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Where Are They Now? 19 Child Stars of the '90s

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If you were a ‘90s kid, you know some of these faces as surely as if they ate rectangle pizza and lettuce salad next to you in the cafeteria every day. But would you recognize them today? Here’s what they’re up to now—and what they look like.

1. Ross Malinger

You remember him as: Jonah Baldwin, the young, incurable romantic from Sleepless in Seattle.

After knocking around Hollywood for a bit and landing roles in shows like Party of Five and Recess (he was the voice of T.J.), Malinger took a job as the manager of an automotive shop in Malibu. It closed in 2009, so what he's been up to since is anyone's guess.

2. Mason Gamble

You remember him as: Dennis the Menace.

Mr. Wilson would be proud. Gamble was a National Merit Scholar Finalist in high school and was also a pretty accomplished pole vaulter. He graduated from UCLA’s Dentistry School and was studying marine biology as of 2011. In addition to all of that, Gamble continues to act a bit—his most recent movie was 2010’s Golf in the Kingdom with Malcolm McDowell and Frances Fisher.

3. Tina Majorino

You remember her as: Corrina, Corrina.

After taking a seven-year break from a wildly successful childhood acting career (Corrina, Corrina; Waterworld; Andre; When a Man Loves a Woman) Majorino resurfaced in 2004 as side-ponytailed Deb in Napoleon Dynamite. She’s been busy ever since, with roles on Veronica Mars, Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, and True Blood. But what about those missing seven years? She was busy being a normal kid: "I wanted to experience the things that a little kid can experience and get to know myself so when I came back I could be tough enough and strong enough to keep a good attitude, keep my head on straight and make the right decisions for myself and my family.”

4. Austin O’Brien

You remember him as: Nick Zsigmond, the love interest in My Girl 2.

IMDB/A. O'Brien 

O’Brien continued to act until about 2011, but is now running his own photography business in L.A. 

5. Bradley Pierce

You remember him as: the little brother from Jumanji.

Pierce was also the voice of Chip Cup from Beauty and the Beast and Flounder in The Little Mermaid. Those Disney roles still keep him busy from time to time as he provides voiceover work for Kingdom Hearts and other projects where his distinctive voice is needed. 

6. Jimmy Workman

You remember him as: Pugsley from The Addams Family movies.

I’m not sure what he’s doing for employment—Celebuzz suggests that he’s “now working on the other side of the camera.” In 2012, he was a witness in his sister’s battle for emancipation from their mother. Ariel Winter, better known as the brainy Alex Dunphy from Modern Family, is estranged from her mother after allegations of abuse. Workman’s stance is that no abuse ever took place; the 15-year-old Winter is simply upset that her mother wanted her to break up with her 18-year-old boyfriend.

Their other sister, Shanelle, whom Winter wanted to appoint as her legal guardian, was the voice of Wendy on Wendy’s fast food commercials.

7. Ashley Peldon

You remember her as: the little Elizabeth in Drop Dead Fred.

Peldon still acts a little, including voiceover work, but that’s not all she does. After getting her degree in child psychology and a master’s in clinical psychology, it looks like she’s now working on her doctorate in depth psychology. And if you’ve never seen a website for an actress/voiceover artist/therapist, well... maybe you don’t hang out with enough people from L.A.

8. Amber Scott

You remember her as: Maggie Banning from Hook.

She apparently graduated from Trinity College in Hartford in 2006 and was a sorority girl, but she’s been laying pretty low other than an updated headshot for IMDB. Maggie Banning was the only live-action role Scott played, and her only other acting experience seems to be some voiceover work on a 1995 documentary called The American Experience.

9. Adam Hann-Byrd

You remember him as: Little Man Tate. He was also in Jumanji, playing the young Robin Williams character.

Hann-Byrd graduated from Wesleyan University in Connecticut in 2004 with degrees in psychology and film studies. After being chosen as a fellow in the Warner Bros. TV Writers' Workshop in 2011, Hann-Byrd co-wrote a Slender Man short.

10. Michael Oliver

You remember him as: Junior from Problem Child. He can tell you what he's doing these days:

Spoiler alert: He's got three cats and a hamster.

11. Shawna Waldron

You remember her as "Icebox" from Little Giants.

Waldron is still steadily acting, most recently in Stitch, a movie that came out in 2014 where she co-starred with another '90s favorite: Edward Furlong. 

12. Olivia Hack

You remember her as: Cindy Brady from The Brady Bunch Movie.


If you haven't seen Olivia Hack on your television lately, chances are you've probably heard her. Hack avoided getting typecast as Cindy Brady by turning to voiceover work, lending her pipes to things like Hey Arnold!, Family Guy, Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

13 and 14. Brittany Ashton Holmes and Bug Hall.

You remember them as: Darla and Alfalfa from The Little Rascals.

Brittany Ashton Holmes, perhaps best known as the doe-eyed Darla, stopped acting in 1996. Since his days as Alfalfa, however, Bug Hall has been all over screens both big and small. He's had parts in The O.C., Nikita, Saving Grace, Criminal Minds, 90210—and he was in Arachnoquake on SyFy last year. I'm outraged that there was no Sharknado-like media frenzy for this. ("Deadly fire-breathing spiders are unearthed after a massive earthquake in New Orleans.") Hall is also a musician, an acting teacher, and a rather enjoyable Tweeter. The 2010 picture above, by the way, is from a Little Rascals reunion. 

15. Travis Tedford

You remember him as: Spanky from The Little Rascals.

Like Holmes, Tedford also quit acting. "Didn't develop drug addiction and as a result: Not famous," says his Twitter profile. He currently works as a inbound marketing specialist at a credit union in Texas. 

16. Miko Hughes

You remember him as the kid with the OB/GYN father in Kindergarten Cop, and also Gage from Pet Sematary (though the latter was actually 1989).


Hughes has also been working pretty steadily and recently started writing and directing. He also maintains a pretty steady presence over on the Twitter

17. Lisa Jakub

You remember her as: the older sister from Mrs. Doubtfire

What has she been up to for the past decade or so? In her own words

"At the age of 22, I realized that there must be more to life than premieres and pretending to be other people. I left the film industry under the guise of following the man I loved to Virginia. Luckily, the man I loved really was in Virginia, so it all worked out and we lived happily ever after in our own version of a Hollywood ending. While figuring out how to be a normal person, I have dedicated myself to my lifelong love of writing and my profound respect for a well-told story. I am a writer, a traveler, a devoted yogi, wife and dog-mom. I also make really good spinach gnocchi."

18. Jonathan Lipnicki

You remember him as: the kid from Jerry Maguire


These days, the kid who knows that the human head weighs eight pounds could probably break your skull. Lipnicki trains MMA fighters. He's continued to act, and yes, he continues to stay in touch with Tom Cruise.

19. Ariana Richards

After her starring role in Jurassic Park, Richards appeared as a pregnant teen in the video for Ben Folds' "Brick." Though she still dabbles in acting here and there, Richards spends her time as a portrait artist these days. One of her clients: Steven Spielberg.

This story originally appeared in 2013.

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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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Name the Author Based on the Character
May 23, 2017
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