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Original image
From 101 Dalmatians; Screencap/Annotation by Rudie Obias

39 Hidden Mickeys in Disney Animated Movies

Original image
From 101 Dalmatians; Screencap/Annotation by Rudie Obias

Mickey Mouse has been the central mascot of the Walt Disney Corporation since his creation in 1928. The iconic cartoon character has seen many updates over the years, but his mouse ears, red pants, and white gloves are staples in the mouse's design—just three well-placed circles are enough to create Mickey’s recognizable silhouette. 

This geometric representation of Mickey Mouse is called a “Classic Mickey,” which Disney artists, designers, and imagineers hide throughout Disney theme parks and resorts, attractions, and media including animated movies, TV series, and live-action films. These covertly-placed gems are affectionately called “Hidden Mickeys.”

Although the Walt Disney Corporation has not officially recognized the appearances, Hidden Mickeys have become part of the fabric of the complete Disney experience. Here are 39 Hidden Mickeys in Disney animated movies.

1. and 2. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Hidden Mickeys have appeared in every Disney full-length animated feature film since the very beginning with the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. Two Hidden Mickeys appear early in the film—when Snow White finishes scrubbing the castle’s steps, and when the Prince serenades Snow White under her balcony.

3. Pinocchio (1940) 

After the Blue Fairy turns the puppet Pinocchio into a wooden boy, Mister Geppetto and his cat Figaro and goldfish Cleo celebrate his arrival. When Pinocchio sets his finger on fire, Geppetto rushes to put it out. They pass by a chair, which looks like Mickey Mouse’s head.

4. and 5. Fantasia (1942)

Disney’s high-concept animated film Fantasia features two Hidden Mickeys: one during the Nutcracker Suite, and the other in the legendary Sorcerer’s Apprentice movement before Mickey gets caught in a whirlpool. 

6. and 7. Dumbo (1941)

A majority of Hidden Mickeys involve water ripples and bubbles, perhaps because this is the easiest way to introduce various circles of all shapes and sizes. 

In Walt Disney’s 1941 animated film, when Dumbo receives a loving bath from his mother, the soap bubbles form a Hidden Mickey. Then, when Dumbo’s miniature companion Timothy falls into a bucket of champagne, he emerges ostensibly drunk as he hiccups pink bubbles, which form another.

8. Bambi (1942) 

At the very beginning of Bambi, when the wildlife of the forest celebrate the start of a new spring season, a bird feeds her three baby birds a small group of berries that resembles the iconic Mickey Mouse.

9. Cinderella (1950)

As Cinderella scrubs the floor, soap bubbles float up to reveal her reflection in a trio of bubbles that form a Hidden Mickey.

10. Peter Pan (1953) 

The film is actually bookended with the same image of the Darling home. In front of their London house, a cluster of trees forms a Hidden Mickey.

11. Sleeping Beauty (1959)

After the wicked fairy Maleficent curses the baby Aurora to death when she reaches the age of 16, the trio of good fairies have tea to talk about what they’re going to do about Maleficent’s curse and how to protect the new baby. The blue fairy Merryweather conjures cookies in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head to go with her tea.

12. 101 Dalmatians (1961)

Considering Dalmatians are white dogs with black spots, this could have been an opportunity for the animators to go overboard with the Hidden Mickeys, but only one appears—on Pongo’s right shoulder.

13. Robin Hood (1973)

During Robin Hood and Maid Marian’s love song at the pond, there are three lily pads that make up a Hidden Mickey.

14. The Rescuers (1977) 

At the very beginning of the film when the Rescue Aid Society assembles at the United Nations in New York City, the clock on the wall is a watch with a Mickey Mouse clock face.

15. The Fox and the Hound (1981)

When Todd and Copper first become unlikely friends at the beginning of the film, they play a game of hide and seek. Todd hides behind a cluster of bushes; some of their berries form a Hidden Mickey. 

16. Tron (1982)

At the end of the film when Tron, Flynn, and Yori escape, they board a “solar sailer simulation” that travels throughout the Grid. They pass through an open plain that reveals a large Hidden Mickey underneath the solar ship.

