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10 Famous Actors Who Have a Less-Famous Twin

Although the lives of celebrities are certainly in the public eye, there are a few personal things about famous actors that are virtually unknown to the general public—including who they've shared a womb with.

1. Scarlett Johansson

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Scarlett Johansson has a twin brother named Hunter Johansson, who was a campaign advisor for Barack Obama in 2008. While Hunter didn’t pursue a career in acting like his sister, the twins appeared together in the film Manny & Lo in 1996.

2. Vin Diesel

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While Vin Diesel (whose real name is Mark Sinclair Vincent) is enjoying a career in front of the camera with starring roles in action films such as Fast & Furious and Riddick, his fraternal twin brother Paul Vincent likes his place behind the camera as a film editor.

3. Ashton Kutcher

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Ashton Kutcher was born Christopher Ashton Kutcher, and has a fraternal twin brother named Michael. When he was a child, Michael developed cerebral palsy and cardiomyopathy and required a heart transplant during his teenage years. Before starring in That '70s Show, Ashton attended the University of Iowa and studied biochemical engineering, inspired to find a cure for Michael’s heart disease. Michael is currently a spokesman for Reaching for the Stars, an organization advocating for children with cerebral palsy.

4. Kiefer Sutherland

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Kiefer Sutherland was born the older brother of his twin sister Rachel. While Kiefer Sutherland is mostly known for starring as Jack Bauer on Fox’s thriller 24, Rachel works behind the scenes as a post-production supervisor on films and television in Toronto.

5. Giovanni Ribisi

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Giovanni Ribisi's twin sister Marissa had a budding career as an actress in Hollywood with roles in The Brady Bunch Movie, Pleasantville, and Dazed and Confused. She took a hiatus in the early 2000s, and married singer/songwriter Beck in 2004. Marissa Ribisi and Beck have two children, Cosimo Henri and Tuesday. Marissa also launched a fashion line called Whitley Kros in 2007.

6. Linda Hamilton

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Leslie Hamilton Gearren is the identical twin sister of actress Linda Hamilton. Although Leslie is a professional nurse, she was also her sister Linda’s on-screen double in three scenes in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

7. Parker Posey

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Parker Posey was dubbed “Queen of the Indies” in the '90s for her appearances in movies such as Dazed and Confused, Party Girl, and Waiting For Guffman. Her twin brother Christopher took an alternative career route as a lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia.

8. Joseph Fiennes

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Joseph Fiennes has five biological siblings who took all up careers in the arts. His older brother Ralph Fiennes is an Academy Award-nominated actor, while his other brother Magnus is a composer, and his sisters Martha and Sophie are filmmakers. Joseph also has a twin brother named Jacob, who opted not to go into the entertainment industry, but instead started a career as a conservationist.

9. Eva Green

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French model and actress Eva Green’s breakout role was in the James Bond film Casino Royale. She has since appeared in Dark Shadows, 300: Rise of an Empire, and the upcoming Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Green’s fraternal twin sister Joy took up a career rearing horses in the Normandy countryside with her husband.

10. Jon Heder

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While Jon Heder is mostly known for playing the titular role in the cult classic Napoleon Dynamite, his identical twin brother Dan Heder works behind the scenes in animation and visual effects, notably for the movie 47 Ronin. The brothers both worked on the Oscar-nominated animated film Monster House in 2006—Jon provided the voice for the character Reginald "Skull" Skulinski, while Dan was one of the film’s animators.

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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]

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