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10 Real Intersections With Unforgettable Names

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If you lived in any of these places, no one would ever forget your address. You’d always be able to find someone to point you the right way home. But there’s an ever-present danger of your street signs being stolen.

1. Somewhere Drive and Where Else Lane

Image from Google Street View.

There seems to be a house for sale at the intersection of Where Else Lane and Somewhere Drive in Milwaukie, Oregon. But the Google Street View images were taken a few years ago, so that wonderful address has probably been snapped up by now. Where do you live? "Somewhere and Where Else." 

2. This Way and That Way

Photograph from imgur.

A confusing intersection in Lake Jackson, Texas, gives you the option of going This Way or That Way. Either way, you’ll get somewhere! The first time I saw a reference to Lake Jackson was in a newspaper clipping.

A little digging took me to a 2013 revitalization project that confirmed the names of the streets.

3. Klingon and Romulan

Photograph from Google Street View.

The intersection of Klingon Court and Romulan Court in Sacramento, California, may draw Star Trek fans for pictures, but the people who live there are not necessarily fans, and at least one wasn’t even aware of the name origins until a TV station told him.

4. Highway 28 and Warp Drive

Photograph by spnw85.

Of course, you want to get off the highway at Warp Drive Exit. The ramp takes you to Orbital Sciences Corporation, which got the right to name the road and the exit in Dulles, Virginia.

5. Warp Drive and Picard

Image from Google Maps.

A neighborhood in Turlock, California, has Picard Lane turning into Warp Drive. Make it so! Nearby streets include Crusher Avenue, Ryker Court, and Federation Court.

6. Hooker and Pleasure

The intersection of Hooker and Pleasure, that is, Hooker Avenue and Pleasure Drive can be seen in Madison, Wisconsin. The signs don’t reflect that, because the cross street is actually MacPherson Street. The intersection is where Hooker Avenue turns into Pleasure Drive. Read into that what you will.

7. Crooked and Strait

This is the spot where Strait Lane meets Crooked Lane in Dallas, Texas. No doubt the Strait Lane is in honor of George Strait, but how neat would it be to describe your location as the intersection of Strait and Crooked?

8. Mulder and Scully

The intersection of Mulder Avenue and Scully Way is in a subdivision in Orléans, a suburb of Ottawa, Ontario. Since those are the only two streets in a subsection, you have to think the names were intentional. You also have to wonder how many residents are X-files fans.

9. Bonnie and Clyde

Image from Google Maps.

Another intersection in Ottawa is Bonnie Crescent and Clyde Avenue. Sadly, there were no street signs at the intersection when Google Street View came through. They are probably stolen quite often.

10. Clark and Kent

This intersection where Clark Street meets Kent Street in Buffalo, New York, is called Superman Corner. Alas, there is no phone booth on the corner. There is also a house for sale on Clark Street in Kent City, Michigan. 

There are plenty of other funny intersections on the internet, although you have to take them with a grain of salt, since Photoshoppery is rampant. Google Maps will let you know if a place really exists.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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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
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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]

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