17. The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

When the evil Professor Ratigan proclaims himself the Supreme Ruler of All Mouse-dom at his headquarters, as one of his followers lights his cigarette, you can see the follower is wearing Mickey Mouse-shaped cufflinks. 

18. Oliver & Company (1988) 

When the stray dogs’ human friend Fagin looks at his collection of watches, the first watch on his wrist has a Mickey Mouse clock face.

19. and 20. The Little Mermaid (1989)

At the very beginning of the film, King Triton enters an underwater concert hall full of eager concertgoers. Mickey Mouse and Goofy are two of them, and a number of spectators are wearing Mickey Ears.

There is also a Hidden Mickey when Ariel sings "Part of Your World."

21. Beauty and the Beast (1991)

In the animated film’s second act, the Beast gives Belle his humongous library of books as a gift to show his gratitude for helping him mend his wounds. At the very top of the center bookshelf is a Hidden Mickey that brings the entire library together.

22. and 23. Aladdin (1992)

There are a few Hidden Mickeys and additional Easter eggs throughout the animated film Aladdin. At the beginning of the film, when Aladdin meets Princess Jasmine for the first time in the Agrabah marketplace, a bushel of apples makes up a Hidden Mickey at one of the vendor’s fruit stands.

At the very end of the film, after Jafar is tricked into becoming an all-powerful genie, the baby cub Rajah quickly morphs into Mickey Mouse before turning back into a full-sized tiger.

24. and 25. The Lion King (1994)

During “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King,” a pair of monkeys grooms Mufasa’s assistant Zazu. The monkeys pick off a Hidden Mickey from Zazu’s head.

While Simba’s cast out from the Pride Lands, Pumbaa and Timon befriend him. When Timon shows him that they eat insects and grubs to survive, one of the grubs in the background has a Hidden Mickey on its back.

26. Pocahontas (1995)

During “The Colors of the Wind," Pocahontas shows John Smith the beauty of her land. While they frolic in a field of Sunflowers, three sunflowers create a Hidden Mickey in the background.

27. and 28. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)

The animated film is bookended with the Notre Dame Cathedral; a Mickey is part of the architecture of the giant church.

29., 30. and 31. Hercules (1997)

One of the Hidden Mickeys in the animated film Hercules is actually part of one of its main characters. Calliope’s (the muse) hairdo is an upside-down Hidden Mickey.

The other two Hidden Mickeys are reflected in the animated film’s struggle between good and evil. In Hades’ lair, there’s a map of the underworld, which is in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s head. When Hercules meets his father Zeus for the first time as a teenager, there’s a Hidden Mickey in the ceiling of Zeus’ monument.

32. and 33. Mulan (1998)

After Mulan has had a makeover to be presented to the Matchmaker, and the other hopefuls are lined up, the last woman on the right side of the frame has a hairdo shaped like Mickey Mouse’s ears.

Captain Li Shang’s horse also has two Hidden Mickeys on his front and rear side.

34. and 35. Lilo & Stitch (2002)

When Lilo is teaching the alien Stitch how to hula, there’s a Hidden Mickey in the fruit stand behind them. There’s also another Hidden Mickey when Lilo shows Stitch her room for the first time. Mickey Mouse is in one of the photos on her wall.

36. and 37. Tangled (2010)

At the very beginning of the animated film, Flynn Rider narrates Rapunzel’s origins and reveals the power of her long hair. When he mentions a single sun drop fell from the sky, the sun drop forms a Hidden Mickey when it hits the ground.

Rapunzel’s birth mother also wears a necklace with a Hidden Mickey at its center.

38. and 39. Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

Mickey Mouse is on a billboard behind the arcade at the very beginning of the animated film.

Once Wreck-It Ralph is inside the Sugar Rush video game with Vanellope von Schweetz, the video game’s racetrack is lined with round peppermint candies that form a handful of Hidden Mickeys.

Sources: Hidden Mickeys; Hidden Mickey Guy; Wikipedia.

Original image
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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