarling, snapping, or barking excessively.

What it means: “Don’t mess with me!” This dog is asserting his social dominance and letting others know that he might attack if they don’t defer accordingly. A dog in this stance could be either offensively aggressive or defensively aggressive. If you encounter a dog in this state, play it safe and back away slowly without making eye contact.

4. What you’ll see: As another dog approaches, your dog lies down on his back with his tail tucked in between his legs. His paws are tucked in too, his ears are flat, and he isn’t making direct eye contact with the other dog standing over him.

What it means: “I come in peace!” Your pooch is displaying signs of submission to a more dominant dog, conveying total surrender to avoid physical confrontation. Other, less obvious, signs of submission include ears that are flattened back against the head, an avoidance of eye contact, a tongue flick, and bared teeth. Yup—a dog might bare his teeth while still being submissive, but they’ll likely be clenched together, the lips opened horizontally rather than curled up to show the front canines. A submissive dog will also slink backward or inward rather than forward, which would indicate more aggressive behavior.

5. What you’ll see: Your dog is crouching with her back hunched, tail tucked, and the corner of her mouth pulled back with lips slightly curled. Her shoulders, or hackles, are raised and her ears are flattened. She’s avoiding eye contact.

What it means: “I’m scared, but will fight you if I have to.” This dog’s fight or flight instincts have been activated. It’s best to keep your distance from a dog in this emotional state because she could attack if she feels cornered.

6. What you’ll see: You’re staring at your dog, holding eye contact. Your dog looks away from you, tentatively looks back, then looks away again. After some time, he licks his chops and yawns.

What it means: “I don’t know what’s going on and it’s weirding me out.” Your dog doesn’t know what to make of the situation, but rather than nipping or barking, he’ll stick to behaviors he knows are OK, like yawning, licking his chops, or shaking as if he’s wet. You’ll want to intervene by removing whatever it is causing him discomfort—such as an overly grabby child—and giving him some space to relax.

7. What you’ll see: Your dog has her front paws bent and lowered onto the ground with her rear in the air. Her body is relaxed, loose, and wiggly, and her tail is up and wagging from side to side. She might also let out a high-pitched or impatient bark.

What it means: “What’s the hold up? Let’s play!” This classic stance, known to dog trainers and behaviorists as “the play bow,” is a sign she’s ready to let the good times roll. Get ready for a round of fetch or tug of war, or for a good long outing at the dog park.

8. What you’ll see: You’ve just gotten home from work and your dog rushes over. He can’t stop wiggling his backside, and he may even lower himself into a giant stretch, like he’s doing yoga.

What it means: “OhmygoshImsohappytoseeyou I love you so much you’re my best friend foreverandeverandever!!!!” This one’s easy: Your pup is overjoyed his BFF is back. That big stretch is something dogs don’t pull out for just anyone; they save that for the people they truly love. Show him you feel the same way with a good belly rub and a handful of his favorite treats.

The best way to say “I love you” in dog? A monthly subscription to BarkBox. Your favorite pup will get a package filled with treats, toys, and other good stuff (and in return, you’ll probably get lots of sloppy kisses). Visit BarkBox to learn more.

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