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DeviantArt user DenisM79

13 Iconic Characters Reimagined in Different Eras

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DeviantArt user DenisM79

Plenty of artists have thought about how their favorite pop culture characters would be like if they lived in drastically different time periods. Here's what a few of them have come up with.

1. Star Wars in Biblical Times

DeviantArt user xearsIII’s "Star Wars in Manuscript" series is impressive because it portrays the characters of Star Wars in Biblical times, as though they were painted during Medieval Times.

2. Masters of the Universe in Medieval Times

When you really want to celebrate Medieval art, though, it’s hard to beat Jason Hernandez’s panel painting depicting the story of He-Man and Battle Cat defeating Skelator. In case you’re wondering what Magister Mundi Sum means, it’s Latin for “I am Master of the Universe.”

3. The Avengers in Feudal Japan

While DeviantArtist genesischant’s take on Loki as a mythological Japanese demon is particularly well-suited to the troublesome character, I’m quite partial to his take on Samurai Iron Man. All in all, the entire group of Feudal Avengers is well thought out and quite clever.

4. Star Wars in Edo Japan

There are actually quite a few artistic takes on Star Wars characters living in the Edo period and it makes sense –George Lucas based the original stories largely on the samurai stories of filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. While there are plenty of takes on Samurai Star Wars characters, artist Steve Bialik’s are particularly fun because they not only imagine the characters in the style of ancient samurai warriors, but because the pieces themselves strongly resemble the artwork of that time period. He’s done at least a dozen of these images, so you really ought to check out his site, but until then, here’s his depiction of Princess Leia and Jabba the Hutt.

5. Wizard of Oz in 16th Century China

Talk about not being in Kansas anymore. Artist Billy Nunez set The Wizard of Oz in China. The Scarecrow is dressed like a rice farmer, the Tin Man looks like a warrior, and the Cowardly Lion is a tiger instead.

6. Star Wars in Victorian England

Vader may be evil, but he’s still a gentleman, which is precisely why he agreed to pose in this fantastic photograph with Boba Fett, Yoda, and Chewbacca. I particularly like that artist Terry Fan determined that Victorian-Era Chewy would wear a monocle.

7. Star Trek in Victorian England

Still can’t get enough scifi from the Victorian period? Then check out Rabittooth’s take on the cast of Star Trek from the time of Jules Verne. When you think about it, it is highly illogical. 

8. Transformers in the Victorian Era

Talk about more than meets the eye (or in this case, the monocle). DeviantArt user BrianKesinger imagined what the Transformers would look like if they were instead Victorian Transmogrifiers, and the result combines steampunk sensibilities with nostalgia for some of the best toys of the '80s.

9. Mario in the Late '70s

Ready to rebel against the tyranny of Bowser? Well, here’s your chance with the Punk Super Mario Bros. game you never knew you wanted. I really wish Butcher Billy’s creation wasn’t just art, but was actually a playable video game.

10. Star Wars in the '80s

DeviantArt user DenisM79 asked himself what would happen if the characters of the Star Wars universe were actually high school kids when the movies were released. The result is a hilarious series featuring Imperial bullies, Yoda the gym teacher, and a Princess Leia who simply refuses to take her headphones off no matter where she goes.

11. Game of Thrones in '80s and '90s

What would the cast from Game of Thrones look like if they were instead transported to the mid-80s or early-90s? Artist Mike Wrobel knows and those who follow the show will probably agree that he has done a fantastic job of taking the characters and transporting them to the times of Back to the Future and The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

12. Mad Men in Modern Times

While most of these artworks feature the characters themselves, the designers from Shutter Stock decided to portray only the office objects that the characters of Mad Men use every day and how they would change if the show was set in modern times. The resulting "Mod Men" series shows that you don’t need to show an iconic character to make a powerful piece of art showing a difference in time periods.

13. The Shining in Modern Times

This comic, by Josh Mecouch, might not be as artistic as many of the others on this list, but it does make a good point about just how critical time periods can be to a story. After all, if The Shining took place today, Jack very well may have found a good distraction from his madness and murderous thoughts.

See Also:

10 Pieces of Fan Art That Ask “What If Things Ended Differently?”

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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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