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11 of Bill Murray's Greatest Letterman Appearances

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Way back in 1982, Bill Murray was the first guest on Late Night with David Letterman—beginning a tradition of absurdly hilarious appearances that culminated last night, on Letterman's penultimate episode, when Murray popped out of a cake as a sendoff for the host. Here are some of Murray's best Letterman moments.

1. An Appearance to Remember

Here’s where it all began: Murray’s interview as the first guest ever on NBC's Late Night with David Letterman. In his typical sardonic fashion, he makes fun of Dave, explains that he regrets not strangling Richard Nixon when he had the opportunity, has a humorous mental breakdown, shows off a short film he made in his backyard about a panda bear named “Cancun” that was forced to work in a Chinese restaurant, and ends the whole thing by doing aerobics while singing Olivia Newton John’s “Physical.”

2. Creating a Late Night Theme Song

In this somewhat tame appearance from 1993, while promoting Groundhog Day, Murray shows off his pipes again and channels his old SNL lounge singer character—Nick Winters—to croon a proposed theme song for Late Night.

3. Hecklers Beware

In 1991, Murray confronted a heckler in Letterman’s Late Night audience and defended Dave’s honor … if only it were real.

4. Auditioning for Peter Pan

Murray flew into his January 2014 appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman to unofficially audition for a proposed live TV version of Peter Pan while singing “I Can Fly.” Give the man the part!

During the same appearance, Murray decided to shave the beard he grew for an upcoming movie on-air just because it was bothering him. He starts off with an electric trimmer, but graduates to an impressive dual razor technique.

5. Channeling Liberace

After making an elaborate entrance dressed as Liberace—complete with a white Rolls Royce and a fluffy dog—Murray unveils his giant anniversary gift to Dave on the side of the Ed Sullivan Theater, then uses a pick-ax and then a jackhammer to open a hole in the studio floor to uncover a time capsule he allegedly left there 20 years ago. Artifacts Murray found include a New York Post with a Jay Leno headline, Dave’s hairpiece, and a photo of the two together.

To end the show, Murray regales Dave with Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” just to show him how much he truly loves him.

6. What a Character

While promoting The Fantastic Mr. Fox, Murray mocked his mention in Letterman bandleader Paul Shaffer’s book, dressed as a well-educated gentleman fop lamenting the changing of the seasons. In the second half of the show, Murray explains why he wants a pint of George Clooney’s blood.

7. Keeping it Elevated

Murray—on crutches after injuring himself while skiing during the Sundance Film Festival—shows off the video of the accident, and promptly asks Dave be the first to sign his wounded leg. The actor gets a little too warm in the second half of the interview, and demonstrates his love of figure skating.

8. Going for a Swim

Before sitting down for an interview, Murray literally did a little dumpster diving behind the Ed Sullivan Theater.

9. Jockeying

Murray explains to Dave why he likes the ponies and the thrill of competition for the Kentucky Derby.

10. A Different Kind of Audition

With a little help from Regis Philbin, Murray tries out as a field-goal kicker for the New York Giants. 

11. Tase Me, Bro

Murray rolls into the interview tied up and in the back of a car, and eventually gets tasered in this 2012 appearance for his film Hyde Park on Hudson. The banter includes stories about Murray playing impromptu kickball with some unsuspecting folks on Roosevelt Island and then re-creating the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting with Dave—don't forget the hot chocolate with marshmallows—because he missed it that year.

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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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Here's How to Change Your Name on Facebook
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Whether you want to change your legal name, adopt a new nickname, or simply reinvent your online persona, it's helpful to know the process of resetting your name on Facebook. The social media site isn't a fan of fake accounts, and as a result changing your name is a little more complicated than updating your profile picture or relationship status. Luckily, Daily Dot laid out the steps.

Start by going to the blue bar at the top of the page in desktop view and clicking the down arrow to the far right. From here, go to Settings. This should take you to the General Account Settings page. Find your name as it appears on your profile and click the Edit link to the right of it. Now, you can input your preferred first and last name, and if you’d like, your middle name.

The steps are similar in Facebook mobile. To find Settings, tap the More option in the bottom right corner. Go to Account Settings, then General, then hit your name to change it.

Whatever you type should adhere to Facebook's guidelines, which prohibit symbols, numbers, unusual capitalization, and honorifics like Mr., Ms., and Dr. Before landing on a name, make sure you’re ready to commit to it: Facebook won’t let you update it again for 60 days. If you aren’t happy with these restrictions, adding a secondary name or a name pronunciation might better suit your needs. You can do this by going to the Details About You heading under the About page of your profile.

[h/t Daily Dot]