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9 Delightful Recipes From the 1950s You Should Make with Your Kids Today

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Have you ever been accused of gulping down a meal so fast you were consuming your food "like it was going out of style"? Well, keep gulping, because food does go out of style.

But let's not overlook the dishes of decades past, because they offer some delightful lessons. In 1957, for instance, Betty Crocker's Cook Book for Boys and Girls used easy instructions and bright, beautiful images to teach children how to cook. These recipes are just as fun to make today as they were then — even if they are out of style.

(For a larger view of each recipe, click directly on the image.)

1. Branded pancakes

Granted, names have gotten a lot longer since John and Jane dominated the pancake scene. But a hungry enough birthday girl will still enjoy a batch of Alexandria pancakes branded in her honor.

2. Eggs in a frame

This is listed under the "Campfire" section of the book, but it looks like it can be done anywhere butter is abundant.

3. Doughboys

More campfire ingenuity; simple enough for any little camper who can be trusted with a pointy stick.

4. Raggedy Ann salad

Here is an example of making do with what would be commonly available year round to a child in 1957. Granted, by our standards, Mrs. Crocker is using the word "salad" pretty liberally here. But remember, the whole point of Raggedy Ann is that she was a lovable, patched-together hodgepodge of a doll. Or a salad!

5. American pizza

It's important to include the word "American" in the title, because no matter how good this turns out, it's going to disillusion a child forever that they can make "real" pizza at home. But it's still fun! Like little Peter tells us at the bottom of the page, "Pizza cuts up real easy if you use the kitchen scissors."

6. Kabobs

This dish is perfect for the child who enjoys sharp sticks, knives, and fire. Which is most of them.

7. Three men in a boat

Okay, not every recipe is going to translate well over the years. And not every modern child will be thrilled with a mixture of creamed dried beef, potato skin, mushrooms, and cheese. But hey! It's a boat you can eat! That's pretty cool.

8. Drum cake

I must admit, falling in love with this photo was the whole reason I spent a week on the phone getting General Mills' permission to use it. Candy canes! When it's not even Christmas! Brilliant!

9. Eskimo igloo cake

Remember, in 1957 it would have occurred to no one to ask whether it was socially acceptable to make food versions of an indigenous people's home, nor would they have searched their brains trying to remember if it's rude to say "Eskimo." Today this little cake can be used as a great introduction to anthropology, history, and America's changing social values. Or you can just eat it.

**All images used with express permission of General Mills**

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Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
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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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