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Mike Capp

11 Great Salvador Dali Art Mash Ups

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Mike Capp

While he never earned his own show (like Da Vinci), or even appeared in an episode of Doctor Who (like Van Gogh), Salvador Dali is undoubtedly one of the greatest artists in history—and he has plenty of geeky fans. Here are 11 great mash ups of the surrealist’s artwork paired with famous geek icons.

1. Soft Gremlins Fed After Midnight

Perhaps no other artist has made as many geek mash ups of Dali paintings as Mike Capp. He’s combined Pac-Man with The Persistence of Memory, blended Mario together with Soft Self-Portrait With Fried Bacon, and merged Batman’s face together with Sleep. I think Dali would be most impressed with Capp’s Gremlin tribute to Soft Construction With Boiled Beans, which is so weird in so many ways.

2. The Face of Logan

Back in April of 2009, Marvel decided to hold Wolverine Art Appreciation Month, and celebrated by releasing variant covers of many of their comics with Wolverine artworks inspired by famous artists. Their take on Dali was done by Paola Rivera and featured on the cover of Amazing Spider-Man #592.

3. Crucifixion of Weapon X

Paola Rivera’s variant Spider-Man cover isn’t the only Wolverine/Dali mash up around. In fact, Rob Pitts does an excellent job using imagery from Dali’s Crucifixion to show how much Logan is tied to the X-Men and how much he sacrifices for the group.

4. Les Elephant-ATs

How would Dali draw the famous AT-ATs and AT-STs from Star Wars? Most likely the same way he drew his elephants, with long, spindley legs that could never support that much weight. This tattoo, by Heinz Graynd, takes that basic concept and adds in other iconic Star Wars imagery like a melting Death Star and Jabba the Hutt.

5. The Temptation of Luke Skywalker

There’s just something about Dali and Star Wars that works together. Case in point: The Temptation of St. Anthony, by an unknown artist, that features lightsabers, Imperial Walkers, and Leia in her slave outfit.

6. Doctor Dali

FredrickJay designed this creation for TeeFury last year. You can no longer purchase the great tee, but we can still admire it for its great blend of Doctor Who and Dali. It seems totally fitting to Doctor Who to have unreadable clocks draped over everything.

7. Un Lapin Andalou

The melting clock imagery also works for the White Rabbit of Alice in Wonderland, who is constantly fretting about being late. DeviantArt user Charlie MegaLoMad really captures the feeling of time slipping through our hands in this clever mash up.

8. Hello Salvador

What do you get when you combine one of the greatest artists of all time with one of the most commercially successful icons of the last century? You get this wonderful Hello Kitty/Salvador Dali mash up tattooed by artist Danielle McKnight. I particularly like the flowers on the kitty mustaches—like Dali wore in his most famous portrait—and the melting bow tie on the kitty’s head.

9. Indiana Jones and the Land of Dali

London-based artist Aled Lewis created a series of famous paintings mixed together with '80s adventure video games for an art show at LA’s iam8bit gallery. His Dali-inspired piece was mixed together with the 1989 Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: The Graphic Adventure PC game.

10. The Persistence of Portal

Drew Northcott created this great mash up between Dali’s The Persistence of Memory and the game Portal and was soon approached by someone in Valve’s marketing department for a higher resolution version so it could be hung up in the company’s office. Now that’s something that would make any fan proud.

11. Ponies Reflecting Horses

For whatever reason, the most popular subject for Dali mash ups tends to be My Little Ponies. It was hard to choose just one great pony creation for this article, but this one, by DeviantArt user Love My Twins, manages to stand out above the rest because it incorporates a rather Dali-esque horse standing directly over a My Little Pony figure with one of Dali’s horse paintings standing in for its cutie mark.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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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© Nintendo
Nintendo Will Release an $80 Mini SNES in September
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© Nintendo

Retro gamers rejoice: Nintendo just announced that it will be launching a revamped version of its beloved Super Nintendo Classic console, which will allow kids and grown-ups alike to play classic 16-bit games in high-definition.

The new SNES Classic Edition, a miniature version of the original console, comes with an HDMI cable to make it compatible with modern televisions. It also comes pre-loaded with a roster of 21 games, including Super Mario Kart, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Donkey Kong Country, and Star Fox 2, an unreleased sequel to the 1993 original.

“While many people from around the world consider the Super NES to be one of the greatest video game systems ever made, many of our younger fans never had a chance to play it,” Doug Bowser, Nintendo's senior vice president of sales and marketing, said in a statement. “With the Super NES Classic Edition, new fans will be introduced to some of the best Nintendo games of all time, while longtime fans can relive some of their favorite retro classics with family and friends.”

The SNES Classic Edition will go on sale on September 29 and retail for $79.99. Nintendo reportedly only plans to manufacture the console “until the end of calendar year 2017,” which means that the competition to get your hands on one will likely be stiff, as anyone who tried to purchase an NES Classic last year will well remember.

In November 2016, Nintendo released a miniature version of its original NES system, which sold out pretty much instantly. After selling 2.3 million units, Nintendo discontinued the NES Classic in April. In a statement to Polygon, the company has pledged to “produce significantly more units of Super NES Classic Edition than we did of NES Classic Edition.”

Nintendo has not yet released information about where gamers will be able to buy the new console, but you may want to start planning to get in line soon.