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Crystal Vaughan-Balser

14 Tattoos Dedicated to Snack Foods

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Crystal Vaughan-Balser

Some people satisfy their snack cravings with sugar, others with sweets—but it takes a special kind of snacker to dedicate a patch of skin to their favorite munchies. 

1. Pop Tarts

Lots of people grew up munching on Pop Tarts (or, if their parents were health nuts, watched sadly as their friends got to eat them). This gentleman obviously really enjoyed the toaster pastry, since he paid artist Mike Devries to put a permanent, life-sized version on his arm.

2. Oreo

Lillian Chen of Ancient Art Tattoo inked this adorable little cookie onto a girl who went by the nickname of “Oreo.”

3. Cracker Jack

Brittany’s boyfriend told her she would only get a ring from a Cracker Jack box, so when they got engaged, it only made sense to mark the occasion with the help of artist Jason Reeder.

4. Cheetos Flamin’ Hot

These crunchy snacks are one of those highly polarizing foods—people either can’t get enough of them or they can’t stand them. This fan went so far as to get them inked on his leg with the appropriate slogan of “Light my fire.”

Artwork by Zane Watrous of Vamp Body Art in St. George, Utah.

5. Doritos

Like Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, people seem equally enamored or disgusted with Cool Ranch Doritos. Crystal Vaughan-Balser’s boyfriend is most certainly one of those who passionately loves the chips—the proof is in the tasty-looking tattoo he asked Crystal to do for him.

6. Pringles

The man who invented Pringles requested his ashes be buried in a can of his beloved snack. Something tells me he would get along with this dedicated fan, who not only got a can of Sour Cream and Onion tattooed on his back but also added the word “perfection” to the banner spread across it. The tattoo, by DeviantArt user frogspud, also has a matching piece on the other side with a Coke bottle that has a banner bearing the words “true love.” Now that’s a man who loves his junk foods.

7. Cheez-It

Salem L. Drako posted this piece by Megan Jean of Painted Soul Tattoos on his DeviantArt. I’m pretty sure the crispy cracker tattoo isn’t Salem’s, but I can’t tell you who it does belong to.

8. Nutty Bars

You may have grown up on Nutty Bars, but you’re probably not as obsessed with them as Ebbin, who had them tattooed on his leg by Nate Vincent Szklarski of Monster Ink Tattoos in St. Paul, MN.

9. Snack Pack

The only thing better than finishing off your boring bagged lunch with a sweet Snack Pack was bypassing the rest of your food and going straight for the creamy pudding. Based on this tattoo by an artist from Brookland Park Tattoo in Richmond, VA, it’s easy to imagine that this woman traded her share of sandwiches for Snack Packs.

10. Skittles

There are a lot of odd Skittles commercials out there, but for all the times they’ve told you to “taste the rainbow,” I doubt the creators of that ad ever imagined someone would tattoo one of these candies right on their tongue. Stephen DAsti of Mass Ink Tattooing & Body Piercing did the inking.

11. Twinkies

While most of the junk food tattoos here seem to be authentically dedicated to the food itself, I have the sneaking suspicion Becca’s “Twinkie” tattoo by John Miller at Dermagrafict Tattoo might be some kind of innuendo. Maybe.

12. Ben and Jerry’s

Over the years, Ben and Jerry's has developed a pretty passionate fan base, but this girl might just trump them all—her entire side is covered by the delicious ice cream and a few other tasty treats. The artwork was done by James Pruitt from Alliance Tattoo Lounge in Yuma, AZ.

13. MoonPie

Don’t even think about getting between BME Zine user bbirdeman and his MoonPies. This artwork was done by James Jorgenson of Bay Area Tattoo in Houston, Texas.

14. Slurpee

You always need something to help wash down all those snacks and if you really have the munchies, few things are better than a Slurpee. And as long as people have snack cakes and corn chip tattoos out there, you knew someone had to have a permanent tribute to this icy-cool treat. This particular piece was inked by Aaron Broke.

Oddly, in researching this article, I wasn’t able to find any Goldfish cracker tattoos like the one Mangesh spotted on the subway that inspired this whole list.

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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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