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17 Really Strange Pinterest Boards

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If you’ve used the internet in the last year or so, you’ve heard of Pinterest. But you may not be on it (especially if you’re male). You may not even understand what it is, besides having a vague idea of some estrogen-soaked chunk of the internet where women hoard links to wedding dresses and kittens wearing hats.

But we've discovered that Pinterest is more than an infinite scroll of your typical women's magazine. It’s a place where each individual user gets to build their own private museum, with a room (board) dedicated to any subject that pleases them. However esoteric or weird your passion is, you can find someone who appreciates it on Pinterest.

Here are a few examples that go beyond the average hair tutorials and wedding photography. (To further enrich your journey through the quirky, nerdy and peculiar, follow mental_floss’s very own Pinterest here).


1. Fat Girls of the Pleistocene and Holocene


Not just sculpture. Not just naked women. Not just archeology, anthropology, and geography. Not just fat girls. All of them together! Now that is an amazing niche. Curated by Grecia Bate.

2. Taxidermy 


But not the kind you’re thinking of. No stuffed moose heads on walls here. Think more "squirrel in a cowboy hat riding a rattlesnake." Some are NSFW. Curated by Jenn Oliver-Lee-Moore.

3. Netsuke 


Here you’ll find a large collection of tiny, button-like carvings once used in Japan to fasten kimonos. Especially enjoyable if you’re into concerned-looking monkeys, which, let’s face it, most of our readers are. Curated by Robert Weprin.

4. Alternative Disney 


Toy Story mashup with The Shining? Got it. Endless variations of the Princesses in lingerie and goth costumes? Yep. What would Scrooge McDuck look like if he were a person? You’ll find all that and more here. Curated by Karl Whitmore.


5. Blue Candy 


Over 100 pictures of blue candy. Just blue candy. I can’t be the only one that thinks that is wonderful. Curated by Candy Galaxy.

6. Food Disguised as Other Food 


You’ve fallen down the rabbit hole! Nothing is what it seems! Ice cream is really mashed potatoes, and hamburgers are really cupcakes! Actually most everything is a cupcake. Cupcakes are so awesome. Curated by Elena at `a casarella.

7. Edible Insects


If you’ll eat shrimp but not grubs, you’re just a food bigot. Curated by Eugene Rushing.


8. Drag Queens 


Being a drag queen isn’t about trying to pass for a woman. It’s a legitimate performance art, celebrating the beauty of opulence and excess. This board revels in it. Curated by Whitezombie Toronto.

9. The Goblin King


Love David Bowie as The Goblin King? Do you 225-different-PINS-of-David-Bowie-as-The-Goblin-King love him? No? Amateur. Go look at this board and come back when you’re ready to do The Magic Dance with the big girls. Curated by Sammy Freddie Deacon.

10. Ugly Babies


Refreshingly, not all Pinterest boards are devoted to baby worship. Curated by Paula Costa.

A Little Scary

11. Antique Medical Equipment 


All the scarificators, blood fleams, and bone chisels you will ever need to see. Will make you want to kiss your pharmacist full on the mouth next time you see him. Curated by Brenda Ison.

12. Scary Cigarette Ads 


You may not know it, due to the lack of advertising today, but cigarettes are the most amazing product. They ease throat and lung irritation, make you a better mother, reaffirm your feminism, and make naked scuba girls want to be with you. All that lost knowledge is available on this board. Curated by Charlotte Udell.

13. Hidden Rooms and Spaces


Basically, if you haven’t built a secret door to Narnia in your broom closet, you don’t deserve to own a home. Curated by Magda Duhon.

Just Pretty Awesome

14. Tree Houses


My real estate agent never even mentioned that these were an option. Curated by James Stephenson.

15. Pranks


Play nice, kiddos. Curated by Sydney Fink.

16. Sumo 


An example of a board that can show you that some things are way cooler than you ever realized. Curated by Roger Yorke.

17. Treasure Hoards 


That stuff you thought you were gonna find when you got that metal detector for your 12th birthday? Other people have actually found it. Curated by Deborah Lynch.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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
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]