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eBay, via Yahoo

15 Weird Things Celebrities Have Autographed

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eBay, via Yahoo

We’ve all seen videos of rock stars signing women’s breasts, even their butts. There are even super fans who have celebrity autographs tattooed on their skin. In fact, signing body parts isn’t even that weird these days. Here are a few of the strangest things we could find autographed by celebrities.

1. A Toilet Seat

According to the eBayer who put up this item for sale, Sister Hazel performed a concert at Wingate University a while back. At some point, they needed to use the bathroom, and the eBayer’s apartment was nearby—so as a thank you, they signed his toilet seat. As of the time of this writing, the item is going for $58.50, but there are still four days left for the price to skyrocket.

2. A Dog

NASCAR racer Kasey Kahne says he "thought it was weird to sign a dog. He didn't have much hair, so [I was] signing his back—that was kind of odd." 

3. A Twinkie

What’s weirder than autographing a sealed Twinkie? Going on eBay to bid on a Twinkie you already autographed. But that’s what baseball player David Price did after the Hostess shutdown in 2012. While Yahoo News doesn’t have a report on whether or not the pitcher actually won the Twinkie, or even if he actually bid on it (the final bid ended at $56), he did say in his Twitter account that if he won the item, he would save it and give it to his kids at some point. I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of any more meaningful thing for a father to give his child than a Twinkie he signed.

When asked if that was the weirdest thing he ever signed, Price said that honor went to a baby’s forehead.

4. A Grilled Cheese

Los Angeles Kings (and Team USA) goalie Jonathan Quick says someone once asked him to sign a grilled cheese sandwich. "It wouldn't be that bad if it was still intact, but there were two bites taken out of it, and he handed it to me," Quick said. "There was still saliva on it. So that was kinda weird."

5. Babies

As it turns out, people asking professional athletes to sign their babies isn’t as rare as you might think. Here’s a photo from @NBASummerLeague of NBA player Nate Robinson signing one, though I suppose he should be glad it’s only the kid’s back.

According to basketball player Marcin Gortat, “I recently signed a forehead of a freshly born baby, which was ridiculous. And I said, ‘Why would you want to do that?’ and the lady said, ‘It’s gonna be a sign he’s gonna be a basketball player.’ So, for some reason, I don’t know why I signed it, why I did it, I felt bad for this kid. But at the end of the day I realized I would never do this again.” Probably a good policy.

6. A Fast Food Container

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco autographs a lot of stuff. But the weirdest, he says, was a Filet-O-Fish box from McDonald's.

7. A Diaper

For those who want the powers and prowess of a top athlete to wear off on their infant, but don’t want their babies to be signed directly, there’s always diapers. And during the last Olympic games, one lucky fan was able to win a diaper autographed by U.S. Olympic goldmedalistsr Noelle Pikus-Pace and Chad Hedrick courtesy of And Twins Make 5. No word on whether or not the winner actually used the diaper on their baby or not.

8. A Tampon


Photo courtesy ofReddit user CreativelyBankrupt

You might not have ever heard of The FP and you might not ever see the movie. But while the filmmakers, the Trost Bros., may not be household names, there’s still a reason you might care about their autographs—they come on a tampon when you buy the DVD from Drafthouse films. Apparently, there’s a meaningful scene in the movie involving a tampon.

9. A Jock Strap

Rugby player Ben Cohen once signed a jock strap, but that’s not quite as dirty as it sounds—he signed it for a charity auction to support GMFA, a gay men’s health charity in Britain. The jock strap must have garnered some good interest because it went for $460.

10. Underwear

Speaking of undergarments, Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Palmer once signed a pair of underwear (unworn, though), which were sold on eBay last August. In case you’re wondering how much a pair of autographed tighty-whiteys can go for, these specific ones sold for $69.99.

11. A Leather Whip

Hockey player Karl Alzner of the Washington Capitals says he was once asked to sign a woman’s leather whip. "It was odd," he said. "I don’t know what it was for and I don’t want to think about it."

12. A Sock

You have to be a real fan to want a sock signed by your favorite athlete. Oddly, professional wrestler Mick Foley actually autographed a number socks at one point—enough to have them individually numbered and sold on the Walmart website.

Foley’s socks were new though, but a recent eBay auction had a listing for a game-worn autographed sock from NHL player John McIntyre. Apparently even the most diehard fans know how bad a sock shoved in hockey skates for a whole game will smell, because this one-of-a-kind piece of sports memorabilia only went for $21.

13. A Vibrator

Lots of ladies love Sons of Anarchy star Charlie Hunnam, but only one of them was happy to have him sign their vibrator and post a photo of it on Tumblr. If you’re wondering what an actor might write on such an item, Charlie scribbled out “Have Fun." For the sake of being SFW, I’m going to omit this image, but if you want to see him autographic the item in question or the finished signature, just visit the River of Life Tumblr link here.

14. A Prosthetic Leg

Mark McGwire, one of the all-time home run hitting champions of baseball, once signed a fan’s prosthetic leg.

15. A Car Dashboard

San Jose Sharks' Dan Boyle once autographed the dashboard of a car for a fan—and not just any car, but a really nice, expensive one. "It was like, an Aston Martin or something," he said.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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technology
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
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fun
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.

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